The modern environmental, or ‘green’, movement has shifted from overt care for the environment towards activist and economic damage, self-serving agendas and covert promotion of more sinister agendas. But their opposition grows by the day as evidence and common sense starts to prevail.
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When you tell people once too often that the missing extra heat is hiding in the ocean, they will switch over to watch Game of Thrones, where the dialogue is less ridiculous and all the threats come true. The proponents of man-made climate catastrophe asked us for so many leaps of faith that they were bound to run out of credibility in the end.
Now that they finally seem to be doing so, it could be a good time for those of us who have never been convinced by all those urgent warnings to start warning each other that we might be making a comparably senseless tactical error if we expect the elastic cause of the catastrophists, and all of its exponents, to go away in a hurry.
I speak as one who knows nothing about the mathematics involved in modelling non-linear systems. But I do know quite a lot about the mass media, and far too much about the abuse of language. So I feel qualified to advise against any triumphalist urge to compare the apparently imminent disintegration of the alarmist cause to the collapse of a house of cards. Devotees of that fond idea haven’t thought hard enough about their metaphor. A house of cards collapses only with a sigh, and when it has finished collapsing all the cards are still there.
Although the alarmists might finally have to face that they will not get much more of what they want on a policy level, they will surely, on the level of their own employment, go on wanting their salaries and prestige.
To take a conspicuous if ludicrous case, Australian climate star Tim Flannery will probably not, of his own free will, shrink back to the position conferred by his original metier, as an expert on the extinction of the giant wombat. He is far more likely to go on being, and wishing to be, one of the mass media’s mobile oracles about climate. While that possibility continues, it will go on being dangerous to stand between him and a television camera. If the giant wombat could have moved at that speed, it would still be with us.
The mere fact that few of Flannery’s predictions have ever come true need not be enough to discredit him, just as American professor Paul Ehrlich has been left untouched since he predicted that the world would soon run out of copper. In those days, when our current phase of the long discussion about man’s attack on nature was just beginning, he predicted mass death by extreme cold. Lately he predicts mass death by extreme heat. But he has always predicted mass death by extreme something.
Actually, a more illustrative starting point for the theme of the permanently imminent climatic apocalypse might be taken as August 3, 1971, when The Sydney Morning Herald announced that the Great Barrier Reef would be dead in six months.
After six months the reef had not died, but it has been going to die almost as soon as that ever since, making it a strangely durable emblem for all those who have wedded themselves to the notion of climate catastrophe.
The most exalted of all the world’s predictors of reef death, former US president Barack Obama, has still not seen the reef; but he promises to go there one day when it is well again.
In his acceptance speech at the 2008 Democratic convention, Obama said — and I truly wish that this were an inaccurate paraphrase — that people should vote for him if they wanted to stop the ocean rising. He got elected, and it didn’t rise.
The notion of a countdown or a tipping point is very dear to both wings of this deaf shouting match, and really is of small use to either. On the catastrophist wing, whose “narrative”, as they might put it, would so often seem to be a synthesised film script left over from the era of surround-sound disaster movies, there is always a countdown to the tipping point.
When the scientists are the main contributors to the script, the tipping point will be something like the forever forthcoming moment when the Gulf Stream turns upside down or the Antarctic ice sheet comes off its hinges, or any other extreme event which, although it persists in not happening, could happen sooner than we think. (Science correspondents who can write a phrase like “sooner than we think” seldom realise that they might have already lost you with the word “could”.)
When the politicians join in the writing, the dramatic language declines to the infantile. There are only 50 days (former British PM Gordon Brown) or 100 months (Prince Charles wearing his political hat) left for mankind to “do something” about “the greatest moral challenge … of our generation” (Kevin Rudd, before he arrived at the Copenhagen climate shindig in 2009).
When he left Copenhagen, Rudd scarcely mentioned the greatest moral challenge again. Perhaps he had deduced, from the confusion prevailing throughout the conference, that the chances of the world ever uniting its efforts to “do something” were very small. Whatever his motives for backing out of the climate chorus, his subsequent career was an early demonstration that to cease being a chorister would be no easy retreat because it would be a clear indication that everything you had said on the subject up to then had been said in either bad faith or ignorance. It would not be enough merely to fall silent. You would have to travel back in time, run for office in the Czech Republic instead of Australia, and call yourself Vaclav Klaus.
Australia, unlike Rudd, has a globally popular role in the climate movie because it looks the part.
Common reason might tell you that a country whose contribution to the world’s emissions is only 1.4 per cent can do very little about the biggest moral challenge even if it manages to reduce that contribution to zero; but your eyes tell you that Australia is burning up. On the classic alarmist principle of “just stick your head out of the window and look around you”, Australia always looks like Overwhelming Evidence that the alarmists must be right.
Even now that the global warming scare has completed its transformation into the climate change scare so that any kind of event at either end of the scale of temperature can qualify as a crisis, Australia remains the top area of interest, still up there ahead of even the melting North Pole, despite the Arctic’s miraculous capacity to go on producing ice in defiance of all instructions from Al Gore. A C-student to his marrow, and thus never quick to pick up any reading matter at all, Gore has evidently never seen the Life magazine photographs of America’s nuclear submarine Skate surfacing through the North Pole in 1959. The ice up there is often thin, and sometimes vanishes.
But it comes back, especially when someone sufficiently illustrious confidently predicts that it will go away for good.
After 4.5 billion years of changing, the climate that made outback Australia ready for Baz Luhrmann’s viewfinder looked all set to end the world tomorrow. History has already forgotten that the schedule for one of the big drought sequences in his movie Australia was wrecked by rain, and certainly history will never be reminded by the mass media, which loves a picture that fits the story.
In this way, the polar bear balancing on the Photoshopped shrinking ice floe will always have a future in show business, and the cooling towers spilling steam will always be up there in the background of the TV picture.
The full 97 per cent of all satirists who dealt themselves out of the climate subject back at the start look like staying out of it until the end, even if they get satirised in their turn. One could blame them for their pusillanimity, but it would be useless, and perhaps unfair. Nobody will be able plausibly to call actress Emma Thompson dumb for spreading gloom and doom about the climate: she’s too clever and too creative. And anyway, she might be right. Cases like Leonardo DiCaprio and Cate Blanchett are rare enough to be called brave. Otherwise, the consensus of silence from the wits and thespians continues to be impressive.
If they did wish to speak up for scepticism, however, they wouldn’t find it easy when the people who run the big TV outlets forbid the wrong kind of humour.
On Saturday Night Live back there in 2007, Will Ferrell, brilliantly pretending to be George W. Bush, was allowed to get every word of the global warming message wrong but he wasn’t allowed to disbelieve it. Just as all branches of the modern media love a picture of something that might be part of the Overwhelming Evidence for climate change even if it is really a picture of something else, they all love a clock ticking down to zero, and if the clock never quite gets there then the motif can be exploited forever.
But the editors and producers must face the drawback of such perpetual excitement: it gets perpetually less exciting. Numbness sets in, and there is time to think after all. Some of the customers might even start asking where this language of rubber numbers has been heard before.
It was heard from Swift. In Gulliver’s Travels he populated his flying island of Laputa with scientists busily using rubber numbers to predict dire events. He called these scientists “projectors”. At the basis of all the predictions of the projectors was the prediction that the Earth was in danger from a Great Comet whose tail was “ten hundred thousand and fourteen” miles long. I should concede at this point that a sardonic parody is not necessarily pertinent just because it is funny; and that although it might be unlikely that the Earth will soon be threatened by man-made climate change, it might be less unlikely that the Earth will be threatened eventually by an asteroid, or let it be a Great Comet; after all, the Earth has been hit before.
That being said, however, we can note that Swift has got the language of artificial crisis exactly right, to the point that we might have trouble deciding whether he invented it or merely copied it from scientific voices surrounding him. James Hansen is a Swiftian figure. Blithely equating trains full of coal to trains full of people on their way to Auschwitz, the Columbia University climatologist is utterly unaware that he has not only turned the stomachs of the informed audience he was out to impress, he has lost their attention.
Paleoclimatologist Chris Turney, from the University of NSW, who led a ship full of climate change enthusiasts into the Antarctic to see how the ice was doing under the influence of climate change and found it was doing well enough to trap the ship, could have been invented by Swift. (Turney’s subsequent Guardian article, in which he explained how this embarrassment was due only to a quirk of the weather and had nothing to do with a possible mistake about the climate, was a Swiftian lampoon in all respects.)
Compulsorily retired now from the climate scene, Rajendra Pachauri, formerly chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, was a zany straight from Swift, by way of a Bollywood remake of The Party starring the local imitator of Peter Sellers; if Dr Johnson could have thought of Pachauri, Rasselas would be much more entertaining than it is. Finally, and supremely, Flannery could have been invented by Swift after 10 cups of coffee too many with Stella. He wanted to keep her laughing. Swift projected the projectors who now surround us.
They came out of the grant-hungry fringe of semi-science to infect the heart of the mass media, where a whole generation of commentators taught each other to speak and write a hyperbolic doom-language (“unprecedented”, “irreversible”, et cetera), which you might have thought was sure to doom them in their turn. After all, nobody with an intact pair of ears really listens for long to anyone who talks about “the planet” or “carbon” or “climate denial” or “the science”. But for now — and it could be a long now — the advocates of drastic action are still armed with a theory that no fact doesn’t fit.
The theory has always been manifestly unfalsifiable, but there are few science pundits in the mass media who could tell Karl Popper from Mary Poppins. More startling than their ignorance, however, is their defiance of logic. You can just about see how a bunch of grant-dependent climate scientists might go on saying that there was never a Medieval Warm Period even after it has been pointed out to them that any old corpse dug up from the permafrost could never have been buried in it. But how can a bunch of supposedly enlightened writers go on saying that? Their answer, if pressed, is usually to say that the question is too elementary to be considered.
Alarmists have always profited from their insistence that climate change is such a complex issue that no “science denier” can have an opinion about it worth hearing. For most areas of science such an insistence would be true. But this particular area has a knack of raising questions that get more and more complicated in the absence of an answer to the elementary ones. One of those elementary questions is about how man-made carbon dioxide can be a driver of climate change if the global temperature has not gone up by much over the past 20 years but the amount of man-made carbon dioxide has. If we go on to ask a supplementary question — say, how could carbon dioxide raise temperature when the evidence of the ice cores indicates that temperature has always raised carbon dioxide — we will be given complicated answers, but we still haven’t had an answer to the first question, except for the suggestion that the temperature, despite the observations, really has gone up, but that the extra heat is hiding in the ocean.
It is not necessarily science denial to propose that this long professional habit of postponing an answer to the first and most elementary question is bizarre. American physicist Richard Feynman said that if a fact doesn’t fit the theory, the theory has to go. Feynman was a scientist. Einstein realised that the Michelson-Morley experiment hinted at a possible fact that might not fit Newton’s theory of celestial mechanics. Einstein was a scientist, too. Those of us who are not scientists, but who are sceptical about the validity of this whole issue — who suspect that the alleged problem might be less of a problem than is made out — have plenty of great scientific names to point to for exemplars, and it could even be said that we could point to the whole of science itself. Being resistant to the force of its own inertia is one of the things that science does.
When the climatologists upgraded their frame of certainty from global warming to climate change, the bet-hedging manoeuvre was so blatant that some of the sceptics started predicting in their turn: the alarmist cause must surely now collapse, like a house of cards. A tipping point had been reached.
Unfortunately for the cause of rational critical inquiry, the campaign for immediate action against climate doom reaches a tipping point every few minutes, because the observations, if not the calculations, never cease exposing it as a fantasy.
I myself, after I observed journalist Andrew Neil on BBC TV wiping the floor with the then secretary for energy and climate change Ed Davey, thought that the British government’s energy policy could not survive, and that the mad work that had begun with the 2008 Climate Change Act of Labour’s Ed Miliband must now surely begin to come undone. Neil’s well-informed list of questions had been a tipping point. But it changed nothing in the short term. It didn’t even change the BBC, which continued uninterrupted with its determination that the alarmist view should not be questioned.
How did the upmarket mass media get themselves into such a condition of servility? One is reminded of that fine old historian George Grote when he said that he had taken his A History of Greece only to the point where the Greeks failed to realise they were slaves. The BBC’s monotonous plugging of the climate theme in its science documentaries is too obvious to need remarking, but it’s what the science programs never say that really does the damage.
Even the news programs get “smoothed” to ensure that nothing interferes with the constant business of protecting the climate change theme’s dogmatic status.
To take a simple but telling example: when Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Vice-Chancellor and man in charge of the Energiewende (energy transition), talked rings around Greenpeace hecklers with nothing on their minds but renouncing coal, or told executives of the renewable energy companies that they could no longer take unlimited subsidies for granted, these instructive moments could be seen on German TV but were not excerpted and subtitled for British TV even briefly, despite Gabriel’s accomplishments as a natural TV star, and despite the fact he himself was no sceptic.
Wrong message: easier to leave him out. And if American climate scientist Judith Curry appears before a US Senate committee and manages to defend her anti-alarmist position against concentrated harassment from a senator whose only qualification for the discussion is that he can impugn her integrity with a rhetorical contempt of which she is too polite to be capable? Leave it to YouTube. In this way, the BBC has spent 10 years unplugged from a vital part of the global intellectual discussion, with an increasing air of provincialism as the inevitable result. As the UK now begins the long process of exiting the EU, we can reflect that the departing nation’s most important broadcasting institution has been behaving, for several years, as if its true aim were to reproduce the thought control that prevailed in the Soviet Union.
As for the print media, it’s no mystery why the upmarket newspapers do an even more thorough job than the downmarket newspapers of suppressing any dissenting opinion on the climate.
In Britain, The Telegraph sensibly gives a column to the diligently sceptical Christopher Booker, and Matt Ridley has recently been able to get a few rational articles into The Times, but a more usual arrangement is exemplified by my own newspaper, The Guardian, which entrusts all aspects of the subject to George Monbiot, who once informed his green readership that there was only one reason I could presume to disagree with him, and them: I was an old man, soon to be dead, and thus with no concern for the future of “the planet”.
I would have damned his impertinence, but it would have been like getting annoyed with a wheelbarrow full of freshly cut grass.
These byline names are stars committed to their opinion, but what’s missing from the posh press is the non-star name committed to the job of building a fact file and extracting a reasoned article from it. Further down the market, when The Daily Mail put its no-frills newshound David Rose on the case after Climategate, his admirable competence immediately got him labelled as a “climate change denier”: one of the first people to be awarded that badge of honour.
The other tactic used to discredit him was the standard one of calling his paper a disreputable publication. It might be — having been a victim of its prurience myself, I have no inclination to revere it — but it hasn’t forgotten what objective reporting is supposed to be. Most of the British papers have, and the reason is no mystery.
They can’t afford to remember. The print media, with notable exceptions, is on its way down the drain. With almost no personnel left to do the writing, the urge at editorial level is to give all the science stuff to one bloke. The print edition of The Independent bored its way out of business when its resident climate nag was allowed to write half the paper.
In its last year, when the doomwatch journalists were threatened by the climate industry with a newly revised consensus opinion that a mere 2C increase in world temperature might be not only acceptable but likely, The Independent’s chap retaliated by writing stories about how the real likelihood was an increase of 5C, and in a kind of frenzied crescendo he wrote a whole front page saying that the global temperature was “on track” for an increase of 6C. Not long after, the Indy’s print edition closed down.
At The New York Times, Andrew Revkin, star colour-piece writer on the climate beat, makes the whole subject no less predictable than his prose style: a cruel restriction.
In Australia, the Fairfax papers, which by now have almost as few writers as readers, reprint Revkin’s summaries as if they were the voice of authority, and will probably go on doing so until the waters close overhead. On the ABC, house science pundit Robyn Williams famously predicted that the rising of the waters “could” amount to 100m in the next century. But not even he predicted that it could happen next week. At The Sydney Morning Herald, it could happen next week. The only remaining journalists could look out of the window and see fish.
Bending its efforts to sensationalise the news on a scale previously unknown even in its scrappy history, the mass media has helped to consolidate a pernicious myth. But it could not have done this so thoroughly without the accident that it is the main source of information and opinion for people in the academic world and in the scientific institutions. Few of those people have been reading the sceptical blogs: they have no time. If I myself had not been so ill during the relevant time span, I might not have been reading it either, and might have remained confined within the misinformation system where any assertion of forthcoming disaster counts as evidence.
The effect of this mountainous accumulation of sanctified alarmism on the academic world is another subject. Some of the universities deserve to be closed down, but I expect they will muddle through, if only because the liberal spirit, when it regains its strength, is likely to be less vengeful than the dogmatists were when they ruled. Finding that the power of inertia blesses their security as once it blessed their influence, the enthusiasts might have the sense to throttle back on their certitude, huddle under the blanket cover provided by the concept of “post-normal science”, and wait in comfort to be forgotten.
As for the learned societies and professional institutions, it was never a puzzle that so many of them became instruments of obfuscation instead of enlightenment. Totalitarianism takes over a state at the moment when the ruling party is taken over by its secretariat; the tipping point is when Stalin, with his lists of names, offers to stay late after the meeting and take care of business.
The same vulnerability applies to any learned institution. Rule by bureaucracy favours mediocrity, and in no time at all you are in a world where the British Met Office’s (former) chief scientist Julia Slingo is a figure of authority and Curry is fighting to breathe.
On a smaller scale of influential prestige, Nicholas Stern lends the Royal Society the honour of his presence. For those of us who regard him as a vocalised stuffed shirt, it is no use saying that his confident pronouncements about the future are only those of an economist. Klaus was only an economist when he tried to remind us that Malthusian clairvoyance is invariably a harbinger of totalitarianism. But Klaus was a true figure of authority. Alas, true figures of authority are in short supply, and tend not to have much influence when they get to speak.
All too often, this is because they care more about science than about the media. As recently as 2015, after a full 10 years of nightly proof that this particular scientific dispute was a media event before it was anything, Freeman Dyson was persuaded to go on television. He was up there just long enough to say that the small proportion of carbon dioxide that was man-made could only add to the world’s supply of plant food. The world’s mass media outlets ignored the footage, mainly because they didn’t know who he was.
I might not have known either if I hadn’t spent, in these past few years, enough time in hospitals to have it proved to me on a personal basis that real science is as indispensable for modern medicine as cheap power. Among his many achievements, to none of which he has ever cared about drawing attention, Dyson designed the TRIGA reactor. The TRIGA ensures that the world’s hospitals get a reliable supply of isotopes.
Dyson served science. Except for the few holdouts who go on fighting to defend the objective nature of truth, most of the climate scientists who get famous are serving themselves.
There was a time when the journalists could have pointed out the difference, but now they have no idea. Instead, they are so celebrity-conscious that they would supply Flannery with a new clown suit if he wore out the one he is wearing now.
A bad era for science has been a worse one for the mass media, the field in which, despite the usual blunders and misjudgments, I was once proud to earn my living. But I have spent too much time, in these past few years, being ashamed of my profession: hence the note of anger which, I can now see, has crept into this essay even though I was determined to keep it out. As my retirement changed to illness and then to dotage, I would have preferred to sit back and write poems than to be known for taking a position in what is, despite the colossal scale of its foolish waste, a very petty quarrel.
But it was time to stand up and fight, if only because so many of the advocates, though they must know by now that they are professing a belief they no longer hold, will continue to profess it anyway.
Back in the day, when I was starting off in journalism — on The Sydney Morning Herald, as it happens — the one thing we all learned early from our veteran colleagues was never to improve the truth for the sake of the story. If they caught us doing so, it was the end of the world.
But here we are, and the world hasn’t ended after all. Though some governments might not yet have fully returned to the principle of evidence-based policy, most of them have learned to be wary of policy-based evidence. They have learned to spot it coming, not because the real virtues of critical inquiry have been well argued by scientists but because the false claims of abracadabra have been asserted too often by people who, though they might have started out as scientists of a kind, have found their true purpose in life as ideologists.
Modern history since World War II has shown us that it is unwise to predict what will happen to ideologists after their citadel of power has been brought low. It was feared that the remaining Nazis would fight on, as werewolves. Actually, only a few days had to pass before there were no Nazis to be found anywhere except in Argentina, boring one another to death at the world’s worst dinner parties.
After the collapse of the Soviet Union, on the other hand, when it was thought that no apologists for Marxist collectivism could possibly keep their credibility in the universities of the West, they not only failed to lose heart, they gained strength.
Some critics would say that the climate change fad itself is an offshoot of this lingering revolutionary animus against liberal democracy, and that the true purpose of the climatologists is to bring about a world government that will ensure what no less a philanthropist than Robert Mugabe calls “climate justice”, in which capitalism is replaced by something more altruistic.
I prefer to blame mankind’s inherent capacity for raising opportunism to a principle: the enabling condition for fascism in all its varieties, and often an imperative mindset among high-end frauds.
On behalf of the UN, Maurice Strong, the first man to raise big money for climate justice, found slightly under a million dollars of it sticking to his fingers, and hid out in China for the rest of his life — a clear sign of his guilty knowledge that he had pinched it.
Later operators lack even the guilt. They just collect the money, like the Prime Minister of Tuvalu, who has probably guessed by now that the sea isn’t going to rise by so much as an inch; but he still wants, for his supposedly threatened atoll, a share of the free cash, and especially because the question has changed. It used to be: how will we cope when the disaster comes? The question now is: how will we cope if it does not?
There is no need to entertain visions of a vast, old-style army of disoccupied experts retreating through the snow, eating first their horses and finally each other. But there could be quite a lot of previously well-subsidised people left standing around while they vaguely wonder why nobody is listening to them any more. Way back in 2011, one of the Climategate scientists, Britain’s Tommy Wils, with an engagingly honest caution rare among prophets, speculated in an email about what people outside their network might do to them if climate change turned out to be a bunch of natural variations: “Kill us, probably.” But there has been too much talk of mass death already, and anyway most of the alarmists are the kind of people for whom it is a sufficiently fatal punishment simply to be ignored.
Nowadays I write with aching slowness, and by the time I had finished assembling the previous paragraph, the US had changed presidents. What difference this transition will make to the speed with which the climate change meme collapses is yet to be seen, but my own guess is that it was already almost gone anyway: a comforting view to take if you don’t like the idea of a posturing zany like Donald Trump changing the world.
Personally, I don’t even like the idea of Trump changing a light bulb, but we ought to remember that this dimwitted period in the history of the West began with exactly that: a change of light bulbs. Suddenly, 100 watts were too much. For as long as the climate change fad lasted, it always depended on poppycock; and it would surely be unwise to believe that mankind’s capacity to believe in fashionable nonsense could be cured by the disproportionately high cost of a temporary embarrassment. I’m almost sorry that I won’t be here for the ceremonial unveiling of the next threat.
Almost certainly the opening feast will take place in Paris, with a happy sample of all the world’s young scientists facing the fragrant remains of their first ever plate of foie gras, while vowing that it will not be the last.
This is an exclusive extract from the essay Mass Death Dies Hard by Clive James in Climate Change: The Facts 2017 edited by Jennifer Marohasy, published next month by the Institute of Public Affairs.
Oh, how I wish I’d kept hold of my Skoda Yeti. If only I hadn’t just sold it, I might have stood to make a cool £3,000 in compensation from the class action being brought by motorists against Volkswagen and its sister brands (Audi, Skoda, Seat) as a result of the Dieselgate emissions scandal.
Like many duped motorists, I acquired my diesel car in the naive belief that it would not only be more efficient and cost-effective than a petrol one, but also that it was better for the environment. We now know that this green myth is a nonsense.
The particulate matter produced by diesel engines is toxic, polluting and may be responsible for tens of thousands of deaths annually across Europe.
Some manufacturers such as Volkswagen have known this for ages, but rather than lose business it rigged emissions tests to make its cars seem more eco-friendly than they actually were.
Oh, how I wish I’d kept hold of my Skoda Yeti. If only I hadn’t just sold it, I might have stood to make a cool £3,000 in compensation.
Clearly, VW deserves to be punished for its duplicity. But in my view, it is not nearly the culprit most deserving of a punitive law suit. What about the successive governments — in Britain and across the EU —which massively increased the growth of diesel through tax breaks and subsidies?
What about the scientists who came up with the dodgy theory that diesel was somehow cleaner and healthier because it supposedly helps combat climate change? What about all the green pressure groups and campaigning eco journalists who pushed for this dangerous and wrongheaded legislation?
The truth is that when it comes to damage, expense and misery caused by woolly-headed green ‘thinking’, the VW emissions scandal is but the tiniest tip of a vast iceberg.
In the name of saving the planet, lives and livelihoods have been destroyed, landscapes blighted, jobs killed, wildlife eradicated, prosperity reduced, science corrupted, kids brainwashed: in fact, forget the class suit against VW, it’s about time we all had some compensation for the deceptions of the green lobby.
VW: Like many duped motorists, I acquired my diesel car in the naive belief that it would not only be more efficient and cost-effective than a petrol one
Let’s start with the size of the global climate change industry, which on the back of government subsidies and policy-making has grown into a behemoth worth $1.5 trillion (£1.24 trillion) a year, according to the Climate Change Business Journal — similar to what we spend annually on online shopping.
But while we willingly choose to part with our money on Amazon and eBay for stuff we want and need, much environmental spending is forced on us by government diktat and squandered on often pointless, wasteful projects we have no control over.
Consider the latest UK scandal, where in Northern Ireland the Belfast government will cost the taxpayer more than £1 billion because of a mismanaged renewable heat incentive scheme.
For every £100 they spent on eco-friendly energy, businesses were bribed with a £160 rebate.
Because no cap was placed on the incentive, businesses piled in to take advantage — one enterprising farmer even heated a vast, empty warehouse to claim the subsidy — with costs to the taxpayer wildly out of control.
Perhaps we should be grateful that it has now led to the resignation of Northern Ireland’s deputy first minister and former IRA terrorist Martin McGuinness — but it seems a ruinously expensive way to have got rid of him.
Almost anything with the word ‘renewable’ in it means eye-watering expense and intolerable waste. In Wales last week, an experimental tidal energy project, much of its £18 million cost funded by the EU and the Welsh government, went into administration within months after a sonar to protect seals, porpoises and dolphins had failed.
This hardly bodes well for the highly questionable £1 billion tidal lagoon project being mooted for Swansea Bay.
As for solar and wind energy, which produce about 14 per cent of Britain’s power, their costs to consumers are vastly increased thanks to subsidies.
Last October, the National Audit Office stated that Britain’s renewable electricity subsidies would be £8.7 billion a year by 2020-21. ‘This is equivalent to £110 on the typical household dual fuel energy bill,’ the NAO added.
On top of this, we have nuclear — in particular, Hinkley Point C, the white elephant nuclear energy project planned for the Somerset coast that Theresa May inherited from David Cameron and was once described as the ‘worst deal in history’.
The technology is untested. Similar projects in Normandy and Finland have encountered such serious design and construction problems they are running years over schedule and billions of euros over budget.
Yet Britain is committed to spending £24 billion on Hinkley — mostly in subsidies, through increased electricity bills, to the French and Chinese — for the world’s most costly energy.
This makes no commercial sense, but that was never the point: the UK government needed nuclear, at whatever cost, so as to help meet the swingeing carbon dioxide reduction targets to which it is legally bound by Ed Miliband’s disastrous 2008 Climate Change Act.
The Act, dreamed up at the height of the global warming scare, was designed to ‘decarbonise’ Britain’s economy.
Like foreign aid, the measures were more extreme than in other countries. The Act will cost the taxpayer £18 billion every year till 2050 and has since been used to justify all manner of crazy government schemes such as the anaerobic digester scam where developers are paid to convert agricultural waste into gas.
Several major pollution incidents and at least one explosion later, that scheme has cost taxpayers £216 million a year in subsidies.
Hinkley Point C: The white elephant nuclear energy project planned for the Somerset coast that Theresa May inherited from David Cameron
And you really don’t need to be a climate sceptic to realise it’s all money down the drain.
Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg has done the calculations: even if, from now on, all the countries in the world stick to the very modest carbon reduction targets they agreed in Paris last year, the effect on the world’s temperatures will be to reduce ‘global warming by the end of this century by a total of 0.17c: less than one-fifth of a degree’.
So, according to Lomborg, the benefit of all this expensive renewable energy is minimal compared with the cost. Added to all of this are the damaging side-effects, which are many and varied: vulnerable and elderly people driven into fuel poverty because of energy prices made artificially high by renewables subsidies; plus children brainwashed in schools by being fed scaremongering propaganda such as Al Gore’s discredited movie on global warming An Inconvenient Truth.
Then there’s the corruption and distortion of science by the flood of government research grants for projects that can show a connection, however tenuous, with the magical words ‘climate change’; and the misallocation of resources, whereby money is squandered on state-subsidised industries such as offshore wind turbines.
But maybe the worst thing of all about the bloated creature they call the Green Blob is the huge amount of damage it does to the environment in the name of saving it.
This was what first drew me to the subject: my growing disgust, as someone who loves wildlife and adores the British countryside, that misguided green policies are destroying our planet.
Instead of just burning coal as it was designed to, for example, our biggest power station Drax has been converted at vast cost to run partly on wood chips shipped over from the U.S.
These chips are cut from hardwood forests in North Carolina, and subsidised by the taxpayer to the tune of £500 million a year, in a process that actually increases carbon emissions.
It’s madness — and it’s happening across Europe, too, with protected forests felled to meet EU renewable energy targets.
Meanwhile, in Asia, Africa and South America, primary rain forest is being felled to grow palm oil plantations to create eco-friendly biofuels.
And what about wind turbines which kill millions of birds and bats every year, including protected species such as eagles and rare migratory birds?
The tide is turning, thank heaven. Whatever you think of President-elect Donald Trump, one thing’s certain: he’s determined to rein in an awful lot of the green lunacy that’s cost the planet so dear for decades now.
And those ‘future generations’ the greens are always banging on about? I don’t think they’ll thank us for the damage we did in their name. They’ll look back on this era of eco-lunacy with astonishment and ask: how could our great-grandparents be so dumb? Why didn’t they sue?
Many politicians and bureaucrats systematically cause delays and unnecessary expenditure, and ignore reality. ‘Yes Minister’ really was a documentary, not fiction! Perhaps even worse, many from the ‘Left’, progressives, Cultural Marxists and activists keep trying to stymie democracy with their shrill, often illogical and ideological views. The following articles provide evidence.
In his 1960s bestseller, The Naked Communist, former FBI agent W. Cleon Skousen lays bare an ambitious Marxist manifesto. He identifies 46 goals ranging from reordering Western values and institutions to a one-world government under the UN.
A major objective was the capture of one or both of the major US political parties. Marxists would use the courts to weaken US institutions through technical decisions based on human rights. Schools would become transmission belts for socialist propaganda and, by softening the curriculum, teachers’ associations would carry the party line in textbooks on the list of required reading. Loyalty oaths would be abolished
They aimed to infiltrate the media and control editorial writing, book reviews and student newspapers.
Where possible, key positions in radio, television and film would be filled with sympathetic presenters, actors and producers.
“Cultural Marxism” would target all laws governing obscenity by calling them “censorship”. Lower cultural standards of morality would be encouraged through wider acceptance of pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, movies, radio and TV. Degeneracy and promiscuity were to be presented as “normal, natural and healthy”.
Even churches would be targeted. Traditional religion would be replaced with “social” religion. The aim was to discredit the Bible and mock those who saw a need for a “religious crutch”.
Winston Churchill warned: “Socialism is the philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance and the gospel of envy.”
Maybe, but the manifesto’s authors must be feeling pretty pleased with progress. Today, “cultural Marxism” is pervasive.
In Australia, parliaments have surrendered traditional values with scarcely a sigh.
The curriculums in our schools and universities drill “progressive” ideology into the hearts and minds of students. A recent Institute of Public Affairs survey found almost 80 per cent of Australia’s universities stifle intellectual debate. Moral relativism reigns supreme.
Our courts are thick with politicians in robes. Conceited judges seek unnecessarily to bully critics into silence while, in sentencing, we are accustomed to criminals being treated as victims of an unjust society.
Our public broadcasters drip with fashionable left-wing causes. Cultural institutions foster leftist activists and socialist propaganda. Even our armed forces have been infiltrated. Shouting at subordinates is now outlawed and trainees who find instructors overbearing can hold up red cards. Ensuring that the navy focuses on all aspects of diversity, a strategic adviser on Islamic cultural affairs was appointed at the same time a 102-year-old motto was removed from chaplains’ badges lest it cause offence.
As US commentator Paul Murphy writes, the left seeks “non-violent revolution through their work in the rights and race businesses. Specifically, they defend ‘revolutionary subjects’ such as Islamists, Islamic terrorists, sexual groomers, rapists, criminals, leftist activists and so on. The rights of minorities are fought for and given a superior status vis-a-vis what they call the ‘dominant culture’.”
Now, with the finish line in sight, the seductive mask of socialism is starting to slip, revealing the brutal authoritarian face behind. We hear of meetings being abandoned because of threats of violence from left-wing activists. Hotel staff receive physical threats should a Christian meeting, opposed to same-sex marriage, proceed. Islam critic Ayaan Hirsi Ali cancels her Australian speaking tour, citing safety fears. One Nation leader Pauline Hanson withdraws from a forum because her security cannot be guaranteed. Conservative Sky News commentator Andrew Bolt is set upon by leftists. The list is endless. Yet we tolerate the intolerant and defend the indefensible, cravenly shouldering the blame.
As the great Karl Popper said: “If we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed and tolerance with them.”
No wonder the outrage that followed the treacherous toppling of prime minister Tony Abbott continues.
Brushed aside as the unassuaged anger of delusional conservatives refusing to move on, the mood at the time more likely reflected voter refusal to be deluded into believing that the Turnbull Coalition team would be other than a pale shade of the Labor Party. And so it has come to pass.
In true Labor style, utopian commitments are made in the full knowledge that the ability to pay for them is but a vain hope. Growth-stifling taxes and red tape increase along with bureaucracies to administer them. Ironically, the cumulative effect of these measures renders the prospect of honouring political promises ever more remote.
Meanwhile, Marxist aims for the UN are very much on track, aided and abetted by obsequious Western acolytes such as Foreign Minister Julie Bishop. In a classic case of UN virtue signalling, an unnecessary advisory group has been established “to provide expert advice to support government and business to work together to improve human rights”. Really?
But this is nowhere as irresponsible as the ratification of the Paris emission targets, which effectively cede de facto control of the Australian economy’s commanding heights, critical sectors that dominate economic activity, such as electricity generation, heavy manufacturing, mining and transport, to unelected UN bureaucrats in Geneva and Bonn.
The Prime Minister described this as “a watershed, or turning point”. Indeed it is.
Such meek surrender brings the Marxist dream of one-world government another step closer. Its realisation is assisted by the existence of other supranational groups such as the European Commission, the International Monetary Fund (a Keynesian brainchild), the World Bank and the G20. Each, despite clear evidence to the contrary, haughtily extols the virtues of centralised decision-making. But what should we expect from a political class whose power is amplified through these bureaucracies?
So long as this self-serving mindset prevails, we can expect financial and economic crises to intensify, living standards to fall, confidence in our democratic system to sink further and, like Greece, Venezuela and the rest, the economy to finally collapse.
“Then,” say the Marxists, “shall (we) stride through the wreckage, a creator.”
Standing up to bullies takes courage. That’s true, whether it’s in a school playground, workplace, or a home. Politics is no different. It takes courage to stand up to ideological bullies, especially those with roots in extremist doctrines that are well organised and have strong links to supportive media.
The feminist movement is one such group. Their key goal is the destruction of the patriarchal married family. Major progress towards that goal was made in the seventies when Norman Kirk’s Labour Government was persuaded to introduce the Domestic Purposes Benefit. By giving a secure State income to mothers – conditional upon them bringing up their children on their own, without the help of fathers – the feminists incentivised decades of family breakdown and fatherlessness.
With statistics clearly showing that sole parenthood and fatherlessness are significant contributors to child abuse and neglect, replacing the DPB with support based on work, was one of the key recommendations of the Welfare Working Group – established by National in 2010 to advise the Government on welfare reform. Their advice however, was rejected and instead, the policy – which was tweaked and renamed Sole Parent Support – continues to put children at risk.
When US President Bill Clinton became aware of the danger to children of their stand-alone sole parent benefit in the nineties, he ordered it to be replaced with obligations based on work. In doing so he improved the outcomes of millions of American children and their mothers.
With almost no other countries having in place a policy which is so dangerous for women and children, it’s a tragic state of affairs when no politicians have the courage to stand up to the feminist bullies and call for reform.
Another group of ideological bullies are biculturalists. Their goal of Maori rule is being achieved through the implementation of anti-Government bicultural policies throughout the public service.
The Maori seats in Parliament are their power base. These race-based reserved seats were introduced on a temporary basis in the 1860s to ensure that Maori men could vote. But instead of being removed upon the introduction of universal suffrage, they were retained.
The 1986 Royal Commission on the Electoral System recommended abolishing the Maori seats if MMP was introduced. But while the MMP Bill tabled in Parliament by Jim Bolger’s National Government removed the Maori seats, the Party caved in to the biculturalists’ demands – not only retaining the seats, but changing the system to enable the numbers to increase from four back then to seven!
At the present time, no party appears prepared to stand up to the bicultural bullies, by promising to hold a binding public referendum on removing the Maori seats in Parliament.
A third group of powerful ideological bullies is the environmental lobby. Many of the extremists within this group are said to have migrated there from other socialist causes. In particular they have seized on climate change and “saving the planet” as the vehicle for achieving their communist ends of curtailing economic freedom and progress.
Like the other groups, they are well-organised and have powerful friends in very high places, who continue to promote their alarmist claims – in spite of real-life evidence to the contrary.
Over the years, New Zealand politicians have pledged to confront these ideological bullies with their dangerous agendas – such as when National promised to abolish the Maori seats during the 2008 and 2011 election campaigns. But time and time again when they are in power and in a position to make the changes necessary, they lack the political courage to follow through.
That’s what makes US President Donald Trump stand out – love him or hate him, he is ignoring the shrill demands of the extremists by delivering on his campaign pledges to the American people to put America first.
His latest move has been to stand up to the environmental lobby and fulfil his promise to pull out of the Paris Climate Change Accord. In announcing this development, President Trump said:
“One by one, we are keeping the promises I made to the American people during my campaign for President… we’re following through on our commitments. And I don’t want anything to get in our way. I am fighting every day for the great people of this country. Therefore, in order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord but begin negotiations to reenter either the Paris Accord or a really entirely new transaction on terms that are fair to the United States, its businesses, its workers, its people, its taxpayers. So we’re getting out. But we will start to negotiate, and we will see if we can make a deal that’s fair. And if we can, that’s great. And if we can’t, that’s fine.”
He explained that the Paris Climate Accord undermined the wellbeing of American citizens by disadvantaging the US “to the exclusive benefit of other countries, leaving American workers – who I love – and taxpayers to absorb the cost in terms of lost jobs, lower wages, shuttered factories, and vastly diminished economic production”.
He said the US would immediately cease implementing “the draconian financial and economic burdens the agreement imposes on our country”, including ending contributions to “the Green Climate Fund which is costing the United States a vast fortune”.
The Green Climate Fund’s objective is to collect US$100 billion from richer countries to redistribute to poorer ones. The promise of this money was instrumental in persuading many of the almost 200 nations to sign up to the Paris Accord. But officials have already signalled that $100 billion a year will not be enough and they are looking at increasing their demands to $450 billion a year by 2020.
The President outlined how the energy restrictions of Paris Accord could cost America as many as 2.7 million lost jobs by 2025 – leading to “the further decimation of vital American industries on which countless communities rely”. This would put the US at a major disadvantage to other large economies like China and India that have no plans to restrain growth.
While the Paris Accord was promoted as a mechanism to save the planet, by requiring countries to lower greenhouse gas production to keep the global temperature rise from 2020 to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels – with a goal of 1.5 degrees – its real aim is to curb economic growth and redistribute wealth.
James Hansen, a former Nasa scientist who is considered to be a ‘father’ of climate change, called the Paris Accord a fraud: “It’s a fraud really, a fake. It’s just bullshit for them to say: ‘We’ll have a 2C warming target and then try to do a little better every five years.’ It’s just worthless words.”
Former Vice President Al Gore, who claimed in his movie ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, that catastrophic human-induced global warming would destroy the planet by 2016, has described the Paris Accord as ‘symbolic’ – sending “a very powerful signal to business and industry and civil society, and countries around the world.”
So what will withdrawing from the Paris Accord mean for the US?
This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator, Professor Richard Epstein of the New York University Law School, has examined the implications and believes President Trump has done the right thing:
“The Trump administration has bit the bullet, and to the outraged dismay of the political left has withdrawn from the Paris accord. That agreement, which went into effect on November 4, 2016, just days before Donald Trump’s election is a complex affair in which the United States made the key ‘voluntary’ commitment to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions in the next decade by about a quarter of their 2005 rate, with further reductions to come thereafter. At the recent meeting of the G-7, Trump was the lone holdout against a ringing endorsement of the agreement. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, joined by a cast of thousands, has denounced Trump and the United States for leaving the fold.
“The President’s instincts were spot on. Notwithstanding the furore, he was right to withdraw the United States from the accord… I see no gain in having the United States participate in a treaty that combines bad science with bad economics. In the long run, the United States will gain in both wealth and influence if it adopts a more restrained approach to climate change. It is fortunate that President Trump did not let himself be scolded to move in a fashionable but unsound direction.”
Through his actions, the President put American jobs ahead of the Paris Accord.
This raises serious questions about the priorities of our Government. Why are they not putting Kiwi living standards and New Zealand’s economic future ahead of posturing on the world stage to impress the environmental movement?
Why is $1 billion a year being allocated in the Budget for the big black hole of climate change, when communities are crying out for more Police and better access to health care?
Most of that funding is associated with the bureaucratic Emissions Trading Scheme, which is New Zealand’s main policy for addressing climate change. Under that scheme, industries – including transport and electricity – buy carbon credits to pay for the cost of their greenhouse gases. However, the cost of this effective ‘tax’ on emissions is passed on to consumers, forcing up the price of all New Zealand goods and services, and putting increasing pressure on household budgets.
Signing up to the Paris Accord will make things a whole lot worse. National has now committed New Zealand to cut man-made greenhouse gas emissions by 11 percent of 1990 levels by 2030 – that’s 30 percent below 2005 levels. Achieving this goal without compromising economic growth and reducing living standards will be impossible given that almost half of all New Zealand’s emissions come from livestock, and the only way to reduce those is to cut stock numbers. Further, with most of our electricity generated from renewable resources, the opportunity to reduce emissions in that sector is limited.
As a result, under the Government’s plan, only 20 percent of New Zealand’s Paris target will met by reducing domestic emissions – namely through phasing in electric cars – with the other 80 percent to be met by forcing businesses to buy carbon credits from overseas.
According to documents released under the Official Information Act, the cost to the economy of buying international carbon credits to meet Paris targets will be $1.4 billion a year. This represents a significant transfer of Kiwi wealth overseas, leaving New Zealand highly exposed to any increase in global carbon prices.
In effect, thanks to Paris, the total cost of climate change policy to the New Zealand economy will be a staggering $2 billion a year – similar to the cost of running New Zealand’s Defence Forces.
Whereas in the US, President Trump is putting America and its people ahead of an international agreement that would undermine their economy, our Government – in order to keep the environmental lobby happy – plans on wasting billions of dollars on a socialist scheme that will damage the economy, reduce living standards, and cost jobs, while doing nothing for the climate.
This is a price households will pay for politicians who lack fortitude.
With the election fast approaching, now more than ever, we need our politicians to find the courage to stand up to the ideological bullies who are damaging our future with their disastrous agendas.
Will any political leader have the courage to stand up to feminists by announcing plans to remove government incentives to break up families?
Is there a leader prepared to stand up to biculturalists, by not only removing their anti-Government propaganda from the public service, but by calling for a nation-wide public referendum to abolish the Maori seats?
And will any political leader be prepared to take a stand against the environmentalists and say no to reducing our living standards by pulling out of Paris – and abolishing the ETS?
Once upon a time, universities in the West were a bastion of the free exchange of ideas — even controversial and intellectually unfashionable ones. It’s just that this was a long time ago.
Today, radical students with the support of some academics are in the forefront of moves, sometimes violent, to shut down debate. This is the case in Australia, North America and western Europe.
Use of the words racist, colonialist, imperialist, sexist, Islamophobic, homophobic and more besides as weapons frequently leads to the silencing of contrary views. The same is true of the demand for a safe space, since a reserved place for one person, by definition, leads to the exclusion of others.
In the lead-up to World War II, it was groups such as the British Union of Fascists that disrupted the talks and rallies of its opponents. During the past half century, it is predominantly the radical left that has attempted to censor opposing views, if necessary by the threat or reality of violence.
In recent years in Australia senior Coalition figures such as Julie Bishop have been subjected to violent demonstrations after accepting an invitation to address a university function. Commentator Andrew Bolt had to abandon a book launch in Melbourne when it was threatened by radical left activists, including tertiary students. And it’s becoming increasingly difficult for Lyle Shelton’s Australian Christian Lobby to hold any event of which the radical left becomes aware. Yet the likes of Bishop, Bolt and Shelton are willing to hear the views of those with whom they disagree, and all hold positions in the mainstream of politics.
The radical left is responsible for its own intolerance but its authoritarianism has been facilitated by the weakness of others — from administrators to journalists. A recent example: between its commencement in 1967 and the late 1970s, La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus in Melbourne was Australia’s most violent campus. The very strong student left went to war with the administration along with academics and students who took a different position to its own.
This year, La Trobe is celebrating its 50th anniversary. On February 24, the ABC’s 7.30 decided to mark the milestone by reporting the return to campus of two of “the La Trobe Three” — Brian Pola, Fergus Robinson and Barry York. The program reported the La Trobe Three were “student activists protesting the Vietnam war in the early 70s who refused to obey a court order banning them from the campus — as a result they spent several months as inmates of Pentridge Prison”.
This is a fudge. Pola, Robinson and York were jailed by the Victorian Supreme Court in 1972 for breaching a directive to stay away from the La Trobe campus. The order was successfully sought by the administration to prevent illegal occupation of university buildings. There was no causal link between La Trobe University and the Vietnam war. After repudiating any form of violence, the La Trobe Three were released from prison. In his book Student Revolt! La Trobe University 1967 to 1973, York acknowledges the “dogmatism and youthful intolerance” of his one-time comrades.
In her 7.30 report, Josie Taylor said Pola and York returned to La Trobe in February as “honoured guests” and were “warmly welcomed” by vice-chancellor John Dewar. Dewar told 7.30: “They haven’t asked for an apology, but I must say I do think that setting in train events that led to their incarceration without trial or without charge for an indefinite period of time was an excessive reaction by the university.”
In other words, according to Dewar, the events of 1972 were all La Trobe University’s fault, on account of the “excessive reaction” of the then VC, David Myers. Dewar implied the university should apologise to the La Trobe Three but made no demand the radicals apologise to the administrators, academics and students whose lives they disrupted. It is this kind of weakness that is responsible for the fact many universities have surrendered to the radical left’s authoritarianism.
There were a few academics at La Trobe in the 60s and 70s who stood up to the radical left in defence of pluralism and freedom of expression, in particular professors Hugo Wolfsohn (a German-born Jew who had family members murdered by the Nazi regime) and Joan Rydon (who was a social democrat).
Earlier this year, Dewar put out a collection titled From the Paddock to the Agora: Fifty Years of La Trobe University (La Trobe University Press). The vice-chancellor commissioned Robert Manne to write a chapter on the campus during the period 1975 to 1988. Manne used the occasion to traduce the academic reputations of Wolfsohn and Rydon — both of whom are dead and have no right of reply. Manne’s attack on Wolfsohn included the totally false statement that in 1975 he insisted all members of the politics department eat lunch together in the staff club. Dewar refuses to produce evidence to support Manne’s claim or advise whether Manne’s chapter was fact-checked and, if so, by whom.
So there you have it. La Trobe’s vice-chancellor warmly welcomed the return to the campus of Pola and York, who once attempted to curtail the freedoms of others. However, Dewar has presided over an unprofessional attack on Wolfsohn and Rydon, who once stood for freedom of expression in the face of violence and intimidation.
Nothing better explains the weakness of the intelligentsia.
The US is the dominant world power. But it has been failing, for similar reasons the Roman Empire failed, compounded by long-term plans for hegemony. Will Donald Trump’s government result in beating back the elite establishment, ‘deep state’, financial masters, military/industrial empires and oligarchs? Current results are disappointing…..
Scroll down to read the most recent articles. Links to previous articles follow.
Is it just me, or is everyone missing the biggest, most mind-boggling part of the never-ending “Trump-Russia collusion” drama?
I’m talking about something more troubling than ex-FBI chief James Comey being one of the biggest leakers, or his refusing for months to inform Americans that Donald Trump was never under FBI investigation – while capitulating to Obama AG Loretta Lynch’s demand that he hide the fact that Hillary Clinton was under investigation. I’m talking about something more absurd than an investigation lasting almost a year – entirely without evidence of a crime!
Let’s set aside all the deceit, demagoguery and mass hysteria associated with the left’s ongoing campaign to overturn Trump’s election by endlessly accusing him of “colluding with the Russians,” and consider the biggest scandal of all:
For the past 100 years, it’s the left that has been continually “colluding with the Russians.”
For something like three generations this nation’s most vital institutions, from higher education to Hollywood, have been powerfully influenced, if not entirely dominated, by the Marxist-socialist worldview incubated, nurtured, celebrated, propagandized and exported primarily by Russia.
As I documented last year, today’s Democratic Party, pushed radically leftward by President Barack Obama (whom both former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy and ex-New Left leader David Horowitz accurately call a “neocommunist”), has become almost indistinguishable from the Communist Party USA. In case you didn’t know, the CPUSA came into existence as a U.S.-based, Moscow-controlled-and-funded communist party, but has lost most of its influence and support since the Soviet Union collapsed, thanks to President Ronald Reagan. Today, the CPUSA no longer fields its own presidential candidates, but rather, urges voters to support Democrats, having enthusiastically endorsed John Kerry, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.
If you think this comparison of the Democratic Party with the Communist Party USA is hyperbolic, I suggest – as I did last year – that you “just stop reading right now and pull up the CPUSA’s website. Spend some time reading and digesting it. Try to discern any major differences between the Communist Party’s concerns, sensibilities and solutions – on issues from gay rights, to unfettered immigration, to renewable energy, to wealth redistribution, to condemning cops as racist, to universal health care – and those of today’s Democratic Party.”
Then of course last year during the presidential primaries we had Bernie Sanders, the “aging hippie communist” (in Rush Limbaugh’s words) who honeymooned with his bride in the Soviet Union, yet who might arguably have won the Democratic presidential nomination had the Democratic National Committee not scandalously rigged the primary contest for Hillary Clinton.
Putting aside the defamatory “collusion” allegation against Trump, as well as all the wild-eyed leftwing incantations that Russia “hacked our democracy” (a mysterious accusation no one can define because it doesn’t actually mean anything), you may reasonably wonder what to think about the broader and more basic charge that Russia tried to influence the 2016 American election.
Reality check: Everyone even modestly aware of modern geopolitical history knows Russia has been attempting to influence America and her elections for decades. In fact, most powerful nations, including America, attempt to influence other nations’ politics and elections – it’s called foreign policy.
“Democrats are searching desperately, frantically, hysterically, for any tangible proof that Trump or one of his aides or associates was reaching out to the Russians to influence the 2016 election,” Kengor, a political science professor at Grove City College, told me. “Well, the May 1983 KGB document between Victor Chebrikov (head of the KGB at the time) and Yuri Andropov (head of the USSR at the time) details an offer from Ted Kennedy to help the Russians prior to Ronald Reagan’s 1984 election campaign.” Kennedy’s purpose: Prevent Reagan’s re-election.
But wait, weren’t the “mainstream media” alarmed, once they found out, that a U.S. senator had attempted to subvert the reelection of a sitting U.S. president by “colluding with the Russians”?
As Kengor told me: “That entire time, Ted Kennedy was alive and could have been questioned about this. But the fact is that the Democrats and the liberals in the media didn’t give a damn. Why? Because Ted Kennedy was one of their darlings. They had no interest or intention in exposing any possible Ted Kennedy dealings or – worse – potential collaboration or collusion with the Russians. They could give a rip. But now, in the Trump era, the Democrats and liberals are suddenly Russia hawks.”
To put this whole issue of “Russian influence” into proper context, I reached out to someone who has more firsthand knowledge of the subject than almost anyone else alive – my good friend, Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, the highest-ranking Soviet-bloc defector to the West during the entire Cold War. “Mike,” who now lives in the U.S. as a proud American citizen, was once a top communist spymaster in the Soviet disinformation world whose fulltime business was influencing America and her elections! (I had the honor of serving as editor of Pacepa’s epic 2013 book, “Disinformation,” co-authored with Professor Ronald Rychlak, and we have been dialoguing ever since.)
“Mike,” I emailed the other day. “How long would you say Russia has been actively trying to influence American society, politics and elections?” I explained the gist of the article I was writing about the American left’s century-long secret “collusion” with Russia.
Pacepa, once director of foreign intelligence for communist Romania and a top adviser to the infamous dictator Nicolae Ceausescu, courageously defected to the U.S. in 1978. Ceausescu immediately had a nervous breakdown and put a $2 million bounty on Pacepa’s head, dispatching multiple assassination squads, including the notorious terrorist Illich Ramirez Sanchez (“Carlos the Jackal”) to the U.S. to find his former top adviser and kill him. Fortunately, all such efforts were unsuccessful.
“When I broke with my life at the top of the Soviet empire,” Mike reminded me in his email, “I paid with two death sentences from my native Romania for helping her people to stop thinking of government as a boon bestowed from on high, and to free itself from the clutches of Marxism.”
Unfortunately, added Pacepa, “Now, that ‘bubonic plague’ of Marxism has also infected my adoptive country, the United States.”
And how exactly did this Marxist “infection,” which permeates most of our university campuses and is endangering America’s very existence as a free republic, and about which Pacepa and others have been urgently warning us for decades, come about?
The history of the American left is literally a history of “Russian collusion,” from the major infiltration of Soviet agents into the U.S. government during the Roosevelt and Truman administrations to the pivotal role Soviet disinformation played in turning American public opinion – and ultimately Congress – against the Vietnam War. From subversion of America’s entertainment industry (there were close to 600 communists in Hollywood alone when Reagan stood up to them as head of the Screen Actors Guild) to the awarding of New York Times’ Moscow bureau chief Walter Duranty a Pulitzer Prize for covering up Stalin’s genocidal starvation of 7 million people in Ukraine. From the creation of dozens of communist-front “antiwar” and other groups active in the U.S., to even the infiltration – as Pacepa and Rychlak document in “Disinformation” – of major Christian churches by the KGB.
Interestingly, Pacepa added in his email: “In 2009, the U.S. got its first Marxist president, and in March 2013, the CIA got a director, John O. Brennan, who had voted the Communist ticket.” (That’s right. In the 1976 U.S. presidential election, Brennan voted for Communist Party USA candidate Gus Hall.)
So, what does Gen. Ion Mihai Pacepa, one of the world’s top experts on genuine “Russian collusion,” think about the leftist Democrats and “mainstream media” daily attacking President Donald Trump for alleged “Russian collusion”?
The left, he said, specializes in fabricating fake news, history and reality, and always has. He recalled, thoughtfully: “In my other life as a Soviet bloc intelligence general, I had a banner posted in my DIE [Romania’s foreign intelligence service] office proclaiming in upper-case letters: ‘CAPITALIST ESPIONAGE REPORTS HISTORY. WE MAKE IT.’ Communist espionage was not designed to predict enemy intentions, as Western espionage services do. Our omniscient rulers knew best,” he said, indicating that communists prefer to rewrite and re-invent history, something the American left is notorious for doing.
And never more ferociously than right now.
“Now,” summarizes Pacepa, “a new generation of Democratic Party leaders who seem to have sawdust in their heads are trying to use Russia as a scarecrow in order to prevent the return of the U.S. to capitalism and freedom.”
After all, the dream of the American left, which has for all practical purposes completely swallowed up the Democratic Party, has long been socialism – including socialized medicine and a guaranteed annual income (Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, during a recent commencement speech, urged the U.S. government to provide everyone with a “universal basic income” – cradle-to-grave security guaranteed by the state).
But these are in no way American ideals, rooted in liberty, constitutionally limited government, Christian morality, the work ethic, and unlimited freedom and opportunity, which birthed the most prodigiously successful, powerful, generous and noble nation in history. It is, rather, the dream of communist Russia that mesmerized American leftist politicians, intellectuals, celebrities and activists for generations. Today it has metastasized throughout much of the nation, all the result of a hundred years of the American left “colluding,” on one level or another, “with the Russians.”
It’s doubtful I could fit any more irony and absurdity into this story without it bursting at the seams, but just consider, as a postscript, that Russia is no longer communist. Remember, as an economic system Marxism/socialism doesn’t actually work, and eventually breaks down because it so profoundly and totally violates human nature, the laws of economics and the lessons of history. It always fails. Just ask oil-rich Venezuela.
Maybe the hardcore left is angrily turning on Russia now because the motherland broke faith with their shared socialist dream. That must hurt. But America’s leftists could at least find solace in the knowledge that the glorious Union of Soviet Socialist Republics didn’t give up on socialism willingly. It died because socialism has always been dead; its “life” is just an illusion, a seduction, a con game, a temporary something-for-nothing charade, a promise of one thing that delivers another – namely totalitarianism. It’s a living death at best. Even the Russians know this now.
Only the American left, which has spent a century lusting over a socialist utopia that can never be, still craves it.
In the meantime, the same left that demonizes America and capitalism with arguments identical to those learned at the feet of Russian communists, continues to accuse pro-American capitalist Donald Trump of “colluding with the Russians.”
The people who have the resources to bend public policies in their direction.
Who are those people?
The elite. The insiders. The foxes. The Establishment. The Deep State.
They are the ones who own Today. And what they most fear is Tomorrow.
Fortunately for them, the feds are here to try to stop it from coming.
We also looked at how military spending is a poor way to create jobs.
Win-lose deals never create good jobs. Instead, they draw people out of good jobs and put them into bad ones – jobs that add nothing to our wealth or satisfaction.
That describes almost all the jobs in the greater Washington, D.C., area… and most of the work done by every public employee above the lower ranks.
Teachers, firemen, policemen, and sanitation workers earn their money honestly and fruitfully. The suits are mostly time wasters.
Think tanks think of reasons why it all makes sense. The president claims he’s added “jobs, jobs, jobs.” The newspapers report it as though it were true.
Later, we discover that it was all “fake news.”
Here’s Bruce Riedel at the Brookings Institution:
Last month, President Trump visited Saudi Arabia and his administration announced that he had concluded a $110 billion arms deal with the kingdom. Only problem is that there is no deal. It’s fake news.
I’ve spoken to contacts in the defense business and on the Hill, and all of them say the same thing: There is no $110 billion deal.
Fake news? We hope so.
Because the “jobs” created by the weapons industry are little more than nuts on a barroom table: They encourage the clients to waste more time and money.
The real business of the arms dealers is moving more wealth and power from the people who earn it to themselves. And the real business of the government is helping them get away with it.
$600 Billion Man
But let’s connect a couple more dots…
Last week, amid the hundreds of items about the POTUS were two reports concerning the ex-POTUS.
First, it was noted that Mr. Obama had bought an $8 million house in Washington, D.C.
“Where did the former community organizer/lawyer/federal employee get the money for that kind of pad?” we wondered.
Then this from The Wall Street Journal:
As if taxes haven’t been high enough, the U.S. Government also forced Americans to spend an eye-watering $1.9 trillion in 2016 just to comply with federal regulations. That’s according to the latest annual “10,000 Commandments” report released today by Wayne Crews of the Competitive Enterprise Institute. “If it were a country, U.S. regulation would be the world’s seventh-largest economy, ranking behind India and ahead of Italy,” notes Mr. Crews. He adds that our regulatory tab is nearly as large as the total pretax profits of corporations.
Mr. Crews has become one of the most hated men in Washington by tabulating the hidden costs – those not counted in the roughly $4 trillion of direct federal spending – that politicians and bureaucrats impose on the American economy. And nobody imposed more than Barack Obama. According to the Crews annual scorecards, the yearly cost of federal regulation soared by more than $700 billion in nominal dollars from 2008, the last full year of the Bush Administration, through Mr. Obama’s final full year of 2016. Adjusting for inflation, you can call Mr. Obama the $600 Billion Man…
This is real money, and to put it in context this column looked at the most recent Consumer Expenditure Survey from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Based on these data, the hidden Obama tax is more than twice what American consumers spend each year on gasoline and motor oil ($249 billion) and more than three times what we spend on electricity ($186 billion). It’s more than we spend on food while dining in ($529 billion) or dining out ($400 billion). It’s also roughly nine times the $66 billion that American consumers spend on alcoholic beverages, and your humble correspondent suspects there may be a connection here.
Here at the Diary, we, too, suspect that the feds’ red tape has slowed down growth.
Remember, there are only two kinds of transactions: win-lose and win-win. You don’t have to know how every deal will turn out. You only have to know what kind of deal it is, at the beginning.
Win-win deals frequently lead to wealth and progress. Win-lose deals – forced onto people, usually by the feds – almost never do. Instead, they reduce wealth and slow growth.
From Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations:
Though the profusion of government must, undoubtedly, have retarded the natural progress of England towards wealth and improvement, it has not been able to stop it.
How do you know if a deal is win-win or win-lose?
Simple: A win-win deal is voluntary. Win-lose deals are not. Regulations are win-lose. Someone wins – usually the protected industry or the regulators themselves (and Mr. Obama, of course). And someone loses: almost everyone else.
And economic growth slows.
But we are more cynical than Mr. Crews. We’ve been watching this show for a long time. Slowing growth was not, we believe, an accident. It was not unfortunate collateral damage.
It was intentional.
Lobbyists, think tanks, big business, bureaucrats, cronies, and insiders – all the people who add to the regulatory claptrap – share the same basic motivation.
All of them are on top of the world now. And they are willing to pay Mr. Clinton, Mr. Obama, Mr. Bush, and Mr. Trump to help keep them there.
Bill Clinton is believed to be worth $80 million – not bad for a life of “public service.” Barack Obama’s fortune is “only” $40 million. But he’s just beginning to collect his debts.
Word on the street is that he’ll collect $400,000 for a single speech on medical care, for example.
He has betrayed the Constitution, which he swore to uphold.
He has committed treason by befriending Russia and other enemies of America.
He has subjugated America’s interests to Moscow.
He has been caught in fantastic lies to the American people, including personal ones, like his previous marriage and divorce.
President Donald Trump?
No, President John F. Kennedy.
What lots of Americans don’t realize, because it was kept secret from them for so long, is that what Trump has been enduring from the national-security establishment, the mainstream press, and the American right-wing for his outreach to, or “collusion with,” Russia pales compared to what Kennedy had to endure for committing the heinous “crime” of reaching out to Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union in a spirit of peace and friendship.
They hated him for it. They abused him. They insulted him. They belittled him. They called him naïve. They said he was a traitor.
All of the nasties listed above, plus more, were contained in an advertisement and a flier that appeared in Dallas on the morning of November 22, 1963, the day that Kennedy was assassinated. They can be read here and here.
Ever since then, some people have tried to make it seem like the advertisement and flier expressed only the feelings of extreme right-wingers in Dallas. That’s nonsense. They expressed the deeply held convictions of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the CIA, the conservative movement, and many people within the mainstream media and Washington establishment.
In June 1963, Kennedy threw down the gauntlet in a speech he delivered at American University, now entitled the “Peace Speech.” It was one of the most remarkable speeches ever delivered by an American president. It was broadcast all across the communist Soviet Union, the first time that had ever been done.
In the speech, Kennedy announced that he was bringing an end to the Cold War and the mindset of hostility toward Russia and the rest of the Soviet Union that the U.S. national-security establishment had inculcated in the minds of the American people ever since the end of World War II.
It was a radical notion and, as Kennedy well understood, a very dangerous one insofar as he was concerned. The Cold War against America’s World War II partner and ally had been used to convert the United States from a limited-government republic to a national-security state, one consisting of a vast, permanent military establishment, the CIA, and the NSA, along with their broad array of totalitarian-like powers, such as assassination, regime change, coups, invasions, torture, surveillance, and the like. Everyone was convinced that the Cold War — and the so-called threat from the international communist conspiracy that was supposedly based in Russia — would last forever, which would naturally mean permanent and ever-increasing largess for what Kennedy’s predecessor, President Dwight Eisenhower, had called the “military-industrial complex.”
Suddenly, Kennedy was upending the Cold War apple cart by threatening to establish a relationship of friendship and peaceful coexistence with Russia, the rest of the Soviet Union, and Cuba.
Kennedy knew full well that his actions were considered by some to be a grave threat to “national security.” After all, don’t forget that it was Guatemalan President Jacobo Arbenz’s outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that got him ousted from power by the CIA and presumably targeted for assassination as part of that regime-change operation. It was Cuban leader Fidel Castro’s outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that made him the target of Pentagon and CIA regime-change operations, including through invasion, assassination, and sanctions. It was Congo leader’s Patrice Lamumba’s outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that got him targeted for assassination by the CIA. It would be Chilean President Salvador Allende’s outreach to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship that got him targeted in a CIA-instigated coup in Chile that resulted in Allende’s death.
Kennedy wasn’t dumb. He knew what he was up against. He had heard Eisenhower warn the American people in his Farewell Address about the dangers to their freedom and democratic way of life posed by the military establishment. After Kennedy had read the novel Seven Days in May, which posited the danger of a military coup in America, he asked friends in Hollywood to make it into a movie to serve as a warning to the American people. In the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the Pentagon and the CIA were exerting extreme pressure on Kennedy to bomb and invade Cuba, his brother Bobby told a Soviet official with whom he was negotiating that the president was under a severe threat of being ousted in a coup. And, of course, Kennedy was fully mindful of what had happened to Arbenz, Lamumba, and Castro for doing what Kennedy was now doing — reaching out to the Soviets in a spirit of friendship.
In the eyes of the national-security establishment, one simply did not reach out to Russia, Cuba, or any other “enemy” of America. Doing so, in their eyes, made Kennedy an appeaser, betrayer, traitor, and a threat to “national security.”
Kennedy didn’t stop with his Peace Speech. He also began negotiating a treaty with the Soviets to end above-ground nuclear testing, an action that incurred even more anger and ire within the Pentagon and the CIA. Yes, that’s right — they said that “national security” depended on the U.S. government’s continuing to do what they object to North Korea doing today — conducting nuclear tests, both above ground and below ground.
Kennedy mobilized public opinion to overcome fierce opposition in the military, CIA, Congress, and the Washington establishment to secure passage of his Nuclear Test Ban Treaty.
He then ordered a partial withdrawal of troops from Vietnam, and told close aides that he would order a complete pull-out after winning the 1964 election. In the eyes of the U.S. national-security establishment, leaving Vietnam subject to a communist takeover would pose a grave threat to national security here in the United States.
Worst of all, from the standpoint of the national-security establishment, Kennedy began secret personal negotiations with Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev and Cuban leader Fidel Castro to bring an end to America’s Cold War against them. That was considered to be a grave threat to “national security” as well as a grave threat to all the military and intelligence largess that depended on the Cold War.
By this time, Kennedy’s war with the national-security establishment was in full swing. He had already vowed to tear the CIA into a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds after its perfidious conduct in the Bay of Pigs fiasco. By this time, he had also lost all confidence in the military after it proposed an all-out surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, much as Japan had done at Pearl Harbor, after the infamous plan known as Operation Northwoods, which proposed terrorist attacks and plane hijackings carried out by U.S. agents posing as Cuban communists, so as to provide a pretext for invading Cuba, and after the Cuban Missile Crisis, when the military establishment accused him of appeasement and treason for agreeing not to ever invade Cuba again.
What Kennedy didn’t know was that his “secret” negotiations with the Soviet and Cuban communists weren’t so secret after all. As it turns out, it was a virtual certainty that the CIA (or NSA) was listening in on telephone conversations of Cuban officials at the UN in New York City, much as the CIA and NSA still do today, during which they would have learned what the president was secretly doing behind their backs.
Kennedy’s feelings toward the people who were calling him a traitor for befriending Moscow and other “enemies” of America? In response to the things that were said in that advertisement and flier about him being a traitor for befriending Russia, he told his wife Jackie on the morning he was assassinated: “We are heading into nut country today.” Of course, as he well knew, the nuts weren’t located only in Dallas. They were also situated throughout the U.S. national-security establishment.
For more information, attend The Future of Freedom Foundation’s one-day conference on June 3, 2017, entitled “The National Security State and JFK” at the Washington Dulles Marriott Hotel.
Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education.
For 66 years the Glass-Steagall act reduced the risks in the banking system. Eight years after the act was repealed, the banking system blew up threatening the international economy. US taxpayers were forced to come up with $750 billion dollars, a sum much larger than the Pentagon’s budget, in order to bail out the banks. This huge sum was insufficient to do the job. The Federal Reserve had to step in and expand its balance sheet by $4 trillion in order to protect the solvency of banks declared “too big to fail.”
The enormous increase in the supply of dollars known as Quantitative Easing inflated financial asset prices instead of the consumer price index. This rise in bond and stock prices is a major cause of the worsening income and wealth distribution in the United States. The economic polarization has undercut the image and reality of the US as a land of opportunity and has introduced political and economic instability into the life of the country.
These are huge costs and for the benefit only of the rich who were already rich.
So, what we can say about the repeal of Glass-Steagall is that it turned a somewhat egalitarian democracy with a large middle class into the One Percent vs. the 99 percent. The repeal resulted in the destruction of the image of the United States as an open prosperous society. The electorate is very much aware of the decline in their economic situation, and this awareness expressed itself in the last presidential election.
Americans know that the nonsense from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics about a 4.3% unemploment rate and an abundance of new jobs is fake news. The BLS gets the low rate of unemployment by not counting the millions of discouraged workers who cannot find employment. If you haven’t looked for a job in the last 4 weeks, you are not considered unemployed. The birth/death model, a purely theoretical construct, accounts for a large percentage of the non-existent new jobs. The jobs are there by assumption. The jobs are not really there. Moreover, the replacement of full time jobs with part time jobs proceeds. Pension and health care benefits that once were a substantial part of the pay package are being terminated.
It makes perfect sense to separate commercial from investment banking. The taxpayer insured deposits of commercial banking should not serve as backing for investment banking’s creation of risky financial instruments, such as subprime and other derivatives. The US government understood that in 1933, but no longer did in 1999. This deterioration in government competence has cost America dearly.
By merging commercial banking with investment banking, the repeal of Glass-Steagall greatly increased the capability of the banking system to create risky financial instruments for which taxpayer backing was available. So, we have the extraordinary situation that the repeal of Glass-Steagall forced the 99 percent to bail out the One Percent.
The repeal of Glass-Steagall has turned the United States into an unstable economic, political, and social system. We have a situation in which millions of Americans who have lost full time employment with benefits to jobs offshoring, whose lower income employment in part time and contract employment leaves them no discretionary income after payment of interest and fees to the financial system (insurance on home and car, health insurance, credit card interest, car payment interest, student loan interest, home mortgage interest, bank charges for insufficient minimum balance, etc.), are on the hook for bailing out financial institutions that make foolish and risky investments.
This is not politically viable unless Congress and the President are going to resign and turn over the governance of America to Wall Street and the Big Banks. A growing cresendo of voices are saying that this has already happened.
So, where is there any democracy when the One Percent can cover their losses at the expense of the 99 Percent, which is what the repeal of Glass-Steagall guarantees?
Not only must Glass-Steagall be restored, but also the large banks must be reduced in size. That any corporation is too big to fail is a contradiction of the justification of capitalism. Capitalism’s justification is that those corporations that misuse resources and make losses go out of business, thus releasing the misused resources to those who can use them profitably. Capitalism is supposed to benefit society, not be dependent on society to bail it out.
I was present when George Champion, former CEO and Chairman of Chase Manhattan Bank testified before the Senate Banking Committee against national branch banking. Champion said that it would result in the banks becoming too large and that the branches would suck savings out of local communities for investment in traded financial assets. Consequently, local communities would be faced with a dearth of loanable funds, and local businesses would die or not be born from lack of loanable funds.
I covered the story for Business Week. But despite the facts as laid out by the pre-eminent banker of our time, the palms had been greased, and the folly proceeded.
As Assistant Secretary of the US Treasury in the Reagan Administration, I opposed all financial deregulation. Financial deregulation does nothing but open the gates to fraud and sharp dealing. It allows one institution, even one individual, to make a fortune by wrecking the lives of millions.
The American public is not sufficiently sophisticated to understand these matters, but they know when they are hurting. Few in the House and Senate are sufficiently sophisticated to understand these matters, but they do know that to understand them is not conducive to having their palms greased. So how do the elected representatives manage to represent those who vote them into office?
The answer is that they seldom do.
The question before Congress today is whether they will take the country down for the sake of campaign contributions and cushy jobs if they lose their seat, or will they take personal risks in order to save the country.
America cannot survive if excessive risks and financial fraud can be bailed out by taxpayers.
US Representatives Walter Jones and Marcy Kaptur and members of the House and staff on both sides of the aisle, along with former Goldman Sachs executive Nomi Prins and leaders of citizens’ groups, have arranged a briefing in the House of Representatives on June 14 about the importance of Glass-Steagall to the economic, political, and social stability of the United States. Let your representative know that you do not want the financial responsibility for the reckless financial practices of the big banks. Let your representative know also that you do not want big banks that dominate the financial arena. Let them know that you want the return of Glass-Steagall.
The effort to reduce the financial risks arising from the commingling of commercial and investment banking by requiring stronger capital positions of financial corporations is futile. The 2007-08 financial crisis required the taxpayers and the printing press and an amount of money that exceeded any realistic capital and liquidity requirements for financial institutions.
If we don’t re-enact Glass-Steagall, the risks taken by financial greed will complete the economic destruction of America.
Regarding the Great Depression… we did it. We’re very sorry… We won’t do it again.
– Ben Bernanke
Waiting too long to begin moving toward the neutral rate could risk a nasty surprise down the road—either too much inflation, financial instability, or both.
– Janet Yellen
In his speech above, future Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke acknowledged that, by raising interest rates, the Fed triggered the stock market crash of 1929, which heralded in the Great Depression.
Yet, in her speech above, Fed Chair Janet Yellen announced that “it makes sense” for the Fed to raise interest rates “a few times a year.” This is a concern, as economic conditions are similar to those in 1929, and a rise in interest rates may have the same effect as it did then.
So let’s back up a bit and have a look at what happened in 1929. In the run-up to the 1929 crash, the Federal Reserve raised rates to 6%, ostensibly to “limit speculation in securities markets.” As history shows, this sent economic activity south rather quickly. Countless investors, large and small, who had bought stocks on margin, would be unable to pay increased interest rates and would be forced to default. (It’s important to understand that the actual default was not necessary to crash markets. The knowledge that investors would be in trouble was sufficient to send the markets into a tailspin.)
Mister Bernanke was quite clear in 2002 when he stated that the Fed would not make the same mistake again that it made in 1929, yet, then, as now, there’s been a surprise victory by a Republican candidate for president. Then, as now, a wealthy man who had never held elective office was unexpectedly in the catbird seat and had the potential to endanger the control of the political class, at a time when that political class had been complicit in damaging the system by creating massive debt.
Then, as now, conditions were ideal for the Deep State to create a solution to all problems: An economic crash was inevitable; therefore, create a trigger for it to occur and blame the collapse on the conservative political outsider. Demonstrate to all that the collapse was due to the greed of the outsider and those who were of like mind. Use that leverage to demonstrate to the hard-hit populace that what was needed was the opposite of what the outsider had proclaimed. Recommend far greater control by a new government that was staunchly liberal—a government that would change the political landscape in such a way that all those who suffered would be saved by a benevolent collectivist government.
And, of course, when it’s stated that way, it’s an easy sell. In 2017, it will be an even easier sell than it was in 1929, as the new president has already set himself up for a fall. In his inauguration speech, he focused on a single topic—the return of power to the people and away from Washington’s bureaucracy.
Beginning by decrying Washington for what it truly is, he stated that “for too long, a small group in our nation’s capital has reaped the rewards of government while the people have borne the cost. Washington flourished—but the people did not share in its wealth.”
He then went on to describe that his presidency would bring about a metamorphosis:
I will never, ever let you down. America will start winning again, winning like never before. We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams. We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation. We will get our people off of welfare and back to work—rebuilding our country with American hands and American labor… We will reinforce old alliances and form new ones—and unite the civilized world against radical Islamic terrorism, which we will eradicate completely from the face of the earth… We will not fail. Our country will thrive and prosper again.
Of course, new presidents are prone to making big promises when they first take office. However, Mister Trump has, in his brief speech, effectively declared himself the enemy of the Washington bureaucracy. In so doing, he’s left himself wide open to be the fall guy if the economy does not rebound, if the average American’s lot does not improve, and if the US does not dominate the world through an expanded military.
In short, the Deep State and their cronies, who were instrumental in creating the economic, social, and political house of cards that now exists, have the perfect opportunity to bring on the collapse and blame the new president for it.
Were Mister Trump to have honestly stated that the US is effectively a house of cards and that he’ll begin the laborious job of trying to salvage what’s left of it and begin to rebuild it, he would have provided himself with a justifiable excuse when the house of cards does collapse. However, by making such lofty claims to “Make America Great Again,” he’s lost this opportunity.
In the last year, whenever I was asked who I hoped the Americans would elect as their president, I replied, “Bernie Sanders.” To those that were shocked by this answer, I would add, “An economic collapse is inevitable. No one, no matter how capable, can prevent it. The best that can happen is that the collapse occurs under a president who’s an avowed socialist. That would ensure an eventual return to smaller government and more conservative economics.”
As unfair as it may be, a nation’s people almost always blame whoever is on watch when a collapse occurs. It matters little who or what is actually at fault. People need a “face” to vilify for the disaster and the sitting leader is almost always spontaneously chosen by a nation as that face.
And, of course, the opposing party invariably makes the most of the situation. Just as in 1929 and for years thereafter Herbert Hoover received the lion’s share of the blame for a Wall Street crash and the subsequent Great Depression, even though he was not at fault, so too will the US come to blame the new president who made promises that were far beyond what he could deliver.
The die is cast. The patsy-in-chief is now installed. The media will do all they can to discredit Mister Trump and civil unrest will be funded by his opponents. The US economy is more debt-laden than any country in the history of the world and, historically, this has always resulted in economic collapse. At present, there are scores of triggers that could bring about collapse. Any one of these black swans could do the job, but it’s entirely possible that the Federal Reserve will serve once again as the trigger, as it did in 1929.
This is unquestionably the smart way to play the game. Rather than wait for a random occurrence, if a date is set for a controlled collapse, those connected to the Deep State will have a brief time to disconnect their wealth from the system, as was done in 1929.
The trigger would be pulled by the Fed and the US economy would go down in as controlled a fashion as Building Seven in the World Trade Center.
When is this likely to occur? Herbert Hoover was given just under eight months. The date for the next collapse could be earlier or later. But the question is not when that date might be, but whether we’ve prepared ourselves for the eventuality.
Crux note: The Fed could start its controlled demolition of the US economy any day now.
This collapse will be much worse and last much longer than the Great Depression or the 2008 financial crisis.
Doug Casey and his team have critical, time-sensitive information about preparing for this economic meltdown. They’re sharing need-to-know details in this urgent video. Click here to watch it now.
The book is an insider’s take on why the Federal Reserve is bad for the US.
The title also describes my current mood…I’m fed up with our failure to learn from history.
What compels us to keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again?
If it was a child continuously falling into trouble, our frustrated response would be: When will you ever learn? Or, as some teachers in a bygone era used to say, ‘What does it take to get it through that thick skull of yours?’
Yet, as investors, the lessons of markets — booms and busts — are ignored each and every time a market is in hot pursuit of record levels.
The laws of mathematics are temporarily suspended while we indulge in these flights of fancy…hoping, wishing, praying and, in some cases, believing this time is truly different from the past.
It never is.
And the really cruel twist is that the longer a market avoids its fate with destiny, the greater the number of people who start to entertain the tantalising prospect of it being a ‘new paradigm’.
Unless human nature changes, we are perpetually doomed to learn the hard way.
Over the centuries, we’ve made huge advancements by learning from the mistakes of our predecessors. The rapid progress in technology, medical science, space travel and healthcare is all thanks to our willingness to learn and evolve.
Ironically, though, when it comes to markets and the economy, we are still as naïve and stupid as the tulip-buyers of 400 years ago.
We think we are smarter, but our actions prove otherwise.
History tells us emphatically that debt crises always — without exception — end badly.
Debts are defaulted on. Businesses go bankrupt. Creditors lose money.
That’s how debt is expunged from the system…very, very painfully.
Based on the laws of ‘yin and yang’, the more debt that’s in the system, the more painful the process of expunging it becomes. It’s not rocket science to comprehend the process which says that, the higher you climb, the harder you fall.
Here we are sitting atop THE greatest debt pile in history — US$60 trillion more than we had in 2008 — and such is our misplaced mindset that we expect to add even more debt to this pile, without the slightest risk of triggering an avalanche.
Seriously, how stupid are we?
In response to NAB raising its home loan rates last week by 0.25%, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, with a mix of ire and indignation, said: ‘If they don’t explain it then NAB customers will go somewhere else and I’d encourage them to do so.’
Give me a break. It was only 0.25%.
Where was this anger when savers had to endure the RBA slashing rates from 7% in September 2008 to 1.5% today? This was effectively a pay cut of nearly 80% over an eight-year period.
There was no ire and indignation emanating from Canberra over the fate suffered by savers.
In Aussie colloquialism, they didn’t care ‘two knobs of billy goat poop’ about savers…it was all about borrowers.
Because the entire economic growth model is completely and utterly dependent upon more and more debt being shoved into the system.
A miniscule 0.25% rise — the equivalent of a matchstick splinter in the finger — is treated as if the patient is in need of trauma counselling.
This is all part of the namby-pamby world we’ve created, where every kid gets a prize.
The central banks (the RBA, the Fed, the BoJ, the ECB, et al), together with their political masters, have, since 2008, engineered an economic ‘recovery’ based solely on the creation of more debt.
Since 2009, global GDP has risen from US$60 trillion to US$75 trillion. Over the past seven years, it’s taken US$60 trillion of debt to generate US$15 trillion in economic activity…$4 of debt to $1 of economic output.
What we’ve seen since 2009 is the illusion of growth.
The question I have for all those cheerleaders who see US growth picking up is: What if we could magically stop all further borrowing today; what do you think the ‘growth’ number would be?
The response would be: ‘You can’t do that; the system needs debt to function.’
The body also needs food to function, but we know too much food creates obesity, resulting in major health issues and organ failure.
So, my second question is: How much debt is too much debt before you think the system is at risk of major organ failure?
Obviously, they do not think you can have too much debt. But, as data shows, the more debt the system has around its girth, the more sluggish it becomes. Currently, it takes around $4–5 to generate $1 of economic output. If the expanding debt girth continues, it’s going to take $8–10 to move the GDP needle. Clearly, we have a situation that is not sustainable.
The very toxin that created the 2008/09 crisis is supposedly meant to cure us this time…apparently, this time must be different.
If people are naïve, gullible, or just plain ignorant to the fact that you cannot solve a problem using the same solution, then, in the years ahead, they are going to learn that lesson the hard way.
Siding with history
On the theme of illusion and delusion — and blindsiding investors — in last Friday’s Daily Reckoning, I wrote about the divergence in opinion between those that accurately identified previous bubbles and those that failed to see the disaster ahead of time.
Here’s a short extract:
‘…never let the truth get in the way of a good story. And, for the investment industry, there’s no better story to tell than a market that’s been on the up and up for an extended period. This gives them past performance to sell and extrapolate…
‘…[Robert Shiller and John Hussman] missed a 250 per cent rise in the S&P 500 since the global financial crisis…
‘…that’s true. But those gains are only lasting if you take Professor Shiller’s advice and reduce exposure to the market. Otherwise those gains are only on paper.
‘What happens if, once again, Shiller and Hussman are correct and we have another bubble that’s about to burst?
‘The two previous bubbles have wiped out 50% in market value. This bubble appears to be even bigger than its predecessors; therefore, a 60% fall is not out of the question, or without precedent.
‘A fall of that magnitude would take the Dow back to 8000 points…wiping out all gains made since April 2009. The paper gains are shredded.’
Investment industry experts, in the main, are perennial optimists…markets are never going to experience a major downturn. We know from recent history that this is most definitely not the case.
Once again, the industry ‘go-to’ experts are out there pacifying the passengers, soothingly reassuring them that ‘there might be a slight swell ahead, but there’s nothing to worry about.’
Yet those who have accurately read the market weather-charts in the past are warning investors that we are sailing directly into the perfect storm…abandon ship.
A cruise liner without any passengers is not a profitable business; the same goes for a funds management industry without any funds to manage. The message is: Keep the passengers on board…
In addition to Shiller and Hussman sounding the market storm warning, TheWall Street Journal (WSJ) recently ran with this headline: ‘Magic Eludes Bubble-Caller Jeremy Grantham, as Assets at GMO Drop by More Than $40 Billion’.
Jeremy Grantham, of GMO (Grantham, Mayo, & van Otterloo), is one of the sharpest investment minds in the business.
I remember Grantham and Warren Buffett both shaking their heads in disbelief at the dotcom bubble. They were ridiculed for being out of touch with the new world. Not investing in tech stocks cost GMO dearly in short-term performance, and there was an exodus of money out of the firm’s funds.
Grantham’s reading of the market, and his discipline, was proved correct.
This is from the same WSJ article:
‘In November , Mr. Inker [co-head of GMO’s asset allocation team] wrote to clients that “almost all asset classes are priced at valuations that seem to guarantee returns lower than history.” Mr. Inker added that “from today’s valuation levels, there are no good outcomes for investors.”
‘Grantham “has been out of step with the market several times during the firm’s four decades. GMO has usually rebounded, with the 78-year-old investor earning acclaim with asset-bubble calls ahead of Wall Street busts in 2000 and 2008.”
‘[GMO is] “Bearish about what it sees as high valuations of U.S. stocks, GMO’s flagship mutual fund, the GMO Benchmark Free Allocation fund, has largely missed out on the latest rally in U.S. stock indexes.”’
Jeremy Grantham is 78 years old…he knows history. He’s ‘been there’ and ‘done that’ since the 1970s. I’ve followed his newsletters for years. He’s seriously smart and thoughtful.
GMO analyses risk versus reward across various asset classes based on the simple principle of ‘reversion to the mean’ — where nothing stays high or low forever.
However, the investment industry would like us to believe markets can remain in a state of suspended animation indefinitely.
When I read that investors had withdrawn US$40 billion from GMO, it was a case of déjà vu. I’ve seen this pattern before.
Investors are their own worst enemy… Chasing returns, they want all the gains on the way to the top, with none of the losses.
The rare breed of fund manager that takes defensive action before a market crash is usually out the market well ahead of time. Performance suffers, and investors looking for a short-term buck rush to the latest star performer…the one that is ‘all in’ and which only ever sees a ripple on the horizon.
This is a familiar pattern.
Reading about Grantham, Shiller and Hussman’s judgement being questioned again provides me with a lot of reassurance.
If history is a guide, we must be getting awfully close — possibly within months — to the US market collapsing in spectacular fashion.
Investors continually make the same errors of judgement…they deserve to get mauled for being so damn greedy and not heeding the signs.
“While we have made significant progress in recent years, there is — to be frank — far too much tolerance of extremism in our country. So we need to become far more robust in identifying it and stamping it out across the public sector and across society.
“That will require some difficult, and often embarrassing, conversations. But the whole of our country needs to come together to take on this extremism, and we need to live our lives not in a series of separated, segregated communities, but as one truly United Kingdom.”
— Theresa May, British Prime Minister
It is impossible to miss the sense of frustration and exasperation in Theresa May’s voice as she responds to the latest terror attack in London. She didn’t put it this way but the question which haunts her is: why are so many young Muslim men in Britain willing to take up the path of violent jihadism?
Of course, the absolute number is small. Three attacks in recent months and a dozen foiled attacks. But Britain’s intelligence agency MI5 says 500 people — and they would overwhelmingly be young men — are of the highest priority on its watch list, and that at least 3000 people actively support jihadism. Perhaps 1000 young British Muslim men took the extreme step of travelling to Syria and Iraq to fight for Islamic State’s ideals.
The British government’s counter-radicalisation program, Prevent, has been notably unsuccessful. Several mainstream Muslim organisations won’t have anything to do with it. Some local councils in high Muslim population areas won’t co-operate with it, nor will some Muslim schools.
But in this Britain is simply repeating the experience of every other Western nation. There is not a single Western nation whose experience of counter-radicalisation could be described as successful. The most that any of them could claim is that the odd person has been saved from going down a jihadist path.
May’s predecessor, David Cameron, spoke frequently and insistently on the need to counter “nonviolent extremism”.
In several eloquent speeches, Cameron argued that nonviolent extremism shares most of the jihadist ideology but stops short of advocating terrorism. That ideology consists in part of the idea that there is a giant Western conspiracy against Islam, conducted through foreign policy, international finance, Western military action in the Middle East and the policies towards Muslim minorities in Western nations.
Cameron’s point was that this ideology is based on falsehoods, but if a young man fully embraces this ideology it is much easier for him to take the final leap into believing that military action, or even terrorism, is justified in retaliation against the West.
However, it may be the problem is even broader than Cameron suggested. For the political discourse and broad culture in many Muslim societies — even notionally democratic societies such as Indonesia or Turkey, and among Western Muslims as well — includes what can only be described as myths and paranoid fantasies as a staple.
This is borne out in a series of polling data from Britain and indeed from many Western nations.
The good news is that most polls show that British Muslims overwhelmingly — often by figures near 90 per cent — believe Britain is a good place to be a Muslim. But this makes other polling results even more perplexing.
In a poll conducted last year by ICM Research for Channel Four, about 4 per cent of British Muslims, which would be more than 100,000 people, said they sympathised with suicide bombers. That result has to be treated with caution. Such a small number may or may not mean something. More significantly, only a third of respondents said they would help the authorities if a friend or relative was involved with extremists.
In a separate poll conducted for the centre-right think tank Policy Exchange, more than half of British Muslims polled said they did not know who was behind the 9/11 terror attacks in the US. More than 30 per cent believed the US government itself was responsible. About 7 per cent thought the attacks were a Jewish plot, which was fully 2 per cent more than those who thought the 9/11 attacks were the work of al-Qa’ida.
That result is startling. Al-Qa’ida itself boasts of having carried out the 9/11 attacks. Its provenance and the chain of events leading up to the attacks have been exhaustively investigated in numerous countries. Most leaders of most Muslim nations routinely acknowledge al-Qa’ida was the terrorist group responsible for the attacks. Yet only one in 20 British Muslims believes this.
That same poll showed that fully a quarter of British Muslims believe there is no such thing as extremist thought within the British Muslim community.
The paranoid style and the pervasiveness of conspiracy theories have been a feature of Muslim political culture for many years. More than a decade ago, on a visit to a university campus in Istanbul, I was astonished to find a big public display in the main student sheltered eating area devoted to the phenomenon of the Israeli army strapping Palestinian children to the front of their tanks and using them as human shields as they advance into Palestinian areas.
Whatever you may think of the Israelis, that accusation is simply preposterous, it exists in a state of complete unreality.
This year, in a series of trips to the Middle East, I have spent some time in both Jordan and Morocco, two admirably moderate and Western-aligned Arab nations that in their own ways are doughty fighters against terrorism. But two conversations — one in each country — shed some light on the nature and source of the paranoid style in Muslim political culture.
In Jordan I met a number of cabinet ministers who were impressive figures, in their region and their nation’s strategic circumstances, dedicated political moderates and firm in their solidarity with nations like the US and Australia in the fight against Islamic State terrorists in Syria and Iraq.
But there was one conversation I found completely befuddling.
I went one day to the grand Jordanian parliament building to meet Abdullah Obeidat, a leading member of parliament and chairman of one of the parliament’s policy committees.
Displaying full Arab courtesy, he met me on the steps of parliament. He and I and a retinue of officials strolled into the official meeting room where we sat in grand sofas and were served sweets and tea. And his extravagant speech of welcome made me blush in unaccustomed modesty.
The first part of the interview was conventional enough — Jordan was suffering from a regional crisis of refugees and needed the world’s help. Absolutely true and an entirely reasonable request for any Jordanian to make. But when I got on to the conflict in Syria and the campaign against Islamic State, which Obeidat referred to by the Arab term Daesh, the conversation became more than a little testy. “Let me tell you something,” he said. “It’s something I know you’ve never heard before. The people in Syria are now subject to the worst episode in history. The total terrorism is sponsored by the West and carried out by Russia on the pretext of protecting the Syrian people.”
I wasn’t sure I had heard him right, so I asked: Did you say terrorism in Syria is sponsored by the West?
“Yes, truly I stated that. Terrorism is manufactured by the West. All its intelligence agencies are operating there, sharing information with each other, and the victim is the Syrian people. All these international forces, including those involved in the bombardment of Daesh, they are pre-planned to deplete the resources of the Arab peoples and lands and to injure Islam in its image.”
Obeidat’s hostility to the West is combined with a characteristic wild overstatement of American, and in other contexts Israeli, power.
“This is a major point in my own point of view, is it really possible that the various armies of the Western allies could defeat Saddam Hussein in a few days but cannot defeat Daesh in Mosul or elsewhere? Is it possible to believe that all these nations are pounding Daesh and cannot win?”
As with many conspiracy theories, Obeidat’s combine the strangest of bedfellows, in this case Iran and the US.
“I believe that the West stands behind Daesh. Iran is a stick being used by the West. The nuclear treaty with Iran does not serve the Arab people. Daesh is an illusion. All these terrorist groups are being sponsored by the West.
“Daesh is a Western game and the purpose is to defame Islam.
“Our religion of Islam is a religion of tolerance and love and friendship. In the Islamic books we read and study there are no extremist ideas. I raise my son to say if you have bread in your mouth and your brother is hungry, give the bread to him.”
Obediat then tells me an anecdote concerning his son, who lives in America, finding a homeless white American whom he takes to his own apartment to feed him.
One of the small notable features of a few days in Jordan is that almost everyone I met who spoke English had a son or daughter living in the US or Europe, even if, like Obeidat, they thought the West was involved in a vast conspiracy against Arabs and Islam. The only time in our conversation when Obeidat’s flow faltered was when I pointed out that Jordan itself undertakes aerial strikes against Islamic State targets in coalition with the US in Syria. Obeidat did not care to criticise the Jordanian government.
I have often read of views like Obeidat’s but it was in its way enlightening to have them expressed so forcefully and at such length.
A few weeks later, in Morocco, in one of the most fascinating conversations I have had, I got a completely contradictory explanation of the modern Arab mindset.
In a venerable office overlooking the ancient Medina of Rabat, I had a long discussion with Ahmed Abbadi, secretary-general of the Rabita Mohammedia al-Ulema, or Council of Religious Scholars.
Most of our discussion dealt with why Morocco, at official and popular level, has been able to generate such a strong mainstream Islam resistant to extremism.
Of course, Moroccans living in Europe have been radicalised and overall perhaps 3000 young Moroccans went to Syria or Iraq fight with one or other of the jihadist groups. But Abbadi sketches for me the outlines of a grand Moroccan history, through which his country was mostly an independent kingdom, never colonised by the Ottoman Turks and only briefly subject to European colonialism. It grew its own independent and self-confident traditions of Islam, its moderation buttressed by the prestige of the monarchy and by the tradition of independent, moderate scholarship in the nation.
His combination of complete mastery of his own society’s history, of Islam generally and, crucially, of all the trends in the West is highly impressive and more unusual in the Middle East than I would have imagined.
Finally I bring him round to the question of why so many young Muslim men are attracted to violent jihadism.
“There is nothing more dangerous than a youngster who is bored and angry,” he says. “Then someone gives them some fun and links it to grand principles.”
He outlines an impressive list of youth outreach activities that his organisation sponsors, but I persist in seeking from him some explanation of the paranoid style — my words, not his — in Muslim political culture.
“You cannot miss that there is now a kind of stigmata in Muslim societies that bases itself on repetitive grievances.”
These grievances are not all fake, nor are they all genuine. He lists 10 — 1. The sense always of an anti-Muslim conspiracy. 2. The legacy of colonialism, and that the West has not paid the Muslim world reparations for this period. 3. Israel and the grievances of the Palestinians. 4. The double standards which Muslims believe see them more criticised than members of other religions. 5. The humiliation of Muslims in the Western media. 6. The actions of Western militaries in Iraq and Afghanistan and now Syria.
These six are all highly contestable but have some basis in reality. The next four are much more far fetched. 7. The alleged robbery of Muslim wealth by the West. 8. The infiltration of Western values into Muslim societies and Muslims in the West through Hollywood. 9. The falsification of history, to the detriment of the historic achievements of Muslims by the West.
And then 10, the constant reporting, almost all of it wrong, that a copy of the Koran has been burned by some enemy of Islam somewhere.
The constant repetition of these claims ultimately warps Muslim political culture.
Abbadi says: “The Koran has more than 6000 verses. Only 250, or 4 per cent, touch on laws.
“So 96 per cent of the Koran, where all the beauty and ethics are, is neglected.”
I don’t mean to present Abdullah Obeidat as a bad person. Our discussion, though emphatic, was limited and conducted through an interpreter.
But there is a kind of dialogue in the Islamic world today between the grievances and the dark fantasies of the Abdullah Obeidats, and the poetry and vision and common sense of the Ahmed Abbadis.
And on that dialogue hangs a world of pain or redemption. In the past this has been essentially a dialogue for Muslims. Now it is too important for that. Every Western society has a central interest in who wins that contest of ideas.
If you want to talk about a big trend that began taking shape, look no further than the state of cash — the pace at which currency across the globe was challenged or devalued accelerated in the past year.
The stage is now set for even greater momentum: In 2018 and 2019, there’ll be a global sprint toward digital currency.
Sweden — where barely 2% of all payments are in cash — is leading the way.
Government-orchestrated demonetisation efforts in India, Britain, France, Austria, Belgium and other countries are also fuelling the cashless movement.
Ranging from eliminating some currency, to negative interest rates on cash deposits, to assigning fees to cash payments and more, the war on cash grows in reach and intensity.
And so does the growing investment in the technology needed to support a digital currency world.
Debit cards were our first big step toward a cashless economy…
…Blockchain technology now lies at the heart of the second step.
Groups ranging from Wells Fargo to the London Stock Exchange are getting ready for a blockchain-based future.
You should, too.
Perhaps as early as next year, your bank or investment manager could be managing your money with blockchains.
This technology also has a rich future in the online shopping world. It can be used to not only store currency in a digital wallet that is accessed over time but to track purchases and shopping preferences.
The roots of blockchaining
Blockchains were devised as the accounting system for the Bitcoin online currency, also often called a ‘cryptocurrency’ because it doesn’t physically exist.
But once their special qualities became clear, blockchains were quickly adopted for all kinds of uses.
Medical labs use them to track specimens’ movements. Lawyers use them to record signatures to contracts. People, individually or in groups, can use them to buy and sell among themselves, using their own forms of value.
So what’s a blockchain? How can it replace cash?
Put simply, a blockchain is a series of pieces or ‘blocks’ of digital data, chained together by computer code.
A block may be a transaction, such as a check you write. Or it could be an integrated group of transactions, like your monthly banking statement listing all debits and credits.
A chain is a series of blocks linked sequentially through digital code. Usually, a chain orders its blocks chronologically, though there are other ways to group or sequence the blocks.
A blockchain can be permission-less, meaning open to anyone, such as bitcoins are. It also can be ‘permissioned.’
Those are usable only by people authorised by others already in the chain.
This doesn’t seem all that unusual. But two additional features make blockchains special.
A blockchain is secure. Often, users get a passcode. Some chains use two codes: one to enter the chain, the other to identify an individual user. Once a transaction is entered into the chain, it can’t be altered or deleted. This makes a blockchain a reliable, hard-to-dispute record of who did what.
A blockchain is distributed among its users. When a transaction is added to the chain, a new copy of the chain is sent to all participating in it. This ensures no one can attempt to fiddle with data in a chain’s blocks without everyone in the chain knowing.
Another security measure, and one with appeal to online retailers: When a block is added to the chain, every copy of the blockchain in the user network automatically runs a digital security protocol.
That makes sure the entry is legitimate — that it’s being entered by someone authorised, or that the entry doesn’t violate the chain’s rules of operations, for example.
If a majority of copies of the blockchain return a positive verdict, the block is entered into the chain. If a significant number of copies send up a flag, the block is rejected.
Here’s what makes blockchain technology truly revolutionary: Blockchains don’t require a central administrator.
No bank needs to clear your checks or provide your balance.
No notary public needs to vouch for your signature on a contract.
No treasury is needed to issue “legitimate” currency.
Blockchains define their own purpose, their own measures of value, and keep their own accounting.
Banks scramble to stay relevant
If our concept of money is about to change fundamentally, no one is more interested than banks.
Deutsche Bank has called blockchains a ‘wake-up call’ to the financial industry.
Using digital currencies in global trade requires no credit cards, no lines of credit, not even a checking account. The bank noted that a person could become a Bitcoin billionaire without ever having dealt with a bank.
In fact, almost everything a bank does — keeping deposit accounts, making loans and taking payments — could be done via blockchains.
So banks are scrambling to figure out how to bring blockchain technology in-house and remain relevant in a financial system lurching through major changes.
The scramble is taking them places.
IBM surveyed 200 major banks in 2016. It found 15% will begin using blockchains in 2017. That’s happening. Two-thirds will use blockchains routinely in commercial products before 2022 — ‘dramatically faster than expected,’ the survey said.
One blockchain developer said more than 100 banks have contacted it to learn how blockchains might work for them.
IBM also surveyed 200 nonbank financial businesses around the world. It found that 14% expect to launch commercial blockchain products in this year.
No bank has placed a bigger bet on this than Bank of America.
Last year it was granted 15 patents on blockchain applications.
It also reportedly filed for at least 20 more, including a ‘suspicious user alert system’ and a ‘cryptocurrency risk detection system.’
In partnership with Microsoft, Bank of America also is testing a blockchain-based letter of credit.
Here’s how it works…
A bank gives a letter of credit to a third party that the bank’s customer is transacting with. If the bank’s customer isn’t able to pay the third party, the letter guarantees the bank will.
Microsoft and the bank documented the number of steps and time it takes to create a letter of credit. That may include handwritten notes, phone calls, faxes and sending papers around for signatures.
They discovered the process comprises 15 steps, takes an average of five days, including time to play phone or email tag and correct mistakes. And they found it can cost $2,500–15,000 in banks’ time and other resources to create.
Distilling those steps into a blockchain, the partners ran real-world trials. Those tests reduced the number of steps to four and the transaction time to 10 minutes.
JPMorgan has created a team to investigate blockchains’ potential, investing more than $2 billion. UBS says its London-based Crypto 2.0 team has sifted through at least 20 possible blockchain applications.
It is refining the most promising into commercial products. Barclays has speculated about digital currencies’ ability to reduce the amount of capital regulators require banks to keep on hand. Germany’s Bundesbank is testing a prototype of a blockchain-based stock-trading system.
The future of finance
The Swiss have taken the idea of digital banking even further…
The country’s Financial Market Supervisory Authority is laying the legal and regulatory groundwork for the creation of ‘cryptobanks.’
The measures reduce the capital requirements for these new banks. They also acknowledge that banks need wiggle room to adapt regulatory compliance to their varying business models.
(The Swiss canton of Zug has become known as Crypto Valley for its concentration of blockchain-related businesses. The government there has voted to begin accepting Bitcoin as payment for certain government services.)
At a conference in September 2015, the chairman of Switzerland’s central bank even mused about the possibility of central banks issuing electronic currencies.
But he doesn’t have to muse any more…
On 9 November 2016, the National Bank of Ukraine revealed its plan to issue electronic money in a blockchain structure no later than 2017’s fourth quarter. The Monetary Authority of Singapore is mulling a similar step.
But the private CoinsBank goes further. You can make deposits and withdrawals in the world’s major currencies at this entirely online financial house. You can conduct most banking functions in Bitcoin or by other digital means.
Some financial insiders are skeptical of CoinsBank’s ability to deliver — or even remain solvent. But many see this as proof of the financial industry’s future.
However, that future may be further away than enthusiasts predict. Banks are under pressure from regulators, low interest rates and technological disruptions. That makes them eager to adopt methods that cut costs.
But blockchains’ transparency and lack of centralised control challenges banks’ traditional culture of privacy and control.
Banks sharing a blockchain could peek at each other’s loans and other transactions.
A simple math mistake — an extra zero on the amount of a deposit or withdrawal, for example — could be fiendishly difficult to correct.
Also, most regulatory agencies haven’t seriously begun to match blockchains’ effects to the drastic changes needed in regulatory structures if the new technology is to work efficiently.
Hong Kong’s central bank also has voiced concerns about blockchains’ susceptibility to money-laundering schemes.
The road ahead is bumpy. But banks have no choice; they must travel it. Blockchains, analysts agree, are the future of finance.
Blockchains reach beyond banks
But blockchains are good for much more than logging payments. They can be used to validate the security of anything with value.
Gem, another blockchain entrant, has partnered with Capital One and health care giant Philips to smooth and speed payments for medical insurance claims.
With providers, insurance carriers and banks using different processing platforms, payouts can take weeks. Gem’s blockchain-based system creates a common platform among all involved. The shared system also assures each entity that the claim is valid and that previous steps in the process have been completed.
In another application, the US company Learning Machine has partnered with MIT’s Media Lab to create a blockchain that stores and verifies academic degrees and professional certifications.
The graduate can store diplomas and certificates electronically on a smartphone. Because the credentials have been stored on a widely distributed blockchain, any potential employer or client will know they’re genuine.
Credly and Digimaat offer similar services.
Last year, the US Department of Homeland Security gave a $199,000 grant to Factom, a company in Austin, Texas, to figure out ways to use blockchain designs to maintain the integrity of the internet of things.
With every device connected to every other one through the internet, the potential for hackers and malware skyrockets.
Blockchains may be a new tool for cybersecurity.
Factom also has partnered with the Honduran government to create a blockchain to record and safeguard land titles in a part of the world where ownership records have a long history of being messy or falsified. The Republic of Georgia is working with the company Bitfury on a similar project.
Now with a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Factom is setting out to apply blockchains to secure electronic medical records.
It’s not only about keeping snooping insurance companies from prying into your health history.
There’s also the problem that medical records in developing countries or remote regions aren’t always accessible and sometimes not updated quickly. Blockchains resolve those problems.
By keeping medical records in a blockchain, each vaccination or procedure can be entered on the spot through a tablet or smartphone. Medics traveling in rural areas can access the records via the same kinds of portable devices and be assured of records’ integrity.
Using the blockchain’s options, people could decide who may see their medical records. People could even have ready access to their own records, instead of wrangling with a doctor before getting a look.
Blockchains also can be buried in supply chains. A Swiss startup called Modum.io snagged a $25,000 prize in a Kickstart competition by combining its blockchain design with temperature sensors to verify that pharmaceuticals needing to stay cool have remained within their needed temperature range during transport.
Given the US turmoil surrounding the election of Donald Trump last November, blockchains also are drawing attention as a way to validate vote counts.
Fake news and claims of voter fraud, even unsupported, destroy the trust at the heart of democracy. Blockchains’ power to validate transactions may be an antidote.
The Follow My Vote project advocates a vote-by-blockchain approach and is marketing software that makes it possible.
Each vote would be a ‘transaction’ recorded as a block in the chain. Each voter would be given a unique access code that would let that voter follow the progress of his or her vote through the ballot box to the final vote tally. Votes would still remain secret unless a voter shared that unique access code.
Despite blockchains’ usual security features, hackers and malware may still be able to crack vote ‘blocks’ cast on conventional computers.
To keep those votes safe, Follow My Vote provides a special computer operating system for voting. The company will teach voters how to use it.
Banks won’t be the only users finding bumps along the blockchain trail.
First, blockchains’ possibilities are blossoming so quickly that the field already is desperately short of skilled coders and developers.
In addition, advocates point out that in these heady early days, enthusiasm for blockchains outstrips their usefulness. Not every project will benefit from blockchains; many will fail or be abandoned.
Another complication: Blockchain technology is ‘open source.’
That means anyone can create their own version of it. As a result, several designs are in use and often are incompatible with each other.
To set a standard, more than 30 major companies — including Hitachi, JP Morgan and Intel — have formed Hyperledger.
That project aims to settle on a general-purpose blockchain structure that can be used by any enterprise in any industry. IBM already has chipped in tens of thousands of lines of software code to the venture.
These companies, like so many others, invest in the effort because they foresee the benefits.
Blockchains will transform the way we exchange value in our digital, cyber-insecure future.
When the number of potential enemy combatants inside Britain is only 7000 men short of its army reserve, we must face the reality that the enemy is inside the gate.
Britain has been invaded. Whitehall has revealed that there are 23,000 suspected terrorists inside the UK. What it didn’t say is that the British army reserve has just 29,940 active personnel. The implications are clear, but no politician will admit them. When the number of enemies inside a nation nears the number of its active army reserve, the nation cannot hold. Britain and the Commonwealth states should be on a war footing. That means closing borders, strengthening treason laws and bolstering defence.
Islamists are engaged in total war against the West. The latest figures on jihadis in Britain prove their success in penetrating the heart of Western democracy without our knowledge. Intelligence agencies in Britain, the US and Australia appear to be concealing the immensity of the jihadist threat within. We must question why British intelligence did not reveal the staggering number of potential jihadis in the country before now. We can ill afford intelligence services that tell us half-truths and lies by omission that protect an enemy within committed to our destruction.
Islamists are engaged in total war against free world people. In the 21st century, total war is commonly conducted by non-state actors that aim to destroy legitimate states by any means necessary. The chief enemy of the modern West is a coalition of non-state actors whose militant front is Islamic jihad. Its combatants aim to overthrow liberal democracies by subverting the central organs of the state and replacing the governing principles of free society with sharia. However, Western leaders are conducting the war against 21st century jihad with a 20th century mindset. They focus on foreign wars and militant acts while the enemy subverts our nations from within.
The best Western leaders protect our borders, the worst appease or collaborate with the enemy, but few openly state the alpha and omega of the jihadis’ total war: a global empire under Islam that requires the death of the West.
Following the Manchester bombing, the British government finally told the truth about what decades of multiculturalism have produced in Britain: 23,000 terrorists. The Times reported that the initial figure of 3000 jihadists was a function of MI5 operational limits, not reality. The intelligence agency can keep eyes on about 3000 individuals at any one time, so it creates a priority classification list with categories such as active and residual risk. But the three major jihadist attacks on Britain in recent years were conducted by men who had been investigated and subsequently removed from the active terror watch list. These residual jihadis number about 20,000.
The revelation that there is a potential jihadist army inside Britain about 7000 personnel short of Britain’s army reserve raises the question of war. But Britons must surely question also why the state withheld such critical information during the Brexit debate when issues of national security, border and immigration policy determined the outcome. The concealment of such information begs the question of how many other intelligence services are concealing the true state of the jihadist threat within the West.
ASIO director-general Duncan Lewis’s recent denial of the relationship between the refugee intake and terrorism does not inspire confidence. In response to Pauline Hanson’s question about it, he responded that there is no evidence of such a link. Perhaps Senator Hanson should revive her “please explain” on these names: Man Haron Monis, Farhad Jabour and Mohammad Ali Baryalei, as well as the dozens of asylum-seekers who have received adverse security assessments from ASIO.
It is not the first time that Lewis has seemed more critical of those who defend the West than our jihadi foes. In 2015 he allegedly told some MPs who spoke out about the link between Islam and terrorism that their comments could threaten national security.
Minimising the link between porous borders, refugee programs and the development of jihad as a Western phenomenon is a common Islamist tactic. In the information age, intelligence services would be better to admit the threat of jihad while repeating the obvious truth that not all Muslims are jihadis.
I warned in 2015 that the West would win the battle against Islamic State but lose the war against Islamism unless Western leaders recognised jihad as a substantive ideology. Jihad is an ideology first and last. Its militant expression is Islamic terrorism whose primary purpose is not to instil terror but to destabilise and exhaust the protective capacity of legitimate governments. In that sense, jihad is akin to militant socialism. The end of revolutionary socialism is the communist state. The end of revolutionary jihad is the Islamic state.
The comprehensive ideology of jihad is set out in Management of Savagery, the Islamic State playbook reportedly written by former al-Qa’ida official Mohammad Hasan Khalil al-Hakim. In it, Hakim clarifies that gradual, subversive jihad is a total war strategy. He states that jihadis are: “Progressing until it is possible to expand and attack the enemies in order to repel them, plunder their money, and place them in a constant state of apprehension and (make them) desire reconciliation.”
The Coalition has done much to counter what I would call hard jihad, namely the advocacy, financing and enactment of Islamic terrorism. But few Western governments have tackled soft jihad: the teaching, preparation and promotion of jihadist ideology including gradual subversion of the state, liberal institutions and the fundamental values of Western society. To counter jihadists’ total war against the West, the government should consider the powers created to protect Australia’s freedom during the total wars of the 20th century.
The piecemeal approach employed by the West in response to jihad is born of a reluctance to face reality. The laws of peacetime can no longer accommodate the jihadist menace within Western states. When the number of potential enemy combatants inside Britain is only 7000 men short of its army reserve, we must face the reality that the enemy is inside the gate. It is time to state the four words the West hoped never to utter again: we are at war.
‘Sustainability’ is a modern buzz-word, a fashion, a vital tool for preservation and all-to-often a cover for dangerous covert agendas, not the least being the danger of related policies returning electrical power delivery to third-world status
There’s an app for everything these days, even one that tracks in real time the startling cost of Australia’s ludicrous energy policy.
We are indebted to PocketNEM for informing us that the spot price of electricity on the National Energy Market shot above $150 a megawatt hour in the eastern states late on Sunday afternoon, hitting $365 in the windmill-powered dystopia known as South Australia. During a largely overcast and windless winter weekend, SA and Victoria sucked up megawatt after megawatt of coal-generated electricity from NSW and Queensland, stretching the interconnectors to their limits.
To whom will the cost of these expensive buy-ins be charged? To the customer of course — you, me and the business we rely on to provide jobs, goods and services.
When the dust settles, the 33,000 gigawatt-hour renewable energy target will prove to be the costliest legacy of the Rudd and Gillard governments. Sure, there are plenty of other multi-billion-dollar blunders to choose from — the cost blowout to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, for example — policies that, like the RET, were implemented with noble intent but vacant attention to detail.
Yet on the scale of bureaucratically orchestrated disasters they are dwarfed by the RET, a Soviet-scale exercise in market intervention that is unravelling before our eyes, presenting Malcolm Turnbull’s government with a diabolical policy challenge that cannot be deferred.
How quickly the world has changed. Barely nine months before Turnbull became Prime Minister the Australian Energy Market Commission, which is supposed to know about these things, predicted that scrapping the carbon tax, falling electricity demand and increased capacity would cause retail electricity prices to fall.
The AEMC’s latest forecast presents a very different picture. Household electricity bills will rise acutely, particularly in South Australia and Victoria. The closure of SA’s brown-coal-fired Northern power station 13 months ago, followed by the closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood power station this year, means that for the first time in at least a half-century there is a shortage of active generation capacity.
Last December, the AEMC calculated that the closures would increase the cost of wholesale energy by 55 per cent in Victoria and Tasmania and 41 per cent in SA by the next federal election.
The Turnbull government will get only one shot at fixing this mess before rising power prices start to bite, and it will steady its aim this Friday with the release of Alan Finkel’s review of the National Electricity Market.
It is a chance to rescue energy policy from the sectional interests that want the renewable energy gravy train to keep running, and to frame it to serve the national interest. The ideologues, aided and abetted by the self-interested renewable energy lobby, will try to make this a debate about “sustainability” in the hope of deflecting attention from our demonstrably unsustainable energy policy. We must ignore their soft-headed nonsense and focus on securing what we really need: a reliable supply of affordable energy within our carbon emission targets.
The review is unlikely to recommend, nor is the government willing to countenance, the abolition of the RET, attractive as that may seem to energy market rationalists.
It should, however, help us recognise that putting most of the burden on the electricity grid to deliver Australia’s promised carbon emissions reduction was a ghastly mistake. It has neither assisted the reduction of carbon emissions nor encouraged the development of new technology.
Even Ross Garnaut, the Rudd government’s professor of choice, called for it to be phased out. The RET “does not necessarily encourage the lowest cost means of reducing emissions”, he wrote in 2011, “nor does it encourage innovation: it favours the lowest cost established technologies that are eligible within the scheme”,
In fact, it can cost up to $100 a tonne to abate carbon emissions through large-scale wind and solar, and up to double that amount using small-scale domestic solar panels.
Meanwhile another arm of government, the Emissions Reduction Fund, can do the same job for less than $12 a tonne. Allowing thermal generators to offset emissions by purchasing credits from the ERF instead of renewable energy certificates at eight or nine times the price may give them a fighting chance.
The review also presents the opportunity to end the sacred treatment of wind and solar and to share subsidies, if subsidies there must be, with low-emission thermal energy production such as gas and clean coal. It would not fix the gas shortage but at least it would give the owners of mothballed gas plants a little more confidence of a return on investment.
If common sense is allowed to intrude, we will no longer pay subsidies of about $85 a megawatt hour for the fitful supply of unstable energy using subprime technology of windmills.
Renewable energy suppliers have little incentive to improve the reliability of their product since it is the public, not they, who are forced to pick up the bill for buying in thermal power at the spot price when the blades stop tuning.
The energy market as currently constructed is a classic example of moral hazard where one party decides how much risk to take, while another bears the cost when things go wrong. If renewable energy companies were made to shoulder all, or at least part, of the cost of their failure to provide electricity at 50 hertz for 24 hours a day, they might invest more in the development of storage.
What could go wrong? After all, Alan Kohler assured us in his column in The Weekend Australian that wind and solar are at the point of becoming cheaper than coal and gas, and batteries are just around the corner. We are about to see a flood of renewable investment that will spell the end of coal.
A clear-headed readjustment of the RET will allow us to test that somewhat brave assumption. Oh, and help us keep the lights on.
Nick Cater is executive director of Menzies Research Centre.
Not long before his sudden and premature death, Australian Energy Market Operator chief Matt Zema spoke candidly at a private conference of power-industry executives. The enormous subsidies heaped on renewables, he said, mean one thing and only one thing: “The system must collapse”
Matt Zema, inaugural head of the Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO), attended a meeting a year ago of the Regulation Economics Energy Forum at which a number of prominent electricity industry executives were present. Proceedings at the meeting were private, but the need for confidentiality was removed with Matt’s sad death three months later. The following were among his remarks:
“The renewable developments and increased political interference are pushing the system towards a crisis. South Australia is most vulnerable with its potential for wind to supply 60% of demand and then to cut back rapidly. Each new windfarm constrains existing ones and brings demand for more transmission. The system is only manageable with robust interconnectors, but these operate effectively only because there is abundant coal-based generation in Victoria…
… wind, being subsidised and having low marginal costs, depresses the spot price and once a major coal plant has a severe problem it will be closed…
… wind does not provide the system security. But the politicians will not allow the appropriate price changes to permit profitable supply developments from other sources. And the original intent of having the generator or other beneficiary pay for transmission and services over and above energy itself has now been lost so there are no market signals, just a series of patch-ups that obscure the instability and shift the problem to include Victoria. In the end the system must collapse…”
A month later South Australia’s coal-fuelled Northern Power Station was disconnected from the network because it was unable to operate profitably against subsidised intermittent renewable energy that has priority over other supplies.
In September, 2016, as a result of this capacity reduction, South Australia lost all its power when storms triggered outages and several wind generators were unable to “ride through”, causing the main interconnector with Victoria to shut down. A more limited loss of power took place in February, 2017, when wind supply dropped from 800MW to under 100MW in four hours.
The September, 2016, blackout is estimated to have cost the state $367 million. BHP, whose senior executives have long engaged in virtue-signalling in favour of carbon taxes and exotic “clean” renewables, reported a loss of $US105 million with their Olympic Dam project — a loss magnified by the company being forced to suspend its proposed doubling of the mine’s capacity as a result of power uncertainties.
Engie, the owners of Hazelwood announced in November, 2016, that the 1600 megawatt facility (supplying between 20% and 25% of the state’s power) will be the fourth big coal-fired power station to close. Hazelwood had been allowed to deteriorate as a result of subsidised wind making the plant unprofitable, which did not stop Engie being ordered to complete major repairs to at least five of the eight boilers in order to meet occupational health and safety regulations.
The bottom line is that the loss of the coal-powered stations has resulted in at least a doubling of the wholesale electricity price in the southern states and the concomitant loss of reliability.
Blame shifting between politicians has characterised the various events. Reliable coal plants are being forced to close due to competition from renewables which currently enjoy a subsidy of $84 per MWH, double the actual price received by coal plants. The forced closure of these plants has compounded the cost impost by forcing up pool prices. The subsidies favouring renewable energy include several put in place by state governments, but the most important regulations are at the Commonwealth level — especially those requiring increasing shares of wind and solar within the supply mix. These regulations give rise to the current subsidy for wind and solar, currently at $84 per MWh and capped at $92.5 per MWh.
The roll-out of new subsidised power is on-going. And various schemes are being floated for buffering and overcoming wind’s intrinsic lack of reliability. Among these is the mooted South Australian battery investment using the technology developed by Elon Musk and the proposal floated by the Prime Minister to augment the Snowy hydro system with “pumped storage”. These measures, should they go ahead, allow the transfer of power over time and, in doing so, reduce the gross power available.
New “solutions” using subsidised wind and solar abound.
Last week, for example, South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill announced a new solar-battery combination, Lyon Solar in the Riverland, which promises 300 Megawatts of capacity. This is the equivalent of perhaps 80 megawatts of coal fuelled electricity and comes at a cost of one billion dollars.
The now-shuttered Northern Power Station had 540 megawatts, yet Weatherill declined to take up an offer that would, for a mere $25 million, have kept it open. Instead, he plumped to spend $500 million-plus on a gas generator of half that capacity and, plus Elon Musk’s much bally-hooed batteries!
On paper, the new Lyon Solar facility is profitable only because of the penalties imposed on coal. These include the subsidy under the Renewable Energy Target of $84 per MWh. In addition, the facility benefits from the forced closure of the coal-fired stations. This has resulted in the wholesale price of electricity rising to a new norm of $130 per MWh, compared with the average price in the four years to 2015 of $50 per MWh. The bottom line is that the consumer will pay $214 per MWh for $50-per-MWh worth of electricity from the new facility.
With that sort of money being littered around the industry for gee-whizz exotic projects it is little wonder that moochers are circling the state like moths round a candle. In the end, renewables require at least three times the price of the supposed dinosaur facilities they are displacing; consumers and industry will need to pay this and, in addition, fork out for grid additions to offset some of the inevitable deterioration of reliability the brave new energy world entails. Obviously many outfits, especially those in the energy intensive mining and smelting and agricultural processing sectors will not find it profitable to remain in an Australian market where wholesale electricity prices have more than doubles and the system’s reliability has deteriorated.
We are seeing the future with these renewable energy facilities and it is not working. The contagion that is undermining the South Australian economy and impoverishing the state’s households is spreading to Victoria.
Ominously, on the very day that Hazelwood closed, Victoria evidenced what will be the new norm.
The federal government may need to declare a state of emergency and restore the Hazelwood power station.
Former trade minister Andrew Robb has taken an unprecedented and important step towards bringing the politicians who vandalised our power and gas systems before the courts.
I emphasise that Robb did not describe as “criminals” the politicians who put NSW, Victoria and South Australia at risk of blackouts and forced hundreds of thousands of Australians to consider installing their own generators or batteries.
He did not discuss blackout danger but, if anything, that is a greater “crime”.
I emphasise that Robb did not say politicians should be prosecuted, but now the “crime” word has been used, if we have power blackouts in NSW, Victoria, or South Australia over the next two summers an enraged community is going to demand that the perpetrators of the “crime” — the politicians — be hauled before the courts.
As I have described previously there is a 75 per cent risk of blackouts in NSW and Victoria. But it might not happen. The politicians could be lucky.
We are fortunate in Australia to have a section of the criminal code that covers politicians and public servants who make false statements or mislead the public. It sets out that if they are guilty of an offence they can be punished with 12 months jail. Every word uttered by ministers as they vandalised the network and created higher prices needs to be examined to determine whether an offence has been committed. It’s not my job to say they have committed an offence and, as is their right, the politicians will fight any prosecutions with great vigour.
The question for the courts to decide will be whether the community was told by the politicians that, to guarantee supply security, solar and wind installations required backup facilities and a reconfiguration of the power network, which the politicians did not undertake.
In addition, was the community told that blocking gas developments in NSW and Victoria would create supply dangers given Gladstone required southern gas. Prices of energy would have to rise.
Quite rightly, Senate crossbencher Nick Xenophon is refusing to allow tax cuts until the power and gas mess is sorted out. And he is right. Few local or overseas groups are going to make substantial new investments in Australia while power and gas prices are out of control, plus substantial gas shortages and blackouts are on the menu.
The federal government may need to declare a state of emergency and restore Hazelwood, given that a “crime” has been committed, as well as accelerating the Snowy plan and quickly taking other emergency measures.
Like Andrew Robb and my readers, I can’t help thinking about why our politicians made such fundamental and catastrophic errors. I have written about the need for advice outside the public service and the “yes” people among the ministerial advisers. But watch question time in state and federal parliaments and you will see politicians using too much of their time thinking up ways to abuse each other.
That time could be used to make sure we avoid blackouts.
Vast amounts of state and federal government resources are used to duplicate what the other is doing, and usually one bags the other so no decisions can be made. We need to synchronise power structures so states control some areas and Canberra others. When duplication is ended, not only do we save countless billions but real policy can be determined, rather than developing new weapons for the state/Commonwealth fights.
Paradoxically, it was Andrew Robb who in the lead-up to the 2013 Abbott election victory was shadow finance minister and set out detailed plans to save those billions by ending state-federal duplication.
But Tony Abbott made him trade minister, and since then the Coalition in government has set about increasing duplication and infighting, which takes state and federal politicians’ eyes off the ball and leads them to poor decision-making.
Maybe long blackouts and gas shortages are what the community needs to rewrite federation and change the way we make decisions. It is the most important issue in the nation.
In late April, the European Union declared its alliance with China. EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini identified China as a key ally in “guarantee[ing] the world order”. Never before has the European world order shared a common destiny with the values enshrined in communist statehood. Mogherini laid out the agreements underpinning the shared EU-China world order: the Paris climate accord and UN’s Sustainable Development goals.
The US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement is an affirmation of freedom and the values that distinguish the West from the rest. The socialist-green EU bloc has surrendered Europe to a different destiny.
As the doomsday clock struck midnight and the world kept turning, the liberal media denied the rising sun. It was doom and gloom as the grim weepers of the populist left lamented the US withdrawal from the watermelon world order. It is hard to pick a favourite from the weeper reel, but the prize must go to Channel 9 for leading with “Climate change fury” featuring a grab from Arnold Schwarzenegger followed by jihad poster girl Kathy Griffin crying victim after apparently glorifying the decapitation of the US President. The PC left’s rage against liberty knows no bounds and as leader of the free world, the US remains the primary target of the illiberal world order.
According to President Trump, the US stood to lose up to 2.7 million jobs by 2025 under the Paris Agreement, including 440,000 fewer manufacturing jobs. Once, the left might have defended the working class. Today it represents the bureaucratic elite of a sclerotic world order led by careerists.
Socialist and communist leaders vented fury at the US President for upholding his promise to the American people. On the day the US announced its exit from the Paris Agreement, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang stood with EU leaders to declare a global consensus on climate change and an international responsibility to address it. Such trivial matters as a president honouring the sovereign will of his citizens apparently pale in comparison to the lofty political goals contained in global agreements on sustainable development and environmentalism.
One such goal — “global sovereignty” — was announced in the G77 (plus China) declaration, “For a new world order for living well”, which typifies the ideology underlying agreements on climate change. In it, the G77 delivered the United Nations a 242-point vision of the new world order. Highlighted values include sustainable development and environmentalism as well as the worship of a pagan queen called “Mother Earth”. Through the lens of realism, the declaration looks like a massive push for wealth redistribution from the West to the rest dressed up in postcolonial rhetoric. After laying collective guilt on the developed world (aka the West), the G77 states that advanced nations should transfer their money and intellectual property to developing nations while strengthening the UN as “as an emblem of global sovereignty”.
The Paris Agreement reflects the belief that Western countries are to blame for what ails the world, including climate change. As such, they should pay for the sin of advanced development. The West should pay by pledging to comparatively high energy restrictions while doling out taxpayer funds to supranational bureaucrats and illiberal states through the Green Climate Fund.
The Green Climate Fund puts the politics of the Paris Agreement in plain sight. Among the 43 countries committing funds, only nine are developing nations. China isn’t on the donor list. Qatar, the world’s wealthiest country, isn’t a donor. Saudi Arabia isn’t a donor. Despite their soaring debt levels, it is Western countries funnelling billions into the fund.
The recipients of green finance include highly corrupt states. Like foreign aid funding, much green finance is transferred from hardworking Western taxpayers into the pockets of corrupt regimes. The biggest donor to the fund is the US. It signed off on a $1 billion transfer of wealth despite having a $20 trillion debt. The Australian government has committed more than $200 million to the green fund from 2015-18 despite our nation being $490bn in debt. In a December statement on Australia’s leadership of the Green Climate Fund board, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop welcomed incoming co-chair Saudi Arabia.
While Trump clarified the poor economic conditions that the climate accord offered America, he declared the exit a reassertion of America’s sovereignty, saying: “Foreign leaders in Europe, Asia and across the world should not have more to say with respect to the US economy than our own citizens and their elected representatives … our withdrawal from the agreement represents a reassertion of America’s sovereignty.”
The political response to the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement indicates Trump had cause for concern. The EU framed the exit as a “unilateral decision by the Trump administration”. That is pure disinformation. It is a neat rhetorical trick that enables the EU to isolate Trump for attack while portraying the assertion of American sovereignty as unilateral. In reality, the US exit from the Paris Agreement honours a key campaign promise and 61 million Americans signed off on it when they voted Trump into office.
The assertion of US sovereignty is invaluable to the West at a time when the EU is tilting to totalitarian states under communist and Islamist rule. It is notable the European politicians leading the charge against Trump are key porous border backers. Mogherini not only celebrates the EU-China world order but has declared “political Islam” part of Europe’s future. The sooner Australia joins the US in defending the West from the rest, the safer our future as a free world nation will be.
“The End Of Truth” – Hayek Saw It All Coming Over 70 Years Ago
“The most effective way of making everybody serve the single system of ends toward which the social plan is directed is to make everybody believe in those ends. To make a totalitarian system function efficiently, it is not enough that everybody should be forced to work for the same ends. It is essential that the people should come to regard them as their own ends.”[p.171]
Berit’s comment: Ponder that statement. It helps explain the significance of universal service-learning. Like socialist youth in Nazi (National Socialism) and Communist countries, all must embrace the new ideology. Those who don’t — the intolerable dissenters — must be silenced.
The next section elaborates:
“Although the beliefs must be chosen for the people and imposed upon them, they must become their beliefs, a generally accepted creed which makes the individuals as far as possible act spontaneously in the way the planner wants. If the feeling of oppression in totalitarian countries is in general much less acute than most people in liberal countries imagine, this is because the totalitarian governments succeed to a high degree in making people think as they want them to.”[p.171]
The strategies that accomplish this mental change include numerous subtle and obvious forms of propaganda. Schools, the media, children- and youth-service teams, corporations, etc…. every source of propaganda must share the same vision. Though totalitarian, it will be designed to sound noble, compassionate and fair to all. Yet the result with be the exact opposite.
Ponder this warning from Dr. Thomas Sowell’s review of Road to Serfdom:
“At the heart of the socialist vision is the notion that a compassionate society can create more humane living conditions for all through government ‘planning’ and control of the economy…
“The rule of law, on which freedom itself ultimately depends, is inherently incompatible with socialism. People who are free to do as they wish will not do as the economic planners wish. Differences in values and priories are enough to ensure that. These differences must be ironed out by propaganda or power, if socialism is to be socialism. Indoctrination must be part of the program, not because socialist want to be brainwashers, but because socialism requires brainwashing.
“Idealist socialist create systems in which idealist are almost certain to lose and be superseded by those whose drive for power, and ruthlessness in achieving it, make them the “fittest” to survive under a system where government power is the ultimate prize…. The issue is not what anyone intends but what consequences are in fact likely to follow.”
In his article, aptly titled “A Road to Hell Paved with Good Intentions,” Sowell points out that “Marxism as an ideal continues to flourish on American college campuses, as perhaps nowhere else in the world.” Collectivist visions appeal to academic idealists and others who ignore the lessons of history.
“….all propaganda serves the same goal—that all the instruments of propaganda are coordinated to influence the individuals in the same direction…. The skillful propagandist then has power to mold their minds in any direction he chooses, and even the most intelligent and independent people cannot entirely escape that influence if they are long isolated from all other sources of information. [p.171-172]
President Obama took control of this change process by transferring workers from the private sector (corporations, private enterprise…) to the government service sector. With the controlled media on his side, the masses are not exposed to contrary facts.
“…even the striving for equality by means of a directed economy can result only in an officially enforced inequality—an authoritarian determination of the status of each individual in the new hierarchical order—and that most of the humanitarian elements of our morals, the respect for human life, for the weak, and for the individual generally, will disappear….
“The moral consequences of totalitarian propaganda which we must now consider are, however, of an even more profound kind. They are destructive of all morals because they undermine one of the foundations of all morals: the sense of and the respect for truth.
“…in order to induce people to accept the official values, these must be justified, or shown to be connected with the values already held by the people, which usually will involve assertions about causal connections between means and ends. …people must be brought to agree not only with the ultimate aims but also with the views about the facts and possibilities on which the particular measures are based.[p.172]
Al Gore’s battle against a mythical man-made global warming crisis illustrates this point. Globalist change agents agree that a worldwide crisis is needed to persuade humanity to embrace all the costly restrictions and regulations of government controlled “sustainable development.” So they are willing to ignore facts and embrace myths and pseudo-science in order to reach their goal.
“We have seen that agreement on that complete ethical code, that all-comprehensive system of values which is implicit in an economic plan, does not exist in a free society but would have to be created….
“And while the planning authority will constantly have to decide issues on merits about which there exist no definite moral rules [apart from the Bible], it will have to justify its decisions to the people—or, at least, have somehow to make the people believe that they are the right decisions….
“This process of creating a ‘myth’ to justify his action need not be conscious. … So [the totalitarian leader] will readily embrace theories which seem to provide a rational justification for the prejudices which he shares with many of his fellows. Thus a pseudoscientific theory becomes part of the official creed which to a greater or lesser degree directs everybody’s action. [p.173]
“The need for such official doctrines… has been clearly foreseen by the various theoreticians of the totalitarian system…. They are all necessarily based on particular views about facts which are then elaborated into scientific theories in order to justify a preconceived opinion.
“The most effective way of making people accept the validity of the values they are to serve is to persuade them that they are really the same as those which they… have always held, but which were not properly understood or recognized…. The people are made to transfer their allegiance from the old gods to the new under the pretense that the new gods really are what their sound instinct had always told them but what before they had only dimly seen. And the most efficient technique to this end is to use the old words but change their meaning. Few traits of totalitarian regimes are … so characteristic of the whole intellectual climate as the complete perversion of language….
“The worst sufferer in this respect is, of course, the word ‘liberty.’ It is a word used as freely in totalitarian states as elsewhere…. Dr. Karl Mannheim… warns us that ‘a conception of freedom modeled on the preceding age is an obstacle to any real understanding of the problem. But his use of the word freedom is as misleading it is in the mouth of totalitarian politicians. Like their freedom, the ‘collective freedom’ he offers us is not the freedom of the members of society but the unlimited freedom of the planner to do with society what he pleases….[pps.174-175]
“In this particular case the perversion of the meaning of the word has, of course, been well prepared …. by many of the theoreticians of socialism. But ‘freedom’ or ‘liberty’ are by no means the only words whose meaning has been changed into their opposites to make them serve as instruments of totalitarian propaganda. We have already seen how the same happens to ‘justice’ and “law,’ ‘right’ and ‘equality.’ The list could be extended until it includes almost all moral and political terms in general use.
“… the confusion becomes worse because this change of meaning of the words describing political ideals is not a single event but a continuous process, a technique employed consciously or unconsciously to direct the people….
“It is not difficult to deprive the great majority of independent thought. But the minority who will retain an inclination to criticize must also be silenced. … Since many parts of this code will never be explicitly stated… every act of the government, must become sacrosanct and exempt from criticism. If the people are to support the common effort without hesitation, they must be convinced that not only the end aimed at but also the means chosen are the right ones.”[p.175]
“Facts and theories must thus become no less the object of an official doctrine than views about values. And the whole apparatus for spreading knowledge—the schools and the press, radio and motion picture—will be used exclusively of to spread those views which, whether true or false, will strengthen the belief in the rightness of the decisions taken by the authority; and all information that might cause doubt or hesitation will be withheld.”[p.176]
Stanford University Professor Steven Schneider illustrates it well. He said,
“On the one hand, as scientists, we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but–which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people, we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change.
“To do that, we need to get some broad based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements and make little mention of any doubts we might have… Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
This applies even to fields apparently most remote from any political interests and particularly to all the sciences, even the most abstract.
“That in the disciplines dealing directly with human affairs and therefore most immediately affecting political views, such as history, law or economics, the disinterested search for truth cannot be allowed…. These disciplines have, indeed, in all totalitarian countries become the most fertile factories of the official myths which the rulers use to guide the minds and wills of their subjects….” [p.176]
In “Government religion in the United States,” Erica Carle wrote:
“The separation of church and state argument for removing all traces of Biblical teaching from public life and public land is a gigantic fraud. Why? Because there is no separation of church and state. Government religion is a fact in the United States. What is wanted by the government religion adherents is not separation of church and state, but exclusive rights for their religion.
“What is the government religion? Auguste Comte (1798-1857), its French founder, called it the Religion of Humanity. The doctrines of the Positive Religion are now taught in the schools as a science which Comte called sociology. Sociology was to be the ruler science over all the other sciences and also the science of managing the world…. In a country that is supposed to be free,
its citizens are being subjected to sociological management,
its scientists and elected officials to sociological control, and
its youth to sociological education.
Hayek went on…
“…we must yet be on our a guard not to dismiss .[these aberrations] as mere accidental by-products which have nothing to do with the essential character of a planned or totalitarian system….They are a direct result of that same desire to see everything directed by a ‘unitary conception of the whole.’…
“Once science has to serve, not truth, but the interests of a class, a community or a state…. As the Nazi minister of justice has explained, the question which every new scientific theory must ask itself is: ‘Do I serve National Socialism for the greatest benefit of all?’
“The word ‘truth’ itself ceases to have its old meaning. …it becomes something to be laid down by authority, something which has to be believed in the interest of the unity of the organized effort and which may have to be altered as the exigencies of this organized effort require it.
“The general intellectual climate which this produces, the spirit of complete cynicism as regards truth which it engenders, the loss of the sense of even the meaning of truth, the disappearance of the spirit of independent inquiry…. Perhaps the most alarming fact is that contempt for intellectual liberty is not a thing which arises only once the totalitarian system is established but one which can be found everywhere among intellectuals who have embraced a collectivist faith and who are acclaimed as intellectual leaders even in countries still under a liberal regime.
“Not only is even the worst oppression condoned if it is committed in the name of socialism, and the creation of a totalitarian system openly advocated by people who pretend to speak for the scientists of liberal countries; intolerance, too, is openly extolled….” [p.178]
“This view is, of course, practically indistinguishable from the views which led the Nazis to the persecution of men of science, the burning of scientific books, and the systematic eradication of the intelligentsia of the subjected people.
“The desire to force upon the people a creed which is regarded as salutary for them is, of course, not a thing that is new or peculiar to our time. New, however, is the argument by which many of our intellectuals try to justify such attempts.” [p.179]
The tragedy of collectivist thought is that, while it starts out to make reason supreme, it ends by destroying reason….”[p.180]
The “Deep State” is metastasizing… In the face of insurgencies from the left (Bernie Sanders) and the right (Donald Trump), it is evolving… adapting… and gaining ever more power over America’s body politic. If you think President Trump will easily win his war with the Deep State – or as he puts it, “drain the swamp” – you may wind up being disappointed. And if you think you – and your wallet – won’t get caught in the crossfire… think again.
We had a stellar lineup at our recent closed-door Inner Circle roundtable meeting in Baltimore. Agora founder Bill Bonner headed up the session. He was joined by our chief strategists from Britain, France, Argentina, Brazil, Australia, India, and China. Also there were three-term congressman and President Reagan’s budget chief David Stockman… author and fiat money specialist Richard Duncan… Asianomics founder and Inner Circle regular Jim Walker… and Alan Greenspan, who was Fed chairman from 1987 to 2006. You’ll be hearing more about what these folks had to say about the big trends to watch for in 2017 over the coming weeks. This week… we’re focusing on what we learned from another special guest at our roundtable meeting, Washington insider turned Deep State “whistleblower” Mike Lofgren.
Because Mike dropped the biggest bombshell of our two-day meeting… one that could have huge implications for the direction the U.S. takes during President Trump’s next four years in office. Story of Our Time Of all the “big picture” themes we track for you at Inner Circle, the rise of the Deep State is the most important.
As Bill has been warning, the Deep State has corrupted not just politics, but also the entire economy. From his opening address to the group in Baltimore: Markets never stop working. But as political force enters into them – especially the unelected kind – they work differently because they take that into account. They price in all of the manipulation, the meddling, the intervention, the activism, and you end up with something different. Not that markets aren’t working… they’re just working with the world as it is.
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, the Deep State describes the shadowy network of powerful people that really runs the country no matter who sits in the Oval Office or which party controls Congress.
Bill again: When people think of the Deep State, they are generally referring to the permanent government run as a collusion between the elite of Corporate America and the national security industry. They think of the “military-industrial complex” President Eisenhower warned we “must guard against” in his farewell address of 1961. The Deep State doesn’t care what you want or who you voted for. It doesn’t care how absurd its economic program turns out to be. It doesn’t give a damn about the Bill of Rights or the Rights of Man, blue states, red states, or red caps. It is a law unto itself… an unbalanced power, an unbridled force… out of order and out of control. It is no stranger to conspiracies… secrets… assassinations… manipulating public opinion… blackmail… or double dealing. It is bolder and more powerful every year. And it has the will and the way to control public policy… and the public purse.
The Deep State is the story of our time. It connects the dots between the War on Terror… the War on Cash… the phony-money system President Nixon ushered in back in 1971… and the global credit bubble that now threatens your wealth. It’s why we invited Mike – the ultimate Deep State “whistleblower” – up from his home in Virginia to our roundtable strategy session in Baltimore. And it’s why we’re kicking off our 2017 Inner Circle Roundtable series with what we learned from him about how the Deep State operates… the new phase it’s entered as it evolves to deal with Team Trump… and what it all means for your money. Insider’s Perspective If anyone knows about the inner workings of the Deep State, it’s Mike
As a national security specialist on Capitol Hill with top secret security clearance, he worked on the fringes of the Deep State for almost three decades. Mike spent a total of 28 years working in Congress… the last 16 as a senior analyst on the House and Senate budget committees. This gave him an insider’s perspective of the Deep State’s War on Terror, its Wall Street bailouts and boondoggles following the 2008 crash, and how it’s kept funds flowing to America’s ballooning military-industrial complex. Then, after he retired in 2011, he literally wrote the book on the Deep State – a powerful exposé of America’s “anti-democracy” that inspired Bill to begin his own investigations into this little-understood nexus of power and money.
As you’ll learn from my Q&A with Mike below, we must be ever watchful of the Deep State because it does not stand still. It’s always moving… always adapting… and always assimilating potential centers of opposition. And right now, its biggest challenge is how to deal with Donald J. Trump. Q&A With Mike Lofgren Chris Lowe (CL): What drove you to finally “blow the whistle” on the Deep State? Mike Lofgren (ML): For my entire career I was a congressional budget analyst for national security in Washington. I hadn’t written a word for publication. Writing about your opinions is not a good way to succeed as a staffer on Capitol Hill. But after I retired, I gained perspective on the deeper nature of our culture in a way that was impossible when I was caught up in a career. And I wrote a book about Congress, The Party’s Over: How Republicans Went Crazy, Democrats Became Useless, and the Middle Class Got Shafted. I claim a modest amount of credit for launching the now thriving cottage industry of political commentators noticing the new strangeness of the party of Lincoln. That said, I was hardly ready to launch myself into the arms of Hillary Clinton’s party – or Hillary Clinton, for that matter. That crowd had big problems, too. Like the Bourbon kings, the Democrats had forgotten everything and learned nothing.
But after finishing the book, I had this nagging feeling that I had described the symptoms, rather than the underlying cause, of our crisis in governance. This led me to write my next book, The Deep State: The Fall of the Constitution and the Rise of a Shadow Government.
CL: You spent a long time in the belly of the Washington beast. What did you learn about Beltway politics over that time?
ML: I began as a mainstream Republican during President Reagan’s first term. By the end of my time in Washington, I was resolutely non-partisan. I now view ALL political ideologies as mental and emotional crutches. They’re helpful only to politicians who use them to manipulate our attitudes and behaviors.
CL: You and Bill believe that the rise of this “shadow government” is the big story of our time. Why?
ML: The Deep State is the red thread that runs through the war on terrorism and our militarized foreign policy. It also runs through the financialization and deindustrialization of the U.S. economy… and the most unequal society, in terms of income distribution, in almost a century.
CL: For folks who may have a hard time picturing what exactly the Deep State is, and who it’s made up of, how would you describe it?
ML: The Deep State is an informal association of key elements of the government, along with top-level players in finance and industry, that rules the country with only limited heed to the consent of the governed and the formal political process. It is the other government behind the one visible on Pennsylvania Avenue. It is linked to, but only intermittently controlled by, the visible state whose leaders we think we choose through elections. The Deep State is not the entire government. And it is not just the military-industrial complex President Eisenhower warned us about. It is a hybrid of national security, law enforcement, corporate America… plus key parts of other government branches. CL: Can you be even more specific?
ML: The agencies involved in national security are all core components of the Deep State. So is the Department of the Treasury because of its power over financial flows, its enforcement of international sanctions, and its symbiosis with Wall Street. The Federal Reserve is also part of this structure – it provides the necessary funding for the Deep State’s activities. So are parts of the judiciary. For example, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act – or FISA – Court, whose actions are mysterious even to most congressmen. And key trial courts, such as the Eastern District Court of Virginia and the Southern District Court of Manhattan, where sensitive national security cases are tried. The final government component of the Deep State is a rump of Congress made up of the leadership and some, but not all, of the members of the defense and intelligence committees. The rest of Congress, normally fractious and partisan, is only intermittently aware of the Deep State. But when required, it usually submits to a few well-chosen words from its emissaries. Then you have the three key nodes of corporate America: the military-industrial complex, Wall Street, and Silicon Valley. I’ve already touched on the military-industrial complex. Wall Street is crucial because it supplies the cash to keep the political machine operating. And should our politicians forget their lines, it’s Wall Street that floods Washington with cash and lawyers to help them remember their own best interests. In fact, Wall Street may be the ultimate owner of the Deep State – for no other reason than it has the money to reward government operatives with a second career well beyond the dreams of a government salary man.
CL: You also mentioned Silicon Valley. What role does it play?
ML: As one former NSA insider told me, the Deep State’s spy agencies are utterly dependent on Silicon Valley’s technology – data from social networks, email accounts, cellphones, and so on – and cooperation to perform their missions. I want to stress that this is the furthest thing from a conspiracy theory. What’s important to understand about the Deep State is its sheer everyday-ness. It is the vector sum of all the petty bureaucratic agendas of agencies, major corporations, and think tanks – all marching like a colony of driver ants to maximize their advantage.
CL: Can you give me some concrete examples of the Deep State at work?
ML: Conventional wisdom says “partisan gridlock” is the new normal. Despite this, President Obama, like his immediate predecessor, was able to kill American citizens without due process, detain prisoners without charge, and conduct dragnet surveillance on Americans without a warrant. At home, the Deep State’s power is expressed through massive displays of force by militarized police – federal, state, and local. These are not isolated contradictions. They are so pervasive, they tend to be disregarded as background noise. But the Deep State is most visible in its conduct of foreign policy – specifically America’s state of constant war, executive branch overreach, and congressional inaction in the face of this overreach. The vast majority of voters do not care about foreign policy. So it is left to the foreign policy elites. Also, when domestic tensions become too severe, or polarization between groups too intractable, the temptation exists to resolve these tensions through bogus national unity to be achieved on some foreign field of conflict. A foreign scapegoat transforms the population’s domestic frustrations into fear and hatred of terrorists… or of the Hitler du jour.
CL: As Bill has been writing about, the Deep State is also an economic actor. Can you tell me a bit more about that?
ML: The economic policies the Deep State pursues masquerade as a kind of neo-liberalism. But they are nothing more than crony capitalism. They include the outsourcing and downsizing of labor, a de-emphasis of manufacturing in favor of financialization, and the privatization of government through lucrative contracts. The objectives are to transform human labor into a commodity subject to global arbitrage and to facilitate the capture of the state by corporate interests. This kind of crony capitalism is often called “globalization” – which helps explain why globalization is so unpopular right now. It’s important to remember that the Deep State is not just a U.S. phenomenon. The European Union bureaucracy, based in Brussels, runs on a formula the Beltway mandarins would instantly recognize – opaque decision making, little accountability, bailouts for banks, austerity for the people.
CL: What insights can you share with Inner Circle members about the Deep State in 2017… particularly given Donald Trump’s recent surprise win over its preferred candidate Hillary Clinton?
ML: First, the Deep State is remarkably well entrenched. Its ability to co-opt centers of opposition with endless streams of cash – through campaign donations and the revolving door between government and the private sector – have proven effective time and again. For instance, despite the 2008 global financial crisis – the greatest global economic meltdown since the 1929 crash – bank CEOs are still in their corner offices. And most of the same Wall Street players are still in the saddle. In fact, Wall Street has grown more powerful in the wake of the 2008 meltdown. The five largest banks had assets equal to 43% of U.S. GDP before the crash. By 2012, it was up to 56%. Second, there is a discontent with the Deep State today that was not visible before the 2008 crisis. Ordinary Americans, who typically have little accurate information about how their government really works, have started to intuitively sense something is wrong. Slogans about the “one percent” have entered the vernacular. And Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent of domestic NSA spying genuinely shocked many people. And although the Tea Party movement that rose in the wake of President Obama’s election win in 2008 was often incoherent, it began to throw sand in the gears of the Deep State apparatus. For example, in 2013, a right-left coalition in the House nearly passed an amendment to defund the NSA’s unconstitutional surveillance programs. This was a major challenge for the Deep State, which thrives on the appearance of normality. As long as appropriation bills get passed, secret intelligence budgets get rubber stamped, tax subsidies for corporations are approved – and as long as too many awkward questions are not asked – the gears of the hybrid state mesh noiselessly. But when insurgencies arise, it works to sideline the insurgents… or assimilate them and render them harmless.
CL: If people are finally becoming aware of the Deep State and the extent of its control over their daily lives, what does that mean for its survival?
ML: Just as the failed attempt to reconstruct the pre-World War I political order in Europe after 1918 led to the far worse phenomenon of totalitarianism, the Deep State’s economic order – its need to be involved in endless small wars and its discouragement of real citizen participation – has led to a strong, but directionless, popular yearning for change and a profound distrust of elites. This populist insurgency is a new phase in the evolution of the Deep State. On the left, Bernie Sanders – like him or not – offered an alternative to the reigning orthodoxy. He promised to sharply reduce income inequality and curtail corporate welfare and to shift priorities away from the military-industrial complex. This was a mortal challenge to the status quo. And Hillary Clinton, the status quo candidate par excellence, overcame the Sanders insurgency with a large organization and oceans of big-donor money. In the Republican primaries, Donald Trump succeeded where Sanders fell short. Facing a divided set of opponents and a weak party establishment, Trump won what seemed like a surprisingly easy victory. The Republican Party was fractured between its wealthy donors – most notably the Koch brothers – and its increasingly working-class voter base. This opened up a path for a brazen populist to conquer the party of Lincoln.
CL: Now, the $64,000 question: How does the Deep State handle President Trump?
ML: Clearly, Trump does not appeal to the senior operatives of the Deep State. Their posse has always been made up of cool, unemotional technocrats offering rational, well-considered advice. Trump’s emotional, histrionic – even vulgar – style embarrasses them. Although the operatives of the Deep State have lied repeatedly, they camouflage these lies with technocratic jargon and careful hedging. Trump’s brazen, repeated, unapologetic lying, on the other hand, flusters the elites. At the same time, it comes across as so bold that many voters believe he is engaged in truth telling. For example, the foreign policy elites have frightened the population for decades about shadowy terrorist cells in the Middle East. At the same time, they piously mouth platitudes that we are not at war with Islam. This ambiguity is not easily digestible at the popular level. Trump sliced through this complexity by saying he would “bomb the hell” out of ISIS, take its oil, ban Muslims from entering the U.S., and kill families of terrorists. To Americans conditioned by threat-mongering into a state of constant fear, this sounded like refreshing wisdom. Second, Trump not only took the Deep State’s technique of displacing domestic tensions onto foreign scapegoats and intensified it. He went a step further. He reimported this technique and applied it at home. Minorities, immigrants – even liberated women – were scapegoated as the causes of voters’ problems.
CL: Will Trump go to war with the Deep State or, as he puts it, “drain the swamp”? Or will he end up playing nice?
ML: Trump’s brand of populism is not a meaningful alternative to the Deep State, as was clearly demonstrated by the first weeks after his election win. Defense stocks rose in the belief that Trump would rebuild America’s so-called depleted defenses – a myth, as we’re spending more on the Pentagon in constant dollars than we did during the Cold War. I would also note that Trump nominated two generals to cabinet positions and a third to be national security adviser. And bank stocks rallied in the belief that Trump would repeal Dodd-Frank Wall Street regulations. How could they not with so many Goldman Sachs alumni in top posts in the new administration? You have Steve Mnuchin of Goldman Sachs at Treasury… and Gary Cohn of Goldman Sachs as Trump’s chief economic adviser. Even the great populist Stephen K. Bannon is a Goldman Sachs alum. It’s definitely curious. And Trump’s cabinet has enough billionaires to make George W. Bush’s cabinet look like a Bolshevik workers’ council. It certainly seems to me as though the Deep State assimilated Donald Trump on the core issues of military funding, using the tax code to entrench wealth, and cutting the Social Security net. But of course, it’s always possible that they always agreed. Who knows? Trump’s often-vulgar populism, which at first seemed like a defect, may have been a brilliant tactic to save the Deep State’s agenda by masking it as something else.
CL: If the Deep State is so entrenched and so powerful… and if Hillary Clinton was its spiritual queen… how did she lose the presidential election?
ML: You can’t say that everything in the world is preordained. Sometimes, people make bad decisions. The Deep State made a bad decision invading Iraq in 2003 – anyone with an IQ above room temperature is perfectly willing to admit that now. They screwed up. And they screwed up putting their money on Clinton. She had been in the national spotlight for a quarter century. Her shelf life had expired. Regardless of how much enthusiasm Democratic Party operatives tried to whip up, there was none. But if my suspicion is correct, Trump was the Deep State’s “hedge.” If all these Goldman Sachs personnel are descending on the Beltway, it didn’t lose either way.
Conspiracy theory, Wikipedia Link to Wikipedia, 21 Feb 2015 – Wikipedia has a remarkably comprehensive list of most ‘theories’ and issues relating to a New World Order, including 91 references and much ‘further reading’.
In The Strange Death of Europe, Douglas Murray argues, as the title suggests, that Europe is in its death throes. He reaches this conclusion by weaving together two arguments. First, there are too many migrants, especially of the wrong sort, entering Europe. Secondly, they are coming at a time when Europe ‘has lost sight of what it is’. Hence, he argues, ‘the movement of millions of people into a guilty, jaded and dying culture’ cannot work.
The likelihood is that Murray’s supporters and critics will lock horns over the too-many-migrants argument, while ignoring his contention that European culture is guilty, jaded and dying. This would be a shame because the first argument can only be understood in the context of the second. If the nations of Europe had a strong belief in liberal democracy, then immigration would not be a problem. Strong European nations would recognise the importance of their political ideas, nurtured from Classical Antiquity, through Judeo-Christian traditions, to the present day. Strong European nations would see that immigrants from around the world, who do not hold liberal political values, would need to embrace a European political perspective.
European nations with a strong belief in liberal democracy would expect immigrants to assimilate, a process whereby immigrants would come to endorse the political ideas of their new society. Assimilation focuses on the political and public spheres and disregards religious and cultural differences in the private sphere, so long as these private practices do not conflict with the ideals of liberal democracy. A nation that assimilates its immigrants will have an integrated community. A nation that does not assimilate its immigrants will have parallel communities. Assimilation requires effort and determination from the host nation and the immigrant.
But Europe is no longer composed of nations with a strong belief in the political ideas of liberal democracy. Since the Second World War, therefore, these weakened nations have struggled to assimilate their immigrants. Indeed, in the postwar era, Europe’s political and cultural elites have either ignored the issue of assimilation or championed its absence. Many postwar immigrants have assimilated into European societies, but they have done so despite the attitude of Europe’s leaders. Moreover, there are many immigrants who have not assimilated and, with the passage of time, the problem of parallel communities has grown. Parallel communities tend to draw more immigrants towards them in a cycle that makes the problem bigger and harder to address.
In the immediate postwar decades, Europe’s leaders eschewed the one issue that would have enabled them to address the immigration issue: assimilation
As Murray explains, ‘The result was that what had been Europe – the home of the European peoples – gradually became a home for the entire world. The places that had been European gradually became somewhere else. So places dominated by Pakistani immigrants resembled Pakistan in everything but their location.’ In these parallel communities, assimilation has not happened and the political ideas of liberal democracy rarely exist.
Although it is not a periodisation used by Murray, it is convenient to view the issue of assimilation in three stages: the immediate postwar decades; the era of multiculturalism, which endured for 30-odd years until 2010/11; and the past few years.
During the 1950s and 1960s, West Germany, Sweden, Holland and Belgium instituted guest-worker schemes to meet labour shortages. Britain and France also relied on immigrants to fill labour shortages, but with their stronger colonial ties they often granted their immigrants the right of citizenship. But what none of these countries had expected was that the migrant workers would, even when their work was done, want to put down roots in their new countries and bring their families with them.
In the immediate postwar decades, Europe’s leaders eschewed the one issue that would have enabled them to address the immigration issue: assimilation. They did not do as America’s leaders had done in an earlier era – project a strong and confident view of liberal democracy that they expected their new entrants to embrace. Whereas America’s melting pot gave rise to the motto, ‘Out of many, one’ (E pluribus unum), Europe’s postwar approach to immigration gave rise to this unspoken view: ‘Out of many, many.’
The weakness of European political culture in the postwar era was evident in the absence of any notion that it was even possible to expect immigrants to endorse liberal democracy. Immigration, in the absence of assimilation, inevitably meant that parallel communities developed. And having discounted the possibility of assimilating immigrants, Europe’s leaders were left with two options: either curtail immigration and encourage repatriation or ignore the problem. Enoch Powell’s infamous ‘Rivers of Blood’ speech in 1968 was an attempt to do the former. He warned that Britain was ‘mad, literally mad… to be permitting the annual inflow of some 50,000 dependants’. He said this immigration was ‘like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre’.
Powell was immediately relieved of his position in the shadow cabinet, and his political career was over. But instead of giving rise to a debate about how to assimilate immigrants, the sidelining of Powell gave political leaders an easy way of silencing any debate on immigration: dismiss it as racist, or – and this amounted to the same thing – dismiss it as Powellite.
When the problem of parallel communities could no longer be ignored, European societies entered the era of multiculturalism, an era that advocated an acceptance and celebration of cultural difference. Those who advocated a desire to see immigrants embrace liberal democracy were dealt with harshly. In Britain, the experience of Ray Honeyford in criticising the problem of parallel communities was telling. In 1984, Honeyford, the headmaster of a Bradford school, published an article noting the refusal of some Muslim fathers to permit their daughters to participate in dance classes, drama or sport, and the silence of the authorities on this and other cultural practices, such as taking children back to Pakistan during term time. He also argued for pupils to be encouraged to speak English and understand British culture.
The race-relations industry, which Honeyford had also criticised, organised a campaign against him and the Muslim mayor of Bradford claimed that, for his ‘cultural chauvinism’, Honeyford should be sacked. ‘Raycist’ Honeyford, as his critics dubbed him, was forced into early retirement for challenging parallel communities at a time when British politicians had abandoned any notion of assimilation in favour of its antithesis: multiculturalism.
In this second era, which started in the 1980s, European politicians made a virtue of their political weakness by implicitly recognising that their belief in liberal democracy was so lacking that they would promote the politics of difference, dressed up first as ‘multiculturalism’ and then as ‘diversity’. In this era, there were few Ray Honeyfords who were intellectually strong enough to challenge the problem of parallel communities in the face of politicians who furnished a race-relations industry with money and prestige to celebrate cultural difference.
But bad political ideas that go unchallenged by the political class will eventually be challenged by the public. And so it was that the advocates of multiculturalism generated a public backlash. In 2006, the Dutch justice minister, Piet Hein Donner, caused significant anger in the Netherlands when he suggested that Muslims could change Dutch law to Sharia by democratic means. There was at least equal public outrage in Britain when, in 2008, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, suggested that the adoption of elements of Sharia law in the UK ‘seems unavoidable’. Murray notes that ‘it suddenly seemed as though some of the absolute bases of Western civilisation were being offered up for negotiation’. In the early 2000s, stories that the Sikh and white working-class communities had been telling for years about the organised grooming of young girls by gangs of Muslim men started to be taken seriously by the media and police. But the sharpest cause of concern over parallel communities was the increasing tally of Islamist terrorist attacks involving people born and brought up in Europe.
Bad political ideas that go unchallenged by the political class will eventually be challenged by the public.
The political leaders of Germany, Britain and France eventually responded. In October 2010, the German chancellor, Angela Merkel, gave a state-of-the-nation speech in which she said, ‘Of course, the approach to build a multicultural society and to live side-by-side and to enjoy each other has failed, utterly failed’. That was why, she insisted, ‘integration is so important’ and immigrants in Germany must follow the laws and constitution of Germany and speak German.
In February 2011, Britain’s prime minister, David Cameron, gave a speech in Munich critical of ‘the doctrine of state multiculturalism’ by which ‘we have encouraged different cultures to live separate lives, apart from each other and apart from the mainstream’. A few days later, the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, also pronounced multiculturalism to be a ‘failure’, saying: ‘The truth is that in all our democracies we have been too preoccupied with the identity of those who arrived and not enough with the identity of the country that welcomed them.’
After six decades of allowing and encouraging immigrants to live separate lives, the public had forced Europe’s leaders to change the narrative on immigration. Murray points out how extraordinary it was that it took 60 years of immigration before Europe’s political leaders even stated that immigrants should speak the language of the country they entered. And, just as striking, that during those six decades ‘such a demand would have been – and was – attacked as “racist”’.
In this new era, the gulf between the people and their leaders can no longer be ignored, but it still exists. Despite European leaders recognising that multiculturalism has failed, they lack a political perspective that can solve the immigration issue. The problem remains unresolved because, as David Cameron had recognised in his Munich speech, ‘We’ve failed to provide a vision of society to which they [immigrants] feel they want to belong’. In the absence of a vision, immigrants will continue to have little to assimilate into, and political leaders will fall back on lightweight reasons in favour of immigration, such as short-term economic expediency, misplaced guilt about global hardship, or simply the moral affirmation that comes from appearing to be nice.
The vacillation of Europe’s leaders was epitomised by Merkel’s response to the migrant crisis in 2015: ‘We can do this’ (‘Wir schaffen das’). But Merkel could not claim to be speaking for the German people, since the German public did not support more immigration, least of all an influx of one million asylum seekers in a year. Neither did she have any idea what ‘this’ referred to. But what mattered was that, as Merkel put it, ‘The world sees Germany as a land of hope and chances. And that wasn’t always the case.’ This was Germany’s chance to atone for the Second World War and to portray itself as a country that people would migrate into rather than flee from.
In the absence of ‘a vision of society’ that can command popular support, Europe’s leaders will continue to stumble from one migrant crisis to another because the immediate emotional claims of a migrant will tend to trump the collective interests of a nation. The European public continues to have a sense of these collective interests, but they are mostly unknown and unarticulated by Europe’s political class.
Liberal democracy has many political foundations such as the separation of church and state, free speech, the equal rights of women and gays, democracy and the rule of law. Yet these ideas are alien to many immigrants, particularly Muslims, who come from different political cultures. Only a nation with a strong political culture that believes in these ideas can challenge those who do not accept them. A nation with a strong belief in liberal democracy would appreciate the need to assimilate immigrants to its political values, and it would not accept the existence of parallel communities. Least of all would it celebrate cultures with backward views on politics, religion, free speech, equal rights and so forth.
Murray is a compelling writer who, in The Strange Death of Europe, has compiled an array of evidence and argument in support of his claim that ‘the movement of millions of people into a guilty, jaded and dying culture cannot’ work. As his colleague at the Spectator, Matthew Parris, says, he ‘writes so well that when he is wrong he is dangerous.’
In my opinion Murray’s conclusion is not wrong, but there is a difficulty for anyone tackling subjects as contentious as immigration, identity and Islam. And that is the relationship between cause and symptom. Immigrants are not the cause of Europe’s woes, and parallel communities are a symptom of Europe’s political weakness. Immigrants have never been required or incentivised to assimilate; indeed, since the 1980s, the politics of multiculturalism has incentivised them not to assimilate. Easy though it is to blame the immigrant (a mistake often made by the populist parties of Europe), those who criticise postwar immigration must never lose sight of the fact that the easy target is the wrong target.
When reading Murray’s excellent book, it is worth remembering that, of his two arguments, it is the second that is causative of the first. In other words, it is because Europe is dying that immigration has become a politically fraught issue. The target of our anger has to be, not the immigrant, but our political leaders who, over six decades, have had so little belief in liberal democracy that they have never expected immigrants to assimilate to the political values that made Europe such a desirable place to live.
Jon Holbrook is a barrister He is giving a lecture on the Legal Subject as part of The Academy on 15 July 2017. Follow him on Twitter: @JonHolb
The Strange Death of Europe: Immigration, Identity, Islam, by Douglas Murray, is published by Bloomsbury Continuum. (Order this book from Amazon(UK)).
If I were French I would vote for Marine Le Pen in next week’s presidential election. Not to do so would be to endorse the political and economic elites that have sapped the life out of industry, put the Fifth Republic on track for bankruptcy, forced taxpayers to bail out parasitic banks, and left the country exposed to Islamist terrorism.
More of the same? No thanks. France’s global rank on Cato Institute’s annual Human Freedom Index, for instance, has dropped from 20th to 31st since 2008 (Australia is sixth).
Le Pen’s popularity has surged since the global financial crisis. Thomas Piketty, France’s most famous economist, blames inequality and unemployment. “If we do not manage to fight these via effective progressive policies then you will always find politicians who will successfully try to divide the workers between nationals and foreigners, or some other ethnic or religious division,” he told me last week.
Details of the National Front’s policies — a populist cocktail of protectionism and nationalism — matter far less than the damage her victory would do to France’s cosy status quo, which has hooked France’s fortunes to an increasingly stagnant and unpopular EU. Indeed, it would be a victory far more consequential than Donald Trump’s November win in the US, where congressional gridlock and a recent bout of bomb-dropping on the Middle East sadly point to a continuation of the past.
Le Pen’s promise to give the French a say on staying in the EU is reasonable, given that the last time they were asked their view, in 2005, their answer (no) was largely ignored. Her suggestion France should withdraw from the euro and redenominate its debts in French francs would cause a financial crisis that would make 2008 seem mild, but it would be the price to pay for longer-term prosperity.
The French government has debts equal to more than €2 trillion ($2.8 trillion), 120 per cent of its national income — more than three times Australia’s share. The collapse in value of those debts from “Frexit” would wipe out many highly leveraged banks, prompting the rethink of how banking is structured that the world deserved, but never got, after the financial crisis.
France’s 62-year project of tying Germany down in the EU has left France with too high an exchange rate (while Germany’s is too low), permanently throttling its competitiveness.
France’s bloated governments spend almost 60 per cent of the national income every year (Australia’s spend about 33 per cent), and tax a little bit less of it, a recipe for eventual bankruptcy. The jobless rate has risen steadily to more than 10 per cent since the financial crisis, despite repeated promises by French presidents to curb it. And that is the official figure, where working more than one hour a week counts as employed. Youth unemployment is now entrenched above 20 per cent, more than double Germany’s rate.
Australia has been a beneficiary, actually — Sydney’s eastern suburbs, for instance, are teeming with young French people. The number of French-born residents in Australia has grown more than 6 per cent a year since 2006, to more than 42,000, many multiples faster than immigration from Greece, Spain or Germany.
It’s depressing to see France, the first modern state, one of the great scientific and cultural fountainheads of Western civilisation, which under Charles de Gaulle wrenched itself back to pre-eminence after a couple of near-death experiences, in such a funk.
Economic decline and Islamic terrorism have fuelled a domestic industry of gloom: Eric Zemmour’s 2014 book The French Suicide has been a bestseller. Michel Houellebecq’s novel Submission shows how a Muslim could win the French presidential election in 2022 — not especially gratifying in a country whose development hinged on the repelling of the Arabs in 732 by King Charles Martel. Almost 10 per cent of France’s population of 65 million is Muslim, more than any other sizeable Western country. France is losing its large Jewish population, among its historic strengths, at a rapid rate.
Whatever the verdict in the final-round ballot next month, the National Front and parties like it in Europe will continue to benefit from the moral bankruptcy of Europe’s economy, starkly revealed in the continuing “bailout of Greece”. More than 80 per cent of the (€227 billion) public funds that have gone to Greece since 2010 have been used to repay loans to foreign and Greek banks. The bailouts were about “protecting German banks, but especially the French banks, from debt write-offs”, noted former German central bank chief Karl Pohl at the time. That is, highly paid bankers who enjoyed the short-term profits from lending to Greece managed to shove the long-term costs on to ordinary French and Germany taxpayers, an act of extreme socialism. How can anyone respect this economic system? Sensing danger from Le Pen, the big French banks have refused to lend to her party (they have lent to other campaigns).
The brilliant conservative and Spectator columnist Charles Moore conceded in December he was “cheering” for the populist right. “It may sound Marxist to say this, but I do think the elites have constructed a world order which serves their interests, not those of their subject populations,” he wrote, pointing to the “banking crisis resolved in the interests of bankers”. More and more commentators of right and left — an increasingly meaningless distinction, anyway — are concluding the same.
The polls suggesting Le Pen commands only 25 per cent of the vote would seem an underestimate. Just as Hillary Clinton’s winning of the Democratic candidacy proved a gift for Trump’s campaign, Le Pen’s rivals are almost stereotypical reflections of the past. Francois Fillon, the “centre right” candidate, was former president Nicolas Sarkozy’s prime minister. He is embroiled in a scandal over whether he embezzled public funds in office. The supposed favourite to win, former investment banker Emmanuel Macron, was economy minister under the loathed incumbent, President Francois Hollande.
Even if Le Pen loses, it is only a matter of time until she wins. Polls show her strongest support comes from people under 40 and its highly unlikely Macron or Fillon will do anything to disrupt the status quo.
Speech by Geert Wilders at the “Europe of Nations and Freedom” Conference
It’s really a great honor for me to be here today in the beautiful city of Koblenz, at a meeting of the ENF Group, in the presence of so many German patriots.
And what you stand for is extremely important. Not only for Germany, but for all of Europe.
Europe needs a strong Germany, a self-confident Germany, a proud Germany, a Germany that stands for its culture, identity and civilization.
Europe needs Frauke, instead of Angela [Merkel]!
My friends, that is why Germany is so great. Why you are great. Because you do your duty. And the Alternative for Germany (AfD), and my friend Frauke Petry, and all of you here, stand against the new totalitarianism that threatens us today.
We are at the beginning of a Patriotic Spring across Europe, and also here in Germany. And I thank you for that. You are the new Germany.
And all our European countries are faced with the question of their existence. My friends, the United Nations expects that the population of Africa will quadruple by the end of the century — from 1.1 billion today, to 4.4 billion. Studies show that in Southern Africa, one in three adults wants to emigrate. And in North Africa and the Middle East, one in five wants to emigrate. Many of them want to come to Europe in the future.
The question that none of our ruling politicians now ask is: How do we protect our country and our identity against mass immigration? How do we protect our values?
How do we protect our civilization? Our culture? The future of our children? These are the fundamental questions we have to answer.
In recent years, our governments have allowed millions of people to flow uncontrollably into our countries. Our governments have conducted a dangerous open-borders policy.
And I know, as do you, that when the citizens of Eastern Europe defeated communism in 1989, they were inspired by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Vaclav Havel, Vladimir Bukovski and others, who told them that people have the right, but also a commitment, to “live in the truth.”
Friends, liberty requires eternal vigilance. And this applies also to the truth. And Solzhenitsyn added that — I quote — “truth seldom is sweet; it is almost invariably bitter.”
And let us hear the bitter truth: Our leaders have lost their ability to recognize danger and understand the truth, because they no longer value freedom.
Politicians from almost all of the established parties are promoting our Islamization. Almost the entire Establishment, the elite universities, the churches, the media, politicians, put our hard-earned liberties at risk.
They talk about equality, but, incredibly, are incapable of seeing that in Islam, women have fewer rights than men, and infidels have fewer rights than the followers of Islam.
They are blind to the truth — but we are not! And we do not accept that they are blind to the truth. We no longer accept that the elites have abandoned the people.
It breaks my heart when I see that people have become strangers in their own land — almost everywhere in Europe.
But it is our country; it’s not their country — it’s our country. And it is unacceptable that you fear for the future of your children, that women are afraid, that Jews, ex-Muslims, Christians fear for their safety.
Day after day, for years, we are experiencing the decay of our cherished values. The equality of men and women, freedom of opinion and speech, tolerance of homosexuality — all this is in retreat.
And I say to you, my friends: We do not want this. We do not want Germany or any other country in Europe to abolish itself! We don’t want that!
We want our homeland to remain our homeland.
We want to stay who we are!
We are secure, free, democratic, proud of our culture!
My friends, what we see today is that fear reigns. Many people are desperate. Our rulers are cowardly. Our security is disappearing; our freedom is in danger.
And many normal people are afraid to say what they think. Women are afraid to show their blonde hair.
And this charade must be stopped! More and more people demand this! We demand this!
And I tell you: Enough is enough!
And then there is also the great danger of Islamic terrorism.
A German undercover journalist recently revealed that some refugee housing centers have become breeding-grounds for terrorists. The consequences are visible to everyone.
Recall the massacre at the Berlin Christmas market. Remember also the black summer of terror last year, here in Germany. We also remember Cologne and the mass assaults of hundreds of innocent women.
And yet our governments fail to do anything. But if we do nothing, we cease to exist.
Some immigrants have come here with entirely different values.
This is a fact — not a political fact, but a fact confirmed by scientists such as the Dutch Professor Ruud Koopmans, from Humboldt University in Berlin. His investigations showed that about half of all Muslims in Germany aspire to the roots of Islam.
Professor Koopmans also says that — I quote — “of a billion Muslims worldwide, between ten and twenty percent are willing to accept violence, even against civilians, to defend Islam.” End of quotation.
But despite all these terrible warnings, our rulers refuse to see the elephant in the room.
The people are fed up with the political correctness of the elites! Are you fed up, or are you not fed up?
We are fed up with the elites, who offer you a beautiful ideal world, in which all cultures are morally equivalent.
The people demand — we demand — the truth!
And we must tell them the truth, because people have a right to the truth!
Because the people should not be abandoned.
We, here, are the hope of the people! And we will never disappoint them! Never!
You may have heard that the Dutch government is trying to silence me.
But I say to you, I will never shut up!
I am on many death-lists just because they hate me, because I criticize Islam, and because I am a friend of Israel.
But I will never be silent, despite all the threats from politicians and terrorists.
For the free expression of opinions is, my friends, the basis of democracy.
There is, however, much positive news. There is reason for hope. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Better times will come. The wind started to shift last year. It brought us the victory of — and from here, congratulations to — Donald Trump, the President of the United States.
But not only in America. We also see it here in Germany, the Netherlands, France, Italy, Austria, throughout Europe: The patriots are winning. The time for a change has come. And that is why, my friends, it gives me tremendous courage to see you all here today.
This room full of German patriots shows me something very important. It shows me that Germany is not lost!
It shows me that Germany will survive!
You are a good force. The force that brings this beautiful country back on the right path. On the path to a patriotic future. A secure future. A free future. Our future!
History calls on you to save Germany. History calls on us all to save Europe. To save our own humanistic Judeo-Christian culture and civilization, our liberties, our nations, the future of our children.
And we have no choice. We will do it.
My party, the PVV in the Netherlands; Frauke Petry and Marcus Pretzell and the AfD here in Germany; Marine Le Pen and Front National in France — and yes, Marine Le Pen will be the next president of France!
But, naturally, also Hans-Christian Strache and Harald Vilimsky and the FPÖ, our friends in Austria.
Tom van Grieken and Gerolf Annemans and our friends from the Vlaams Belang in Flanders.
And all the other politicians.
But I tell you, we politicians are not important here. It’s not about us. It’s about you; it’s about the voters.
It’s about the people here in this room, and also the millions throughout the country — not we, but you are important.
You are the true heroes and the saviors of Europe. And I thank you for that.
Our parties give the people an opportunity to vote for good patriots. Patriots who want to make our borders safe again! Patriots who want to stop mass immigration! Patriots who want to restore the sovereignty of our countries, our money, our laws and our future.
We are fed up with the Europhiles in Brussels, who want to abolish our countries and impose an undemocratic super-state, in which we become a single multicultural society.
To this Europe we say no!
We stand for a Europe of national states and freedom!
We will take our countries back. We will make sure that our countries will stay ours.
My friends, this year will be the year of the people!
The year when the voice of the people finally will be heard!
The year of a democratic and nonviolent political revolution in Europe.
The year of liberation!
The year of the Patriotic Spring!
In two months, next March, we will give the Dutch people the chance to free the Netherlands! And next April, Marine, as I already said, will be the next president of France!
And next autumn it’s your turn, my dear German friends. I am absolutely convinced that with Frauke Petry, the future of Germany is guaranteed.
Long live the German Spring!
And I tell you: We will liberate ourselves. We will make our countries great again! We can do it!
Everywhere in Europe, we are electing new and courageous politicians who serve the interests of the people. And together we will win!
My friends, we live in historic times.
The people of the West are awakening. They are casting off the yoke of political correctness.
They want their freedom back.
They want their sovereign nations back.
And we, the patriots of Europe, will be their instrument of liberation!
Long live freedom!
Long live The Netherlands!
Long live Germany!
Long live the Alternative for Germany!
Geert Wilders is a member of the Dutch Parliament and leader of the Party for Freedom (PVV).
This Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2017, is the 100th birthday of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.
JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963, as he approached the end of his third year in office. Researchers who spent years studying the evidence have concluded that President Kennedy was assassinated by a conspiracy between the CIA, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secret Service. (See, for example, JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. Douglass)
Kennedy entered office as a cold warrior, but he learned from his interaction with the CIA and Joint Chiefs that the military/security complex had an agenda that was self-interested and a danger to humanity. He began working to defuse tensions with the Soviet Union. His rejections of plans to invade Cuba, of the Northwoods project, of a preemptive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, and his intention to withdraw from Vietnam after his reelection, together with some of his speeches signaling a new approach to foreign policy in the nuclear age (see for example, https://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/BWC7I4C9QUmLG9J6I8oy8w.aspx ), convinced the military/security complex that he was a threat to their interests. Cold War conservatives regarded him as naive about the Soviet Threat and a liability to US national security. These were the reasons for his assassination. These views were set in stone when Kennedy announced on June 10, 1963, negotiations with the Soviets toward a nuclear test ban treaty and a halt to US atmospheric nuclear tests.
The Oswald coverup story never made any sense and was contradicted by all evidence including tourist films of the assassination. President Johnson had ro cover up the assassination, not because he was part of it or because he willfully wanted to deceive the American people, but because to give Americans the true story would have shaken their confidence in their government at a critical time in US-Soviet relations. To make the coverup succeed, Johnson needed the credibility of the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, Earl Warren, to chair the commission that covered up the assassination. Warren understood the devastating impact the true story would have on the public and their confidence in the military and national security leadership and on America’s allies.
As I previously reported, Lance deHaven-Smith in his book, Conspiracy Theory in America, shows that the CIA introduced “conspiracy theory” into the political lexicon as a technique to discredit skepticism of the Warren Commission’s coverup report. He provides the CIA document that describes how the agency used its media friends to control the explanation.
The term “conspiracy theory” has been used ever since to validate false explanations by discrediting true explanations.
President Kennedy was also determined to require the Israel Lobby to register as a foreign agent and to block Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. His assassination removed the constraints on Israel’s illegal activities. http://www.voltairenet.org/article178401.html
Memorial Day is when Americans honor those in the armed services who died serving the country. JFK fell while serving the causes of peace and nuclear disarmament. In a 1961 address to the United Nations, President Kennedy said:
“Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us. It is therefore our intention to challenge the Soviet Union, not to an arms race, but to a peace race – to advance together step by step, stage by stage, until general and complete disarmament has been achieved.”
Kennedy’s address was well received at home and abroad and received a favorable and supportive response from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, but it caused consternation among the warhawks in the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The US led in terms of the number of nuclear warheads and delivery systems, and this lead was the basis for US military plans for a surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. http://prospect.org/article/did-us-military-plan-nuclear-first-strike-1963 Also, Many believed that nuclear disarmament would remove the obstacle to the Soviet Army overrunning Western Europe. Warhawks considered this a greater threat than nuclear armageddon. Many in high military circles regarded President Kennedy as weakening the US viv-a-vis the Soviet Union.
The assassination of President Kennedy was an enormous cost to the world. Kennedy and Khrushchev would have followed up their collaboration in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis by ending the Cold War long before the military/security complex achieved its iron grip on the US government. Israel would have been denied nuclear weapons, and the designation of the Israel Lobby as a foreign agent would have prevented Israel’s strong grip on the US government. In his second term, JFK would have broken the CIA into a thousand pieces, an intention he expressed to his brother, Robert, and the Deep State would have been terminated before it became more powerful than the President.
But the military/security complex struck first, and pulled off a coup that voided all these promises and terminated American democracy.
(Re-publication) Views on ETs, UFOs, and ‘official’ cover-ups
A couple of months ago, top American astronomers gathered in front of Congress to let them know that extra-terrestrial life exists — without question. They cited the sheer size of the universe as their most important proof, emphasizing that there are trillions of stars out there, with one in every five most likely harbouring an Earth-like planet (though it is important to keep in mind that planets do not have to be “Earth-like” in order to harbour life). You can read more about that story here.
“The number of habitable worlds in our galaxy is certainly in the tens of billions, minimum, and we haven’t even talked about the moons. And the number of galaxies we can see, other than our own, is about 100 billion.”
– Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at California’s SETI Institute (source)
This time, NASA and the Library of Congress have teamed up to bring together scientists, theologians, philosophers, and historians from around the globe for a two-day symposium in order to discuss how to prepare the world for extraterrestrial contact, whether it be with microbial organisms or intelligent beings.
“We’re looking at all scenarios about finding life. If you find microbes, that’s one thing. If you find intelligence, it’s another. And if they communicate, it’s something else, and depending on what they say, it’s something else! The idea is not to wait until we make a discovery, but to try and prepare the public for what the implications might be when such a discovery is made. I think the reason that NASA is backing this is because of all the recent activity in the discovery of exoplanets and the advances in astrobiology in general. People just consider it much more likely now that we’re going to find something — probably microbes first and maybe intelligence later. The driving force behind this is from a scientific point of view that it seems much more likely now that we are going to find life at some point in the future.”
One of the theologians present was Brother Guy Consolmagno, who is the new president of the Vatican Observatory Foundation. He told the Huffington Post, “I believe [alien life exists], but I have no evidence. I would be really excited and it would make my understanding of my religion deeper and richer in ways that I can’t even predict yet, which is why it would be so exciting.” (source)
He is urging the public not to be surprised when extraterrestrial life is discovered, because it is inevitably going to happen. He even said that he would be happy to baptize them, if it’s intelligent extraterrestrial life that’s discovered. The Vatican has been very open to the idea of intelligent extraterrestrial life, and they’ve expressed these views for some time now.
Earth is not the centre of the universe, it’s not flat, and it’s looking very likely that the next major paradigm-shifting revelation will be the fact that we are not alone in the universe. It’s great to see the mainstream world gather, discuss, and prepare for this possibility and ultimate reality.
The Other Probability: Intelligent Extraterrestrial Life Is Already Here
The information below, which is from another article I wrote this year, is probably old news for CE fans that regularly visit our site, but I thought it would be fitting to share it again for our new readers. You can find more CE articles on the UFO/Extraterrestrial topic by visiting our exopolitics section HERE.
In the United States, at least half of all Americans say that we’re not alone in the universe. Fifty percent of Americans already believe that there is some form of life on other planets, while only 17% think that there is not. A quarter of Americans believe that intelligent extraterrestrial visitors have already come to Earth and have been doing so for a long time. (source)
“Yes there have been crashed craft, and bodies recovered. We are not alone in the universe, they have been coming here for a long time.”
– Apollo 14 Astronaut, Air Force Captain, and Founder of the Institute of Noetic Sciences, Dr. Edgar Mitchell (source) (source)
There are multiple reasons why the extraterrestrial question continues to gain popularity. People are starting to ask questions about the world around them, utilizing critical thinking and investigation. After thoroughly researching this topic you will be hard-pressed to deny that we are not alone, and we are being visited.
The Size of the Universe
How often do you look up into the night sky and wonder just how many stars, planets, galaxies, and more are out there? Space has always been deeply fascinating to scientists, philosophers, artists — just about everyone, in fact. What is it about deep space that so forcefully grabs our attention? To think about just how big the universe is can really put things into perspective.
Counting the stars in the universe is like trying to count the number of sand grains on a beach. It’s an effort in futility. Although estimates vary among different experts, the general consensus is that there are at least between 100 billion and 200 billion galaxies in our universe. Think about that for a moment, and now throw in billions of stars in each galaxy! (source) This number could very easily be in the trillions for all we know.
Take the Milky Way Galaxy, for example, which measures to about 120,000 light years across (it would take light that many years to travel across the galaxy), and contains up to 400 billion stars. (source)
Scientists estimate that at least 10 billion habitable Earth-sized planets exist in the Milky Way alone (which is, again, just 1 galaxy out of billions), but it’s important to keep an open mind about the necessary conditions for life. Some extraterrestrial lifeforms could require an entirely different environment in order to thrive. Accordingly, all habitable planets do not necessarily need to be Earth-like.
Given our estimation of the size of the universe, or multiverse (whatever you want to call it), odds are we are not alone.
The past few years have seen a surge of whistleblowers coming out and saying some pretty remarkable things. Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden, and Julian Assange have received the most attention, but the reality is that there are hundreds of whistleblowers who have come forward with verified credentials and backgrounds. Mass surveillance and the security state are not the only things shocking people around the world; it’s the fact that many of these whistleblowers claim that we are not alone in the universe. They might be easy to ignore, too, if it weren’t for the impressive backgrounds these people have in their respected fields.
The first one that comes to mind is Paul Hellyer, the former Canadian Defence Minister responsible for unifying the Canadian Air Force, Army, and the Navy into one group now known as the Canadian Forces. For someone with such a background to come out and make these extraordinary claims was pretty shocking indeed, and definitely grabbed the attention of many people.
“Decades ago, visitors from other planets warned us about where we were headed and offered to help. But instead we, or at least some of some of us, interpreted their visits as a threat, and decided to shoot first and ask questions after. The inevitable result was that some of our planes were lost, but how many were due to retaliation, and how many were a result of our own stupidity, is a moot point.” (source)
“In one of the cases during the cold war, 1961, there were about 50 UFOs in formation flying South from Russia across Europe. The supreme allied commander was very concerned and was about ready to press the panic button when they turned around and went back over the North Pole. They decided to do an investigation and they investigated for three years and they decided that with absolute certainty that four different species, at least, have been visiting this planet for thousands of years. There’s been a lot more activity in the past two decades, especially since we invented the atomic bomb.” (source)
Paul Hellyer isn’t the only one making extraordinary statements. At least a dozen NASA astronauts have done the same. Just like Dr. Edgar Mitchell’s quote, other astronauts have said some remarkable things. Let’s take a look at a few examples.
“There is abundant evidence that we are being contacted, that civilizations have been monitoring us for a very long time. That their appearance is bizarre from any type of traditional materialistic western point of view. That these visitors use the technologies of consciousness, they use toroids, they use co-rotating magnetic disks for their propulsion systems, that seems to be a common denominator of the UFO phenomenon.”
– Dr. Brian O’Leary, former NASA astronaut and Princeton physics professor (source)
“In my opinion I think they were worried that it would panic the public so they started telling lies about it. And then I think they had to tell another lie to cover their first lie, now they don’t know how to get out of it. Now it’s going to be so embarrassing to admit that all these administrations have told so many untruths, it would be embarrassing getting out of it. There are a number of extraterrestrial vehicles out there cruising around.” (source)
– Gordon Cooper, former NASA astronaut, aeronautical engineer, and test pilot. One of the seven original astronauts in Project Mercury, the first manned space program of the United States.
The list goes on and on. The latest in NASA astronaut statements about UFOs came from the 2005 International Space Station (ISS) Commander, Leroy Chiao. You can read more about that HERE.
Here is a video of John Podesta, who was recently appointed as councillor to Barack Obama, supporting UFO disclosure.
Some of the most extraordinary statements about UFOs and extraterrestrials come from people who have held some of the highest positions known — those who would be in a position to know about possible extraterrestrial encounters.
“Behind the scenes, high ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense.”
– Former head of CIA Roscoe Hillenkoetter, 1960 (source)
“There are objects in our atmosphere which are technically miles in advance of anything we can deploy, that we have no means of stopping them coming here … [and] that there is a serious possibility that we are being visited and have been visited for many years by people from outer space, from other civilizations. That it behooves us, in case some of these people in the future or now should turn hostile, to find out who they are, where they come from, and what they want. This should be the subject of rigorous scientific investigation and not the subject of ‘rubishing’ by tabloid newspapers.”
– Lord Admiral Hill-Norton, Former Chief of Defence Staff, 5 Star Admiral of the Royal Navy, Chairman of the NATO Military Committee
“Everything is in a process of investigation both in the United States and in Spain, as well as the rest of the world. The nations of the world are currently working together in the investigation of the UFO phenomenon. There is an international exchange of data.”
– General Carlos Castro Cavero (1979), from UFOs and the National Security State, Volume 2, written by Richard Dolan
The list of military whistleblowers is extensive. There are hundreds of them and hundreds of quotes to choose from. To view military whistleblowers (with verified backgrounds) give a press conference at The National Press Club about UFOs deactivating nuclear weapons, click HERE. You can also look up Dr. Steven Greer and the Disclosure Project.
The list of quotes from all fields, from many people, is outstanding. I could literally fill pages upon pages, but I’ll stop here.
“There is another way whether it’s wormholes or warping space, there’s got to be a way to generate energy so that you can pull it out of the vacuum, and the fact that they’re here shows us that they found a way.”
– Jack Kasher, Ph.D, Professor Emeritus of physics, University of Nebraska (source)
Dr. Kasher seems to be referring to FREE ENERGY in this clip.
“This thing has gotten so highly-classified . . . it is just impossible to get anything on it. I have no idea who controls the flow of need-to-know because, frankly, I was told in such an emphatic way that it was none of my business that I’ve never tried to make it to be my business since. I have been interested in this subject for a long time and I do know that whatever the Air Force has on the subject is going to remain highly classified.”
– Senator Barry Goldwater, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee (source)
The Evidence of UFOs
Within the past few years, dozens of governments have admitted to allocating resources and having programs to study the UFO phenomenon. For instance, in Canada, the RCMP, Transport Canada, and the Department of National Defence recently admitted to tracking UFOs and investigating them. (source) They’ve been doing it for years, accumulating thousands upon thousands of UFO related documents. Many of these documents have since been officially released.
HERE is the latest batch of UFO files released from the United Kingdom.
Documents released by the National Security Agency (NSA) reveal what is recorded when a UFO is being tracked on radar. HERE is one example. HERE is a four-page U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency and NSA report describing a particular encounter in great detail.
“As the F-4 approached a .range of 25 NM he lost all instrumentation and communications (UHF and intercom). He broke off the intercept and headed back to Shahrokhi. When the F-4 turned away from the object and apparently was no longer a threat to it the aircraft regained all instrumentation and communications. . . .
The object and the pursuing F-4 continued on a course to the south of Tehran when another brightly lighted object, estimated to be one half to one third the apparent size of the moon, came out of the original object. This second object headed straight toward the F-4 at a very fast rate of speed. The pilot attempted to fire an AIM-9 missile at the object but at that Instant his weapons control panel went off and he lost all communications (UHF and Inter- phone).”
You can read more about the radar tracking of UFOs HERE.
HERE is a Wikileaks cable that describes how some politicians already know we are not alone in the universe. You can read more about that HERE.
Thousands upon thousands of UFO related documents are now available in the public domain. For a summary of more documents that have been declassified and made available, check out this 10 minute video by Richard Dolan, and see for yourself what type of information is out there.
Mass Mainstream Media Attention
Media outlets of all kind are covering the topic, and almost every movie that comes out these days has something to do with space or some kind of extraterrestrial intelligence. We’ve been bombarded with the topic for a while now, so it’s easy to see why it’s on the minds of many.
The most recent case of mainstream extraterrestrial news happened when scientists spoke to the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. Dan Werthimer of the SETI Research Centre at the University of California, Berkeley, recently called for more funding to be allocated to the search for extraterrestrial life, since he is “close to 100 percent” certain that we are not alone. (source)
In mid-2013, the same committee held a hearing about exoplanet discoveries, but perhaps one of the largest UFO/extraterrestrial hearings was at the National Press Club, which also took place at that time. At this event, hundreds of researchers, activists, and military/agency/political witnesses representing 10 countries gave UFO/extraterrestrial testimony to six former members of the United States Congress about events and evidence indicating an extraterrestrial presence engaging the human race.
Former Senator and 2008 presidential candidate Mike Gravel said that there is “an extraterrestrial influence that is investigating our planet. Something is monitoring the planet and they are monitoring it very cautiously.” You can learn more about the Citizens Hearing here.
Apart from these events, UFOs are a constant topic of interest in today’s mainstream news. Unfortunately, most mainstream media outlets seek to ridicule, rather than investigate, the subject properly.
To view military whistleblowers (with verified backgrounds) give a press conference at The National Press Club about UFOs deactivating nuclear weapons, click HERE.
There are millions of people out there claiming to have had contact with extraterrestrial beings. This has played a large role in spreading extraterrestrial interest across the world. All of us seem to be naturally fascinated with the unknown, especially when it comes to space. It is simply in our nature.
Neuroscience can now explain what happens to our body when we meditate, but it’s something we all knew to be beneficial before the science explained why. Is extraterrestrial life similar? Is it something we all feel deep down inside, something we don’t need proof for (though it does exist)?
Besides the thousands of videos available on YouTube, there is some very fascinating officially documented UFO footage available for us to see. Click HERE to see raw footage of a UFO showing up in Norway for scientists at their observatory.
Click HERE to see film from the 1991 NASA STS-48 Discovery Space Shuttle mission. It’s some of the best officially documented UFO footage out there today.
HERE is a video that made headlines once released. It came straight from the Mexican Air Force. Do a quick UFO search on YouTube and, while you’ll see many fakes, you’ll also find many real videos of unknown aerial objects.
A few years ago the question was, “Do UFOs exist?” Today that question has been answered, and the presence of UFOs performing maneuvers that defy our laws of physics has been well documented. The question has more so shifted to, “Is that an extraterrestrial spacecraft?”
It’s nothing to fear. It’s my personal opinion that they’ve been around forever. They were aware of us long before we became aware of them. As speculated with our ancient civilizations in Earth’s brief past, perhaps they will one day interact with humanity again. I guess we will see.
Perhaps some groups are concerned about our planet, and come here further pushing the idea that we need to start changing the way we are doing things here. Perhaps one day soon we will find out.
I definitely believe that a good chunk of these UFOs are of extra-terrestrial origin. I also believe that many of these crafts are “ours.”
This article is based entirely on documented sources and on interviews with the survivors. Throughout the decades since this war crime was committed it has been covered up by all succeeding US administrations.
June 8, 1967, the fourth day of the Six Day War between Israel and Egypt, Syria and Jordan, was a beautiful day in the Mediterranean. The USS Liberty was in international waters off the coast of Egypt. Israeli aircraft had flown over the USS Liberty in the morning and had reported that the ship was American. The crew, in close proximity to the war zone, was reassured by the presence of Israeli aircraft. But at 2:00 p.m. sailors sunbathing on the deck saw fighter jets coming at them in attack formation. Red flashes from the wings of the fighters were followed by explosions, blood and death. A beautiful afternoon suddenly became a nightmare. Who was attacking the USS Liberty and why? The attack on the Liberty was an attack on America.
The Liberty was an intelligence ship. Its purpose was to monitor Soviet and Arab communications in order to warn both Israel and Washington should the Soviets enter the war on behalf of its Arab allies. The Liberty was armed only with four machine guns to repel boarders. Its request for a destroyer escort had been denied.
The assault on the Liberty is well documented. With no warning, the Liberty was attacked by successive waves of unmarked jets using cannon, rockets and napalm. The attacking jets jammed all of the US communications frequencies, an indication they knew the Liberty was an American ship.
The air attack failed to sink the Liberty. About 30 minutes into the attack three torpedo boats appeared flying the Star of David. The Israeli boats were not on a rescue mission. They attacked the Liberty with cannon, machine guns and torpedoes. One torpedo struck the Liberty mid-ship, instantly killing 25 Americans while flooding the lower decks. The Israeli torpedo boats destroyed the life rafts the Liberty launched when the crew prepared to abandon ship, sending the message there’d be no survivors.
At approximately 3:15 two French-built Israeli helicopters carrying armed Israeli troops appeared over the Liberty. Phil Tourney could see their faces only 50/60 feet away. He gave them the finger. Surviving crew members are convinced the Israelis were sent to board and kill all survivors.
The Israeli jets destroyed the Liberty’s communication antennas. While under attack from the jets, crew members strung lines that permitted the ship to send a call for help. The USS Saratoga and the USS America launched fighters to drive off the attacking aircraft, but the rescue mission was aborted by direct orders from Washington.
When the Liberty notified the Sixth Fleet it was again under attack, this time from surface ships, the Fleet commander ordered the carriers America and Saratoga to launch fighters to destroy or drive off the attackers. The order was unencrypted and picked up by Israel, which immediately called off its attack. The torpedo boats and the hovering helicopters sped away. Israel quickly notified Washington that it had mistakenly attacked an American ship, and the US fighters were recalled a second time.
The USS Liberty suffered 70% casualties, with 34 killed and 174 wounded. Although the expensive state of the art ship was kept afloat by the heroic crew, it later proved unsalvageable and was sold as scrap.
Why didn’t help come?
No explanation has ever been given by the US government for Defense SecretaryRobert McNamara and PresidentLyndon B. Johnson‘s orders for the Sixth Fleet to abort the rescue mission. Lt. Commander David Lewis of the Liberty told colleagues that Admiral L. R. Geis, commander of the Sixth Fleet carrier force, told him that when he challenged McNamara’s order to recall the rescue mission, LBJ came on the line and said he didn’t care if the ship sank, he wasn’t going to embarrass an ally. The communications officer handling the transmission has given the same account.
A BBC documentary on the Israeli raid reports confusion about the attacker’s identity almost resulted in a US assault on Egypt. Richard Parker, US political counsel in Cairo, confirms in the BBC documentary he received official communication an American retaliatory attack on Egypt was on its way.
The US government’s official position on the USS Liberty corresponds with Israel’s: The attack was unintentional and a result of Israeli blunders. This is the official position despite the fact that CIA Director Richard Helms, Secretary of State Dean Rusk, Assistant Secretary of State Lucius Battle, and a long list of US Navy officers, government officials and Liberty survivors are on record saying the Israeli attack was intentional.
According to Helms, Battle and the minutes of a White House meeting, President Johnson believed the attack was intentional. Helms says LBJ was furious and complained when The New York Times buried the story on page 29, but that Johnson decided he had to publicly accept Israel’s explanation. “The political pressure was too much,” Helms said.
US communications personnel, intelligence analysts and ambassadors report having read US intercepts of Israeli orders to attack the Liberty. In one intercept an Israeli pilot reports that the Liberty is an American ship and asks for a repeat and clarification of his orders to attack an American ship. One Israeli who identified himself as one of the pilots later came to America and met with US Representative Pete McCloskey and Liberty survivors. The pilot said he had refused to participate in the attack when he saw it was an American ship. He was arrested upon returning to base.
The Liberty flew the US flag. The ship’s markings, GTR-5, measured several feet in height on both sides of the bow. On the stern the ship was clearly marked USS LIBERTY. Mistaking the Liberty for an Egyptian ship, as Israel claims to have done, was impossible.
Tattered flags show ferocity of the attacks
The Israelis claim the Liberty flew no flag, but two US flags full of holes from the attack exist. When the first flag was shot down, crewmen replaced it with a flag 7-feet by 13-feet. This flag, with its battle scars, is on display at NSA headquarters at Ft. Mead, Maryland.
Admiral John S. McCain Jr., the father of the current US senator, ordered Admiral Isaac C. Kidd and Captain Ward Boston to hold a court of inquiry and to complete the investigation in only one week. In a signed affidavit Captain Boston said President Johnson ordered a cover-up and that he and Admiral Kidd were prevented from doing a real investigation. Liberty survivors were ordered never to speak to anyone about the event. Their silence was finally broken when Lt. Commander Jim Ennes published his book, Assault on the Liberty .
It is now established fact that the attack on the Liberty was intentional and was covered up by President Johnson and every administration since. There has never been a congressional investigation, nor has the testimony of the majority of survivors ever been officially taken. Moreover, testimony that conflicted with the cover-up was deleted from the official record.
Disgusted by the US government’s official stance discounting the survivors’ reports, Admiral Tom Moorer, retired Chief of Naval Operations and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, organized the Moorer Commission to make public the known facts about the attack and cover-up. The Commission consisted of Admiral Moorer, former Judge Advocate General of the US Navy Admiral Merlin Staring, Marine Corps General Raymond G. Davis and former US Ambassador to Saudi Arabia James Akins.
The Commission’s Report concluded:
“That there is compelling evidence that Israel’s attack was a deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill her entire crew.
“That fearing conflict with Israel, the White House deliberately prevented the US Navy from coming to the defense of USS Liberty by recalling Sixth Fleet military rescue support while the ship was under attack.
“That surviving crew members were threatened with “court-martial, imprisonment or worse’ if they exposed the truth; and [the survivors] were abandoned by their own government.
“That there has been an official cover-up without precedent in American naval history.
“That a danger to our national security exists whenever our elected officials are willing to subordinate American interests to those of any foreign nation.”
Why did Israel attack the Liberty? Was something super secret going on that is so damaging it must be protected at all cost?
Some experts believe Tel Aviv decided to sink the Liberty because the ship’s surveillance capability would discover Israel’s impending invasion and capture of Syria’s Golan Heights, an action opposed by Washington. Others believe Israel was concerned the Liberty would discover Israel’s massacre of hundreds of Egyptian POWs, a war crime contemporaneous with the attack on the US ship. Still others believe that Israel intended to blame the attack on Egypt in order to bring America into the war. It is known the US was providing Israel with reconnaissance and that there were joint US-Israeli covert operations against the Arabs that Washington was desperate to keep secret.
Survivors with whom I spoke said the attack was the easy part of the experience. The hard part has been living with 40 years of official cover-up and betrayal by the US government. One survivor said that he was asked to leave his Baptist church when he spoke about the Liberty, because the minister and fellow church-goers felt more loyalty to Israel than to a member of the congregation who had served his country. His church’s position was that if our government believed Israel, the survivors should also.
Survivor Phil Tourney said that “being forced to live with a cover-up is like being raped and no one will believe you.”
Survivor Gary Brummett said he “feels like someone who has been locked up for 40 years on a wrongful conviction.” Until the US government acknowledges the truth of the attack, Brummett says the survivors are forced to live with the anger and dismay of being betrayed by the country they served.
Survivor Bryce Lockwood has been angry for 40 years. The torpedo that killed his shipmates, wrecked his ship and damaged his health was made in the USA.
Survivor Ernie Gallo told me he “has been haunted for four decades” by the knowledge that his commander-in-chief recalled the US fighters that could have prevented most of the Liberty’s casualties.
Every American should be troubled by the fact that the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense prevented the US Sixth Fleet from protecting a US Navy ship and its 294-man crew from foreign attack. They should also be troubled that the President ordered the Navy to determine the attack was unintentional.
What will Brexit mean, both short and long-term? Could it lead to more countries’ rank and file voters deciding to take back control from the elitists who denigrate the hoi polloi? Or will the elitist establishment continue trampling on democracy?
We’re in the middle of the most important General Election for a generation. For decades, election campaigns have been fought on narrow, technocratic terrain. They’ve been battles of soundbites, economic plans whose fine distinctions are of interest only to think-tankers and journalists, and focus-grouped giveaways aimed at cajoling the electorate into the ballot box. That has now all been wiped away – by Brexit. For the first time in recent memory, the questions which define and divide our politics are ones of sovereignty, democracy, self-determination. This election is about resolving the unfinished business of 23 June. An opportunity to remind the political class how serious the Leave vote was, and see off those who are committed to silencing that unprecedented democratic cry.
This is how the election was first framed, by Theresa May, who lambasted the Brexit-blockers in both houses of parliament when she called the snap poll. And by the Lib Dems, the anti-Brexit boosters, who rubbed their hands with glee as they dreamt of riding the (mythical) 48 per cent to a rejuvenated parliamentary party and, possibly, a second referendum. That Labour has from the start tried its best to avoid Brexit, making only cryptic statements about whether or not it is committed to implementing the vote, is another mark of the party’s irrelevance – more proof that even if it holds on under Jeremy Corbyn, even if its death is yet again delayed, its connection to the people it was set up to represent would remain damaged beyond repair.
Something big is happening. The public is crying out for a more democratic politics, and we have forced our knackered political class to respond. The Tory Party is looking – often unconvincingly – to harness that spirit and build a new base. The Liberal Democrats have finally given up on both liberalism and democracy and are presenting themselves as the plucky defenders of the oligarchy (which, unsurprisingly, is going down badly with voters). By contrast, the Labour Party’s cowardice in the face of Brexit, bringing to the fore its internal paradoxes, is threatening to bring it low. This election may not promise a new politics. Neither of the two main parties – both fossils of another era – can really meet that desire. But the intrusion of big, historic questions into politics – the question of democracy, above all else – holds the promise of something new.
But you wouldn’t know that from the coverage of late. After spending weeks complaining about how boring and pointless the election is, the media have perked up a bit. Now that the manifestos have been launched, they’re talking up what’s at stake in this election but in entirely the wrong way. Labour’s manifesto – replete with plans for nationalisation, taxes on the rich and the abolition of tuition fees – has been presented as giving voters a real left-wing choice. ‘This is not an election where voters can say, with justification, “they are all the same”’, wrote the BBC’s political editor of Labour’s leaky offer. Meanwhile, the Tories’ ‘Forward, Together’ pitch, which talks of distancing the party from ‘untrammelled free markets’ and ‘selfish individualism’, has been presented as a break with Thatcherism.
To present this as a clash between clear and competing visions misses the point. Corbynism just lends a faux-radical gloss to deadening Labourite politics. As one Observer columnist put it last weekend, Jez’s manifesto is really just ‘Miliband microwaved’. And this is a dish that May also wants to serve up. Her pledges on energy caps and workers’ representation in the boardroom are straight out of the not-so-Red Ed playbook. But this is not so much a shift in Tory ideology as a change in mood music. David Cameron hardly presided over some nightwatchman state (state spending has continued to rise, under both Labour and Conservative governments, since 2000). And Maylibandism is not only not radical to begin with, it’s also pretty disingenuous. May’s pledge to raise the so-called living wage in line with inflation would mean it rising at a slower pace than George Osborne had planned, and she’s already watered down her plan for workers’ seats on boards.
This is business as usual dressed up as something more substantial – the classic clash between an uninspiring Keynesian Labour Party and the opportunistic Tories recast as a new political alignment. That in the shallow policy battle between May and Corbyn Ed Miliband seems to come up so much is testament to how lacking in real vision these manifestos are.
We cannot allow these to be the terms on which the election is fought. Far too much is at stake. An alliance of anti-democrats is trying to use this election to frustrate and water down Brexit. Rearguard Remain campaign Open Britain has published a hitlist of at-risk pro-Brexit MPs. Millionaire businesswoman Gina Miller has launched a campaign to promote MPs who will back a ‘meaningful vote’ on the Brexit deal in parliament – that is, an opportunity to reverse the far more meaningful vote we had last summer. The Lib Dems are banking on Brexit voters – many of whom hadn’t voted for decades, or ever before – staying home on 8 June so they can retake their Leave-heavy former heartlands in the south-west. Treating this as ‘just another election’ risks playing into the hands of those looking to turn this into an ersatz second referendum.
And the threat comes as much from within the Tory Party as without. Theresa May is not the Brexit warrior princess she or her backbench boosters would have us believe. May clearly feels the weight of the Brexit vote on her shoulders. She recognises how serious we are, and that’s why she has been able to tap into the Brexit spirit so effectively. But she’s also a technocrat, someone who feels the pull to be pragmatic. Any gains for the anti-democrats would only encourage her to indulge those impulses, and those MPs in her own party who would rather fudge on sovereignty and steady the ship than implement the people’s will. That the home secretary, Amber Rudd, told the BBC the day after the election was announced that a new mandate for May would help her secure a ‘sensible Brexit’ should make it clear that Brexit is far from a done deal.
Anyone who considers themselves a democrat must take this election seriously. Not because of the parties’ policies and pledges, but in spite of them. That’s why, this General Election, spiked is calling on you to back the candidate in your constituency most committed to upholding the people’s will. It doesn’t matter the colour of their rosette, or the manifesto they’re standing on. What matters is that they recognise that it is the public that must hold the most sway in politics. Of course, there are other issues that matter deeply to people, but it is only through making good on Brexit that we can start carving out the change that our political class is clearly so incapable of delivering. Over the remaining few weeks we’ll be travelling around the country, reporting from key constituencies, talking to voters and putting tough questions to the candidates on offer. Join us. Download our General Election leaflet here. Go to your local hustings, and put your candidates to the test. Vote for democracy, and show the political class how serious we are.
Tom Slater is deputy editor at spiked. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Slater_
What does it mean to ‘Stop Brexit’? Or ‘prevent an extreme Brexit’, in the euphemistic phrase preferred by millionaire Brexit-basher Gina Miller and Tony Blair’s online army of Brexit blockers? In recent months, and even more intensively in the days since Theresa May called a snap election for June, the rallying cry of ‘Stop Brexit’ or ‘Stop Hard Brexit’ has become such a central feature of media and political chatter that we sometimes don’t stop to think about what it means. It’s time we did.
Stopping Brexit means stopping democracy. Undoing Brexit means undoing not only last June’s referendum result, but by extension the founding principle of the modern democratic era: that everyday men and women should decide the fate of the nations they live in. The war on Brexit is more than a war on one democratic decision — it’s a war on the very idea that decisions like this should be made by the demos in the first place. This is what’s at stake in the coming election. That’s why the election is so important.
Since May announced the snap election, we’ve witnessed a remarkable mobilisation of the forces of Stopping Brexit. From Ms Miller’s well-funded, Twitterati-cheered campaign for tactical voting to keep Extreme Brexiteers (that is, Brexiteers) out of parliament to Tony Blair and Tim Farron cosying up for a New Labour / Lib Dem assault on what they call Hard Brexit, elite Remainers are devoting an extraordinary amount of energy and resources to Stopping Brexit.
Strikingly, the supposedly liberal press that usually kicks up a fuss when the wealthy and one-time warmongers poke their noses into politics in order to shape it more to their tastes than to the plebs’ passions have been quiet. Or supportive, rather. They largely back this elitist Brexit-blocking. ‘I’ll vote for whoever runs the best anti-Brexit campaign’, says rock chick for the establishment, Caitlin Moran. The Brexit-bashers’ bible, the New European, offers us ‘the ultimate guide to defeating Brexit’. ‘Could tactical voting stop Brexit?’, muses the New Statesman. From business to politics to media, they’re all at it: Stopping Brexit.
That’s enough euphemism. That’s enough sweet talk for something distinctly unsweet. Let’s be clear: Stopping Brexit means stopping, rolling back, the ideals that underpin the modern era. It means stopping the enactment of the will of the people. It means denying the wishes of the 17.4million who rationally, expectantly voted Leave last year.
The project to Stop Brexit — or block it or bruise it — is dressed up in so much pseudo-progressive rhetoric that its true, terrifying nature comes to be obscured. Perversely, the Brexit blockers even use the language of democracy in their efforts to stymie the democratic will. ‘Democracy is a very precious thing’, said Miller as she launched her Best for Britain (sic) campaign to fund electoral candidates who will ‘scrutinise’ and ‘speak up’ against Brexit. Under the guise of democracy, the most populous act of democracy in British history is targeted. At a time of such widespread elite doublespeak — where blocking the demos is presented as democracy; where staying in the illiberal EU is referred to as a ‘liberal’ position; where it’s ‘progressive’ to fear the people and their franchise — clarity should be a key aim of all democrats.
Let’s demystify Stopping Brexit. Let’s give it its real name. ‘We must ensure democracy is not stifled’, says Miller as she launches a campaign to stifle democracy. This is the level of obfuscation, of opaque propaganda, we democrats face in this election. Likewise, Blair talks about creating a new ‘progressive alliance’ to tackle Brexit and insists this is about boosting democracy, through encouraging more scrutiny and debate, not blocking it. Progress, democracy, liberalism — with fantastic cynicism, these positive historic words are used to doll up a campaign that is by any measure anti-progressive, given its support for the byzantine bureaucratic structures of the EU, and which is the opposite of democratic and far from liberal.
Witness, for example, elite Remainers’ branding of those who oppose the EU as ‘Europhobic’ and their cynical whipping up of a post-referendum hate-crime panic: their instinct, illiberal to its core, is to present opposition to the EU as the great unsayable in polite society, a harbinger of hatred. ‘Your ideas are actual violence’, they effectively say to Brexiteers, even as they claim the mantle of openness. Everything they say is dressed in the language of progress and liberalism; everything they actually mean grates against progress and liberal values.
One thing we democrats have in our favour is that Stop Brexit’s gloss of democracy and progress is a thin one indeed. It can be easily scratched to reveal the classical anti-democratic sentiments that lurk beneath. So Blair, alongside posing as a defender of democratic debate, says the problem with Brexit is that it was based on ‘imperfect knowledge’, and now he and his army of Brexit-blockers must reintroduce ‘informed knowledge’. In short, us voters didn’t know what we were doing; we’re idiots.
Miller, who said the Brexit vote made her feel ‘physically sick’, says voters ‘didn’t know what Brexit meant’. The Remainer press is packed with handwringing over ‘low information’ voters, led astray by ‘Leave lies’. The whole thing drips with the oldest anti-democratic prejudices, the nasty ideas that fuelled the elitist opposition to the Chartists’ demand for the vote for working-class men and to the later idea of votes for women: that people are generally dim, fodder for demagogues, lacking sufficient information, and thus they require a better-educated class to lead them — to impart to them ‘informed knowledge’.
Indeed, what was once said about women getting the vote is now said about all people having the vote. Early 20th-century anti-Suffragettes said women lacked ‘political capacity’, because they suffer from an ‘excess of sympathy’ that ‘shuts out from their mind logical power and judicial impartiality’. In short, they’re emotional, not logical. This is now said about all voters. As a piece in the New European put it, Brexit is a consequence of the fact that voters ‘lack objective information and due consideration’. Politics requires ‘facts and thoughts’, but now it is too often driven by ‘voter sentiment’ and the ‘tricks and lies now used to manipulate [that] sentiment’, says the New European. How elitists viewed women in the early 20th century is how anti-Brexit elitists view all of us today: as too visceral and too feeling for the serious, logical business of politics.
The similarities between what was said by the anti-Suffragette movement and what is now said by the Stop Brexit lobby reveals what is at stake here. Not just Brexit, but the hard-fought-for value of democracy itself, and the ideas that underpin it: that people are more than capable of understanding their world and deciding how it should be governed. A defeat for Brexit would be a defeat for democracy. Stopping Brexit would call into question, and in fact start to unravel, the intellectual, moral and political gains of the movements for greater democracy over the past 200 years. This is why this election matters. Anti-democrats are using it to re-establish their alleged wisdom over our ‘sentiment’, their alleged logic over our ‘excess of sympathy’, and their political authority over our stupidity. It mustn’t stand. A key task in this election is to defeat the anti-democrats wherever they’re standing. Get to work.
Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked.
Article 50: down with this legal coup against the masses
The use of the law to stymie Brexit is a naked, elitist assault on democracy.
Today’s High Court ruling that Article 50 should not be triggered by the government but rather must be mulled over and decided on by MPs is being presented as a mere technical decision. It’s just about ins and outs. It’s about practicalities, not politics. It’s about the ‘procedure and policy’ of how we leave the EU, says one of the filthy-rich claimants who took this Brexitphobic court action. They really must believe their own propaganda about us Brexit-backing plebs being ‘low information’ (Forbes) and ‘ignoramuses’ (Richard Dawkins) if they think we’re going to buy this. We aren’t. This court action, and the glee it’s being greeted with by media and political haters of Brexit, is 100 per cent political, to its core. It’s motivated far less by a love for legally clean procedure than by a naked disdain for ordinary people and our democratic authority. It’s not a blow for box-ticking; it’s a blow against what we the people said in the ballot box on 23 June.
The that this case was a school-prefect-style stab for a clean, constitutional Brexit is shot down by the fact that it was brought by devoted Remainers. The super-wealthy spearhead of the case, Gina Miller, says she was made ‘physically sick’ by Brexit. She says the dim-witted decision to leave the EU, taken by 17.4million people, is a result of our having been ‘lied to’ (ie, we were brainwashed) and then choosing to do some ‘venting of anger’ (ie, we behaved emotionally). Miller has been hailed ‘woman of the century’ by influential Remainers who are dedicated to diluting or even thwarting Brexit. And the court’s decision is being celebrated by Remainers who want to hold up (rather than uphold) the people’s will. This is a ‘great moment for parliament’, says philosopher turned hater of democracy AC Grayling, since it means ‘MPs acting from courage and conviction [can] stop Brexit’. And they say with a straight face that it’s ‘about process, not politics’. They really do think we’re idiots. They really think we cannot see through their low, cynical marshalling of the law to prevent democracy, to stop politics, to undermine us.
The most laughable argument being pushed by these pleaders with white-haired judges to block the passions of the mob is that they’re standing up for parliamentary sovereignty. They pose as democrats who simply want to preserve the authority of parliament over the say-so of a single PM. With fantastic Orwellianism, one of the campaign groups that begged the High Court judge to hold up the political desires of the moronic masses calls itself ‘The People’s Challenge’.
Pro-parliamentary sovereignty? Come off it. These are the very same pro-EU types who watched and clapped for years as parliamentary sovereignty was watered down through the EU and who branded as xenophobic or a Little Englander anyone who said, ‘Wait, shouldn’t our parliament be properly sovereign?’. They have no attachment whatsoever to the fundamentals of parliamentary sovereignty. They’re only interested in it now because they hope, desperately, that MPs, a majority of whom are Remainers, will vote down what they view as the calamity of Brexit. That is, they’re drawn to parliamentary sovereignty as a potential tool for undermining the demos, for opposing the people, for acting against democracy.
They seem not to realise that if parliamentarians were to override or even slow down the will of the majority this would call into question the entire moral legitimacy of parliament. It would devastate its democratic and moral remit, the very thing we fought wars and beheaded a king to preserve, which is derived precisely from the throng that these elitists view with such unconcealed disgust. Parliamentary sovereignty isn’t some academic, legalistic idea that judges defend and allow: it is us made political flesh, the institutional expression of the spirit of the people. For MPs to act against Brexit would violently intensify cynicism of institutions and bring about a crisis of democracy of the kind Britain hasn’t experienced for a very long time. Yet this is the price some Remainers are willing to pay to stop Brexit: the hollowing-out of the historic spirit of parliament. The truth is that parliamentary sovereignty was exercised when parliament agreed to hold a referendum and to distribute pamphlets which openly stated: ‘The government will implement what you decide.’ This act of parliamentary sovereignty entrusted the fate of the EU to the people, and now this must be acted on — fully and swiftly, because the people want it, not because a judge thinks it might be feasible at a certain point.
Let’s stop talking in euphemisms. Let’s park the blather about ‘procedure’ and ‘process’. What is happening here is that well-connected, well-off people are using the courts to stymie the democratic will. It is a straight-up assault on democracy, of the sort that when it happens in Latin America or Asia the very Remainers currently cheering our wise judges would shake their heads and say: ‘Why are those foreigners so uncivilised?’ The court case is a disgrace. It’s anti-democratic, anti-politics, fuelled by a dread of the demos and by feelings of ‘physical sickness’ for what the majority of people think and want. We make them puke.
The majority calmly discussed the EU, made a decision, and voted against it. And yet they’ve been ceaselessly defamed as ‘low information’ and ‘racist’ and have watched as their decision has been undermined and held up and relentlessly delegitimised by academics, lawmen and politicians. What must we do to make ourselves heard? To be taken seriously? If the ballot box doesn’t work, maybe it’s time for the streets?
Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked
More articles concerning Brexit and it’s implications
This post presents a chronology of issues and events relating to Cairns Port development. Scroll down for more background and sections 1 – 7.
Cairns Post, 16 February 2017
Dredge delays veiled in secrecy
Note: click on the thumb print if article does not show.
A letter published in the Cairns Post, 17 February, from this website’s editor summed up the reaction from all but the more extreme green/left community: ‘The continuing delays to deepening Trinity Inlet are a disgrace (‘Dredge delays veiled in secrecy’, 16/2) – what you would expect in a third-world dictatorship. I recall a meeting with Mayor Bob Manning nearly two years ago to discuss the port deepening and major associated benefits. I was dismayed at Bob’s explanations, and said so. Having led or advised on many far larger projects overseas, I know how projects can be completed rapidly, particularly when the benefit-cost calculations are very positive, as is the case with the port deepening. Now I realise that the main driver of FNQ infrastructure projects is politics, and offer my apologies to you, Bob, for my naivety. The latest explanation from Ports North for not completing a comprehensive project plan after some five years, and spending over $8 million dollars of our money, is pathetic and appears to assume we locals are idiots.’
22 June 2016. Excellent news that Cairns Port development seems to be back on track. The Cairns Post, 22 June, reported ‘PORTS North will zero in on two possible locations to dump one million cubic metres of dredge spoil from Trinity Inlet.The Cairns Post yesterday revealed dredging of the Cairns shipping channel would be fast-tracked to allow cruise ships up to 300-metres long to dock at the city’s port. City leaders welcomed the revival of the project, which would have a total cost of about $120 million. Ports North chairman Russell Beer said the organisation would work hard over the next 12 months to complete a rigorous environmental impact statement and “turn that into an approval”.’ Some background: After Ports North presented a practical plan in 2012, something happened causing their plans to veer off course. Was this applying fashionable ‘green’ ideology? Over $5 million dollars spent on consultants produced a draft EIS, checked by the Coordinator General and passed to Treasurer Pitt who pronounced the port development far too expensive at $365 million. This draft EIS was shown to have major flaws. Now different consultants indicate dredging only 1 million cubic metres of spoil – 23% of the previous 4.4 million – will enable larger cruise ships up to 90,000 tonnes and full fuel and sugar cargo ships to navigate the harbour. The proposal includes innovative ideas such as pumping the spoil to an underwater location in a sand pit, so no expensive treatment will be needed. Also, an East Trinity site is favoured – presumably to cover the small highly polluted area, as recommended by CSIRO in 1999. Hopefully the new plan, costed at $120 million, will now be expedited. It seems fair for the cost of this essential infrastructure be shared equally by the Federal and Queensland State governments.
8 June, the Cairns Post included an impressive 20-page supplement that presented a wide range of articles explaining the issues and benefits available from widening and deepening the Trinity Inlet. The lead-article was an open letter to the Prime Minister, leader of the opposition and the Queensland Premier asking for their support to expedite the port development project. The supplement is complimentary to the March 1 report to the Premier Cairns Port Development Report to Ministers.
1 June 2016: Advance Cairns, the peak independent non-government Advocacy and Economic Development Organisation for Tropical North Queensland (TNQ), advised on its new website: ‘RECOMMENDATION –Prioritise Cairns port infrastructure as a strategic investment in the regional economy enabling long-term sustained growth for tourism, Navy, port and service industries. Commit to this $1B industry by supporting the EIS process and implementing the CSDP’ (Cairns Shipping Development Project). The announcement continued: ‘Project Timelines – The final cost will be assessed as part of the revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with expenditure in 2017-20. EIS commenced and extended until June 2017′. This very welcome announcement appears to override Advance Cairns and the Cairns Chamber of Commerce previous submission to the Coordinator General which concluded ‘We believe that the Cairns Port will need to continue to incrementally develop the inlet and associated port infrastructure’. http://www.advancecairns.com/project/shipping-development/ and Cairns Chamber, Advance Cairns submission.
The Cairns Post editorial, 17 May, noted the state government’s record of blatantly ignoring the results of it’s own consultation. ‘First there was the public hearing regarding dredging the Trinity Inlet…Business people presented a great case to have Cairns included as a “port of significance” that would allow large-scale dredging…They were so successful that the people hearing the arguments recommended the Government include Cairns on that list. ‘ The result? The Labor State Government kowtowed to the Greens and ignored the recommendation of it’s own committee. So much for democracy! (Click on editorial graphic to expand).
The following article in the Cairns Post, 6 May, written by Queensland State Treasurer’s about Cairns Port deepening, comprised a mix of facts and misleading information (click on graphic to expand). A letter published on 7 May explains some of the more egregious points: ‘State Treasurer Curtis Pitt writes ‘Still room to move in the inlet’ (6/05). The most worrying aspect is that readers may think this is a reasonable assessment. Just a few of the shortfalls are noted below. Pitt states the Ports North proposal included ‘land-based options around $365m’. He formed this view based on the DRAFT EIS, ignoring the correct process to await public submissions, one of which explained the costs were grossly exaggerated, ignored optimum technology solutions, and should cost less than $250m. Pitt explains simulations have enabled a few of the large cruise ships to berth at the CBD cruise terminal. He does not mention that the majority will still have to anchor off Yorkeys Knob. Pitt wrote ‘we’ve seen a good environmental and economic outcome..’, but does not mention the many cargo ships that arrive and depart half full because the channel is too shallow, resulting in far higher costs. Pitt notes Ports North ‘will also be allowed to remove … up to 150,000 cubic metres in any four-year period.’ That rate would take 120 years to deepen and widen the channel as proposed.’
Cairns Post’s InvestCairns magazine, April 2016, Loss of Cruise Control, include several quotes from ‘renowned economist Bill Cummings’ such as “While small to medium-sized cruise ships can be home-ported in Cairns, the city will only fully realise its potential to become a cruise shipping h um if deepening and channel widening takes place – something that will also result in efficiencies for Cairns as a cargo and naval port.”
A letter from Treasurer Curtis Pitt’s Chief of Staff, John Humphreys (Qld Treasurer reply 120416), 12 April included: ‘Far North Queensland Ports Corporation Limited (Ports North) requested an extension to the EIS deadline to allow it further time to review target vessel sizes and channel improvements options, include the latest survey and field information on revised channel designs, undertake simulations to verify the size of cruise ships and access of reduced upgrade channel and a tidal window analysis. This request was approved by the Coordinator-General in December 2015 and the project lapse date has been extended to 30 June 2017.’
A letter published in the Cairns Post, 5 April, summed up the current impasse: ‘I refer to the Cairns Post story “Make Aquis Happen – Stop mucking around’ (26/03). “A Cairns business leader is warning Queensland Government to stop playing politics with … Aquis”. Then on page 23 “Cairns a jobless hotspot – Cairns was still 2.1% above the state average.” (7/3) I also recall the article “HMAS Cairns major expansion to make it key northern defence base. The confidential documents, obtained by The Cairns Post, reveal a new role for the city that includes dredging the inlet and expanding the base to accommodate 3000 personnel in an estimated $2 billion boon to the local economy.” Since then, it has been a deafening silence. Also, a recent report sent to the Premier and ministers explained how the reasons given for delaying Cairns Port development have been overcome. The report (see www.better-management.org)recommended the State government should expedite completion of a “shovel-ready” project plan. The total inaction suggests the rumours after the State election that the Greens did a deal with Labor to prevent large-scale projects in Cairns were true. Sorry Cairns, you’ve been dudded by your Governments.’ Note: The report can be downloaded from Cairns Port Development Report to Ministers. The report includes: ‘An independent group of specialists should be contracted as soon as possible to deliver a ‘shovel-ready’ plan to complete the port development, including a full benefit-cost analysis. Suggested terms of reference for this assignment are at Cairns Port Deepening Plan, TOR 081115.
CPDI presentation to Coordinator General – Cairns Port Development Inc. made a presentation to the Queensland State Coordinator General from a high-level suite near the Trinity Inlet on 8 December 2015. The venue allowed the presenters to point out the CoG the major developments in Cairns that had been achieved over half a century using spoil dredged from the inlet. The presentation described the many issues relating to the proposed port development proposal, including several errors in the Ports North draft EIS such as the exaggerated costs. The major benefits the Cairns Region would gain following the proposed development were explained, together with tables showing the calculations. The Power Point presentation can be downloaded from: CPD Inc. Presentation to the Coordinator General, update.
The Cairns Post Editorial, 22 January, heading Public input just ignored, compared the Labor State Government’s parliamentary hearing concerning the reduced nightclub opening hours with the previous hearings regarding the Cairns port “priority port” status. In both instances, it is clear the supposed ‘consultation’ was a sham. Even when the government’s own priority port committee recommended, without dissent, that Cairns should have priority port status, the Labor masters in Brisbane ignored their committee’s recommendation; an expensive con more worthy of a communist state. The Editorial concludes: ‘To invite guidance from the public is fair and right, to then ignore it is the height of hubris and conceit – something the Queensland electorate has shown contempt for.’ The complete editorial below makes compelling reading:
A letter from Peter Campion, Tolga, in The Cairns Post, 2 January, summarises the current deplorable status: ‘Doctor Fanny Douvere, the marine program coordinator at UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, does not expect the Abbot Point port expansion to hurt the Great Barrier Reef. Yet here in Cairns, the State Labor Government, using dodgy legislation and its fully-owned company Ports North, is continuing to delay the much-needed improvement of our port. Our local “environmental experts” at CAFNEC help the ALP’s anti-Cairns cause by spreading blatant falsehoods about our port, including that dredging it will kill the Reef. Science has proven our anti-port minority wrong at every step and now even UNESCO agrees dredging is not a problem. For Far North Queensland to be truly sustainable, we need our port to be fully functional. It’s now clear that to return our port to full efficiency we need to expose CAFNEC’s propaganda and to dump the ALP at the next election.’ Note: responding to a letter criticising this letter (09/01), Campion replied (CP letter 07/01): ‘(The writer) has been conned by CAFNEC and the anti-Cairns ALP and seems unaware of local history’, followed by supporting evidence.
The Cairns Post Editorial, 1 January 2016: ‘Tourism the way ahead…..With such a bright outlook for a tourism-related economic boost, it is timely for our city leaders to consider adopting a stronger stance on dredging Trinity inlet to allow larger cruise ships to dock. As the Australian dollar stays relatively low, more and more foreigners will add Australia to their travel lists, and the Far North and Great Barrier Reef are highly likely to be on the itinerary. In light of UNESCO’s tacit approval of recently announced wholesale dredging of the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen, surely that opens the door for the same in Cairns. Dredging opponents and federal and state government have used UNESCO’s threat to downgrade the Reef’s status as a reason to ban large-scale dredging in the inlet. But the world environmental watch dog barely gave a whimper after the Abbot Point dredging plan was revealed. As the inlet’s Environmental Impact process drags on, Abbot Point has now made itself a compelling precedent….’
An article was published in the Cairns Post business section, 23 November: ‘Benefits of dredging impossible to ignore’:
The article above followed the Cairns Post article by Nick Dalton, 19/12/15: Call to get big ships into port, reproduced below with additional comments in Italics:
Treasurer and acting State Development Minister Curtis Pitt has instructed Ports North to focus on ways to increase the size of ships entering the city’s port.
The Government has granted the authority an 18-month extension to an environmental impact statement. The final Terms of Reference for the Cairns Shipping Development Project were released by the Coordinator General in September 2012. Ports North announced they had commissioned consultants ARUP to complete the EIS in April 2013. Ports North stated the draft EIS report would be provided in May 2014, then a delay to September 2014. Ports North said changed conditions required further work and had delayed the report. In fact, the Terms of Reference had not changed, and the ‘changed conditions’, ie government ruling against dumping dredge spoil at sea, required far less work rather than more as the TOR always required assessment of options to place dredging spoil on land. The draft EIS was finally released in April 2015. Rather than waiting for submissions and a final EIS (a key requirement of the CoG’s assessment process), Mr Pitt announced ‘on the basis of the draft EIS, the government had decided against the proposed Trinity Inlet dredging’ – he later explained the $365m cost calculated in the draft EIS was unacceptably high. A submission to the CoG demonstrated the draft EIS had grossly exaggerated the project costs (Submission to Coordinator General.)
While full-scale dredging has been ruled out, Mr Pitt said dredging the mouth or approach channel to the Trinity Inlet shipping waterway and the swing basin was expected to be included in the EIS. Rather than ‘expected’, the EIS TOR required this inclusion.
Wholesale dredging has been ruled out on the grounds of cost (estimated at $100m) and a ban on dumping dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Marine Park. The terms ‘full-scale’ and ‘wholesale’ dredging have not been defined, so are meaningless. Again, the draft EIS described options for on-land placement of spoil, albeit at a grossly exaggerated cost.
The dredging was to allow larger ships, particularly cruise liners, to navigate the channel.
The Government wants the port to look at dredging parts of the channel and the swing basin so bigger ships can enter and turn around. This is precisely what the draft EIS was directed to do.
The Cairns Shipping Development Project is able to proceed under the transitional arrangements as part of the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 passed in the November 12 Parliament sitting. So the Sustainably Port Development Act 2015 was a complete red herring as far as Cairns Port is concerned – a massive distraction from the main event.
“The scope of the project includes capital dredging of the swing basins and Trinity Inlet and deepening of the approach channel to the port”, Mr Pitt said. Mr Pitt said previously the Reef 2050 report, on which the agreement signed by Federal Minister Greg Hunt with UNESCO is based, precludes ‘capital dredging’ in Cairns Port, which Mr Pitt said the Cairns Shipping Development Project would require. In fact, the Reef 2050 report states ‘Dredging can either be capital dredging, for newchannels and berths, or maintenance dredging, necessary to maintain existing and approved dredging areas.’ (Reef 2050 plan excerpts.) The Cairns Shipping Development project requires ‘maintenance dredging, defined as ‘to maintain the safe and effective ongoing operation of a port facility’.
Mr Pitt said the Coordinator-General had allowed Ports North until June 30 2017 to re-submit an EIS for the project. Ports North contracted their consultants in April 2013 to produce a draft EIS report that covers everything Mr Pitt says he wants. The draft EIS did not adequately cover two key requirements of the TOR: ‘Sufficient baseline economic data to underpin a comprehensive assessment of the direct, indirect, cumulative, costs and impacts of the project’.And ‘The indirect impacts likely to flow to other industries and economies from developing the project, and the implications of the project for future development.’ Competent specialists could complete these two requirements in a few months if they were directed to do so. An extension of 18 months, when there has already been a delay of more than 12 months, is completely unnecessary, and can only be deliberate procrastination.
“Granting this extension gives Ports North more time to develop a project that is economically and environmentally sustainable for the expansion of Cairns Port”, he said. Nothing additional to the requirements of the original EIS TOR has been requested. It must therefore be concluded that Mr Pitt’s announcements can only be a deliberate means of delaying the port deepening and subsequent benefits to the Cairns Region even longer.
“We can strike a balance that protects the environment and supports economic development, jobs and future trade growth.” This is exactly what the CoG’s TOR for the EIS required.
Perhaps, as The Cairns Post Editorial, 3 September, noted:‘The decision by State Development Minister Anthony Lynham to consign Cairns’ port to second-tier status should [has] cause[d] outrage throughout the Far North.’
The editorial Cairns Post editorial, EIS backflip a big query, 220815 explains the main problem:‘If the revised EIS suddenly comes back with a favourable opinion of increased dredging, surely this raises suggestions the government is advising its consultants what outcome they should find rather than merely letting the science do the talking.’ Not only the ‘science’, but assessing and describing in more detail the major benefits the Cairns Region will gain after the port deepening has been completed (See Cummings Economics submission Cummings Economicssubmission).
It is highly unlikely that the Government will direct Ports North to produce a full plan for deepening the port that would be necessary for logical related decisions to be made, and so most unlikely Ports North will direct their consultants to produce such a plan. This plan should be produced by a new group of independent consultants as soon as possible, including a full benefit-cost analysis based on best-practice methods. Terms of Reference for such an assignment have been drafted: Cairns Port Deepening Plan, TOR 081115
A summary of the Cairns Port deepening saga
Cairns Region will gain major benefits from port deepening, estimated at $5 billion over 25 years, including business growth and many job opportunities. See Cummings Economicssubmission.
Australia’s long-established defence programs need Cairns Port naval base as a fully-operational strategic port for regional and coastal operations.
Spoil from major dredging programs will not be discharged offshore in future, irrespective of scientific reports. Why? Because government agreements and public perceptions and reactions preclude this.
…… HERE’S HOW
Dredging spoil has been put on land to develop Cairns city and its economy for many decades, and can be again – e.g. Portsmith.
So a new report is needed ASAP to present the most cost-effective plan and quantify the resulting benefits.
Government dredging decisions, including those following negotiations with UNESCO, have been based on the Reef 2050 report, which states: ‘Dredging can either be capital dredging, for new channels and berths, or maintenance dredging, necessary to maintain existing and approved dredging areas.’ Reef 2050 plan excerpts.
Port deepening: is NOT for a ‘new channel’; it IS necessary ‘to maintain (an) existing and approved dredging area’; and maintenance dredging IS allowed.
…… AND IF PORT DEEPENING IS NOT EXPEDITED?
The whole Cairns Region will suffer major economic, business and job losses, and Australia will not have a strategic port’ in the far north.
The miniscule coven of green/Labor extremists will have won their covert battle to impose their anti-growth ideology on the Cairns Region.
The State Labor Government can expect to lose the four local seats at the next election if the LNP demonstrate credible support for expediting port deepening.
Cairns Region Councillors that don’t support expediting port deepening can expect to be replaced at the election next year by Councillors that do.
SO WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN NOW? ‘PLAN B’?
Qld State Treasurer Curtis Pitt was reported in the Cairns Post on 15 May saying. “What we’ve said is that Ports North, as the proponent, can go back, recast that EIS and make another proposal which has an emphasis on onshore disposal.’
Dr Anthony Lynham, Qld Minister for State Development said on 11 November ‘The (Ports North draft) EIS proposal is respected by the government as being in place before this (the Port Sustainability Bill)….The Bill has nothing to do with the EIS….The Coordinator General (who controls the EIS process) is independent but has to abide by the government policy but on decisions such as extending EISs, he is independent…..I can’t tell him what to do….Maintenance dredging is for maintaining the existing channel. It is not for widening channels….Unfortunately the strategic designation (instead of the Bill’s category of Priority Port) doesn’t come under UNESCO or the Bill. That would be quite difficult to throw in another category now after all the negotiation with UNESCO.’
BUT…recall the Reef 2050 report, which formed the basis for Federal Minister Greg Hunt’s negotiations with UNESCO states: ‘Dredging can either be capital dredging, for new channels and berths, or maintenance dredging, necessary to maintain existing and approved dredging areas.’ The Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015, Schedule 1 subsequently modifiedthe Reef 2050 definition to: ‘Capital dredging – (a) means dredging or enlarging a channel, basin, port, berth or other similar thing; or’……. (b) does not include dredging to maintain the safe and effective ongoing operation of a port facility.
Surely ‘effective ongoing operation of a port facility’ includes the ability for large cruise, cargo and naval ships to use the port?
The Ports North proposal was submitted well before the Bill, and the EIS deadline has been extended to the end of March 2016. Minister Lynham said it is up to the CoG as to whether this deadline is extended, noting the only time an extension was not granted after a reasonable request was when the EIS was not completed after 7 years and the company had ‘folded’.
The State Government has given Ports North another $350,000 (on top of the previous $5.1m) for its consultants to review the draft EIS – presumably expecting different conclusions.
The latest technologies and methodologies should underpin the modified draft EIS, and result in different conclusions, including far lower costs (see Submission to Coordinator General).
The modified draft EIS could satisfy all requirements: lower cost dredging of the existing channel and all spoil put on land rather than at sea (thus complying with the Reef 2050 report, although possibly a problem with the Bill’s modified definition); meeting environmental requirements; complying with Federal Minister Greg Hunt’s agreement with UNESCO to not de-list the reef; meeting Australia’s naval strategic requirements; and last but not least, enabling the Cairns Region to benefit from the major economic benefits when the next stage of port deepening is completed.
How to ensure Ports North’s modified draft EIS results in expediting the requisite port deepening ASAP?
In a nutshell, the Coordinator General needs to ensure Ports North interpret the EIS Terms of Reference (TOR) correctly so the modified draft EIS provide: ‘Sufficient baseline economic data to underpin a comprehensive assessment of the direct, indirect, cumulative, costs and impacts of the project’; and ‘The indirect impacts likely to flow to other industries and economies from developing the project, and the implications of the project for future development.’ (See Cairns Shipping Development EIS TOR Nov 2012.)
These points were not covered adequately in the current draft EIS. The approach suggested in the following document would ensure the modified draft EIS provides all the information necessary for the relevant authorities to decide to expedite the port deepening:Cairns Port Deepening Plan, TOR 081115
Recent progress and events
The Cairns Post, 18 November article noted: SUPPORTERS of dredging Trinity Inlet will meet the state’s Co-ordinator General and lobby Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ensure deepening and widening activities suffer no further setbacks. Dredging restrictions are in place after the state’s Sustainable Ports Development Bill passed with bipartisan support on Friday…. The State Opposition has defended its stance in voting against exempting Cairns and Mourilyan from restrictions. “The two major parties’ collusion has put the Port of Cairns back 50 years.” …. Cairns Port Development Inc. spokeswoman, Emma Thirkell, said members would lobby federal politicians to place greater weight on scientific evidence supporting dredging, its lack of impact on the Reef and the positives for business that dredging offered. “Agreement is in place for us to meet the Co-ordinator General and we hope to update Cairns Regional Councillors on the present situation and the possible repercussions of this bill,” she said. See full article at: http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/cairns-port-development-inc-takes-trinity-inlet-dredging-proposal-to-federal-politicians/story-fnjpusyw-1227612935494
Cairns Post articles, 4 and 5 November, spell out the State Government’s latest restriction on dredging limits for Cairns Port. At 150,000 cubic metres in 4 years, this would mean completing the 4.5 million cubic metres proposed to deepen the channel in 120 years. Weirdly, Advance Cairns CEO is quoted saying this: “provides for the ability for the port to grow as our city grows”. This is in line with the Advance Cairns and Cairns Chamber of Commerce submission to the Coordinator General regarding the Ports North draft EIS, which states: ‘We believe that the Cairns Port will need to continue to incrementally develop the inlet and associated port infrastructure to support the growth of the regional economy.’ Over 120 years? Listen to John MacKenzie discussing this conundrum with Peter Senior on 4CA radio talkback. Several other callers raised similar points with John, including a member of Cairns Chamber complaining that members had not been consulted, and she totally disagreed with the stance, as presented in today’s update ‘A workable solution for Cairns. We have some very exciting news to share with you…’:
28 October, 4CA Talkback: Federal Senator Warren Entsch discussed with Peter Senior the overall port deepening issue; in particular the point noted above that the proposed port deepening is defined as ‘maintenance dredging’ in the authoritative Reef 2050 report, as such is allowed and should go ahead – if only the local State Members would support what is clearly in the best interests of the Cairns Region. This is essential listening:
22 October. Senators Ian Macdonald and Bob Katter talked with John Mackenzie on 4CA Talkback about deepening Cairns Port to enable large naval, cruise and cargo ships to use the port and facilities. Both Senators noted deepening is essential, should be expedited, and will bring major benefits to FNQ. Naval access is also an essential Australian defence requirement. Senator Macdonald said: “The Qld Government really has to ignore the minority greens groups who will make up any story to stop any sort of development in Cairns or anywhere else and get some sensible advice…”. Everyone should listen carefully to these comments:
A letter from Dr Anthony Lynham MP, Queensland Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, 16 October 2015 stated: ‘The government will not divert from elements of the Bill which form part of our Reef 2050 plan… However, any future development must be consistent with the government’s commitment to protect the GBRWHA and its ban on sea based disposal of port related capital dredge material.’ See Minister Lynham letter 161015. As noted above, the Reef 2050 report states:‘Dredging can either be capital dredging, for new channels and berths, or maintenance dredging, necessary to maintain existing and approved dredging areas’ (see Reef 2050 plan excerpts.) Given that the proposed port deepening: is NOT for a ‘new channel’; and IS necessary ‘to maintain (an) existing and approved dredging area’; and maintenance dredging IS allowed, it seems the Minister is approving port deepening as further maintenance dredging, particularly if the dredging spoil is disposed of on land.
6 October, the second cruise ship anchored at Yorkeys Knob in so many weeks is unable to get passengers ashore for trips – passengers express great disappointment; Cairns reputation sullied; tour companies lose big $$$$$.
1 October, new Chairman of Ports North announced by State Labor Government Minister. Cairns Post article heading ‘Chairman confident of port progress’ only aligns with recent State actions if ‘progress’ means towards boutique port status. Noted on Facebook: Yes, another Labor stooge. If Labor wasn’t sure he’d follow their directives, he wouldn’t have been appointed. The sorry fact is, Government funds many activities in Cairns, and directs these operations through their well-paid bureaucrats that also mostly lean to the green/Left. What an unholy alliance! Labor’s recent decisions prove they intend financing Townsville expansion and downgrading Cairns Port to boutique status, irrespective of contrary evidence. If Cairns Port deepening supporters continue to play by the Brisbane-controlled Labor rules, we’ll lose – for sure. Go figure…
18 September: the Ports Sustainability Bill has been postponed.
The Cairns Port Development Inc. petition signature sheets were handed to the Queensland Parliament at 7.28 AM on 15 September. The 4,099 written signatures plus the 2,017 online signatures totalled 6,116 – one of the largest petitions ever from the Cairns region.
As a reminder, the petition reads: TO: The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland. Queensland citizens draw to the attention of the House the Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 does not include the ports of Cairns and Mourilyan as priority ports. If capital dredging is discontinued, new larger passenger, naval and cargo ships will not be able to enter the ports. The estimated earnings foregone may be more than $5Bn over the next 25 years, compounding the record high youth unemployment rates. Your petitioners request the House to amend the Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 to include the ports of Cairns and Mourilyan as ‘priority ports’ allowing the ports to carry out vital capital works dredging NOW and always. We also request that an independent project be commissioned to assess and recommend the lowest cost environmentally acceptable dredging solution. Revitalize our economy, restore confidence and save many businesses from the brink of bankruptcy.
Six months out from the local government election, Cairns lawyer Jim Brooks on Friday announced the arrival of his Connect Cairns teamin front of supporters, including Cairns MP Rob Pyne. Brooks, Pyne and CAFNEC are joining forces to oppose deepening the Port and stymie the huge economic benefits the Cairns region would gain.
The Cairns Post 3 Sept. noted: ‘Minister shuns committee report into developing Port of Cairns’ and ‘A WIDE-reaching inquiry by a Queensland parliamentary committee has found that excluding the Port of Cairns as a priority port would have a “detrimental impact” on the growth of the region and have negative impacts on employment and tourism, and on business. ‘However ‘Minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, who dismissed the committee’s findings just hours after they were released. “I appreciate the committee’s consideration of the Bill and their report will be considered in full and in detail,” he said in a statement. “However, the Government will not divert from elements of the Bill which form part of our Reef 2050 plan.’http://www.cairnspost.com.au/business/minister-shuns-committee-report-into-developing-port-of-cairns/story-fnjpusdv-1227509909212
An allied issue is flagged in the Cairns Post editorial, 27 August, ‘THE State Government must act immediately or we can all watch the Aquis ship and its bounty sail out of the (undredged) Trinity Inlet….the stench of bureaucracy-induced failure… If the Fungs walk away from Cairns, heads should roll in the halls of state parliament.’CP Editorial re Aquis 270815.
Terms of reference for a new assignment to produce a Cairns Port Deepening Plan respond to Treasurer Curtis Pitt’s requests to: ‘recast that EIS and make another proposal which has an emphasis on onshore disposal’; and put another option ‘on the table.’ This plan would provide essential information to enable State and local governments, Cairns business leaders and the Cairns community to understand fully and make informed decisions on deepening and widening the Trinity Inlet and basin. Terms of reference for this assignment have been prepared: Cairns Port Deepening Plan, TOR 081115.Any related decisions made before this or a similar project is completed, including public disclosure, are likely based on conjecture and/or ideology.
Cairns Post 4 August, article by State Treasurer Curtis Pitt: ‘Where we differ from the previous government is that its proposal for capital dredging in Trinity Inlet never stacked up on any measure and couldn’t proceed – the volume of dredge spoil and costs over $360 million were uneconomic….The EIS is a live process and will be used as a vehicle to put in an overarching plan for expansion works.’ The $360M has been shown to be very and deliberately exaggerated, and surely ‘expansion works’ does not suggest the proposed vital major port deepening project?
The Ports Bill Committee public hearing at Cairns, 29 July, was a great success for supporters of dredging the Trinity Inlet and basin as far as conveying our message to the Committee and emphasising the width and depth of Cairns’ public support. But will it be effective? The Cairns Post front page heading DON’T SINK OUR PORT, editorial, cartoon and double-page spread describe overwhelming support, demanding major changes to the Ports Bill, and action from Federal and State Governments to expedite the dredging. Failure will lead to Cairns’ economy slowly sinking. http://www.cairnspost.com.au/business/state-government-urged-to-rethink-ports-bill-for-far-north/story-fnjpusdv-1227462332057. The numerous calls to John MacKenzie’s 4CA Talkback were equally supportive.
Cairns Post poll, 24 July:‘Do you support increased dredging of Trinity Inlet’. Result in Monday 27th edition: YES 73%.
Friends of the Port of Cairns submission to the Qld Coordinator General responded to the Ports North draft Environment Impact Report (EIS):Submission to Coordinator General. The submission summary concludes: ‘We request the Coordinator General recommend to the Government that a more comprehensive study be undertaken of placement options in consultation with the Cairns community with a view to developing a lower cost and environmentally acceptable solution to enable the project to proceed as soon as possible.’
Cummings Economics submission to the Qld Coordinator General,Cummings Economicssubmission, presents a compelling case for the dredging. Conservative calculations of the benefits to Cairns total $1.35 billion NPV – $5 bn in cash terms over 25 years, or at least $200 million each year. Who is stalling these benefits?
Adam Gowlett, Branch President of the Urban Development Institute of Australia talked with John MacKenzie on 4CA radio talkback, 21st August, explaining how the Qld State Labor Government is short-changing Cairns in favour of the South East, and Townsville in particular where $65m has just been allocated to dredge and expand their port plus more major expenditure: .
Local developer Ken Frost’s submission presents an exciting approach for Cairns long-term needs – EIS submission KF
A brief submission from Advance Cairns and Cairns Chamber of Commerce equivocates, noting ‘Ports North will need to be able to continue to undertake incremental development projects…’:Cairns Chamber, Advance Cairns submission.
East Trinity for future urban growth and more vital benefits for Cairns were described in an article in the Cairns Post, 6 June (click on picture below to expand).
Radio 4CA July 23, 2015. John MacKenzie speaks with Peter Senior from Cairns Port Development Inc. and Tim Nicholls MP for Clayfield and shadow minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, Small Business and Trade 23rd July 2015 about progressing the dredging of Cairns Harbour.
Talkback host John MacKenzie discussed Friends of the Port of Cairns’ submission with Peter Senior on 3 June:
Ports North $5 million draft EIS can be downloaded in sections from:.Click here to see the draft EISExecutive Summary.
An aerial photograph of East Trinity, Trinity Inlet and the Cairns CBD in 1942 is shown below, with points of interest flagged (click on graphic to expand). Note the area some ‘greens’ insist should be ‘restored’ to wetlands never was wetlands – it was saltpan, grassland and woodland.
…. and this is a recent photo of the Southern end of the East Trinity property. Note the dead Melaleuca trees as a result of flooding by sea water – which CSIRO strongly recommended against.
The next 7 sections explain the convoluted steps that resulted in the current dismaying situation.
For the latest in the long-running saga concerning dredging the Trinity Inlet at Cairns and reclamation at East Trinity, check the Facebook site, Friends of the Port of Cairns – https://www.facebook.com/PortofCairns.
The Facebook site includes a petition you may want to send to the Coordinator General: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-the-port-of-cairns.html – it only takes a couple of minutes to read, then send if you agree. As at 4 June, 1,298 have ‘liked’ the site, and 170 almost-all local people have sent the petition.
Check this Post for more background information and proposals.
The Cairns Shipping Development Project draft Environmental Impact Statement report was released on Saturday 18 April. State Government Treasurer Curtis Pitt announced that, on the basis of the DRAFT EIS, the government had decided against the proposed Trinity Inlet dredging. Listening to callers on radio talkback shows, the overwhelming overall reaction is extreme dismay.
Cairns Labor MP Rob Pyne added to the dismay, as described in the Cairns Post Editorial, 25 April (see full text in Section 3): ‘Cairns MP Rob Pyne’s outburst against the business sector is about as undiplomatic as you’ll ever see from a politician… Industry and commerce quite rightly supports the dredging of Trinity Inlet because it would have brought bigger cruise liners, cargo vessels and navy ships to Cairns and provided a $1.3 billion boost to the economy… He really starts off badly by describing business as the “big end of town” and then his Facebook rant continues with “your unsustainable, unfunded and illogical ‘capital dredge proposal’ will not fly…”.
Cairns Post article, 27 April (full text is in section 3) included: Industry group Cruise Down Under is urging the Government to consider theeconomic benefits of dredging of about $1.3 billion. CDU general manager Jill Abel said a study showed cruise ships injected $12.6 million into the city’s economy in 2013-14. Ms Abel said. “… Cairns is a must-see destination from a passenger perspective, and integral to the eastern seaboard itineraries.”
Cairns Post, 30 April, article (see details in section 3): BARRON River MP Craig Crawford has broken political ranks to back the dredging of Trinity Inlet.
This post suggests a practical and cost-effective way to avoid dumping the dredging spoil at sea as well as reclaiming the degraded State-owned area at East Trinity. Many related issues are discussed, media coverage is presented and relevant background is explained.
The report, Dredging and East Trinity opportunities 081214, presents a proposal to dredge Cairns Trinity Inlet channel; and reclaim the State-owned degraded East Trinity property; and gain major short and long-term benefits for Cairns community and businesses……AT NO NET COST to taxpayers. Imagine a residential suburb at East Trinity:
2. Another option: a phased approach
Note: This section has not been updated since the draft EIS was released. Some of the assumptions and figures used in the draft EIS are in serious doubt, as are some of the conclusions. It is expected that further checking by different specialist engineers will identify substantially different conclusions that may be more in line with the proposal outlined in the Phase 1 proposal described below.
Another variation on Phase 1 (call it Phase 1b) could be, if both the State and Federal Governments are persuaded to allow capital dredge to be placed offshore (currently very unlikely), then the State could sell their 944 ha property at East Trinity to pay all dredging costs, with the proviso that the developer must resolve the current pollution problems on parts of this property.
Responding to comments by the previous State Member for Parliament, Gavin King, that East Trinity could not be developed for many years until the dredged spoil has settled, an alternative option is now presented.
Pending release of the Environment Impact Statement (EIS) report, it was stated that ‘500 hectares’ of East Trinity land will be required to place the 4.4 million cubic metres of spoil. Given the fact that the State-owned property at East Trinity is 943.6 ha, the residual 443.6 ha of property could be available for development immediately, noting 168 ha of this part is raised, affording grand views across the inlet to the CBD and hills beyond.
The original report has been updated to include a Phase 1 where half of the residual 443.6 ha is sold to one or more developers for a nominal sum, on the condition that the developer(s) pay all the costs of dredging, spoil treatment and associated costs, which the original report estimated at $125m. However, as it is understood the Ports North EIS estimates these costs as between $200m and $250m, a midway figure of $225m is assumed. The changes to the original report are shown in red. An alternative with the same effect would be for the state to sell the land outright and use the proceeds to pay for the dredging and spoil treatment. Phase 1 is estimated to produce a profit of $7m, although more land could be available which could enable the level of profit to be increased. The updated report can be downloaded from Dredging and East Trinity opportunities, phased, 230115.
Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan
The Federal Government’s Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, released on 21 March 2015, includes the intention to: ‘mandate the beneficial reuse of port-related capital dredge spoil, such as land reclamation in port development areas, or disposal on land where it is environmentally safe to do so; [and] to establish a maintenance dredging framework which identifies future dredging requirements, ascertains appropriate environmental windows to avoid coral spawning and protect seagrass, and examines opportunities for beneficial reuse of dredge material or on-land disposal where it is environmentally safe to do so.’ Unfortunately the report becomes suspect when it introduces climate change alarmist ‘PC’ phrases such as ‘ocean acidification’, which are not included in the ‘glossary of commonly used terms’ and is an oxymoron anyway – all oceans are alkaline (PH about 8.1); it is physical impossibility for oceans to become acid, i.e. less than neutrality, about PH 7. Recent government dredging decisions have been based on the Reef 2050 report, which states: ‘Dredging can either be capital dredging, for new channels and berths, or maintenance dredging,necessary to maintain existing and approved dredging areas.’ Port deepening: is NOT a ‘new channel’; it IS necessary ‘to maintain (an) existing and approved dredging area’; and maintenance dredging IS allowed. SeeReef 2050 plan excerpts.
During an interview by John MacKenzie with Federal MP Warren Entsch on John’s Talkback show, 18 March 2015, Warren described his proposals for the dredging and East Trinity which are identical to the proposal in the Phase 1 report. Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch has applauded the government’s move to ban the dumping of any capital dredge spoil in Great Barrier Reef Marine Park waters, but says it shouldn’t be news to Ports North in regards to their Port of Cairns dredge proposal.
Warren Entsch: “dredging critical for growth”
An article in Dredging News Online, 20 March, noted: ‘Entsch says land-based disposal “dredging critical for growth”. “I congratulate Environment Minister Greg Hunt for this decision, it’s something that I’ve been arguing for forever – even in regards to maintenance dredging going into the waters,” Mr Entsch said. “I’ve always said that we have an obvious opportunity on East Trinity, it’s the perfect site for disposing of the dredge spoil. “It provides us with an opportunity to bring the next stage of the development of Cairns closer to the CBD by developing a site that is only five minutes across the water.” Mr Entsch said he couldn’t see why the option hasn’t already been factored in by Ports North. “Greg Hunt has indicated for a long time that his preferred option for disposal is on land, and I have certainly conveyed this message to Ports North with every meeting I have had with them. So I don’t see any reasons why there would be delays as they have already considered a number of land-based options.” Mr Entsch said it was critical that the dredging of Trinity Inlet take place. “Just look at the expansion of the cruise ship industry, which has been phenomenal. One of the large cruise companies is looking at Cairns as a home base, but that may never happen without dredging. “While undoubtedly a land-based option will be more expensive, what needs to be factored in is the environmental benefits of taking the pressure off hill slopes as our city grows, and the economic benefits of reducing ribbon development as we head south past Gordonvale. “Originally the plan was for 25,000 people at East Trinity, this can be expanded further to the adjoining land west of the Yarrabah road, allowing a significant increase in our population base. It also gives us a genuine second access to Cairns and would significantly improve connectivity between the Yarrabah community and the city.” Mr Entsch said he understood that it would be several years before any dredge spoil at the site would have settled enough to be developed. “However there’s an opportunity to develop the adjoining areas in the meantime, and encourage private investment,” he said. “The end result is that it would significantly expand capacity close to our CBD and contain the city to a much smaller footprint. “There’s been more than enough time for EIS to be assessed. I’d urge the new Queensland government to release it as soon as possible, so that the Cairns community can talk about the options.”
Achieving a failed promise at no cost to the taxpayer
One would imagine that achieving a failed promise made by the previous LNP Government at no cost to the taxpayer would be viewed very favourably by the new State Treasurer, Curtis Pitt (who has inherited a very serious budget deficit) as well as the new MP for Cairns, Rob Pyne. Regrettably, complications arising from current charges relating to the State Government member for Cook, Billy Gordon, may delay the long-awaited release of the EIS report for public viewing.
Why the delay?
Consider the statement by The Honourable David Crisafulli MP, Ex Queensland State Member for Mundingburra and Minister for Local Government on John MacKenzie’s talkback radio 23rd January, a week before the State election:
‘…We do need to find a way to get that dredging done. Now, there has been every roadblock put up that could possibly happen….. (details and context below).
Note: the Liberal National Party (LNP) was swept from power in a rout at the Queensland State election on 31 January 2015, to be replaced by Labor (ALP) in a coalition with an independent member and Katter party members. To date, in addressing the dredging EIS, the four local Cairns region Labor candidates said only that they will await the EIS release before making any related decisions. It may be relevant that the Labor Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, is the local Mulgrave member and won his seat comfortably. So, back to all in limbo, but with different people in charge! It may also be relevant that the previous Cairns Member, Gavin King, who consistently spoke in almost sycophantic support of Ports North’s plans, lost his seat in a landslide.
Surely the general public has a right to know exactly what these ‘roadblocks’ noted by David Crisafulli are; not just hinting at dark secrets that sound more like a conspiracy. Hopefully all will be revealed shortly by the new Labor Government and its four local members.
Who gains by delaying the EIS?
It would probably be quicker and easier for Ports North to dump the dredged spoil in the proposed extended area at the end of the Trinity Inlet Channel (if some-one else pays). However, this is at odds with the Labor State Government’s view as well as Federal Government and the previous LNP State Government views and directives.
Both the Cairns Regional Council and all those involved in the sudden recent announcement of the major residential development at Mount Peter would likely be very averse to competition from another residential development a few kilometres away at East Trinity.
Last year (2014) the CRC Mayor, Bob Manning, expressed his belief that the spoil should be placed at sea, and that the State-owned land at East Trinity should not be involved in the dredging project at this time.
There is a general rule that invariably assists resolution that first came to prominence in All the President’s Men (1976), Deep Throat: ‘Just follow the money trail.’ The three points above give rise to further questions:
Who are the ‘road-blockers’ that David Crisafulli (see above) refers to?
Exactly what ‘roadblocks’ would detractors be likely to put up?
Are there significant connections between the un-named ‘road-blockers’?
How much would genuine competition from an additional residential development improve related outcomes for future residents?
What will a Labor Queensland State Government do, given that three local members are now Labor (the fourth, Billy Gordon is now independent but likely to align with Labor), including the likely Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, who has the residual of the previous Labor Government’s massive budget deficit to tackle? Note: It is the Coordinator General’s role to assess the EIS, but it seems likely that the outcome will now be influenced by Labor’s plans and may be less influenced by current ‘road-blocks’ (see John MacKenzie’s talkback radio 23 January, below).
Will new Cairns State Member, Rob Pyne, be able to fulfil his intention to expedite release of the EIS (see article in Cairns Post, 3 January, below)?
“It’s just unaffordable …”
Gavin King, previous Member of Parliament for the Queensland state seat of Cairns, commented on the TV7 news on 15 August: “It’s just unaffordable, certainly in the short-term. Unless either the private sector or the Feds come across with some dollars.”
Both proposals (see links above to download the reports) respond to Gavin King’s comment: The private sector could ‘come across’ with all the costs for the dredging by buying the dredging spoil, a valuable resource, as part of the overall development of East Trinity. Unless there are material errors in the reports assessments, they both demonstrate the dredging:
Could be ‘affordable’;
Could be achieved at no net cost to taxpayers;
Could avoiding widespread concerns about dumping huge amounts of spoil near the Great Barrier Reef; and
Would make a major contribution to Cairn’s economy including allowing large cruise and other ships to enter Cairns port.
3. Articles and letters in the Cairns Post
TWO senior State Government ministers are not ruling out developing the Port of Cairns, including dredging. Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt and State Development Minister Anthony Lynham are calling on Ports North to re-examine their Environmental Impact Statement on dredging Trinity Inlet shipping channel. Dredging has been ruled out on economic and environmental grounds by the government, with sea dredge spoil dumping estimated to cost $100 million and land based $365 million. “What we’ve said is that this EIS doesn’t rule out future port development, what it does is say the options that are on the table … are not viable options,” Mr Pitt said. “What we’ve said is that Ports North, as the proponent can go back, recast that EIS and make another proposal which has an emphasis on onshore disposal. CONDITIONS: State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said any dredging of Trinity Inlet would have to include land-based spoil disposal at Ports North’s cost. “It could mean that they need to change focus from being on large cruise shipping to ensure they can look at a suite of works that may need to happen in terms of future port expansion.” He said that might include expanding the Reef Fleet terminal, a barge ramp or a wharf expansion. Dr Lyneham said any dredging would have to include land-based spoil disposal at Ports North’s cost. The Cairns Regional Council has called on the government to defer a final decision on channel dredging and to re-examine the proposal. Ports North declined to comment. Royal Caribbean International commercial director Sean Treacy, who was in Cairns yesterday preparing for the visit of the giant Legend of the Seas cruise ship next month, would not be drawn on the dredging issue. He said the company would continue to work with governments and ports on the best way for their ships to visit. Mr Treacy said the practise of using tender boats to transport passengers to shore at Yorkeys Knob was common for the company throughout the world.
A letter to the Cairns Post Editor: Mr Hitchcock’s letter, 9-5, stated ‘Peter Senior’s opinion piece (2-5) is very misleading’. This letter responds to some points in his letter. Far from being misleading, I have provided credible evidence for every point I made in my opinion piece. Warren Entsch, in his article also on 9-5, congratulated me for my ‘very considered contribution’.
Mr Hitchcock is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. For instance, a 1942 photo on Warren Entsch’s office wall shows the East Trinity site, far from being ‘largely rehabilitated wetlands’, was mainly salt-pans and grasslands, similar to Portsmith.
Mr Hitchcock had attended last December’s meeting of the local Volunteer Fire Brigade, he would have heard the overwhelming support for the dredging and East Trinity reclamation – except, of course, from the CAFNEC attendee.
If Mr Hitchcock and his colleagues had not strong-armed Peter Beattie’s government into cancelling the approval for the proposed world-class Royal Reef Resort at East Trinity, which included resolving all pollution problems, then Beattie’s Government would not have had to pay $10m of tax-payers money to NatWest Bank, plus the continuing maintenance costs.
A letter to the Cairns Post Editor: ‘For the Queensland Government and Ports North not to reconsider immediately their policy decision not to dredge Trinity Inlet and allow continuing expansion of the Port and the economic development of our City defies all logic. Overwhelming evidence in the draft EIS giving scientific advice that an alternative off shore dump site is suitable and would not be damaging to the Great Barrier Reef and the environment. Alternatively the EIS preferred site for on shore disposal area, a section of the 10 sq km East Trinity freehold property owned by the State Government, must be given greater consideration. This is more important following the reported statements from the highly qualified Engineer and Consultant, Peter Senior published on Saturday last where he detailed the potential revenue to the State from development of that property could cover the entire cost of the dredging operation and secure a future suburban growth area for the City only one km from the CBD.’
An article in the Cairns Post was heavily edited from the submitted copy. The article below shows words as-published in black, with the words edited out in red:
The Cairns Shipping Development Project draft Environmental Impact Statement draft report (EIS) was released on Saturday 18 April.
State Government Treasurer Curtis Pitt announced that, on the basis of the draft EIS, the state government had decided against approving the proposed Trinity Inlet dredging.
The overwhelming reaction of numerous callers on Cairns’ radio talkback was extreme dismay and disillusionment.
Most Cairns people are now thoroughly confused. Little wonder as there are so many conflicting views and reports.
This article presents a summary of the main factors relating to the proposed dredging and draft EIS, then proposes a way forward.
The economic analysis presented in the draft EIS report indicates the dredging project has a very strong benefit-cost ratio, with additional income benefits to Cairns over 25 years estimated in present values, with future benefits discounted at 7% per annum, totalling $1.3 Billion.
The $4.2m draft EIS is just that: a ‘draft’. Proper process requires a draft EIS to be published, inviting submissions to the Coordinator General’s office for consideration, then a final EIS. The Coordinator General then required by law to send[s] a recommendation to the government. No final EIS exists, so presumably the Government has not received the recommendation. What then is the government’s decision based on? Many articles in main stream media focus on alarmist reports and views. For example, TV7 local news often shows a video with brown water around a dredge.
This video, provided and paid for by ‘green’ organisations, clearly suggests pollution.
The major objectors to the proposed dredging comprise four broad groupings:
People who believe the scaremongering, many of whom genuinely care about the environment, some with almost religious fervour;
A few shrill extreme environmentalists who are anti-development (recall their attempts to prevent Skyrail);
Unelected organisations with other agendas such as the UN, WWF and Greenpeace (UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres said: “We are setting ourselves the task.. to change the [world’s] economic development model”);
Several government departments such as GBRMPA (GBRMPA’s alarmist GBR 2014 report largely blamed climate change for their dire forecasts concerning the Great Barrier Reef, mentioning ‘climate change’ 365 times).
The draft EIS estimates off-shore sea disposal would cost about $100m. [Some] Reports based on scientific evidence conclude disposal near shore would not be harmful or environmentally damaging.
The EIS Terms of Reference includes: ‘Provide descriptions of all feasible alternative land-based spoil disposal.’ And ‘Sufficient baseline economic data to underpin a comprehensive assessment of the direct, indirect, cumulative, costs and impacts of the project.’
The report selects the 964.3 ha state-owned East Trinity site as the preferred option for land-based spoil disposal. Most of that area was in continual agricultural production since the first survey in 1894.
CSR purchased the property in 1971 and expanded it by constructing a bund wall, then re-contouring the area into productive cane fields. [But when] Cane production [became] was uneconomical, so the land was sold to developers.
The report notes ‘In the early 1990s a proposal to develop a satellite city on the site attracted community attention, but failed to gain approval. In 2000, the Queensland Government purchased the site.’ More accurately, the Royal Reef Resort proposal for this site was approved in 1995.
But the Labor State government succumbed to persuasion from green pressure-groups and overrode the approval.
The developer went into receivership. National Westminster Bank commenced legal action against the State, resulting in a $10m out-of-court settlement.
The draft EIS assesses placing spoil on 518 ha of low land at East Trinity.
This area is highly degraded, costing about $500,000 for annual maintenance that has failed to fix the degradation.
CSIRO advice to cover this area with spoil was ignored. The report’s benefit-cost of developing this 518 ha concludes development would be uneconomical.
The whole site comprises 518 ha plus partly-raised 428 ha. The latter could be developed immediately, but the report ignores this option.
Applying figures from the report to developing the 428 ha area indicates sufficient profit to pay for all the dredging and treatment costs, leaving the 518 ha to be developed later. The report also ignores related benefits such as providing work for Yarrabah people, and funding potential tourist trails on adjacent wetlands.
It seems the State and Federal governments is unlikely to be convinced that evidence-based science concludes responsible near-shore dumping of spoil would not be detrimental to the reef – political factors appear to outweigh evidence.
Cairns now urgently needs a credible and visionary leader to assemble a well-respected team to develop as soon as possible a new proposal to achieve the many benefits to Cairns that will accrue when the dredging is completed.
Optimising port operations and tourist potential is critical to Cairns’ future. Surely an option that meets environmental standards and is self-funding, or requires minor taxpayer funding, would be acclaimed by our state government?
Crawford backs dredging on Trinity Inlet. BARRON River MP Craig Crawford has broken political ranks to back the dredging of Trinity Inlet.He says the widening and deepening of the channel to accommodate larger cruise ships may not happen in the short term, but needs to happen eventually – as long as the Queensland Government has the money to fund it. “I would like to see it happen. What’s restricting us at the moment is certainly the finances for it,’’ he said. The Palaszczuk Government dumped the Cairns Shipping Development Project about two weeks ago, saying there was no economic or environmental case for it. The draft environmental impact statement for the project stated the minimum cost would be $100 million, but only if the 4.4 million cubic metres of spoil was dumped offshore. It would cost an estimated $365 million for land-based disposal options. The LNP had committed $40 million for the project. Mr Crawford believed the dredging of the port could still go ahead, if more research was done on the income generation associated with the cruise industry. “The projection for cruising in Cairns is certainly good, pushing out into 2025, that sort of thing,’’ he said. “We don’t have to do this thing this year, and we certainly don’t have to do this sort of thing next year. “This is not a situation right now where if we don’t dredge the inlet right now, we’re going to miss the boat totally on these sorts of things. “We’ve got a window, so in time, hopefully we can get what we need. At the moment, the restriction is money.” He said he had faith the Labor Cabinet had made the right decision to knock back the proposal. “Coming into the campaign with this government, there was a lot of election commitments given by all sides and a lot of discussion with all groups about financial management and debt reduction and all things like that,’’ he said. “Now we’ve got a Treasurer who’s working on that and obviously trying to make sound financial decisions. “Throwing $365 million at dredging the inlet tomorrow probably wouldn’t be one of his best financial decisions. So I trust him in that, but I do want to see this done at some point in the future, when it’s right.” Treasurer and Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt said since the EIS was announced, he’d made it clear alternative proposals for port expansion and other initiatives to support the cruise ship industry in Cairns may be considered. Cairns and Far North Environment Centre marine programs co-ordinator Josh Coates invited Mr Crawford to contact the centre to be told about the potential environmental impact of the dredging.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning responds to Rob Pyne’s dredging Facebook rant. Share. FIGHTING WORDS: Cairns mayor Bob Manning has hit back at a dredging social media spray by Cairns MP Rob Pyne, urging residents to respond to the released EIS in the hopes people power will put it back on the agenda. CAIRNS mayor Bob Manning has hit back at a dredging social media spray by Cairns MP Rob Pyne, urging residents to respond to the released draft EIS in the hopes people power will put it back on the agenda.Last week Mr Pyne took to Facebook to slam the “big end of town” and vow the project “will not happen”. He later stood by the comments and said health and education services should take priority. But Mr Manning took a swipe back, warning such statements could be unpopular with the electorate. “When you get involved in any form of political life people will judge you,” he said. “The saying is the public always gets it right and in three years they will make their decision.” Mr Manning has already called for the $40 million slated for the project to remain in Cairns. But Mr Pyne said yesterday he was unaware the money was even available. “Is there $40 million? If there is of course I want it spent in Cairns,” he said. “But if there is $40 million I want it spent on a special school, I want it spent on a unit for brain injuries.” Last week Mr Pyne took to Facebook to slam the “big end of town” and vow the project “will not happen”. The public have been given until June 1 to respond to the EIS and Mr Manning said it was vital people were aware of its conclusions. He said he would never support anything that put the Great Barrier Reef or rainforest in jeopardy and believed the study affirmed neither were in trouble. Industry group Cruise Down Under is urging the Government to consider the economic benefits of dredging of about $1.3 billion. CDU general manager Jill Abel said a study showed cruise ships injected $12.6 million into the city’s economy in 2013-14. “Here is an industry that wants to bring tourists and their spending to Far North Queensland in large numbers,” Ms Abel said. “Having recently returned from our key international trade event, Cruise Shipping Miami, the message is very clear that Cairns is a must-see destination from a passenger perspective, and integral to the eastern seaboard itineraries.”
Rob Pyne’s rant against business is unfounded.Cairns MP Rob Pyne’s outburst against the business sector is about as undiplomatic as you’ll ever see from a politician. CAIRNS MP Rob Pyne’s outburst against the business sector is about as undiplomatic as you’ll ever see from a politician.The ALP member has been elected to represent everyone in the community – to single out a sector that employs tens of thousands of workers is foolish, if not naive and inflammatory. Industry and commerce quite rightly supports the dredging of Trinity Inlet because it would have brought bigger cruise liners, cargo vessels and navy ships to Cairns and provided a $1.3 billion boost to the economy as well as lucrative taxes and other government fees this administration desperately needs. The Cairns Chamber of Commerce and Advance Cairns have called for the original $40 million promised for the work to be quarantined and even be used for a smaller dredging project. But Mr Pyne wants none of that. He prefers the money to be spent on health, something that is needed, but an area that does not create as many new jobs or generate money. He really starts off badly by describing business as the “big end of town” and then his Facebook rant continues with “your unsustainable, unfunded and illogical ‘capital dredge proposal’ will not fly. It does not stack up and it will not happen”. He then goes on to say that he is only interested in improved health, education, training, disability, community and sporting opportunities for the “ordinary people” of Cairns. Industry and commerce quite rightly supports the dredging of Trinity Inlet because it would have brought bigger cruise liners, but Cairns MP Rob Pyne believes it will only suit “the big end of town”. Mr Pyne singles out “Tories” (conservatives) and says he will only deal with health board chairman and conservative Bob Norman. The post also contains a photo of a man lighting a cigar with an American banknote. Mr Pyne’s criticism is sure to alienate a large section of the community and appears to show he is not concerned about business, the sector which employs the most people in his electorate and produces the billions of dollars needed to keep the economy humming. It’s no secret that the city’s economy continues to struggle and still needs a major project such as Aquis or the Aspial towers to start as soon as possible. Fortunately his colleague, Mulgrave MP and State Treasurer Curtis Pitt, has a far better grasp of what makes this city tick and will achieve a lot more than Mr Pyne’s list of priorities. At least our business leaders have shown the sense not to react to his surge of illogical rage.
LNP spent $4.2 million on failed Cairns Trinity Inlet dredge study. DREDGE DIFFICULTY: A huge amount of money was spent on finding out dredging Trinity Inlet is not feasible. TAXPAYERS forked out $4.2 million for a study which strongly found against the dredging of Trinity Inlet. [Editor’s note: these first two paragraphs are totally incorrect.] The State Opposition’s infrastructure spokesman Tim Nicholls yesterday revealed how much the Newman government contributed to the Cairns Shipping Development Project, which was knocked back by Labor on Friday. The long-awaited draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the widening and deepening of the city’s shipping channel was released on Friday, showing there was no environmental nor economic case for the project. The 3000-page report stated the minimum cost of the project would be $100 million – but only if the 4.4 million cubic metres of spoil was dumped offshore. Both parties have committed to preventing dredge spoil from being dumping within Great Barrier Reef waters. The LNP promised $40 million towards the project in 2012 as an election commitment. In a statement yesterday, Mr Nicholls said it was disappointing the Palaszczuk Government was “pandering to the Greens” with no thought or plan on how it would open up tourism or boost the economy and jobs in the Far North. “The money spent on this project is an investment in the future of Cairns and unfortunately the Treasurer has dismissed this project too quickly without looking at all the options or considering funding partnerships with the private sector,’’ he said. The former Queensland treasurer said with the ever-increasing size of new cruise ships, it was essential the port was positioned to respond. “Dredging Trinity Inlet would have provided access for larger cruise ships, boosting economic and tourism benefits for the region,’’ he said. “It is now on Labor to detail what their plan is to bolster and support industry, tourism and create jobs in Cairns.” He said the report was not released before the election as the Co-ordinator-General had to take into account the changing Federal Government position on dredge spoil dumping. His spokeswoman did not respond when asked if the LNP would still push for the dredging of Trinity Inlet. Cairns and Far North Environment Centre marine programs co-ordinator Josh Coates said the project was never necessary, never environmentally responsible, and did not represent a good use of taxpayers’ money. “The fact is that there is no need to expand the port for larger cruise ships, which continue to visit Cairns transporting passengers to shore at Yorkeys Knob,’’ he said. “We have welcomed the State and Federal governments’ commitment to put a stop to new dredge spoil dumping offshore in the Great Barrier Reef marine park. “This ban should be extended to all World Heritage areas to address dumping elsewhere in Queensland.” He said while the Government had ruled out funding the project and released the EIS for legal reasons, it was still important for people to have their say on the project.
JCU Trinity Inlet dredge report tells of damage. RULED OUT: Increased dredging of Trinity Inlet to allow larger cruise ships to dock in Cairns has been quashed by a number of sources. An independent study into the economic benefits of cruise shipping has revealed the industry would be of little-to-no benefit in Cairns. The findings have been released after an unrelated State Government review rejected a plan to grant extra dredging permits for Trinity Inlet to allow “mega” cruise liners to dock in Cairns. James Cook University’s report into the economic opportunities and risk of cruise tourism in Cairns, which will be released today, concludes that even if every person onboard a major cruise liner made a day trip to the reef or Kuranda, the net benefit for local companies would be negligible. The $10,000 study was commissioned by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS). “The price of a shore excursion purchased onboard is typically marked up between 70 per cent to 200 per cent, with less than half that amount paid to excursion operators,” the report states. “The swift arrival and departure of high volumes of cruise passengers can put pressure on local tourism capacities, degrade the natural resources upon which they depend, and lower the overall level of tourist satisfaction.” The report states the average spend of an international cruise passenger in Cairns is about $200 a day, 66 per cent higher than domestic tourists. It comes just days after the Palaszczuk government released a 3000-page scientific report showing that dredging the inlet would do untold environmental damage. AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director Felicity Wishart said the report showed dredging was not necessary for the Cairns tourism economy to access the benefits of the cruise industry. “Dredging … could result in serious damage to the environment – which is the reason people want to come here in the first place,’’ she said. Advance Cairns CEO Mark Matthews, who read the government’s EIS yesterday, said there was no consideration of the impact of ships not being able to offload passengers at the current facilities at Yorkeys Knob due to bad weather. “The researcher has not spoken to any of the cruise lines,’’ he said. “Their information is taken from annual reports, they acknowledge that some of their data cannot be verified.” Ports North chairman Brett Moller said dredging could only proceed if it was fully funded by government and “the Queensland Government has indicated that it will not be funding the project.” Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO Deb Hancock still backed expansion of Trinity Inlet to attract larger vessels. “While the Government’s decision is not to proceed with the port expansion project, the allocated funds should be used to develop portside or other infrastructure for our future economic development.”
Trinity Inlet dredging canned after Environmental Impact Statement raises issues. CAIRNS’ potential as a mega-cruise ship and navy hub is sunk after the State Government used environmental and financial factors to stop the required dredging of Trinity Inlet.The move is sure to anger business leaders hoping for more cruise passengers in Cairns. Treasurer Curtis Pitt yesterday released the long-awaited draft Environmental Impact Statement which he said showed there was no case in favour of dredging. “The $40 million the Newman Government committed to the project in 2012 was politically cynical and misleading because it was never enough to make the project viable,” he said. “The proposal, which includes dumping dredge spoil at sea, would cost more than $100 million and the land-based dumping options about $365 million.” Releasing the document is a legislative requirement but the Newman administration refused to make it public prior to the January election. LACKING BENEFIT: Treasurer Curtis Pitt yesterday released the long-awaited draft Environmental Impact Statement into dredging Trinity Inlet, which he said showed there was no case in favour of dredging. Mr Pitt said he wanted Queenslanders to have an accurate understanding of the economic costs and environmental impacts of dredging. “This EIS highlights the Newman government’s reckless disregard for the one of Queensland’s most valuable assets, the Great Barrier Reef,” he said. “It was never fully funded and anyone who looks at the proposal and its environmental and economic impacts can see why the government is not proceeding with it. “The Palaszczuk Government opposes the recommended option in the draft EIS to dump dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area.” Ports North had proposed to widen and deepen the Port of Cairns channel in Trinity Inlet to allow the future expansion of the HMAS Cairns naval base and accommodate mega-class cruise ships. Great Barrier Reef Minister Steven Miles accused the LNP of having “complete disdain for Queensland’s environment” and putting election pledges ahead of sound economic policy. “We’re not going to waste $40 million subsidising a dredging project which has now been exposed as environmentally and economically unsustainable,” he said. “The money the LNP wanted to waste on this unviable project would be far better spent on frontline services or job-generating projects, including initiatives in Far North Queensland.” HOPES DASHED: Ports North had proposed to widen and deepen the Port of Cairns channel in Trinity Inlet to allow the future expansion of the HMAS Cairns naval base and accommodate mega-class cruise ships. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE Source: News Corp Australia. The Great Barrier Reef supports about 70,000 full time jobs and contributes $5.7 billion a year to the Australian economy. State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said on that basis alone the dredging proposal had no merit. “When people look at the EIS they will see why the only option is to discontinue the project,” he said. “That’s why the government, in line with its election commitment, has decided to withdraw the money allocated by the Newman government. “The Great Barrier Reef needs to be protected not only as a unique natural wonder, but also because of its economic importance.” Copies of the EIS will be available at the Cairns City Library from April 20 to June 1. Electronic copies can be ordered by phoning 4052 3888. To lodge a submission on the draft plan, click here.
A Letter to the Editor in the Cairns Post 20 March: The article ‘Port EIS release delayed – Labor tardiness questioned’ (18-03) is very worrying. The Cairns Post is to be congratulated for requesting a copy of the draft EIS under the Right to Information laws, subsequently denied by the Coordinator General. The department says there is an “intrinsic responsibility” to not disclose this multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded EIS. Cairns Labor MP Rob Pyne notes this denial is “undemocratic”. The delay and denial are also disgraceful and completely unacceptable. It appears that a tiff between Ports North and the Coordinator General has somehow managed to delay progressing this project and the major economic benefits it will bring to Cairns. The question must be asked: who is running our government? A few unelected bureaucrats, or our elected representatives? Hopefully this denial will be a catalyst to force immediate progress of this vital project.
An article in the Cairns Post 20 March:
An article in the Cairns Post 19 March: A REPORT into the potential dredging of Cairns Port is expected to be publicly released “within weeks”. Cairns MP Rob Pyne has spoken with Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham about the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Cairns Shipping Development Project, which has been locked away by the government since late last year. The Minister’s department blocked the release of the taxpayer-funded document after it was requested under Right To Information laws by the Cairns Post. Mr Pyne said Dr Lynham gave him an undertaking the 3000-page report would be released publicly after an upcoming Cabinet meeting. He could not say, however, how soon that would be, instead saying he would be “disappointed” if it was any longer than the next two months. “All I can say is it’ll be tabled over coming weeks and discussed by Cabinet, and then made public,’’ he said. Mr Pyne had previously questioned the department’s transparency but said the latest development had restored his faith in the Labor Government. He said the Far Northern community needed the report to inform the debate about whether Trinity Inlet should be widened and deepened to attract larger cruise ships to the region. “We need to look at the report and look at whether it actually stacks up,’’ he said. “I think the report will tell us if such expenditure would be supported or such an investment would stack up, in terms of benefits to the Cairns community. “It will, very importantly, look at any environmental costs as well.” Ports North submitted the EIS to the Queensland Coordinator-General and the Federal Government’s Department of Environment late last year. The Newman administration didn’t allow the document’s release before the January election. Cairns and Far North Environment Centre director Angelika Ziehrl welcomed the EIS finally being made public. “CAFNEC is looking forward to this finally being released so the public and CAFNEC can comb through it,’’ she said. Green groups have raised concerns the large quantity of sediment generated by dredging could impact the marine environment.
Two Cairns Post articles, 18 March: Cairns MP Rob Pyne questions government decision to block port study from public release. THE transparency of the Queensland Government has been questioned by one of its own Labor MPs after it blocked the release of the report into the proposed dredging of Cairns Port. The Department of State Development has denied The Cairns Post’s request under Right to Information laws for a copy of the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Cairns Shipping Development Project. The long-awaited report was due to be released for public comment late last year but is still under consideration by the Co-ordinator General. The department says there is an “intrinsic responsibility” to not disclose the taxpayer-funded EIS, which the Co-ordinator General needs to be satisfied adequately covers the terms of reference. “The information was received in circumstances which would make it unacceptable conduct for the receiver to disclose the information in a way the giver has not authorised,’’ a departmental officer wrote. Once the Co-ordinator approves the EIS, it will be released for public and state government advisory agency consultation for six weeks. The Newman Government committed to fully funding the EIS as part of its $40 million investment in the project. Cairns Labor MP Rob Pyne said for the department to deny the document’s release under RTI was “undemocratic.” “These things need to be transparent and the document should be released for people to talk about,’’ he said. Advance Cairns CEO Mark Matthews said it was in the region’s best interests to see the report, to have a way forward for the dredging project. The Office of the Co-ordinator General did not respond to questions about when the report would be released.
Future in the balance. Far Northern leaders are adamant the region’s economic future hinges on a plan to develop the Cairns Port. The Cairns shipping Development Project promises to inject $634 million of 25 years into the local economy and create more jobs by dredging the Trinity Inlet to accommodate large cruise ships. But complete bans on sea dumping proposed by the state and federal government could jeopardize the project. Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said a land site must be found for dredge spoil, no matter what the cost. Cairns Mayor Bob Manning was confident port development and a healthy reef could co-exist. “It’s inevitable that our region is going to grow and it’s inevitable the port will need to grow”, he said.
Cairns Post article, 11 March: ‘New bid to release Inlet EIS. The time for talking about releasing the Trinity Inlet Environmental Impact Study into dredging is over, according to Advance Cairns CEO Mark Matthews. And Cairns MP Rob Pyne agrees. Both have been in discussions for release of the document which is stuck in the Coordinator General’s office. “As an organisation we have been calling on government to release the EIS and get on with it,” Mr Matthews said. “We asked for that in our early engagement with government and in my first meeting with Rob, so we expect that will be forthcoming.” Mr Pyne has been applying what political pressure he can and insists he won’t be stone-walled. “I wrote, emailed and phoned requesting its release last month and I’ll do that again today,” Mr Pyne said. “Some people have foregone conclusions about what they want to see happen in the inlet, but I want the EIS released so those people who are thoughtful can read it and base their opinions on something that has rigorous content.” Ports North submitted the EIS to the Queensland Coordinator General and the Federal Government’s Department of environment in November last year. The Newman administration didn’t allow the document’s release before the January election. The new Labour Government is yet to make a move on the document.’
A letter in the Cairns Post on 9 March noted: ‘Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has stated that strategic assets will be retained, but ‘assets such as unused land and vacant buildings will go under the hammer.’ Perhaps Ms Trad includes the 946.3 ha (that’s nearly 10 square kilometres) State-owned unused land at East Trinity? The proceeds from this sale could well pay all the costs of dredging the Trinity Inlet Channel as well as providing land to place the dredging spoil. It appears that only about 500 ha will be required for the spoil, so there is ample land left to sell to developers to pay for the dredging. Perhaps this is what Jackie Trad is flagging?’
Cairns Post article, 27 February: Still no word on Cairns port Environmental Impact Statement. The release of a long-awaited study into the dredging of Cairns’ port has been further stalled by the new Queensland Government. It’s now been five months since the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Cairns Shipping Development Project was last expected to be made public. The state’s Co-ordinator General has now delayed the report’s release, citing the Palaszczuk Government’s policy on dredging within the Great Barrier Reef marine park needs to be taken into account. Prior to the state election, the ALP committed to preventing dredge spoil associated with the project being dumped within the marine park. A Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning spokesman said the 3000-page document would not be released at this stage. “The implications of the new State Government’s policy statements and position on the project need to be taken into account,’’ he said. “In particular, the Co-ordinator General is seeking the advice of the proponent on how it intends to meet the government’s commitment of no sea-disposal.” Cairns MP Rob Pyne, who previously vowed to make the report public, said he would continue to push for the study’s release. “As we speak I’ve emailed the minister requesting its release and awaiting reply,’’ he said. “How can you have an intelligent public discussion if this information isn’t made public?” Widening and deepening of Trinity Inlet will allow the city to accommodate larger cruise vessels in its main channel. Ports North has proposed to remove 4.4 million cubic metres of dredge material from the inlet and deposit it either at sea or on land. One of the sites under consideration for dumping the sediment is inside the Great Barrier Reef marine park. Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for the Great Barrier Reef, Steven Miles, said the Co-ordinator General was assessing if the EIS was “adequate and suitable” for public release. “The Government was elected on a platform of protecting the Great Barrier Reef, which I know is important to many Cairns residents and the Cairns economy,’’ he said. “Consequently, the Government will not support any proposal that involves the dumping of dredge spoil offshore. “I would expect that the Ports North EIS has included a land-based disposal option (Editor’s note: assessment of land-based options is a requirement of the EIS Terms of Reference – see below). “When the EIS is released for public comment my department will assess the project and provide advice to the Co-ordinator-General.” Cairns and Far North Environment Centre marine programs co-ordinator Josh Coates said the project should be shelved.
An article in the Cairns Post, 3 February: CAIRNS MP Rob Pyne has vowed to publicly release a study into the dredging of Trinity Inlet – as long as he has the power to. The former Cairns Regional councillor has cemented Labor’s commitment to preventing 4.4 million cubic metres of dredge spoil associated with the Cairns Shipping Development project from being disposed within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Mr Pyne also said if his party formed government he would endeavour to publicly release the long-awaited Environmental Impact Statement – which despite being completed late last year, has yet to see the light of day. “If I have the power to make it public, I will make it public,’’ he said. “The public paid for (the report).” He said his opinion of the project, to widen and deepen the city’s main shipping channel, was that it still “needed to stack up”. Ports North has proposed to remove dredge material from the inlet and deposit it either at sea or on land. Sites under consideration for dumping of the material include East Trinity, Admiralty Island, on cane land in southern Cairns near the inlet, along the Esplanade and near the Cairns Airport. Five offshore sites were also under consideration, including areas within the marine park. Queensland’s former Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney late last week blamed Ports North for the delay in releasing the project’s EIS, which was initially expected to happen in September. In a brief statement yesterday, Ports North chairman Brett Moller said the authority had submitted the draft EIS to the Queensland Co-ordinator General last year.
30 January 2015
An article in the Cairns Post, 28 January: ‘DEPUTY Premier Jeff Seeney has blamed Ports North for the delay in releasing a study into the potential dredging of Trinity Inlet. The Environmental Impact Statement, which will determine whether the deepening and widening of Cairns’ port should proceed, has still not been made public by the government. The draft EIS for the project, which involves the removal and disposal of 4.4 million cubic metres of dredge spoil from the channel, was initially expected to be released in September after being submitted to the Co-ordinator General. Mr Seeney, who visited the Tableland yesterday on the election trail, told The Cairns Post he did not know when the EIS would be released. The Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning said Ports North had not yet addressed Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s new regulations to ban dredge spoil dumping in the Great Barrier Reef marine park. “The Federal Minister took a decision in relation to offshore disposal,’’ he said. “So we had to go back to the proponents and say, well the Federal Minister has said this is the situation and you have to address that situation in your application.” He said the EIS did not need to be rewritten, only one particular section of the report. “That section of the EIS that deals with the disposal of the material now needs to look at other disposal options, be it further out to sea or on land or whatever,’’ he said. He could not say when the report would be completed or released. Ports North refused to answer questions yesterday about whether it had resubmitted its EIS, and what – if anything – it needed to change in the report to address the Federal Government’s new regulations.’
28 January 2015
A letter to the Cairns Post Editor, 28 January, noted: ‘Dear Editor, ‘Resort project promised all help Newman can give’ (24-01). Good one, Premier! Most Cairns people are very frustrated about yet another delay of the dredging EIS. The LNP will lose many votes if they tell us nothing before the election except that we’ll just have keep waiting. Most Cairns people support ruling out dumping spoil at sea. In any case there is a much better alternative: pump the spoil on to the lower 500 ha of the State-owned property at East Trinity, and sell some of the residual 446 ha to pay for the dredging and treatment costs. This will also enable fixing the pollution there, as recommended by the CSIRO.’
‘How about two more promises, Premier? Commit to supporting pumping the dredging spoil on to the State-owned property at East Trinity if the final EIS recommends this, and repeat your previous promise to fund up to $90 million dollars if necessary.’
12 January 2015
An article in the Cairns Post, 12 January, noted: ‘Business leaders blast delay in vital dredging report.A DECISION to delay the release of the long awaited Environmental Impact Statement for the dredging of Trinity Inlet to widen and deepen the shipping channel has been savaged by two leading business groups in Cairns. Advance Cairns and the Cairns Chamber of Commerce have blasted the State Government for holding back its release until after the January 31 election. Originally it was earmarked for a September release last year but has been dogged by hold-ups. Dredging of the channel was an LNP election promise in 2012 with $40 million pledged towards the cost. At issue is whether to dump the spoil at sea, which is cheaper, or on land. Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the Co-ordinator General was currently considering the Trinity Inlet EIS. “As the Co-ordinator General adheres to caretaker conventions, the EIS will not be released during the election campaign,” he said. Advance Cairns chief executive Mark Matthews said the delay was frustrating. “While we appreciate the assessment process and the conventions of a caretaker government, it is disappointing to see that the only key election promise for Cairns made by the government prior to the previous election has yet to be fulfilled,” he said. “We have no entertainment precinct, no shipping development. Is the government serious about growth and prosperity in the north? “And if so, then let’s see a clear commitment and action to deliver major infrastructure projects for our region.” Chamber chief executive Deb Hancock said the decision was “very disappointing”. “It’s very convenient to hide behind the conventions of a caretaker government,” she said. Ms Hancock said the government would have known when the election was to be called and “made a conscious decision not to release the information”. “It was an election promise (in 2012) and they have failed the community,” she said. “We would like to hear how the LNP government will continue economic growth, particularly in the shipping area.” She said the LNP had three years to honour the promise, which included a $40 million funding commitment. “They have taken no action with regard to implementation and even to make a decision,” Ms Hancock said. Tourism Tropical North Queensland declined to comment.’
6 January 2015
Another article in the Cairns Post, 6 January, noted: ‘THE Queensland Government has been urged to release a study into the potential dredging of Cairns Port before the State election is called (Editor’s note: the election was called for 31st January later that same morning), or shelve the project completely. The draft EIS for the project, which involves the removal and disposal of 4.4 million cubic metres of dredge spoil from the channel, was initially expected to be released in September (Editor’s note: the first release date promised was May 2014, then September, then ‘the end of the 2014’ – after missing all 3 promises, no date has been announced since). In a statement yesterday, however, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the report was still being assessed by the Co-ordinator General. “The EIS process is rigorous, thorough and undertaken without political interference,’’ he said. Before the 2012 election, the Newman Government committed to dredging Trinity Inlet so larger cruise liners could enter and dock at the Port of Cairns. Advance Cairns CEO Mark Matthews said the LNP had yet to honour its commitment. “I think it’s beyond the time,” he said. “If it can’t go, it can’t happen, then let’s say it can’t happen and let’s get on with it. “The dragging on of this whole process causes a lot of confusion.” ‘
6 November 2014
Another article in the Cairns Post (6-11-14) was very supportive of expediting dredging the Trinity Inlet. The article covering the visiting National Geographic MV Orion, with about 100 passengers disembarking, noted: ‘One of the world’s leading adventure travel companies is willing to bring more of its fleet to Cairns if the city’s shipping channel development goes ahead. ….. Australian business development director, Jeremy Lindblad, said if Trinity Inlet could be widened and deepened the company would look at bringing more of its vessels to Cairns.’
11 November 2014
Another article in the Cairns Post (11-11-14) reported: ‘Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler vows to stop dredge spoil dumping on Great Barrier Reef off Cairns. FEDERAL Labor has committed to preventing dredge spoil from entering Great Barrier Reef waters if the Cairns Shipping Development project goes ahead. The ALP announced yesterday, if re-elected, it would impose a ban on capital dredge spoil being dumped in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The Federal Opposition’s environment spokesman Mark Butler, in Cairns yesterday with his Queensland counterpart Jackie Trad, said 4.4 million cubic metres of dredge spoil associated with the widening and deepening of Trinity Inlet could only be dumped onshore.’
15 November 2014
More from the Cairns Post, 15 November: ‘Secrecy shrouds Cairns Inlet dredge report release.…. Despite the office of Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt being uncertain about whether dredge material from the channel expansion was included in a proposed ban, Mr Entsch said there was clarity on the policy. “We can be absolutely definitive that there is a new position on dredge spoil disposal,” Mr Entsch said. “Any new proposals will be subject to this and the Federal Government is currently setting out the legal frameworks and legislative instruments to accompany it. “We can be crystal clear on this….In addition, I’ve spoken to Minister Hunt about it many times and he is well aware that I am vehemently opposed to water-based disposal – it will happen over my dead body.” ’
23 April 2014
Another Cairns Post article, 23 April, spelt out The Federal Government’s thinking, preceding Labor environment spokesman, Mark Butler’s, similar announcement above: ‘Five million cubic metres of dredging spoil is unlikely to be dumped at sea if a port development in Cairns goes ahead. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt yesterday met with Ports North to discuss the Cairns Shipping Development Project, which proposed to widen and deepen the shipping channel at Trinity Inlet for so-called mega-class ships. “The overwhelming preference if anything were to happen in Cairns is for land-based disposal.” Mr Hunt said. He backed Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch, who continues to advocate for spoil to be dumped at East Trinity near Yarrabah. Mr Entsch said: “I absolutely think it’s critical that we go ahead and do this, I believe the most appropriate site is …the degraded NatWest (land at East Trinity) and it can be done in an appropriate way, which actually will strengthen Cairns in many ways.”
Cairns Post G20 magazine, September 2014
The Cairns Post G20 magazine, WORLD OF INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES, reproduced the double-page photo with the superimposed new residential area at East Trinity, as above, on pages 52-53 in an article describing a future vision of Cairns:
An inside source revealed that the authors of this article were ‘strongly ticked off’ for including this photograph, and were directed to remove this and associated photos from the newspaper’s library. The source did not know who made the initial complaint, or why Cairns Post reacted this way, but it is interesting to speculate when considering the ‘road-blocks’ noted above.
4. John MacKenzie’s radio talkback show
A 22-minute interview with Peter Senior can be listened to at Note: if necessary, copy the address and paste into your internet link box.
John MacKenzie kicked off over two hours of non-stop discussion on the State Government’s decision to turn down the dredging proposal with an interview with Cairns Regional Council Mayer Bob Manning. Bob explained at length how this was a shocking and altogether wrong decision for many reasons. Bob noted that all ‘the science’ showed there would be no problems if the proposed dredging spoil was placed in the proposed area at the North East end of the Trinity Inlet. A later caller added that internationally-recognised reef experts, Dr Walter Starck and Professor Bob Carter, endorsed this view, noting all the inner areas between the land and reef already have some one metre of spoil at the bottom of the shallow sea from centuries of sediment drained for the land. Other callers noted: the $365m cost stated in the draft EIS was excessively high, and ignored the potential for selling some or all of the excess State-owned land at East Trinity to pay for the dredging and treatment costs. Several references were made to the two proposals linked at the start of this post. Every caller presented additional information in dismay, and in some instances, disgust, that the State Government had made this decision before even waiting for submissions on the DRAFT EIS report. The overall view was that Cairns leaders and the general public must make their views known to the State Representatives to dissuade them from this fundamentally wrong decision. The following day’s show continued the theme for nearly two hours as well.
During an interview by John MacKenzie with Federal MP Warren Entsch on John’s Talkback show, 18 March 2015, Warren described his proposals for the dredging and East Trinity which are identical to the proposal in the Phase 1 report.
23 January 2015
The Honourable David Crisafulli MP, Queensland State Member for Mundingburra and Minister for Local Government said: ‘…We do need to find a way to get that dredging done. Now, there has been every roadblock put up that could possibly happen….. My role in the next Government will be work with blokes like Trout, like King, like Kempton to strike a balance for our part of the world.’
Would David, had he still been Minister, have succeeded in changing Gavin King’s views, as quoted below? And how will the new Cairns Member, Rob Pyne address these points now Gavin King is no longer in a position to ‘road-block’?
‘It would be 20 – 30 years before the land at East Trinity could be developed’ – thousands of other reclamations started development within a few years, including Portsmith and Trinity Park.
‘It’s just unaffordable, certainly in the short-term…’ – Gavin continues to ignore the potential for revenue gains from development.
‘A bridge would be required’ – not necessary, noting it is faster to drive from East Trinity to the CBD in rush-hour than from Palm Cover.
‘The change by Federal Government regarding dumping spoil at sea caused Ports North to carry out considerably more assessments which had caused the delay’ – Not so; the final Terms of Reference were released in November 2013 requiring all land-based options to be fully assessed. This was 4 months before Ports North let the EIS contract to ARUP.
Portsmith reclamation: ‘That was a century ago’ – Portsmith reclamation was completed in the late 70s; many of the current buildings were completed in the 80s.
20 January 2015
A conversation between Queensland State Minister for the Environment, Andrew Powell, and Michael Trout, Member for Barron River and Peter Senior covered the following points:
Peter asked why Gavin King had said it would be 20 – 30 years before the land at East Trinity could be developed, then noting there was ample land currently available for development that would not be required for spoil placement, further noting such development could pay for all the costs of dredging and spoil treatment. Andrew said they were aware of such options but it was necessary to wait for the EIS report.
Peter asked why the EIS report was delayed so much past it’s original promise of May 2014, given the Terms of Reference had not changed since the original TOR published in November 2013, requiring full evaluation of all land-based options. Responses from Andrew and Michael did not really address the question, noting again the need to await the Coordinator General’s completion of the EIS assessment.
15 January 2015
A conversation between Gavin King and Peter Senior covered the following points:
Gavin said it would be 20 – 30 years before the land at East Trinity could be developed. Peter noted that ‘only’ about 500 ha of the 946.3 ha of State-owned land at East Trinity was apparently required to place the spoil. So the other 446.3 ha could potentially be available for development immediately, including the 168 ha of raised land at the North East end.
Gavin said a bridge would be required. Peter noted this was costed by GHD in the late 90s at $400m, so about $800m could be realistic now. But a bridge is not needed, noting it takes longer to drive from Palm Cove to the CBD in the rush hour now than it takes to drive in from East Trinity. A small, regular fast passenger ferry from East Trinity across the 1 Km of water to the Pier marina would probably attract considerable numbers of residents for work and pleasure.
Gavin twice said that the change by Federal Government regarding dumping spoil at sea had caused Ports North to carry out considerable more assessments which had caused the delay. Peter pointed out that the project Terms of Reference had not changed after the November 2013 update that was the basis for the ARUP contract. Full assessment of all potential land options were a requirement of the original terms of reference, so nothing has changed.
Gavin said Peter should talk with Ports North, as he had previously offered to arrange. At that point, John MacKenzie terminated the discussion due to shortage of time. Peter had been about to tell Gavin that Norm Whitney and he had three long meetings: first on 18/o4/13 with the Mayor and executives from Ports North; then 3/9/13 with Ports North executives plus ARUP consultants; then a month later with the ARUP environmental consultant at East Trinity; then 3/6/14 Peter met with the Mayor to discuss progress – we agreed, politely, to disagree on most points. Ports North clearly indicated at the three meetings they considered on-land disposal would be a far more costly option with no benefit.
An earlier conversation on this talkback show between Gavin and ‘Bill’ concerned the issue of Portsmith having been successfully reclaimed. Gavin said this was ‘a century ago’. In fact filling at Portsmith was mainly carried out during 1960’s and completed in late 1970’s. Buildings at Portsmith, especially around Aumuller street and Redden Street, were constructed mainly during 1980’s.
5. TV7 News
During an interview on the TV7 Bold Report on 16 November, the Hon Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party stated: ‘I have been involved in some detailed discussions about the Great Barrier Reef and Australia is committing to world best practise in the conservation and preservation of the Great Barrier Reef, and last week we ann0unced there would be no dumping of capital dredge waste in the marine park’. How much clearer can the Federal Government be?
6. Background and history
The report at Dredging and East Trinity opportunities 081214 presents details and several photographs that tell the story of East Trinity. Then you will be able to compare this proposal with the Ports North EIS report when it is released by the Coordinator General.
Ports North originally stated the EIS report would be presented to the Coordinator General last May, some 8 months ago. Release to the general public would be authorised by the Coordinator General at a later date, expected to be announced in the Cairns Post. Further information is noted below in.
Terms of Reference for the EIS
The Coordinator General’s Terms of Reference for the EIS report include the requirement for Ports North to present:
An outline of the alternative options considered and reasons for selecting the proposed development option.
Detail the criteria used to determine the alternatives and provide sufficient detail to convey why certain options or courses of action are preferred and why others are rejected.
Provide descriptions of all feasible alternative land-based spoil disposal.
Sufficient baseline economic data to underpin a comprehensive assessment of the direct, indirect, cumulative, costs and impacts of the project.
The indirect impacts likely to flow to other industries and economies from developing the project, and the implications of the project for future development.
The EIS should therefore include full responses to the five points above with regard to the East Trinity option without the need for further extensive investigation.
Ports North initially stated the report would be delivered in May 2014. Later the delivery date was stated as September 2014. In an article in the Cairns Post, 9 August 2014, Brett Moller, chairman of Ports North, wrote: ‘After 18 months of studies, the project EIS is due for submission to government later this year’. A later statement from Ports North noted an ‘October’ completion. On 6 November Chairman Moller told John MacKenzie on his radio show the report would completed ‘by the end of this year’. The report will be available for public release when the Coordinator-General’s office authorise this.
Options East Trinity
Other approaches could be suited to the East Trinity property such as a large marina, residential and commercial properties, and a large resort with a golf course, as was proposed then approved by Queensland State Premier Peter Beattie’s government in 1995 (this proposal is described at the end of this post). Imagine the now-familar depiction of the amazing Aquis resort superimposed on the graphic below:
The issues were captured brilliantly in a cartoon in the Cairns Post, 16 August 2014:
Cairns is a small idyllic city on the North-East coast of tropical Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef, rain forest and glorious tropical weather are just three features that attract visitors from across Australia and the rest of the world.
Many cruise ships visit Cairns, docking at the cruise terminal adjacent to the central area with its many restaurants, entertainment facilities and the lagoon by the marina. Larger cruise ships have to anchor a few kilometres North of Cairns off Yorkeys Knob. Passengers come ashore in tenders. A Channel 7 TV News item on 28 November 2012 interviewed several passengers who were dismayed at the long boat trip to get ashore, then the lack of welcome, unlike other ports they visited that have music, gifts of flowers and shelter. Queensland State MP, Gavin King, suggested putting up a welcome sign. It was dismaying to hear a cruise director from the Celebrity Solstice, visiting Yorkeys Knob on 4 December 2012, tell me: ‘It’s like a dead city; no welcome, no taxis for my passengers…’.
Almost 2 years later, on 19 November 2014, the Cairns Post announced the ‘Yorkeys Knob’s newly upgraded $2.2m cruise liner facilities will host its first cruise this morning. Passengers from luxury P&O vessel Pacific Dawn are expected to arrive ashore at Half Moon Bay Marina from 9.30 this morning. A two-year joint venture between Ports North, Yorkeys Knob Boating Club and the State Government, the upgraded facilities include a reconfigured car park with a large covered area, an improved jetty, resurfacing and lengthening of the boat ramp and a new floating walkway.’ A temporary shade tent was again erected on the nearly-sealed area for waiting passengers.
Proposal to dredge the channel
Ports North propose to dredge the Trinity Inlet channel to provide sufficient depth of water for all except the largest mega-cruise ships to navigate the channel and dock at the central cruise terminal – clearly a major advantage for cruise passengers, and certain to attract more cruise ships. This dredging project has many implications and potential major benefits in addition to attracting more cruise ships. The downside is that Ports North plan to dump the massive amount of spoil – 5+ million cubic metres initially plus ongoing maintenance – from the dredging in an extended area near the Great Barrier Reef (click on diagram of Cazalys Stadium for clearer definition).
It is important to note that, whilst most local public opinion is against dumping this spoil at sea, and State and Federal legislation currently prevents ‘capital’ dredging spoil being dumped at sea, many credible technical explanations and assessments have demonstrated that such dumping at sea would not harm the reef providing it is done in a controlled manner. Much of the negativity about dumping dredging spoil at sea has been stirred up by both extreme environmentalists and organisations, including some government departments, that have been seduced by bodies such a the UN that promote very dubious and ideological aims. The key factors are explained well in an article by Professor Bob Carter, The Australian, 29-12-14: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/great-barrier-reef-a-shore-thing-muddied-by-misconceptions/story-e6frg6zo-1227168703706
What 5+ million cubic metres looks like
The Queensland Coordinator-General issued draft Terms of Reference (TOR) for the dredging project assessment; submissions were invited so anyone could comment on the draft TOR. The deadline was 29 October 2012. One submission presented can be viewed at Submission for Cairns Shipping Development Project draft Terms of Reference, Peter Senior, 291012. This submission canvasses the key issues and presents several suggestions, in particular noting that dredging spoil could be used as a valuable resource for several land-based projects such as bulk-fill to assist fixing the environmental disaster at East Trinity.
Revised Terms of Reference
It was very gratifying that the Coordinator-General’s considerably revised Terms of Reference document included a well-balanced approach that requires rigorous assessment of a range of land-based solutions for the use of Trinity Inlet dredging spoil.
On 25 September 2012, the Queensland Government declared the project as a “significant project for which an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required”, following the submission of an Initial Advice Statement. The Queensland Coordinator-General is managing the State’s assessment process and Terms of Reference (TOR) for the project are available at www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/assessments-and-approvals/cairns-shipping-development-project.
Ports North provided a submission to the Federal Government to determine if the project is a controlled action, which means it has to be assessed for environmental impacts under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The project was declared a “controlled action” on 5 October 2012 and will therefore require the preparation of an EIS that addresses Federal Government guidelines. Information on the Federal EIS process and guidelines can be found on the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website www.environment.gov.au
The Cairns Regional Council’s 12th December 2012 meeting considered the Great Barrier Reef Ports Strategy, a succinct and relevant paper which includes requests for submissions by 14th December:
A ‘Deputation’ to the Cairns Regional Council was planned to be presented to the full Council on 27 February 2013. This was cancelled hours before the scheduled start time because several people felt strongly that the presentation would be counter-productive at that time. Here is the Power Point presentation that was planned for the deputation: Trinity Inlet dredging proposal (2.8 MB).
Ports North announced on 22 April 2013: ‘The Cairns Shipping Development Project took another step forward today announcing Arup in partnership with BMT WBM as the Lead Consultants who will work with Ports North to deliver a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to meet the requirements of both the State and Commonwealth Governments.’ As at 3 September 2013 the consultants were making good progress towards completion of the draft EIS report.
Many Cairns local business people and community members look forward with great interest to reading what the report has to say, and what the Queensland Co-ordinator General’s departmental response is, regarding the EIS terms of reference points (as listed above).
Meeting the consultants
A meeting with Ports North and their consultants on 3 September 2013 demonstrated the consultants were on track to prepare a draft EIS report for Ports North to make available for public consultation starting in May 2014. At this meeting, the following points were re-iterated:
It is likely the lowest direct cost of the total dredging project will be to dump the spoil in an extended area by the current dumping area. This solution also appears to fulfil the Ports North objectives. A primary concern remains that there may be major benefits for the Cairns community, economy and environment through managing this massive amount of dredging spoil as a valuable resource that could contribute towards several important on-land projects – ‘may be’ because no significant investigation or cost-benefit studies have ever been undertaken in the past to address this issue.
Also the EIS appears to extend well outside the formal role and objectives of Ports North, and moves towards a much wider mandate. To this extent Ports North is in a difficult position in determining just how far they are required to go outside the Port’s mandate to fulfil the EIS. Recalling that the most obvious location to place the dredging spoils is over the environmentally-devastated East Trinity area, two close neighbours of that area, Brigadier Mansford and Norm Whitney, noted that, under the management of QASSIT (Queensland Acid Sulphate Soil Investigation Team) and other government bodies, this area has become a major health and environmental hazard. For instance, destruction of an entire new forest of melaleucas – a 2013 photo:
Yet landowners face stiff penalties for such vandalism. A range of signs, community concern, media articles and reports such as the SKM’s ‘Improved Dredge Material Management for the Great Barrier Reef Region’ suggest dumping dredging spoil at sea off the Queensland coast has a very limited life.
The 1988 aerial photo
The 1988 aerial photo below shows a light-brown area, lower-left where the developers purchased dredging spoil from the harbour board to test the effect of placing spoil on the land. It is recorded that the trial was successful. It is instructive to compare this area now with satellite photos on Google Earth
LNP’s quarterly magazine, Dialogue
The Liberal National Party’s quarterly magazine, Dialogue, has an article (pages 24 – 27) in Issue 6 describing the history of the East Trinity property: LNP Dialogue magazine, A Sustainable East Trinity, that concludes: ‘Wise decision-makers, unafraid of disinformation from a very small but vocal minority, need to act now. The environmental catastrophe at East Trinity can be resolved and the property made available for the City’s future growth. The land, and potentially another four square kilometres, could become an urban residential development area very close to the CBD, as advocated by town planners. A bonus would be that valuable agricultural land presently earmarked for residential development would remain productive, extending the viability of the sugar industry and the associated jobs. Surely that is a win-win for the environment as well as most Cairns stakeholders.’
The fundamental issue is this: is it better for the Cairns community to place this massive amount of spoil in an extended area close to the Great Barrier Reef, with possible attendant dangers, or to manage this spoil as a potentially valuable resource that may enable the large East Trinity area – only 2 kilometres from Cairns’ CBD – to be reclaimed and become part of Cairns future development. The EIS report is required to address this issue.
Earlier letters to the Cairns Post
A letter published in the Cairns Post on 17 February 2014 posed the question:‘The dredged material need not be an off-shore disposal problem. Instead this valuable resource could enable creation of more land of a similar size to Portsmith only 2 kilometres from the CBD. Our city’s forefathers chose to create Portsmith using dredging spoil from Trinity Inlet. Will our current city leaders be as wise?’
Another letter in the Cairns Post on March 11 2014, written by Brigadier Mansford addressed the issue of short-term expediency over long-term planning and benefits: ‘If the impending report on dredging Cairns Port advises that dumping at sea is safe, then do it as an interim measure. However, given the long-term needs for continued expansion of port facilities it would be stupid to consider it a permanant solution. The region’s future should not be determined by controversial and questionable treatment costs. Government must pursue and determine innovative and economical methods to use the spoil on degraded land and convert it into assets that will contain future infrastructure, abundant green open space and environmental corridors on the very perimeter of the CBD that any city would envy. The past history of reclaiming many areas of degraded land in Cairns should be part of the research to determine fact from fiction. We need to be more positive. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and find ways to do what we can and must do, as opposed to assuming it’s all too difficult.’
Meeting the consultants, 31 October 2013
Stepping back a few months, a meeting on 31 October 2013 with one of the consultants at a property adjacent to the Queensland State-owned East Trinity area in question demonstrated at that stage the consultants had minimal knowledge of the current and past status and events that lead up to the state of this ‘disaster area’. Several previous reports about the area were passed on to the consultant, together with detailed explanations of related past events.
CAFNEC public meeting
The Cairns Post published an article on 5 April 2014 noting the draft EIS report is now expected in September rather than May. (Click on graphic below to enlarge). Much of the article describes the views of the local miniscule extreme environmental group, CAFNEC, who organised an event on Sunday 6 April protesting dumping dredging spoil ‘near out reef’ (as several banners read) Other banners and T-Shirts had messages including:
Don’t stop our fishing
Our reef is already sick
i-care about our environment – www/acfonline/org.au
Save the Turtles
Save the Great Barrier Reef
Dump on Abbott, not our reef
Big Coal is killing Nemo
Sea Shepherd Australia
Fish are my friends
CAFNEC’s views for many years have been consistently against any development (recall they were strongly against the superb and world-acclaimed Skyrail project). Their argument against dumping spoil at sea is quite widely supported by Cairns’ locals. Their other argument concerns the dredging spoil ‘…so the obvious solution of using it as fill for building really isn’t an option in this case because of the nature of the sediment’. They fail to point out that the real issue is the cost of treating and compaction, which of course CAFNEC do not address, nor how this spoil from the same area was successfully used over many decades to cover then develop much of Portsmith. Note too there have been major advances in spoil management technology and equipment for preloading and compacting since Portsmith was created, including for the forthcoming Abbotts Point project. Perhaps CAFNEC’s ‘obvious solution’ is indeed both practical, economic and would provide a range of major benefits for most Cairns residents and businesses. Ports North chairman Brett Moller sensibly noted: ‘Ports North are not prejudging the outcome of the EIS in relation to the relocation of dredge material ….‘. That was, of course, before the 11 month delay – and counting…..
4,000 ha is available…
A potentially overriding aspect of the issue of where to place the dredging spoil was summarized in a letter published in the Cairns Post on 12 April 2014: ‘Several recent letters and articles raise concerns about future housing and rental affordability if the huge Aquis development goes ahead. For instance ‘Affordability key to fate of Aquis’ (10-04). Perhaps it’s time to dust off proposals from the 1990s to develop housing on land at East Trinity? There are over 4,000 hectares of land largely wasted at East Trinity that could become available for residential development. This land could provide housing for at least 60,000 people, would avoid using other valuable agricultural land further South and fulfils modern town planners’ recommendations for urban development to be close to the CBD. This option to accommodate Cairn’s certain population growth appears to have much merit. Perhaps Cairns Regional Council have this on their drawing boards as one of several options for assessment?’
Ruling on land-based disposal
A further update of the Federal Government’s thinking was spelt out in a Cairns Post article, 23 April 2014: ‘Five million cubic metres of dredging spoil is unlikely to be dumped at sea if a port development in Cairns goes ahead. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt yesterday met with Ports North to discuss the Cairns Shipping Development Project, which proposed to widen and deepen the shipping channel at Trinity Inlet for so-called mega-class ships. “The overwhelming preference if anything were to happen in Cairns is for land-based disposal.” Mr Hunt said. He backed Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch, who continues to advocate for spoil to be dumped at East Trinity near Yarrabah. Mr Entsch said: “I absolutely think it’s critical that we go ahead and do this, I believe the most appropriate site is …the degraded NatWest (land at East Trinity) and it can be done in an appropriate way, which actually will strengthen Cairns in many ways.”
The deadline for the project’s environmental impact statement was extended to September to allow for further water-quality studies. Earlier this month, hundreds of residents rallied in Cairns to protest port developments near the Great Barrier Roof, including the Trinity Inlet proposal.
Legal personality for the reef
The Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland is campaigning to grant the reef a legal personality so it can be defended in court. It was prompted by a Great Barrier Roof Marine Park Authority decision to allow three million cubic metres of dredging spoil to be dumped in the marine park as part of the Abbot Point coal port expansion, north of Bowen. An online petition for a referendum to award the reef legal rights has attracted more than 600 signatures. Mr Hunt yesterday dismissed the campaign: “The reef already has a legal personality, the GBRMPA is there to represent the reef, it defines the area of the reef, it does a tremendous job. “The GBRMPA is an independent executive agency, it is one of the world’s leading marine park agencies, if not the world’s leading marine park agency,” he said.’
These views were reinforced in a Cairns Post article, Committee fears for Reef, 24 July 2014: ‘Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch, however, said both he and Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s preferred disposal site was on-land. “Greg Hunt had already made it publicly clear that he wants the dredging on land,” he said. “I have made is very publicly clear that I want it on land, at East Trinity. It won’t be a blow-in from Tasmania who will influence a decision to have it there.” He said depositing the dredge spoil at East Trinity would also provide land for the city’s future population growth.’
The plan that was prevented when Peter Beattie’s Labor government withdrew its approval to appease environmental activists, resulting in Cairns losing what would have been a fine development, and paying the National Westminster bank what is rumoured to have been many millions of dollars to avoid being sued. The Royal Reef AIS and EIS reports (respectively 1992 and 1995), two exceptionally comprehensive 40 mm thick reports produced by a team of specialists led by Brannock Humphreys, Town Planning Consultants, describe the proposal in detail. Section 10.0 CONCLUSIONS notes: ‘There will be no major detrimental impacts to the environment as a result of the proposed development which has been modified to be generally in accordance with the Trinity Inlet Management Plan.’ A selection of diagrams from the report are below: a hotel and beach, a plan of the whole resort and a location plan.
It seems The Cairns Post is the only ‘leader’ pushing a vision for Cairns on a range of issues including many articles describing the manifest benefits that would result from dredging the Trinity Inlet. One example was published in the Cairns Post in May 2012: Cairns Post front page 08-05-12Cairns Post follow-on 08-05-12. Hopefully Cairns’ civic leaders will take up the challenge soon.
Labor Premier Beattie turns a blind eye
It also seems no-one showed former Labor Premier Peter Beattie all the evidence that had been provided to his departments, or informed the Cairns City/Regional Council on related matters. A letter from Peter Beattie dated 4 February 1999 included: “In relation to the acid sulphate and sewerage issues you raise, this Government has seen no evidence which would indicate there is an acid sulphate problem at East Trinity, while matters pertaining to solid waste disposal are primarily the responsibility of the Cairns City Council and, as such, should be raised directly with this authority.”
This post comprises reviews books that add substantially to the understanding of our world, economics, politics, history and geopolitics, and what may happen in the future.
The Cosmic War, by Dr Joseph P Farrell
Phantom Self, by David Icke
1984 – Nineteen Eighty Four. George Orwell’s 1950 classic
Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Death of Money, James Rickards
American Betrayal, Diana West
From Third World to First, Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew by Graham Allison
The Cosmic War, by Dr Joseph P Farrell
A review from Amazon of this extraordinary and compelling ‘must read’ book, The Cosmic War:Interplanetary Warfare, Modern Physics, and Ancient Texts: A Study in Non-Catastrophist Interpretations of Ancient Legends,Author Dr Joseph P Farrell.
Farrell’s foray into ancient antiquity is scholarly in it’s precision and thought-provoking in its ramifications. Oxford educated researcher Dr. Joseph P. Farrell unleashes a reverberating hypothesis regarding ancient history whose echoes will be forever heard.
Cosmic War is an extremely intriguing incursion into the possibility of a very ancient war in high antiquity. Dr. Farrell’s hypotheses of an Ancient Interplanetary War is argued in an in-depth, precise and reasonable approach. The extensive evidence Farrell collates and synthesizes will leave the reader aghast with the possibilities.
Intriguingly, many ancient cultures stated that the ‘Wars of the Gods’ were quite real. Predictably, even though there’s extensive evidence for advanced physics, advanced weapons, ancient [millions and BILLIONS of year old artifacts found by reputable sources], the establishment has painted all over ancient history with myth.
Regarding this very issue, Jim Marrs in his book Our Occulted History, sets his cross hairs on this very issue: “The term mythology stems from the Greek word mythos, simply meaning words or stories reflecting the basic values and attitudes of people. In past ages, when the vast majority of humans were illiterate, easily understood parables were used to educate people about history, science, and technology. During the Dark Ages, when most of people were taught that the Earth was flat, the word mythology was changed by the Roman Church to mean imaginative and fanciful tales veering far from truthfulness. This small change in semantics has caused untold damage in current perceptions.”
Ironically enough, there is starting to be more and more evidence of ‘myths’ now turning out to be fact. As Chris Hardy Ph.D remarks in her poignant book DNA Of The Gods: “…let’s remember that, before the discoveries of loads of ancient tablets written in the pictographic Sumerian language (Late Uruk period, fourth millennium BCE), the kingdom of Sumer was believed to be a myth. We had already discovered Akkad and deciphered Akkadian, and still archaeologists wouldn’t give credence to the numerous carved references, within historical dated records, to a line of kings whose title was “King of Sumer and Akkad”.
Or how about the “myth” of Troy: “This myth collapsed in 1865 with archeologist Frank Calvet’s discovery of the historic ruins of not only one city of Troy but nine layers of it! The city, whose siege is recounted in Homer’s Iliad, is only Troy VII, the seventh level underground, dating to the thirteenth century BCE.”
The gatekeepers, for many reasons, want to keep established history in a nice little box. Fortunately, as anyone who has extensively research these topics know, there’s more than ample evidence that shows that at minimum history isn’t what we have been told.
In any case, Cosmic War covers wide ranging but pertinent topics such as Van Flandern’s exploded planet hypothesis, an analysis of plasma in relation to weapons that employ scalar physics, petroglyphs which show plasma instability glyphs that were recorded by ancient cultures, remnants of giants in ancient history, optical phase conjugation, the story of the ‘gods’ as related through ancient texts, pulsars, generational charts of the ‘gods’, the scarring of The Valles Mariners being possibly from a weapon, Iapetus and its hexagonal craters, and a LOT more.
The ramifications of this book abound, and filter in all aspects of our lives. Dr. Farrell gives compelling reasons [coupled with countless others in his other trenchant books] as to why we need to give history, particularly ancient history, a very long and thorough look.
In its totality, this book is a veritable fountain of information that is scholarly in precision, and thought-provoking in its ramifications. This book is a must read for anyone interested in ancient history, ancient civilizations, and any of the topics there-in. There is more than enough information to make the reader curious about our past in more ways than they can really imagine.
David Icke’s “Phantom Self”: A Book Review from Freedom Articles
Phantom Self, the latest book of researcher David Icke, takes conspiracy research to a new depth with the idea of a primal virus that has hacked Life itself.
(Editor’s note: this book is amongst the most fascinating, timely and thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. I strongly recommend setting aside all prejudice and past learning – what we were taught, and so believed – then reading it with an open mind. And then thinking deeply.)
Phantom Self is the latest book of famous researcher and free-thinker David Icke. Just as in his previous book The Perception Deception, David takes his research to a new level of depth with a comprehensive display of dot-connecting that will leave many in awe of his knowledge – but more importantly awaken people to the real dire straits humanity is in. Like many of his books, it ends with a positive message and the ultimate solution to all of humanity’s problems; however, most of the book is devoted to exposing the current reality of planet Earth, often in horrifying detail. This is an essential part of David’s message, for without the true knowledge of what is really going on – and the capacity to feel the horror of it – we will not muster the courage and motivation to change it. Part of the reason humanity is so stuck deep in the conspiracy is that it is engaged in massive collective denial, which it prevents it from acting decisively to quash and transform the evil (or unconsciousness as I prefer to call it). A hallmark of Phantom Self is that it takes a step further down the rabbit hole – past the reptilians and Archons – and looks at the controlling force behind them, which David says resembles some kind of computer virus that has hacked life itself.
George Orwell’s classic 1950 novel is very worthwhile reading (again for most people). It is frightening to review how much of what Orwell wrote is happening today, albeit is somewhat different guise. Recall Orwell was a member of the Fabian Society, where he learnt of their plans before resigning. He used novels as a practical was to publicise the plans he learn about from other Fabian members. The Amazon website – https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=1984 – explains much about the book, and presents several perceptive reviews – this is one of the 4,613:
George Orwell’s classic was incredibly visionary. It is hardly fathomable that this book was written in 1948. Things that we take for granted today – cameras everywhere we go, phones being tapped, bodies being scanned for weapons remotely – all of these things were described in graphic detail in Orwell’s book. Now that we have the Internet and people spying on other people w/ webcams and people purposely setting up their own webcams to let others “anonymously” watch them, you can see how this culture can develop into the Orwellian future described in “1984.” If you’ve heard such phrases as “Big Brother,” “Newspeak,” and “thought crime” and wondered where these phrases came from, they came from this incredible, vivid and disturbing book. Winston Smith, the main character of the book is a vibrant, thinking man hiding within the plain mindless behavior he has to go through each day to not be considered a thought criminal. Everything is politically correct, children defy their parents (and are encouraged by the government to do so) and everyone pays constant allegiance to “Big Brother” – the government that watches everyone and knows what everyone is doing at all times – watching you shower, watching you having sex, watching you eat, watching you go to the bathroom and ultimately watching you die. This is a must-read for everyone.
Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now
Author: Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, was raised Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia. In 1992, Hirsi Ali came to the Netherlands as a refugee. She earned her college degree in political science and worked for the Dutch Labor party. She denounced Islam after the September 11 terrorist attacks and now serves as a Dutch parliamentarian, fighting for the rights of Muslim women in Europe, the enlightenment of Islam, and security in the West.
Editor’s note: this book should be considered essential reading by anyone who has an interest in Islam as well as everyone who is or may be effected by Muslims (that means just about everyone!). The book is very comprehensive and, unlike most other books on the subject, provides not only a wide-ranging background and analyses based on her own experience, but some thought-provoking solutions. After scanning numerous reviews of this excellent book, the following written by ‘Helpful Advice’ on Amazon is more or less what I would have written.
After ‘Infidel’ and ‘Nomad’ worldwide known, equally hated and adored Ayaan Hirsi Ali is back on literary (and considering the topic inevitably political) scene with her new and probably the most controversial book so far she wrote – ‘Heretic’.
A book that will certainly be subject of numerous texts, quoted or despised, she raised the question of some key Islam teachings incompatibility with the values of modern or free society for which the majority (or at least we think so maybe) people in the world stands for.
It seemed that comparing to some other major religions, Islam somehow proved immune to changes in the new world we are living, characterized by enormous speed of information exchange and the development of human rights. There were some attempts such as Arab Spring that tried to challenge traditional thinking, ingrained prejudices or facts about the Muslim world. But with the simultaneous proliferation of Islamic fundamentalism and even its acceptance in certain circles of the population in the West, according to the author it seems that it is time for some radical actions that must be implemented by the very Muslims, not someone else from outside.
So, what Ali proposes needs to happen for Muslims to defeat the extremists for good? Economic, political, judicial and military tools have already been proposed, some of them deployed, though it seems that all these will have little effect unless Islam itself is reformed.
Therefore she calls for a Muslim Reformation—a revision of Islamic teachings, alignment of modern society with traditional religion doctrine, that seems difficult, but not unfeasible due to the rejection of extremist behavior among the majority of Muslims around the world.
She reminds that such reformation has been called for since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent abolition of the caliphate, but instead of general phrases and generalized objectives she precisely pointed out five key precepts that have made Islam resistant to historical change and adaptation. And only when the harmfulness of these ideas will be recognized and as result they will be rejected, a true Muslim Reformation would be possible.
Although to comment each of them would require writing essays, I’ll just list all five of them:
• Removing of Muhammad’s semi-divine status, putting him into the history context as important figure that united the Arabs in a pre-modern time that cannot be copied in the 21st century. And consequently also recognizing the fact that Quran is the book made by human hands.
• Emphasizing that life is more important than something that comes after it will reduce the appeal of martyrdom.
• Appreciation of modern laws that need to be put in front of Shariah legislation that is violent, intolerant or anachronistic.
• The abolition of the individual’s right and so called religious police to enforce the law, something for Muslim community is unfortunately particularly known
• And most important, Islam must become a religion of peace removing the imperative to wage holy wars against infidels
Once again this author must be admitted undeniable courage to tackle the dangerous subjects in a world where because of the drawn cartoons you can easily lose a life. Her theses are clear, her objectives are fully explained, her mission to change the Islamic world from the inside continues, causing the happiness and satisfaction of all civilized Muslims worldwide.
Therefore high recommendations for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, this brave author who after fighting for the rights of women engages into even greater battle with the hope that one day we will be able to say that books like these changed the world. For the better.
The Death of Money
The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System. 8 April 2014. By James Rickards.
James Rickards, author of the other best seller, Currency Wars, has gone even further in The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System, in telling it like it is (and will be, so prepare yourself!). Jim’s all-facts, straightforward approach is peppered with just enough analogy and anecdotal wit to make sophisticated economic/mathematical/political concepts understandable to the (educated) layperson. His clarification techniques serve the book well by making sure the content never gets watered down or condescending. For anyone interested in knowing what is going on behind the scenes, how the dollar is being systematically devalued by The Fed (and why), what a rigged sham our banking system is, and how things are likely to play out in the very near future, read The Death of Money!
The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character by Diana West (May 28, 2013). Diana West’s newest book “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on our Nations Character” is a highly researched, blockbuster of a story taking 356 pages to tell with 29 pages of notes. Whilst not directly about ‘management’, this book is packed with information that any successful manager should understand, in particular regarding communications (propaganda?) and planning. It’s the most thought-provoking, worrying, disillusioning book I’ve ever read. I’ve attached a couple of reviews of the book from Amazon.com. American Betrayal, Diana West, May 2013. Reviews that give you a glimpse of what it’s about. John, of John’s Newsletter fame, noted: ‘American Betrayal explains what many already know about the creation of the soviet monster by the FDR administration, stacked with communist spies and the author of the cold war from as early as 1942. How FDR’s lackeys could give the USSR the atomic bomb via Lend Lease is fascinating and unfortunately true. It is clear that powerhouse though she may be, America has been ungovernable since the outset…Just too big, too complex and too full of leaks and confused ideologies. America is now, as a reaction, on the road to becoming a police state. Folk who have read the book called “The Open Society and Its Enemies” by Karl Popper will understand how the USA came to this pretty pickle and the realities behind this scandalous state of affairs. Horrific though her anecdotes are, I have seen independent corroboration elsewhere of Diana’s central themes and accept them as factual – when asserted as such. This book is too disturbing for general consumption.’
From Third World to First
The Singapore Story: 1965-2000 by Lee Kuan Yew (Oct 3, 2000). Note: although older, it is useful to read this book before the Grand Master’s Insights book, below. Some comments on the Amazon website: Lee Kwan Yew had a clear vision, set himself clear goals…. Above all, what led to his success is his execution skills…. Although Singapore is a free market economy, its philosophy concerning workers and employees are caring and genuine, unlike in the United States….His views regarding leadership and a wide range of management issues are profound….. Read this book to be inspired.
Lee Kuan Yew
The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World by Graham Allison et al., 1 Feb. 2013. Some comments on the Amazon website: Lee excels in pithy evaluations of regional and national strengths and weaknesses. At his best, the man is a cross between Confucius and Machiavelli. (Washington Times)……..”I found myself engrossed this week by the calm, incisive wisdom of one of the few living statesmen in the world who can actually be called visionary. The wisdom is in a book, “Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States and the World,” a gathering of Mr. Lee’s interviews, speeches and writings…He is now 89, a great friend of America, and his comments on the U.S. are pertinent to many of the debates in which we’re enmeshed.” — Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal.
Modern society growth is proportional to available energy, so the availability of cost-effective energy for everyone is clearly critical. This post presents a range of issues with regard to the science, views and potential for free energy and so-called renewable energy.
Scroll down to see additional articles at the end of the post.
This article presents a range of issues with regard to the potential for free energy.
Modern society growth is proportional to available energy, so the availability of cost-effective energy for everyone is clearly critical. This post presents a range of issues with regard to the science, views and potential for free energy and so-called renewable energy.
Of the seven largest markets in the world, namely, energy, agriculture, telecom, auto, chemicals, packaged foods, and pharma, the energy market surpasses all others by a minimum margin of $3.3 trillion dollars per year. The growing demand for energy drives market size projections to $10.4 trillion per year by 2020, helping energy maintain its dominant position in the world markets. The 2013 world GDP was USD75.59, so energy comprised about 15%.
Several organisations are working hard to develop low-cost devices that could provide almost-free energy that potentially could destroy or replace most of the current energy industry. Question: how do you think energy industry leaders are reacting? Read banker J P Morgan’s reaction to Nicola Tesla’s inventions below, and view Thomas Bearden’s videos, also below.
However, the most of the official scientific views of ‘free energy’, Tesla’s demonstrations, zero point energy and the like are dismissive. But then, recall everyone ‘knew’ the sun went around the earth, and peptic ulcers were caused by stress and acidity – until 2 doctors, who had been scoffed at for 20 years – proved these ulcers were caused by bacteria, and won Nobel prizes. Scientific has an alarming history of ‘getting it wrong’. As Einstein said, it only takes one person to prove I’m wrong’.
The reader is advised that most of what is presented in this section is very different from what he/she is likely to have been taught, read and viewed. Rather than scoffing, which is a natural reaction, it would be better to maintain an open mind and consider the degree that past information on this and allied subjects may have been manipulated for entirely different ends.
The subject of ‘free energy’ is best introduced and put into context by the Sirius project. Dr Carol Rosin interviews Dr Steve Greer to discuss an update on Sirius Disclosure (34 mins intro, implementation at 77 mins, ends 94 mins) – audio interview http://americanfreedomradio.com/listen_live.html
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Bearden, US Army, PhD explains how energy can be extracted from the ‘zero points field’, the ‘dipole’ effect and how and why this form of free energy has been buried by various black government, financial and industrial operations as well as the scientific community and non-availability of patents for ‘perpetual motion machines’. Recorded around 2002, but similarly valid in 2016. The main difference is that ‘money-printing’ has extended his forecasted deadline – 47 minutes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wleifp3Fbe0
History of free energy, suppression, economic cartels in energy preventing free energy, assassination etc. and how it works – over-unity power systems, Lt Colonel Thomas Bearden (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lsJybtR9YlM 47 minutes) – his website: http://www.cheniere.org/ – note quotes. This is an old video ~2003 – predicts world will be into mass war in 2007/08 or sooner if new energy generation is prevented – his logic remains, but the various institutions, cartels etc. have managed to delay free energy for another decade since. Dr. Eugene Mallove RIP
Description of zero point energy by Dr Hal Puthoff – (watch Dr Mallove 3 videos at the end of first video, linked after the first video)
Part 1 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=blojNMW-Ias
Part 3 (shortly before he was murdered, a still-unresolved mystery) –
Perpetual motion machine?
Science skeptic and writer, Martin Gardner has called claims of such zero-point-energy-based systems, “as hopeless as past efforts to build perpetual motion machines.” Perpetual motion machine refers to technical designs of machines that can operate indefinitely, optionally with additional output of excessive energy, without any cited input source of energy, which is in violation of the laws of thermodynamics. Formally, technical designs that claim to harness zero-point energy would not fall into this category because zero-point energy is claimed as the input source of energy’. The issue is, then, what the are boundaries that comprise the overall system in which the energy resides.
A full explanation of progress in the zero energy science: ‘As to whether zero-point energy may become a source of usable energy, this is considered extremely unlikely by most physicists, and none of the claimed devices are taken seriously by the mainstream science community. Nevertheless, SED interpretation of the Bohr orbit (above) does suggest a way whereby energy might be extracted. Based upon this a patent has been issued and experiments have been underway at the University of Colorado (U.S. Patent 7,379,286).’ NB mainstream science ‘knew’ the sun goes around the earth, and stomach ulcers were caused by excess acid. http://www.calphysics.org/zpe.html
A Device to Harness Free Cosmic Energy Claimed by Nikola Tesla: “This new power for the driving of the world’s machinery will be derived from the energy which operates the universe, the cosmic energy, whose central source for the earth is the sun and which is everywhere present in unlimited quantities.” It is not clear how or whether this related directly to zero-point energy. It is fully documented that banker J P Morgan believed it would work and preclude his profiting from selling energy; he sabotaged Tesla’s progress and stole Tesla’s patents. Acknowledged as the greatest inventor ever, as a result, Tesla died a pauper. http://www.nuenergy.org/nikola-tesla-radiant-energy-system/
Dr Steven Greer
Steven Greer, re new/free energy/ET etc.
The potential for ‘free energy’ is discussed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-point_energy – Utilization Controversy section. Zero-point energy, also called quantum vacuum zero-point energy, is the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanicalphysical system may have; it is the energy of its ground state. Despite the scientific stance to typically discount the claims, numerous articles and books have been published addressing and discussing the potential of tapping zero-point-energy from the quantum vacuum or elsewhere. See 44 references with links.
The RET Scheme, a monstrous mis-allocation of resources, continues to make Australia poorer for no good reason. Those who concocted and voted for it seem determined to hobble the nation’s prospects while slipping some $5 billion every year into the pockets of rent-seeking saboteurs
One Senate inquiry is addressing Australia’s drift towards a fuel crisis, a sin of omission on the part of the Rudd/Gillard government and the current Liberal one. Another Senate inquiry is investigating a sin of commission that started under John Howard’s watch and continues to this day, namely the proliferation of wind turbines under the RET Scheme.
Submissions to the latter inquiry are online here. I commend submission Number Five by your humble correspondent. It is reproduced below:
No electric power producer would take power from a wind turbine operation if they had the choice. All the wind turbines in Australia have been forced upon the power companies that take their output.
Why do we have wind turbines?
So the question has to be asked, why do we have wind turbines in the first place?
Wind turbines are commonly considered to produce renewable energy. This is distinct from energy sources that are once-through and thus finite. The rationale for renewable energy is that its use reduces the consumption of fossil fuels by substitution. The rationale for that, in turn, is that fossil fuels contribute to the warming of the atmosphere through the greenhouse effect. This last rationale goes to the source of the wind turbine problem. So it is apposite to examine that claim.
While climate change is real in that the climate is always changing, and the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide is real, the effect at the current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is minuscule.
The greenhouse gasses keep the planet 30°C warmer than it would otherwise be if they weren’t in the atmosphere. So the average temperature of the planet’s surface is 15°C instead of -15°C. Of that effect, 80% is provided by water vapour, 10% by carbon dioxide and methane, ozone and so on make up the remaining 10%. So the warming provided by carbon dioxide is three degrees.
The pre-industrial level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 286 parts per million. Let’s round that up to 300 parts per million to make the maths easier. You could be forgiven for thinking that if 300 parts per million produces three degrees of warming, the relationship is that every one hundred parts per million produces a degree of warming. We are adding two parts per million to the atmosphere each year, which is 100 parts per million every 50 years and, at that rate, the world would heat up at a fair clip.
The relationship is logarithmic
But the relationship isn’t arithmetic, it is logarithmic. The University of Chicago has an online program called Modtran which allows you to put in an assumed atmospheric carbon dioxide content and it will tell you how much atmospheric heating that produces. It turns out that the first 20 parts per million produces half of the heating effect to date. The effect rapidly drops away as the carbon dioxide concentration increases.
By the time we get to the current level in the atmosphere of 400 parts per million, the heating effect is only 0.1°C per one hundred parts per million. At that rate, the temperature of the atmosphere might rise by 0.2°C every one hundred years.
The total atmospheric heating from carbon dioxide to date is of the order of 0.1°C. By the time humanity has dug up all the rocks we can economically burn, and burnt them, the total heating effect from carbon dioxide might be of the order of 0.4°C. This would take a couple of centuries. A rise of this magnitude would be lost in the noise of the climate system. This agrees with observations which have not found any signature from carbon dioxide-related heating in the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide level is dangerously low
The carbon dioxide level of the atmosphere is actually dangerously low, not dangerously high. During the glacial periods of our current ice age, the level got as low as 180 parts per million. Plant growth shuts down at 150 parts per million. Several times in the last three million years, life above sea level came within 30 parts per million of extinction due to a lack of carbon dioxide. The more humanity can increase the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, the safer life on Earth will be.
Further to all that, belief in global warming from carbon dioxide requires a number of underlying assumptions. One of these is that the feedback loop of increased heating from carbon dioxide causes more water vapour to be held in the atmosphere which in turns causes more heating, a runaway effect. And that this feedback effect only starts from the pre-industrial level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – not a higher level or a lower level, but exactly at the pre-industrial level.
Some estimates of the heating effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide are as high as 6.0°C for a doubling of the concentration from the pre-industrial level. For this to be true, atmospheric heating of at least 2.0°C should have been seen to date. In the real world, there has been a temperature rise of 0.3°C in the last 35 years, as measured by satellites. This is well short of what is predicted by global warming theory as practiced by the CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology and others.
This is also a far more plausible reason for the warming of the planet during the current Modern Warm Period which followed the ending of the Little Ice Age in 1900. The energy that keeps the Earth from looking like Pluto comes from the Sun and the level and make-up of that energy does change. The Sun was more active in the second half of the 20th century than it had been in the previous 8,000 years. As shown by the geomagnetic Aa Index, the Sun started getting more active in the mid-19th century and the world’s glaciers began retreating at about the same time.
It is entirely rational to think that a more active Sun would result in a warmer Earth, and this is borne out by empirical observation. To wit, the increased Antarctic sea ice cover observed during the satellite period.
Arctic sea ice extent retreated for the last 20 years of the 20th century. That is compatible with global warming for any reason. At the same time, Antarctic sea extent increased by an amount similar to the Arctic sea ice loss. This is not possible if we accept that global warming is due to carbon dioxide. It also means that global warming due to carbon dioxide did not cause the bulk of the warming in the rest of the planet because carbon dioxide’s effect was overwhelmed in Antarctica by some other force.
Increase in Antarctic sea ice extent
The increase in Antarctic sea ice extent is entirely consistent with increased global temperatures due to high solar activity, as explained by Henrik Svensmark’s theory, which holds that high solar activity produces a lower neutron flux in the lower troposphere from intergalactic cosmic radiation, in turn providing fewer nucleation sites for cloud droplet formation and, thus, less cloud cover. Sunnier skies over Antarctica in turn mean that more solar radiation is reflected by high-albedo snow and ice instead of being absorbed in the cloud cover. Thus Antarctica has cooled.
The rest of the world has enjoyed the best climatic conditions, and thus agricultural growing conditions, since the 13th century. But what the Sun gives it can also take away. Solar physicists have been warning for over a decade that the Sun is entering a prolonged period of low activity similar to that of the Maunder Minimum from 1645 to 1710. Most recently, Livingstone and Penn have predicted a maximum amplitude for the next solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25, of 7. By comparison, the previous solar cycle, Solar Cycle 23, had a maximum amplitude of 120.
The longest temperature record on the planet is the Central England Temperature Record from 1659. Using the solar-based forecasting model developed by Dr David Evans and the Livingstone and Penn estimate of Solar Cycle 25 amplitude of 7, a prediction can be made of the effect on the Central England Temperature out to 2040. The reduction in solar activity now being observed will result in temperatures returning to the levels of the mid-19th century at best, with the possibility of revisiting the lows of the 17th and 18th centuries. Peak summer temperatures may not change much but the length of the growing season will shorten at both ends, playing havoc with crop yields.
The notion of global warming
The notion of global warming has resulted in an enormous mis-allocation of resources in some Western societies, but we can be thankful for one thing. If it had not been for the outrageous prostitution of science in the global warming cause, then the field of climate would not have attracted the attention that has determined what is actually happening to the Earth’s climate. Humanity would otherwise be sleepwalking into the severe cold period in train.
As demonstrated above, there is no moral basis for Australian society’s investment in wind turbines if the purpose of that investment is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through a form of renewable energy. Global warming due to carbon dioxide is of no consequence and the world is cooling anyway.
WIND TURBINES may lack a moral purpose, but might there be some other good involved? Let’s examine the claim that wind turbines provide renewable energy, thus reducing our depletion of finite energy resources.
Wind turbines are made using energy from coal at about 4 cents per kWh and provide energy thought to cost of the order of 10 cents per kWh. In effect, they are machines for taking cheap, stable and reliable energy from coal and giving it back in the form of an intermittent and unpredictable dribble at more than twice the price.
That is one thing. But what stops wind turbines from being renewable is that the making of wind turbines can’t be powered using energy from the wind turbines themselves! If power from wind turbines costing 10 cents per kWh was used to make more wind turbines, then the wind turbines so produced would make power at something like 25 cents per kWh. The cost would compound away and any society that attempted to run itself on wind energy would collapse. Wind energy as a component of a power system relies upon transfer of energy at its inception from another source. It is not renewable energy. It is no consolation that solar power from photovoltaic panels is much worse in this respect.
That wind energy is renewable energy is the second lie on which the RET scheme is based, the first being that renewable energy is a palliative against global warming.
There is not much more that needs to be said. The RET Scheme is a monstrous misallocation of the nation’s resources and continues to make the Australian people poorer for no good reason. Those who concocted it and voted for it have sold the Australian people into the servitude and oppression of rent-seekers to the tune of $5 billion per annum. The science and economics it is based on are no better than voodoo and witchcraft. The wind turbines scattered around the Australian countryside are a physical manifestation of the infestation of the body politic by the self-loathing, millenarian cult of global warming.
The RET Scheme draws resources from better schemes
Unfortunately, the RET Scheme and its ilk have drawn resources from the development of energy sources that would power Australia cheaply, efficiently and with enough of a return on energy invested to maintain Australia’s high standard of living into the next millennium.
The same kind of intense interest from the wider scientific community that determined what is really happening with climate has also determined that the optimum nuclear technology for society to adopt is the thorium molten salt reactor. Any middle-ranking industrial power, such as Australia, could develop this technology, and should do so.
Much time and treasure has been lost chasing the phantom menace of global warming. The sooner the RET Scheme is put to rest, the sooner that the nation’s efforts can be properly directed towards our security and welfare in developing the best possible energy source if the nation is to survive and prosper.
David Archibald is a visiting fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington DC where his research interest is strategic energy policy. The Institute is a graduate school for US security agencies, State Department and Department of Defense. He has published several books and a number of papers on climate science. He has lectured on climate science in both US Senate and Congressional hearing rooms. His most recent book is Twilight of Abundance (Regnery, 2014)
Energy plan puts public service before public good
by Alan Moran, Director, Deregulation, Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) March 14, 2014
THE energy white paper under preparation proclaims that government has a role in the energy industry. But it is one that is best limited to controlling natural monopoly elements within the industry. It is certainly not to provide some blueprint for the future.
A history of public ownership
Energy has an ongoing history of public ownership, at least in part stemming from misplaced notions that it is a natural monopoly and a necessity requiring government interventions. The outcome has been deleterious and has been compounded by a determination of governments to use the industry to accommodate its social, environmental and industry policies. This has transformed an inherently low-cost industry into one that now has among the world’s highest prices.
A worrying feature of the review is a prominent role given to the supposed need to maintain analytical capability within the government. This appears to be a priority to protect departmental personnel jobs that sits badly with the market-driven industry the white paper claims to be championing. The priority may be partly due to an excessive number of goals that the white paper’s “issues paper” specifies. These encompass supplying and using energy:
To put downward costs of business and households.
To grow exports.
To promote low emissions energy technologies.
To encourage the more efficient use of energy.
Whatever may be said of the first two of these stated goals, the third and fourth are in conflict and have spawned the egregious interventions in energy policy that have created a need for a white paper. The fourth also adopts the discredited hubris: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”
Markets develop from the interactions of consumers with businesses, which seek to sell their goods, access inputs and reduce risks. Government’s role is to allow these processes to be pursued and to uphold the law.
A plethora of goals
Rather than a plethora of goals, the white paper should have a single focus: to allow the market to bring about efficient production of energy with interventions limited to addressing natural monopoly situations. Anything beyond that will perpetuate the weaknesses presently evident.
Energy is a vital factor in the direct wellbeing of consumers.
More important still for Australia, it is a key component of economic development. Our minerals and agricultural processing industries are natural fits to the resource endowment that Australia has and cheap energy is both part of that endowment and crucial to its development.
Irresponsible government actions
Irresponsible government actions have impaired the value of our energy resources. This can be seen in four key areas:
Retaining ownership of energy businesses in networks where such ownership is verifiably inefficient and always likely to remain so.
Placing taxes and regulatory imposts on energy suppliers to force them into costly measures in pursuit of government-determined efficiency, consumer consultation and greenhouse-reducing measures.
Impeding access to land for gas exploration and development.
Suppressing prices to certain customer groups, thereby weakening incentives to supply and maintain industry resilience.
Policies to rectify these impairments often entail government action, which are the cause of the problems in the first place.
In the past, as with the post-Hilmer competition policy payments, governments were rewarded (and occasionally punished) with regard to an agreed set of principles.
But the use of government to combat government deficiencies is oxymoronic.
Indeed, if a previous commonwealth government had attempted more forcefully to exert pressure on states to promote a goal it favoured, energy saving measures, the outcome would have been even more perverse than that which has eventuated.
The white paper’s aforementioned issues paper continues to promote market interventions in many places associated with green energy and energy efficiency.
It also has to be said that providing incentives for governments to do things that are in the interests of their own consumers is logically questionable.
A useful starting point
A useful starting point for policy, in line with the government’s deregulation initiative, is to announce the early sun-setting of all regulatory measures and discriminatory charges and taxes on energy supplies at the commonwealth level. This would be accompanied by an invitation to state governments to adopt similar programs. In the absence of such a measure the best that can be hoped for is to have the process unveil costs of poor decisions in the past as counsel for future decision-makers.
The KiS report – “Keep it Simple” – Government for the silent majority.
The full report can be downloaded as a PDF file: KiS full report 100316 The report summary and table of contents are provided below.
The KiS report describes an Australian government the ‘silent majority’ of voters would likely have elected – if they had the choice.
Why? Because because it would benefit them far, far more than any recent governments which have evolved since federation over a century ago. Many would say most if not all aspects of government have gone downhill ever since. Like a corporation that is failing badly, the Australian Government needs a fundamental restructure – a ‘root and branch’ rebuild based on the needs of 2016 and the future.
The report includes assessments of, and proposed solutions to, key factors voters expect their governments to lead and manage appropriately on their behalf such as: finance, debt, defence, environment, law and order, energy availability, pollution regulations, immigration, taxation, healthcare, recreational drugs, education, infrastructure and related planning approaches.
Please note this report was written nearly 5 years ago and is in dire need of updating in some areas. However, the substantive points remain valid, and the overall proposed solution will not change significantly in the update. A few areas such as the system for taxation will be modified, as will aspects of foreign relationships.
Whilst the report is focused on the Australian government, much of the report could be applied to most governments in democratic countries.
It is suggested too that an article by Ron Paul in the section Rise and Fall of the US Empire is complementary, and very worthwhile reading – http://better-management.org/?p=2526. Ron Paul, a US Senator who ran for the presidency on three occasions, presents a unique perspective based on fundamental principles and an in-depth assessment of the US governance. His details can be viewed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ron_Paul
The report Table of Contents, then the Summary, are below:
KiS Report – Table of Contents
2.01 There are glimmers of hope
2.02 Check the roadmap first
3. Issues Influencing KiS Government
3.01 Democracy evolution
3.02 The modern nation-state
3.03 Cargo Cult mentality
3.05 Freedom of speech
3.06 Trade unions, labour laws and productivity
3.07 Standards, regulations and intrusion
3.08 ‘Carbon pollution’ v. weather
3.09 The ‘green mafia’
3.10 Water management
3.11 Energy management
3.12 Global governance
3.13 NGO influence
3.14 Bureaucracy and convoluted government management
3.15 Levels of government
3.17 Economics and financial management
3.18 The modern politician
3.19 Human imperfections and differences
4. KiS Issue Summary
5. KiS Philosophy
6. KiS Vision for Australia
7. KiS Management
7.01 Management 101 delivers optimum results
7.02 A starting point to improve on
8. KiS Government Organisation
8.01 KiS national government objective
8.02 KiS national government law process
8.03 National Government structure
8.04 Two levels of government
9. KiS Government management
9.01 Criminal Justice
9.02 National and local service fees
9.03 Excise tax and royalties
9.04 Financial management
9.05 Commercial and financial oversight
9.06 Citizenship and Visas
9.07 Infrastructure and the environment
9.08 Labour laws and productivity
10. Implementing KiS Government
10.01 Transition plan
10.02 KiS government activities and resources
10.03 Planning and plans
10.04 International agreements and foreign aid
10.05 Asset ownership
10.06 Process and regulation simplification
10.07 Culture and values tests
10.08 Guardian group and freedom of speech
10.09 Communicating KiS changes
11. Would the Silent Majority Vote for KiS?
11.01 Are the silent majority of Australian voters sufficiently fed up?
11.02 Boiling frog syndrome
11.03 An about-turn by politicians as well as the silent majority?
A. Australian immigration history
B. The Greens’ agenda
C. ‘Carbon Pollution’ in the UK
D. The Silent Majority (1): Australian divorce
E. The Silent Majority (2): ‘I’m tired’ (US)
F. The Silent Majority (3): What good people do
G. ‘The Australian Government beat me to it’
KiS Report Summary
Surveys, ‘pub-talk’ and media comment indicate that most Australians are very dissatisfied with their Government. Few voters believe that current political parties can fix the plethora of problems which arise from the government itself – and politicians tend to exacerbate problems rather than fixing them.
Voter frustrations include: excessive governmental intrusion and bureaucracy; financial regulator failures; abysmal government management of risk, building, health, water, energy and immigration; ineffective criminal justice; ‘carbon pollution’ taxes and waste; the ‘green mafia’; variability of freedom of speech; covert influence from some NGOs; inadequate employment laws; and the regularity of politicians’ breaking of promises.
No democratic government in the world is widely viewed as very successful, so there is no ideal model to copy. The complexity of government and the depth of related problems are too entrenched for incremental improvements to be effective. A keep-it-simple policy could provide the best solution. KiS is a completely different way of democratic government, starting with a ‘clean slate’ and applying the best management practices. Key components of a KiS government would include:
Recognition that competent and diligent governmental staff are often thwarted by excessive complexity and by covert agendas of power brokers and ideologues.
Government structure comprises two levels: national and local. States have figurehead roles only. Local governments have wider roles including health and education boards.
House of Representatives and Senate member numbers are reduced to a total of 100. Members demonstrate excellent competencies and comply with fiduciary duties of care.
All taxes are replaced by ‘flat rate service fees’ introduced over 3 years: 20% on individual incomes and 10% on business expenditure. Compliance is simple.
Businesses such as mining companies using natural resources pay economic rents which enable fair profits and encourage investment and growth, including overseas investment.
Recreational drugs are not illegal. Excise duties are charged on alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs at rates that cover all related costs with rigorous auditing and penalties.
Government processes, systems and regulations are reviewed using ‘clean slate’ methods that optimise efficiency and effectiveness, and, if necessary, are modified or replaced.
All government departments have audited plans that conform to guidelines reflecting best practices, and which include preparation for such contingencies as catastrophic weather.
The criminal justice system focuses first on full compensation of all victims’ losses and all related judicial costs, then on the rehabilitation of criminals. When appropriate and possible, custodial sentences consist of home detention – prison is a last resort.
Government asset ownership is retained only if no better alternative be available.
Commercial and financial oversight is strengthened to ensure that GFC-type greed and excesses are not repeated. Net government debt is eliminated as soon as practical.
All government funding relating to ‘carbon pollution’ ceases. Related actions are reviewed after rigorous assessments and recommendations from a Royal Commission.
Immigrant assessments are completed and decisions made within three months. Immigrants sign contracts agreeing to abide by Australian law and to support Australian culture and values. Major transgressors are evicted from Australia.
A Guardian group investigates concerns about covert influence and behaviour.
Implementation is gradual over several years; each step builds on the last success.
KiS solutions focus on the concerns and wishes of the ‘silent majority’ of voters — the antithesis of political power-brokers, ideologues and rent-seekers. KiS proposals are not intended to be definitive; rather they provide a basis for improvements and further reforms.
Are the ‘silent majority’ of voters so fed up with existing governments that they would vote for radical change such as KiS? Would sufficient candidates with the requisite competence and credibility stand for KiS and promote it, or would an existing political party adopt KiS policies if it became clear a growing movement of voters demand change? Failure to implement radical change soon will result in Australian politics and government descending even further into complexity, intrusion and waste with little hope of real reform.
Most people refuse to believe shocking news, even in the face of clear evidence. Francis Shure explains why.
“My government couldn’t possibly do that – no way!”
Frances’ focus is on the Twin Towers tragedy on 9 September 2001 (911), and the disbelief most people display when presented with the awful evidence that the ‘official’ version is riddled with anomalies.
However, in varying degrees the rationale explained by Frances can be applied to explain people’s reactions to many things they do not want to hear, for any number of reasons. You may or may not be interested in the facts – highly disturbing as they are – about the horrendous 911 events. But you certainly will benefit from a better understanding of why people may reject your clear and lucid explanations.
Editor’s Note: Frances Shure, M.A., L.P.C., has performed an in-depth analysis addressing a key issue of our time: “Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?” The resulting essay, to be presented here as a series, is comprised of a synthesis of reports on academic research as well as clinical observations.
Ms. Shure’s analysis begins with recognition of the observation made by the psychology professionals interviewed in the documentary “9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out” by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, who cite our human tendencies toward denial in order to avoid the discomfort of cognitive dissonance. Indeed, resistance to information that substantially challenges our worldview is the rule rather than the exception, Ms. Shure explains. This is so because fear is the emotion that underlies most of the negative reactions toward 9/11 skeptics’ information. Ms. Shure addresses the many types of fear that are involved, and how they tie into the “sacred myth” of American exceptionalism.
Through the lenses of anthropology and social psychology, Ms. Shure focuses on diffusion of innovations; obeying and believing authority; doublethink; cognitive dissonance; conformity; groupthink; terror management theory; systems justification theory; signal detection theory; and prior knowledge of state crimes against democracy and deep politics. Through the lens of clinical psychology, Ms. Shure explores viewpoints described in the sections on learned helplessness; the abuse syndrome; dissociation; and excessive identification with the United States government. Two sections on brain research provide astonishing insights into our human nature.
Finally, the sections entitled “American Exceptionalism,” “Governmental Manipulation and the ‘Big Lie,’” and Those Who Lack Conscience and Empathy” contain valuable information from an amalgam of the disciplines of history, social psychology, clinical psychology, and brain research. The final sections address how we can communicate about 9/11 evidence more effectively, and our human need for awareness and healing. Ms. Shure concludes by quoting poet Langston Hughes in an inspiring epilogue, which asks: “Is America Possible?”
This month’s installment begins with Ms. Shure’s Preface and Introduction. Succeeding segments will continue the journey that explores contributions of Western psychology in answering the pressing question, “Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—about 9/11?”
The following essay is not meant to persuade anyone of the theory that elements within our government were responsible for the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001. Rather, this paper is addressed primarily to the 45% of Americans1—and those people in other parts of the world—who already believe a new investigation is needed, as well as those who simply have had their doubts about the official account of 9/11 but have not explored the issue further. This paper is also addressed to psychology professionals and social scientists who may wish to consider the question in the title in greater depth.
Furthermore, this essay should be helpful to anyone who encounters resistance to any paradigm-shifting idea about which he or she may be communicating, since the same dynamics and research would apply in all such cases.
This work was not crafted entirely alone. I am grateful to the Writing Team of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth who suggested I write an article in the first place—thus the seed was planted. Once the seed began germinating, it was nurtured by substantial suggestions from Marti Hopper, Ph.D., Sheila Fabricant Linn, M.Div., Dennis Linn, M.Div., Daniel K. Sage, Ph.D., Dorothy Lorig, M.A., Earl Staelin, J.D., Joseph Lam, Gregg Roberts, John Freedom, C.E.H.P., Danielle Duperret, Ph.D., Paul Rea, Ph.D., Tim Gale, Sonia Skakich-Scrima, M.A., and by the care taken by proofreaders Nancy Hall and Dennis McMahon. I am profoundly indebted and grateful for their enthusiastic help.
In addition, this work could not have been written without contributions from the people named and quoted in the document. I have drawn from wherever I found research, credible observations, or inspiration that seemed to apply. I hope others will become inspired to add to this synthesis of research and observation to further help answer the question, “Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?”
“If what you are saying is true, I don’t want to know!” exclaimed a young male visitor at our 9/11 Truth booth at the Denver People’s Fair. He was referring to the evidence of controlled demolition of the three World Trade Center (WTC) skyscrapers on September 11, 2001.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because if what you are saying is true, I would become very negative. Psychologically, I would go downhill.”
With gratitude, I responded “Thank you!”
Surprised, he asked, “Why are you thanking me?”
“Because it’s rare to hear such raw truth. Thank you for being so honest.”
Softened by our exchange, the young man chatted with me a while longer before taking his leave. I have never forgotten him; he has likely never forgotten me. We both felt it. Paradoxically, deep truth had been shared.
Forceful resistance from our listeners
We who work to educate the public about 9/11, and about false flag operations,2 are puzzled by the often forceful resistance from our listeners. Yet, many of us in the 9/11 Truth Movement also once vigorously resisted this challenging evidence. We have our own stories to document this. What drives those negative reactions?
Before continuing, I would like to clarify that people who continue to resist the evidence that indicates 9/11 was a false flag operation are no more mentally healthy or unhealthy than those of us who question the official account. Both groups consist of folks who span the mental health spectrum.
No need to pathologize
So, there is no need to pathologize those who currently do not see what is now so clear to us, just as those of us in the 9/11 Truth Movement should not be dismissed and maligned as “conspiracy theorists”—the latter being an obvious defense and a not so obvious offense.3
The psychology professionals interviewed in the documentary 9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth clearly speak about our human tendencies toward denial in order to avoid the discomfort of cognitive dissonance. They speak compassionately about all of us. There is no sophisticated name-calling (diagnosing) as can sometimes be popular among the members of this profession. This is indeed refreshing.
In this spirit, and in the spirit of beginning a conversation—for we humans are complicated creatures—I will share my thinking as to why some of us defend ourselves from information that is troubling.
Vigorous resistance to paradigm shifts
History tells us that to determine reality, even scientists, whom we stereotypically view as objectively and open-mindedly looking at data, rather than at belief, often vigorously resist paradigm shifts. Gregor Mendel’s experiments and resulting theory of genetic inheritance, for example, was resisted by scientists from the time of its announcement in 1865, and was only rediscovered in 1900 by three other European scientists. Resistance to information that substantially challenges our worldview, we find, is the rule rather than the exception.4 Fortunately, change does occur, consensus reality does shift, sometimes rapidly, sometimes excruciatingly slowly.
To reiterate what I said in the film 9/11: Experts Speak Out, fear is the emotion that underlies most of the negative reactions toward 9/11 skeptics’ information: fear of receiving information that will turn our world upside down, fear of being overwhelmed by our own emotions, fear of psychological deterioration, fear our life will have to change, fear we’ll discover that the world is not a safe place, fear that our reputation will be tarnished or that we’ll lose our jobs, fear of being shunned or banished by friends and family, and fear of looking like a fool because we bought the official account so thoroughly.
This last reason may be true especially for intellectuals who often identify strongly with their intellect. None of us, however, like to feel bamboozled, as this often threatens our very identity and brings us very close to feeling betrayed. Carl Sagan noted:
One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.5
Social psychologist and scholar Laurie Manwell tells us that one of her professors said that he could sum up human behavior with this statement: “People liked to be liked, they like to be right, and they like to be free—in that order.” Thus, most people will give up their need to be right or free if their need to be liked is threatened.6 Why is this?
The fear of banishment is surely among the greatest fears we humans harbor, albeit often unconsciously. We are social creatures. We need others in order to survive, and we need to have a sense of belonging. To have some sense of wholeness and well-being, we need to feel connected to others, to love and to be loved. This is the reason that ridicule and shaming are such potent strategies used—consciously or unconsciously—to censor those with views that diverge from a culture’s sacred mythology.
A “sacred myth”
A “sacred myth” is a special story, found in every culture, whether true, untrue, or partially true, that tells us who we are and why we are doing what we are doing.8
What is our American sacred myth? It goes something like this:
We are a truly exceptional nation with exceptional forefathers. We rebelled against tyranny and established a democratic republic, a model that the world has largely accepted and imitated. Our country is the purveyor of democracy and freedom around the world and our interventions in other countries are benevolent actions. On September 11, 2001, we were caught off-guard when al Qaeda terrorists in a sneak attack, similar to that at Pearl Harbor, succeeded in flying commercial airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the most significant wound to our homeland to date. However, true to the American spirit, we immediately rose to the challenge to militarily smite the world of terrorists who hate us because of our freedoms. This is why we have an unending Global War on Terror.
Fear of severe repercussions
If we can set aside this belief in our sacred myth, look at the evidence, and recognize that 9/11 was a false flag operation, then we may also fear severe repercussions from corrupt authorities if we should speak out. As one person told me, “I appreciate everything you all are doing with this 9/11 issue, but I hope you understand, I have children; I can’t get involved with this.”
Fear is an integral part of the human condition; and yet, if we are committed to psycho-spiritual growth, we do not let fear dictate what we do—or do not do. We can be aware of the fear while not letting it rule our lives.
Most of us were traumatized9 by watching the horrifying destruction of the Twin Towers, knowing there were thousands of our fellow humans beings killed in that moment. Some of us were again deeply shaken when we discovered evidence indicating that 9/11 might be a false flag operation.
Why do some of us embrace the evidence and its implications and get active, while others feel powerless in the face of this evidence or react with apathy? And why do others get defensive and stay defensive—sometimes vehemently? Why, indeed, upon hearing the evidence that contradicts the official account of 9/11, do good people become silent, or worse?
Intellectually contorted measures
What is the difference? How, for example, can some people watch World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC7)10 implode and collapse into its own footprint and not see what is right in front of them—even when they know about its free fall acceleration and the other characteristics of controlled demolition? These people may feel compelled to intensify their resistance with intellectually contorted measures to convince themselves and others that this was not controlled demolition. Others will content themselves with shaming anyone who wants to investigate the 9/11 evidence that contradicts the official sacred myth.
There is a worldview that is being seriously challenged. What is it? In essence, it was described well by words from a journalist whom I met at a street action: “I am aware that our government does bad things, but not this! Not those towers! They would not be that evil.”
Government is supposed to protect us
So we assume our government—which is supposed to protect us but sometimes does bad things—would never commit acts this heinous. A man said to me during a public presentation, “I find your statement that our government orchestrated 9/11 very disturbing and offensive.” “I believe I said the evidence trail leads to elements within our government, not the government,” I replied. He retorted, with great seriousness, “It makes no difference. There is no way you can state this that is going to make me feel any better!”
Many of us unconsciously relate to our governmental leaders as parental figures on whom we project our (often unmet) needs for a protective parent. We even agree culturally to the term “our founding fathers.”
Disciplines that belong to our Western culture
The disciplines of Western psychology and anthropology have much to offer toward understanding human behavior, but we must remember that these disciplines, as impressive as they are, are ultimately disciplines that belong to our Western culture only. In the East and in some tribal societies, for example, people may use the philosophy of the transmigration of souls to explain human behavior; and the Sufis, the mystical branch of Islam, use the nine personality types of the Enneagram to explain our disparate human propensities.
Remember the proverbial five blind men, each touching one part of an elephant? Each man draws a conclusion as to what the object is, depending on which part he is touching. The result? Five partial and laughably inaccurate descriptions of reality.
The more lenses we look through, therefore, the greater is our capacity to see a clearer—a more dimensional—picture of our human tendencies. Nonetheless, within the overlapping viewpoints of the rich disciplines of Western psychology, anthropology, brain research, and history, we can find several lenses that shed much light on the conundrum of why information that contradicts our worldview is so difficult for us to receive.
The next sections
Through the lenses of anthropology and social psychology we will find helpful information in the sections below entitled Diffusion of Innovations; Obeying and Believing Authority; Doublethink; Cognitive Dissonance; Conformity; Groupthink; Terror Management Theory; Systems Justification Theory; Signal Detection Theory; and Prior Knowledge of State Crimes Against Democracy and Deep Politics.
Through the lens of clinical psychology we will explore viewpoints described in the sections on Learned Helplessness; The Abuse Syndrome; Dissociation; and Excessive Identification with the U.S.A.
The two sections on Brain Research provide us with astonishing insights into our human nature. Finally, the sections entitled American Exceptionalism; Governmental Manipulation and the Big Lie; and Those Who Lack Conscience and Empathy, contain valuable information from an amalgam of the disciplines of history, social psychology, clinical psychology, and brain research.
Let me emphasize that this paper will be a synthesis of reports on academic research as well as clinical observations. None of the sections will fall neatly into one category or another, but they will overlap each other, as any rich and complicated subject will tend to do.
Let’s begin our journey with an anthropological study…
Note: scroll to the end for links to the next sections………
2http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_flag_operation.3 Lance deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America (University of Texas Press, 2013). DeHaven-Smith analyzes the history of the development of the derogatory nature of the term “conspiracy theory,” tracing it to a CIA propaganda campaign to discredit doubters of the Warren Commission’s report. In this light, the use of this pejorative term can also rightly be seen as an offensive tactic to shame, and thus censor, those who question official governmental accounts.
4 Earl Staelin, J.D., “Resistance to Scientific Innovation: Its Causes and How to Overcome It,” a paper delivered at the Intercept 2001 Conference, July 6–9, 2001, Laughlin, Nevada, sponsored by the Kronia Group. A further insight from Earl Staelin is that most of us also experience psychological inertia when presented with a new theory that we firmly believe is not true, and we must be convinced that it is worth our time to be open to the new theory.
Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50th Anniversary Edition (University of Chicago Press, 2012).
See also http://www.scribd.com/doc/13481854/Resistance-by-Scientists-to-Scientific-Discovery-Barber-1961.
5 Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (Random House Publishing Group, 1996).