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A Stark Warning About the Coming “Revolution”

A Stark Warning About the Coming Revolution From Inner Circle, 28 July 2016

Editor’s note: this article is part of a discussion published on the Inner Circle newsletter published by Bonner Partners, 28 July 2016.

‘When a society is relatively stable, more and more people figure out how to feed off the Deep State. As a result, the economy slows… things go wrong… people feel bitter. The next thing you know, you’ve got a revolution on your hands.’
– Bill Bonner

Bill Bonner in Discussion With Doug Casey

Bill Bonner (BB): So, we’re talking about how our modern money system favors the Deep State – the “shadow government” ruling the U.S. made up of elements of private industry, finance, and non-elected government officials. Let’s start with negative interest rates. Today, if you want to lend money to the government of Switzerland, Germany, or Japan, you have to pay for the privilege. To me, this is a fire alarm in a crowded theater. Something is very wrong. It doesn’t make any sense at all for money to have no value.
Doug Casey (DC): I thought it was metaphysically impossible to have negative interest rates.

BB: That’s what I thought, too. If you have negative interest rates, your savings are worth less than zero. It’s like one of those mathematical conundrums that can’t be solved by normal humans.

DC: That’s exactly correct. The Deep State controls the top levels of government, the top levels of corporations, the top levels of universities, the top generals, people like that. I don’t know how many Deep State cronies there are in this country… a couple of thousand maybe… but they’re going to benefit from all of this free money. It’s the average middle-class guy who doesn’t know anything and has to save dollars who is in trouble. If he is able to save anything, he is getting no interest. And that’s not to mention the wipe-out he faces when the whole system cracks up.

BB: When I mention the Deep State, people tend to think I’m talking about a conspiracy. They imagine some little group that meets clandestinely somewhere in Washington, D.C. But it’s not like that at all. It takes place right out in the open. Still, it took me a long time to understand how it really works, because we are taught in school the myth of democratic government – where the government is all of us. The government may be all of us, but the Deep State is not. There are some people who benefit… and some who don’t. Take Obamacare… Now, there is a case of a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry writing a bill that Congress passed into law. It brought in so many cronies, zombies, and hangers-on – all these Deep State people – that it got to be more than 2,000 pages long. The people responsible for it – members of Congress – didn’t even read it. You can’t have a public law of 2,000 pages. That’s crazy. It was a big “Christmas tree,” as they say in Congress – it had baubles on it for lots of different interest groups. That’s the way the real government works. We think the U.S. government works for us. But it doesn’t. It works for this hybrid collection of Deep State interests.

One of the biggest is the IMF. It’s run by Christine Lagarde, who went to school, interestingly enough, in Bethesda, Maryland. That’s the thing: These Deep State people are all connected. They all tend to go to the same business schools. They frequent the same universities, the same clubs, the same everything. So, there’s a big, fluid community of insiders and elites. As Vilfredo Pareto, the great Italian economist, said (and I’m paraphrasing here), “Forget what kind of government they say you have. In any group, there are some people who are shrewd, who figure out how to make the government work for them.” Pareto called these shrewd operators “foxes.” They’re all over D.C. They play the angles. And they make sure public laws, such as Obamacare, have a lot of little stuff… a lot of plums… in that pudding for them.

DC: I totally agree. Some will say the Deep State is a conspiracy. But I don’t believe in conspiracies. It’s hard enough to get three friends to figure out what movie to see together… Sometimes, the Deep State seems like a conspiracy. But as you rightly point out, they’re just people who went to the same schools, have the same notions, and share the same worldview. There are two types of people: those who believe in dealing with others on a voluntarily basis and those who believe in coercion. Naturally, over time, an organization such as the state – which deals coercively with others – attracts the worst kind of people. Not the best and brightest, but the worst type of people. That’s what the Deep State is all about. And it’s grown like a malignant cancer to the degree that, now, it’s
reaching a crisis point.

BB: I think you’re right. The Deep State has reached a crisis point, primarily because it’s become so expensive to run. Remember, the Deep State’s cronies are parasites. They don’t produce any useful output. Instead, they feed on the productive part of the economy. That’s why I’ve started calling the Deep State the “Parasitocracy.” Because it’s made up of people who are fundamentally parasitic. They take advantage of the rest of the economy.
DC: It’s funny. The U.S. government has tried to go around to all these different countries – in Africa, the Middle East, and so forth – and install democracies. But actually, we’re taking lessons from them. We’re becoming more like them than they are like us. I like to use the metaphor of a pack of dogs. You’ve got the top dogs – the Deep State cronies… the retired generals… the heads of various government agencies… the heads of corporations… lobbyists… and so on. Underneath them, you have the running dogs – midlevel managers, local police chiefs, and so forth. They don’t pull the strings. But they have a real interest in
the continuation of the Deep State, because they feed off it. Below them, you have the whip dogs – the vast majority of Americans who believe these people are operating in the interest of voters. And the whip dogs do as they’re told.

BB: So, which group are you in?

DC: I don’t see myself in any of these groups. I see myself as a lone wolf… which is, of course, very romantic. But it’s not very intelligent when you’ve got millions of these different types of dogs out there… because dogs hunt down wolves. That’s why I prefer living outside the U.S.

BB: I don’t know if I prefer living outside the U.S. But I’m ready to live outside the U.S. at any time. Because you never know. I lived in Europe with my family for about 20 years. When I came back to the U.S., I was shocked at how society had changed. It had become much more rigid… with many more rules. And people were ready to follow the rules. Americans have lost that spirit of independence – or just the contrariness – that they used to have. Now, everybody takes for granted that you’re going to stand in line and get zapped by an X-ray machine or a fullbody scanner when you go to the airport. Is there any evidence that these machines have helped prevent terrorist incidents? As we recently saw in France, you don’t need to take over an airplane to kill people. All you have to do is drive a truck. There are so many ways that you can create mayhem that the level of airline security we all endure these days seems totally irrelevant. Besides, people who are going to blow up a plane are not that difficult to spot. So, putting Girl Scouts through those metal detectors – it doesn’t help our effort to stop terrorist attacks one bit. But we now have this national myth that we’re under attack… that we need to protect ourselves… that we need muscled-up police departments… that we need a muscled-up military. I don’t think this logic serves any purpose other than to help promote the control of the population. And this becomes more and more important for the Deep State every day. Because again, the Deep State doesn’t get rich by creating wealth. It gets rich by taking money from the other parts of the economy.

That’s why Donald Trump is running so well now in the presidential race. He represents all those people who feel like they’ve gotten a bad deal. And that’s what happens. Over time, people start to notice they are getting a worse deal. They start voting for Brexit… then for Trump. Then Texas wants to secede. And then the Deep State apparatus – the system of control – becomes much more important. The Deep State is happy people are willing to stand in line, take orders, and rat out their neighbors. A more heavily policed society is a symptom of what’s going on at the Deep State level right now.

DC: That the TSA now has more than 60,000 employees should tell you something. It’s driven by middle-aged people who can’t find anything better to do than wear a costume and interrogate and antagonize their fellow citizens. These are the same kinds of people – your next door neighbor who plays baseball and has a dog – that would have joined the Gestapo in Hitler’s Germany.

BB: As I like to say, people are neither good nor bad, but are subject to influence. When a society is relative stable, more and more people figure out how to feed off the Deep State. Think France before the revolution, when the entire aristocracy exempted itself from taxes. As a result, the economy slows… things go wrong… people feel bitter. The next thing you know, you’ve got a revolution on your hands.

DC: I know this is shocking to say, but I believe we are approaching a revolutionary situation here in the U.S. This explains how so many people could vote for a mildly demented, hostile old man like Bernie Sanders, who has manifestly stupid ideas. It explains Trump, too. He’s never been a government employee. He has lots of money and success. And people want something like that. It seems different. It’s a revolutionary situation. And I’m not looking forward to it. You mentioned France. In 1789, I would have applauded the overthrow of Louis XVI. But then what did the French get? They got Robespierre. Then they got Napoleon. If I was in Russia in 1917, I would have applauded the overthrow of Tsar Nicholas II. But of course, then they got Lenin. And they got Stalin. And it got a whole lot worse. The same thing could happen here. We’re no different.

BB: It’s a frightening situation. Because we have a democracy, we believe it’s always self-correcting. That whenever there are excesses, the people eventually come to their senses and vote the bad guys out of office. But it doesn’t work that way.

DC: No, it doesn’t…

BB: But to get back to the topic of money… one powerful weapon of the Deep State is the fiat money system itself. The feds corrupted our money when President Nixon ended the direct convertibility of the dollar to gold back in 1971. Now, they’re about to corrupt it again. Already, the British, the Canadians, the Chinese, and the Russians have floated the idea of a fully digital state-controlled currency – basically, a government-run version of Bitcoin. [Catch up on our previous dispatch on this topic here.] And that’s more control… because it means no more cash. In a cashless society, every transaction you make will require authorization from the government. It also means the government will have a permanent record of every transaction in the economy. In a cashless world, you’ll go in to buy a pack of cigarettes, and the guy at the store will say, “I’m sorry, Mr. Casey. You’ve already smoked one pack this month. That’s too much.” It will be for your own good, of course…

DC: And your health insurance premiums are going to go up proportionally.

BB: That’s right. So, it’s going to be a fun world.

DC: You mean it’s going to be an Orwellian world. I’m absolutely disgusted at the obeisance that the average person pays to government officials and people running for office. They treat them with respect, when they should really be treating them with contempt. They’re your masters, even though they’re pretending to be your servants.

BB: It’s like ancient Rome. As you know, the Roman Republic transformed itself into an empire. And the emperors started wearing purple and wearing diamonds on their fingers. People had to kneel when they’d come into the room. They were surrounded by guards and hangers-on. Gradually, these people started to regard themselves as gods. And of course, the people were supposed to act as though they were gods. Most people don’t think about this much. And I don’t blame them. They’ve got better things to think about. But their lives are affected by this in subtle ways. Like the prices they pay for everyday stuff… like standing in line at the airport… like how much you have to pay to go to school. Tuition costs $40,000 at some schools. It’s crazy.

DC: The amazing thing is that people think that by voting for the “Dempublicans” or the “Republicrats” – whichever wing of the same party they happen to like – that they’re going to change things. But this is completely ridiculous. Your vote counts as much as a piece of sand on the beach.

BB: And even if you voted for a president who understood what was going on… and who genuinely wanted to put the Deep State in its place… he couldn’t. A president can’t do anything on his own. This elite class we’ve been talking about organizes and controls the whole system.

DC: Exactly. When libertarian Ron Paul was running in the Republican presidential primaries four years ago, a lot of people were thinking, “Oh, maybe Ron Paul can win, and he’ll change everything.” At the time, I said, “No. That’s ridiculous. The first thing that’s going to happen is he’ll have a sit-down with the heads of the praetorian agencies and the generals. And they’ll tell him how it works… and how he better listen up. If he doesn’t, the Supreme Court will impeach him. And if that doesn’t work, the people are going to riot, because you’re breaking their doggy bowls.” The situation is completely beyond repair. I don’t see how it can be fixed.

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Why Sajid Tarar thinks Donald Trump is the leader Muslims need

Why Sajid Tarar thinks Donald Trump is the leader Muslims need  By Michele Manelis of news.com.au

While Donald Trump has been calling for a ban on Muslims entering the United States, it seems the Republican candidate is gaining supporters in some of the most unlikely places.

Sajid Tarar, founder of Muslims for Trump, spoke to news.com.au to discuss his endorsement.

“Donald Trump is the first candidate to identify radical Islam as a threat,” Mr Tarar says passionately.

“Everybody with any common sense knows that radical Islam is a threat not only to Western civilisation, but a threat to Islam itself.

“Our religion has been hijacked by radical Islamists, and Muslims have to stand up against them in their own countries.

“Al-Qaeda and the Taliban have killed more Muslims than anybody else. For this reason, we as American Muslims are looking for strong leadership.”

None too impressed by the current administration, Mr Tarar laments that “the Middle East is burning and President Obama is worried about transgender bathroom policies. It’s embarrassing.”

He shakes off Trump’s extreme immigration views and anti-Islam rhetoric.

“He never wanted to ban the 1.5 billion Muslims in the world. Trump is a victim of a liberal media,” Tarar argues.

“He said there would be a ban – but with exceptions. Just like he’s willing to build a wall, but there are doors [in that wall] but the media skip that last part and just say, ‘Trump wants to ban Muslims; he is anti-immigrant.'”

According to a poll taken by The Council on American-Islamic Relations, 11 per cent of Muslims in America support Trump. Tarar, like a growing number of his community, feels that Trump is equipped to fight IS.

“He’s a leader, he’s anti-establishment, anti-political correctness. He’s unafraid, and yes I’m very confident he can fight IS. He’s a doer, he’s not scared of the polls. That’s what we need: a true leader.”

Sajid Tarar, Founder of American Muslims for Trump. Photo / AP

Mr Tarar, 56, who immigrated to the US from Pakistan in the mid-80s, doesn’t merely give lip service to the billionaire businessman and his Republican party. He delivered a speech at the Republic National Convention last week in Cleveland, ending in a benediction that included the words ” … and God bless Donald Trump”.

Although there were reportedly some hecklers in the crowd, Tarar insists, “There were 40,000 people clapping and there was just one [delegate] who screamed, ‘No Islam!’

People were getting in line to hug me, take pictures with me and shake my hand, and that wasn’t the first time. I’ve been travelling to rallies and people are telling me that I’m doing a wonderful job. I feel very humbled,” he explains.

“I was successful in my objective last week to stand on the stage and send the message to America that not all Muslims are bad people. We love this country and we are Americans.”

Curious to know what Trump makes of his number one fan, I ask Mr Tarar whether he’s had any feedback from the former reality TV star himself.

“I’ve met Donald Trump a couple of times. I’m an adviser to the National Diversity Coalition for Trump. We are a group of about 30 members from different parts of the world and ethnic communities who advise on many issues. It was created by [Trump’s lawyer] Mike Cohen.

“In that capacity I’ve met Donald Trump a couple of times, but these meetings were not to discuss Islam in particular; they were very general and casual. He told me that he appreciates what I’m doing.”

Speaking of which, Tarar explains the objectives of Muslims For Trump, a group he began five months ago.

“My missions are as follows: Telling Muslims, you are the victims of your own people. Secondly, if you come to America, or any country and you are accepted with open arms, be loyal to that country, be patriotic. And my third goal is to educate young Muslim-Americans. Don’t fall for this stuff going on with these Jihadist values.”

As Europe continues to remain on high alert with IS attacks occurring with alarming regularity, Mr Tarar says one of the biggest problems lies in the inability of Muslims to assimilate.

“I’m not representing Muslims outside of America, but it’s very different here in the US because Muslims are assimilated, and most Muslim-Americans are satisfied with [the outcome of] their migration.

“A very small proportion is disappointed, but it’s a different set-up. In some countries, they are not integrated and are living in ghettos. They still identify themselves as Moroccan, for example, and will introduce themselves that way.”

As for Australia’s Muslim population, Mr Tarar says, “I love Australia, and yes, there is a huge Islamic community.”

“I went to law school in Pakistan, and I have studied Islam. I’ve also studied Sharia and I’ve studied the Koran. We all have different interpretations of religion, but my take is that the Koran asks us to be loyal to the country you live in. If I were living in Australia, I wouldn’t have any problem with singing their national anthem or whatever their laws dictated, and they need to be respected. I’m a Muslim and I practice Islam, but Judaism and Christianity are sister religions and we all need to be respected.”

He is also of the view that shutting down mosques to combat Jihadist ideologies would be a counter-productive strategy to fight ISIS.

“That can bring anger, and it can be unconstitutional; however, if there is a threat coming from a mosque or radical group, then of course appropriate action should take place to save innocent lives.”

Given Mr Tarar’s outspoken views, it’s not surprising that he has himself come under attack by both Republicans and those in his Muslim community. “I haven’t had threats but I’ve had some very nasty messages from Muslims.”

Living in Baltimore with his wife and four children, he says, “They show me their concern, but I say to them, ‘Somebody has to do it. I’m serving my community. I’m serving my country very well.'”

– news.com.au

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There’s a revolution happening all over the world

There’s a revolution happening all over the world  By Julian Tomlinson, the Cairns Post, 7 July 2016

“The frantic and acerbic criticism from educated left-wing elites indicates a sudden realisation that activism and democracy works both ways.”

Right, major parties, listen up

By Julian Tomlinson, the Cairns Post, 7 July 2016

THERE’S a revolution happening all over the world and it’s got a few people not only worried, but exceedingly bitter.

The soaring popularity of so-called “far right” political parties is not limited to America with Donald Trump and, now, Australia with Pauline Hanson and One Nation, and to a lesser extent Rise Up Australia and the Australian Liberty Alliance.

Not to mention the apolitical Reclaim Australia movement.

France has the National Front party headed by the charismatic Marine Le Pen, and Germany has the equally-as-presentable Frauke Petry heading the Alternative for Germany Party.

In Holland, Geert Wilders has a growing global following as leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom, and now Austria appears close to electing Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer as president.

The common thread among these groups is an anti-immigration stance – particularly, anti-Muslim immigration. They are also all eloquent, educated, clean cut and measured.

Even the recent Brexit vote – which shocked so many and caused much abuse of middle-class Britons who voted to leave the EU – had roots in a demand for more border security.

In the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte has been elected President on a platform of killing drug lords and generally cracking down hard on crime.

And no matter how much various politicians and hand-wringing commentators, journalists and churlish protesters scream how silly, backward and racist people are, the votes keep rolling in.

The fact the media calls such groups “far right” is laughable and really indicates how far to the left society in general has lurched.

If any conservative thought is considered “far right”, where on the spectrum are neo Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan?

Why is it so unpalatable to demand closer scrutiny of who our governments are letting in to the country?

Why are those who express concern about radical Islam howled down as mindless scumbags?

Why can’t Australians demand newcomers do more to assimilate into their new home and embrace its values and customs?

Based on this evidence from Europe, America, Australia and Asia, people are sick of political correctness and are flocking to politicians who promise to act on the growing body of evidence of how dangerous unchecked immigration is.

The increasingly frantic and acerbic criticism from the self-styled educated left-wing elites indicates a sudden realisation that activism and democracy works both ways.

Just as left-wing ideology has dominated politics, lawmaking and social structure since the 1960s, it was inevitable there would be a voter-led correction.

Politicians and societies around the world haven’t been prepared for this, though, and they are behaving like spoiled brats.

In Britain, millions of people have signed a petition calling for another Brexit referendum.

But sorry, democracy doesn’t mean you get to vote again next week if you don’t like the result.

In Australia, the dismissive smackdowns delivered to Hanson before the election by both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten demonstrated breathtaking arrogance and genuine ignorance of the issues many Australians find important.

Both leaders are now faced with the stomach-churningly awkward prospect of having to woo her to secure her support in the Senate.

And while her detractors continue to demonise her and her followers as using unfounded fears to peddle hatred, there is a very strong argument to say the fears are actually very founded.

We’ve had terror attacks in Australia and our security services have foiled many more.

Even with this proof, Labor and the Greens want to relax our border laws.

But when someone puts their hand up and objects, the full might of the social media-driven shame machine is brought to bear, and that’s sad.

The beauty of democracy is that if Hanson’s ideas don’t hold any water and wither under educated scrutiny, she will be turfed out at the next election.

Until then, whoever forms government might have to really listen for once.

julian.tomlinson@news.com.au

=========================

Australia, disruption ahead as voters reject political contortions

Australia, disruption ahead as voters reject political contortions  The Australian editorial, 4 July 2016

What we have at the moment is an election non-result, which is precisely the sort of inconclusive outcome capable of doing the nation greatest harm. Malcolm Turnbull remains caretaker Prime Minister, hoping to assemble a government with the thinnest of majorities — as little as one seat — or even an unlikely minority arrangement relying primarily on Queensland independent Bob Katter. Labor leader Bill Shorten is further from the ultimate prize but strutting triumphant at the damage his attacks have been able to inflict on the Coalition, albeit without significantly lifting Labor’s primary vote but rather helping to scare voters towards minor party options. Mr Turnbull is wounded, perhaps fatally, and he must be seen as the architect of his own trauma.

Over the past decade the Coalition was given a masterclass in how to fritter away political capital as Labor knifed leaders and was forced into minority government, before it was subsequently defeated in a landslide. Yet, seemingly inured against these lessons, Mr Turnbull tore down Tony Abbott and now, in a tragic irony, could himself confront a hung parliament and minority government. As they say, those who do not learn from history are condemned to repeat it.

While the leadership change now is history, it is impossible to ignore its ramifications on this election result. It seems clear that voters have again expressed their disdain for prime ministers being replaced between elections, for no apparent reason other than opinion polls and personal ambitions. Unsurprisingly, having elected national leaders, voters would prefer to offer a verdict on their performance rather than be presented with a replacement they had no say in. We appreciate the intricacies of the parliamentary system and how only a fraction of voters in the leaders’ home electorates actually casts a ballot directly for the leadership alternatives. But the reality is that voters believe they are voting for a party and its leader and — as if we should have to say this again — politicians need to respect this fact and only act to change leaders if there is a compelling reason to do so.

It is impossible to overlook what appeared to be vengeance in some of the marginal seat results on Saturday. Some of the Liberal MPs who came into power on the back of Mr Abbott’s strong campaigning and then actively set about undermining him and became publicly exposed as plotters for Mr Turnbull were set upon by voters. Look at Peter Hendy in Eden-Monaro, Fiona Scott in Lindsay and Wyatt Roy in Longman. Perhaps Craig Laundy in Reid was one lucky to escape these acts of political revenge. The loss of what was the safe seat of Mayo, by Abbott supporter Jamie Briggs who was forced to resign from the ministry earlier this year after overseas indiscretions, also proved costly. When it comes to individual seat results we also must mention New England and Cowper where voters were discerning enough to reject comebacks from Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott who had turned their backs on their electorates at the last election after installing Julia Gillard’s minority Labor government in 2010. They obviously sniffed the chance of being powerbrokers again yet, despite the contested result, voters have decided they should have no part in it. They were flatly rejected in favour of the Nationals who, free of leadership or ideological turmoil, have had a better election than their Coalition partners.

There will be many questions asked about the Coalition’s strategy including the election timing, double dissolution plan, campaign length and campaigning tactics. It was a positive campaign, with Mr Turnbull relying heavily on his “jobs and growth” economic plan rather than aggressively warning about putting Labor back in power. Mr Shorten, who might have been vulnerable over Labor’s record and prospects on border protection, carbon pricing, union corruption and fiscal management, was allowed to escape the campaign almost unscathed. Indeed his worst wounds were self- inflicted — the decision to go further into deficit over the forward estimates undermined Labor’s fiscal credibility and a scandalously misleading scare campaign over Medicare might have damaged Mr Shorten’s personal standing, even though it proved helpful in marginal seats. In the short term, however, there can be no doubt the damage he inflicted on the government must improve the Opposition Leader’s standing. He was disciplined and focused throughout. Talk about a leadership challenge seems not only counter-productive but premature.

As our editor-at-large Paul Kelly has argued in his book Triumph and Demise and in these pages over recent times, we face an unravelling crisis in government. “The trust between the political system and the people to sustain ambitious policy may now be severed,” Kelly wrote two years ago when Mr Abbott was prime minister. “Disillusionment in the community may be matched by deadlock in the parliament.” Despite a leadership change, new Senate voting rules and a double dissolution election, the power of his observation is only amplified by the latest events. The ability of either side of politics to govern effectively right now is highly doubtful to say the least. And this happens at a time the budget is deep in structural deficit, the global economic climate is uncertain at best and we face geopolitical stresses of the highest order such as the strategic and economic rise of China, global retreat of the US, dismantling of the European Union and ongoing threat of Islamist extremism. At a time when we could well do with a government of national unity we are confronted by a fractious and palpable inability to govern.

If the Coalition is able to hold on to government, its most pressing problem will be unity. Those elements of the party and its supporter base who were most distressed at how Mr Abbott was dragged down will need to be assuaged. The best way to do this is to bring the former prime minister into a senior cabinet role. Mr Turnbull must demonstrate that his party can be, in policies and personnel, the broad church it aspires to be. Such a show of unity is important both for the party and the nation as the government attempts to navigate a course forward. It must be accompanied by an acceptance from the conservative groups that under Mr Abbott they made many mistakes. Both strands must chart a path forward together.

Should it survive, the government will be confronted by a Senate every bit as difficult as the one preceding the election. Nick Xenophon has emerged as a powerbroker in both houses, with Rebekha Sharkie unseating Mr Briggs in Mayo and at least two other senators joining the Nick Xenophon Team leader. The greatest risk for the nation is that the blocking power of Labor and the Greens in the Senate, together with the interventionist and protectionist instincts of the crossbenchers, will lock in a period of high spending, high taxing and low growth at a time when the economy needs the opposite. In other words the reckless fiscal policies Labor took to the election could be imposed by default. The age of entitlement will be entrenched rather than overcome.

Seemingly seduced by his own popularity, Mr Turnbull and his supporters have delivered a result hardly better than Julia Gillard delivered under the duress of Kevin Rudd’s leaking and sniping. The agenda the Coalition took to the election was Mr Abbott’s but it was not prosecuted with the former leader’s passion and zeal. The Australian always argued Mr Abbott could have won re-election and, of course, we will never know. But we do know he would have argued the case more strongly over border protection, a carbon price and higher taxes. These lessons have been learned the hard way. But if the Coalition cannot win an election where Labor is promising an unabashed mix of higher taxing, higher spending, deeper deficits and higher debt, then either the public doesn’t care, or the Coalition has to improve its advocacy.

We await the counting and question whether the Australian Electoral Commission can update its processes. If the Coalition clings to a majority, as Mr Turnbull has suggested, the delays and uncertainty in the count will have greatly diminished its authority and perhaps damaged its mandate along the way. We also await rulings on what appear to be deliberately false Medicare scares with cards and text messages in the final days. Honesty does matter in politics. And we despair that the election trigger bills that would do no more than restore the rule of law to construction sites and unions, might be lost. Australia faces more disruption.

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Previous ‘must-read’ articles

July 2016

Australia, disruption ahead as voters reject political contortions  The Australian editorial, 4 July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

January 2015

December 2014

November 2014

October 2014

September 2014

July 2014

June 2014

May 2014

April 2014

Posted in Must-Read Articles | Comments Off on Another ‘must-read’ article.

The Rise and Fall of the EU

European countries ruled the world for centuries.  Since WWII the fall from grace has accelerated.  Now it remains to be seen how Britain’s EU exit pans out.

Is Europe Doomed By Vassalage To Washington?

Is Europe Doomed By Vassalage To Washington  By Paul Craig Roberts, 28 July 2016

“One Ring to rule them all . . . and in the darkness bind them.”
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings

World War II resulted in Europe being conquered, not by Berlin but by Washington.

The conquest was certain but not all at once. Washington’s conquest of Europe resulted from the Marshall Plan, from fears of Stalin’s Red Army that caused Europe to rely on Washington’s protection and to subordinate Europe’s militaries to Washington in NATO, from the replacement of the British pound as world reserve currency with the US dollar, and from the long process of the subordination of the sovereignty of individual European countries to the European Union, a CIA initiative implemented by Washington in order to control all of Europe by controlling only one unaccountable government.

With few exceptions, principally the UK, membership in the EU also meant loss of financial independence. As only the European Central Bank, an EU institution, can create euros, those countries so foolish as to accept the euro as their currency no longer have the power to create their own money in order to finance budget deficits.

The countries that joined the euro must rely on private banks to finance their deficits. The result of this is that over-indebted countries can no longer pay their debts by creating money or expect their debts to be written down to levels that they can service. Instead, Greece, Portugal, Latvia, and Ireland were looted by the private banks.

The EU forced the pseudo-governments of these countries to pay the northern European private banks by suppressing the living standards of their populations and by privatizing public assets at pennies on the dollar. Thus retirement pensions, public employment, education and health services have been cut and the money redirected to private banks. Municipal water companies have been privatized with the result being higher water bills. And so on.

As there is no reward, only punishment, for being a member of the EU, why did governments, despite the expressed wishes of their peoples, join?

The answer is that Washington would have it no other way. The European founders of the EU are mythical creatures. Washington used politicians that Washington controlled to create the EU.

Some years ago CIA documents proving that the EU was a CIA initiative were released. See:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/1356047/Euro-federalists-financed-by-US-spy-chiefs.html and http://benwilliamslibrary.com/blog/?p=5080

In the 1970s my Ph.D. dissertation chairman, then a very high-ranking official in Washington with control over international security affairs, asked me to undertake a sensitive mission abroad. I refused. Nevertheless, he answered my question: “How does Washington get foreign countries to do what Washington wants?”

“Money,” he said. “We give their leaders bagfuls of money. They belong to us.”

The record is clear that the EU serves the interests of Washington, not the interests of Europe. For example, the French people and government are opposed to GMOs, but the EU permits a “precautionary market authorization” of GMO introduction, relying perhaps on the “scientific findings” of the scientists on Monsanto’s payroll. When the US state of Vermont passed a law requiring labeling of GMO foods, Monsanto sued the state of Vermont. Once the paid-off EU officials sign the TTIP agreement written by US global corporations, Monsanto will take over European agriculture.

But the danger to Europe goes far beyond the health of European peoples who will be forced to dine on poisonous foods. Washington is using the EU to force Europeans into conflict with Russia, a powerful nuclear power capable of destroying all of Europe and all of the United States in a few minutes.

This is happening because the paid-off with “bagfuls of money” European “leaders” had rather have Washington’s money in the short-run than for Europeans to live in the long-run.

It is not possible that any European politician is sufficiently moronic to believe that Russia invaded Ukraine, that Russia any moment will invade Poland and the Baltic states, or that Putin is a “new Hitler” scheming to reconstruct the Soviet Empire. These absurd allegations are nothing but Washington propaganda devoid entirely of truth. Washington’s propaganda is completely transparent. Not even an idiot could believe it.

Yet the EU goes along with the propaganda, as does NATO.

Why? The answer is Washington’s money. The EU and NATO are utterly corrupt. They are Washington’s well paid whores.

The only way Europeans can prevent a nuclear World War III and continue to live and to enjoy what remains of their culture that the Americans have not destroyed with America’s culture of sex and violence and greed, is for the European governments to follow the lead of the English and exit the CIA-created European Union. And exit NATO, the purpose of which evaporated with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and which is now being used as an instrument of Washington’s World Hegemony.

Why do Europeans want to die for Washington’s world hegemony? That means Europeans are dying for Washington’s hegemony over Europe as well.

Why do Europeans want to support Washington when Washington’s high officials, such as Victoria Nuland, say “Fuck the EU.”

Europeans are already suffering from the economic sanctions that their overlord in Washington forced them to apply to Russia and Iran. Why do Europeans want to be destroyed by war with Russia? Do Europeans have a death wish? Have Europeans been Americanized and no longer appreciate the historic accumulation of artistic and architectural beauty, literature and music achievements of which their countries are custodians?

The answer is that it makes no difference whatsoever what Europeans think, because Washington has set up a government for them that is totally independent of their wishes. The EU government is accountable only to Washington’s money. A few people capable of issuing edicts are on Washington’s payroll. The entire peoples of Europe are Washington’s serfs.

Therefore, if Europeans remain the gullible, insouciant, and stupid peoples that they currently are, they are are doomed, along with the rest of us.

On the other hand, if the European peoples can come to their senses, free themselves from The Matrix that Washington has imposed on them, and revolt against Washington’s agents who control them, the European peoples can save their own lives and the lives of the rest of us.

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Brexit: Britain voted for the parliamentary democracy it invented

Brexit, Britain voted for the parliamentary democracy it invented  By Dominic Lawson, The Times, 27 June 2016

The BBC’s Katya Adler politely put her question to Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, at his Brussels press conference on Friday: was the British referendum vote to leave the EU “the beginning of the end” of this organisation?

First, he pretended not to hear. Then Juncker uttered the single word “No” — and abruptly walked out. The bulk of the assembled journalists, after a moment of dawning realisation … applauded. What a cosy, complacent club.

The British radio audience got its own taste of it when Martin Schulz, the European parliament’s president, told BBC Radio 4 that “this is not a crisis for the Europ­ean Union”. Well, anyone can understand the need not to appear to panic; but sublime indifference to the public’s expressed wishes at the ballot box is almost a sacred principle of the EU.

This is ingrained in its very orig­ins: Jean Monnet, one of its founding fathers, envisaged a new Europe governed by an elite cadre of bureaucrats who would be magnificently aloof from populism and the petty day-to-day concerns of the masses. It was a Platonic vision — that is to say, one of a benign dictatorship.

This would be infinitely superior to the malign dictatorship that had almost destroyed Europe in the 1940s — and to that which ­oppressed the peoples of Eastern ­Europe until the fall of the Berlin Wall. Eternal credit is due to it for the two achievements of tying the bonds of peace between Germany and its immediate neighbours and of assisting the path to market economies for the former commun­ist states.

Unfortunately, the European movement, as it sometimes calls ­itself, has one thing in common with the Marxists. It too is a form of secular faith. Its advocates see a fully federal European state as a historically predetermined outcome, the very definition of progress. But, like the Bolsheviks, they are not prepared to wait for history to take its inevitable course; paradoxically, such alleged inevitability must be pressed on the peoples of Europe, whether they wish it or not.

Juncker is just the most disarmingly frank of these men (they are all men — the system-loving sex that worships grand ideas and scorns common sense). He it was who said in 2005 — when Valery Giscard d’Estaing’s imperial European constitution began to run into the buffers of hostile plebiscites — “If it’s a yes we will say, ‘On we go’, and if it’s a no we will say, ‘We will continue’.”

After its rejection by Dutch and French voters, “we will continue” was manifest in the Lisbon Treaty, which, as German Chancellor ­Angela Merkel noted, “preserves the substance of the constitution. That is a fact”.

This was when Gisela Stuart — the Labour MP who with Boris Johnson and Justice Secretary Mich­ael Gove led the Vote Leave campaign — became convinced of the need for what would come to be known as Brexit. The German-born MP for Neville Chamberlain’s old Birmingham Edgbaston seat was one of our parliament­arians on the committee drafting the European constitution.

She told me afterwards how whenever she and her colleagues put in clauses with the purpose of bringing the EU institutions more under the control of the national electorates — and closer to them — they would always be ­mysteriously struck out at the last minute. Stuart realised then that this was a movement with contempt for the notion of democratic accountability; that unlike other political institutions in what we call the West it was not to be created as a response to the call for ­reform by the people but to be imposed top-down.

No one has expressed this better than Michael Burrage, the ­author of Class Formation, Civil ­Society and the State: “In contrast with the evolution of democracy in English-speaking democracies, the new European polity has evolved backwards, with an executive and a court preceding a legislature, which is still nominal, with civil society very much an afterthought. It cannot therefore perform quite the same functions as the voluntarily and spontaneously organised civil societies of the Eng­lish-speaking world.”

It was, in fact, an astonishing experiment in conducting an upside-down pseudo-democracy, with the transmission of instruct­ions not from the people upwards, but from the European Commission downwards.

This political system most closely resembles that of the People’s Republic of China. The difficulty for its proponents is that the citizens of Europe do not, on the whole, have the Chinese willingness to endure imperial governance. Funnily enough, it was a former Maoist and later president of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, who declared the EU was a “non-imperial ­empire”.

European history, as that ­former Oxford classicist Boris Johnson pointed out during the referendum campaign, is characterised by the formation and dis­integration of empires. The first was the Roman, which imposed its own coinage.

This was the most audacious decision of the modern planners of post-national Europe: to impose a single currency on a range of widely divergent economies.

Its consequences, in terms of the destruction of jobs in the southern EU states, do not need repeating here. It is, though, worth recalling that while Germany is seen as the villain of this arrangement, the German people themselves are blameless. They were never consulted about the abolition of the deutschmark — and at the time of the creation of the new currency, opinion polls showed most Germans were opposed to the euro, along with most of the nation’s economists.

As Margaret Thatcher observed in her memoirs: “The desire among modern German politic­ians to merge their national identity in a wider European one is understandable enough, but it presents great difficulties to self-conscious nation states in Europe. In effect, the Germans, because they are nervous of governing themselves, want to establish a ­European system in which no ­nation will govern itself. Such a system could only be unstable in the long term.”

If this was not obvious to others then, it is glaringly so now. It is hardly surprising that the people of Britain — or perhaps I should say England and Wales — have been the first to revolt against what Thatcher called “such a ­system”.

Britain invented parliamentary democracy and prospered mightily under it. Unlike the great maj­ority of member states, we did not join the EU as part of the escape from war (France and Germany) or dictatorship (Spain, Portugal, Greece). We also have an ancient legal system, characterised by popular participation, which has not shrunk from checking the powers of the executive. The British people do not need their liberties guaranteed by the European Court of Justice. At some visceral level, they realise that.

Last week I advocated a vote to leave, to demonstrate that “there is another way”. Possibly, there will be referendums elsewhere in the EU. What then happens is up to those countries’ own peoples — of whose existence, a French public­ation observed over the weekend, “the European Commission has just been reminded”.

It is endlessly said that there is a “growing loss of faith in democracy” across the Western world. The British vote to leave the EU has been described as a manifest­ation of this malaise. On the ­contrary: it is a vote for the re-estab­lishment of parliamentary democracy and a fully responsible, accountable elected government. It might even catch on.

The Sunday Times

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Comments:

There is a tendency to think, because Britain is at the forefront of all we enjoy, which is characterised as civilisation, that its culture and traditions are what is disparaging referred to by multiculturalists as “white bread”, boring and uninteresting. There is no reason to think that Brits are not as patriotic, fiercely protective and proud of their heritage as anyone from what is seen as a more colourful culture.

The clearly evident divide of the areas voting to exit and those to remain demonstrates that large swathes of that proud land do not feel the benefits of a European dictatorship, only its drawbacks. Odd that journalists reporting back to Australia had so much trouble finding these exit people to interview, considering their majority numbers. I guess they didn’t want to venture outside London to seek them out.

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Thank God that the English realised that there is no need to sell the farm so they can trade in vegetables. There will be a significant push to override the democratic decision though. It does not suit the preferred socialist control over upstarts, nor the captive market that the Germans now have to sell their production to; a lot of money against that.

I was just thinking how most of our toys said ‘Made in England’ before they said ‘Made in Japan’, then Malaysia, Taiwan and then China. It is very very hard to find anything that says ‘Made in England’ at the supermarket these days. Hope to see that change. Even the matchbox cars were better back then.

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The arrogant political elites across the Western world and the equally arrogant leftist media that do their bidding, have just woken up to what many of us have been saying for years, that people are angry and disillusioned in how their countries’ cultures and values are being sold out. Congratulations to the Brits for voting to regain control over their own destiny and watch this space, this movement is only just starting. So wring your hands and tut tut at how “stupid” anyone is who doesn’t agree one hundred percent of the time with what you want us to, but get over it because it is the very democratic process you pretend to champion that is at work. I actually call it Selective Democracy which is democracy on our terms provided you agree with us. It doesn’t work that way so suck it up. Watch what is going to unfold in France, Netherlands and a lot of other countries.

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This is the best article written about Brexit, Bravo.

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The churlish behaviour of EU leaders after the result came in says it all.

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Great article – the antithesis of that by Paul Kelly in the Weekend Australian which projected doom and gloom and the end of democracy! This was one of the greatest examples of true democracy at work. It also demonstrated something else – try to frighten the Brits and they will fight you to the death – ask others who have tried!!

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For freedom to be true, then all voices need to be heard, without restriction, and for every individual vote to count. The people have spoken, and selected democracy over governorship. The elite and their minions need to accept it and move on. Just as they would have expected, had the vote gone the other way. The people have spoken… Listen.

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A great piece.   It is pity that more of your fellow journalists do not realise that a limited form of democracy is no democracy at all.

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Brexit, Remainers are not pro-EU, they’re anti-democracy

Brexit, Remainers are not pro-EU, they’re anti-democracy  By Tim Black, Spiked Online, 25 June 2016

Listening to Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, his mind glazing over while waxing prosaically about why we should stay in the European Union, ‘[an institution] I have no love for’ as he put it this week, captured an inescapable truth: the EU inspires no one. Not even its supporters. So, even if, as pollsters are now suggesting, Remain wins tomorrow, it will do so in a climate in which no one really loves or even very much likes the EU.

Just listen to someone make the case for Remain: they’ll admit the EU is flawed; they’ll say it could be more democratic; and they’ll even acknowledge that, despite some left-ish postures, it has screwed whole peoples over, strangling the life out of Greece, economically colonising Italy and Ireland, and causing chaos in Ukraine. It makes for a dispiriting sight. When Remainers make their furtive pitches, their hearts don’t swell; they sink, weighted down by caveats, bad faith and dead-eyed pragmatism.

‘I have no illusions left about the EU’s shortcomings and overreaches’, writes one EU champion; another pays due acknowledgement to it ‘as a cruel, fanatical and stupid institution’; and one left-leaning Remainer admits that ‘[the EU] has an executive so powerful it could crush the left-wing government of Greece; a legislature so weak that it cannot effectively determine laws or control its own civil service. And a judiciary that, in the Laval and Viking judgments, subordinated workers’ right to strike to an employer’s right to do business freely.’ With supporters like this, who needs UKIP?

In a sense, Remainers’ struggle to seize the EU day is understandable. After all, what exactly does the EU offer to inspire people? What is there to champion, to praise, to fight for? There’s the founding myth, which tells of Europe’s ravaged not-so-great powers, France and Germany, clubbing together to stave off future conflict. But it’s a myth that never really rings true, that remains stubbornly mythical – no one really believes it. That a third world war has not erupted in the Old World owes more to the exigencies of the Cold War and cold-eyed economic pragmatism than it does to the EU. Besides, the EU, as we know it today, was born not in the 1950s, but in 1992, with the Maastricht Treaty. It was a realpolitik response to the economic implications of a reunified Germany, and an irrational reaction to the imagined consequences of the reunified will of the German people. Only the most bug-eyed xenophobe could draw inspiration from a political project premised on little more than ‘reining the Krauts in’.

The ideological absence, the sheer intellectual and cultural lack at the heart of the so-called European project, is writ large in its putative symbols: they refuse to say very much. Take the EU flag, for example. As we know, it comprises a royal-blue background offsetting a circle of 12 gold stars, and ostensibly signifies the coming together of European nations (the stars) in a non-hierarchical union (the circle). Although its originator, Arsène Heitz, later admitted that he had taken his design cue from the Book of Revelations’ woman of the apocalypse, and her crown of 12 stars. There’s no eschatology here. Rather, there’s a symbolic acknowledgement of what the EU is not: it’s not a union in the strong sense, hence the stars are separate (rather than joined, as, for example, in the colours of the Union Flag); and it lacks a cohering centre, hence the stars circle nothing. To the extent it conveys anything at all, the flag expresses a sense of the EU as a loose hanging-together of nations – or better still, a huddling together of national elites, in the royal blue of a European nowhere. To many, it means diddly squat.

And then there’s the EU anthem, which is based on the final movement of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy from his ninth symphony. This is a high point of German Romanticism, indeed of European culture. It ought to be saying a lot. But it’s not, because the 1783 lyric by Friedrich Schiller, which inspired it, says too much, and, worse still, does so in German. And the EU does not have a language, and, even if it did, it probably wouldn’t be the mother tongue of the Fatherland. So the EU dropped the words, effacing any substantive, positive content, and reduced the ode to little more than a vague, bland sentiment. It’s now an ode to not very much.

The wilful paucity of the EU’s symbols, their determined inarticulateness, is no accident. Rather, it reflects the EU’s inability to realise itself as anything more than a pragmatic arrangement, sustained by the vested, demos-dodging interests of isolated political elites. It is incapable of inspiring any symbolism, because there is so little spirit to symbolise.

All of which raises the question: what it is about the EU that does appeal to its supporters? But that question misses the point. This is not black magic – there is no secret subtext that only EU initiates can decipher. There really is nothing appealing about the EU. As a pragmatic, political arrangement, which has done terrible damage to whole nations, it is steadfastly rebarbative. Its supporters cannot be attracted to it. They see its flaws, the way it treats people, its flight from accountability. So, no, they’re not attracted to the EU – they’re repelled towards it, repelled by the sight of ordinary people being able to determine their political future, by the spectre of the democratic will, in all its grubby uncontrollability and aspiration. It is fear of people, not love of the EU, that makes Remainers’ hearts beat that little bit faster.

In the EU, then, Remainers are seeking refuge from the demos, not seeking the promised land. That’s why those urging a Remain vote, often consciously in spite of themselves, almost always point to the likes of prominent Leavers like Nigel Farage or Katie Hopkins or even Boris Johnson, and say, ‘Look at the company I’d be in if I voted out – that’s why I’m sticking with the EU’. But this is not really about individuals like Farage or Johnson. They merely serve as metonyms for sections of the electorate itself, sneaky shorthand for Remainers’ real fear: flesh-and-blood voters. So those turning their nose up at a Leave vote, and choosing, in utter bad faith, to stick with the EU, are doing so because they’ve got a whiff of the electorate. That is what really gets up their noses, stimulating all their pent-up fear and loathing, not some ‘neoliberal’ establishment, or a crap anti-immigration billboard poster, or an Old Etonian spouting baloney about Hitler.

In short, Remainers are not really pro-EU at all; rather, they’re anti-democracy, often in the most snobbishly PC of terms. And that, as we at spiked have been arguing all along, is what the EU referendum is really all about: whether you are for or against people potentially having just that little bit more control over their lives.

Tim Black is a spiked columnist and editor of the spiked review.

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Rise and Fall of the US Empire

The US is the dominant world power.  But it is failing, for similar reasons the Roman Empire failed.  Read the following articles to understand why.

Scroll down to read the most recent articles.  Links to previous articles  follow.

The power of “nyet”

The power of nyet  From ClubOrlov, 27 July 2016

The way things are supposed to work on this planet is like this: in the United States, the power structures (public and private) decide what they want the rest of the world to do. They communicate their wishes through official and unofficial channels, expecting automatic cooperation. If cooperation is not immediately forthcoming, they apply political, financial and economic pressure. If that still doesn’t produce the intended effect, they attempt regime change through a color revolution or a military coup, or organize and finance an insurgency leading to terrorist attacks and civil war in the recalcitrant nation. If that still doesn’t work, they bomb the country back to the stone age. This is the way it worked in the 1990s and the 2000s, but as of late a new dynamic has emerged.

In the beginning it was centered on Russia, but the phenomenon has since spread around the world and is about to engulf the United States itself. It works like this: the United States decides what it wants Russia to do and communicates its wishes, expecting automatic cooperation. Russia says “Nyet.” The United States then runs through all of the above steps up to but not including the bombing campaign, from which it is deterred by Russia’s nuclear deterrent. The answer remains “Nyet.” One could perhaps imagine that some smart person within the US power structure would pipe up and say: “Based on the evidence before us, dictating our terms to Russia doesn’t work; let’s try negotiating with Russia in good faith as equals.” And then everybody else would slap their heads and say, “Wow! That’s brilliant! Why didn’t we think of that?” But instead that person would be fired that very same day because, you see, American global hegemony is nonnegotiable. And so what happens instead is that the Americans act baffled, regroup and try again, making for quite an amusing spectacle.

The whole Edward Snowden imbroglio was particularly fun to watch. The US demanded his extradition. The Russians said: “Nyet, our constitution forbids it.” And then, hilariously, some voices in the West demanded in response that Russia change its constitution! The response, requiring no translation, was “Xa-xa-xa-xa-xa!” Less funny is the impasse over Syria: the Americans have been continuously demanding that Russia go along with their plan to overthrow Bashar Assad. The unchanging Russian response has been: “Nyet, the Syrians get to decide on their leadership, not Russia, and not the US.” Each time they hear it, the Americans scratch their heads and… try again. John Kerry was just recently in Moscow, holding a marathon “negotiating session” with Putin and Lavrov. Above is a photo of Kerry talking to Putin and Lavrov in Moscow a week or so ago and their facial expressions are hard to misread. There’s Kerry, with his back to the camera, babbling away as per usual. Lavrov’s face says: “I can’t believe I have to sit here and listen to this nonsense again.” Putin’s face says: “Oh the poor idiot, he can’t bring himself to understand that we’re just going to say ‘nyet’ again.” Kerry flew home with yet another “nyet.”

What’s worse, other countries are now getting into the act. The Americans told the Brits exactly how to vote, and yet the Brits said “nyet” and voted for Brexit. The Americans told the Europeans to accept the horrendous corporate power grab that is the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and the French said “nyet, it shall not pass.” The US organized yet another military coup in Turkey to replace Erdo?an with somebody who won’t try to play nice with Russia, and the Turks said “nyet” to that too. And now, horror of horrors, there is Donald Trump saying “nyet” to all sorts of things—NATO, offshoring American jobs, letting in a flood of migrants, globalization, weapons for Ukrainian Nazis, free trade…

The corrosive psychological effect of “nyet” on the American hegemonic psyche cannot be underestimated. If you are supposed to think and act like a hegemon, but only the thinking part still works, then the result is cognitive dissonance. If your job is to bully nations around, and the nations can no longer be bullied, then your job becomes a joke, and you turn into a mental patient. The resulting madness has recently produced quite an interesting symptom: some number of US State Department staffers signed a letter, which was promptly leaked, calling for a bombing campaign against Syria in order to overthrow Bashar Assad. These are diplomats. Diplomacy is the art of avoiding war by talking. Diplomats who call for war are not being exactly… diplomatic. You could say that they are incompetent diplomats, but that wouldn’t go far enough (most of the competent diplomats left the service during the second Bush administration, many of them in disgust over having to lie about the rationale for the Iraq war). The truth is, they are sick, deranged non-diplomatic warmongers. Such is the power of this one simple Russian word that they have quite literally lost their minds.

But it would be unfair to single out the State Department. It is as if the entire American body politic has been infected by a putrid miasma. It permeates all things and makes life miserable. In spite of the mounting problems, most other things in the US are still somewhat manageable, but this one thing—the draining away of the ability to bully the whole world—ruins everything. It’s mid-summer, the nation is at the beach. The beach blanket is moth-eaten and threadbare, the beach umbrella has holes in it, the soft drinks in the cooler are laced with nasty chemicals and the summer reading is boring… and then there is a dead whale decomposing nearby, whose name is “Nyet.” It just ruins the whole ambiance!

The media chattering heads and the establishment politicos are at this point painfully aware of this problem, and their predictable reaction is to blame it on what they perceive as its ultimate source: Russia, conveniently personified by Putin. “If you aren’t voting for Clinton, you are voting for Putin” is one recently minted political trope. Another is that Trump is Putin’s agent. Any public figure that declines to take a pro-establishment stance is automatically labeled “Putin’s useful idiot.” Taken at face value, such claims are preposterous. But there is a deeper explanation for them: what ties them all together is the power of “nyet.” A vote for Sanders is a “nyet” vote: the Democratic establishment produced a candidate and told people to vote for her, and most of the young people said “nyet.” Same thing with Trump: the Republican establishment trotted out its Seven Dwarfs and told people to vote for any one of them, and yet most of the disenfranchised working-class white people said “nyet” and voted for Snow White the outsider.

It is a hopeful sign that people throughout the Washington-dominated world are discovering the power of “nyet.” The establishment may still look spiffy on the outside, but under the shiny new paint there hides a rotten hull, with water coming in though every open seam. A sufficiently resounding “nyet” will probably be enough to cause it to founder, suddenly making room for some very necessary changes. When that happens, please remember to thank Russia… or, if you insist, Putin.

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Two views of the US gun issue

Two views of the US gun issue  Editorial, The Australian, 11 July 2016

(Editor’s note: this editorial is followed by comments disagreeing with the stance.  It should also be noted that the many US gun statistics are invariably at variance with each other, suggesting cherry-picked information that supports the view of whoever commissioned the stats.  Another issue not canvassed below is the US Administration’s desire to remove civilians’ guns to reduce their ability to defend themselves in the event of major civil unrest.  A further issue is the extent that various groups in (and outside) the US intentionally stir up problems to further a malicious agenda. )

It is a tragic irony that the deepening racial divide in the US comes at a time when Barack Obama, the nation’s first black president, is approaching the end of eight years in the White House. Mr Obama, an avowed unifier, pledged to heal the divide. But as he prepares to leave office, hopes and expectations have been dashed. The US appears even more polarised politically and racially than it was eight years ago. Some commentators are warning the country is facing a new era of Jim Crow racialism, “flirting dangerously” with a return to the mayhem of the 1960s and 70s when Malcolm X, the Black Panthers, the Weather Underground and the Black Liberation Army responded violently to perceived police brutality.

Last week’s bloodbath in Dallas, in which five policemen died and others were wounded, showed the depths of the problem when a black former US soldier who served in Afghanistan went on a rampage to “kill white people, especially white (police) officers”. His motive was revenge for the deaths of black Americans who died in controversial police killings in Louisiana and Minnesota.

Last week’s events also highlighted Mr Obama’s failure to persuade a stubborn US Congress to legislate gun control measures that would curb the 350 million lethal weapons in private hands in the US, a number that is increasing rapidly. The military-style automatic assault rifle used by Dallas gunman Micah Johnson was the type of easily acquired, over-the-counter weapon of choice used repeatedly in mass shootings across the US. Even some protesters taking part in a “peaceful” demonstration as Johnson launched his attack were black civilians openly carrying similar weapons, as Texas law permits.

Race killings have been in the spotlight in the US since 2013 when neighbourhood watch co-ordinator George Zimmerman was acquitted over the fatal shooting of black teenager Trayvon Martin. More recent incidents have included last year’s shooting of nine black parishioners at a church in Charleston, South Carolina. Mr Obama, denouncing the Dallas killings, conceded “there’s a big chunk of our citizenry that feels as if, because of the colour of their skin, they are not being treated the same — and that hurts”.

Black Americans are 30 per cent more likely than whites to be pulled over and searched by police. Last year, blacks were shot by police at more than twice the rate of whites. Race is central to the crisis surrounding the Dallas massacre, with a recent poll showing 88 per cent of black Americans believed the US still had a long way to go to achieve equal rights. Just 53 per cent of whites agreed. This is clearly not the legacy Mr Obama wanted. Nor should it be a scenario acceptable to either of his putative successors, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. But a deepening racial divide and hundreds of millions of lethal weapons in private hands is an incendiary mix.

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Comments:

As a recent immigrant to Australia from the United States I find this editorial way off the mark. I would assume the Australian has a research department. I grew up in the state of Texas where owning a gun was as natural as breathing. The majority of people in the state owned a gun. Parents taught their children how to use a gun and how to be safe with the weapon. I have four younger sisters who are excellent marksmen to this day. The writer of this editorial implies the proliferation of guns are the problem. The writer also implies that the racial divide is the problem. Nothing could be further from the truth. Guns are not the problem nor is race. The majority of blacks and whites live together peacefully. The overwhelming majority of gun owners never use the weapon in a malign manner. The problem is the culture. If this writer is so ignorant or corrupt to parrot the usual political correct nonsense that permeates this article, then how does he propose to get to the root of the problem? Answer: he doesn’t. It saddens me that the writer of this article, who has a wonderful opportunity thru this paper to tell a hard truth about gun violence in the US chooses to take the easy way out.

The writer should have written how the culture in the US is so enamoured of this political correct attitude that one shouldn’t judge a person’s behaviour even though that behaviour is deplorable. That if one has victim status that in itself is an excuse for violent or deplorable conduct. The continuing and irresponsible and I might say cruel attitude of not holding these supposed “victims” accountable for their actions. These attitudes do a disservice to the people the PC crowd intends to help and does a greater disservice to the culture as a whole.

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Paul Craig Roberts, “your most deadly enemy is Washington”

Paul Craig Roberts, ‘your most deadly enemy is Washington’  By Paul Craig Roberts, Zerohedge, 12 June 2016

Conclusion: “If you cannot wake up and escape The Matrix, your doom will bring the doom of the planet.”

Where Do Matters Stand?

On the eve of World War II the United States was still mired in the Great Depression and found itself facing war on two fronts with Japan and Germany. However bleak the outlook, it was nothing compared to the outlook today.

Has anyone in Washington, the presstitute Western media, the EU, or NATO ever considered the consequences of constant military and propaganda provocations against Russia? Is there anyone in any responsible position anywhere in the Western world who has enough sense to ask: “What if the Russians believe us? What if we convince Russia that we are going to attack her?”

The same can be asked about China

The recklessness of the White House Fool and the media whores has gone far beyond mere danger. What do the Russians think when they see that the Democratic Party intends to elect Hillary Clinton president of the US? Hillary is a person so crazed that she declared the president of Russia to be “the new Hitler” and organized through her underling, neocon monster Victoria Nuland, the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Ukraine. Nuland installed Washington’s puppet government in a former Russian province that until about 20 years ago was part of Russia for centuries.

I would bet that this tells even the naive pro-western part of the Russian government and population that the United States intends war with Russia.

Ever since Russia stood up to Obama over Syria, the Russians have been experiencing hostile propaganda and military operations on their borders. These provocations are justified by Washington and its NATO vassals as a response to “Russian aggression.” Russian aggression consists of nothing but obviously false assertions that Russia is about to invade the Baltics, Poland, and Romania and recreate the Soviet Empire, the Eastern European part of which, together with the former Russian provinces of Georgia and Ukraine, now belong to the American Empire.

“Russian aggression” is a lie

The Russians know that the propaganda about “Russian aggression” is a lie. What is the purpose of the lie other than to prepare the Western peoples for war with Russia?

There is no other explanation.

Even morons such as Obama, Merkel, Hollande, and Cameron should be capable of understanding that it is extremely dangerous to convince a major military power that you are going to attack. To simultaneously also convince China doubles the danger.

Clearly, the West is incapable of producing leadership capable of preserving life on earth.

What can be done when the entire West demonstrates a death wish for Planet Earth?

Until the criminal regimes of Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama, American presidents from John F. Kennedy forward worked to reduce tensions with the Soviets. Kennedy worked with Khrushchev to reduce tensions caused by US missiles in Turkey and Soviet missiles in Cuba. President Nixon negotiated SALT I (the Strategic Arms Limitation Treaty) and the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty. President Carter negotiated SALT II, which was never ratified by the US Senate but was observed by the executive branch. President Reagan negotiated with Soviet leader Gorbachev the end of the Cold War. President George H.W. Bush in exchange for Gorbachev’s agreement to the reunification of Germany promised that NATO would not move one inch to the East.

Each a criminal regime on par with Nazi Germany

All of these achievements were thrown away by the neoconized Clinton, George W. Bush, and Obama regimes, each a criminal regime on par with Nazi Germany.

Today life on Planet Earth is far less secure than during the darkest days of the Cold War. Whatever threat global warming poses, it is miniscule compared to the threat of nuclear winter. If the evil that is concentrated in Washington and its vassals perpetrates nuclear war, cockroaches will inherit the earth.

I have been warning about the growing danger of a nuclear war resulting from the arrogance, hubris, ignorance, and evil personified by Washington. Recently, four knowledgable Russian-Americans spelled out the likely consequences of trying to drive Russia to submission with war threats:  http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/06/03/41522/

See also: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/2016/05/28/as-our-past-wars-are-glorified-this-memorial-day-weekend-give-some-thought-to-our-prospects-against-the-russians-and-chinese-in-world-war-iii/

Don’t expect the brainwashed American population to have the moral conscience and fortitude to prevent nuclear war or even the intelligence to prevent their own vaporization. In a recent article in the Wall Street Journal Scott Sagan and Benjamin Valentino report that 59% of the US population support attacking Iran with nuclear weapons in the event that Iran sank one US Navy ship:  http://www.wsj.com/articles/would-the-u-s-drop-the-bomb-again-1463682867

Republicans were much more likely than Democrats to approve attacking Iran with nuclear weapons with 81% of Republicans approving nuclear war compared to 47% of Democrats. Yet, the Democrats are behind Hillary who would be the first to use nuclear weapons. After all, a feminized woman has to prove how tough she is, just as Margaret Thatcher was “the Iron Lady.”

Before it it too late for Americans and all of humanity, arrogant Americans need to recall that “those who live by the sword, die by the sword.”

The economic picture is equally dismal and unpromising. The latest payroll jobs report was even more awful than reported. Hardly any new jobs were created, but what largely escaped reporting is the fact that the economy actually lost 59,000 full-time jobs.

Increasingly the US economy consists of part-time jobs that cannot support an independent existence. Thus, more Americans age 19-34 live at home with parents than independently with spouses or partners. Fully half of 25-year old Americans live in their childhood rooms in their parents’ homes.

This is the “New Economy” that the filthy lying neoliberal economists promised would be reward for the American work force giving up their manufacturing and professional skill jobs to foreigners. What a monstrous lie the neoliberal economists told so that corporate executives and shareholders could put into their own pockets the living wage of the American work force. These neoliberal economists, and, alas, libertarian “free market” ones, have not been held accountable for their impoverishment of the American work force deeply buried in debt with no future prospects.

The era of neo-feudalism

Those few Americans who have any awareness are beginning to realize that the One Percent and the western governments that serve them are re-establishing feudalism. The brilliant and learned economist, Michael Hudson, has labeled our era the era of neo-feudalism.

He is correct. The majority of young Americans come out of university heavily indebted, primed for debtor prison. When half of 25-year olds cannot marry and form households, how can anyone believe that housing sales and prices are rising except as a result of speculative investors banking on rental income from a population that cannot even pay its student loans.

The United States is the sickest place on earth. There is no public or political discussion of any important issue or of the multiple crises that confront America or the crises that America brings to the world.

The American people are so stupid and unaware that they are capable of electing a criminal and a warmonger like Hillary president of the United States and be proud of it.

These “tough” Americans are so frightened of hoax dangers, such as “Muslim terrorists” and “Russian aggression” that they willingly sacrificed their depleted pocketbooks, the Constitution of the United States—an act of treason on the part of the American people who utterly failed their responsibility to protect the Constitution—and their own liberty to a universal police state that has all power over them.

It is extraordinary that once-proud, once-great European peoples look for leadership from a country of moronic non-entities who have pissed away the liberty, security, and prosperity that their Founding Fathers gave to them.

Wake up and realize that your most deadly enemy is Washington

Fellow Americans, if you care to avoid vaporization and, assuming we do avoid it, live a life other than serfdom, you must wake up and realize that your most deadly enemy is Washington, not the hoax of “Russian aggression,” not the hoax of “Muslim terrorism,” not the hoax of “domestic extremism,” not the hoax of welfare bankrupting America, not the hoax of democracy voting away your wealth, which Wall Street and the corporations have already stolen and stuck in their pockets.

If you cannot wake up and escape The Matrix, your doom will bring the doom of the planet.

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Posted in The Rise and Fall of the US Empire | Comments Off on Rise and Fall of the US Empire

Better-Management Newsletter

Written by  John Rofe of Auckland, New Zealand, Better-Management Newsletters keep you up to date with vital world issues.  John has extensive knowledge and experience in finance, economics, energy and history;  his speciality is company turnarounds.

Scroll down to read the latest editions.  Scroll to the end for links to previous editions.

Better-Management Newsletter 26 July

 This newsletter will focus on explaining my preoccupation with oil, and a key measure, Energy Return of Energy Input, EROEI. Then onto some important geopolitical factors.

We all read the main stream media (MSM), but some say that is where the blind are just trying to lead the clueless. Perhaps not completely fair, but…

http://www.internationalman.com/articles/the-blind-leading-the-clueless

For about five years I have been aware of the substance behind the theory that our global economy is failing due to falling EROEI of oil.  So I have been researching the validity that this may be primary causation for looming global economic collapse.  I now accept that hypothesis although others may not.  However, I have never summarised for others, how falling EROEI is so important to us.

I have analysed a few industries in depth over the last ten years or so.  The oil, gas, coal, uranium, rare earths, gold, silver, hydrogen and renewable energy industries have been my focus and oil at the centre.  The reason for looking at oil is that it comprises 92% of all transport fuels and 34% of all energy we employ to do our daily work and live our busy lives.  Oil products are energy dense and nothing else will ever come close to energy density…as a storage medium.  It is impossible to overstate the importance of oil to humanity and it is clear that our modern way of life would not be possible without it.

Yet oil will soon be lost due to the rapidly increasing ratio of cost to benefit.

My in-depth analysis of the oil industry has shown me how the net energy surplus provided by oil has been seriously eroded and it is that erosion that has been totally ignored by the world’s economists and politicians.  This oversight is due to the industry’s misdirection of the facts away from measuring the energy the industry produces to instead measuring the number of barrels produced.  In fact, every oil company will one day consume its reserves and investors must be persuaded to stay loyal.  Now it looks like far more oil is being produced than ever before, while what they refer to as a barrel of oil now may bear little relationship to the kind of oil produced during the 1960s, or to the net benefit of an extra barrel over what was produced before.

Humanity was able to diversify away from manual food production, so that instead of 94% of the population working on food production, the current portion is about 6-8% doing so.  Productivity gains in manufacturing have always been about smarter uses of fossil fuels and electrical energy.  Remember a large proportion of global electrical generating capacity is oil and gas driven.

The industrial age of oil is fragile. It was built on an EROI of between 200:1 and 100:1 for the first 100 years – depending on the oil field. The net energy surplus has fallen every year since.  Now it is arguably only supported by an average EROI of 11:1. The true cost of extracting and processing oil increases exponentially every year.  All known resources are being depleted.

We could cope with that if we had not already wasted that one-time endowment and taken all the easiest and cheapest and best quality stuff. Unfortunately we used our surplus energy for drag races and making our society complex and brittle, while we live “the high life”.

Not just oil, but all the mineral resources used by humanity are being depleted at an ever faster rate.  As with oil, everything we take from the ground is now harder to dig down to, and of lower assay, as we have spent the last 150 years taking everything that is easy.  There is both a monetary and energy cost to this deteriorating trend.  Oil users have tried to improve the efficiency of oil use…yet we still produce 60 million new cars a year with reliance on the internal combustion engine.  The various producers of all minerals have focused on technological gains such as in situ mining, where only a rich slurry of concentrate is brought to the surface.  For oil it includes SAGD, horizontal drilling, fracking etc….But everything has a cost.  Just thinking of the way the oil industry (which is arguably one of the most difficult and dangerous industries with the most cutting edge technology) has adapted to the reality that all oil wells deplete over a short period and oil is a finite resource, we should consider the following summary of efforts to maintain and enhance production…

Gushers and easy oil are long gone.

Down-hole pumps, surface pump jacks (nodding donkeys) and in-fill drilling are the first recourse.  Water flood to pressurise reservoirs is the second.

Enhanced techniques using CO2 the third. Re-drilling using horizontal wells with multi-stage fracking is the fourth.  Hitting marginal supplies in difficult and dangerous places like deep water and Arctic is the fifth.  Growing crops and harvesting them for bio-fuels is the sixth (and while politically correct this has an EROEI of less than 2:1…i.e. worthless but profitability of the entire US bio-fuel industry is based on Government subsidies).  Extracting synthetic oil from tar sands laced with asphaltenes is the seventh.  Drilling and fracking source rock for tight, light oil is the eighth.

The ninth… coal to gasoline (like South Africa’s SASOL) is dirty with a large nasty footprint.  Or tenth,  which is possibly attacking the kerogen contained in the rock of the Green River formation (Colorado) USA, and Eastern Australia.  But kerogen won’t convert to oil for a dozen million years – if ever.

Then there are the high risk under-sea plays like Kashagan in Kazakhstan,  where after USD70 billion has been spent, and many years of effort, they still cannot produce the oil that they know is there due to acidity mainly.  Shell spent USD7 billion to extract Arctic oil, almost lost their drill ship in the process and three years later have abandoned the attempt.  Then there is Tupi, Carioca and other fields in the Santos basin of Brazil, where the oil is not only under the sea but under a thick layer of salt and then under ground…heated to 200+ degrees C.

But for every one of these extra costly measures to extract oil, there is a matching processing cost.  The cost of extracting water from oil.  The cost of disposing of waste water.  The cost of extracting Asphaltenes from tar sand.  The use of diluents to transport the heavier oil product. The cost of processing stuff that isn’t really oil, the cost of transporting stuff that isn’t really oil, the cost of extracting proppants and chemicals in huge quantities from tight, light oil.

True every “barrel” fuels the industry, but not all oil is the same and as a general rule every new barrel found replaces one of better quality that cost less and gave a higher net energy yield.

The cost of energy to do all these things (and every year the capital costs grow) and the stuff we get as a result, resembles less and less the oil on which we built our complex society.  Every year the well pressures fall.  Every year the volume produced from every well drops.  Every year, the cost of replacing falling production grows greater; the quality of what is extracted is lower and the cost of processing is higher.

Every year we make our society more complex and use more machines, vehicles and toys.

In the mid 2000’s every project I was assessing was in the USD billions.  Now it is in the tens of billions and the money consumed each year to try to keep the oil industry producing our essential energy is in the trillions.

And if that weren’t all, the powers that be are now taking the resources needed to fund capital development off the table.  In part this is due to current prices being only about 50% of full cycle costs for the industry.  In part funds won’t be available in future because the losses on junk bonds for shale plays (that never should have been pursued) that have gone bust.  In part because the current global warming religion says we must leave all hydrocarbons in the ground.

So like my assessment that we will have a financial crash very soon, I estimate that sometime between 2020 and 2030, our industrialised society will begin to implode.  Given the damage to the global financial system from the 2016-2020 crash, I don’t see any way back from the events that will see an end to globalisation, large scale international trade, population increases and this will more than likely cause a sudden drop in real living standards.

There is no point in writing anything further on that.  I will either be right or wrong, and so I will confine myself to updates on progress and timing for collapse.  Personally, I don’t think even a successful launch of the mythological EESU could change our trajectory.

I hope I am proved wrong in all respects.

Institutionalised Cheating

 Russian doping of athletes is the least of our worries….

 The worst crimes to defraud the general public often come as the result of the revolving door between Government and firms containing industry experts.  The laws relating to commerce and criminal conduct are examples and tax law as a sub branch of law and accounting is also.

Generally the legal system is modified to provide smart lawyers with ample opportunity to prove that the guilty are innocent.

The tax system is bent to ensure that tax accountants and tax lawyers can work out ways to circumvent every new tax law.  Often the experts  are retained as consultants by the IRD and then as soon as the changes to legislation is passed, they sell their services to clients to show them ways to get around the law that they advised the IRD on.  Top tax accountants and lawyers make million-dollar-plus salaries as a result.

However, the multi-national fortune 500 Companies take it a step further.  As a group they probably have many trillions of cash and investments locked up in tax havens – funds that they cannot repatriate without paying punitive tax.  Usually it has been earned by overstating charges for goods and service from branches in tax haven countries to their branches in regimes that are assessable for tax on profits.  This has been happening since 1945…the good old transfer pricing rort.

There are five steps to get around that blatant tax fraud, however it would take concerted action by all countries including USA (where the biggest defrauders are based).  The USA is the sponsor of these practices, so it is unclear whether they will ever be addressed.  Perhaps Donald Trump?  After all, he has never benefitted from international tax rorts.  So I am sure he has his eye on them.

At last someone has gone public and when you listen to this you will understand why change should happen…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5bNKopQeuqs

Negativity

 What happens when the music stops…

http://seekingalpha.com/article/3990946-long-music-playing-keep-dancing?source=email_macro_view_top_articles_0_0&ifp=0

As interest rates continue to be depressed by central bank action, we all know why.  It is Governments meddling with retail demand for consumer goods.  Consumption is seen as the driver of the economy, although often it is driving someone else’s economy as they supply what we want.

Meantime it is very bad for folks on or saving for a pension.  How do you find yield for your investment money if interest rates are dropping everywhere?  Well you invest in ultra high risk stuff in the hope that will suffice.

Low risk bonds can almost be more like a liability than an asset…

http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/heres-what-happens-when-the-world-overdoses-on-debt

Very few pension schemes are able to make a profit now without taking on enormous risk.

So if the US Fed increases interest rates, it is only going to be to keep the pension funds solvent.  It won’t work, but it may be worth a try.

David Stockman’s graph at this next link is interesting…

http://seekingalpha.com/article/3990935-chart-day-crash-warning-household-net-worth-dpi-2000-2007-highs?source=email_macro_view_eco_0_19&ifp=0

and the Japanese Government is buying its bond industry…

http://seekingalpha.com/article/3990934-chart-day-abenomics-work-unsustainability?source=email_macro_view_eco_1_20&ifp=0

Jeffrey Snider is right IMHO…

http://seekingalpha.com/article/3990951-depression-confidence?source=email_macro_view_eco_2_21&ifp=0

China

 The Asean unity of Chinese expansion in the South China Sea was torpedoed by Cambodia who just want to cosy up to china…from Sinocism

ASEAN deadlocked on South China Sea, Cambodia blocks statement | Reuters The Philippines and Vietnam both wanted the communique issued by ASEAN foreign ministers after their meeting to refer to the ruling and the need to respect international law, ASEAN diplomats said. Their foreign ministers both discussed the ruling with ASEAN counterparts in the Laotian capital. But before the meeting, China’s closest ASEAN ally Cambodia opposed the proposed wording, throwing the group into disarray. Phnom Penh supports Beijing’s opposition to any ASEAN stand on the South China Sea, and its preference for dealing with the disputed claims on a bilateral basis. “

 It seems the two top leaders in China Mr Xi and Mr Li are at odds…from Sinocism…

 Discord Between China’s Top Two Leaders Spills Into the Open – WSJ China’s social-media users are cautious in discussing the divide, using coded references to a split between the southern and northern parts of the party and government’s Zhongnanhai leadership compound, where Messrs. Xi and Li work, respectively, In what people familiar with the matter depict as a subtle response by Mr. Li to criticism in the People’s Daily article, four words were added to a state-media news report about a May 9 conference call led by the premier. The words, which these people say weren’t part of the call, were xiang ren wei guo, an idiom loosely translated as “the premier endures for the nation.” They say Mr. Li personally vetted the media report before it went out. This month, Mr. Xi held a meeting with more than two dozen of the country’s top economists and analysts. Mr. Li wasn’t invited, according to people with knowledge of the matter. “It’s a meeting held by Xi Dada,” one of the people said, using a popular nickname for Mr. Xi. “It’s not necessary for Li to attend.” “

While I think the IMF understates the amount of bad debts in the Chinese banking system, there is enough here to precipitate a bubble popping event.  It will need to be carefully managed by the PBOC…

http://www.theage.com.au/business/china/china-may-have-17-trillion-of-risky-loans-imf-report-says-20160415-go7cxh.html#ixzz45tA2Muip

India

 There are signs that the Indian economy will become a powerhouse like China but with a slower growth trajectory…if it can find the resources.

In 2004 when I first looked at Chinese oil use, it was 4 million bbls per day…now it is 11 million.  Today India’s consumption is 4 million barrels per day.  But will they get access to oil sufficient to keep the party going?

http://seekingalpha.com/article/3990952-india-making-big-progress-oil?source=email_macro_view_top_articles_2_2&ifp=0

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Better-Management Newsletter 24 July

 Lurching from crisis to crisis, more pieces to the puzzle

The IMF are still worried about collapse and contagion and rightly so…from Seeking Alpha…

Ahead of the G20 meeting, the IMF painted a dark outlook for the global economy, issuing an “urgent” call for the world’s largest economies to roll out more growth-boosting policies and act more aggressively. “I don’t think this is a moment that calls for the kind of coordinated action that occurred during the ‘great recession’ in 2008 and 2009,” said U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew, before jetting to the meeting late Thursday.”

Will European banks be the pin to pop the bubble in share and property markets?

 Brexit hasn’t been too bad so far for UK or EU….from Seeking Alpha…

Business activity in the eurozone did not fall as much as expected in July, despite Brexit jitters and the Bastille Day massacre, as Markit’s flash PMI for the region dropped to 52.9 from June’s 53.1. But sterling fell 1% to $1.3104 after the British economy shrank at its steepest pace since early 2009, with the flash U.K. composite PMI falling to 47.7 from 52.4. “At this level, the survey is signaling a 0.4% contraction of the [U.K.] economy in Q3,” said Chris Williamson, chief economist at Markit.

Even so, the news is being interpreted differently by different people…one day later…

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/07/22/ftse-100-slides-but-pound-gains-ahead-of-uk-manufacturing-and-se/

But this poses a conundrum for the UK…from Seeking Alpha…

French President Francois Hollande has given U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May a choice: Accept unlimited immigration from the EU or lose access to its single market. “There can be no free movement of goods, free movement of capital, free movement of services if there is no free movement of people,” he said at a press conference. May also confirmed that the triggering of Article 50 won’t come this year as her government works out its negotiating position. “

I have been taking a bit of stick for promoting Brexit to my UK rellies, so I am delighted to find someone who agrees with me…

http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/weekend-edition-doug-casey-on-brexit

European banks are risking both collapse and contagion…

The European Court of Justice has held this week that countries cannot bail out their banks without shareholders and depositors first doing so.  (This indeed has been the ECB’s position) This is a problem not just for the illiquid and insolvent Italian banks but also for Deutsche Bank and a few others…

http://thecrux.com/europes-ticking-time-bomb-is-about-to-blow/

and

http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/why-this-could-be-the-end-of-europe-as-we-know-it

Will Emerging markets be the pin?

 Emerging markets still all produce things and tend to have subsistence agriculture that supports a large slice of their populace.

But many are oil producers and therefore hit by extremely low oil prices.  Others have been hit by downturns in OECD buying (as evidenced by reduced YOY ocean freight).  Together they are in strife.

The reduction in shale drilling has not yet been enough to make a hole in the massive oil stockpile (even so that stockpile is still only 4-5 weeks’ usage).  The Saudis now want higher oil prices as even they are getting hurt… This article below is full of bombast and BS.  If the Saudis now had an extra amount of oil to produce each day, they would be selling it.  But the market is oversupplied by both petrol and oil.

http://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-06-23/saudi-arabia-declares-cease-fire-in-oil-war

The glut happened because of cheap Wall Street funds and the increase in US shale production.  Strangely this doctrinaire climate change site contains some relevant facts J…

http://www.joabbess.com/2016/07/22/peak-oil-redux/

Countries like Venezuela and Nigeria don’t impact the global economy until they start dishonouring debts.  But anything that makes the global debt overhang unstable can be cause for either collapse or contagion.  China is the largest and while providing more funny money for dubious schemes, their run must come to an end at some point.

There are some interesting stats that show a crash within the OECD cannot be too far away…

http://seekingalpha.com/article/3990694-something-really-bad-going-happen-soon-part-iv?source=email_macro_view_mar_out_1_6&ifp=0

 Can we handle different perspectives on geopolitical events?

 I am reminded that the likes of Stratfor and the mainstream western media tend to adopt a uniform and US friendly approach to international relations.  Yet we know that the USA (under the auspices of the “Carter Doctrine”) have made a right bollocks in the Middle East in everywhere from Iraq and Afghanistan and Libya… and been effectively kicked out of South East Asia since the atrocity of the Vietnam War.

There are folks who wage a war of contrary perspectives that we should at some point consider as the world moves through an arms race towards what is unthinkable…the possibility of nuclear war.  F. William Engdahl has his own web site and books where his researched views are supported by his investigative journalism and sources.  The latest on Turkey suggests the malignant hand of the CIA behind the Turkish coup plot…

http://journal-neo.org/2016/07/18/behind-the-cia-desperate-turkey-coup-attempt/

And the expanding role of the USA in the South China Sea…

http://journal-neo.org/2016/07/21/why-china-risks-war-over-those-wet-rocks/

I have the rather blinkered opinion that militarism will increase as civilisation within the OECD is pushed towards breaking point, so the inevitability of conflict leads me to take the approach that anything is possible.  Particularly as we have seen the machinations of the USA on show in the Ukraine and elsewhere since WW2.

We are also witnessing a more nuanced foreign policy in NZ than Australia and USA have.  We “invite” a visit from a US warship yet we rule out a return to the ANZUS alliance.  So we only merit a whistle-stop visit from the US Vice President and his grand-children …

Just when you thought it was safe?

I hear one of our own cabinet ministers has the Zika virus.  (Minister of foreign Affairs – perhaps it was a foreign affair that got a bit contagious). The virus is making the news in North America with hundreds already affected and almost 50 pregnant women infected.  They are scurrying to try to prove whether the mozzies – Zika carriers – now live in the USA.

Not sure I want to be in Rio for the Olympics…from Seeking Alpha…

Health officials are investigating a second possible non-travel related case of Zika infection in Florida. To date, there are 334 cases of Zika in the state, including 46 pregnant women. More alarms? Brazilian scientists have found a second species, Culex quinquefasciatus, which can transmit the virus. Culex mosquitoes are far more common in temperate zones, such as in the U.S.”

As it can be passed from human to human, it is getting a bit scary.

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Previous Better-Management Newsletters

July 2016

June 2016

May 2016

April 2016

March 2016

February 2016

January 2016

December 2015

November 2015

October 2015

September 2015

August 2015

July 2015

June 2015

May 2015

April 2015

March 2015

February 2015

  • Better-Management Newsletter – 27 Feb 2015 – The new cold war heats up / Putin “…smacks of genocide” / “Cover their eyes, kick-the-can and hope..” / Historic alliances subordinate to US Presidential politics / Superannuation in the Antipodes
  • Better-Management Newsletter – 26 Feb 2015 – Greece: temporary reprieve / Ukraine stand-off / The implausible Fed / Cutback in drilling rigs / Obama stymies Keystone again / Restraints on militant Islam / When solar energy fails / How good are batteries? / Will new batteries succeed? / Zenn/EESU looks promising
  • Better-Management Newsletter – 23 Feb 2015 – All this money printing / Gold and silver / Threat from Russia / Winners had access to oil / Resource sustainability / Misleading resource estimates
  • Better-Management Newsletter – 22 Feb 2015 – Ukraine deteriorates / Remember past starvation of millions of Ukrainians / Russia breaches British air space / Greece: keep the party going / Democracy no longer exists in Europe / Potential to collapse the global financial system
  • Better-Management Newsletter – 19 Feb 2015 – Greek “Trojan Horse” / Ukraine rebels ‘disobey’ ceasefire / Has Putin miscalculated??
  • Better-Management Newsletter – 18 Feb 2015 – Dynamic equilibrium – Population growth/drop?  A new paradigm?  “Shale is not even remotely economically viable” – Extreme fluctuations stimulate extreme over-corrections
  • Better-Management Newsletter – 17 Feb 2015 – Business 101 for Germany.  The world hasn’t learnt either.  Middle East holy war.  The angst is peoples against peoples.  Hold the culpable people to account.  Has China hit the skids?  Peakists v. Cornucopians.  Low-hanging fruit/oil.  
  • Better-Management Newsletter – 16 February 2015 – $26 Trillion ‘game of chicken’.  Ukraine ceasefire??  There are signs of growth about.  A slowdown in demand.  Baltic Dry shipping index plummets.  “Money for nothing and chicks for free”. Our master resource…oil.  EIA have never got any forecast right.  Debt works very badly if the economy is contracting.
  • Better-Management Newsletter – 3 February 2015 – The Twin Tower trigger…. and the horrors it triggered.  The error of America’s ways.  BRICS and the SCO grow stronger.  A financial meltdown??  Natural Gas in the USA. Oil trend – up or down?  Bitcoin currency – what next? Zenn – a turning point?  What is happening in Russia?
  • Better-Management Newsletter – 1 February 2015  Oil price bottoming?  Culture of opting out.  Be nice to nerds.  Economists lost the plot.  Greece was bullied for aeons.  Substitute credit for real growth.  ‘Business as Usual’ RIP.  Where to from here?

January 2015

  • Better-Management Newsletter – 27 January 2015 – Greece mandate – for what?  Germany prepares.  Ex KGB Putin playing Good Cop?  Will Russia crash? Oil to stay below USD45/bbl?  Shale industry will be suspect.  How is Bitcoin travelling? An escape to the Antipodes?
  • Better-Management Newsletter – 25 January 2015 – Nothing useful has emerged from Davos.  Another liquidity crisis?  “Economists are stupid”.  Few scientists focus on energy storage.   Negative returns on new oil wells. Economists and bankers’ solutions: print money to goose GDP.  Politicians are pawns to big business?
  • Better-Management Newsletter – 23 January 2015 – Nanotechnology.  King Abdullah dead.  Super Mario’s QE.  Last throw of the EU dice?  Russia’s WW3 Game-plan -oil.  China’s Mr Li at Davos.  China’s central bank injects $8Bn
  • John’s Newsletter – 21 January 2015 – Swissie repercussions.  America’s own Berlin Wall collapsing.  Europe in trouble – the EU could soon be toast.  Gold still glisters. Oil – future in peril. Obama lying about oil. We need a new vision of the economy. After the big crash.  The realities of history.
  • John’s Newsletter – 18 January 2015 – Swiss Franc drama. Oil price to fall further? Shale oil Ponzi. Population growth – and green illogic.
  • John’s Newsletter – 17 January 2015 – Swiss Franc drama.  Oil price to fall further?  Shale oil Ponzi.  Population growth – and green illogic.
  • John’s Newsletter – 16 January 2015 – Oil (as usual).  China – a mixed bag.  Can technology save us?
  • John’s Newsletter – 15 January 2015 – Oil (as usual).  China – a mixed bag.  Can technology save us?
  • John’s Newsletter – 12 January 2015 – New GM EV.  Terrorism – not new. Turkey – formerly sectarian.  Oil prices and the financial markets.  Gold – limits to growth.  US stock markets – manipulated highs.
  • John’s Newsletter – 10 January 2015 – Electric car uptake accelerates. Je suis Hebden. EU’s unpayable debt – ditto China? Sri Lanka – new President. The Keystone fiasco.
  • John’s Newsletter – 8 January 2015 – Investment in 2015 – tricky.  EU: German deflation, Greek exit?  All stock markets peaked – except US.  China, Russia – odd bed-fellows.  Middle East powder keg.  Love Tesla.  Oil chaos, commodities slide.
  • John’s Newsletter – 6 January 2015 – 2014: growth tanking, falling currencies, irrational exuberance, ISIS and Ikhwani, the maths of oil, covert plans of the Saudis and US.
  • John’s Newsletter – 3 January 2015 – The climate change con. Justice, US-style. War criminals who led the US. Mario Draghi gets desperate. Government services shrink in line with income.
  • John’s Newsletter – 1 January 2015 – More ‘must-read’ books.  Escalation of the US/EU/OECD v BRICS/SEO differences.  Ominous oil prices defy rationale.
Posted in Better-Management Newsletter | Comments Off on Better-Management Newsletter

The elitists and PC pundits threaten democracy

PC, the acronym for ‘politically correct’ and even worse, is insidiously insinuating the Progressive’s program of state nanny control, welfare, collectivism, bureaucracy and even Marxism on an unsuspecting population.

Scroll down to the bottom for more articles.

Denial of speech is one step towards totalitarianism

Denial of speech is one step towards totalitarianism  By Nick Cater, The Australian, 25 July 2016

Editor’s note: understanding the first part of this article requires some knowledge of Australian politics. The latter part is more generalised and applicable everywhere and to every country.

What exactly did they slip in the water at the ABC that prompted Sam Dastyari to release his inner Muslim? One moment he was reprimanding a fellow Q&A panellist about the politics of hate and the next was baring his soul.

“Somewhere in Tehran there’s a document that sits that says beside my name the word ‘Muslim’,” the senator revealed.

Pauline Hanson seemed genuinely surprised. “Are you a Muslim? Really?”

“Yeah,” replied the senator, “and I have never hidden away.”

It was hardly the shahada, the declaration that: “There is no god but God and Mohammed is his messenger.” As an atheist, Dastyari would struggle to embrace the first pillar of Islam, never mind all five.

“And are you a practising Muslim?” Hanson continued.

“No, no, no,” Dastyari replied. “I think you’re trying to make a joke of what is a serious …

“No, I’m surprised,” replied Hanson. “I didn’t know that about you.”

Dastyari’s revelation was not so much a declaration of faith as a statement of political identity, an expression of solidarity with the members an oppressed minority, many of whom happened to be in the Q&A audience that evening. Dastyari, unlike Hanson, feels their pain.

Hanson’s second coming has caught the political establishment by surprise. The first lesson from the election, for those prepared to absorb it, is that the world looks quite different when viewed from Caboolture than from Carlton. The second lesson is that the political and media classes are strangers in their own country.

News that One Nation secured 226,000 first-preference votes in Queensland came as a rude awakening to The Sydney Morning Herald’s Alan Stokes.

“Find that embarrassing? Shocking? A bit weird even?” he wrote. “Not as weird as this: the Greens attracted just 168,000 Senate votes in Queensland.”

Stokes’s surprise at the shape of the universe beyond his immediate orbit is not uncommon. You don’t have to delve far into Facebook to discover Britons who know no one who voted for Brexit or Americans who say they’ve never met a Donald Trump supporter. Yet even by the standards of the histrionic Left, the reaction to Hanson’s election to the Senate has been extraordinary.

Outside the ABC’s inelegant but fashionably located inner-city headquarters before her appearance on Q&A, a bunch of random Hanson-phobic Islamophiles vented their disgust at the excessive use of free speech by people with whom they disagree.

Less than 12 hours earlier, Nine Network presenter Sonia Kruger’s refreshingly honest response to the threat of radical Islam provoked an effusion of invective on social media.

It was as if Twitter were hosting the national vulgarity championships. Who could compose the most impolite message using 35 four-letter words or fewer?

While some saw it as an outbreak of the culture war, the ferocity of the response to Kruger and Hanson suggests something far less trivial. The intelligentsia’s divorce from Middle Australia is now absolute and it is fighting for the sole custody of truth.

The determination to deny their opponents a platform, the merciless attacks on character, the insistence that their enemies not only apologise but do so grovellingly like some shaven-headed dissident at a show trial suggest the Left, once again, is flirting with totalitarianism.

For the twittering vigilantes, who police what can and cannot be said on mainstream media, Kruger’s call for a ban on Islamic migrants — live and uncensored on breakfast television — represented a serious breach of security.

Worse still, it became clear that Kruger was not alone; the suggestion seemed tempting to an unacceptably large number of her viewers as they absorbed the horrors of the Bastille Day attack in Nice.

If radical Islam presents a threat unimagined by the genteel architects of Australian multiculturalism — and it clearly does — we must select our migrants carefully. Yet most Australians understand the difference between selection and discrimination

To borrow the words of Martin Luther King, migration in Australia is decided not by the colour of the applicant’s skin but the content of their character, and it is on character that eligibility must be judged.

One does not have to think Kruger is right to recognise that those who want to silence her are desperately and dangerously wrong. And that a dark cloud of ­illiberalism hangs heavy over civic society that must be resisted at all costs.

The road to totalitarianism begins with a love of humanity and a contempt for humans. The pathology of 20th-century totalitarianism is well known, starting with the suspension of freedom of speech and the rule of law — temporarily, it is claimed — to fight an existential threat to an idealised vision of the nation.

There is one important detail about the early fascists that the Left intelligentsia have been inclined to overlook: the early fascists were metropolitan sophisticates rather like today’s intelligentsia — artists, writers, academics and dreamers convinced of their own superior wisdom.

The resemblance between totalitarianism and modern-day political correctness is hardly surprising. As Tony Judt wrote in his expansive volume on the history of Europe from 1945, a monopoly of authority requires a monopoly of knowledge, the assurance that the official “truth” on any given topic would not be challenged or, if it were, that the challenge should be suppressed with exemplary force.

Kruger’s dissident voice was countered last week with such vehemence because she challenged the conventional wisdom on immigration and breached the narrow parameters of what is and what is not permissible for discussion on morning television.

It is no coincidence that the intelligentsia, which champions political correctness today, once championed the Soviet Union where the state sought to control not just what people said but what they thought.

It aspired to set the limits not only on Dimitri Shostakovich performances but also his compositions. Stalin, if he could, would have cracked down on Shostakovich not just for the music he conducted but the music going on in his head.

=========================

Generation Snowflake

Generation Snowflake  By Julian Tomlinson, Cairns Post, 21 July 2016

Protected species no class act

“I get triggered every time someone mentions the Cowboys’ 2005 NRL Grand Final.  But I manage to cope without running to Mummy.”

WARNING. The following comments may offend or cause people to be “triggered” into reliving past experiences – either real or imagined.

If this occurs, please retreat to your nearest “safe space” where you don’t have to confront anything that does – or might – cause you to be upset.

Universities in Australia and around the world are far from the hotbeds of broad debate and confronting ideas they once were and were designed to be.

Now students are told they don’t have to deal with anything that makes them uncomfortable, and the university will protect that right.

Many universities have “safe spaces” where only people with a shared bond such as race, sexuality, religion, made-up victimhood or beliefs can speak and study without having to endure the unimaginable torment of anything that doesn’t conform to their blinkered world view.

There are trigger warnings that tell people material they’re about to hear, read or see could upset them.

These are rampant in US and UK universities where lecturers have to interrupt classes to tell students they can leave if they don’t want to be “triggered” by the learning material.

And now they’re in some Australian unis. I get triggered every time someone mentions the Cowboys’ 2005 NRL Grand Final, but I manage to cope without running to Mummy.

While trigger warnings were de­ signed to protect post-traumatic stress sufferers, it has evolved to stop such things as Jews reliving the Holocaust their great-great grandparents experienced. And the situation now is truly farcical.

A recent news report described the regimen in place at Melbourne’s La Trobe University which includes trigger warnings for: slimy things; colonialism; skulls; vomit; and eye contact.

One commentator recently labelled the products of this approach as “Generation Snowflake”.

Rather than producing highly educated people capable of carrying society to new heights with their firm

grasp of sometimes-horrible history and theories born of considering many different – and yes, possibly uncomfortable points of view, we are throwing lambs into the lions’ den.

Having been told for years that they don’t have to endure the unimaginable torture of someone disagreeing with them, university students enter the real world ill-prepared for anything approaching reality.

All they’ve heard is opinions they agree with, or what the university, schools and society tell them they should agree with.

The extent to which “Generation Snowflake” seeks to perpetuate and justify its existence can be found all over the internet.

A lecture about men’s issues at the University of Toronto by Warren Farrell was disrupted by feminists who had to be held back by police as they abused attendees and called them rapists. Chilling viewing.

Look up anything freedom of speech campaigner Milo Yiannopoulos does at universities and see how Generation Snowflake feels about opinions they don’t like. Frightening.

Google videos about “microaggressions” for some mind-boggling “triggers” that require safe spaces. For instance, asking someone what their ethnic background is, isn’t seen as simply an attempt to get to know them better, it’s a microaggression that can be punished by universities.

At the Queensland University of Technology, a group of students is being sued by an Aboriginal lecturer because she became “incapacitated with fear” after they simply complained on social media about segregation when she asked them to leave the “indigenous only “computer room.

If students are being prepared for “real life” by institutions that punish free speech, open debate and free thought, what does the future hold for all of society?

These people are the future politicians, newspaper editors, journalists, judges, teachers and lecturers who will have a great deal of influence on how everyone lives their lives.

Rather than students being allowed to bolt for a safe space, they should be compelled to argue ration­ ally and factually against points of view they find confronting.

By telling them that their feelings have no right to be hurt, we are propelled even further down the dark path of outlawing words, something that is already happening today.           _

Julian Tomlinson,  julian.tomlinson@news.com.au

======================

The silent majority starting to speak out

The silent majority starting to speak out  By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 13 July

Good on Cory Bernardi. The move by the South Australian senator to set up a home for those on the Centre-Right of politics in Australia is needed now more than ever. After an election that saw the Turnbull government barely scrape home, and more than a million voters chose an independent or micro-party in the Senate, conservatives have two choices.

Do nothing, remain complacent, trust in the righteousness of their cause, watch the centre-right landscape fracture further and hand the next election to an emboldened Left.

Or they can learn from the Left, unite around values, get clever about language, reclaim morality as their own and understand that left-wing activism can’t be defeated by sober words and rational speeches. It will be defeated only by right-wing activism that takes nothing for granted.

Immediately after the election, Bernardi made his disappointment with the Turnbull government’s campaign clear. “One of the quotes I read … was ‘the Liberals campaign like it’s a lawn bowls gathering whereas the Labor Party campaign like it’s a dogfight’.”

Enough of playing lawn bowls then. Last week Bernardi set up conservatives.org.au to take on not just Labor and its union paymasters but that other dog in the political fight, GetUp! Bernardi registered the name Australian Conservatives before the election and now he’s fighting back with a website to harness conservative activism.

Bernardi’s move is recognition that GetUp! has evolved into a major electoral force by manufacturing grievance politics faster and more efficiently than a tech factory in Shenzhen, China, churns out iPhones. Its brand has landed more of a punch than a Qantas ad. And as Pamela Williams revealed in The Weekend Australian, under boss Paul Oosting GetUp! has moved from an outpost of generic online grievances into carefully targeted countrywide campaigns.

It put a bullseye on conservative MPs with a voting record that offended GetUp! members. By organising political versions of Tupperware parties to encourage members to become involved in the election against specific MPs, using smart technology to allow members to pick up a phone in their home to ring swinging voters and boxing up beanies, placards, T-shirts and how-to-vote cards for volunteers, GetUp! turned online activism into ballot box results.

Losing his seat in Bass, Andrew Nikolic decried GetUp!’s involvement, the $500,000 it spent and the 90 activists it “imported” into Tasmania. “This is what dishonesty looks like,” the former Liberal MP said last week. Alas, it’s not dishonest to harness people to a cause and encourage them to campaign for their values. Getting angry at GetUp! is akin to getting angry at democracy.

Better to learn how GetUp! has become the political equivalent of dopamine, that chemical in the brain triggered by pleasant things such as eating chocolate, having sex, listening to beautiful music, winning at a game and even getting revenge. It has learned the art of using feel-good language to hijack morality. Hence free speech is replaced with “fair” speech, responsible fiscal policy is supplanted by undefinable “fairness”, political correctness becomes a civility issue rather than a stifling of thought, tax cuts are recast as “gifts”, wars are “illegal”, race-based laws become the answer to racial discrimination, rights for same-sex couples becomes a debate over “marriage equality” and so on. Every word is carefully chosen to kick off political dopamine.

Meanwhile, angry Liberals wonder why they are losing these debates. Bernardi isn’t getting angry, he’s getting even. He’s working to level democracy’s playing field to offer conservatives a place in the public square just as GetUp! does on the Left. Bernardi wants to unite Australian conservatives who have turned away from the Liberal Party as their natural home. He points to the 1.7 million voters who chose centre-right independents or micro-parties over the Liberal Party. He’s inviting people into an organisation under the rubric of values rather than diminishing party brand.

As he told The Australian: “We might not have the youthful, peach glow of GetUp! but we want to make a difference.”

What that difference will be is anyone’s guess. It may be the early beginnings of a new party that will break apart the Liberal Party. For the moment, it serves as a timely wake-up call to Malcolm Turnbull that the Liberal Party is at its strongest when it respects both the conservative and small-L liberal strands of its past and present.

As a conservative, John Howard was also a pragmatist who united those two constituent parts to remake a formidable Liberal Party. Howard may not have agreed with many from the small-L liberal “wets” in his party, be it on Iraq or border protection or the culture wars, but he listened, respected their views and, importantly, included them in the government’s inner sanctum of decision-making.

Can Turnbull prove that a progressive Liberal can equally unite and strengthen the party? Or will moral arrogance preclude him from doing so? Just as many on the Left cannot simply disagree with their political opponents — they must deride and revile them — the same is true of many on the more progressive side of the Liberal Party. Turnbull’s imminent ministerial reshuffle will be an early marker of his approach.

Including party conservatives is only a first step for the PM. Getting to know conservative voters, rather than thinking you know better than them, is his second task. Ignoring the reasons so many voters turned away from the government on July 2 won’t help him craft and sell policies, and it won’t secure stable government. It will deliver only more votes to Pauline Hanson and the motley crew of independents and micro-party populists in the Senate.

The forgotten people. The silent majority. These are not passing election pitches; these terms mean something. Bernardi’s call to arms is a potential turning point for homeless conservatives who believe in smaller government, greater individual freedom, the importance of Western culture, its traditions and values, lower taxes, and “plain old common sense”.

Want to support free speech in our great democracy? Then how about campaigning at the next election for a conservative MP or candidate who is a warrior for that cause? Don’t like retrospective superannuation laws that are simply aimed at slugging the rich rather than serious budget repair? Why not campaign for an MP or candidate who will fight against that policy? Believe in the morality of work as a measure of self-worth and respect, not just an economic imperative? Then get out and campaign for a person who can articulate that long-forgotten value. Tired of being called a homophobe for believing that marriage is an institution that for millennia (and as recently as 2004 both Labor and Liberals agreed) meant the union between a man and a woman? Then lend your support to elect a person who has the same values.

If the Liberal Party isn’t a broad enough church to include these voices, then it has more to fear than GetUp! Its own conservative base will tell the party of Menzies and Howard to get lost.

janeta@bigpond.net.au

===========================

A march against democracy

A march against democracy  By Tom Slater, Spikes Online, 10 July 2016

Time was people would march on parliament calling for the expansion of freedom or democracy – for the voice of the ignored or disenfranchised masses to be heard. Saturday’s March for Europe in London – in which thousands of spurned Remainers marched from Park Lane to Parliament Square calling for the EU referendum result to be overturned – was, by contrast, the starkest expression yet of the fuming, anti-democratic sentiment that has come to the fore post-Brexit.

This was not a March for Europe. This was a march against democracy. Sure, as participants were quick to point out, they have a democratic right to vent, as organiser Mark Thomas put it to the BBC, their ‘anger, frustration’ and ‘need to do something’. But any demo that calls so openly for the expressed will of the people to be overturned can hardly claim the moral high ground.

The message from the sea of colourful, pun-laden placards was clear: Brexit voters were misled, confused, whipped up into a xenophobic fever, and thus parliament, the responsible adults, should step in. ‘Parliament must address mass deception’, read one: ‘Democracy or a travesty???’ ‘The monkeys have taken over the asylum!’, declared another. For all the Remain camp fearmongering about post-Brexit xenophobia, its own fear and loathing of the Leave-voting masses was on full show.

As spiked found out, interviewing protesters for our video report, the protesters felt the political class should correct the mistake of the dumb demos. ‘We have an elected democracy so that our MPs, who do know more about these kinds of things, they can make these decisions for us’, one told us. Only politicians, armed with the right expertise, they said, were capable of taking such profound decisions: ‘Experts. We need experts to speak. People who have PhDs in European law.’

This outpouring of anti-democratic sentiment, this unquestioned faith in the wisdom of the elite over the will of the people, did not begin with the Brexit vote. Through the rise of evidence-based policy and quangos, experts have crept into more and more areas of policymaking. And the sentiment that the masses are a bit thick, brainwashed by the media and stirred up by demagogues, has long greeted every General Election result that doesn’t go the metropolitan elite’s way.

But the Brexit fallout has brought this long unspoken prejudice out of the bistros and into the streets. The idea that the people are effectively incapable of taking part in politics, that you need a PhD in European law to have an opinion on EU membership, is now being shouted from the rooftops and scrawled on placards. Left-wing Remain types, so long the sort who would pretend to speak on behalf of the little people, are now openly calling for elite rule.

As one reporter pointed out on Twitter, this was a ‘pro-establishment protest’, and the protesters made no bones about saying so. There was constant talk of the ‘national interest’, of the ‘madness’ that needed to be stopped in the name of protecting our economy and future. This is the language of patrician ministers, not bedraggled rebels. Those who should be railing against our democratic rights being subordinated to higher, elite concerns are now willing it on.

When the protesters weren’t deferring to experts, they were claiming the mantle for themselves. Having all seemingly consumed the same primer on Britain’s constitutional arrangements, many talked up parliamentary sovereignty and how British democracy is not rule-by-plebiscite. This is not only a bit rich, considering they were invoking parliamentary sovereignty in defence of an institution – the EU – that exists to limit parliaments’ right to act in their own nations’ interests; it is also entirely disingenuous.

Yes, the House of Commons retains parliamentary sovereignty, but this is derived from the will of the people – from popular sovereignty. Any real democrat knows that power does not originate from Westminster; it is democratic support that gives parliament the legitimacy to act and to govern. To suggest that parliament should use the power lent to it by the public to override the public’s will makes a mockery of parliamentary democracy itself.

Referendums are not the only way to make democratic decisions. In an ideal world, we would have politicians with the leadership, conviction and connection with the public necessary to make the popular will a reality. Yet for all the narrow, party-political reasons the referendum came about, the Brexit vote has taken on great significance because of the chasm that exists between the people and the elite. The eking away of political authority, rooted in this disconnection, is what made this break with the status quo so vital.

Anyone who believes in democracy, whether Remainer or Leaver, should be appalled by the bald, elitist sentiments now being expressed. To circumvent the Brexit vote now would be to destroy democracy for a generation. In the name of parliamentary sovereignty, popular sovereignty would be obliterated. But the march also did us a favour. It showed us how fragile democracy is, how intent many people are on giving our reeling elite an excuse to ignore the democratic will. That is, it showed us how much is left to fight for.

Tom Slater is deputy editor of spiked. Follow him on Twitter: @Tom_Slater_

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Environmentalism: the good, and the green propaganda

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.    

Scroll down to read the most recent articles; links to previous articles follow.

Golden rice, the miracle crop Greenpeace hates

Golden rice, the miracle crop Greenpeace hates  By George Harrison, Spiked Online, 23 July 2016

Rice is the staple food of over 3.5 billion people, most of whom live in the poorest parts of the world. But the world’s staple does come with one major drawback. Despite being loaded with other nutrients, rice is naturally lacking in vitamin A.

The Lancet estimates that, every year, around 670,000 children under the age of five die as a result of vitamin-A deficiency. Imagine, then, the development potential of a genetically modified, mass-market strain of rice that is packed with all the typical nutrients you’d expect, but which also comes loaded with vitamin A.

Golden Rice is such a crop, and it’s the genetically modified organism (GMO) the South has been waiting for. Unfortunately, certain groups are agitating against Golden Rice over claims it is dangerous – despite it having passed every test and safety check it has ever faced. This resistance is largely thanks to environmental organisations like Greenpeace, who have spent decades campaigning relentlessly against GMOs on the basis of unfounded health concerns.

This is despite the fact that GM foodstuffs are commonplace in the US, where the crops are needed far less than they are in the poorest parts of the world. Yet Greenpeace continues to wage war on these revolutionary new foodstuffs, batting away study after study that emerges in defence of GMOs like Golden Rice.

Greenpeace has become so blindly dogmatic in its approach that, late last month, 110 Nobel Laureates signed an open letter condemning its rejection of GMOs. The signatories, who account for one third of living Nobel laureates, went so far as to suggest that Greenpeace’s demonisation of perfectly healthy GMOs, particularly Golden Rice, is akin to a ‘crime against humanity’. They estimate that many of the two million annual deaths attributed to vitamin-A deficiency could be prevented by Golden Rice.

In its response, Greenpeace claimed that its opposition to Golden Rice is down to the failure of manufacturers to produce it cheaply and plentifully. This is a bit rich, considering obstructions by environmentalists has made production of Golden Rice difficult. In 2013, green activists destroyed trial plots of Golden Rice in the Philippines – setting its development back by years.

Perhaps eco-alarmists genuinely believe, in their own paternalistic way, that they are helping the global poor by restricting their access to these new crops. However, their dogmatic resistance to scientific progress is doing more damage than all the GMOs in the world ever could.

Greenpeace should consider looking at the facts. Throughout the history of their existence, nobody has died as a result of eating GMOs. Countless lives have certainly been lost in that time, however, and many development opportunities have been stifled, thanks to hunger.

It’s time organisations like Greenpeace ended their ingrained opposition to Golden Rice and other GM crops. It’s time we all embraced the life-changing potential of such crops.

George Harrison is a writer based in London.

==========================

A fantasy green-tech future

A fantasy green-tech future  By Nick Cater, The Australian, 19 July 2016

It’s a little early to pass judgement on Britain’s new Prime Minister, but when The Independent newspaper’s resident tree-hugger ­accuses her of making “a historic blunder of global proportions” one senses she is on the right track.

Hours after taking office, Theresa May abolished the Department of Energy and Climate Change, a behemoth created by Labour’s Gordon Brown in 2008 in the mistaken belief that the first step towards solving any problem is to set up a stonking great ­bureaucracy. Environment correspondent Ian Johnston denounced the PM’s heretical action; it was proof, if proof were needed, that May was “not remotely bothered about global warming”.

May’s stupidity was compounded, in the view of the British cosmopolitan establishment, by the appointment of Boris Johnson as Foreign Minister. The list of supposed blunders that makes Johnson unsuitable envoy ­material includes climate scepticism and expressing support for ­Israel during a visit to the Palestinian territories.

Johnson’s appointment was “an embarrassing decision of epic proportions”, The Independent’s Kevin Maxwell thundered. “May has … undermined Britain’s international presence and status, and made us a global laughing-stock.”

The fear of relegation to global laughing-stock status troubles commentators on the Left in the way their counterparts on the Right fret about retaining a triple-A credit rating. One is a measure of sovereign economic risk; the other measures the risk of political correctness and the seriousness with which leaders observe the pieties of the day.

The elevation of politicians such as May and Johnson who challenge conventional wisdom is a refreshing moment for British politics. Slavish obedience to the “experts” on climate change has cost Britain and its citizens dearly.

It is a measure of the perverseness of climate change dogma that May’s promise to restore cheap and reliable energy is viewed as subversive. Britain outside the EU will succeed or fail on its international competitiveness. The price of electricity, an indispensable input in any business, could determine whether the country tanks or prospers.

Which brings us to the sorry state of South Australia, where the consequences of a strange and contradictory energy policy have recently become apparent.

Two years ago, Jay Weatherill announced the government would increase its renewable energy target to 50 per cent by 2025. This would ­“create jobs and drive capital ­investment and advanced manufacturing industries”, the Premier promised.

The success of this policy, like virtually every other plan to boost South Australia’s mendicant economy, would naturally rely on a substantial subsidy from the commonwealth, in this case the renewable energy target scheme that was then under review.

Well, the RET stayed in place, with some adjustments, but the thousands of jobs Weatherill promised failed to materialise. Unemployment runs at 7 per cent, well above the national average.

Not only that, but some of South Australia’s largest employers, including BHP Billiton, Arrium and Nyrstar, are warning of shutdowns after the closure of the coal-fired Port Augusta power stations this year created instability in supply. Will the state government take responsibility for its over-investment in fitful wind generators? Not a bit of it.

This, once again, is the commonwealth’s fault, “another example of the failure of the so-called national energy market”, claims Treasurer Tom Koutsantonis, who is counting on brown-tinged power from less enlightened states to keep the South Australian economy turning.

Labor’s mirage of green jobs and prosperity is one of the cruellest hoaxes perpetrated on an Australian electorate since settlement. It was the excuse used in December for Weatherill and his bloated entourage to run up a $13,000 bill at the W Paris-Opera hotel while attending the COP 21 Climate Change Conference.

If South Australia’s transformation to a windmill-powered economy were working, why would we need to prop up an inefficient steel plant in Whyalla? If the cost of renewable generation acts as a de facto carbon tax, forcing energy guzzlers such as Arrium to shut up shop, shouldn’t the state government be celebrating a job well done instead of pleading for another subsidy?

The Weatherill government is not alone in struggling with the contradictions of a decarbonising economy. The poor, we are told, suffer most from climate change and so have most to gain from mitigation. Yet in practice the redistributive effect works the other way; mitigation punishes the poor while the wealthy jump on board the gravy train of subsidies and sinecures.

In Britain, where electricity ­prices have doubled in the past 10 years, the number of “fuel poor” households has risen to 2.3 million, according to the government’s Fuel Poverty Advisory Group. ­Bureaucrats and politicians talk earnestly of “closing the fuel poverty gap”, but the two most obvious solutions, cheaper energy and higher pay supported by productivity, are overlooked in favour of welfare. At last count, the winter fuel payment, cold weather payment and warm homes discount schemes cost the Exchequer about £2.6 billion ($4.5bn) a year.

A decade after Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth made global warming cool, it is time to take stock of the consequences. A return to industry intervention driven by moral panic has exacted a high price on European economies and, to a lesser extent, Australia. In response to the exhortations of sainted experts such as Britain’s Nicholas Stern, governments reversed the trend towards lighter regulation and the privatisation of utilities to impose a degree of central planning unheralded since World War II. We have witnessed the return of targets and plans, buttressed by an illiberal disdain for real people who are regarded as wasteful energy consumers whose behaviour needs correcting.

Re-engineering the energy base of the entire global economy was an audacious ambition; technocrats underestimated the size of the task and over-estimated the potency of government, as technocrats are prone to do.

In South Australia the tragedy is being enacted in miniature. The government boasts of fantasy jobs and a fantasy green-tech future while pleading with the owners of the Pelican Point power station to take their gas-fired turbines out of mothballs. And the technocratic pixies who created this mess blame everyone but themselves.

Nick Cater is executive director of the Menzies Research Centre.

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The positive effects of CO2 – there is no crisis

The positive effects of CO2 – there is no crisis  By Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat  website, 23 June 2016

Dr. Patrick Moore sent me this last week, and after reading it, I agree with him in his initial note to me that

This is probably the most important paper I will ever write.

Moore looks at the historical record of CO2 in our atmosphere and concludes that we came dangerously close to losing plant life on Earth about 18,000 years ago, when CO2 levels approached 150 ppm, below which plant life can’t sustain photosynthesis. He notes:

A 140 million year decline in CO2 to levels that came close to threatening the survival of life on Earth can hardly be described as “the balance of nature”.

Now, with 400ppm in the atmosphere, the biosphere is once again booming (see figure 8 below). He also points out how environmental groups and politicians are using the “crisis” of CO2 increase to feather their own nests:

A powerful convergence of interests among key elites supports and drives the climate catastrophe narrative. Environmentalists spread fear and raise donations; politicians appear to be saving the Earth from doom; the media has a field day with sensation and conflict; scientists and science institutions raise billions in public grants, create whole new institutions, and engage in a feeding frenzy of scary scenarios; businesses want to look green and receive huge public subsidies for projects that would otherwise be economic losers, such as large wind farms and solar arrays. Even the Pope of the Catholic Church has weighed in with a religious angle. Lost in all these machinations is the indisputable fact that the most important thing about CO2 is that it is essential for all life on Earth and that before humans began to burn fossil fuels, the atmospheric concentration of CO2 was heading in a very dangerous direction for a very long time. Surely, the most “dangerous” change in climate in the short term would be to one that would not support sufficient food production to feed our own population

A link to the full report follows. I highly recommend it as a sensible and practical take on the issue. – Anthony Watts

Executive Summary

This study looks at the positive environmental effects of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, a topic which has been well established in the scientific literature but which is far too often ignored in the current discussions about climate change policy. All life is carbon based and the primary source of this carbon is the CO2 in the global atmosphere. As recently as 18,000 years ago, at the height of the most recent major glaciation, CO2 dipped to its lowest level in recorded history at 180 ppm, low enough to stunt plant growth.

This is only 30 ppm above a level that would result in the death of plants due to CO2 starvation. It is calculated that if the decline in CO2 levels were to continue at the same rate as it has over the past 140 million years, life on Earth would begin to die as soon as two million years from now and would slowly perish almost entirely as carbon continued to be lost to the deep ocean sediments. The combustion of fossil fuels for energy to power human civilization has reversed the downward trend in CO2 and promises to bring it back to levels that are likely to foster a considerable increase in the growth rate and biomass of plants, including food crops and trees. Human emissions of CO2 have restored a balance to the global carbon cycle, thereby ensuring the long-term continuation of life on Earth.

Introduction

This extremely positive aspect of human CO2 emissions must be weighed against the unproven hypothesis that human CO2 emissions will cause a catastrophic warming of the climate in coming years. The one-sided political treatment of CO2 as a pollutant that should be radically reduced must be corrected in light of the indisputable scientific evidence that it is essential to life on Earth.

There is a widespread belief that CO2 emissions from the burning of fossil fuels for energy are a threat to the Earth’s climate and that the majority of species, including the human species, will suffer greatly unless these emissions are drastically curtailed or even eliminated.

  1. This paper offers a radically different perspective based on the geological history of CO2. CO2 is one of the most essential nutrients for life on Earth. It has been approaching dangerously low levels during recent periods of major glaciation in the Pleistocene Ice Age, and human emissions of CO2 may stave off the eventual starvation and death of most life on the planet due to a lack of CO2.
  2. This is not primarily a discussion of the possible connection between CO2 and global warming or climate change, although some mention must be made of it. There has been a great deal of discussion on the subject, and it is hotly contested in both scientific and political spheres.

There is no question that the climate has warmed during the past 300 years since the peak of the Little Ice Age. There is also no question that CO2 is a greenhouse gas and all else being equal, the emissions would result in some warming if CO2 rose to higher levels in the atmosphere. Yet, there is no definitive scientific proof that CO2 is a major factor in influencing climate in the real world. The Earth’s climate is a chaotic, non-linear, multi-variant system with many unpredictable feedbacks, both positive and negative. Primarily, this is a discussion about the role of atmospheric CO2 in the maintenance of life on Earth and the positive role of human civilization in preventing CO2 from trending downward to levels that threaten the very existence of life.

End Points

We should ask those who predict catastrophic climate change, including the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, some pressing questions regarding the outcome if humans had not intervened in the carbon cycle.

  • What evidence or argument is there that the global climate would not revert to another glacial period in keeping with the Milankovitch cycles as it has done repeatedly during at least the past 800,000 years?
  • What evidence is there that we are not already past the maximum global temperature during this Holocene interglacial period? • How can we be certain that in the absence of human emissions the next cooling period would not be more severe than the recent Little Ice Age?
  • Given that the optimum CO2 level for plant growth is above 1,000 ppm and that CO2 has been above that level for most of the history of life, what sense does it make to call for a reduction in the level of CO2 in the absence of evidence of catastrophic climate change?
  • Is there any plausible scenario, in the absence of human emissions, that would end the gradual depletion of CO2 in the atmosphere until it reaches the starvation level for plants, hence for life on earth?

These and many other questions about CO2, climate and plant growth require our serious consideration if we are to avoid making some very costly mistakes.

LINK TO FULL REPORT: THE POSITIVE IMPACT OF HUMAN CO2 EMISSIONS ON THE SURVIVAL OF LIFE ON EARTH (PDF)

Moore – Positive Impact of Human CO2 Emissions

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The Reef’s Self-Serving Saviours

The Reef’s Self-Serving Saviours  By Dr Walter Starck, Quadrant Online, 19 June 2016

Editor’s note: a previous article by Dr Starck is highly informative:  http://quadrant.org.au/opinion/doomed-planet/2013/11/dredging-another-bogus-threat/

All the many and varied claims of threats are based on speculation and the flat-out fabrications of researchers, bureaucrats and activists seeking grants and donations. Let us hope that a political leader emerges to decry and defund the gold-plated alarmists and the immense harm they are doing

Virtually every year for the past half-century news reports have bannered dire proclamations by “reef experts” on imminent “threats” to the Great Barrier Reef. This has sustained an ongoing, ever-growing charade of “research” and “management” aimed at saving the reef from a litany of hypothetical threats conjured up by a salvation industry which now costs taxpayers over $100 million annually. Although none of these “threats” have ever proven to be anything other than hypothetical possibilities or  temporary fluctuations of nature, the doomsters never cease to rummage through their litany of concerns to find something they can present as urgent in order to keep the funding flowing.

For a time in the 1970s and ’80s genuine basic research was beginning to reveal a fascinating range of new understanding about the reef. Sadly, this all too brief golden age of discovery faded away when researchers found that the surest path to funding was to go with the flow and float their careers on the rising tide of environmentalism.  We now have a whole generation of researchers whose entire involvement has been in the context of investigating various environmental concerns. Understandably, they perceive and/or present every fluctuation of nature as evidence of some threat.

In this process the open, sceptical, inquiring approach of science has been displaced by what has become the environmental facet of political correctness.  Like the latter, it is weak on evidence and brooks no questioning of its doctrine, the penalty for any such heresy being personal denigration, the rejection of research funding, and the rejection of papers by peer-reviewed journals. At its most sinister, even dismissal from employment.

However, and despite all the pretence of scientific authority and consensus, there has been an growing divergence between the orthodoxy and the reality. This stress has recently ruptured into a serious fracture of the salvationist monolith. A recent article, “Great Barrier Reef: scientists ‘exaggerated’ coral bleaching“, in The Australian reports the chairman of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority (GBRMPA), Russell Reichelt, as stating that the extent of the recent coral bleaching event has been greatly exaggerated.  This admission is particularly significant for two reasons: it specifically contradicts claims by researchers, and it comes from the GBRMPA, which until now has itself taken a lead in proclaiming the scientific authority of the many and purported threats to the reef.

Additional support for the accusation of serious exaggeration about threats to the reef has also come from the reef tourism industry, which is gravely concerned about the negative impact of such publicity on their businesses. As the dive-boat captains and tour operators know from their own direct and daily experience, the reef remains healthy and vibrant. It is not dying.

Meanwhile, the doomsters persist in upping the ante to a level of absurdity, now claiming $16 billion is needed from government over the next decade to save the reef.

The reef itself is out there, over the horizon and beneath the sea, where the truth and evidence of its ongoing good health is safely inaccessible. Any alleged and imminent catastrophe can be claimed, with little risk of those claims being revealed as untrue. Indeed, given the media’s inclination to take dictation rather than seek and publish facts, such assertions are seldom even questioned.  In the absence of evidence, an easy-to-claim “authority” alone prevails.  “Experts” flourish where knowledge struggles and trust is safe from test. Even so, truth has a way of accumulating over time until even the best crafted untruths cannot be maintained.

Recently, there has been a flurry of doomster propaganda capitalising on an extensive coral bleaching event. The thrust of the impression being presented is that most of the corals on the GBR have been killed, that climate change is the cause, and making billions of dollars available to the reef salvation industry is urgently necessary.

The actual situation is far less dramatic. Bleaching events occur when wave-driven mixing ceases during periods of extended calm associated with strong El Niño conditions.  This results in the one- to two-metre surface of the ocean becoming several degrees warmer than the water immediately below. This extra-warm layer moves up and down several meters with the tide and may extend deeper in channels or around the edges of reefs where it flows off shallow reef tops on a falling tide.  Corals subjected to excessive warmth and rapid temperature fluctuations expel the symbiotic algae which live in their tissues and their white limestone skeletons show through their now-colourless polyps. Such bleaching mainly affects the shallow tops of reefs where it is also very conspicuous. Coral at greater depths remain healthy.

The GBR consists of over 2500 named reefs and many more smaller, unnamed coral patches. The high percentages claimed to be affected by bleaching refer to a sample of reefs where some bleaching was seen, not to the total area of coral which has been affected. The reef is vast and bleaching surveys have naturally concentrated on the regions where it is occurring. How much of the total coral area of the GBR has bleached has not been assessed. A reasonable estimate would likely be closer to 10-20% than to the 90+% being claimed in news reports. Most of the affected corals can be expected to survive and promptly recover, just as they have in other bleaching events.

Some portion of bleached corals will indeed die, and high levels of recovery may require a decade or more. However, mortality from this cause is natural and not dissimilar to the effect of naturally occurring fires in  forests. On the GBR, damage to reefs from severe tropical cyclones is in fact much more intense, extensive and frequent than the effects of bleaching. Historical records and proxy studies clearly indicate that both El Niño events and tropical cyclones have been common for many centuries and that neither their frequency nor intensity has increased.  In fact, the frequency and intensity of storms in the past century appear to have been well below the preceding one, and there is clear evidence of far more severe impacts in earlier centuries.

It is also important to be aware that extensive coral mortality on shallow reef tops can result from heavy rain during an exceptionally low tide when corals can be exposed to the air for several hours.  These so-called “minus tides” can be accurately predicted; typically, they occur several times in most years. It is not at all improbable that this entirely natural factor might also be involved in the mortality being attributed to the recent bleaching.

Whatever the cause, though, any apparent damage is never wasted by those who understand the academic funding process better than than they are prepared to admit grasping the truth about the reef, its corals and eco systems. For otherwise un-notable academics, it is a welcome opportunity to appear important, to bask in the spotlight and attract public attention, to hype the “save the reef” industry and squeeze further funding from politicians under pressure to be seen as doing something, no matter how pointless and expensive. Next year — and you can bet the house on this — the current “threat” will be forgotten in favour of a fresh one.

The repeated claim of a 50% decline in coral cover is based on a recent study which was preceded by an earlier one using the same data from the same research institution only two years before. The first one concluded that no statistically significant change in coral cover had occurred over the previous 25 years. The 50% decline was then declared after including surveys of the damage inflicted by two Category 5 cyclones in the subsequent two years, along with liberal application of some dubious statistical jiggery pokery. Contrary to the claims of this second study, the frequency of such storms is not increasing and reefs do recover surprisingly quickly.  A 20% increase in coral cover in the cyclone damaged areas has already been found.

The newer study was published in a high level peer-reviewed journal which requires that any conflicting evidence be addressed. Although the earlier study was briefly cited in passing, no acknowledgment was made of its directly contradictory conclusion. By not mentioning any conflicting evidence in a journal which specifically requires this, the false impression was presented that there is none. It is also worth noting that the lead author of the first study was a co-author of the later one. How then to explain the conflicted findings? At minimum, some might see scientific misconduct at work, perhaps even outright fraud.

Crown-of-Thorns starfish infestations devouring corals are another superannuated “threat” currently being recycled.  In the past it was first blamed on shell collecting, then on fishing when the charge against collectors lost all credibility.  More recently, the blame shifted to declining water quality due to fertiliser runoff from farming. The reality is that erratic population booms are inherent to the reproductive strategy of starfish and are well known for various species all over the world.  Crown-of-Thorns outbreaks commonly occur on isolated oceanic reefs, as well as on coastal reefs in desert regions where agricultural runoff cannot be a factor. Extensive sampling of the frequency of the distinctive spines of the CoT starfish in reef sediments indicate large and erratic fluctuations for at least the past 8000 years.  On the GBR no credible correlation has been demonstrated between CoT outbreaks and runoff events. In Western Australia the same kind of CoT outbreaks occur despite there being no runoff from agriculture.

Corals on the GBR are frequently subject to extensive natural mortality from storms, floods and bleaching events. There is no evidence of any recent increase in the frequency or intensity of such events. In the subsequent recovery process the fast growing branching and plate-like coral forms tend to overgrow the slower growing, more massive species. The preference of CoT for these faster growing forms may well be important in the maintenance of coral diversity.

The effect of runoff on GBR water quality has also been grossly exaggerated. Significant runoff in the GBR catchment is limited to occasional brief flood events. These affect only relatively restricted inshore areas well removed from the main body of the reef, which is much further offshore. The nutrient flux on the outer reefs is dominated by naturally occurring internal waves which are much more frequent and orders of magnitude greater in effect than anything coming from the land. Contrary to the highly misleading claims of the reef’s self-proclaimed and self-promoting saviours, there is no evidence of decreasing water quality on the GBR. If anything, the quality of runoff has almost certainly improved over recent decades from advances in land-management practices. In particular this has included a substantial reduction in fertiliser and pesticide usage. There is simply no evidence for any decline in water quality on the reef, and agrichemical usage in the catchment area has declined in recent decades.  In short, no evidence exists for anything other than natural perturbations in the condition of the GBR.

A further repeated and grossly misleading claim by the reef salvation industry involves the value of reef tourism.  They often cite a varying figure in the billions of dollars which, if not entirely fabricated, can only be the total value for all tourism in the region.  This ignores the fact that only about half of visitors actually visit the reef at all and, for the majority of those who do, it is a one-time day trip. A 2013 report by Deloitte Access Economics entitled Economic Contribution of the Great Barrier Reef estimated the value of reef-related tourism in 2012 was $481.4 million — a mere 7.5% of the total value for tourism. Attributing the entire value for tourism to the reef is no more honest than attributing it to the rainforests, beaches, restaurants, backpacking or any other activity that attracts tourist dollars. To do this repeatedly is pathetically ignorant, grossly dishonest or both.

Still another, repeatedly presented misrepresentation is that of increasing warming of reef waters. While there does seem to be a slight warming trend of about three-quarters of a °C over the past century in the global average temperature, the records on which this is based are highly variable and erratic with a margin of error which is greater than the claimed warming.  Where good records are available some places show warming and others cooling.  The available sea surface temperature data from the GBR shows no statistically significant trend over the past three decades.

The reef is fine. Reef tourism operators know this from direct daily experience and have belatedly started to object to the doomster propaganda. All of the claims of threats to the GBR are based entirely on hypothetical speculations or outright fabrications by researchers, bureaucrats and activists seeking grants, budgets and donations. To its credit, as noted above, even the GBRMPA has recently found the untruths and exaggerations too much to endorse. Government needs to recognise that where genuine understanding is limited, committed belief in the prevailing misunderstanding does not constitute genuine expertise, nor can truth be conjured by modelling ignorance with a computer.

Coral reefs are highly diverse dynamic environments frequently subject to large natural perturbations.  Environmentalism primes us to believe in a “fragile balance of nature”, with any significant fluctuation as evidence of some unnatural “impact” caused by humans. Researchers soon discovered that investigation of environmental threats assured generous funding and the result is now  a whole generation of researchers whose entire training and experience of the reef has been in the context of  investigating such threats. They see every fluctuation as a threat and while they proclaim deep concern for the reef, their true commitment is more to the threats. This becomes apparent if any suggestion is made that a purported threat may not be as great as they claim to fear.  The reaction is never hopeful interest. Always, it is angry rejection.

Regardless of whether the reef salvation industry is based on sincere self-delusion or more base motives, it is out of touch with the reality of both the reef and the economic circumstances we face. It has become an extravagant farce. It has never effectively addressed any threat and is something we can no longer afford. It is past time for this to begin to be recognised as such, most particularly

The claim that $16 billion is needed to save the reef is utter nonsense. That vast sum cannot prevent climate change, nor can it stop storms, floods or El Niño events. It cannot prevent starfish outbreaks or bleaching. All it can achieve is to keep the reef saviours on a permanent Barrier Reef holiday and drive more of our struggling primary producers out of production with ever more restrictions, demands and costs.

This is beyond stupid. It is obscene.  Australia is indeed the lucky country — but luck, by definition, is never a permanent condition and the current circumstances of the economy are unprecedented and serious, with prospects for the future even more so. Although having one of the world’s highest levels of per capita GDP, Australia also ranks among the highest of developed nations in personal debt, interest rates, and taxation, as well as costs for housing, power, food, education and health care.  At the same time most manufacturing has been driven offshore and is now at the lowest portion of GDP in developed economies.

In an economy increasingly dependent on primary production the number of small independent producers has also declined by two-thirds or more over recent decades.  This is true across the spectrum from small miners to farmers, graziers, loggers and fishermen. Although various factors have played a role in this change, ever increasing environmental restrictions, demands and costs have been key elements. Unfortunately, these smaller independent operators were the flexible, low-overhead producers who could weather the vicissitudes of nature and markets to thrive in better times. The result has been an ever increasing dominance of foreign owned multinational companies across primary production as well as soaring food prices for domestic consumers.

Australia is now caught up in a perfect storm of weak commodity prices, a high dependence on imports and overseas borrowing, plus an economic base that is increasingly foreign owned. Although the behaviour of complex dynamic systems, such as the national economy or the GBR, is inherently impossible to predict with certainty, the best available evidence indicates that the condition of the economy is far more threatened than is the reef. The “threats” to the reef exist only in the realm of hypothetical possibilities imagined by armchair “experts” claiming authority and unsupported by any firm evidence.  The demand for government to spend billions of dollars to “save” the reef is simply obscene when the effective real outcome can only be to load more demands and restrictions on vital productive activity already struggling to remain viable.

A further exposure of the rot in reef science appeared only a few days ago in The Australian (June 11)  entitled “Reef whistleblower censured by James Cook University” reports that Professor Peter Ridd, a very experienced and highly regarded senior professor at James Cook University, was threatened with a charge of serious misconduct for questioning the scientific integrity of some blatantly alarmist claims about the GBR. In academic speak “serious misconduct” is code for the sack. If a highly regarded senior professor is so treated take it as a given that the 90+% of academics who are more junior in status will take note to avoid any appearance of dissent. It appears that, as far as the administration at JCU is concerned, maintenance of a comfortable place at the public trough must override any considerations of academic freedom or scientific integrity. It would seem the official definition of “serious misconduct” is more concerned with exposing it than with its commission.

To add a further layer of absurdity to the farce, the upcoming election is seeing politicians of all parties vie with one another to shuffle and re-label sundry budget items and issues in order to inflate public perception of their “commitment” to saving the reef.  As if a solar farm in Western Australia or banning a coalmine in outback Queensland represents meaningful efforts to save the reef!

Reader responses to alarmist hype in the mainstream news media clearly indicate a large and growing majority of the electorate is unsympathetic to the ongoing eco farce. When a political leader finally emerges who is willing to confront it, that person is likely to find a tsunami of support. We can only hope that day is coming soon.

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Links to previous articles

 

Posted in Environmental battles | 1 Comment

Economic Poker

Key parts of the world’s financial affairs have been hi-jacked by self-serving financial organisations, bureaucracies, country leaders and individuals.   The outlook is dire.

Central banks hell-bent on a currency debauch Lenin would love

Central banks hell-bent on a currency debauch Lenin would love  By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 22 July 2016

If you’re wanting a barbecue stopper, central banks don’t normally come to mind. Most of us know of our Reserve Bank only because it sets interest rates that bear on our monthly mortgage payments.

Today, with rates so low, even that raises little comment. But if you say that thanks to the co-ordinated actions of the world’s central banks we’re heading for an economic and financial disaster, probably worse than the last, that could burn a sausage or two.

Incredibly, for the third time in 15 years, we’re back in a financial bubble searching for a pin. Once again the world’s elected representatives, fooled into believing this time it’s different, abdicate their responsibility to unelected, unaccountable central bankers, even as they grapple with the mess those bankers created eight years ago. Go figure.

Ben Hunt, author of the Epsilon Theory newsletter, talks about the faith politicians, investors and businesses have in the power of central banks to create value. Hunt says “as long as enough of us believe this narrative, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy”. These narratives, he says, are maintained by repeating expressions of common knowledge like “everyone knows that low interest rates spur the economy”.

But with interest rates in the major economies zero or negative, belief is wearing thin. Even the central banks’ bank, the Bank for International Settlements, recognises this. It identifies “growing clouds of doubt around the continued efficacy of central bank action”. It worries about the way financial markets depend on central bank policy and how public confidence, if shaken, will have serious economic consequences.

In its report The Future will Soon Be Today, the BIS warns “We badly need policies that we will not once again regret when the future becomes today. What used to be considered ‘unthinkable risks’ are becoming the ‘new normal’ with clear risks to future stability.”

David Folkerts-Landau, chief economist of Deutsche Bank, agrees. He says the European Central Bank “has lost credibility within markets and more worryingly among the public”. He refers to the “litany of distortions, perversions and disincentives which grow by the day” and describes Europe as “seriously ill”. This despite the ECB injecting €1 trillion into the economy across the past 12 months.

Of course, central bankers know their reputations are on the line, so they dismiss the clear link between financial speculation and economic harm, and persist with ever more extreme policies. They care little that this leaves behind the majority of us who are unable or unwilling to gamble on asset prices. For them, we are collateral damage.

Try telling that to the millions of victims of the global financial crisis who have never recovered. As Hunt says, “Central banks have failed to protect incomes and have pushed income and wealth inequality past a political breaking point.” But the focus of central bankers is on inflating asset prices, not social cohesion and equity. That’s for governments.

Even so, politicians share responsibility for today’s distorted economy, having recklessly spent tomorrow’s productive capital on consumption. Global indebtedness stands at more than $US200 trillion ($267 trillion), about three times world product, having increased $US57 trillion since 2008.

Yet for all that debt and quantitative easing, in the first quarter of this year the US grew at just 0.5 per cent, down from 1.4 per cent in the previous period. Job openings in May plunged 345,000, the second steepest decline since 2008, and new hirings are down 474,000 compared with three months ago.

In the eurozone, unemployment stands at 10.1 per cent. In December 2007 it was 7.3 per cent. Forecast gross domestic product for this year is a downwardly adjusted tepid 1.6 per cent.

What’s that about low interest rates spurring the economy? Well, despite the evidence, one of the world’s last holdouts, the Reserve Bank of Australia, is reported to be considering joining the quantitative easing groupthink.

Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises was one of the few to predict the 1930s Depression. In The Trade Cycle and Credit Expansion: The Economic Consequences of Cheap Money, he wrote, “The depression is the necessary process of readjusting the structure of business activities to the real state of the market data … The depression is the first step on the return to normal conditions, the beginning of recovery and the foundation of real prosperity based on solid production of goods and not on the sands of credit expansion … If one does not terminate the expansionist policy in time by a return to balanced budgets, by abstaining from government borrowing and, by letting the market determine the height of interest rates, one chooses the German way of 1923.”

Vladimir Lenin advocated: “The best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency.” True or not, we seem hell-bent on finding out. What ostensibly started as a one-off fin­ancial market rescue has morphed into cover for achieving unsustainable leftist ideals. We have reached the point where there is no painless reversal.

Meanwhile, as markets lurch from crisis to crisis and central banks and governments expose us to ever more “unthinkable risks”, we insist on believing the central bank narrative that makes bad news good news until bad news is all we know.

The BIS has rung the alarms. We are warned that the world’s most reckless monetary experiment, which has taken interest rates to the lowest in recorded history, is failing. Central bankers remain silent, not knowing how or when to end what they began, while the political class simply looks on, impotent and mired in its own economic mistakes.

This leaves only the market’s invisible and heavy hand to make the required adjustments. What follows will be indiscriminate, unpredictable, socially far-reaching and, politically ugly. If that doesn’t stop the barbecue, nothing will.

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Financial collapse, the trigger is inconsequential

Financial collapse, the trigger is inconsequential  By Jim Quinn, Zerohedge, 7 July 2016

 Just over a week ago the world was coming unglued, as enough British citizens grew a pair and spit in the face of the EU establishment and global elite by voting to exit the EU. The fear mongering by central bankers and their puppet political hacks failed to deter people who have become sick and tired of being abused and pillaged by bureaucrats working on behalf of bankers and billionaires.

Stock markets around the world plummeted on Thursday and Friday. The world braced for another Black Monday. The phone lines were buzzing between central bankers around the world over the weekend as their banker constituents demanded relief. If one thing has been proven over the last seven years, its a coordinated effort between central bankers and Wall Street banks to rig the stock market higher can work over a short time period.

The titans of finance were able to once again confound short-sellers and the prophets of doom with a 5% surge from the Friday lows over the next week. It was surely a coincidence the Fed declared all Wall Street banks, safe, sound, and capable of buying back their stocks to the tune of billions early in the week.

These insolvent zombies were now free to borrow billions to buy back their overvalued stocks, destroying shareholder value, while boosting executive compensation. Poor Jamie Dimon is struggling to get by on his $27 million per year. The Wall Street banks obliged by immediately announcing multi-billion dollar buyback schemes to capitalize on the short-term trading mentality of the 30 year old MBA trading geniuses who bought the news without worrying about the actual value of the stocks they were buying.

The stock prices of the biggest banks in the world rose in unison, as the lemming traders use the same HFT programs and the same illogical thought process. By the end of the week Brexit meant nothing as far as the markets were concerned. And they are probably right. Brexit was just the latest distraction to keep the masses focused on the wrong things, as the scoundrels continue to pillage the wealth of the people.

The largest banks in the world have experienced large declines over the last year, before Brexit ever entered the lexicon. Even after the central banker induced bounce last week, the price action of the largest banks in the world over the last year reflect an impending financial crisis. The truth is the Fed’s report on the health of banks is nothing but propaganda to keep the masses sedated. Without the suspension of mark to market rules in March 2009, every major bank in the world would have been liquidated in bankruptcy. Anyone who thinks these banks are healthy is either brain dead or dependent upon the establishment for their sustenance.

The EU economic situation still reflects depression conditions across most of the continent.Europe is drowning in bad debt as their largest banks (Deutsche Bank, Barclays, BNP, all Italian banks) are effectively insolvent and are propped up by the EU central bank. Greece was never fixed. Nothing has been fixed. The little people continue to suffer, while the Brussels bureaucrats fiddle and delay the inevitable implosion by replacing old bad debt with new bad debt. The idiocy of allowing millions of refugees to flood the continent when their socialist paradise is already bankrupt, is beyond comprehension for rational thinking people.

 Brexit was nothing more than a reaction to the political corruption of the establishment and the economic policies (bank bailouts, ZIRP, QE, NIRP) jammed down the people’s throats by the rich to benefit the rich. The middle and lower classes around the world have been screwed over by the bankers and their captured politicians. The anti-establishment sentiment is spreading like wildfire and is likely to set off a firestorm which will eventually burn down the palaces of the ruling elite. But, in the meantime, these greedy myopic sociopathic bastards will use every means necessary to retain their power, control of the system and their immense riches.

The stock market is their sole gauge of success or failure. The Federal Reserve and their central banker brethren in Japan, China and Europe know they are running nothing but a confidence game based upon their ability to keep their debt based ponzi scheme running for a little while longer. Their fear is palpable. They’ve tried every monetary trick in their briefcases. They have failed to revive the real economy, but that was a secondary goal. Their job was to revive the wealth of their banker owners and the billionaire class who run the show. Keeping the stock market elevated has become their one and only goal.

Confidence in clueless academics like Yellen is dwindling. Anger is building among the hoi polloi.They are sick of getting pissed on, while the politicians and bankers tell them its just rain. Brexit was another crack in the ice. I was not surprised by the stock market recovery. When Bear Stearns collapsed in March 2008 the market sold off, but quickly recovered all its losses. Six months later the world blew sky high. Jim Cramer and his slimy ilk were bullish the whole way down.

Brexit is just a symptom of the disease eating away at the fabric of our global economy.Lehman’s collapse was not the cause of the 2008 worldwide financial crisis. It was just the excuse for something that was going to happen no matter what. Bad debt, bad bankers, bad regulators, bad politicians, media cheer leading, and a willfully ignorant populace were a toxic combination – and it’s worse today.

The always thoughtful and honest John Hussman points out the coming stock market crash will have nothing to do with Brexit or any other excuse used by the mainstream media to obscure the truth. It’s the extreme valuations that will result in the stock market falling.

First things first. While the full attention of financial market participants is focused on “Brexit” – last week’s British referendum to exit the European Union – the singular factor to recognize here is that the vulnerability of the financial markets to steep losses has very little to do with Brexit per se. Rather, years of yield-seeking speculation, encouraged by central banks, had already brought the financial markets to a precipice prior to last week’s vote. It’s not entirely clear whether Brexit is a sufficient catalyst to burst the bubble, as we recall that the failure of Bear Stearns in early-2008 was followed by a period of calm before the crisis was sealed by Lehman’s failure, and numerous dot-com stocks had already been obliterated by September 2000, when the tech bubble began its collapse in earnest. We’ll take the evidence as it comes, but we’re certainly defensive at present, for reasons that have little to do with Brexit at all.

The Brexit “recovery” was touted by the CNBC apparatchiks as proof all is well. They dare not point out a 10 year investment in Treasuries will net you a 1.35% yield (the lowest in history) and almost guaranteed capital losses. They certainly won’t pontificate on stocks being priced to deliver negative real returns over the next 10 years. You won’t hear any warnings about home prices now exceeding the 2005 peaks in most major markets, just prior to a 30% collapse. Commercial real estate is also at bubble levels. Every asset class is overvalued. There is no place to hide and the average Joe is unwittingly unaware of the danger looming just over the horizon. Hussman explains the peril awaiting the unprepared.

The high-level churning in global financial markets since late-2014 represents what we view as the top formation of the third speculative bubble in 16 years. For the U.S. market, valuation measures most reliably correlated with actual subsequent market returns pushed to the third most offensive extreme in history at the May 2015 market high, eclipsed only by the 2000 and 1929 peaks (see Choose Your Weapon for a ranking of various measures, and the chart series in Imagine for a current perspective). Because this speculative episode has infected nearly every asset class, rather than favoring tech stocks or mortgage securities as in previous bubbles, the median price/revenue ratio across individual U.S. stocks actually pushed to the most extreme level on record in recent weeks, before promptly retreating on Friday.

Brexit doesn’t matter. Japan’s deflationary depression doesn’t matter. The fraudulent US jobs recovery and falsified inflation figures don’t matter. The Chinese real estate collapse doesn’t matter. Low oil prices destroying the economies of Middle East countries, Russia, Venezuela, and Brazil don’t matter. Double digit unemployment and civil chaos across Europe don’t matter. Speeches by Yellen, Draghi, and Kuroda attempting to prop up markets don’t matter. Mainstream corporate media propaganda about economic growth doesn’t matter.

The latent risk is already in place. Total global debt is now $70 trillion higher than it was in 2007, a 50% increase. Real median household income is lower than it was in 2007, while rent, food, healthcare, and taxes have risen dramatically. QE, ZIRP, and a myriad of other Keynesian “solutions” have failed miserably, while piling unpayable debt on top of unpayable debt. With corporate profits plunging, all economic indicators flashing red, consumers tapped out, confidence in leaders waning, and stock valuations at extreme levels, the plunge through thin ice is inevitable. The trigger is inconsequential, as Hussman points out.

“Imagine the error of skating on thin ice and plunging through. While we might examine the hole in the ice in hindsight, and find some particular fracture that contributed to the collapse, this is much like looking for the particular pebble of sand that triggers an avalanche, or the specific vibration that triggers an earthquake. In each case, the collapse actually reflects the expression of sub-surface conditions that were already in place long before the collapse – the realization of previously latent risks.

Finding the specific trigger that causes the skaters to plunge through the ice isn’t particularly informative. The fact is that catastrophe is inevitable the moment the skaters ignore the latent risk, or rely on faulty evidence to conclude that the ice is stable. The fracture in some particular span of ice is just one of numerous other spots that might have otherwise given way if the skaters had chosen a different course. Hitting that spot creates the specific occasion for the underlying risk to be expressed, but an unfortunate outcome was already inevitable much earlier.”

The dead EU bounce produced by central bank coordination, Wall Street buyback announcements, and hedge fund HFT machines buying the most shorted stocks, appears to have run its course. These rigged markets do not reflect fundamentals or valuations. They are controlled by traders and central bankers. Their movements are based on technical criteria programmed into Wall Street supercomputers by Ivy League MBAs. Their lemming like behavior works well on the way up, but not so good on the way down.

Deteriorating fundamentals, a two year topping distribution, and declining liquidity has set the stage for a market plunge. As Hussman points out, in a technical market where all players are following the exact same playbook, when certain levels are breached the bottom will fall out of this market and no one will step in to buy. It’s a long way down to fair value – at least 50%.

But for investors, the main objects of focus should be the condition of valuations and market action, particularly the status of market internals, and the position of the major indices relative to various trigger points that might result in concerted selling attempts by trend-followers. That’s particularly important since value-conscious investors will likely have little interest in absorbing shares at nearby prices.

The general public always underestimates the danger at market tops. Things have been going swimmingly well for those with substantial assets to gamble in the markets. As we entered 2008 the “experts” on Wall Street, in academia, and in the financial media predicted smooth sailing and 10% annual returns in perpetuity.

They called Bear Stearns a hiccup on the road to riches. The enormous mortgage control fraud being perpetrated by the largest banks in the world went unnoticed by Bernanke and his band of merry bankers. Paulson acted clueless. Bush muddled along in his moronic trance. Until the ice gave way and hundreds of millions went under and have never come back up. Brexit is a large crack in the ice. Italian banks are the next crack. Muslim refugees are a crack. Declining oil prices are a crack. There are dozens of potential triggers for the inevitable clearly foreseeable catastrophe.

As we saw with the Bernie Madoff ponzi scheme, it can go on for years with the willful disregard of regulators and co-conspirators (JP Morgan), the denial of reality by investors, and the illusion of stability provided by the ponzi masters. Once stress is applied and too many investors ask for their money at the same time, the collapse is sudden and catastrophic.

Hussman knows the EU is a ponzi scheme, their banks are insolvent, and collapse is inevitable. The EU leadership is attempting ever greater distortions to avoid the catastrophic collapse. Britain just asked for their money back. Referendums loom in other countries. They will not be the cause of the collapse. The fundamentally unsound and increasingly bankrupt system is the cause.

Think of the EU, in its current ill-structured form, as a kind of Ponzi scheme, and Britain as the guy who just asked for his money back. There are undoubtedly greater prospects for near-term disruption after last week’s vote, but the hallmark of a Ponzi scheme is the attempt to use progressively greater distortions in order to preserve a structure that is fundamentally unsound and increasingly bankrupt.

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The global monetary system is collapsing

The global monetary system is collapsing  From Sean Goldsmith, Editor-in-Chief, Stansberry Research, 3 July 2016

We have just seen the first major domino fall in the shell game of fiat currency.

Last week, Great Britain voted to leave the European Union (“EU”). And the nation’s highest officeholder – Prime Minister David Cameron – resigned.

The EU, the world’s largest economy, has failed.

Hopefully you’ve heeded our multiple calls for you to raise cash and buy gold. If so, you’ve made a fortune in the past two months. If not, we will urge you once again. It’s not too late… At least, not yet.

In one of our many writings about the coming economic collapse, we highlighted the recent moves by billionaire hedge-fund manager George Soros.

The 85-year-old came out of retirement this January to direct his firm’s investments. According to the Wall Street Journal, he was “lured” back to the helm of Soros Fund Management “by opportunities to profit from what he sees as coming economic troubles.”

Soros bought hundreds of millions of dollars’ worth of gold and made a massive short bet on the S&P 500. Think about that for a moment…

One of the world’s wealthiest investors (who is famous for his understanding of financial markets) came out of retirement at 85 to go massively long gold and massively short stocks. Perhaps he thought the coming crash would be the “Big One.”

Ironically, Soros made a name for himself when he made $1 billion shorting the pound – and “breaking the Bank of England” – in a single day in 1992. Soros borrowed $10 billion to bet against the pound, which pushed down the value of the currency.

And despite the Bank of England’s best effort, it couldn’t stop the bloodshed. It unpegged the pound from the German Deutsche mark (a fixed-currency arrangement called the European Exchange Rate Mechanism).

Soros’ fund made $7 billion in profit. He personally pocketed $1 billion.

That “Black Wednesday” experience soured a generation of the British on the idea of joining a single European currency and contributed to the current anti-EU sentiment in the country.

But Soros didn’t just predict a coming financial catastrophe. Last week, he warned once again about a plunging pound.

In a piece for the British newspaper The Guardian, Soros said if the Brexit referendum passed, “the value of the pound would decline precipitously.” The drop would be bigger and more devastating than the 15% fall that happened in the wake of 1992?s Black Wednesday.

In that piece, Soros predicted that leaving the EU would make the pound worth about one euro… meaning by leaving the EU, Britain was effectively joining the euro – via a method “that nobody in Britain would want.”

He also said a Brexit would “have an immediate and dramatic impact on financial markets, investment, prices, and jobs.”

On its worst day in September 1992, the pound fell 4.05%. Last Friday, the pound plunged as much as 13% to its lowest level in 30 years. (It finished the day down roughly 7%.)

Not only is it the pound’s largest one-day fall in history… It’s one of the largest drops for a major global currency ever.

Soros was right again. And who knows how much money he’ll make this time. But according to his prediction, the pound has far from bottomed.

But this is just the beginning. The U.K. has cleared the path for others to follow

The Brexit vote, like the popularity of Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders, shows that the masses are reaching a breaking point. And, in the case of the U.K., there’s a majority that’s so fed up with the status quo that they’re willing to risk chaos for change.

As Matthew d’Ancona wrote for The Guardian: [British voters] heard the warnings, listened to experts of every kind tell them that Brexit meant disaster, watched the prime minister as he urged them not to take a terrible risk. And their answer was: get stuffed.

France’s right-wing Front National leader Marine Le Pen (a presidential hopeful) is urging France to leave the EU. Le Pen’s Dutch equivalent, Geert Wilders, also wants a referendum so the Netherlands can split.

How do you unwind the euro? We don’t know the answer. Unfortunately, neither do the central banks. We do, however, know one thing… It will involve economic pain. And it will expose the global monetary experiment of the last decade for what it is – a dangerous sham.

Noncreditworthy people, businesses, and governments have borrowed far too much money. The chain reaction of defaults is starting.

The scary thing is nobody knows exactly how this will play out, because the world has never seen so much bad debt before. It seems the students, consumers, and countries borrowing these mind-boggling sums never stopped to consider – one day, their debts would need to be paid.

Today’s economy is being propped up by the easy-money policies of central banks, which believe they can simply paper over any problem. And somehow, magically, print growth.

But the central banks have officially lost control. And they’ll soon start flailing even more wildly… Printing money to buy every asset in sight (regardless of quality) and cutting interest rates lower into negative territory.

The Federal Reserve, Bank of Japan, and European Central Bank all issued nearly identical statements saying they were willing to provide markets with more liquidity… And they’re all working together to fight this crisis.

Central bankers are hamstrung. So they’ll do the only things they know how to do… Print money and cut rates. Perhaps it will boost the markets temporarily.

But ask yourself… How will currencies be valued when they offer no yield and are backed purely by highly leveraged and very expensive equities?

We’re about to begin the most violent stage of the ongoing currency wars. The U.K. will devalue. The euro will follow. Then Japan… and China.

European financial markets are in freefall. Several European banks are trading below their 2008 lows. They’re pricing in a huge crisis.

Financial markets are crumbling… Currencies are plunging… Investors are losing faith in paper money and central bankers’ abilities to control it. So where does this all end?

It all ends with gold. The precious metal soared 4.5% last Friday to more than $1,320 an ounce.

The financial crisis we’ve been warning you about is happening right now. The U.K. voting to leave the EU is just the first leg. We expect to see other major European nations leave the EU. After all, with the U.K. gone, that leaves Germany, France, and the few other healthy member nations shouldering more of the cost to float countries like Greece, Italy, and Spain.

Again, watch for the U.K., the EU, Japan, and China to start devaluing their currencies.

That money will flow into the dollar and gold.

The Fed will eventually start easing again. Negative interest rates are coming to the U.S.

The world’s monetary system is coming unraveled. And you have to be prepared.

Don’t be frozen by fear. You don’t have to be a victim.

Investors who buy gold and gold stocks today will see tremendous gains over the coming years. It’s the single best way to protect your finances and hedge against calamity.

Regards,

Sean Goldsmith

Crux note: We launched Stansberry Gold Investor less than three months ago to take advantage of what we believe will be the largest gold bull market in history. The results so far have been incredible. Subscribers are up 10%-plus on every single recommendation, including returns of 86%… 98%… and 107%.

If you aren’t reading Stansberry Gold Investor, you’re making the biggest mistake of your life. To learn more about a subscription, click here. (You won’t have to sit through a long video.)

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Previous Economic Poker articles

Posted in World finance: when will the bubble burst? | Comments Off on Economic Poker

Brexit: just a UK swing or part of a covert plan?

What does the 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?  From the corporate and financial industries, United Nations and New World Order tyrants that are progressively subverting democracy?

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Politicians must respect democracy, or get out

Politicians must respect democracy, or get out  By Brendan O’Neill, Spiked Online, 2 July

The fallout from last week’s EU referendum has brought one thing in particular into sharp, unforgiving relief: the immaturity of the British political class. I have never been a fan of the politicians and institutions that govern Britain, nor of the media elites and expert cliques that increasingly make up a key plank of the political realm. But even I’ve been shocked at the infantile nature of their response to Brexit. They’ve responded with fear, distress, emotionalism, statements about feeling ‘lost’, and they now run a serious risk of talking Britain into a state of crisis. We now know that we are ruled by a political class that lacks the institutional, intellectual and moral resources to deal with the uncertainty that attends major change.

Listening to politicians and the opinion-forming set, you’d be forgiven for thinking Britain was about to expire, or at least collapse into an historically unprecedented state of irrelevancy and difficulty. The political and media elites are feverishly predicting economic and social disarray, and in the process they threaten to make such things a greater possibility than they otherwise were. There’s been non-stop handwringing over the turmoil in the markets, even though it’s been fairly minor, and even though such panicked chatter could have a real impact on economic matters, primarily through making both domestic and foreign businesses even more reluctant to invest and hire in this nation apparently heading to catastrophe.

Even worse, politicos talk up the dangers of social conflict. They claim there’s been a huge rise in racism in the five days since the referendum. They are in essence scooping together relatively normal and unfortunate instances of low-level prejudice, and cynically systematising them, packaging them up as a post-referendum pogrom. It is a see-through effort to construct a moral panic. Not only is this deceptive, it is also grossly irresponsible, speaking to the irrationalism of their referendum response, since it threatens to convince certain communities they are under threat and to intensify social suspicion. Others, meanwhile, tell us that young people’s futures have been ‘destroyed’ by the referendum result, inducing alarming levels of fatalism and fear among certain constituencies of the young. A Guardian journalist went so far as to suggest that perhaps young people should ‘abandon Britain… a country that clearly hates them’.

The visceral nature of the chattering classes’ response to Brexit is captured in their numerous statements about feeling scared. They speak in the language of the threatened child rather than an in-control class. Britain is ‘in crisis and scared’, says Green MP Caroline Lucas. The headline to a piece by an EU-supporting academic said simply: ‘I’m scared.’ ‘I’m just frightened’, said a columnist for the New Statesman, the supposedly rationalist left magazine. There’s a performative element to these declarations of fear and predictions of crisis. They’re intended to demonstrate the political and media elite’s strength of feeling about the EU. They are elevating their need to advertise their heightened sensitivities, their grief for a cosmopolitan institution they loved, over the more pressing task of rationally grappling with a new reality.

These infantile expressions of personal fear find institutional expression among a political class that has gone into meltdown in response to the result. No one seems capable of taking charge, of confronting reality. Evasion and cowardice are the order of the day. David Cameron has backed off from his promise to swiftly enact the people’s decision; Labour has evaporated as a political force; other political actors agitate against the public call for a Brexit, or hope the momentum behind it will slow. The combination of fear and incapacity that now defines Britain’s political elite was captured in the disturbing, seemingly late-night language used by Labour MP David Lammy: he described the anti-EU vote as ‘madness’ and a ‘nightmare’ and said parliament should override it. Madness, nightmare… it was a stark insight into the minds of the ruling class, not only in terms of their disdain for democracy, but also their immature feeling of crisis and incapacity.

The elite’s disturbed response to the Leave victory is striking for many reasons. First, it rather shatters their claim that it is we the people who respond overemotionally to political matters. In truth, where the electorate calmly and seriously, and in huge numbers, went to polling stations and made their consciences known, it is the political class that has found it difficult, if not impossible, to approach this political reality rationally and honestly. Second, it shows how far the elite has internalised the politics of fear. Their fearmongering, their key political style today, is not some cynical exercise; rather, it speaks to their very real sense of things being out of control and their feeling that they lack the moral or institutional means to deal with things.

Thirdly, and most importantly, their response speaks to the shrivelling of the political realm. It is a consequence of that shrivelling. Having overseen the reduction of politics to technocracy, covering mostly minor matters such as reducing pollution levels or slapping warning labels on foodstuffs, the political class has lost the ability and resourcefulness to handle politics on a larger scale. And make no mistake, that is what the people did last Thursday: took a big, meaningful political decision, which will change Britain and the EU and impact on the global order itself. This will create uncertainty, of course, and be understandably disorientating for an elite wedded to the idea of Britain staying in the EU. And it is clear that our post-political political class, having abandoned politics for merely managing society, is now utterly bereft of the experience or the institutional strength required to confront the uncertainties that can be unleashed by huge political shifts. Lacking political nous, unrooted from society, inexperienced in real change, they respond to Brexit with embarrassing cries of ‘I’m scared’.

Will, they need to grow up. And fast. Of course Remainers will feel bruised by the referendum result. But enough is enough. They have a responsibility, in a democratic society, to engage with majoritarian opinion and to respect its writ (if not its content — that part is up to them). The political class in particular has a responsibility to heed and act on the will of the people. Yet what we have now is something genuinely awful: a situation where our political class, from a combination of internal disarray and anti-democratic sentiment, seems keen to oversee a slow-motion shelving of the idea of Brexit, a fudging of the momentum behind it. There’s a real possibility Brexit won’t happen, and that would be an outrage.

Brexit must happen, and it must happen now. Our political class must invoke Article 50 and set in motion the thing that a majority of the British people want: to leave the EU. More importantly, they must realise — we all must realise — that uncertainty isn’t only something that knocks us for six; it is also an opportunity. Indeed, a crisis isn’t a bad thing: it’s a moment of choice, of clarity. It comes from the Ancient Greek krinein: ‘to separate, decide, judge.’ That’s what we must do now: behave as adults, make judgements, take action. If the people’s vote has brought about a crisis, then it is one bristling with possibility, alive with ideas, packed with opportunities for reimagining the political realm and the role of the people. It’s a wonderful, dynamic moment, and it would be a crime to allow it to be reduced to a downbeat, fearful episode by a political class scared of us and scared of the future.

For us at spiked, the post-referendum moment represents a chance to remake the case for a truly radical democratic politics, which eschews both the elite’s tendency to hide behind detached cosmopolitan institutions and the right’s preference for a mean-spirited nationalism, and instead says: trust the people, engage with them, and make the case for a new era of democracy and freedom that might just sweep away the scared political pygmies that currently govern us.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked.

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Brexit, and the Social Crisis Behind It

Brexit, and the Social Crisis Behind It  By George Freidman, via Mauldin Economics, 30 June 2016

In looking at Friday’s market decline, it is clear that the investment community was surprised at the outcome of the referendum in the U.K. What is most surprising is that they were surprised. There were two competing views of the EU. One view regarded the European Union as essential to British economic well-being. The other saw the European Union as a failing institution, and saw Britain being pulled down if it remained.

The European Union has been caught in long-term stagnation. Eight years after the financial crisis it is still unable to break out of it. In addition, a large swath of Europe, especially in the south, is in depression with extremely high unemployment numbers. An argument could be made that these problems will be solved in the long run and that Britain should be part of the solution for its own sake. The counterargument is that if the problems had been soluble they would have been solved years ago.

For a financial community, there is a built-in desire for predictability. It can make money in good or bad markets and economies. It has trouble making money in uncertainty. Therefore, the financial community was inherently biased toward Britain remaining in the EU because it gave them predictability. There was a subconscious assumption that everyone had the same bias toward maintaining the status quo. This was not just the view of the global financial community. It was one shared with other elites – political, journalistic, academic and the rest.

Someone I know, who has many friends in Britain, told me that she didn’t know anyone who favored a British exit. That was true. As the graduate of an elite college she is in touch with similar people around the world. This enclosure has profound social indications to consider, but in this case it created a psychological barrier to anticipating what was coming. When everyone you know thinks an idea is rubbish, it is hard to imagine that there is a majority out there that you haven’t met that doesn’t share your views.

There was also a sense of contempt for the opponents. The leaders, like UKIP leader Nigel Farage, were odd from the elite point of view. Their rhetoric was unseemly. And their followers by and large did not come from the places in London where the elite did. Their views were not the liberal, transnational views of the supporters of the EU. They led much narrower, harder lives and did not know the world as the pro-EU people did. So they were discounted. There was an expectation that the elite, who had governed Britain for so long, were dealing with an annoyance, rather than a peaceful rising against them. Thus, in spite of the polls indicating the election would be extremely close, the “remain” supporters could not believe they would lose.

The reporters of leading British media were talking to their European and American counterparts. The politicians were doing the same. And the financial community is on the phone daily with colleagues around the world. The challenge that was posed in the U.K. referendum is present in many countries around the world, albeit in different forms. What has become universal is the dismissive attitudes of the elite to their challengers. It is difficult for the elite to take seriously that the less educated, the less sophisticated and the less successful would take control of the situation. The French Bourbons and the Russian Romanovs had similar contempt for the crowds in the streets. They dismissed their lack of understanding and inability to act – right to the moment they burst into the palaces.

The analogy should not be overdone but also should not be dismissed. The distance between what I will call the technocratic elite and the increasingly displaced lower-middle and even middle class is becoming one of the major characteristics of our time. This elite did not expect “leave” to win because it was clear to them that the EU would work itself out. They didn’t know anyone who disagreed with them – a measure of how far out of touch they had become with the real world. And above all, they were dismissive of the kind of people who led their opponents.

Not understanding their own isolation and insularity; not grasping the different world view of “leave” supporters or that they couldn’t care less if the financial institutions of the City moved to Frankfurt; not grasping the contempt in which they were held by so many, the elite believed that “leave” could not win. Hence, they were surprised in spite of the fact that others, including myself in my book “Flashpoints: The Coming Crisis in Europe,” had noted all of these trends.

In the end, the financial decline on Friday resulted from the lack of imagination of the elite. And it is that lack of imagination that led them to believe that the current situation could continue. That lack of imagination, the fact that the elite had no idea of what was happening beyond their circle of acquaintances, is a far greater crisis in the West than whether Britain is in the EU or even if the EU survives. We are living in a social divide so deep that serious people of good will and a certain class have never met anyone who wants to leave the EU or who supports blocking Muslim immigration or perhaps even who will vote for Donald Trump.

A democratic society cannot survive this divide. It occurred in the United States in the Great Depression, but was smashed by World War II when the young soldiers of all classes discovered that their lives depended on each other and social class meant nothing when the artillery opened up. The moderation of the post-war period had much to do with this experience.

Of course, World War II was unique and hardly the solution to a social problem. Nevertheless, something dramatic needs to happen. It will, as the situation becomes increasingly untenable. In the end, the palace doors may be kicked in. Hopefully, it will be done more politely and without the viciousness of the falls of the Bourbons and Romanovs.

No one had the right to believe that this couldn’t happen. No one should believe that it will be confined to Britain. No one should believe that it won’t happen again. The days when the elite could assert that the EU is going to be just fine in the face of evidence to the contrary are over.

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Let Brexit be a lesson to the elite meddlers

Let Brexit be a lesson to the elite meddlers  By Gary Johns, The Australian, 29 June 2016

Elites sold Britain down the river in so many ways: why wouldn’t Britons give them a kick in the ­bollocks?

They sold them down the river by failing to regulate banks and rating agencies before the GFC; by posing as saviours of the world’s climate using taxpayers’ money; by posing as saviours of the world’s poor using taxpayers’ money; by refusing to control borders; and, by selling out the finest system of law in the world.

Elites were happy to take the plaudits of the Europe project and the jobs that came with it, but they were wilfully blind to euro public finance corruption, timidity in the face of unfettered migration, open access to benefits and naive acceptance of illiberal mores.

Brexit was a magnificent repudiation of these betrayals.

What started in 1951 as a treaty establishing the European Coal and Steel Community grew to be the behemoth of today, well, last week, until the good old Poms stuck it up ’em.

It was astonishing how European leaders ignored national constituencies. They ignored national referendums declining new powers to Europe, instead declaring the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union 2007 and the Lisbon Treaty in 2009.

Not to mention the arrogance in accepting the 2012 Nobel Peace Prize, “based on the stabilising role the EU has played in transforming most of Europe from a continent of war to a continent of peace”.

There never was a chance that European democracies would go to war against each other. But, there is an internal war across Europe that elites ignore. Control of borders, control within borders and reclaiming English law are reasons that Brits voted exit. Not all can be laid at the foot of EU membership, but large parts can.

Burned into the minds of Brits was not the elite concern with “inequality” peddled by Labour leaders but the locals’ concern with law and order, especially the threat from Muslim radicals.

In 2004, the execrable Islamist Abu Hamza, the imam at Finsbury Park mosque, London, was detained on remand by British authorities to try to extradite him to the USon terrorism charges.

Hamza appealed to the European Court under the European Convention on Human Rights. They stayed his extradition because his treatment may have been “too harsh”.

Extradition finally took place in 2012 and he was sentenced to life in prison in the US.

This is the same convention that this year enabled a Norwegian judge to uphold mass murdering fascist Anders Breivik’s claim of being treated too harshly, because he was kept separate from other prisoners. Breivik killed eight people with a car bomb in Oslo and shot dead 69 people, mostly teenagers, at a political youth camp.

You think these instances don’t gnaw at the voters’ gut?

In 2008, Michael Nazir-Ali, then one of the Church of England’s most senior bishops, warned that Islamic extremists had created “no-go” areas across Britain where it was too dangerous for non-Muslims to enter.

Nazir-Ali wrote: “One of the results of this (multiculturalism) has been to alienate further the young from the nation in which they were growing up and also to turn already separate communities into ‘no-go’ areas where adherence to this ideology (of Islamic extremism) has become a mark of acceptability.”

In 2014, the chief inspector of the police forces in England and Wales, Sir Tom Winsor, stated that “some parts of Britain have their own form of justice” and that crimes as serious as honour ­killings, domestic violence, sexual abuse of children and female ­genital mutilations often go ­unreported.

He wrote: “There are communities from other cultures who would prefer to police themselves. There are cities in the Midlands where the police never go because they are never called. They never hear of any trouble because the community deals with that on its own.”

You think these instances also don’t gnaw at the voters’ gut? This Saturday Australians will vote with an eye to the UK result. Elites beware. Every appeal to a UN convention, think refugees; every time an international body is invited to tell Australians how naughty they have been, think Great Barrier Reef and Tasmanian forests; every time an official quotes “international law”, is an insult to one of the world’s great liberal and law-­abiding democracies: Australia.

All Green politicians are in the elite camp. Too many Labor politicians are in this camp, as are some Liberal politicians.

Politicians who refuse to secure the borders, and law and order within their borders, must exit.

garytjohns@gmail.com

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More articles concerning Brexit and implications

Posted in Brexit: a world-changing event? | Comments Off on Brexit: just a UK swing or part of a covert plan?

Cairns Port Development

Cairns Port development can be expedited

This post presents a chronology of issues and events relating to Cairns Port development. Scroll down for more background and sections 1 – 7.

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).

CP Editorial, 170516

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 Curtis Pitt opinion piece 8 May

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.”

Invest Cairns magazine 200416

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.

 An article in the Cairns Post, 7 March, noted: ‘TOP-level documents reveal plans to triple the size of HMAS Cairns as northern Australia’s key strategic naval 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.’  See http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/hmas-cairns-major-expansion-to-make-it-key-northern-defence-base/news-story/975d9b137efb74d8479f7588ef4f2a27 . Also John MacKenzie discussed the issue with former head of the Australian Army Lieutenant General John Grey: http://www.4ca.com.au/mornings/50986-will-the-feds-force-the-dredging-project-to-happen.

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:

1-CP Editorial 220116,2

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 ABC Rural article noted Dr Fanny Douvere, marine program coordinator at the World Heritage Centre and involved in the recent UNESCO decision not to list the reef as ‘in danger’, said: ‘Port expansion is not an issue if it is managed well’.  http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2015-12-24/unesco-not-worried-by-reef-ports/7052924?WT.mc_id=newsmail. This article gives the lie to many related statements from Federal and State Governments and other ‘green’ organisations.

An article was published in  the Cairns Post business section, 23 November:  ‘Benefits of dredging impossible to ignore’:

Cairns Post article, 23,12,15,

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 new channels 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’. AndThe 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 Economics submission).

 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

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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 Economics submission.
  • 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.
  • But Ports North’s draft EIS exaggerated the cost of putting spoil on land. See Submission to Coordinator General.
  • 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 modified the 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.)
  • The CoG may also decide to revise the TOR if he decides ‘there are significant changes to the project concept or design, or significant new issues emerge during the preparation of the EIS,’ which arguably is the case with this proposal (See http://www.statedevelopment.qld.gov.au/assessments-and-approvals/terms-of-reference.html.) 
  • 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

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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 team in 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

The Cairns Post Editorial, 3 September, noted: ‘The decision by State Development Minister Anthony Lynham to consign Cairns’ port to second-tier status should cause outrage throughout the Far North….The good doctor rejected this (Committee Report unanimous) recommendation and bowed to the threats of a foreign environmental body (UNESCO) over the pleas of Cairns’ top business groups’ (http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/opinion/second-tier-status-for-cairns-port-is-a-disgrace/story-fnjpuwl3-1227509793053).

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.

The Cairns Port Development Inc. advertisement appeared in the Cairns Post again on Thursday 27 August  DON’T SINK OUR PORT petition advertisement.

The Cairns Post article, 22 August, ‘New look at dredging – Ports North told to come up with revised proposal’ can be read at: http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/cairns-port-dredging-plan-back-on-the-cards-in-state-government-rethink/story-fnjpusyw-1227493667126.  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.’  Until a new independent assignment is completed (see below) the project will be stalled, along with realising the $25 billion of benefits forecast over 25 years.

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?

Cairns Post, 1 August: ‘Independent Member for Cook Billy Gordon and Katter’s Australian Party MPs Shane Knuth and Rob Katter have revealed to The Cairns Post they would move an amendment to the Government’s Bill that would designate Cairns and Mourilyan ports as “priority ports”.‘  The newspaper’s very supportive editorial includes: ‘The fact that the government even wants to limit coastal development in Queensland at all should be fought tooth and nail’. (Click on article to enlarge). http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/queensland-mps-unite-against-bill-which-could-sink-cairns-port/story-fnjpusyw-1227465438442

Cairns Post Editorial 010815

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 is now Cairns Port Development Inc. (Incorporation #IA55117).  A media release CPD media release 280715 includes a summary of Cummings Economics’ presentation, on behalf of CPD, to the public hearing of the Ports Bill Committee in Cairns 29 JulyThe presentation is at CPD Presentation to Ports Bill Committee, 290715.

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 Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 on behalf of the Friends of the Port of Cairns supports the continuing development of the Port of Cairns. Details of the many major benefits that will result from dredging the Trinity Inlet are presented.  http://www.cummings.net.au/pdf/reports/J2865_IPNRC_SustainablePortsDevelopmentBill2015.pdf 

Cummings Economics submission to the Qld Coordinator General, Cummings Economics submission, 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: .

Friends of the Port of Cairns Facebook page is at: https://www.facebook.com/PortofCairns

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.

The current status of the East Trinity property is described in an article in The Cairns Post, 20 June: East Trinity, not a wetland, just a mess, CP article 200615

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). 

Dredging Tinity to build a new city

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. https://www.facebook.com/messages/1059953612

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 EIS Executive Summary.

East Trinity’s history is described in this article, from page 25:   A Sustainable East Trinity

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More post contents

  1. Update
  2. Another option: a phased approach
  3. Articles and letters in the Cairns Post
  4. John MacKenzie’s radio talkback show
  5. TV News
  6. Background and history
  7. Other related documents

Introduction

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.

1942 aerial photo of Cairns

…. 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.

East Trinity now, dead maleleucas

The next 7 sections explain the convoluted steps that resulted in the current dismaying situation.

1. Update

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 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.  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:

 ET with suburb, small

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.  See Reef 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

15 May

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.

14 May

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.

6 May

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.’

2 May

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?

30 April

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.

 27  April

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.”

25 April

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.

20 April

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.”

18  April

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.

23 March

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.

 20 March

An article in the Cairns Post 20 March: Cairns Post article 200315

19 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.

18 March

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.

11 March

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.’

9 March

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?’

 27 February

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.

3 February

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:

Cairns Post G20 magazine     Cairns Post, Cairns G20 magazine

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

4 May

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.

20 April

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.

20 March

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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:

East Trinity with marina 290714, cropped

The issues were captured brilliantly in a cartoon in the Cairns Post, 16 August 2014:

Cairns Post cartoon, 160814

Cruise ships

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

5m M3

Submissions

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:

http://www.cairns.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0003/66639/12dec12_ordinary_cl1.pdf

‘Deputation’ to the Cairns Regional Council

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:

 East Trinity ruined, 2013 

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

East Tinity property 1988 prior to purchase by State

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…..

  More research CP 050414

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.’

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7. Other related documents

Plan for the Royal Reef resort

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.

Royal Reef hotel and beach

Royal Reef layout

Royal Reef site boundary 2

Government documents relating to the project are available at: http://www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/assessments-and-approvals/cairns-shipping-development-project.html

A vision for Cairns

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 08-05-12  Cairns 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.”

 

A history of East Trinity:  History of East Trinity, letter, 180607

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The dogma of sustainability

‘Sustainability’ is a modern buzz-word, a fashion, a vital tool for preservation and all-to-often a cover for dangerous covert agendas.

Solar and wind power simply don’t work

Solar and wind power simply don’t work  By Keith DeLacy, former Queensland State Labor Minister, The Australian, 22 June 2016

One policy which seems to have escaped scrutiny during this election campaign is Labor’s commitment to increase the Renewable Energy Target to 50 per cent by 2030. I am surprised because it is a proposal that has enormous ramifications for economic growth and living standards, and disproportionate impacts on traditional Labor constituencies.

The problem we have in Australia is when we talk renewable energy we are talking wind and solar only — low value, expensive, unreliable, high capital cost, land hungry, intermittent energy.

According to the Department of Industry and Science wind currently generates 4.1 per cent and solar 2 per cent of Australia’s electricity. But even this is highly misleading because it is such low value power. You could close it down tomorrow (which it regularly does by itself) and it would make no difference to supply.

If we talk about total energy, as opposed to just electricity, wind and solar represent 1 per cent of Australia’s energy consumption. This despite billions of dollars of investment, subsidies, creative tariffs, mandates, and so on.

Solar and wind simply don’t work, not here, not anywhere.

The energy supply is not dense enough. The capital cost of consolidating it makes it cost prohibitive. But they are not only much more expensive because of this terminal disadvantage, they are low value intermittent power sources — every kilowatt has to be backed up by conventional power, dreaded fossil fuels. So we have two capital spends for the same output — one for the renewable and one for the conventional back-up. Are you surprised it is so much more expensive, and inefficient, and always will be? So wind and solar, from a large scale electricity point of view, are duds. Now I know that will send the urgers into paroxysms of outrage. But have you ever seen an industry that so believed its own propaganda. Note, when they eulogise the future of renewables they point to targets, or to costly investments, never to the real contribution to supply.

Let’s look overseas where many countries have been destroying their budgets and their economies on this illusion for longer and more comprehensively than we in Australia. The Germans are ruing the day they decided to save the world by converting to solar and wind. Germany has spent $US100bn on solar technology and it represents less than 1 per cent of their electricity supply.

Energy policy has been a disaster. Subsidies are colossal, the energy market is now chaotic, industry is decamping to other jurisdictions, and more than a million homes have had their power cut off.

It is reported electricity prices in Germany, Spain and the UK increased by 78 per cent, 111 per cent and 133 per cent between 2005 and 2014 as they forced additional renewable capacity into their electricity markets. Sunny Spain used to be the poster boy for renewables in Europe — photovoltaic cells and wind turbines stretching on forever. Now they are broke, winding back subsidies, even the feed-in tariffs which were guaranteed for 20 years. But wait, what about the green energy jobs that everybody gushes about? Spain has an unemployment rate of 21 per cent with a youth rate of 45.5 per cent.

Britain is little better. Subsidies are being wound back, and a Department of Energy report points out that in 2013, the number of households in fuel poverty in England was estimated at 2.35 million representing around 10.4 per cent of all households.

It is no better in the US either. States with renewable energy mandates are backtracking faster than Sally Pearson can clear hurdles. Ohio has halved its mandate level (it was 25 per cent by 2025) because of high costs. West Virginia has repealed its mandate because of high costs, and New Mexico has frozen its mandates. Kansas was repealing its mandate which reportedly would save ratepayers $171m, representing $4367 for each household, and so the dismal story goes on. The US Department of Energy has found electricity prices have risen in states with mandates twice as fast as those with no mandate. As of 2013 California was the only state to adopt a feed-in tariff for solar power. It was immediately dubbed a failure by the renewable energy community because it offered only 31 cents per kWh, only five times the rate for conventional base load power.

Ah, but Asian countries are jumping on the bandwagon. Maybe. China built one new coalfired power plant every week in 2014, and India’s coal-powered investment in that same year equalled the total electricity capacity of NSW and Queensland. To summarise — with all of the trillions spent worldwide on wind and solar, wind currently represents 1.2 per cent of global consumption of energy, and solar 0.2 per cent.

The good news, it is possible to reduce fossil fuel use in electricity generation — through hydro-electricity and nuclear fuel. Plenty of countries have done it — Canada 60 per cent hydro and 15 per cent nuclear; Sweden 45 per cent hydro and 48 per cent nuclear; Switzerland 54 per cent hydro and 41 per cent nuclear; France 11 per cent hydro and 79 per cent nuclear.

But Australia has zero tolerance of these two workable alternatives to fossil fuels. At least we are consistently inconsistent.

So where does that leave us? On the basis of evidence everywhere we could easily double the price of electricity and get nowhere near the 50 per cent target. What would that mean?

First, it means rapidly disappearing blue collar jobs in high energy industries like manufact­uring, car and ship building, smelting and refining, steel making and food processing. There may be still some construction jobs, but they will largely be assembly only, as all of the components will come from those countries more interested in growing the economy and eliminating poverty than stoking the warm inner glow. Make no bones about it, a clean green economy has no place for high-vis shirts.

Second, rapidly rising electricity prices and the subsequent increase in the cost of living, disproportionately affects those at the bottom of the income scale.

Policies like this are OK for the Greens. They can keep their virtue intact because they never have to deliver. As Gough Whitlam once said, only the impotent are pure.

Mainstream parties don’t have that luxury. They need to look at the true costs, and benefits, of all policy proposals.

Keith DeLacy is a former Labor treasurer of Queensland.

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The dangers of ‘sustainability’

The dangers of ‘sustainability’  By Peter Wood, Rachelle Peterson; National Association of Scholars, 29 March 2015

Sustainability: Higher Education’s new fundamentalism

The full report can be downloaded from http://www.nas.org/images/documents/NAS-Sustainability-Digital.pdf

 “Sustainability” is a key idea on college campuses in the United States and the rest of the Western world. To the unsuspecting, sustainability is just a new name for environmentalism. But the word really marks out a new and larger ideological territory in which curtailing economic, political, and intellectual liberty is the price that must be paid now to ensure the welfare of future generations.

This report is the first in-depth critical study of the sustainability movement in higher education. The movement, of course, extends well beyond the college campus. It affects party politics, government bureaucracy, the energy industry, Hollywood, schools, and consumers. But the college campus is where the movement gets its voice of authority, and where it moulds the views and commands the attention of young people.

The sustainability movement has distorted higher education

While we take no position in the climate change debate, we focus in this study on how the sustainability movement has distorted higher education. We examine the harm it has done to college curricula and the limits it has imposed on the freedom of students to inquire and to make their own decisions. Our report also offers an anatomy of the campus sustainability movement in the United States. We explain how it came to prominence and how it is organized.

We also examine the financial costs to colleges and universities in their efforts to achieve some of the movement’s goals. Often the movement presents its program as saving these institutions money. But we have found that American colleges and universities currently spend more than $3.4 billion per year pursuing their dreams of “sustainability” at a time when college tuitions are soaring and 7.5 percent of recent college graduates are unemployed and another 46 percent underemployed.  In addition to the direct costs of the movement, we examine the growing demands by sustainability advocates that colleges and universities divest their holdings in carbon-based energy companies without regard to forgone income or growth in their endowments. What makes “sustainability” so important that institutions facing financial distress are willing to prioritize spending on it? In this report, we examine that question.

The belief that the world is experiencing catastrophic warming

Because the idea of “anthropogenic global warming”—or “climate change”—is so closely interwoven with the sustainability movement, we devote a chapter early in the report to laying out the arguments on both sides of this debate. The appeal of the sustainability movement depends to a great extent on the belief that the world is experiencing catastrophic warming as a result of human activities that are increasing the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

Is this belief warranted? We are neutral on this proposition, but we stand by the principle that all important ideas ought to be open to reasoned debate and careful examination of the evidence. This puts us and others at odds with many in the sustainability movement whose declared position is that the time for debate is over and that those who persist in raising basic questions are “climate deniers.” The “debate-is-over” position is itself at odds with intellectual freedom and is why the campus sustainability movement should be examined skeptically.

A hardening of irrational demands

We support good stewardship of natural resources, but we see in the sustainability movement a hardening of irrational demands to suspend free inquiry in favor of unproven theories of imminent catastrophe. And we see, under the aegis of sustainability, a movement that often takes its bearings from its hostility towards material prosperity, consumerism, free markets, and even democratic self-government.

We offer ten recommendations under three categories:

Respect Intellectual Freedom

  1. Create neutral ground. Colleges and universities should be neutral in important and unresolved scientific debates, such as the debate over dangerous anthropogenic global warming. Claims made on the authority of “science” must be made on the basis of transparent evidence and openness to good arguments regardless of their source.
  2. Cut the apocalyptic rhetoric. Presenting students with a steady diet of doomsday scenarios undermines liberal education.
  3. Maintain civility. Some student sustainability protests have aimed at preventing opponents from speaking.
  4. Stop “nudging.” Leave students the space to make their own decisions about sustainability, and free faculty members from the implied pressure to imbed sustainability into the curricula of unrelated courses.

Uphold Institutional Integrity

  1. Withdraw from the ACUPCC. Colleges that have signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment should withdraw in favor of open-minded debate on the subject.
  2. Open the books and pull back the sustainability hires. Make the pursuit of sustainability by colleges financially transparent. The growth of administrative and staff positions in sustainability drives up costs and wrongly institutionalizes advocacy at the expense of education.
  3. Uphold environmental stewardship. Campuses need to recover the distinction between real environmental stewardship and a movement that uses the term as a springboard for a much broader agenda.
  4. Credential wisely. Curtail the aggrandizement of sustainability as a subject. Sustainability is not a discipline or even a subject area. It is an ideology.

Be Even-Handed

  1. Equalize treatment for advocates. Treat sustainability groups on campus under the same rubric as other advocacy groups. They should not enjoy privileged immunity from ordinary rules and special access to institutional resources.
  2. Examine motives. College and university boards of trustees should examine demands for divestment from fossil fuels skeptically and with full awareness of the ideological context in which these demands are made.

The sustainability movement has become a major force in American life that has largely escaped serious critical scrutiny. The goal of this report is to change that by examining for the first time the movement’s ideological, economic, and practical effects on institutions of higher education.

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The great ‘sustainability’ fraud

The great ‘sustainability’ fraud  by Nick Cater, The Australian newspaper

‘Sustainability’ is “a leading-edge issue”?

‘Sustainability’ is “a leading-edge issue”, which means no one has a clue what it is, not even Wikipedia. The best it can manage is that sustainability is “a multi-faceted concept” and “a matter of ongoing argument”. So much for the wisdom of crowds.

Even the judges of the Global 100 awards were forced to admit that “determining which companies are ‘sustainable’ and which are not is challenging enterprise”.

It is not enough just to stay in business for 197 years, keep the capital-adequacy ratio respectable and return a stonking great profit. Westpac had to score against “a set of quantitative and clearly defined key performance indicators” determined by “a rules-based construction methodology”. It couldn’t be clearer than that.

The green-collar Oscars

For those who missed the live coverage of the green-collar Oscars, however, we will run through the main categories again.

Leadership diversity. It goes without saying that women run more sustainable corporations than men and, with chief executive Gail Kelly in the big chair, this one was Westpac’s to lose.

Horizontally integrated remuneration framework. To achieve a perfect score in this category, the CEO’s salary should match the company’s average wage. Since Kelly took home $5.6 million last year, Westpac did not quite get 10 out of 10, but since all bankers get paid pretty handsomely, it was presumably good enough.

Percentage tax paid. It may be counterintuitive to suggest that sustainable corporations pay more tax but that’s what the rules say. In the weird world of Davos, the percentage of profits paid as tax is regarded as a measure of corporate virtue rather than government vice.

Energy productivity

Westpac could teach BHP Billiton a thing or two here. The banker’s profit was only a third of the miner’s, but its carbon footprint was 250 times smaller. Clearly BHP needs to start thinking about recycling its printer cartridges.

The clean capitalist utopia as pictured by the economic romantics in Davos is, it turns out, unsustainable since it rewards those in comfortable offices who buy and sell money rather than those in fluoro who actually make it.

The fetish for paying taxes transfers money from the private to the public sector, and there is nothing remotely sustainable about that.

In these historically incurious times, it is worth reminding ourselves that business did not always operate this way.

As Adam Smith once noted, the baker, the butcher and the brewer used not to provide our dinner out of the goodness of their hearts “but from their regards to their own interest”.

Business’ new mandate

Nowadays, however, we like our businesses to be socially responsible, environmentally aware, ethically orientated, big-hearted Arthurs.

Thus the corporate sector has surrendered to the dispiriting dogma of sustainability, the heresy that took hold among the hippies in the late 1960s and mutated into a misanthropic, deep green movement in the 70s.

Today it wears a pinstriped suit and sits in the boardroom signing off on the most egregious muddle-headed nonsense in the name of corporate responsibility.

Sustainability may present itself as harmless mumbo-jumbo that helps build a brand, but its underlying philosophy is antithetical to freedom and to enterprise.

Ayn Rand warned us

“The uncontested absurdities of today are the accepted slogans of tomorrow,” Ayn Rand wrote in 1972. “They come to be accepted by degrees, by dint of constant pressure on one side and constant retreat on the other until one day they are suddenly declared to be the country’s official ideology.”

Four decades later, her prophecy has been fulfilled. Sustainability is one of the three priority themes in the new Australian curriculum, polluting everything from algebra to zoology.

“The sustainability priority is futures-oriented, focusing on protecting environments and creating a more ecologically and socially just world through informed action,” the curriculum says.

Students are encouraged to consider “that unlimited growth is unsustainable; sustainability – that biological systems need to remain diverse and productive over time; and rights of nature – recognition that humans and their natural environment are closely interrelated”.

Sustainability is Malthusianism

Sustainability is Malthusianism for the 21st century: the fallacy that population is growing faster than the available resources and that ruination is just around the corner.

The world viewed through the prism of sustainability is a deeply depressing place in which dreams are discouraged, imagination is restricted and the spirit of progress frowned upon.

Sustainability means never having to say sorry. In 1990 the World Hunger Project calculated that the ecosystem could sustainably support six billion people, and then only if they lived on a vegetarian diet.

More than two decades later, with 7.1 billion people living on the planet, global beef production has increased by 5 per cent per capita, pork by 17 per cent and chicken by 82 per cent, and that’s not counting the eggs.

The World Food Programme estimates that there are 170 million fewer malnourished people than there were in 1990.

The inconvenient prosperous truth

The inconvenient prosperous truth is that the human beings have, since the dawn of time, created more than they used on average over the course of a lifetime.

The happy by-product of an expanding population ever more interconnected is that the sum total of human knowledge grows exponentially.

The energy crisis, the one that is supposed to lie just around the corner, has been creating anxiety since the 1600s when Britain began to run out of firewood. Scarcity spurred the development of coal. The great whale oil crisis of the 1840s stimulated the search for oil. Time after time the coming catastrophe is postponed through abundance, and the inherent dishonesty of sustainability is exposed.

Human ingenuity

Human ingenuity is an infinitely renewable resource. Prosperity comes from seizing the elements of nature and rearranging their form.

“Wealth does not exist as a fixed, static quantity,” wrote Rand. “It is the creation of a dynamic, boundless mind. And it has no inherent limitation.” ‘

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‘Must-read’ book reviews

This post reviews books that add substantially to the understanding of business, economics, politics and what may happen in the future.

  • 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

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.

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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!

American Betrayal

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.

 

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Could energy be free?

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.

Could energy be free?

Could energy be free A selection of several articles and videos on the subject, 10 May 2016

This article presents a range of issues with regard to the potential for free energy.

Introduction

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’.

Caveat

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

Interview with Dr Carol Rosin: Von Braun’s legacy – 34 min 2013 YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/watch?=gP8ftWzFYI4&list=PLnrEt2fIdZ0aBgPuVF0C_T559Y

Tom Bearden

 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

Thomas article:  Clean Electrical Energy from the Active Vacuum 2002   http://www.cheniere.org/articles/clean%20electrical.htm

A 6-minutes video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKFEmMotPNo, and a longer 50 min video that explains the article including many associated factors https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hJY8XqFnAyg&ebc=ANyPxKoiO2_L3WFfQZyyXFBfL8GqxZ_cFZPrZTreDPlVY5OmjBo2cSRCdlSWUGDYCAqgVu8dBTQJ5uNoF6tJPFEI-PTeWJ4Vow

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)

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

Nikola Tesla

 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. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lL7uFTKUK_U

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 mechanical physical 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.

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Inherit the Wind (and not much else)

Inherit the Wind (and not much else)  By David Archibald, Quadrant Online, 8 Feb 2015

 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

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)

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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.

 

Posted in Energy Management | 3 Comments

Government for the Silent Majority

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

 About the author: Peter Senior CV March 2016 – email: petersenior42@gmail.com

The report Table of Contents, then the Summary, are below:

KiS Report – Table of Contents

1Summary

2.  Introduction
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
3.04  Immigration
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

3.16  Justice
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
8.05  Democracy

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
9.09  Welfare
9.10  Retirement
9.11  Health
9.12  Education

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?

Appendices
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.

Posted in Better Government | Comments Off on Government for the Silent Majority

How to indoctrinate the ‘sheeples’

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.

Francis Shure adds several relevant points starting at the 42 minute mark in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ddz2mw2vaEg

The first article is presented below; there are links to 19 more parts at the end of this post, the latest concerning sociopaths.  Frances has written a book comprising all articles and more.

A parallel approach is labelled ‘social engineering’ that has been described for over half a century including books such as Vance Packard’s The Hidden Persuaders.  This video provides a more up-to-date explanation: http://beforeitsnews.com/alternative/2016/03/elites-use-social-engineering-tactics-and-food-war-in-grocery-stores-to-destroy-us-social-engineers-more-dangerous-than-terrorist-cells-picture-video-3313552.html

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Why people reject bad news

Title: Why Do Good People Become Silent – or Worse – About 9/11?

Part 1: Preface and Introduction

© by Frances T. Shure, 2013

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?”

Preface

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?”

Introduction

“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:

Carl Sagan

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.

False flag?

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………

————————————————-

1 “Zogby Poll Finds Over 70 Million Voting Age Americans Support New 9/11 Investigation,” http://www.911truth.org/article.php?story=20060522022041421; and “Less Than Half of Americans Satisfied with 9/11 Investigations,” http://www.rawstory.com/news/2006/Less_than_half_of_Americans_satisfied_0523.html.

2 http://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).

6 From Laurie Manwell’s presentation at the Toronto Hearings, Ryerson University, 2011:   This is personal observation and interpretation, but is supported by human historical accounts. See that even sages of long ago were warned to heed their words in the second paragraph of this article: http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/judaica/ejud_0002_0003_0_01976.html; also see .

8 David Ray Griffin, Ph.D., “9/11: The Myth and the Reality,” http://www.amazon.com/9-11-The-Myth-Reality/dp/B000O0YV7O and http://davidraygriffin.com/articles/911-the-myth-and-the-reality/.

9 In this context “trauma” is defined as extreme upset or having one’s internal resources overwhelmed, at least temporarily.

10 “Solving the Mystery of WTC7,” (with Ed Asner):  .

Links to published parts:

Nov. 2013: Part 1 – Preface and Introduction: http://www.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/821-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911-.html

Dec. 2013: Part 2 – Diffusion of Innovations: http://www.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/827-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911.html

January, 2014: Part 3 – Obeying and Believing Authority: http://www.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/841-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911.html

February, 2014: Part 4 – Doublethink: http://www.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/856-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911.html

March, 2014: Part 5 – Denial and Cognitive Dissonance: http://www.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/865-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911-part-5-denial-and-cognitive-dissonance.html

 April, 2014: Part 6 – Conformity:  http://www.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/876-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911-part-6-conformity.html

May, 2014: Part 7—Groupthink: http://www.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/889-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911-part-7-groupthink.html

June, 2014: Part 8—Brain Research, Part 1—Beliefs:  http://www.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/897-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911.html

August, 2014: Part 9—Brain Research, Part 2—Morality:  http://www.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/909-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911-part-9-brain-research-part-ii-moral-psychology.html

October, 2014: Part 10: Terror management Theory, and Part 11: Systems Justification Theory:  http://www.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/918-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911-part10-11.html

Part 12: Signal Detection Theory  http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/925-why-do-good-people-become-silent-or-worse-about-911-part12.html

Part 13: Prior Knowledge of State Crimes Against Democracy and Deep Politics  http://www1.ae911truth.org/en/news-section/41-articles/930-why-do-good-people-become-silentor-worseabout-911-pt13.html

Part 14: Learned Helplessness  http://www.ae911truth.org/news/196-news-media-events-fran-shure-part-14.html

Part 15: The Abuse Syndrome.  http://www.ae911truth.org/news/211-news-media-events-fran-shure-part-15.html – Also at Part 15, The Abuse Syndrome

Part 16: Dissociation:  http://www.ae911truth.org/news/214-news-media-events-fran-shure-part-16.html – Also at Part 16 Dissociation

Part 17: The False Self and Excessive Identification with the U.S.A. http://www.ae911truth.org/news/216-news-media-events-fran-shure-part-17.html

Part 18: American Exceptionalism and Nationalist Faith http://www.ae911truth.org/news/220-news-media-events-fran-shure-part-18.html

Part 19: Government Manipulation and the Big Lie  http://www.ae911truth.org/news/238-news-media-events-shure-part-19-government-manipulation-and-the-big-lie.html

Part 20: Those Who Lack Conscience and empathy  http://www.ae911truth.org/news/246-news-media-events-shure-part-20-conscience-empathy.html

Posted in Communication | Comments Off on How to indoctrinate the ‘sheeples’

Which ‘New World Order’?

What is the ‘New World Order’, or NWO?  Main stream media describe it as conspiracy theory; some weblogs describe scary scenarios.  This post examines a range of views.

Scan down to read the latest articles.  Links to many more articles are at the end of this post.

When Disclosure Serves Secrecy

When Disclosure Serves Secrecy  By Steven M. Greer M.D. 1999

Ending the secrecy surrounding the UFO/ET subject is a laudable goal. It is long overdue. It would transform the world in ways both simple and profound.

And yet it is fraught with danger.

The covert projects which have been running UFO related programs for nearly 60 years are not interested in a disclosure which upsets their apple cart. They want such a disclosure to transform their apple cart into a freight train. And they potentially have the power and connections to do it.

There are multiple scenarios attending the disclosure of the UFO subject- and not all of them have the best interests of humanity at heart. Elsewhere, in the new bookExtraterrestrial Contact: The Evidence and Implications I write about the kind of disclosure the world needs. An honest one. An open one. One which replaces secrecy with democracy. A disclosure which is peaceful, scientific and hopeful.

But then there is the disclosure the powers that be would like to see: Manipulated. Calculated to consolidate power and engender fear. Configured in such a way that chaos and a deepening need for Big Brother is carefully inculcated into the masses.

We have seen the plans and it is not a pretty picture.

I write this as a warning. A warning that the wolves in sheep clothes are very cunning indeed. And have almost limitless resources. Most who work with them do not even know they are wolves. Indeed, it is likely that many of the wolves have been convinced that they are sheep.

The UFO matter is not so much a mystery as a matter deliberately obfuscated and mystified. Confusion and a lack of clarity serves the larger covert goal of keeping it off the long-range radar of society while power and plans are consolidated quietly. And the one thing more dangerous to society than all this secrecy is a planned, contrived disclosure run by the keepers of the secrets.

For years such plans have been made – to be unfurled at just the right time. During a time of great expectation. Of social confusion. Perhaps of millennial madness?

I have personally met with a number of people who are very involved with such plans. I do not speculate here. Be aware: The disclosure of UFO reality is being planned very carefully. It will assiduously follow a scheme to spin the subject in just the right way – the only way which will further redound to the glory and power of the secret-keepers. It will be a false disclosure – one born out of the age-old bane of human existence: selfishness and greed. Greed for power. Greed for control. Greed for domination.

We must be mature and informed on such matters. Only a vigilant and informed public can see through such deceit – and correct it should such a plan be unfurled. Every citizen needs to know that great good can come from the truth being known. But the mature citizen must also recognize that the ‘truth’ can be spun and spun again – until the goals of those who crave secret and overt power are met.

Consider: One scenario for disclosure is that the UFO and Extraterrestrial subject is acknowledged in a way which is scientific and hopeful. Excessive secrecy which lacks executive branch and congressional oversight is ended. Humanity begins to entertain open contact with other civilizations, with peaceful engagement as the goal. Technologies which are currently suppressed are allowed to be disseminated: Pollution ends. An economy of abundance and social justice is firmly established. Global environmental destruction and mind-numbing world poverty become a faint memory. Zero-point based energy devices transform the world. Electro-gravitic devices permit above ground travel without paving over the world’s precious fertile farm land. As an ET once told Colonel Philip Corso, “Its a new world, if you can take it…”. This is the disclosure which we are working for.

But the disclosure envisioned above could have happened in 1950. It did not – Why? For such a disclosure would lead to the total transformation of the status quo. Centralized energy systems would be obsolete. Oil would be useful only for lubricants and synthetics. The geo-political order of today would be a thing forgotten: Every country and people on Earth would have such a high degree of progress and advancement that all nations would have a seat at the global table. Power would need to be shared. Peaceful acknowledgment of life from elsewhere would make the Earth seem like the very small, organic homeland which it is. The vast trillion dollar global military – industrial sector would be reigned in. And a universal spirituality might dawn…

But remember, there are hugely powerful interests who dread this scenario. For them, it is the end of the world as they know it. The end of centralized, elite power. The end of a controlled geo-political order which today leaves nearly 90% of the people of Earth barely one step out of the stone age. And they do not wish to share the power they wield.

Now, let me describe the ‘disclosure’ which would make these covert control programs happy. This is the false or contrived ‘disclosure’ which has only one clear goal: The further consolidation of their power and their paradigm. It has to do with fear, not love. With war, not peace. With division and conflict, not unity. It is the dominant paradigm – but it is slipping away slowly. And a carefully orchestrated disclosure of the ‘facts’ of the UFO and ET subject could secure their power. This is the disclosure which is to be dreaded. This is the disclosure to watch out for. This is the disclosure which is already occurring.

My meetings over the past 9 years with covert operatives who have worked on UFO related programs have introduced me to some characters right out of a spy novel – and then some. Whether in private high tech industry, at the Pentagon or at a midnight meeting in a private mansion, a theme has emerged. It is one of immense, though currently hidden, power. It transcends government as we know it (at this point the government of ‘We the people…’ has been made irrelevant on this issue). And the theme has two main strands – the eventual covert militarization of the ET subject and a weird covert religious strain which can only be viewed as bizarre.

Here, we find some very strange bed-fellows indeed. War mongers and militarists in cahoots with industrialists who share a certain bizarre eschatological bent: A dark view of the future, featuring an extraterrestrial Armageddon – or at least the threat of it. Such a theme supports retrograde and fanatical religious causes as well as deeply covert military-industrial plans to expand the arms race into space.

In fact, the big players in the so-called ‘civilian UFO community’ are tied into such beliefs and agendas. It strains credulity, I admit, but here is what we have found by penetrating these operations.

From a military-industrial perspective, the disclosure of choice is one which frames the UFO/ET issue in a threatening manner. If a threat from space can be established (as President Reagan liked to say) then the entire world can be united around the need to fight such a threat. This would ensure trillion dollar plus military – industrial spending well into the next century, and beyond. If you think the cold war was costly, wait until you see the price tag for this ‘protection’ from the ‘threats’ in space: The trillions spent on the cold war will look like a blue light special.

Retrograde and fanatical religious groups, similarly, have great vested interests in fulfilling the promise of Armageddon. An eschatological paradigm, well enshrined in the belief systems of those running covert UFO projects, is supported by the portrayal of a cosmic conflict in the heavens. Voila! We have the necessity of spinning the UFO/ET issue in the evil invading aliens (translates in religious terms as demons) direction. Indeed, this has already been accomplished, courtesy of the ‘civilian UFO community’ and the tabloid media (swhich at this point is virtually all media…).

Additionally, there is a subtext which can only be viewed as thinly veiled racism. You will note that part of the ‘new myth’ regarding UFOs involves the ‘good ETs’ , which invariably are described as ‘Pleidians’ who are ‘handsome’ white, blue-eyed Aryan appearing types. Naturally, those ‘evil, bad ETs’ are darker, shorter, look funny and smell funny. Please. Such clap-trap would have us trade age-old human racism for an extraterrestrial variety. This nonsense and propaganda could only make Hitler proud.

In one lengthy meeting with a multi-billionaire, I was told that he gave great support to UFO activities which propel the so-called ‘alien abduction’ subject into public awareness because he wanted humanity to unite around fighting this ‘alien threat’. Later, this very influential figure informed me that he believed these demonic ETs were the cause of every setback in human history since Adam and Eve. Sound familiar?

Military interests, which are heavily involved in covert projects which hoax ET events, such as human military- related abductions, have a shared goal of demonizing the UFO/ET phenomenon. Doing so lays the foundations for the fear and dread necessary for an organized opposition to all things ET. And this subserves the longterm need to provide a rationale for an expanding global military even should world peace emerge. In fact, under this scenario, ‘world peace’, or strictly speaking peace on Earth, could be secured by the world uniting, eventually, against the ‘threat from space’ referred to by resident Reagan. (By the way, personally I believe Reagan was the victim of disinformation specialists who surrounded him and who manipulated him into the statements he made on this subject.)

Under this scenario, currently being gamed and ‘disclosed’ courtesy of the trial balloon UFO ‘community’, we would get peace on Earth – in exchange for interplanetary conflict. One step forward, ten steps back. Wonderful.

Such a false and contrived ‘disclosure of the truth’ regarding UFOs and ETs would, then, subserve agendas held by powerful covert interests in both the military-industrial sector and those of a strange collection of religious fanatics, who pine for Armageddon — and the sooner the better.

Lest the reader think such a strange amalgam of militarists and cult-like religious interests are unlikely, remember the weird views of the Third Reich. Or more recently, the views of one US Department of the Interior cabinet secretary during the Reagan years named James Watt. It was he who, not knowing a microphone was still on and recording his comments, stated in the 1980s that we did not need to worry about all these environmental problems since Armageddon was coming soon and the world would be destroyed anyway…This bizarre view, held by a man who shaped and applied policy for the Interior Department of the US Government, was later reported in the general media. At the time a comical footnote perhaps. But what does it say about the degree to which such beliefs may be shaping covert UFO policy — and specifically disclosure plans? We have found that such views — bizarre as they may seem to most — are heavily represented in covert policy development on the UFO subject.

And most disconcerting of all: This strange mixture of military cosmic saber-rattling and bizarre religious beliefs are the dominant forces shaping both the ‘civilian UFO community’ and the planned eventual ‘spin’ on UFO disclosure. Let the buyer beware.

To the rational and intellectual, such views seem ridiculous. Why, you might ask, would anyone want a cosmic war in space, an Armageddon and the destruction of the Earth? To comprehend this, you have to get inside the head of people who hold such beliefs – people like James Watt. In his case, why worry about a little bit of deforestation, air pollution and areas of dead oceans if the entire world is going to be destroyed in a couple of years anyway?

But the thinking goes further than this. Because such fanatical thinking has within it the concept that as a result of the Armageddon we will see the return of Christ- and with it the good people’s salvation. Now, people are free to believe what they want. But what we have found is a deliberate influencing of covert policy on UFOs by such beliefs. Some of these people want Armageddon – and they want it ASAP.

Strictly speaking, the militarists and war-mongers, itching to ‘kick some alien butt’ as it was said in the movie Independence Day, may actually only want a pretext to justify their existence and get the world to eventually spend huge sums of money on a perceived (if contrived) threat from space.

But in some cases – high up on the food chain of the covert entity running UFO secrecy – the two views meet. A place where militarism and eschatology merge. Where Star Wars and Armageddon join.

In tracing the history of both the UFO civilian community and the covert policy-making group concerned with UFOs, we have found a growing penetration of the latter into the former. So much so that at this point there are projects which ostensibly are innocent civilian initiatives but which in reality are totally controlled and financed by ‘cut-outs’ from ultra-secret projects.

Moreover, our careful penetration of such projects yielded the disturbing finding that deep-cover black project operatives are working closely with alleged civilian researchers, journalists and UFO glitterati. CIA and military intelligence operatives are working with civilian ‘think tank’ heads, alongside very wealthy business people who are eschatologists, and being advised by ‘civilian’ technologists and scientists – who are themselves proponents of bizarre religious belief systems involving the end of the world and ETs…

Thus, the new ‘chosen ones’ have been assembled. They are planning your disclosure on the UFO/ET subject. They are owned by the money whores and power brokers doing the bidding of the secret entity which runs UFO projects to begin with. And it all looks like a civilian initiative. So innocent. So well-intended. So ‘scientific’. And by the way, the sky is falling courtesy of ET and we need your money and your souls to defend against it.

Do not be deceived. You need to be awake to the darker scenarios which some would like to thrust upon the world. And you need to know that there are alternatives. If a ‘disclosure’ is unleashed on the world which is xenophobic, militaristic and terrifying, know that it comes from the spinmeisters of secrecy- regardless of how respectable the person or group may appear to be.

And remember: Part of this disclosure plan involves the use of UFO look-alike devices made by humans in an attack on Earth or military assets of Earth. This would be a well-orchestrated use of advanced human technologies to hoax an ET attack- all for the purpose of disclosing the truth with the desired military-oriented spin. In such a scenario, most of humanity will be deceived into believing the threat from space has arrived – and that we must fight it at all costs. This is nothing more than long-term social security for the military-industrial complex. There must be people who can expose this fraud.

But why should we wait for these darker scenarios to be unleashed on an unsuspecting world?

Here is another idea: Why don’t ‘we the people’ unite and launch a disclosure which resembles the first one described above. An honest one. One which leads to peace, not war. To a sustainable and beautiful world, free of pollution and brimming with abundance, of all types. One which reaches out into the unknown, instead of firing particle beam weapons into the darkness of space.

Additionally, we welcome those who can come forward with first hand knowledge of the machinations referred to in this paper and who wish to expose such madness to contact us. The one thing the darkness of secrecy cannot tolerate is a spotlight shining right on it. And the more of us holding the light, the better.

Evil steps in when good people do nothing. This is a lesson taught through thousands of years of human history. We stand at the beginning of a new time, and a new world awaits us. But we must embrace it, and help create it. For if we are passive, others will have their way- at least in the short run.

Steven M. Greer M.D.

– See more at: http://www.siriusdisclosure.com/cseti-papers/when-disclosure-serves-secrecy/#sthash.8tCJCQsp.dpuf

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Editor’s note: for those interesting in considering more on this subject, further reading and videos are available at:

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The UN’s “new universal agenda” for humanity

The UN’s “new universal agenda” for humanity  By Michael Snyder, Zerohedge, 20 October 20105

The global elite have never been closer to their goal of a united world.  Thanks to a series of interlocking treaties and international agreements, the governance of this planet is increasingly becoming globalized and centralized, but most people don’t seem alarmed by this at all.  In the past 30 days, we have seen some of the biggest steps toward a one world government, a one world economy and a one world religion that we have ever witnessed, but these events have sparked very little public discussion or debate.  So please share this article with as many people as you can.  We need to wake people up about this before it is too late.

From September 25th to September 27th, the United Nations launched a “new universal agenda” for humanity.  Those are not my words, they actually come directly out of the core document for this new agenda.  The Pope traveled to New York City to give the address that kicked off this conference, thus giving his considerable endorsement to this new plan.  Virtually every nation on the entire planet willingly signed up for the 17 goals that are included in this plan, but this stunning turn of events made very few international headlines.

Turn our planet into some kind of “utopia”

The United Nations is promising that if we all work together that we can turn our planet into some kind of “utopia”, but the truth is that all of this talk about “unity” masks a very insidious agenda.  The following comes from a recent piece by Paul McGuire, the author of a groundbreaking new book entitled “The Babylon Code”

The UN is not asking permission, but issuing a command that the entire planet will commit to 17 sustainable development goals and 169 sustainable development targets designed to radically transform our world by 2030. The UN 2030 plan promoted by the Pope will advance Agenda 21 on steroids.

 Through a controlled media the mass populations will be told that this is all about saving the environment and “ending poverty.” But that is not the true agenda of Agenda 21. The true agenda of Agenda 21 is to establish a global government, global economic system, and global religion. When UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon spoke of “a dream of a world of peace and dignity for all” this is no different than when the Communists promised the people a “workers paradise.”

“The 2030 Agenda rebranded “the global goals”

For the general population, “the 2030 Agenda” has been rebranded as “the global goals”.  On September 26th, some of the biggest names in the music world (including Beyonce) promoted these new “global goals” at the “Global Citizen Festival” that was held in Central Park.  And you can watch a YouTube video where some of the most famous names on the entire planet urge all of us to get behind these new “global goals” right here.

None of this is by accident.  We are being trained to think of ourselves as “global citizens” that belong to a “global community”.  Decades ago, most Americans would have been up in arms over something like this.  But now most people just seem to accept these changes passively.  Very powerful secret societies and international organizations have been moving us in this direction for a very long time, and most Americans simply have no idea what is happening.  Here is more from Paul McGuire

The United Nations is a de facto global government and does not rule by the “consent of the governed.” The United Nations is a global government to which American politicians of both parties have surrendered our Constitutional rights. If you look at the Republican Presidential debates you see the vast majority of those running are “bought men and women.” They are there to do the bidding of their true masters, the international banking families and their interlocking secret societies. If a candidate has a different set of beliefs than the “Orwellian group think” which constitutes domestic and foreign policy, he is allowed to go only so far.

 Who are these powerful elite groups and the secret societies that run them? As we extensively document in our new book, The Babylon Code, co-authored by this author and Troy Anderson, a Pulitzer Prize-nominated investigative journalist, there exists a very real network of semi-secretive and secret groups. Groups like The Council on Foreign Relations, The Trilateral Commission, Royal Institute of International Affairs, United Nations, Club of Rome, The Bilderberg Group, and others control presidents, prime ministers, media networks, politicians, CEO’s, and entire nations. You will almost never hear any substantive analysis by the media, which is controlled by these groups nor of attempts at holding them accountable by governments around the world.

International trade agreements

Another way that our planet is being “united” is through the use of international trade agreements.

The ultimate goal is for the entire world to become a “single market” with uniform laws, rules and regulations.  But as we merge our economy with the rest of the globe, the United States has been losing tens of thousands of businesses and millions of jobs as the monolithic corporations that now dominate our economy shift production to areas where labor is much cheaper.  This is absolutely destroying the middle class, but very few people seem to care.

Negotiations for one of the biggest international trade treaties that the world has ever seen recently concluded.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership, also known as “Obamatrade”, would represent a giant step toward a truly unified global economy.  The following is an excerpt from one of my previous articles

We have just witnessed one of the most significant steps toward a one world economic system that we have ever seen.  Negotiations for the Trans-Pacific Partnership have been completed, and if approved it will create the largest trading bloc on the planet.  But this is not just a trade agreement.  In this treaty, Barack Obama has thrown in all sorts of things that he never would have been able to get through Congress otherwise.  And once this treaty is approved, it will be exceedingly difficult to ever make changes to it.  So essentially what is happening is that the Obama agenda is being permanently locked in for 40 percent of the global economy.

 The United States, Canada, Japan, Mexico, Australia, Brunei, Chile, Malaysia, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Vietnam all intend to sign on to this insidious plan.  Collectively, these nations have a total population of about 800 million people and a combined GDP of approximately 28 trillion dollars.

And do you want to know who pushed really hard to give Obama fast track negotiating authority so that these negotiations could be brought to a successful conclusion?

It was the traitorous Republican leadership in Congress.  They did everything that they could to pave the way for Obamatrade.

A one world religion

We are also seeing some stunning moves in the direction of a one world religion.

In recent years, you may have noticed that it has become very trendy to say that all religions are just different paths to the same God.  In fact, many prominent religious leaders are now openly proclaiming that the two biggest faiths on the entire planet, Christianity and Islam, worship the exact same deity.

For example, just consider what the Pope is saying publicly on this matter.  The following is an extended excerpt from one of my recent articles on End of the American Dream…

What Pope Francis had to say at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan has received very little coverage by the mainstream media, but it was exceedingly significant.  The following is how he began his address

I would like to express two sentiments for my Muslim brothers and sisters: Firstly, my greetings as they celebrate the feast of sacrifice. I would have wished my greeting to be warmer. My sentiments of closeness, my sentiments of closeness in the face of tragedy. The tragedy that they suffered in Mecca.

In this moment, I give assurances of my prayers. I unite myself with you all. A prayer to almighty god, all merciful.

He did not choose those words by accident.  In Islam, Allah is known as “the all-merciful one”.  If you doubt this, just do a Google search.

And this is not the first time Pope Francis has used such language.  For instance, the following comes from remarks that he made during his very first ecumenical meeting as Pope…

I then greet and cordially thank you all, dear friends belonging to other religious traditions; first of all the Muslims, who worship the one God, living and merciful, and call upon Him in prayer, and all of you. I really appreciate your presence: in it I see a tangible sign of the will to grow in mutual esteem and cooperation for the common good of humanity.

 The Catholic Church is aware of the importance of promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – I wish to repeat this: promoting friendship and respect between men and women of different religious traditions – it also attests the valuable work that the Pontifical Council for interreligious dialogue performs.

Pope Francis clearly believes that Christians and Muslims worship the exact same God.  And so that helps to explain why he authorized “Islamic prayers and readings from the Quran” at the Vatican for the first time ever back in 2014.

What is happening is undeniable.

Steamrolling toward a one world government

We are steamrolling toward a one world government, a one world economy and a one world religion.

Of course we will not get there overnight.  It is going to take some time, and there are going to be quite a few bumps along the way.  In fact, I believe that our planet will experience an extreme amount of chaos before we actually get there.

But every major crisis will be used as an excuse to advance this agenda.  Virtually every solution that the elite offer us will involve more globalization and more centralization.  We will be told that all of our problems will be solved if humanity will just come together in unity.

For some, the goal of a “united planet” where we are all working together to eradicate things like poverty, war and disease makes all the sense in the world.

For others, a one world government, a one world economy and a one world religion would simply mean setting the stage for “one world tyranny”.

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The UN 2030 September agenda for THEIR NWO

The UN 2030 September agenda for THEIR NWO  From Zerohedge 5 September 2015

Did you know that the UN is planning to launch a “new universal agenda” for humanity in September 2015?  That phrase does not come from me – it is actually right in the very first paragraph of the official document that every UN member nation will formally approve at a conference later this month.  The entire planet is going to be committing to work toward 17 sustainable development goals and 169 specific sustainable development targets, and yet there has been almost a total media blackout about this here in the United States. 

The UN document promises that this plan will “transform our world for the better by 2030“, and yet very few Americans have even heard of the 2030 Agenda at this point.  Instead, most of us seem to be totally obsessed with the latest celebrity gossip or the latest nasty insults that our puppet politicians have been throwing around at one another.  It absolutely amazes me that more people cannot understand that Agenda 2030 is a really, really big deal.  When will people finally start waking up?

Taking Agenda 21 to an entirely new level

As I discussed in a previous article, the 2030 Agenda is taking the principles and goals laid out in Agenda 21 to an entirely new level.  Agenda 21 was primarily focused on the environment, but the 2030 Agenda addresses virtually all areas of human activity.  It truly is a blueprint for global governance.

And later this month, nearly every nation on the entire planet is going to be signing up for this new agenda.  The general population of the planet is going to be told that this agenda is “voluntary” and that it is all about “ending poverty” and “fighting climate change”, but that is not the full story.  Unfortunately, there is so much positive spin around this plan that most people will not be able to see through it.  Just check out an excerpt from a piece that was published on the official UN website yesterday…

The United Nations General Assembly today approved a resolution sending the draft ‘2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development’ to Member States for adoption later this month, bringing the international community “to the cusp of decisions that can help realize the… dream of a world of peace and dignity for all,” according to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

 “Today is the start of a new era. We have travelled a long way together to reach this turning point,” declared Mr. Ban, recounting the path the international community has taken over the 15 years since the adoption of the landmark Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) towards crafting a set of new, post-2015 sustainability goals that will aim to ensure the long-term well-being of our planet and its people.

 With world leaders expected to adopt the text at a 25-27 September summit in New York, the UN chief said Agenda 2030 aims high, seeking to put people at the centre of development; foster human well-being, prosperity, peace and justice on a healthy planet and pursue respect for the human rights of all people and gender equality.

“Dream of a world of peace and dignity for all”?

Who doesn’t “dream of a world of peace and dignity for all”?

They make it all sound so wonderful and non-threatening.

They make it sound like we are about to enter a global utopia in which poverty and inequality will finally be eradicated.  This is from the preamble of the official 2030 Agenda document

This Agenda is a plan of action for people, planet and prosperity. It also seeks to strengthen universal peace in larger freedom. We recognise that eradicating poverty in all its forms and dimensions, including extreme poverty, is the greatest global challenge and an indispensable requirement for sustainable development. All countries and all stakeholders, acting in collaborative partnership, will implement this plan.

 We are resolved to free the human race from the tyranny of poverty and want and to heal and secure our planet. We are determined to take the bold and transformative steps which are urgently needed to shift the world onto a sustainable and resilient path.

As we embark on this collective journey, we pledge that no one will be left behind. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals and 169 targets which we are announcing today demonstrate the scale and ambition of this new universal Agenda.

If it is a “universal agenda”, then where does that leave those that do not want to be part of it?

How will they assure that “no one will be left behind” if there are some nations or groups that are not willing to go along with their plan?

17 Sustainable Development Goals

The heart of the 2030 Agenda is a set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals…

Goal 1 End poverty in all its forms everywhere

Goal 2 End hunger, achieve food security and improved nutrition and promote sustainable agriculture

Goal 3 Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for all at all ages

Goal 4 Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

Goal 5 Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Goal 6 Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all

Goal 7 Ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all

Goal 8 Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Goal 9 Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation

Goal 10 Reduce inequality within and among countries

Goal 11 Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable

Goal 12 Ensure sustainable consumption and production patterns

Goal 13 Take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts*

Goal 14 Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development

Goal 15 Protect, restore and promote sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems, sustainably manage forests, combat desertification, and halt and reverse land degradation and halt biodiversity loss

Goal 16 Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels

Goal 17 Strengthen the means of implementation and revitalize the global partnership for sustainable development

Once again, many of those sound quite good.

But what do many of those buzzwords actually mean to the elite?

What does “sustainable development” actually mean?

For instance, what does “sustainable development” actually mean, and how does the UN plan to ensure that it will be achieved globally?

This is something that was discussed in a recent WND article

But what is “sustainable development?”

Patrick Wood, an economist and author of “Technocracy Rising: The Trojan Horse of Global Transformation,” says it’s clear the U.N. and its supporters see sustainable development as more than just the way to a cleaner environment. They see it as the vehicle for creating a long-sought new international economic order, or “New World Order.”

 Wood’s new book traces the modern technocracy movement to Zbigniew Brzezinski, David Rockefeller and the Trilateral Commission in the early 1970s.

Centrally plan and regulate everything we do

 And Wood is quite correct.  The environment is a perfect vehicle for the elite to use to bring in their version of utopia, because just about every possible form of human activity affects the environment in some way.  Ultimately, they hope to centrally plan and strictly regulate virtually everything that we do, and we will be told that it is necessary to “save the planet”.

And they will never come out and openly call it a “New World Order” because “sustainable development” sounds so much nicer and is so much more acceptable to the general population.

Needless to say, there wouldn’t be much room for individual liberty, freedom or good, old-fashioned capitalism in the world that the elite are trying to set up.  In fact, the U.N.’s number one sustainable development official has essentially publicly admitted this

“This is probably the most difficult task we have ever given ourselves, which is to intentionally transform the economic development model, for the first time in human history,” Figueres, who heads up the U.N.’s Framework Convention on Climate Change, told reporters in February.

 “This is the first time in the history of mankind that we are setting ourselves the task of intentionally, within a defined period of time, to change the economic development model that has been reigning for the at least 150 years, since the industrial revolution,” Figueres said.

They plan to “intentionally transform the economic development model”?

And so what will this new system look like?

How will they achieve this “utopia”?

How will they achieve this “utopia” that they are promising us?

Sadly, they are just selling the same lies that have been sold to people for thousands of years.  Paul McGuire, the co-author of a new book entitled “The Babylon Code: Solving the Bible’s Greatest End-Times Mystery“, commented on this recently…

Deep inside every man and woman is the longing for a far better world, a world without war, disease, death, and pain. Our present world is a cruel world in which every life ends in death. From the beginning of time Mankind has sought to use science and technology to create a perfect world, what some would call Utopia or Paradise. As the Human Race began to organize itself, a Scientific or Technocratic Elite rose to power by promising the masses that they could build this perfect world. Ancient Babylon represented the first historical attempt to build paradise on earth.

In ancient times, Babylon was the very first attempt to create a type of “global government”, and ever since then the global elite have been trying to recreate what Babylon started.

The promise is always the same – the elite swear that they have finally figured out how to create a perfect society without poverty or war.  But in the end all of these attempts at utopia always end up degenerating into extreme forms of tyranny.

On September 25th, the Pope is traveling to New York to give the opening address at the conference where the 2030 Agenda will be launched.  He will be urging all of humanity to support what the UN is trying to do.  There are countless millions that implicitly trust the Pope, and they will buy what he is selling hook, line and sinker.

Don’t be fooled – the 2030 Agenda is a blueprint for a New World Order.  Just read the document for yourself, and imagine what our world would actually look like if they have their way.

They want to fundamentally transform our planet, and the freedom that you are enjoying today is simply not acceptable.  To the elite, giving people freedom and liberty is dangerous because they believe it hurts the environment and causes societal chaos.  According to their way of thinking, the only way to have the kind of harmonious utopia that they are shooting for is to tightly regulate and control what everyone is thinking, saying and doing.  Their solutions always involve more central planning and more control in their own hands.

So what do you think?

Should we hand the global elite that kind of power and control?

If not, then we all need to start speaking out about this insidious agenda while we still can.

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The Pope joins the UN in wanting to control the world

The Pope joins the UN in wanting to control the world  By Michael Snyder, Zerohedge, 21 June

Pope Francis says that global warming is a fact and that a new global political authority is necessary in order to save humanity from utter disaster.  The new encyclical that was scheduled to be released on Thursday has been leaked, and it is being reported that this new global political authority that Pope Francis envisions would be in charge of “the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”.

The funny thing is that this sounds very much in line with the new sustainable development agenda that is going to be launched at the United Nations in September.

Agenda 21 on steroids

This radical new agenda is already being called “Agenda 21 on steroids” because it goes so much farther than Agenda 21 ever did.  The new UN agenda does not just address the environment – it also addresses issues such as poverty, agriculture, education and gender equality.  It is essentially a blueprint for governing the entire planet, and that sounds very much like what Pope Francis also wants.  In fact, Pope Francis is going to give the speech that kicks off the UN conference in September where this new sustainable agenda will be launched.  For some reason, this Pope has decided to make the fight against climate change the central pillar of his papacy, and he is working very hard to unite as much of humanity as possible to get behind that effort.

It is not an accident that this new encyclical is coming out now.  An article from the Guardian even states that the release was intended “to have maximum public impact” prior to the Pope’s major speech at the UN in September…

The rare encyclical, called “Laudato Sii”, or “Praised Be”, has been timed to have maximum public impact ahead of the pope’s meeting with Barack Obama and his address to the US Congress and the UN general assembly in September.

 It is also intended to improve the prospect of a strong new UN global agreement to cut climate emissions. By adding a moral dimension to the well-rehearsed scientific arguments, Francis hopes to raise the ambition of countries above their own self-interest to secure a strong deal in a crucial climate summit in Paris in November.

Much of the encyclical is not that surprising.  But what is raising eyebrows is the Pope’s call for a new global political authority.  Here is more from the Guardian

Pope Francis will this week call for changes in lifestyles and energy consumption to avert the “unprecedented destruction of the ecosystem” before the end of this century, according to a leaked draft of a papal encyclical. In a document released by an Italian magazine on Monday, the pontiff will warn that failure to act would have “grave consequences for all of us”.

 A kind of super-UN to deal

 Francis also called for a new global political authority tasked with “tackling … the reduction of pollution and the development of poor countries and regions”. His appeal echoed that of his predecessor, pope Benedict XVI, who in a 2009 encyclical proposed a kind of super-UN to deal with the world’s economic problems and injustices.

What is even more alarming is who will be on the stage with the Pope when this encyclical is formally released.    John Schellnhuber is a German professor that has some very radical views on climate change.  For instance, he believes that our planet is overpopulated by at least six billion people

Said the planet is overpopulated by at least six billion people

Professor John Schellnhuber has been chosen as a speaker for the Vatican’s rolling out of a Papal document on climate change. He’s the professor who previously said the planet is overpopulated by at least six billion people. Now, the Vatican is giving him a platform which many expect will result in an official Church declaration in support of radical depopulation in the name of “climate science.”

And Schellnhuber also happens to believe that we need a new global political authority.  If he had his way, there would be an “Earth Constitution”, a “Global Council” directly elected by the people of the planet, and a “Planetary Court” that would be above all other courts on the globe.  The following is an excerpt from a very disturbing piece that he authored

Let me conclude this short contribution with a daydream about those key institutions that could bring about a sophisticated – and therefore more appropriate – version of the conventional “world government” notion. Global democracy might be organized around three core activities, namely (i) an Earth Constitution; (ii) a Global Council; and (iii) a Planetary Court. I cannot discuss these institutions in any detail here, but I would like to indicate at least that:

 – the Earth Constitution would transcend the UN Charter and identify those first principles guiding humanity in its quest for freedom, dignity, security and sustainability;

 – the Global Council would be an assembly of individuals elected directly by all people on Earth, where eligibility should be not constrained by geographical, religious, or cultural quotas; and

 – the Planetary Court would be a transnational legal body open to appeals from everybody, especially with respect to violations of the Earth Constitution.

Does the Pope want something similar?

It is quite telling that Schellnhuber was invited to stand with the Pope as this major encyclical is released to the world.  Did Schellnhuber play a role in drafting it?  Has he been advising the Pope on these matters?  Does the Pope share his vision of the future?

And does the Pope share Schellnhuber’s belief that our planet is currently overpopulated by six billion people?  If so, how would the Pope solve that “problem”?

Without a doubt, most of those that make up the “global elite” would love to see the number of people on earth decline precipitously.  This is something that I covered in my previous article entitled “46 Population Control Quotes That Show How Badly The Elite Want To Wipe Us All Out“.  Of course the Pope is not going to publicly advocate for getting rid of six billion people, but clearly he is extremely concerned about the impact that all of us are having on this planet.

The funny thing is that the earth is not even warming

In fact, there has been no sign of global warming at all for the past ten years

Over the years the government and the scientific community have largely stood their ground when it comes to climate change. They’ve been adamant in their assertion that the planet is gradually warming due to human activity, and that we all need to do our part to stop climate change. However, the data provided by the scientific community doesn’t always jibe with their claims.

 At least, that seems to be the case with the data coming out of NOAA’s climate monitoring stations. They have a series of 114 stations across all 50 states, which is known as the US Climate Reference Network. For the past 10 years they’ve shown no sign of global warming. In fact, there’s been a very slight cooling in temperatures across the US.

But at this point, most of the world has bought into the propaganda.  In most industrialized nations, a solid majority of the population actually believes that climate change is the greatest threat that humanity currently faces.

More power in their hands

And since just about all forms of human activity produce “carbon emissions” or affect the environment in some way, it gives control freaks that dream of global government a good excuse to grab more power.  They will always say that it is about “saving humanity” or “saving the planet”, but ultimately everything that they are trying to accomplish would mean more power in their hands.

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Sleepwalking into a loss of sovereignty

Sleepwalking into a loss of sovereignty  By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 8 June 2015

The one thing that is settled in climate science is that if you deviate from the officially sanctioned scripture, you will be severely dealt with.

Take the University of Western Australia’s withdrawal of its offer to establish the Australian Consensus Centre because it failed to conform to global-warming orthodoxy. The founder, Bjorn Lomborg, accepts the basic tenet of man’s role in global warming but differs on how to respond. In the totalitarian world of eco-catastrophism, competing views must be silenced.

Surely this bullying is wearing thin

For nearly 50 years we have been assailed with dud predictions of man-made climate disasters — first cooling, then warming.

It was always problematic that a trace gas which represents 39/1000ths of one per cent of the atmosphere could be the dominant driver of climate, and no surprise, after 18½ years of stasis, that more than 95 per cent of the IPCC’s climate models we have long been assured prove global warming’s link to CO2 emissions are in error.

Scientists from the University of NSW dutifully explain, “This is not a modelling failure, this is just a fact of life in dealing with complex systems”… “It’s clear that the overall modelled surface warming over the course of more than a century is off by only a small margin.”

Their projections against reality not even close

Well not according to American climate scientist and IPCC expert reviewer Don Easterbrook. He says: “When we check their projections against what actually happened, they’re not even close.” IPCC lead author Hans von Storch observes: “So far no one has been able to provide a compelling case (for the model failures).”

And the goalposts keep shifting. If the heat can’t be found in the atmosphere, it must be hiding in the deep ocean. When historical temperature and sea level records don’t comply, they are homogenised.

It’s on such weak evidence that the World Bank and the United Nations expect “more developed” countries to abandon fossil fuels and spend a staggering $89 trillion over 15 years combating climate change. (World GWP is $74 trillion). Does anyone doubt such a massive wealth transfer and the power to redistribute it would change the existing world order? No wonder “big oil” is urgently seeking a place at the UN table.

The climate change movement has become the rallying point for millions of environmental activists who push their alarmist predictions into every home and parliament on the planet. They teach in schools and universities the consequences of inaction. They promote the serious ethical, moral and governance obligations imposed by our membership of the global community.

A “centralised transformation”

All this, according to executive secretary to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change Christiana Figueres, falls into what she calls a “centralised transformation”. She openly declares the shortcomings of democracy and the benefits of communism in fighting global warming. She likes regimented societies and central intervention, not free-market capitalism.

Gideon Rachman, the Financial Times’s chief foreign affairs commentator, in a December 2008 op-ed piece wrote: “So it seems everything is in place. For the first time since homo sapiens began to doodle on cave walls, there is an argument, an opportunity and a means, to make serious steps towards a world government. A world government would involve much more than co-operation between nations. It would be an entity with state-like characteristics, backed by a body of laws. The European Union has already set up a continental government of 27 countries which could be a model.”

Indeed, but a growing number of Europeans, including Britons, now regret not listening to warnings about ceding their national sovereignty to unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels when the Common Market was first proposed.

Only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilisations collapse

Green politics have long had close ties to the UN. The IPCC employs members of Greenpeace and WWF. UN Environment Program founder Maurice Strong, a lifelong Marxist, challenged the 1992 Rio Earth Summit: “Isn’t the only hope for the planet that the industrialised civilisations collapse? Isn’t it our responsibility to bring that about?” He said the Earth Summit would play an important role in reforming and strengthening the UN as the centrepiece of the emerging system of global governance. “Our concepts of ballot box democracy may have to be modified,” he said.

Figueres shares Strong’s Malthusian views, saying: “We are already exceeding the planet’s carrying capacity.” But is this, like climate predictions, also exaggerated? According to the Karolinska Institute’s Professor of Health, Hans Rosling, “fast population growth is coming to an end. Unprecedented in human history, the average fertility rate has halved.”

While world population growth will continue until 2050, the number of people in extreme poverty has fallen from two billion in 1980 to just over one billion today. Rosling believes “for the first time ever, the evidence suggests it is now possible for the last billion to also get out of the misery of extreme poverty in the next few decades.” He should have added, subject to free-market capitalism and access to cheap energy.

Big government and powerful, ambitious and unaccountable bureaucrats

Figueres’s approach is entirely consistent with the Rio Earth Summit’s Agenda 21 where the UN, through environmentalism and wealth redistribution, seeks to call the shots. Her intentions may be good but she believes in big government and powerful, ambitious and unaccountable bureaucrats like herself. As the FT’s Rachman says, at the UN everything is in place for that. There’s no conspiracy here, it’s transparent.

So before we laugh off the prospect of global government based in Geneva and sleepwalk into surrendering more of our national sovereignty in Paris, we should wake up.

Having just commemorated the centenary of the Gallipoli landing and the 70th anniversary of Victory in Europe, it would be irresponsible to be so casual with our individual liberties and our children’s economic future.

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