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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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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Dangers from elitists, PC pundits and indoctrination

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.

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Censorship is not education

Censorship is not education  By Julian Tomlinson – the Cairns Post, 30 June 2016

“I began to wonder if the “humankind is killing the planet” mantra is part of the national curriculum – and it is”

THE arrival of the internet into common usage is changing the world – and some people aren’t very happy about it.

Particularly those with left-leaning ideas about multiculturalism, global warming, the environment and general politics.

Before internet was widely available in people’s homes, we really just had to take as given what we were told by politicians, lawyers, journalists, teachers and university lecturers.

You could have gone to the library and pored over encyclopedias and newspapers, but who’d be bothered?

 And the people speaking were often well dressed, eloquent, full of “facts” and they were on TV.

What they were saying must have been unquestionably true.

From the cultural revolution in the 1960s, progressive thought has dominated discussions among the highest authorities to the family dinner table. Without easy access to credible alternate views, predictions of global catastrophes brought on by global cooling (and now global warming), famines due to overpopulation, and running out of oil were taken very seriously.

These bold predictions dominated the media because of their sensational nature, and the public couldn’t get enough of it.

But none of those predictions – made so passionately and confidently by people we trusted because of their job titles – have come true.

Today, the doomsday predictions continue but more and more people are questioning their authenticity thanks to being able to easily access a whole world of information.

However, it appears some people don’t want anti-doomsday views to be made available for public digestion.

James Cook University recently criticised one of its staff, Professor Peter Ridd, and threatened him with the sack because he had the gall to suggest photos claiming to show a decline in reef health could be misleading.

The uni said that asking such questions was not on and found him guilty of “failing to act in a collegial way and in the academic spirit of the institution”.

Another JCU professor who incurred his employer’s wrath for having a non-doomsday view was prominent climate-change sceptic Bob Carter around the year 2000. According to one website, the university denied him access because his “…views on climate change did not fit well within the school’s own teaching and research activities.”

Surely the whole basis of science is that theories are questioned and tested.

Being a sceptic is not a crime. But obviously not in some circles.

I recently had the great pleasure of judging a public speaking competition and heard speeches from kids aged between 10 and 16.

Of the 10 or so speakers, more than half spoke about the environment, and they made some quite startling and strident statements about the state of the planet and of humans’ place in it.

All of them agreed that climate change was definitely man-made, that the world was grossly overpopulated and that human activity is killing our Reef and environment.

As they were from different schools, I began to wonder if the “humankind is killing the planet” mantra is part of the National Curriculum – and it is. There are some mentions of naturally occurring climate influences, but the vast majority of topics are about humans’ negative impact on pretty much everything in the world.

As I listened, I thought that every one of these kids’ statements is regularly challenged by credible sources and in mainstream media, but obviously those views either aren’t allowed in the classroom or are not strongly encouraged.

If they are, none of the counter-arguments were mentioned in the speeches, which seems odd.

In the interests of healthy debate, a broad and deep world view, and informed decision making, people need access to all the information.

With the internet, we have that access and as a result, more and more topics that had enjoyed an unchallenged existence are not only being questioned, they are being rejected.

Teachers and lecturers surely have a duty to make their students aware of competing viewpoints and how to access them.

Only exposing people – particularly students – to “acceptable” views is denying them real education.

julian.tomlinson@news.com.au

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Brexit, this is what democracy feels like

Brexit, this is what democracy feels like  By Brendan O’Neill, Spiked Online, 25 June 2016

So this is what democracy feels like. This is what a ballot-box revolt looks like. Yesterday the people asserted themselves. They made plain their dislike of the EU. And they did so against virtually the entire establishment. The leaders of capitalism, the vast majority of the political class, experts, academics, world leaders, global institutions, the liberal media and the celebrity set united to warn the little people, to hector and lecture them, about the dangers of rejecting the EU. And yet the little people did it anyway. They said No to the EU, and in the process revolted against a political and media establishment that thinks it knows better than us how Britain should be run. This was an uprising, a polite, quiet one, not only against Brussels but against the political class here at home, against those who rule.

Let us dwell for a moment on the failure of the establishment. It pumped an extraordinary amount of energy, money, time and intellectual resources into the campaign to keep Britain in the EU. It deployed the politics of fear, issuing dire warnings about a post-Brexit recession and a possible surge in racism and violence. It sent experts to explain to our tiny minds all the things that would happen if we made the wrong choice. It rallied big business, corporates, its global partners and allies, all of whom insisted that it is in Britain’s interests, and Europe’s interests, for the EU to stay intact. And yet it didn’t work. Even in the face of these fearful overtures from the powerful, a majority of people rejected the EU. The establishment can no longer connect with significant sections of society. The chasm between the elite and the people just went from huge to possibly unbridgeable.

And this isn’t only a problem for the governing party: the Tories. Yes, the divide in that party has been stark, personified in the clash between Cameron and Boris, and Cameron’s resignation this morning will no doubt intensify Tory fissures. But consider the extraordinary drubbing Labour has taken. Many of its strongholds in the north-east and the Midlands voted against the EU, flat-out refusing to do what Labour leaders implored them to. Labour’s estrangement from its voter base has become explicit. And consider the inability of expert cliques and media commentators — who play a key role in politicking in the 21st century — to win people over to Remain. From Yanis Varoufakis, who traipsed round the country with a band of pro-EU British leftists, to the scientific lobby, which pleaded with us to stay for the sake of scientific funding, to the educational establishment, with its statements about the importance of staying, they all failed. The establishment failed. It stands exposed as utterly disconnected, and morally impotent.

And yet just because the establishment failed, that doesn’t mean the demos have won. Not fully, anyway. We must stay vigilant. For there will now be a concerted effort to thwart our democratic statement, to weaken it by calling into question its legitimacy. This is already happening. Apparently the demos behaved rashly. We ‘voted emotionally rather than considering the facts’, says Labour MP Keith Vaz. We were in the grip of fear, say others. Or we were making a xenophobic statement, they claim, overlooking the irony of their pontificating about prejudice while suggesting that the 17.5million people who said No to the EU, this vast swathe of people, is a tabloid-poisoned blob given to disliking foreign people. Demagogues ‘injected poison into the nation’s bloodstream’, commentators are already saying, the implication being that we were brainwashed, made mad by evil men. We know not what we do. We’re children.

The efforts to rebrand this vote as a kneejerk thing, an emotional thing, a racist thing, are already underway. And others will no doubt argue that because the vote was very close, perhaps we shouldn’t take drastic measures; perhaps we should reform our ties with the EU rather than sever them. We must stand against all this, and insist that the people have spoken, and the people are sovereign, or ought to be. Indeed, that is fundamentally what the referendum was about: do you think Brussels or the parliament in London should be sovereign? The people voted for themselves. We must now deepen the argument for democracy. Breaking links with Brussels won’t remake Britain as a brilliantly democratic, engaged nation. Other institutions will need to be rethought, and public debate re-energised. But what a great starting point we have. If we can ditch something as huge as the EU, what else can we do to the end of enlivening the democratic sphere?

This is what is so exciting about this referendum result. Ignore all the politicos and observers saying ‘Britain is broken. We no longer recognise this country’ (now they know how the people who voted against the EU have felt for years). For this huge jolt in global politics, this brilliant people’s quake, this vote against the political and media and business classes, provides us with an opportunity to rethink public life. It opens up the political landscape. It allows us to wonder, and discuss, how that landscape might be reshaped. We can’t let this momentum slip away. The people asserted themselves, and we must continue doing so, to ensure that the democratic agitation unveiled by this referendum is harnessed and deepened and turned to the ends of creating a better, more open, more engaged era of politics.

Brendan O’Neill is editor of spiked.

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No offence – but harden up!

“For a start, just because you don’t agree with someone does not necessarily mean you have been offended.”

WHAT if everyone stopped looking for ways to be offended?

That’s not the same as simply saying: “Don’t be offended”. That’s a ridiculous notion.

But a lot of energy and outraged activism is wasted when we look for offence, and especially when we manufacture it.

Today’s world has devolved into a race to see who can be the biggest victim. We can no longer revel in playful banter or satire because the thought police are forensically scouring every utterance for a reason to overreact.

With one hashtag, these moralistic pedants can mobilise a million-person army clamouring to win brownie points by putting their shoulders to the Wheel of Victimhood that’s lubricated with fake tears.

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has been very publicly hauled over the coals for joking on his radio program about paying to see outspoken footy journalist Caroline Wilson being held under water.

The spectacularly unfunny, light-hearted comment came and went without incident until someone – nearly a week later – decided to link the joke to violence against women.

Predictably, every puff-piece merchant claiming to be a journalist fell over themselves to call Eddie a misogynist and to decry the AFL as condoning domestic violence and being a big, bad, blokey “boys’ club”.

Men looking to advertise their sensitive sides to women called Eddie a “pig” and demanded he be sacked.

Wilson herself joined the mob to express her outrage.

While anyone with links to Collingwood should be held up to ridicule (oops, I might offend Magpies supporters with that one), this was beyond the pale.

Incidentally, “beyond the pale” is derived from Roman military encampments, so that could be offensive to those whose ancestors suffered under Roman rule 2000 years ago.

But now it has been revealed that exactly the same “under water” joke was made by men on a rival radio station while Wilson was in the studio, and she said barely a word!

Nor did the outrage makers, who no doubt will now rub the egg off their faces and scuttle back to their computers to find their next victim – without apologising or even admitting their bile was misplaced and unfair.

State of Origin is all the rage at the moment, and an off-the-cuff remark by Sam Thaiday about losing virginity sparked an onslaught of hand-wringing, gnashing of teeth and hashtag outrage by snarling keyboard warriors’ intent on crushing any attempt at bawdy humour.

In an age where free love, free choice, freedom of religion, free dress and free expression are the big buzzwords, there is no freedom to tell bad jokes – unless you’re Rove McManus, Peter Helliar or Judith Lucy.

And not only are such jokes frowned upon, those who tell them are figuratively crucified (sorry to the Christians) by people whose idea of a wild night out is watching paint dry.

And I don’t mean to offend painters with that comment by implying their jobs are boring.

Words can be harmful, but everyone needs to recalibrate their offence threshold and calm down.

It is inevitable that everyone will at some stage feel offended, but the level of offence, the tone in which the supposedly offensive material was delivered and the intention of the statement must all be considered.

For a start, just because you don’t agree with someone does not necessarily mean you have been offended.

Then we should ascertain if the speaker or writer intended to cause offence, and usually that’s pretty easy to work out.

But in some universities, simply asking someone what ethnicity they are isn’t seen as making polite conversation or showing a willingness to learn more about them, it’s cause for complete emotional meltdown and public accusations of racism.

If we set our “offence radar” more towards giving people the benefit of the doubt than towards looking for hidden meanings and intent, the world would be a less stressful place.

 As British comedian John Cleese – a passionate advocate for free speech who refuses to appear at universities because of their fervent policies of political correctness – said: “All humour is in some way offensive.”

Which means you can be offended by anything … if you look hard enough.

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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.

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Better-Management Newsletter 29 June

Brexit and its repercussions / Globalisation RIP? / Currencies, gold and silver – where now?

 Brexit and its repercussions

 I wish victors would not crow so loud.  It is rather unseemly. Time to tell Nigel Farage that he has done his job, and now please shut up…

http://www.bbc.com/news/video_and_audio/headlines/36650014

One thing I would like to offer everyone who reads this, is my perspective that a measured British  negotiation to exit the clutches of Brussels could potentially result in the EU itself resiling from the push for political union and leave the EU as simply a free trade bloc.  After all, there are other nations wanting what Britain wants.  If that were to be the case, then Britain may not need to leave at all – compromise may be a good substitute for revolution.

If so, then, what to do with all the debts accumulated by the ECB that no-one thinks is their particular problem?  Hmm, even a rational approach to provide a win, win, may not be enough.

Now from www.better-management.org , this article…

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

It isn’t hard to agree with that is it?  But meantime there are some harsh realities…

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-06-28/merkel-tells-cameron-before-eu-summit-don-t-delude-yourself

Even so, the fact is that UK is a big player in NATO.  It is a big player in banking affairs and in trade.  That means that any punitive actions by the EU could be rebuffed by similarly draconian actions.

Globalisation RIP?

IMHO globalisation may be a trend that has passed its “use by” date.  Adam Smith’s theories were right – for a century or two; but will probably be proven wrong for the second half of this century when access to fungible energy that is cheap enough for mass transport gets too expensive.   Globalisation was useful for the time of the industrial age of oil and for the end of slavery (the latter in the OECD only L) and has been used to ensure we can take advantage of low wage and slave labour in other much poorer countries.  But that has replaced our jobs by off-shoring industry wherever we can.  Donald Trump may be a Bozo, but at least he has recognised a rich vein of unrest, so as to harness popular support.  One politician will never kill globalisation and free trade, because there are too many billions to be made by the so-called 1%, but in the next five years, energy prices will hit certainly cripple it…. Thereafter it remains to be seen how globalisation and free trade will survive as a dominant force…

http://thecrux.com/donald-trump-targets-globalization-and-free-trade-as-job-killers/

Mr Trump may find that he has too many enemies, when he makes such direct threats to those who run the deep state.  Thought a Bozo now, perhaps he will end his days as a martyr – and rather suddenly.

I am always early to the party and often have to sit round waiting for the fun guests to arrive.  In my criticism of globalisation I am certainly too early – once again.   But if I was a young bloke wanting to get into a good business, I would be getting ready to produce consumer durables again in NZ or Oz on a boutique basis initially, but focused on the domestic market and on building skills for the time when protectionism becomes fashionable again.  Things always go round and round.

Currencies, gold and silver – where now?

The Pound has stabilized overnight as have the world’s share markets after realising that Brexit is not a problem for the global economy – or perhaps anyone.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/28/ftse-to-open-higher-as-pound-strengthens-but-theres-more-volatil/

European exchanges came through the night higher as well – as did Dow and NYSE.

In early 2008 when I saw the GFC on the radar, I started buying silver and gold.  But being poverty stricken (well almost J) I decided that investing was a mugs game because you lose 20% of the buy cost when you buy and 20% of the selling price when you sell.  So its only purpose is as a hedge against the disaster of hyperinflation or collapse of the local fiat currency.  With Brexit and the writing on the wall for the global economy, people are starting to get on that same bandwagon.  That doesn’t mean I will be proved right, but it does suggest there may be fewer folk who will believe I am an idiot.

http://thecrux.com/gold-has-become-a-currency-again/

So buying gold in quarter and half oz coins and buying silver in one oz coins (only sold in packs of 20 to avoid oxidization) is the only way to hold the stuff if the dollar gets inflated to heck…  If the worst comes to the worst and a gold “one oz coin” is worth $5,000 how would you buy your weekly Lotto ticket ? J

Today, the oil price is creeping slowly back up to regain what was lost in the post Brexit worries, and gold is slowly settling back down to USD1,315/oz – silver holding steady, and that may be due to the looming end to the silver fix in July (or so we are told ???).  But my reasoning in 2008 was that to buy coins to get in ahead of some perceived disaster, that may be preferable to “missing the boat” altogether.  Even having held a  small quantity now for several years,  I hope I will still be proven wrong and have no reason to use them before my time is up.  The best outcome would be if our children’s children find them useful (or funny) sometime well into the distant future.

From now on….anything that is bad or goes “bump in the night” will be blamed on Brexit.  Two weeks ago the Italian banking system was in trouble, but suddenly today it is the fault of Brexit…makes you laugh.  Economists and bankers never let a good crisis go to waste….

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/27/italy-eyes-40bn-bank-rescue-as-first-brexit-domino-falls/

Even so, a number of banks will have their credit rating revised downwards – from Seeking Alpha

Moody’s will revise the outlook of “a number of big U.K. lenders” to negative from stable today due to fallout from last week’s EU referendum, sources told Sky News. The plan comes just hours after rival Standard & Poor’s stripped the U.K. of its coveted triple-A rating and Fitch downgraded the sovereign. Related tickers: HSBC, BCS, RBS, LYG, OTCPK:SCBFF

When you add in the other profligate banks the EU banking system could always have been this year’s pin to prick the bubble…and trigger a global crash…

http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/warning-this-could-be-the-start-of-a-global-banking-crisis

The great shell game is in progress and we must try to watch where the pee goes to… China chose the opportunity to drop the value of the yuan against the US dollar and unfortunately for Mr Abe the Japanese yen leaped far higher than them all.  Perhaps Abenomincs will have to start wrecking Japan’s economy all over again…print some more money, go even deeper into negative interest rates?

The thoughts in this article are perhaps worthy of consideration…

http://seekingalpha.com/article/3984680-deja-vu-uks-brexit-decision-may-trigger-replay-1931minus-1932-global-devaluations?source=email_macro_view_edi_pic_2_5&ifp=0

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Better-Management Newsletter 28 June

Brexit – a remarkably wide range of views on why it happened, and what’s next

 For those folk who haven’t seen the “Yes Minister” brilliant take on England’s relationship with Europe…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37iHSwA1SwE

Our UK friends have been silent since the referendum but our French friends has sent us worried messages.  They feel very much threatened by the loss of Britain as a balancing force and contributor to the EU.  They fear the Eurosceptics and the forces of far right intolerance.  For Europeans, it is a time of uncertainty.

As the European continent echoes to fear of the unknown…perhaps I am right and it will blow over…or perhaps Doug Casey is right and the Brexit marks the start of the coming GD1….

http://www.caseyresearch.com/articles/why-fridays-bloodbath-is-a-taste-of-whats-to-come

Then there’s George Friedman’s geopolitical take on the situation…

http://www.mauldineconomics.com/this-week-in-geopolitics

Some more views such as Britain has avoided the covert plans for the EU to become a ‘super-state’…

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-06-27/eu-officials-unveil-ultimatum-blueprint-final-solution-european-super-state

Then the always prescient views of Ron Paul…

http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2016-06-27/after-brexit-ron-paul-asks-can-we-exit-few-things-too

While David Cameron has thrown a sulk and Jeremy Corbyn has the prospect of being thrown out as the Leader of the Opposition, Boris Johnson has provided a reasoned and calming voice over Brexit…

“ ‘I cannot stress too much that Britain is part of Europe, and always will be. There will still be intense and intensifying European cooperation and partnership in a huge number of fields: the arts, the sciences, the universities, and on improving the environment. EU citizens living in this country will have their rights fully protected, and the same goes for British citizens living in the EU. 

The only change — and it will not come in any great rush — is that the UK will extricate itself from the EU’s extraordinary and opaque system of legislation: the vast and growing corpus of law enacted by a European Court of Justice from which there can be no appeal. This will bring not threats, but golden opportunities for this country — to pass laws and set taxes according to the needs of the UK.’”

This echoes my view of what it was about the EU relationship that needed to change most.  The politico/legal bureaucracy that has tied everything up in knots.  Merv King, the former long time Governor of the Bank of England made the point that the City of London is not doomed because of Brexit…

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

George Soros who before the vote said that Brexit would be a disaster for Britain has since had this to say…

“‘Now the catastrophic scenario that many feared has materialized, making the disintegration of the EU practically irreversible.

That process is sure to be fraught with further uncertainty and political risk, because what is at stake was never only some real or imaginary advantage for Britain, but the very survival of the European project. Brexit will open the floodgates for other anti-European forces within the Union. Indeed, no sooner was the referendum’s outcome announced than France’s National Front issued a call for “Frexit,” while Dutch populist Geert Wilders promoted “Nexit.”’ “

This video by Andrew Bolt in the Australian media asks the question of whether the same sort of vote in Australia about whether the voters can restore democracy there in the same way that Britain has done, would be possible…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SrUldAu5sq0&feature=youtu.be

(Editor’s note: Another view is, Brexit could be the first major battle won in the fight between the silent majority, the hoi polloi as the ancient Greeks called them, the common people; and the small but massively powerful minority of elite power brokers in the financial, banking, corporate, military, New-World-Order, United Nations and IMF worlds whose arrogance wishes to deny any semblance of democracy.  The ‘we know best’ attitude.)

IMHO:

  1. Because the public cannot be trusted to do what the elites want, politicians will be loathe to hold a referendum on anything of significance in the future, and,
  2. In New Zealand, we are already racially divided by a Race Relations Conciliator, the Maori translation of the Treaty of Waitangi, the Maori Court (aka the Waitangi Tribunal)  and political correctness, that muzzles freedom of speech and makes everyone other than persons claiming to represent Iwi, or other minorities as second class citizens.  Democracy is dying here along with freedom of speech.

From Sinocism, it is more likely that these kinds of economic impacts in China will affect the global economy…particularly for Australia…

China Signals Coal-Capacity Cut Equal to 7.5% of Output in 2015 – Bloomberg Coal output capacity will fall by 280 million tons this year, National Development and Reform Commission Chairman Xu Shaoshi said at the World Economic Forum in Tianjin on Sunday. That’s equal to about 7.5 percent of the 3.75 billion tons that BP Plc says the country produced in 2015. China also plans to shed 45 million tons of steel capacity this year, Xu said.”

The Olympics are coming…along with exposure to Zika and the pollution of Rio

We think of Rio de Janeiro as an exotic place.  But it will be a place that many will visit for the games and leave with an unwelcome guest in their veins.  How exposed?  Well no-one will own up to the degree of risk as it is too late to change the venue.

When the Olympics come to town the poor always bear much of the burden…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W_zM7koJy8

The official position on Zika is that it is no problem…with the advent of winter…

http://www.bbc.com/news/video_and_audio/headlines/36644433#video-36644433

Gold and silver

Alan Greenspan had this to say last week…

“‘If we went back on the gold standard and we adhered to the actual structure of the gold standard as it [existed] prior to 1913, we’d be fine. Remember that the period 1870 to 1913 was one of the most aggressive periods economically that we’ve had in the United States, and that was a golden period of the gold standard.  I’m known as a gold bug and everyone laughs at me, but why do central banks own gold now.’”

Gold and silver prices are settling back slowly after Brexit but gold is still over USD1,315/oz…

It will take a more substantial hit to the global economy to drive the punters towards the yellow metal.

So far, equity markets are said to have lost USD3 trillion since Brexit.

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

Previous Better-Management Newsletters

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

Economic Poker

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

Marc Faber, clear message to sick political elite

Marc Faber, clear message to sick political elite  From Zerohedge, 29 June 2016

“Brexit Sends A Clear Message To Sick Political Elite” Marc Faber Sees “Only Good Contagion”

“We’re moving into a global recession that has nothing to do with Brexit,” warns Marc Faber stressing that Britain leaving the EU would not be disastrous, saying that if Switzerland can operate in a “single” market and outside of the EU so can Britain.

 “Brexit is a victory of ordinary people, common sense and people who are prepared to take responsibility for the sake of freedom against a political and financial elite that only cares if stocks go up or down and does not care about the interests of the average British citizen.

“We can only hope that more countries will opt out of the failed EU monster. I see only a good contagion.”

When asked why the markets and polls got it so wrong, the editor of the Gloom, Boom & Doom Report, told CNBC, “They were conducted or paid by the elite.”

As CNBC further noted, Faber agreed with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump that a Brexit is a benefit to his campaign. He said the U.S. could also see a revolt against the political establishment with the election of Trump to the presidency,

“It is already well underway. Brexit is a huge boon for Trump and a wake-up call to Hillary that ordinary people are sick and tired of being lied to and cheated by the crony capitalistic system.”

Finally, as FOX Business reports, the Swiss investor compared the current situation between the U.K. and the EU to Switzerland’s historic fight for its own freedom…

“In the 13th century we fought the Habsburg Empire to be free and not to have foreign justice and foreign laws and not to pay taxes to foreign overlords,” he explained.

“This is precisely what the EU does with all the countries. They want to impose courts of justice, taxes, regulations, new laws and most of which inhibit economic growth. This is a victory for freedom and for people, the Brits.”

Finally, Faber also said, confirming our earlier perspective, that the Brexit will be the “perfect excuse” for global central banks to “coordinate the monetary policies to print even more money.”

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

Australia faces danger as politicians ignore danger signs

Australia faces danger as politicians ignore danger signs  By Maurice Newman, The Australian, 23 June 2016

Decades ago, JK Galbraith lament­ed the extreme brevity of financial memory. In his essay A Short History of Financial Euph­or­ia, he wrote: “There can be few fields of human endeavour in which history counts for so little as in the world of finance. Past experience, to the extent that it is part of memory at all, is dismissed as the primitive refuge of those who do not have an insight to ­appreciate the incredible wonders of the present.”

Today’s extreme valuations of financial assets, so soon after the global financial crisis, make ­Galbraith’s point. But it’s not only financial memories that are afflict­ed. The reckless behaviour of world governments and central bankers across the past eight years confirms they are not alone.

Malcolm Turnbull certainly appreciates the incredible wonders of the present as he enthuses that “there’s never been a more exciting time to be Australian”. We all love an optimist, but it’s hard to share the excitement given the Prime Minister’s obvious cultural cringe, the prospects of higher taxes, continuing empty treasuries, increasingly oppressive government, falling living stand­ards and sacrosanct workplace laws.

Even if he has forgotten, we ­remember that as recently as May 2014 the government of which he was a minister was focused on a budget emergency. That may be passed off today as an Abbott-Hockey construct, but debts and deficits continue to mount under the Turnbull Coalition team, with net debt expected to climb to $357 billion in 2019, up from $290bn this year. Claims of a balanced budget by 2021 seem heroic.

Not that Bill Shorten and his Labor colleagues offer anything better. They too rejoice in a naive view of the present. They conveniently forget the 2007 Howard government’s $20bn surplus and no-net-debt inheritance that by 2013 had been turned into a $19bn deficit and $161bn of net debt. They overlook locking future ­governments into spending commitments that banked a once-in-100-years resources boom as permanent. They may forget, but our creditors won’t.

Labor says it puts people first and guarantees, even though costings have not been released, that its policies are “fully costed and fairness tested”. Really?

What ­experience tells us is that these guarantees are based on ­politically oriented, notoriously unrelia­ble­, best-case statistics.

Furthermore, Labor’s anti-business platform, which rejects the government’s planned corporate tax cuts as old-style Reagan­omics, together with its proposal to lift electricity prices through growth-killing, job-destroying ­renewable energy investment, means that whatever doubts may exist around the Coalition’s forecasts, Labor’s are totally lacking credibility.

Truth is, Labor and its fellow travellers within the Coalition, the media and the left-wing intellig­entsia have never really signed up to serious fiscal restraint, let alone a budget emergency. After 25 years of uninterrupted growth, they have grown complacent and take improving living standards for granted. They give priority to populist programs to buy votes and foolishly deny that talent and capital move to where they are most welcome.

The election campaign makes no mention of repeated warnings from the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund about sluggish demand in ­advanced economies, weak trade, diminishing capital flows and slower world growth. Budget forecasts happily ignore the fiscal ­ramifications of another global recession or a prolonged slowdown.

Yet in the US, despite eight years of zero interest rates, the data flow continues to disappoint. Business sales have been declining for nearly two years and invent­ories to sales are back to where they were in the last recession. The trend in employment is down and bankruptcies year-on-year are up 32 per cent. People who follow these things say in the past such trends presaged a recession only months later.

In Europe, Deutsche Bank’s chief economist David Folkerts-Landau launched an extraordin­ary broadside on the European Central Bank, saying it “has lost credibility within markets and, more worryingly, among the public”. “The ECB’s response is to push policy to further extremes. This causes misallocations in the real economy that becomes ­increasingly hard to reverse without even greater pain,” he warns.

Irrespective of whether Britain leaves the EU, Europe is in a fragile state socially and econom­ic­ally and polarising politically around Left and Right extremes.

Asia, simplistically promoted in Australia as the unstoppable key to our prosperity, also is slowing. Last year China grew at the slowest pace in 25 years with offic­ials projecting a tougher year ahead. Trade data remains poor and China suffers rampant surplus capacity. Its debt levels prompted celebrated currency speculator George Soros to short the yuan and observe that the “Chinese economy is like America in 2007-08”.

Japan, Australia’s second largest trading partner, is flirting with recession and the OECD forecasts that growth in South Korea will decline through the forward estimates. Hardly a cause for optimism. And when Bill Gross, one of the world’s most successful bond ­investors, says “global yields are at their lowest in 500 years of recorded history … this is a supernova that will explode one day”, we should listen.

The risks are clearly not trivial and are increasing. Like the rest of the advanced world Australia faces debt, ageing demographics and potential deflation.

Yet the main parties have resolved to whistle a happy tune as if there will be no day of reckoning. Best to wait until credit downgrades or a crisis leave them with no alternative.

In the meantime, in the absence of fundamental structural change where markets can operate without being crowded out by big governments, plans for “jobs and growth” and putting “people first” are merely empty slogans.

So, presented with representatives from the main parties each preferring to inhabit that primit­ive refuge of selective memories and blind eyes, voters’ choices are limited. The best they can do is ­inflict the least harm on their children’s future and hope that in time safer options will present.

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

Australian Labor’s amazing economic magic pudding

Australian Labor’s amazing economic magic pudding  By Nick Cater, The Australian, 21 June 2019

After half a century or more of plundering the proceeds of capitalism, the socialists are struggling to find plan B. The financial crisis was a moment of truth; once you’ve run out of other people’s money to spend what the heck are you going to do next?

In Britain Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn says he’ll ask the Bank of England to print money — “people’s quantitative easing” he calls it — an idea beautiful in its simplicity but totally and utterly daft. Bernie Sanders was ready to tax rich Americans at up to 90 per cent to realise his somewhat implausible vision of an American welfare state.

Closer to home, Labor seems equally reluctant to forswear its spendthrift habits and has been driven to adopt an audacious new doctrine of its own. It’s called “pre-distribution” or, put in layman’s terms, spending money you haven’t yet got.

Pre-distribution is not, as one might imagine, a term of abuse invented by the Right but a concept openly debated within Labor’s pre-eminent think tank, the Chifley Research Centre. It is part of the thinking that led last year to the establishment of an Inclusive Prosperity Commission headed by elder statesman Wayne Swan.

Inclusive prosperity is what you get if you cross John Keynes and Norman Lindsay — the economics of the magic pudding.

“Slicing of the proverbial economic pie differently, towards a redistribution to the middle and the poor, can simultaneously increase the size of the pie,” argues Julia Gillard’s former adviser Stephen Koukoulas — somewhat unconvincingly — in the inclusive prosperity manifesto.

He admits that the idea requires “a recasting of a lot of mainstream economic thinking which is more narrowly focused on the size of budget”. But as Bill Barnacle explained to Bunyip Bluegum, “That’s where the Magic comes in. The more you eats the more you gets.”

Swan’s thoughts on the topic were outlined in an article headlined “6 reasons ‘inclusive prosperity’ is conclusively awesome” published last year in the Labor Herald.

“Spreading the gain of wealth creation through inclusive prosperity and equity will give Australia a stronger economy,” he wrote. “Equity itself is a driving force for economic growth.”

Perhaps Euromoney magazine was right after all; Swan was indeed the World’s Best Treasurer. His debt-laden budgets were not, as we supposed, impulsive fiscal vandalism but the early sketches of a novel type of socialism that will lead us to a bright new dawn, on a date yet to be decided, sometime beyond the forward estimates.

It is clear, too, that Labor’s favourite new word — fairness — is more than just rhetoric; it is shorthand for a dangerous delusion that is driving the party’s post financial crisis policy. As Bill Shorten put it when he launched his party’s 10-year economic plan: “Fairness is not a dividend of prosperity — it is a foundation for sustainable growth.”

Mark Latham, who has emerged unexpectedly as one of the more astute observers of public folly, dedicated his column in The Daily Telegraph last week to putting Shorten straight.

“Really?” he wrote. “Fairness, through more government spending on health, welfare benefits and social workers, makes the economy grow in a sustainable way? This is what they used to think in Greece.”

Paul Keating tactfully kept his thoughts to himself at Sunday’s campaign launch; the party’s new doctrine repudiates just about everything he stood for as a leader who led Australia out of its last recession and into a period of unprecedented growth.

Something peculiar happened to the Left in 2007-08 when ­Europe plunged into recession. It was not for them the moment of truth for the overstretched, over-governed and over-leveraged state but confirmation of what they’d suspected all along about the dark side of capitalism.

Thus began an unhealthy ­obsession with the agenda of redistribution. Everything was the fault of the super-rich and big business, who must be made to pay.

The persuasive counter argument — that higher taxes on income and wealth reduce the appetite for risk and drain the economy of its entrepreneurial energy — was barely considered.

The concept of pre-distribution, first articulated by Jacob Hacker, a Yale University political scientist, was prompted by the realisation that the politics of tax and spend were getting harder.

“Excessive reliance on redistribution fosters backlash making taxes more salient and feeding into the conservative critique that government simply meddles with ‘natural’ market rewards,” he wrote.

Labor’s version of pre-distribution — pushing the burden of increased spending on things like schools and disability cover way into the future — is one way of separating the pain from the gain.

Another is the belief of Hacker and others that the union movement is not, as it appears, a belligerent set of self-serving institutions lining the pockets of a few, but an angelic host sent from heaven to bestow riches upon us all.

According to this theory, the current slow growth in wages is not the result of stagnant productivity and a sluggish economy but a symptom of the decline in union bargaining power. What we need are higher wages all around since, as Koukoulas explains, “there is an unambiguous correlation between income and happiness”.

It seems that the absence in Shorten’s campaign speech of any obvious measures to encourage economic growth was not an oversight after all, but an indication of the strange direction in which the postmodern Left is heading.

Budget deficits are little more than a political construct to be used in scare campaigns by the Neanderthal Right. Entrepreneurs are not the drivers of progress but its enemy. Why give tax breaks to the businesses that bake the pie? It’s how you slice it that matters.

“There you are,” said Bill. “There’s nothing this Puddin’ enjoys more than offering slices of himself to strangers.”

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

Previous Economic Poker articles

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

Another ‘must-read’ article.

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Gorka’s plan to defeat ISIS

Gorka’s plan to defeat ISIS  By Dr Sebastion Gorka, 27 June 2016

‘The FBI people I know are fed up with getting PC stuff down their throats’. Dr. Sebastian Gorka.’ WASHINGTON – A Marine Corps University professor has become famous practically overnight because he has something President Obama does not.

A plan to defeat jihad, and he can articulate it simply and convincingly.

Ever since the Orlando massacre it has become practically impossible to tune into Fox News and not see Dr. Sebastian Gorka, the Major General Matthew C. Horner Distinguished Chair of Military Theory at Marine Corps University.

He has also advised the secretary of defense and is lead instructor for the combating terrorism course for the U.S. Special Operations Command, among his many impressive bona fides.

Gorka has become a ubiquitous guest on Fox News not just because his analysis is razor sharp and witty, but because his subject matter has grown more timely by the hour.

The title of his New York Times bestseller released in April is also a bold statement: “Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War.”

Among numerous raves, Conservative Review hailed the book as a “succinct tract that will prove to be indispensable in the United States’ and the rest of world’s coming efforts against the hydra-like enemy that is Islamic extremism.”

Reviewer Nate Madden observed, “Quite simply, it has never been sufficient [for] policymakers and strategists to utter the platitude that the terrorists ‘hate our freedom’ without thoroughly understanding why they do and how they systematically plan to snuff it out. ‘Defeating Jihad’ offers a quick primer to fill the informational gap.”

In his book, Gorka proposes a simple but comprehensive strategy to defeat global jihad. Simple, in that it only has three parts, but comprehensive in that those parts have many details. Those details represent the product of years of study, research and writing on counterterrorism.

These are the three parts to Gorka’s strategy to defeat jihad:

1) Identify the enemy
2) Empower allies
3) Delegitimize the ideology of jihad

And here are the details:

1) Identify the enemy

Name the enemy

Gorka has a simple explanation as to why it is so important to identify the enemy and to call it by name. What’s in a name? Well, he explains, if a patient had cancer but his doctor didn’t want to cause alarm and called it a cold, that would certainly affect the choice of treatment.

Likewise, President Obama has steadfastly refused to identify the enemy as radical Islam.

Gorka says that’s because for the last seven years the White House narrative has been that terrorism is the result of poverty and lack of education, not religion.

But it is essential to identify jihad as fueled by religion, insists the professor.

“It would be incredibly symbolically important and also operationally important. The FBI people I know are fed up with getting PC-stuff down their throats,” wrote Gorka on his website in June.

He added, “Not calling the enemy Radical Islam undermines our allies in the Muslim world, who realize the conflict is a religious war within Islam and the jihadists are winning. It doesn’t help these Muslim allies when the Obama administration says it has nothing to do with religion.”

It is imperative to recognize the enemy is motivated by a religious narrative, but that does not mean it is a war on a religion, maintains Gorka.

“This isn’t a war with Islam. This is a war inside Islam. But the enemy is using religion. We cannot defeat them unless we understand how religion informs their operations and how they define their strategies, their tactics, their procedures and their techniques,” he noted in a lecture delivered earlier this year in Budapest.

“It is time for us to speak truthfully about those who wish to kill us or enslave us. It is time again to speak the words ‘evil’ and ‘enemy.’ And it is time to draw a plan for victory, calling on strategies that have proved themselves against other totalitarian foes,” wrote Gorka in his book.

Remove politics

Refusing to call Islamic radicalism by name is inserting politics into warfare, asserts Gorka.

“Until politics is taken out of national security, we’re all at risk from the enemy whose name the White House refuses to use,” he wrote on his website.

Refusing to recognize radical Islam has also put the fox in the henhouse.

The White House has enlisted the advice of various groups linked to the Muslim Brotherhood, a group Gorka says should instead be recognized as the progenitor of twentieth-century jihadism.

“Washington must resist the continuous lobbying and subversive tactics of groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC),” because these Muslim Brotherhood affiliates “helped establish ‘violent extremism’ as the official label for jihadist terrorism, an act of misdirection meant to weaken our ability to identify and defeat the threat.”

An advertisement from what the Clarion Project calls a 2013 CAIR misinformation campaign

The anti-extremist Clarion Project notes that CAIR is “an unindicted co-conspirator in the terrorism-financing trial of the Holy Land Foundation. The federal government specifically identified CAIR as an entity of the U.S. Muslim Brotherhood’s Palestine Committee, a secret body set up to advance the Hamas agenda.”

Security experts say the advice given to the White House by pro-Islamic groups has resulted in the scrubbing of religious references such as Islam and jihad from government training manuals.

Clare Lopez, who manages the counter-jihad and Shariah programs at the Center for Security Policy, and who spent 20 years in the field as a CIA operations officer, described to WND in 2014 how the Obama administration “actively purged truthful curriculum about the inspirational relationship between Islamic doctrine, law, and scripture and Islamic terrorism.”

She said U.S. leaders were told what words to remove by groups affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and that some of those same groups were even allowed to supervise the purge.

Gorka advises reversing all those prohibitions in order to better understand and defeat jihadis.

“For the last seven years there has been a political infection of our threat assessment,” he testified before the House Armed Services Committee in January.

“When the enemy says they’re jihadists, you don’t get to call them unemployed disenfranchised individuals who need a better education. We have to prosecute this war objectively and understand the enemy as they understand themselves.”

On his website Gorka observed, “The idea that federal agencies, armed services, and law enforcement are not allowed to discuss the religious motivation and ideology of our enemies, and that words such as jihad have to be censored out of our lexicon of counter-terrorism and military training has to end.”

“If this administration persists in ignoring the reality that jihadi terrorism is a global phenomenon that has reached our shores and continues to focus instead on concepts such as ‘lone wolf,’ ‘hate crime,’ and ‘the proliferation of weapons in private hands,’ we will continue to see Americans die on U.S. soil,” he added.

In an opinion piece in the New York Post in June, Gorka wrote, “Americans will only be safe again here in America if we speak honestly about who the enemy is and what drives them, and then deploy the kinds of forward-thinking intelligence tools the NYPD deployed after 2001. The tools [New York] Mayor de Blasio has tried to shut down are exactly the kinds of tools that can identify jihadists before they strike.”

Know the enemy

“Just as one must study Clausewitz, Machiavelli, and Napoleon to understand the modern Western way of war,” wrote the professor in his book, “so one must be intimately acquainted with certain key jihadi writers and thinkers if one wishes to defeat our current enemy.”

In an article in Townhall in May, Gorka warned against the president’s “greater concern with not offending Muslims (themselves the largest casualties of jihad) than openly and honestly describing an enemy that seeks to spread its Sharia-based totalitarian rule over the world. In so doing, President Obama ignores Sun Tzu’s dictum about knowing your enemy if you wish to win — at our nation’s peril.”

 Gorka believes it is also essential to understand that the Islamic State, or ISIS, poses a new and unique threat to the West because it has declared a caliphate.

It gives jihadis life and hope.

“Most important of all,” he said in Budapest, “is the thing we don’t really talk about, especially in Washington, the thing that really makes ISIS different is what they did two years ago in Mosul. At the end of June 2014, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the chief of ISIS, declared the caliphate reborn. The theocratic empire of Islam was back. Why is this important? Because for 90 years the fundamentalists, the extremists have been trying to do this.”

He noted the Muslim Brotherhood, al-Qaida and other Islamist groups “have been trying for decades to bring the empire back. All of them failed. But ISIS didn’t talk about this dream – they made it a reality.”

“And it’s still there two years later. This is impressive.”

ISIS has now become main threat to the West because, “It is a real transregional insurgency.”

Testifying before Congress, Gorka noted ISIS has a “mobilizational capacity leaves al-Qaida in the dust.”

That greatly distinguishes ISIS from al-Qaida and makes it even more dangerous.

“This is a graduate level threat. This is a much more advanced kind of threat,” said Gorka in Budapest.

ISIS now holds territory populated by more than 6 million people. It has affiliates in at least seven nations, including West Africa. Additionally, ISIS excels at recruiting: It now has 80,000 fighters.

Gorka points out that ISIS is also the richest threat group in human history, a non-state actor making at least $2 to 4-million per day from illicit oil sales, kidnappings, taxation and other means.

For these reasons, it will not “run out of steam” if ignored.

And this war cannot be fought and won conventionally.

That’s because, as Gorka wrote in the Post, “Instead of spectacular attacks like 9/11, our religiously fueled enemy is using classic guerrilla tactics against large concentrations of unarmed civilians. All you have to do is connect the dots from the rock concert in Paris to the airport check-in desk in Brussels to the Pulse gay club in Orlando.”

“Washington weasel terms like ‘lone wolf’ are designed to dissuade the public from thinking there’s a link between all of these attacks, a connective tissue that ties them to 9/11, Ford Hood, Chattanooga and the Boston bombings. But that link exists: It is global jihadism, the ideology that ISIS has taken to the next level and that is committed to killing or enslaving all Americans.”

Recognize the enemy is here

“To be very clear: The enemy is already here — and he wants to kill us at home,” Gorka wrote in the Post.

He described the jihadi presence in America as startling, especially given the number of those who would rather wage war here than go overseas.

“We have killed or arrested 101 people linked to ISIS,” in the last two years, and they are dispersed across the country, not concentrated in one place.

“This is a real threat. It’s not a hypothetical one,” he said in Budapest.

“And here’s the really bad news,” Gorka warned: “Half of them wanted to go overseas, 20 percent were managers, but, 33.3 percent of everyone we’ve ever intercepted has no intention of going anywhere. They have decided the best way to serve the new emperor and the new caliphate is to kill infidels at home.”

He referred to an unclassified report his Threat Knowledge Group published in January (The Islamic State and Information Warfare: Defeating ISIS and the Broader Global Jihadist Movement) that “concluded the likelihood of a Paris-style attack happening in America isn’t a question of ‘if”, it is a question of when.”

“We published that report one week before the San Bernardino massacre.”

He indicated more such catastrophic attacks are sure to follow, and repeatedly, unless there is a change in strategy.

Gorka maintains that, just as the jihadis’ identity is religious, it is important to recognize their motivation is religious, too.

They are not moved to kill because of economic or political reasons. They have no “root grievances.”

Their motivation is simply to wage jihad and to establish a worldwide caliphate, that is, an Islamic empire.

Gorka says that is not a perversion of Islam, but a use of select Quranic precepts to inspire jihadis.

In his book he maintains groups like al-Qaida and the Islamic State “are not in fact ‘perverting’ religious texts but skillfully applying those alleged revelations that best support their cause.”

The professor credits much of the Islamic State’s success in creating such a large following to the style of Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and how he presents himself as religious leader rather than a guerrilla fighter.

Osma bin Laden wore battle fatigues, but Baghdadi wears the costume of an imam, an Islamic priest.

That is important because theirs is a religious cause, and the establishment of a global caliphate is why they fight. It’s that simple.

Recognize the enemy’s goal

The global caliphate is the jihadis’ ultimate and only goal.

That makes them implacable because nothing short of global domination will satisfy them.

Gorka believes jihadis have much in common with previous totalitarian regimes bent on world domination, including the former Soviet Union. And that means much can be learned from the tactics the West successfully employed to win the Cold War.

“Consider that communists were – and Islamic extremists are – animated by a dictatorial ideology, seeking world domination by means peaceful and violent, overt and covert,” he wrote in Townhall.

“There can be no co-existence with such expansionist enemies: When President Ronald Reagan — who had confronted communists face-to-face during his Hollywood days — said that his Cold War strategy was ‘We win, they lose,’ this was not mere hyperbole. He knew America, he knew his enemy, and made his life’s work defeating it.”

Gorka added, “Contrary to the arguments of President (Obama), we must not dismiss the historical Cold War model. A clear-eyed assessment of the Islamist’s goals, strategies and tactics reveals chilling similarities with the communists,” adding, “similarities between groups like al-Qaida or the Islamic State and USSR are too numerous and fundamental to be ignored.”

“The existential threat to America today comes from the global jihadi movement, of which the Islamic State is the most dangerous expression,” he wrote in his book.

2) Empower allies

 Muslims must fight the war

Gorka believes it is essential to understand this is not a war against Islam, it is a war inside Islam.

And that means the warriors to defeat the jihadis should come from inside Islam.

The professor says America’s Muslim allies must make up the bulk of boots on the ground. It is their region and their religion which are at stake and form the battlegrounds, both physically and ideologically.

America is fortunate, he maintains, to have good allies in waiting, including Jordan and Egypt.

“We have to empower our Muslim allies in the Middle East who are most at threat from groups such as ISIS, and which, in the final analysis, have to be the face of a victory against Islamist extremism and terrorism,” Gorka wrote on his website.

“This includes the Jordanians and especially the government of [Egyptian] President Fatah al-Sisi, a brave Muslim who has been rejected by this administration.”

Gorka believes U.S. troops do have a vital role to play, but not as direct combatants.

He believes our Sunni allies will not “destroy this enemy unless we assist them, which means redeploying our troops as advisers to the region.”

Additionally, the professor argues in his book that the U.S. should have learned a painful but essential lesson: “Afghanistan and Iraq should have taught us the folly of ‘nation building.’”

The U.S. military can’t fight endless insurgencies to guarantee the peace, he maintained.

Technology will not win the war

Gorka stresses that brutal, low-tech wars are the new normal, despite the U.S. military’s infatuation with high technology.

The Pentagon may imagine the warrior of the future as equipped with weapons out of the film “Iron Man,” but he, or she, will be fighting a war on a much more basic and barbaric playing field.

That’s because the enemy is fighting a low-tech war.

“In the last 14 years, the most dangerous weapons used against our servicemen and women have been IEDs and RPGs. An artillery shell with two wires coming out of it, or a grenade on an unguided launch platform—that is how the enemy fights us, and that is the challenge, how to deal with the low-tech threats and understand it’s not just about our high-tech applications,” Gorka stated in his testimony before Congress.

“War is not driven by technology – it is driven by passion. It’s ugly. And it’s getting worse,” said the professor in Budapest.

He cited data collected by the University of Pennsylvania on the 460 conflicts in last 200 years showing that less than 20 percent were wars between nations. Eighty percent were unconventional conflicts, such as those waged by al-Qaida and ISIS.

Gorka said those wars have been “different than the kind of wars we would like to fight.”

Recognize we are losing the war

President Obama recently suggested the U.S. is winning the war against ISIS because it is on the defensive and has lost some territory in Syrian and Iraq.

He was contradicted just two days later by his own CIA director, John Brennan.

As WND reported, testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee on June 16, Brennan did not portray the coalition as winning at all. In fact, he described no progress in blunting the Islamic State’s power.

 “Unfortunately, despite all our progress against ISIL on the battlefield and in the financial realm, our efforts have not reduced the group’s terrorism capability and global reach,” testified Brennan.

He even suggested the coalition was a long way from winning, adding, “The resources needed for terrorism are very modest, and the group would have to suffer even heavier losses of territory, manpower, and money for its terrorist capacity to decline significantly.”

Noting the distinct discrepancy in the assessments, Gorka posted on Facebook, “I guess President Obama missed the memo?”

But it’s not just overseas where the jihadis are surging. The enemy has taken the war to America with a vengeance since Obama has been in office, and especially since last year.

Jihadi attacks on U.S. soil jumped in Obama’s first year in office in 2009, then skyrocketed last year.

image: http://www.wnd.com/files/2016/06/muslim-american-terrorism-chart-1.png

 “2015 saw the highest incidence of jihadi attacks on U.S. soil since Sept.11th.”

He emphasized, “We are not winning this war. Not America, not Europe. 15 years later, we are still losing.”

Gorka says there is only one appropriate response.

The United States must declare war on the jihadis.

“America is at war. The events in Orlando represent a sea change in the United States. Or at least they should,” the professor declared on his website.

“The administration of President Obama now has an historic opportunity to declare to the world that we are at war and our enemies must be crushed.”

3) Delegitimize the ideology of jihad

 De-glamorize jihad

In a nutshell, Gorka finds that jihad has just become too appealing and glamorous.

“Too sexy,” said the professor in Budapest.

The way to nullify that appeal is to discredit jihad.

And the way to do that is to use social media to delegitimize the ideology.

Gorka calls for the West to launch a counter-propaganda campaign.

And that is where the lessons from Cold War become so vital, because it was when the Soviet citizens lost faith in the cause that the Iron Curtain came crashing down.

“My book is based upon my experience growing up in the Cold War, having parents who escaped the communist nation of Hungary in 1956. We have to do what we did during the Cold War, but now with a different ideology.”

He recommends a massive campaign to counter enemy propaganda using social media, but reminiscent of tactics the West employed against the Soviets, such as the establishment of publishing houses in Europe with CIA funds and the dissemination of news on Voice of America radio broadcasts.

Gorka elaborated, “The West won the Cold War by delegitimizing communism. We have to delegitimize the new totalitarian ideology of jihad. Only then will we win. Not by killing our way out of it, because they can always recruit more. We have to make the ideology bankrupt.”

“Ultimately we will win when the ideology of global jihadism is no longer attractive to young men and women from Orlando to Brussels, from Paris to San Bernardino. That can only be done through a strategic-level counter-propaganda campaign driven by the White House, in exactly the same way that we did during the Cold War,” Gorka further explained on his website.

Key to victory

The professor suggests turning the tables on one of the jihadis’ key strengths.

ISIS is exceptionally good at social media and using it for propaganda.

Gorka noted FBI Director James Comey has testified ISIS has more than 20,000 social media platforms.

“Not subscribers – platforms,” he marveled in Budapest. “They post more than 50,000 jihadi social media messages every day! These guys are good, and they understand how to do propaganda in the age of social media.”

But Gorka also sees the jihadis’ reliance on social media as a liability that can be exploited. That’s because they “blab” on social media.

“ISIS and all jihadists tell their recruits what they want them to do, often in English, on unencrypted sites. This is enormous. We have to use that open-source intelligence and exploit it to protect ourselves.”

He said there are tons of open-source (publicly available) information on jihadis’ goals and tactics.

“Social media and open-source Intelligence exploitation will be key to our victory,” flatly declared Gorka.

That is why we need to change tactics, he testified before Congress.

“Apart from its physical capabilities, ISIS is a master of Information Warfare. What I have been trying to convince this city of for many years now is that we have not even begun to engage in the information operations battlefield. We do almost everything at the tactical level and have allowed political correctness to infect the way we do Information Operations and Psychological Warfare.”

America must delegitimize the ideology of the enemy or become trapped by “endless rounds of ‘whack-a-mole’ against the growing ranks of jihadists,” Gorka stated in his book.

“Your children, my grandchildren, will be hunting jihadists a hundred years from now unless we take down their ideology of Global Jihadism. And the only way we can do that is if we finally remove politics from threat assessment,” he told Congress.

Force is only part of the solution

The West can’t win the war with the jihadis without winning the debate over who has the better vision for the world.

That’s because, Gorka notes, it doesn’t matter how many jihadis we kill, they will always replace their fighters. They have a virtually inexhaustible supply and are skillful recruiters.

He describes a war unlike one any living American has faced. The frightening reality is the battle has come to the homeland.

“We’re all on the frontline of this war. And, God forbid, if you are targeted in an attack, remember your options. Run if you can run. If you can’t run, hide. And if you can’t hide: fight. With whatever you can — a chair, a fire-extinguisher, your fists. Even a man with a rifle can’t stop 100 people rushing him all at the same time,” the jihad expert wrote in the Post.

No one knows when he or she may suddenly find themselves in a firefight, whether in San Bernardino, Orlando, or the next city to come under attack.

That’s why, Gorka concluded in his book, “Every American has a mission to execute.”

In a radio interview in June, host Gayle Trotter mentioned, “My favorite of your suggestions is obtaining conceal carry licensure for those willing to take on the responsibility.”

“Only if you are prepared to take all the responsibility onboard that being a licensed concealed carrier means,” the professor replied. “San Bernardino proves it. We are all on the front lines of this war.”

But, he also maintains anyone and everyone can contribute to the cause simply by just spreading the truth about jihad.

One need not “be a member of Delta Force or an intelligence analyst deep in the bowels of the CIA to be part of the effort to defeat the global jihadist movement,” he concludes in his book.

“The most important contribution you can make, whatever your ‘day job’ happens to be, is to be an educator.”

“Every American should own a Quran,” the professor counselled.

“You owe it to yourself, your family, and all the Americans killed on 9/11 and since to know the truth.”

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Shut down the sheiks who incite violence by Muslims

Shut down the sheiks who incite violence by Muslims  By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 18 June 2016

First they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out —
because I was not a socialist.
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out —
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out —
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me — and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemoller, 1892-1984

Protestant pastor who, for being an outspoken critic of Hitler, spent the final seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps

That history often repeats itself imperfectly shouldn’t discourage us from learning from the past. Martin Niemoller’s lesson about political apathy, first delivered in Europe’s postwar years, has ramifications in the 21st century.

Islamist terrorists, under different names, from al-Qa’ida to Hezbollah to Islamic State and others, came for the Jews first. Then they came for the Americans on 9/11, then the British people on buses and walking along London streets.

Then other Islamist terrorists, using different names but infused with a similar religious ideology, came for prepubescent Nigerian schoolgirls. Others came to murder Yazidi boys and men; they came for the Yazidi girls too, selling and raping them.

They came for the gays in Syria and Iraq, tossing them off rooftops. They gunned down iconoclastic French cartoonists in Paris, young Parisians in a nightclub too, others in a restaurant, a cafe. French policemen were slaughtered on the street. Men advocating the same Islamist terrorist cause came for customers in a Sydney cafe, a Sydney police worker.

Then, on Sunday at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, they came for the gays, murdering 49 people. They will come for others, too. Every Western country is on high alert to prevent further murder at the hands of Islamic terrorists. It’s not that we are saying nothing. We say plenty each time Islamic terrorists strike. But too few say what’s needed. And that leads to the challenge raised by Niemoller: does silence equal complicity when it allows evil to continue?

Three fundamental failures rooted in politics, law and culture have led the West to a dangerous inflexion point in relation to the way we use words in the terrorism space. Politically, we fail to discuss the critical issue of the relationship between Islam and terrorism. Legally, we have laws that fail to prosecute those who incite murderous violence. Culturally, we have created a system of competitive victimhood, where people vie for victimhood status, become infantilised by a bevy of laws and concomitant social diktats about what can and cannot be said.

There is a direct relationship between each of these societal failures. The explosion of feelings-based claims, legal or otherwise, distracts us from confronting those who incite others to violence and, most critically, it fuels a modern veneration of victimhood that stifles critical debates about the values and future of Western liberal democracies.

US President Barack Obama has come to symbolise the political failure. Time and again, he has shied away from even mentioning the root cause of modern terrorism: radical Islamic ideology. This week, Obama confected outrage over this analysis of his presidency. He built a straw man that he could easily tear down. “Not once has an adviser of mine said, ‘Man, if we really use that phrase (radical Islam) we’re going to turn this thing around’,” he said as he criticised the term as just a talking point.

Except that Obama hasn’t managed to talk about this talking point. Not once this week has he engaged on the great challenge facing the West: the relationship between Islam and terrorism. If the leader of the free world cannot speak honestly about this, who can?

Refreshingly, in July last year British Prime Minister David Cameron said: “It’s dangerous to deny the link with Islam because when you do that you neuter the important voices challenging the religious basis which terrorists use for their own warped purposes.”

Alas, one good speech is not a conversation. In Australia, Malcolm Turnbull begrudgingly manages to mention “radical Islamists” and there the real conversation stops before it’s even started.

The departure of Sheik Farrokh Sekaleshfar from Australia on Tuesday night raises questions for us to consider. Sekaleshfar came as a guest of the Imam Husain Islamic Centre in Sydney’s Earlwood. Sekaleshfar has previously said having the death penalty for homosexuals in Islamic societies “is nothing to be embarrassed about”.

He outlined those views in Orlando just weeks before gays were slaughtered in the Pulse nightclub. He told the ABC, “I am a follower of the Islamic faith” and, according to Islamic faith, gays can be put to death in certain circumstances.

According to the sheik, death is appropriate, indeed compassionate, to end the life of sinning homo­sexuals if they have sex in public. “You will sin less … we’ve saved you,” Sekaleshfar said.

The sheik has left Australia. He has been rightly condemned. The Turnbull government is reviewing visa processes. And now? Silence and a hope maybe that the sheik’s rapid exit from Australia will let sleeping dogs lie.

Yet uncomfortable and important questions remain not just unanswered but unasked. Do the members of the Imam Husain Islamic Centre, as followers of the Islamic faith, also accept the sheik’s views about death sometimes being an appropriate punishment for gays? What about members of the Islamic faith beyond this Islamic centre in Earlwood? Do they agree with Islam’s violent attitude towards homosexuals?

On Thursday evening at Kirribilli, the Prime Minister hosted senior Islamic leaders, including Sheik Shady Alsuleiman, president of the Australian National Imams Council, who has condemned gays for “spreading diseases” and delivering “evil outcomes to our society”. Among the guests was Hafez Kassem, president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, who has said gays should be treated with medication; and Supreme Islamic Shia Council head Kamal Mous­selmani, who defended Sekaleshfar’s right to ­believe that gays should be put to death. Just imagine the outrage from the Left if a Catholic leader had said such things.

How many Australians Muslims represented by these Islamic leaders support these homophobic and violent views? Cultural relativism doesn’t cut it here. As Ayaan Hirsi Ali wrote in The Wall Street Journal this week, Muslim homophobia is institutionalised by Islamic law and homosexuality is criminalised in 40 out of 57 Muslim-majority countries.

Iran hangs men for being gay. Islamic State throws homosexuals off tall buildings. “Homophobia comes in many forms,” writes Hirsi Ali. “But none is more dangerous in our time than the Islamic version.”

If you advocate death for a group of people, you are inciting violence. That ought to be a crime. Even ardent defenders of free speech shouldn’t tolerate words that incite violence. Yet NSW, where so many terrorist attacks have happened and many more have been planned, has become an unfortunate template for the wretched legal and political failures to prevent those who knowingly and deliberately incite others to cause physical harm to people.

Section 20D of the NSW Anti-Discrimination Act, enacted in 1989, prohibits those who incite violence towards others on the basis of race. There has not been a single prosecution, let alone a conviction. Not even when the spiritual leader of Hizb ut-Tahrir, Ismail al-Wahwah, called for “jihad against the Jews”, when he called Jews a “cancerous tumour” that had to be “uprooted” and destroyed. His violent words were uploaded to YouTube, accessible to every young man with murder on his mind and hatred in his heart.

There have been empty political words and undelivered promises from NSW Attorney-General Gabrielle Upton about keeping the state safe: the state’s Liberal government has done nothing so far to ensure this law is enforceable and enforced.

Meanwhile, laws at the federal level haul young students into court for using words that simply hurt the feelings of a woman who worked at the Queensland University of Technology.

We have not just lost all sense of proportion. We have lost sight of principle. Inciting violence should limit our right to speak freely. Hurting someone’s feelings should not. Our failure on both fronts is dangerous. Laws that protect hurt feelings have created a wider, informal but no less powerful muzzle on us, preventing us from having necessary conversations about Islam. The same strictures infantilise Muslims as too irrational or too vulnerable to discuss their own faith.

Islamophobia epithets are routinely thrown around to enforce what has become a deadly silence. If a few Australian Muslims won’t critique their religion, just as Christianity and Judaism have been challenged from within over hundreds of years, then, as Orlando shows, an internal problem for Islam becomes our problem. Islam’s homophobia, divined from scripture and most recently enunciated by Sekaleshfar, struck at young gay men and women dancing in the nightclub in Orlando. Who’s next? And when will someone finally speak up about what is at stake for Islam and the West?

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Making rational instead of political decisions

Making rational instead of political decisions  By Bjorn Lomborg, The Australian, 17 June

Every day, policymakers around the world face a dizzying array of choices. The more they spend on, say, education, the less there is to run hospitals, fight pollution or boost agricultural productivity. Lobby groups, activists and the media promote certain causes — solar panels, the Zika virus, closing tax loopholes immediately — while less fashionable issues, such as nutrition or non-communicable diseases, can slip beneath the radar. And most countries’ politics have proverbial “third rail” issues — policies or programs (say, state pensions) that are so sacrosanct any policymaker who touches them risks instant political death.

Part of the problem is that when governments invest in economic analysis, they tend to do so for one policy at a time, asking simply: would this be cost-effective? Yes? Let’s do it.

But what if policymakers looked at a range of options simultaneously — comparing bridge-building with spending on school textbooks — to figure out where first to direct any additional money?

This approach was used for the first time at a national level last month in Bangladesh, where my think tank, the Copenhagen Consensus Centre, collaborated with BRAC, the world’s largest development organisation, on the Bangladesh Priorities project. The idea was to provide constructive input to the Bangladeshi government and donors by determining where extra resources would do the most good.

Bangladesh has been making immense strides. Economic growth has averaged nearly 6 per cent over the past decade, and the poverty rate has declined rapidly since the 1990s. Gains in average life expectancy have been astounding, steadily rising from around 48 years in 1980 to more than 70 years in 2014.

The country has many compelling policy options, making our initiative even timelier. Beginning early last year, the Bangladesh Priorities project commissioned dozens of teams of specialist economists from Bangladesh and around the world to study 76 concrete solutions to improve the country’s future. Education economists, for example, analysed the best education solutions for Bangladesh, estimating the costs and benefits of each.

Last month, an eminent panel of four top economists — three leading Bangladeshi scholars and a Nobel laureate in economics — met in Dhaka to examine the results.

Having read all the research, the panel spent three days discussing and challenging the findings with the specialist economists. So when the education economists provided an analysis on putting children into classes according to ability, the eminent panel would question the assumptions and probe the outcomes to see if the finding stood up.

The panel identified some remarkable investments. At the top of their list of priorities was treatment of tuberculosis, which kills about 80,000 Bangladeshis annually — one in every 11 deaths in the country. The main cost comes from getting almost 60 million more people screened, but it is indeed a cheap disease to treat: Spending only about $US100 a patient on standard drugs and community clinic follow-up can avert TB transmission. The total benefit is at least 21 times higher than the total cost. When one considers the impact on families of not losing their breadwinner, and on communities of not losing their experienced workforce, the real benefit could be even higher.

In second place was e-procurement, a digital solution implying improved oversight of the 720 billion takas ($12.4bn) the government spends each year to pay for everything from new bridges to pencils. Creating something similar to an online bidding system can boost competition and reduce corruption, lowering government costs by an estimated 12 per cent. And the relatively low cost of implementing e-procurement implies low risk. Each taka of spending stands to do more than 600 takas of good.

Early nutritional interventions, which are vital in determining long-term outcomes, were ranked third. Nearly one in four children in Bangladesh under the age of five is malnourished to the point of being stunted, which hinders mental development, lowers school performance and leads to lower productivity, worse health outcomes and more disease later in life. The benefits of nutrition-focused improvements are estimated to be 19 times higher than the costs, which are low.

When we say what should come first, we also need to say what should not come first. This may seem uncaring, but if we do not prioritise explicitly, we end up spreading resources thinly, or allow bureaucratic processes and the vagaries of media attention and the pressure of lobby groups to prioritise for us.

For Bangladesh, the panel pointed out that cervical cancer, for example, should not come first. This is hard. It kills about 10,000 Bangladeshi women each year, but it is very costly to treat. More than twice as many women die from TB, which also kills many men and children.

Obviously, the goal is for Bangladesh to be able to respond effectively to both challenges. But if it needs to start somewhere, the analysis shows that money that could save one person from dying of cervical cancer would save nearly 50 from dying from TB.

What works best for Bangladesh will not necessarily work best for, say, Colombia, Finland, Haiti or Canada, but the same analytical approach can be used — and extended to cities, states and regions. Economics should never be the sole decision-maker. Yet without evidence about costs and benefits, decisions are made in the dark. Providing a price list helps elevate the conversation about priorities. Bangladeshis — and people everywhere — deserve the most efficient allocation of scarce development resources that can be achieved.

Bjorn Lomborg is director of the Copenhagen Consensus Centre and a visiting professor at the Copenhagen Business School.

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Previous ‘must-read’ articles

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.

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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Mises: Why Brexit Is Better For Britain

Mises, Why Brexit Is Better For Britain  By Thorstein Polleit, The Mises Institute, 21 June

On 23 June 2016, the people of Great Britain will vote whether to stay in the European Union (EU) or leave it.

The pro-EU camp argues that leaving the EU will cost Britain dearly in terms of economic prosperity, financial stability, and domestic security. In fact, people are being told that exiting the EU will bring dismal times to Britain.

The anti-EU camp argues that leaving the EU will be good, as it gives Britain freedom to determine its own fate: to decide about taxes, fishing, immigration, and other issues which are of the utmost importance for the economic and political well-being of the British people.

From insights into why an exit from the European Union will be good for Britain, we can consult the work Ludwig von Mises. Essentially, a Brexit will remove another layer of government intervention from the lives of Brits, and in his A Critique of Interventionism, originally published in 1929, Mises argues thatwhenever the state meddles with the free market, it reduces the standard of living that had prevailed prior to any state intervention (ceteris paribus).

The Evolution of the EU

 The EU is a case par excellence illustrating the failure of interventionism. To be fair, in its early stages there was something like the European idea of creating a truly free trade area: a free cross border flow of goods, labor, and capital.

This was basically achieved in the early 1990s. It brought indeed positive effects for growth and employment in basically all European nation states. But the EU’s politics didn’t stop there. It wanted to become more powerful.

In all those years the EU has been working hard to end the system of European federalism in the sense of productively competing sovereign nation states, trying to replace it by a centralized political, economic, and financial superpower in Brussels.

However, the EU’s interventionist approach has brought about a rather dismal situation as far as economic and financial matters in many EU countries are concerned: mass unemployment, public finances in disarray, and miserable growth perspectives.

The height of the EU’s fateful megalomania was the introduction of the euro in 1999: the currencies of nation states entering the European Monetary Union were replaced by a single currency, the euro, issued by a single central bank, the European Central Bank (ECB). 

Right from the start, the ECB let loose a colossal debt binge, which has left broken states, banks, and consumers. To cover up the mess, the ECB has lowered rates to below zero and keeps printing money — the only options left for preventing the euro from coming crashing down.

The ECB’s policy doesn’t do any good apart from covering up the problems for a while. The truth is that it causes a shortage of savings and investment, overconsumption and malinvestments on the grandest scale, thereby destroying the very pillars on which prosperity rests.

Despite the dysfunctionality of its centralization path, however, the EU is determined to pursue its current course even more radically: Its advocates a push for “Completing Europe’s Economic and Monetary Union,” basically through “closer coordination of economic policies.”

Small States Are Better

 That said, Mises’s interventionism critique may suffice to debunk the EU approach as an economic failure through and through. However, there is another argument that deserves attention in this context. It was formulated by Leopold Kohr.

In The Breakdown of Nations (1957), Kohr points out that small states are more productive and peaceful than large states, and that virtually all political and social problems could be greatly reduced by dissolving large states into a great many small states.  

 Viewed against Mises’s interventionism critique, and Kohr’s insight that a super-state is the root cause of all economic and political evil, there are strong reasons for Britain to exit the EU, to steer free from an ideology that will not, that cannot, turn out to be successful.

Two Reasons Why Brexit Is Better

 In fact, a Brexit would be good for at least two reasons.

First, it might help to put an end to a dead-end policy as more member states may decide to opt out, thereby raisingthe  perspective of the EU being returned to a free-market productive competition system among regions.

Second, and more fundamental, the mere debate about Brexit highlights the fact that the state (as we know it today: namely as a territorial monopolist of coercion with ultimate decision-making power) is basically always the problem, not the solution.

Today’s nation state runs counter to individual freedom. It cannot be reconciled with the idea of individual freedom. The situation becomes much worse once nation states start teaming up, trying to unify their power into a single state-structure — like the EU.

In sum, there shouldn’t be any fear of a Brexit on the part of those seeking freedom and economic prosperity. On the contrary. A Brexit may hold the key to make Europe abandon a doomed course, bringing it to its senses and back onto the road of freedom and prosperity.

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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

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

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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Posted in Cairns Port Development | Comments Off on Cairns Port Development

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.

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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When facts are inconvenient

Exaggeration, hyperbole and even lies, by Julian Tomlinson, Regional Editor in Chief, News Ltd., 2 June 2016

This article in the Cairns Post, 2 June 2016, discusses scientists’ views and related media coverage of the current Great Barrier Reef coral bleaching – “In the search for relevance, activists follow a well-worn path of exaggeration, hyperbole and even lies.” (Click on graphic to expand.)

When facts are inconvenient

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Links to previous articles

 

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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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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.

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.

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

Stop sneering, it’s high time to take trump seriously

Stop sneering, it’s high time to take Trump seriously  By Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, 1 June 2016

Donald Trump’s next book should be called The Art of Under-Estimation. Ever since the businessman announced his candidacy as Republican nominee for the US presidency on June 16 last year, political and media elites treated him, with few exceptions, as a joke.

That same day, Democratic National Committee press secretary Holly Shulman released this statement: “Donald Trump … adds some much-needed seriousness that has previously been lacking from the GOP field, and we look forward to hearing more about his ideas for the nation.” Vanity Fair enjoyed the mockery, applauding Shulman: “You shot, and you scored.”

The punchline came last week when Trump clinched 1239 delegates to secure the Republican nomination. The dimwitted reaction from America’s so-called best and brightest in the media and politics has barely shifted. It’s just become more manic and more doggedly ill-informed.

Trump has gone from strength to strength, ripping up the political rule book, except the rule that winning is a numbers game, picking off primaries in the south, in the northeast, in the mid-west, right across the nation, slaying a field of Republican presidential contenders, some impressive, some not, drawing even with Democrat doyenne Hillary Clinton in the polls. With pants-on-fire Clinton in trouble for lying about her use of a personal email server, Trump is riding high.

Yet, from Capitol Hill to Hollywood to hallowed conservative newspaper columns, from Bill Shorten to Kim Beazley and our own ABC, it’s been stock-standard outrage at the prospect of Trump as president. And stock-standard ignorance about the only outrage that matters: the anger of millions of Americans left behind by the US economy and that country’s political establishment.

It’s fine for George Clooney to muster his red-carpet acumen to denounce Trump as “ugly”. The real ugliness resides in America’s economic stagnation. It’s all well and good for conservative commentators such as George Will to punch out earnest columns calling for a “time for prudence”, demanding Republicans purge Trump to “preserve the identity of their 162-year-old party”. To Trump supporters, prudence means status quo Washington politics. And what precisely is the identity of the 162-year-old GOP in 2016?

It’s easy politics for Shorten to take a potshot at Trump by calling him “barking mad”. It plays well to Labor’s perpetually outraged green-left flank but it reveals the alternative prime minister’s refusal to acknowledge the reasons for Trump’s success. And by claiming that mainstream Australians wouldn’t agree with Trump’s views, Shorten also refuses to understand many among Labor’s traditional but dwindling working class base.

Our taxpayer-funded ABC streams the same dogged head-in-the-sand ignorance. On Radio National, PM recently homed in on Trump as a ratings boon for television networks, the appeal of Trump’s braggadocio, Trump’s $2 billion in free airtime, Trump’s celebrity factor, Trump as the lead player in political reality TV and so on. With an annual budget of more than $1bn, is this really the best analysis the ABC can offer Australians?

Rather than depicting Trump supporters as angry channel surfing reality TV deadbeats, what about explaining to Australians the genuine concerns of millions of American voters? And when will the regular Sunday morning snickering about Trump on Insiders give way to thoughtful analysis?

When Trump announced his candidacy, he said the American dream was dead. He promised to “make America great again … the old-fashioned way”. Any vox pop of Trump supporters echoes these eight words: make America great again, the old fashioned way. The beauty of Trump’s early refrain — and his campaign — is that it has come to mean different things to different people and it harks back to decades ago when the concerns of working-class Americans were taken seriously.

While some regard Trump as the bastard child of the Tea Party movement, his supporters have little in common with Tea Party backers, save for the common desire to raise the middle finger to the political establishment.

Ted Cruz’s small government, lower taxes, less spending ideology didn’t create an opening for Trump. Instead, Cruz’s pioneering savage antics lay the foundation for Trump’s crash or crash-through campaign. The Texas Republican torched the Senate, calling Republican leader Mitch McConnell a liar and pushing House conservatives into shutting down the government in 2013 ­despite objections from GOP leaders in the House and the Senate. Trump has closed the deal because he’s far more in touch with mainstream voters than the oddball Cruz.

Asked by Bloomberg’s Joshua Green what the Republican Party would look like in five years, Trump said: “Love the question. Five, 10 years from now — different party. You’re going to have a workers’ party. A party of people that haven’t had a real wage rise in 18 years.”

It pays to remember that American voters flocked to Republican presidential nominee Ronald Reagan in 1980 after growing disillusioned with America’s economic stagnation under Jimmy Carter. These so-called Reagan Democrats stuck with the Republican president in 1984 when Reagan promised “morning again in America”. Speaking directly to the concerns of these working-class voters, Reagan asked them why they would risk returning to the moribund policies of his opponent, Walter Mondale who served as Carter’s vice-president.

Reagan Democrats deserted the Democratic Party because it stopped being the natural home of working-class Americans, instead earning a reputation as the party of welfare recipients, feminists, African-Americans, Latinos, and other minority groups.

Hardworking blue-collar workers asked themselves: who’s fighting for us? Twenty years later, Reagan Democrats can’t find a home in the Republican Party either. As Eugene Robinson at The Washington Post identified last month, while leading Republicans slog it out among themselves (remember John Boehner calling Ted Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh”) the GOP has ignored the concerns of millions of these working-class voters who turned away from the Democratic Party.

They are not small government or free-trade or fiscally conservative. Enduring stagnant wages, jobs moving overseas, growing job insecurity, falling house prices and steep university fees for their children, these “orphaned voters” have thrown their lot in with Trump and his promise to make America great again.

It helps too that Trump doesn’t give a toss about political correctness. When Trump calls Democrat senator Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas”, alluding to her unverified claim to Native-American heritage, Trump supporters chuckle while the Left confects outrage about “casual racism”.

To focus only on Trump’s ugly side, and there is plenty there, is to miss the real point of his triumph last week. Trump may be the backlash presidential candidate and his supporters may be angry, but they also feel entirely abandoned by both political parties. As we comfort ourselves that Australian politics could surely never produce a Trump, the double dissolution election on July 2 may well produce a small army of backlash senators dropped into Canberra by voters who feel equally neglected by the Coalition and Labor. Sadly, if that happens, there will be more, not less, political paralysis and that will fuel greater disenchantment among voters. So it pays not to get too cocky because who knows where that will end.

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

How the Pentagon punishes whistle-blowers

How the Pentagon punishes whistle-blowers  By Mark Hertsguaard, 23 May 2016

By now, almost everyone knows what Edward Snowden did. He leaked top-secret documents revealing that the National Security Agency was spying on hundreds of millions of people across the world, collecting the phone calls and emails of virtually everyone on Earth who used a mobile phone or the internet. When this newspaper began publishing the NSA documents in June 2013, it ignited a fierce political debate that continues to this day – about government surveillance, but also about the morality, legality and civic value of whistleblowing.

But if you want to know why Snowden did it, and the way he did it, you have to know the stories of two other men.

The first is Thomas Drake, who blew the whistle on the very same NSA activities 10 years before Snowden did. Drake was a much higher-ranking NSA official than Snowden, and he obeyed US whistleblower laws, raising his concerns through official channels. And he got crushed.

Drake was fired, arrested at dawn by gun-wielding FBI agents, stripped of his security clearance, charged with crimes that could have sent him to prison for the rest of his life, and all but ruined financially and professionally. The only job he could find afterwards was working in an Apple store in suburban Washington, where he remains today. Adding insult to injury, his warnings about the dangers of the NSA’s surveillance programme were largely ignored.

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“The government spent many years trying to break me, and the more I resisted, the nastier they got,” Drake told me.

Drake’s story has since been told – and in fact, it had a profound impact on Snowden, who told an interviewer in 2015 that: “It’s fair to say that if there hadn’t been a Thomas Drake, there wouldn’t have been an Edward Snowden.”

But there is another man whose story has never been told before, who is speaking out publicly for the first time here. His name is John Crane, and he was a senior official in the Department of Defense who fought to provide fair treatment for whistleblowers such as Thomas Drake – until Crane himself was forced out of his job and became a whistleblower as well.

His testimony reveals a crucial new chapter in the Snowden story – and Crane’s failed battle to protect earlier whistleblowers should now make it very clear that Snowden had good reasons to go public with his revelations.

During dozens of hours of interviews, Crane told me how senior Defense Department officials repeatedly broke the law to persecute Drake. First, he alleged, they revealed Drake’s identity to the Justice Department; then they withheld (and perhaps destroyed) evidence after Drake was indicted; finally, they lied about all this to a federal judge.

The supreme irony? In their zeal to punish Drake, these Pentagon officials unwittingly taught Snowden how to evade their clutches when the 29-year-old NSA contract employee blew the whistle himself. Snowden was unaware of the hidden machinations inside the Pentagon that undid Drake, but the outcome of those machinations – Drake’s arrest, indictment and persecution – sent an unmistakable message: raising concerns within the system promised doom.

“Name one whistleblower from the intelligence community whose disclosures led to real change – overturning laws, ending policies – who didn’t face retaliation as a result. The protections just aren’t there,” Snowden told the Guardian this week. “The sad reality of today’s policies is that going to the inspector general with evidence of truly serious wrongdoing is often a mistake. Going to the press involves serious risks, but at least you’ve got a chance.”

Snowden saw what had happened to Drake and other whistleblowers like him. The key to Snowden’s effectiveness, according to Thomas Devine, the legal director of the Government Accountability Project (GAP), was that he practised “civil disobedience” rather than “lawful” whistleblowing. (GAP, a non-profit group in Washington, DC, that defends whistleblowers, has represented Snowden, Drake and Crane.)

“None of the lawful whistle-blowers who tried to expose the government’s warrantless surveillance – and Drake was far from the only one who tried – had any success,” Devine told me. “They came forward and made their charges, but the government just said, ‘They’re lying, they’re paranoid, we’re not doing those things.’ And the whistle-blowers couldn’t prove their case because the government had classified all the evidence. Whereas Snowden took the evidence with him, so when the government issued its usual denials, he could produce document after document showing that they were lying. That is civil disobedience whistleblowing.”

The sad reality is that going to the inspector general with evidence of truly serious wrongdoing is often a mistake

Edward Snowden

Crane, a solidly built Virginia resident with flecks of grey in a neatly trimmed chinstrap beard, understood Snowden’s decision to break the rules – but lamented it. “Someone like Snowden should not have felt the need to harm himself just to do the right thing,” he told me.

Crane’s testimony is not simply a clue to Snowden’s motivations and methods: if his allegations are confirmed in court, they could put current and former senior Pentagon officials in jail. (Official investigations are quietly under way.)

But Crane’s account has even larger ramifications: it repudiates the position on Snowden taken by Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton – who both maintain that Snowden should have raised his concerns through official channels because US whistle-blower law would have protected him.

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By the time Snowden went public in 2013, Crane had spent years fighting a losing battle inside the Pentagon to provide whistleblowers the legal protections to which they were entitled. He took his responsibilities so seriously, and clashed with his superiors so often, that he carried copies of the Whistleblower Protection Act of 1989 and the US constitution in his breast pocket and pulled them out during office conflicts.

Crane’s attorneys at GAP – who were used to working with all types of government and corporate whistle-blowers – were baffled by him: in their experience, most senior government officials cared little for whistle-blowers’ rights. So what motivated Crane to keep fighting for the rights of whistle-blowers inside the Pentagon, even as his superiors grew increasingly hostile and eventually forced him to resign?

To hear Crane tell it, the courage to stand up and fight runs in his family. He never forgot the story he heard as a child, about his own grandfather, a German army officer who once faced down Adolf Hitler at gunpoint – on the night the future Fuhrer first tried to take over Germany.

A former press aide to Republican members of Congress, John Crane was hired by the Inspector General’s office of the Department of Defense in 1988. Within US government agencies, an inspector general serves as a kind of judge and police chief. The IG, as the inspector general is known, is charged with making sure a given agency is operating according to the law – obeying rules and regulations, spending money as authorised by Congress. “In the IG’s office, we were the guys with the white hats,” Crane said.

By 2004 Crane had been promoted to assistant inspector general. At the age of 48, his responsibilities included supervising the whistle-blower unit at the Department of Defense, as well as handling all whistle-blower allegations arising from the department’s two million employees (by far the largest workforce in the US government), in some cases including allegations originating in the NSA and other intelligence agencies.

By this time, Thomas Drake had proceeded well down the path that would eventually connect him with Crane. Drake’s first day as a fully fledged employee of the National Security Agency was 11 September 2001. Although the NSA would balloon in size and budget as the US responded to the September 11 attacks, the agency already ranked as the largest, most lavishly funded spy organisation on Earth. Created in 1952, the NSA was the government’s code-breaker and all-hearing global “ear”. The NSA intercepted the communications of foreign governments and individuals and translated this raw intelligence into information usable by the CIA, the FBI and kindred government agencies.

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Drake, a father of five, had worked for the NSA for 12 years as a private-sector contractor. Now, as a staff member proper, he reported directly to the NSA’s third highest ranking official, Maureen Baginski; she headed the NSA’s largest division, the Signals Intelligence Directorate, which was responsible for the interception of phone calls and other communications.

Tall, sombre, intense, Drake was a championship chess player in high school whose gift for mathematics, computers and languages made him a natural for foreign eavesdropping and the cryptographic and linguistic skills it required. During the cold war, he worked for air force intelligence, monitoring the communications of East Germany’s infamous secret police, the Stasi.

Within weeks of the September 11 attacks, Drake was assigned to prepare the NSA’s postmortem on the disaster. Congress, the news media and the public were demanding answers: what had gone wrong at the NSA and other federal agencies to allow Osama bin Laden’s operatives to conduct such a devastating attack?

As Drake interviewed NSA colleagues and scoured the agency’s records, he came across information that horrified him. It appeared that the NSA – even before September 11 – had secretly revised its scope of operations to expand its powers.

Since its inception, the NSA had been strictly forbidden from eavesdropping on domestic communications. Drake’s investigation persuaded him that the NSA was now violating this restriction by collecting information on communications within as well as outside of the United States. And it was doing so without obtaining legally required court orders.

A straight arrow since high school – he once gave the police the names of classmates he suspected of selling pot – Drake told me he felt compelled to act. “I took an oath to uphold and defend the constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic,” he explained.

To Drake, the President’s Surveillance Program, as it was known inside the George W Bush administration, recalled the mindset of the Stasi. “You don’t spend year after year listening to a police state without being affected, you just don’t,” he told me. “I remember saying to myself, ‘Wow, I don’t want this to happen in our country!’ How could you live in a society where you always have to be looking over your shoulders, not knowing who you could trust, even in your own family?”

A straight arrow since high school – Drake once gave the police the names of classmates he suspected of selling pot

Drake’s descent into a nightmare of persecution at the hands of his own government began innocently. Having uncovered evidence of apparently illegal behaviour, he did what his military training and US whistle-blower law instructed: he reported the information up the chain of command. Beginning in early 2002, he shared his concerns first with a small number of high-ranking NSA officials, then with the appropriate members of Congress and staff at the oversight committees of the US Senate and House of Representatives.

Drake spent countless hours in these sessions but eventually came to the conclusion that no one in a position of authority wanted to hear what he was saying. When he told his boss, Baginski, that the NSA’s expanded surveillance following 9/11 seemed legally dubious, she reportedly told him to drop the issue: the White House had ruled otherwise.

John Crane first heard about Thomas Drake when Crane and his colleagues at the Pentagon’s Office of the Inspector General received a whistle-blower complaint in September 2002. The complaint alleged that the NSA was backing an approach to electronic surveillance that was both financially and constitutionally irresponsible. The complaint was signed by three former NSA officials, William Binney, Kirk Wiebe and Edward Loomis, and a former senior Congressional staffer, Diane Roark. Drake also endorsed the complaint – but because he, unlike the other four, had not yet retired from government service, he asked that his name be kept anonymous, even in a document that was supposed to be treated confidentially within the government.

Binney, Wiebe, Loomis and Roark shared Drake’s concerns about the constitutional implications of warrantless mass surveillance, but their complaint focused on two other issues.

Drake eventually came to the conclusion that no one in a position of authority wanted to hear what he was saying

The first was financial. The whistle-blowers contended that the NSA’s surveillance programme, codenamed Trailblazer, was a shameful waste of $3.8 billion – it had been more effective at channelling taxpayer dollars to corporate contractors than at protecting the homeland.

Second, the whistle-blowers warned that Trailblazer actually made the US less secure. They acknowledged that Trailblazer had vastly expanded the amount of electronic communications NSA collected. But this avalanche of raw data was too much – it left NSA’s analysts struggling to distinguish the vital from the trivial and thus liable to miss key clues.

Drake had discovered a shocking example while researching his postmortem report on the September 11 attacks. Months beforehand, the NSA had come into possession of a telephone number in San Diego that was used by two of the hijackers who later crashed planes into the World Trade Center. But the NSA did not act on this finding.

As Drake later told the NSA expert James Bamford, the NSA intercepted seven phone calls between this San Diego phone number and an al-Qaida “safe house” in Yemen. Drake found a record of the seven calls buried in an NSA database.

US officials had long known that the Yemen safe house was the operational hub through which Bin Laden, from a cave in Afghanistan, ordered attacks. Seven phone calls to such a hub from the same phone number was obviously suspicious. Yet the NSA took no action – the information had apparently been overlooked.

The NSA whistle-blowers first sent their complaint to the inspector general of the NSA, who ruled against them. So they went up the bureaucratic ladder, filing the complaint with the Department of Defense inspector general. There, Crane and his staff “substantially affirmed” the complaint – in other words, their own investigation concluded that the NSA whistle-blowers’ charges were probably on target.

In the course of their investigation, Crane and his colleagues in the inspector general’s office also affirmed the whistle-blowers’ allegation that the Bush administration’s surveillance programme violated the fourth amendment of the US constitution by collecting Americans’ phone and internet communications without a warrant. “We were concerned about these constitutional issues even before we investigated their complaint,” Crane told me. “We had received other whistle-blower filings that flagged the issue.”

In line with standard procedure, these investigative findings were relayed to the House and Senate committees overseeing the NSA – and this helped nudge Congress to end funding for the Trailblazer programme. But for the NSA whistle-blowers, this apparent victory was the beginning of a dark saga that would change their lives for ever.

The Bush administration’s mass surveillance efforts were partly exposed in December 2005, when the New York Times published a front page article by reporters James Risen and Eric Lichtblau, which revealed that the NSA was monitoring international phone calls and emails of some people in the US without obtaining warrants.

Eight years later, that story would be dwarfed by Snowden’s revelations. But at the time, the Bush White House was furious – and they were determined to find and punish whoever had leaked the details to the New York Times.

According to Crane, his superiors inside the Pentagon’s Inspector General’s office were eager to help. Henry Shelley, the general counsel – the office’s top lawyer – urged that the IG office should tell the FBI agents investigating the Times leak about Drake and the other NSA whistle-blowers.

After all, the NSA whistle-blowers’ recent complaint had objected to the same surveillance practices described in the Times article – which made them logical suspects in the leak. Crane objected strenuously. Informing anyone – much less FBI investigators – of a whistle-blower’s name was illegal.

After debating the matter at a formal meeting in the personal office of the inspector general, Shelley and Crane continued arguing in the hallway outside. “I reached into my breast pocket and pulled out my copy of the Whistleblower Protection Act,” Crane recalled. “I was concerned that Henry was violating the law. Our voices weren’t raised, but the conversation was, I would say, very intense and agitated. Henry [replied] that he was the general counsel, the general counsel was in charge of handling things with the Justice Department and he would do things his way.”

Henry Shelley declined my repeated requests for an interview. In an email, he told me, “I am confident when this matter is fully resolved no wrongdoing on my behalf will be identified.”

There the disagreement between Crane and Shelley stalled. Or so it seemed until 18 months later. On the morning of 26 July, 2007, FBI agents with guns drawn stormed the houses of Binney, Wiebe, Loomis and Roark. Binney was towelling off after a shower when agents accosted him; he and his wife suddenly found themselves with guns aimed directly between their eyes, the retired NSA man recalled.

Crane smelled a rat. The investigation that his staff had conducted into the whistle-blowers’ complaint had been highly classified: very few people could have known their names, and they would have been inside the IG’s office. After the raids, Crane confronted Shelley and demanded to know whether the IG’s office had given the names to the FBI. Shelley refused to discuss the matter, Crane says.

The battle soon escalated. Four months later, FBI agents stormed Drake’s house in an early morning raid, as his family watched in shock.

After Drake was indicted in 2010, his lawyers filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain documents related to the investigation Crane’s office had conducted into the claims of the NSA whistleblowers. According to Crane, he was ordered by his superiors in the IG’s office to delay releasing any documents – which could have exonerated Drake – until after the trial, which was expected to take place later in 2010.

Crane alleges that he was ordered to do so by Shelley and Lynne Halbrooks – who had recently been named the principal deputy inspector general (in other words, the second-highest ranking official in the IG’s office). Crane protested but lost this skirmish as well. (Halbrooks did not respond to repeated requests for an interview.)

In December 2010, nearly five years after the Pentagon’s inspector general’s office had apparently given Drake’s name to FBI investigators, Drake’s lawyers filed a complaint with the inspector general, alleging that Drake had been punished in retaliation for his whistleblowing. According to their complaint, the crimes Drake had been charged with were “based in part, or entirely, on information that Mr Drake provided to the [Pentagon] IG” during its investigation of the NSA whistle-blowers.

Crane was at once alarmed and revolted. The complaint from Drake’s lawyers seemed to confirm his suspicion that someone in the IG’s office had illegally fingered Drake to the FBI. Worse, the indictment filed against Drake had unmistakable similarities to the confidential testimony Drake had given to Crane’s staff – suggesting that someone in the IG’s office had not simply given Drake’s name to the FBI, but shared his entire testimony, an utter violation of law.

Drake’s complaint demanded investigation, Crane told Halbrooks. But Halbrooks, joined by Shelley, allegedly rejected Crane’s demand. She added that Crane wasn’t being a “good team player” and if he didn’t shape up, she would make life difficult for him.

But there was even worse to come. As Drake’s trial approached in the spring of 2011, Crane knew that the law required the IG’s office to answer the retaliation complaint filed by Drake’s lawyers. But, Crane says, Shelley now informed him it would be impossible to respond – because the relevant documents had been destroyed. Lower level staff “fucked up”, Crane said Shelley told him: they had shredded the documents in a supposedly routine purge of the IG’s vast stores of confidential material.

Crane could not believe his ears. “I told Henry that destruction of documents under such circumstances was, as he knew, a very serious matter and could lead to the inspector general being accused of obstructing a criminal investigation.” Shelley replied, according to Crane, that it didn’t have to be a problem if everyone was a good team player.

On 15 February, 2011, Shelley and Halbrooks sent the judge in the Drake case a letter that repeated the excuse given to Crane: the requested documents had been destroyed, by mistake, during a routine purge. This routine purge, the letter assured Judge Richard D Bennett, took place before Drake was indicted.

“Lynne and Henry had frozen me out by then, so I had no input into their letter to Judge Bennett,” Crane said. “So they ended up lying to a judge in a criminal case, which of course is a crime.”

With Drake adamantly resisting prosecutors’ pressure to make a plea deal – “I won’t bargain with the truth,” he declared – the government eventually withdrew most of its charges against him. Afterwards, the judge blasted the government’s conduct. It was “extraordinary”, he said, that the government barged into Drake’s home, indicted him, but then dropped the case on the eve of trial as if it wasn’t a big deal after all. “I find that unconscionable,” Bennett added. “Unconscionable. It is at the very root of what this country was founded on … It was one of the most fundamental things in the bill of rights, that this country was not to be exposed to people knocking on the door with government authority and coming into their homes.”

When John Crane put his career on the line by standing up for legal treatment of Pentagon whistleblowers, he was following a moral code laid down 80 years before by his German grandfather. Crane grew up in suburban Virginia, but he spent nearly every summer in Germany with his mother’s extended family. During these summer sojourns, Crane heard countless times about the moment when his grandfather confronted Hitler. His mother and his grandmother both told the story, and the moral never changed. “One must always try to do the right thing, even when there are risks,” Crane recalled being instructed. “And should someone do the right thing, there can of course be consequences.”

Crane’s grandfather was days shy of turning 40 on the night of Hitler’s “Beer Hall Putsch”, 8 November, 1923. Plotting to overthrow the Weimar Republic, Hitler and 600 armed members of his fledgling Nazi party surrounded a beer hall in Munich where the governor of Bavaria, Gustav von Kahr, was addressing a large crowd. The rebels burst into the hall, hoping to kidnap Von Kahr and march on Berlin. After his men unveiled a machine gun hidden in the upstairs gallery, Hitler fired his pistol into the air and shouted, “The national revolution has begun!”

During summer sojourns, Crane heard countless times about the moment when his grandfather confronted Hitler

Crane’s grandfather, Günther Rüdel, was in the hall as part of his military duties, Rüdel recalled in an eight-page, single-spaced, typewritten affidavit that provides a minute-by-minute eyewitness account of the putsch. (Rüdel was later a government witness in the trial that sentenced Hitler to five years in prison, though he was not called to testify.)

The son of a prominent German general, Rüdel had served with distinction in the first world war, earning two Iron Crosses. By 1923, he was serving as chief political aide to General Otto von Lossow, the German army’s highest official in Bavaria. As such, Rüdel was the chief liaison between Von Lossow and Von Kahr and privy to the two men’s many dealings with Hitler. Suspecting that Hitler and his followers were planning a coup, Lossow and Rüdel had forced their way into the beer hall to monitor developments. The head of Bavaria’s state police, Hans Ritter von Seisser, was also there, accompanied by a bodyguard. Rüdel was standing with Lossow and Von Seisser when armed men burst into the hall, with Hitler in the lead.

“Hitler, with pistol held high, escorted on right and left by armed men, his tunic stained with beer, stormed through the hall towards the podium,” Rüdel wrote in his affidavit. “When he was directly in front of us, police chief Von Seisser’s adjutant gripped [but did not unsheath] his sword. Hitler immediately aimed his pistol at the man’s chest. I shouted, ‘Mr Hitler, in this way you will never liberate Germany.’ Hitler hesitated, lowered his pistol and pushed his way between us to the podium.”

In the surrounding chaos, Hitler’s men tried to force Von Kahr, Lossow and Von Seisser to join the coup, but their uprising soon fizzled. A few days later, Hitler was arrested and charged with treason. He served a year in jail, where he wrote his autobiography, Mein Kampf.

“We are now becoming a police state,” Diane Roark said in a 2014 television interview. Referring to herself and the other NSA whistle-blowers, she added, “We are the canaries in the coal mine. We never did anything wrong. All we did was oppose this programme. And for that, they just ran over us.”

 “They’re saying, ‘We’re doing this to protect you,’” Roark’s fellow whistle-blower William Binney told me. “I will tell you that that’s exactly what the Nazis said in Special Order 48 in 1933 – we’re doing this to protect you. And that’s how they got rid of all of their political opponents.”

These are strong statements – comparing the actions of the US government to Nazi Germany, warning of an emerging “police state” – so it’s worth remembering who made them. The NSA whistleblowers were not leftwing peace nuts. They had spent their professional lives inside the US intelligence apparatus – devoted, they thought, to the protection of the homeland and defence of the constitution.

They were political conservatives, highly educated, respectful of evidence, careful with words. And they were saying, on the basis of personal experience, that the US government was being run by people who were willing to break the law and bend the state’s awesome powers to their own ends. They were saying that laws and technologies had secretly been put in place that threatened to overturn the democratic governance Americans took for granted and shrink their liberties to a vanishing point. And they were saying that something needed to be done about all this before it was too late.

In Washington, top government officials and politicians still insist that the true villain is Edward Snowden. Former CIA director James Woolsey has called for Snowden to be “hanged by the neck until he’s dead, rather than merely electrocuted”.

Democrats are less bloodthirsty, but no more forgiving. President Obama and Hillary Clinton argue that Snowden broke the law when he should have trusted it. “He could have gotten all of the protections of being a whistleblower,” Clinton said in the first Democratic presidential debate last October. “He could have raised all the issues that he has raised. And I think there would have been a positive response to that.”

Tell that to Thomas Drake. Tell it, for that matter, to John Crane.

Halbrooks forced Crane to resign his post in January 2013. After leaving the Pentagon, Crane made his way to the Government Accountability Project, where the erstwhile protector of whistleblowers became a whistleblower himself.

Crane filed a complaint against Shelley and Halbrooks, detailing many more alleged misdeeds than reported in this article. The Office of Special Counsel, the US agency charged with investigating such matters, concluded in March of 2016 that there was a “substantial likelihood” that Crane’s accusations were well-founded. The OSC’s choice of the term “substantial likelihood” was telling. It could have ruled there was merely a “reasonable belief” Crane’s charges were true, in which case no further action would have been required. By finding instead that there was a “substantial likelihood”, the OSC triggered a process that legally required secretary of defense Ashton Carter to organise a fresh investigation of Crane’s allegations. Because no federal agency is allowed to investigate itself, that inquiry is being conducted by the Justice Department.

Incredible as it may sound, Crane aims to get his old job back. His attorney, Devine, thinks that is a fantasy. In Devine’s view, the problems facing whistle-blowers are systemic – and the system does not forgive, especially someone who has exposed the system’s corruption as devastatingly as Crane has done.

To Crane, however, it is a simple matter of right and wrong. It was not he who broke the law; it was his superiors. Therefore it is not he who should pay the price but they.

“I just want to see the system work properly,” he says. “I know the system can fail – world war two, Nazi Germany – but I also know that you need to do what is right. Because the government is so powerful, you need to have it run efficiently and honestly and according to the law.”

“What are the odds the system will work properly in your case?” I asked Crane.

“I’m not giving you odds,” he replies with a chuckle. “This is just something that I have to do.”

This article is adapted from Mark Hertsgaard’s new book, Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden (Hot Books/Skyhorse)

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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………

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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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