This post comprises reviews books that add substantially to the understanding of our world, economics, politics, history and geopolitics, and what may happen in the future. Scroll down to read all reviews.
They’re Conning You! By Peter Senior, Senior Consulting
1984 – Nineteen Eighty Four. George Orwell’s 1950 classic
Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now, Ayaan Hirsi Ali
The Death of Money, James Rickards
American Betrayal, Diana West
From Third World to First, Lee Kuan Yew
Lee Kuan Yew by Graham Allison
They’re Conning You!
Who are ‘they’? And what are ‘they’ planning? This is the REAL story of our past, present and possibly future.
They’re Conning You! By Peter Senior, Senior Consulting
They’re Conning You! is only available on Amazon Kindle because it includes hundreds of vital Internet links that would be far too tiresome to type in from a paper book.
They’re Conning You! presents information that is likely to cause ‘cognitive dissonance’ as it examines in depth a wide range of evidence that demonstrates much of what thought we knew is, in fact, wrong. The subjects discussed cover a wide spectrum from aliens and UFOs to asking where the technologies used to construct ancient structures come from, whether ancient civilisations waged nuclear wars against each other, to financial treason.
‘Consciousness’ is examined, as is what are we made of and how did this come about? Could it be that aliens modified our DNA, which may have come from the outer Cosmos anyway?
We are accustomed to overt and covert PC education, indoctrination and media ‘fake news,’ but do we realise how this is turning us into zombies? Servants of the State? Many scientific bodies, government departments and corporations often distort and lie about what is assumed to be ‘science.’ Even nastier things are being exposed such as paedophilia and Satanism.
Some ‘deep state’ government departments with-hold information that would enable free energy and the consequent massive improvement to most peoples’ lives and countries’ economies in order to protect their secrets as well as the massive oil and associated industries valued at $500 trillion.
There is compelling evidence that US President John F Kennedy was assassinated by covert government people because he planned to share US’ knowledge of aliens and UFOs with Russian President Khrushchev, as well as expose massive corruption.
The book presents frightening information about the two events that changed our world most in the last 55 years: JFK’s assassination and ‘911’, the demolition of the Twin Towers and Tower 7 on 11 September 2001 by covert government-controlled actions.
The subject of who ‘they’ are is discussed in depth, in particular with regard to plans for a New World Order (NWO), and who is orchestrating this.
The US is mimicking the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire, whilst Europe is gradually transitioning into a bureaucratic dictatorship. The world’s financial systems are being manipulated for the benefit of their controllers, all underpinned by the ‘deep state’ which has been shown to have syphoned off at least $21 trillion through covert Pentagon misappropriations. Globalisation has expanded trade around the world, but it is now being manipulated by global corporations.
Compelling evidence demonstrates the US and other ‘deep state’ governments have secret space programs that have grown since the first UFO sightings and capture during and shortly after WWII. Imagine what 70 years of ‘reverse engineering’ from captured UFOs would yield, together with alien contact?
Several potential future scenarios are presented with assessments of each. Readers are invited to decide which seems more likely based on what they now know after reading this book and, hopefully, carrying out much more in-depth research.
A review of They’re conning you! by highly-regarded executive journalist Julian Tomlinson, based on 24 years’ experience, notes:
‘This book will appeal to the firm believers in so-called “conspiracy theories” and “conspiracy facts”, as well as those with a curiosity and even the firm non-believers. The author combines painstaking research from innumerable sources and combines bland shreds of information into a compelling narrative. Readers will feel they are sitting there actually talking to the author as he manages to convey a sense of wonder, concern and excitement in every sentence, effortlessly flicking between known pre-history, the Roman period and modern times in a manner that’s easy to follow.
If you are in the “conspiracy camp” this book expertly summarises everything you do know and want to know into one, easy-to-read volume. If you are not in the camp, you’ll at least gain an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of “conspiracies” and why they exist. You may even start to believe. Well worth a look.’
They’re conning you! is available from Amazon Kindle: www.amazon.com – search for: they’re conning you
Seven further reviews by Indie Book Reviewers are highly complimentary, and recommend the book should be read by everyone:
This is a powerful, very well-written and highly informative book! I have read several books on different types of hidden ‘truths’ and conspiracy theories… what is really going on in our world and what the future might hold, and sometimes I get the sense that most are just recycling old information or things we’ve all already heard before. For this book it seems like I read a lot of new ideas presented in a way that makes a great deal of sense, even if might be perceived as somewhat “controversial”. The content was mostly new to me and laid out in a coherent way that is easy to follow, but is meticulously researched and supported with solid evidence. Peter Senior uses facts and present-day conditions as well as real-life examples to share his perspectives and ideas, Fast paced, informative, and easy to read, I recommend this book, “They’re Conning You!” to everyone who wants to know what is really going on, from aliens to secret societies, shadow governments and 9/11 and so much more. (5 stars) John Goldman– Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
Peter Senior has a great ability to take complex ideas, concepts and put them in the simplest terms for all to understand easily. He covers many different points of society – past, present and future—and holds nothing back in the way of exposing information that many people might not be aware of. The media and governments do a great job of distorting reality and manipulating truths so that the average person has no idea what is really happening. Mr. Senior has compiled so much interesting research and documentation on a variety of hot-button topics and gives straightforward, convincing arguments that demand to be heard and studied further. Nicely crafted and I liked how it was formatted/broken down into individual chapters that focused on different elements. Made for easier reading and retention. Near flawless editing (formatting is a little wonky at times) and I walked away feeling like I really learned something from reading this book and am inspired to do more reading and research on my own. (4 stars) Leo Gregory– Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
Funny how few books there actually seem to be on so many of these topics… and this is such important information! I am still in college and it’s just not normally the type of book that I gravitate to for ‘fun’, but I thought there might be something useful I could learn anyways and I was so right! It is eye-opening and very compelling – it is clear that the author knows what he’s writing about and has done in-depth research (and has detailed and comprehensive appendices at the end to prove it). Provocative and bold, this book is not just for academics or scientists or political gurus, but for anyone who wants to know what is REALLY going on ‘behind the scenes’ and how different it is from what “they” are telling you. Everything from the JFK assassination to Twin Towers to Extra-Terrestrials, Antarctica and “Deep State” governments… Peter Senior has created an impressively comprehensive body of research and theories that can definitely get people’s attention, whether you are a ‘skeptic’ or a ‘believer’. I could definitely see the truths behind much of what he was saying. The main concern I had was that while he presented lots of great information and shocking revelations, I was left with the feeling of like “okay, now what am I supposed to do with this info?” So in that regard it is a little frustrating, but I guess it is better to know than to not know. I like that it challenged the traditional narrative and put things into new perspective. (4 stars) James Masters– Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
I wasn’t sure what to expect when reading “They’re Conning You” by Peter Senior, as I’m not normally one to read about things like this. But surprisingly enough I found the straight-forward and engaging narrative style to be quite fascinating and down-to-earth. I liked how Mr. Senior uses his vast and well-researched knowledge ‘story-style’ to make his points and relate his ideas in ways that we all can fully and easily grasp. Each chapter/section/topic gives valuable information, examples and supporting links or sources for further research/reading. The whole thing just flowed so well and I hope people pay attention to as it is clear that the author knows what he is talking about, and that he is an excellent writer. I have found that many times reading philosophy/political or ‘conspiracy’ theory books can either be too ‘highbrow’ and esoteric, or they just don’t present the material in a way that I feel I can relate to (or its condescending), but this definitely was not the case here at all. My only very small complaint was that I wish there were more in-text citations for sources (footnotes or direct links), because while the author does provide a very thorough appendices/references at the end, there were a few times I would’ve preferred to see the sources cited in text. A very minor thing, though. Recommended read. (4 stars) Cale Owens– Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
I think a lot of these types of books get a bad rap sometimes, as a lot of times they are all theory and ‘talking in circles’ but don’t really bring anything ‘new’ to the table or make the information credible and or relevant. But I have to say in this case I feel like the author did a solid job of getting his message out and doing so in a very digestible manner. I was unaware of so many things discussed in this book, and I consider myself to be fairly well educated and worldly. I’m not exactly sure who the right target audience for this would be, as it almost seems something almost anyone could (and should!) read. I admit I am not all that sure what to do with this information, but if nothing else I enjoyed learning more about certain things I was unaware of before, and I have ALWAYS had an interest in knowing more truths with aliens/ET and their contributions to our planet and advancing civilizations. The pacing is pretty even and overall it is an impressive effort by Mr. Senior and worth serious thought and discussion. (4 stars) Carla Biggins– Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
In “They’re Conning You…” Peter Senior lays out his ideas is a way that encourages the reader to think ‘outside the box’ and question the ‘reality’ that is often presented to the masses. Whether you believe in conspiracy theories or facts or not, there is enough detailed examination of ‘controversial’ subjects here to entice the pickiest of readers. His narrative is easy to follow, even if some of the concepts were admittedly a little ‘out there’ at times. I still feel like I gleaned some valuable information – actually a lot that I didn’t know before. While not exactly a ‘mainstream’ sort of book, in a way that is exactly what makes it so good –This book is intelligent and thought-provoking – opens your eyes and provides a necessary paradigm shift. Some parts pull the rug out from under you – others will pull the wool from your eyes and expose truths, sometimes uncomfortable, that we all need to at least hear about, even if you chose not to believe it. At least you can decide for yourself when given the bigger picture. I liked how many outside sources he references, so many links, videos, articles and books… I will definitely be reading more! Recommend. (4 stars) Cody Brighton – Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
Warning – when starting “They’re Conning You…” make sure you don’t have anywhere you need to be or anything you need to do because you won’t want to stop reading until you’ve finished it all!! Trust me on this! The book starts off with an intriguing beginning pulling us into this provocative world and ideas, and just keeps going with one interesting topic after the next. I think what I liked the most about this book was just the overall feel the author Peter Senior managed to create where it felt intimate, like a friend is telling me this really cool, strange story that I didn’t want to stop listening to. Loved the energetic tone and the fact that he has his opinions, but the book doesn’t feel overly ‘biased’ or judgmental… This went much deeper than that, and I was truly impressed with the author’s literary and research skills. I actually feel like I learned a lot, all while being ‘entertained’. I’ve always had a fascination with many of these subjects (esp. aliens and secret societies), but they are usually presented in such an eye-rolling, unbelievable way It was great to read something so intelligently constructed with impressive research and complex connections that all come full circle. Suitable for mature teens on up. (5 stars) Essie Harmon—Goodreads; Barnes & Noble; Indie Book Reviewers
The American Deep State: Big Money, Big Oil, and the Struggle for U.S. Democracy –Updated version
Note: this review is copied from the Amazon/Kindle website.
Now in a new edition updated through the unprecedented 2016 presidential election, this provocative book makes a compelling case for a hidden “deep state” that influences and often opposes official U.S. policies. Prominent political analyst Peter Dale Scott begins by tracing America’s increasing militarization, restrictions on constitutional rights, and income disparity since World War II. With the start of the Cold War, he argues, the U.S. government changed immensely in both function and scope, from protecting and nurturing a relatively isolated country to assuming ever-greater responsibility for controlling world politics in the name of freedom and democracy. This has resulted in both secretive new institutions and a slow but radical change in the American state itself. He argues that central to this historic reversal were seismic national events, ranging from the assassination of President Kennedy to 9/11.
Scott marshals compelling evidence that the deep state is now partly institutionalized in non-accountable intelligence agencies like the CIA and NSA, but it also extends its reach to private corporations like Booz Allen Hamilton and SAIC, to which 70 percent of intelligence budgets are outsourced. Behind these public and private institutions is the influence of Wall Street bankers and lawyers, allied with international oil companies beyond the reach of domestic law. Undoubtedly the political consensus about America’s global role has evolved, but if we want to restore the country’s traditional constitutional framework, it is important to see the role of particular cabals—such as the Project for the New American Century—and how they have repeatedly used the secret powers and network of Continuity of Government (COG) planning to implement change. Yet the author sees the deep state polarized between an establishment and a counter-establishment in a chaotic situation that may actually prove more hopeful for U.S. democracy.
Everything You Need to Know, by David Icke, 14 February 2018
David’s latest book is reviewed in a recent post by Freedom Article, as follows: ‘This book sprinkled throughout with David’s humor, e.g. when discussing transhumanism poster boy Ray Kurzweil of Google, David remarks “I wouldn’t trust him to tell me the date in a calendar factory” or when discussing the Christian sacrament of the Eucharist (eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ), David remarks that mainstream religion is “Satanism lite.”
Here are 2 key quotes from the book:
“If you want to control the dream you must control the perceptions of the dreamer and that’s the global conspiracy to enslave humanity in a single sentence.”
David uses the same quote from Einstein twice in the book, since it’s so important:
“Everything is energy and that’s all there is to it. Match the frequency of the reality you want and you can’t help but get that reality. It can be no other way. This is not philosophy. This is physics.”
Therein lies the grand solution. The solution to all these problems, to the entire New World Order, comes down to some very simple principles. Remember who you are. Identify with the depth of your spirit, not the shallowness of your form. Life is a mirror: whatever you put out, you receive. Change your perception and your change everything. The universe matches your vibration with an experience or situation, so if you change your vibration, you change your experience, and your entire life. If enough of us do it, we change the entire world.
Everything You Need To Know But Have Never Been Told is the kind of book that can change your life. Get a copy, read it, let it inspire you with knowledge and courage, and let the astonishing amount of dot-connecting sink in and give you a perceptual reboot.’
JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters
Despite a treasure-trove of new information having emerged over the last forty-six years, there are many people who still think who killed President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and why are unanswerable questions. There are others who cling to the Lee Harvey Oswald “lone-nut” explanation proffered by the Warren Commission. Both groups agree, however, that whatever the truth, it has no contemporary relevance but is old-hat, history, stuff for conspiracy-obsessed people with nothing better to do. The general thinking is that the assassination occurred almost a half-century ago, so let’s move on.
Nothing could be further from the truth, as James Douglass shows in his extraordinary book, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters (Simon & Schuster, 2008). It is clearly one of the best books ever written on the Kennedy assassination and deserves a vast readership. It is bound to roil the waters of complacency that have submerged the truth of this key event in modern American history.
It’s not often that the intersection of history and contemporary events pose such a startling and chilling lesson as does the contemplation of the murder of JFK on November 22, 1963 juxtaposed with the situations faced by President Obama today. So far, at least, Obama’s behaviour has mirrored Johnson’s, not Kennedy’s, as he has escalated the war in Afghanistan by 34,000. One can’t but help think that the thought of JFK’s fate might not be far from his mind as he contemplates his next move in Afghanistan.
Douglass presents a very compelling argument that Kennedy was killed by “unspeakable” (the Trappist monk Thomas Merton’s term) forces within the U.S. national security state because of his conversion from a cold warrior into a man of peace. He argues, using a wealth of newly uncovered information, that JFK had become a major threat to the burgeoning military-industrial complex and had to be eliminated through a conspiracy planned by the CIA – “the CIA’s fingerprints are all over the crime and the events leading up to it” – not by a crazed individual, the Mafia, or disgruntled anti-Castro Cubans, though some of these may have been used in the execution of the plot.
Why and by whom? These are the key questions. If it can be shown that Kennedy did, in fact, turn emphatically away from war as a solution to political conflict; did, in fact, as he was being urged by his military and intelligence advisers to up the ante and use violence, rejected such advice and turned toward peaceful solutions, then, a motive for his elimination is established. If, furthermore, it can be clearly shown that Oswald was a dupe in a deadly game and that forces within the military/intelligence apparatus were involved with him from start to finish, then the crime is solved, not by fingering an individual who may have given the order for the murder or pulled the trigger, but by showing that the coordination of the assassination had to involve U.S. intelligence agencies, most notably the CIA. Douglass does both, providing highly detailed and intricately linked evidence based on his own research and a vast array of the best scholarship.
We are then faced with the contemporary relevance, and since we know that every president since JFK has refused to confront the growth of the national security state and its call for violence, one can logically assume a message was sent and heeded. In this regard, it is not incidental that former twenty-seven year CIA analyst Raymond McGovern, in a recent interview, warned of the “two CIAs,” one the analytic arm providing straight scoop to presidents, the other the covert action arm which operates according to its own rules. “Let me leave you with this thought,” he told his interviewer, “and that is that I think Panetta (current CIA Director), and to a degree Obama, are afraid – I never thought I’d hear myself saying this – I think they are afraid of the CIA.” He then recommended Douglass’ book, “It’s very well-researched and his conclusion is very alarming.” 
Let’s look at the history marshaled by Douglass to support his thesis.
First, Kennedy, who took office in January 1961 as somewhat of a Cold Warrior, was quickly set up by the CIA to take the blame for the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba in April 1961. The CIA and generals wanted to oust Castro, and in pursuit of that goal, trained a force of Cuban exiles to invade Cuba. Kennedy refused to go along and the invasion was roundly defeated. The CIA, military, and Cuban exiles bitterly blamed Kennedy. But it was all a sham.
Though Douglass doesn’t mention it, and few Americans know it, classified documents uncovered in 2000 revealed that the CIA had discovered that the Soviets had learned of the date of the invasion more than a week in advance, had informed Castro, but – and here is a startling fact that should make people’s hair stand on end – never told the President.  The CIA knew the invasion was doomed before the fact but went ahead with it anyway. Why? So they could and did afterwards blame JFK for the failure.
This treachery set the stage for events to come. For his part, sensing but not knowing the full extent of the set-up, Kennedy fired CIA Director Allen Dulles (as in a bad joke, later to be named to the Warren Commission) and his assistant General Charles Cabell (whose brother Earle Cabell, to make a bad joke absurd, was the mayor of Dallas on the day Kennedy was killed) and said he wanted “to splinter the CIA in a thousand pieces and scatter it to the winds.” Not the sentiments to endear him to a secretive government within a government whose power was growing exponentially.
The stage was now set for events to follow as JFK, in opposition to nearly all his advisers, consistently opposed the use of force in U.S. foreign policy.
In 1961, despite the Joint Chief’s demand to put troops into Laos, Kennedy bluntly insisted otherwise as he ordered Averell Harriman, his representative at the Geneva Conference, “Did you understand? I want a negotiated settlement in Laos. I don’t want to put troops in.”
Also in 1961, he refused to concede to the insistence of his top generals to give them permission to use nuclear weapons in Berlin and Southeast Asia. Walking out of a meeting with top military advisors, Kennedy threw his hands in the air and said, “These people are crazy.”
He refused to bomb and invade Cuba as the military wished during the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Afterwards he told his friend John Kenneth Galbraith that “I never had the slightest intention of doing so.”
Then in June 1963 he gave an incredible speech at American University in which he called for the total abolishment of nuclear weapons, the end of the Cold War and the “Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war,” and movement toward “general and complete disarmament.”
A few months later he signed a Limited Test Ban Treaty with Nikita Khrushchev.
In October 1963 he signed National Security Action Memorandum 263 calling for the withdrawal of 1,000 U. S. military troops from Vietnam by the end of the year and a total withdrawal by the end of 1965.
All this he did while secretly engaging in negotiations with Khrushchev via the KGB , Norman Cousins, and Pope John XXIII , and with Castro through various intermediaries, one of whom was French Journalist Jean Daniel. In an interview with Daniel on October 24, 1963 Kennedy said, “I approved the proclamation Fidel Castro made in the Sierra Maestra, when he justifiably called for justice and especially yearned to rid Cuba of corruption. I will go even further: to some extent it is as though Batista was the incarnation of a number of sins on the part of the United States. Now we will have to pay for those sins. In the matter of the Batista regime, I am in agreement with the first Cuban revolutionaries. That is perfectly clear.” Such sentiments were anathema, shall we say treasonous, to the CIA and top generals.
These clear refusals to go to war and his decision to engage in private, back-channel communications with Cold War enemies marked Kennedy as an enemy of the national security state. They were on a collision course. As Douglass and others have pointed out, every move Kennedy made was anti-war. This, Douglass argues, was because JFK, a war hero, had been deeply affected by the horror of war and was severely shaken by how close the world had come to destruction during the Cuban missile crisis. Throughout his life he had been touched by death and had come to appreciate the fragility of life. Once in the Presidency, Kennedy underwent a deep metanoia, a spiritual transformation, from Cold Warrior to peace maker. He came to see the generals who advised him as devoid of the tragic sense of life and as hell-bent on war. And he was well aware that his growing resistance to war had put him on a dangerous collision course with those generals and the CIA. On numerous occasions he spoke of the possibility of a military coup d’etat against him. On the night before his trip to Dallas, he told his wife, “But, Jackie, if somebody wants to shoot me from a window with a rifle, nobody can stop it, so why worry about it.” And we know that nobody did try to stop it because they had planned it.
But who killed him?
Douglass presents a formidable amount of evidence, some old and some new, against the CIA and covert action agencies within the national security state, and does so in such a logical and persuasive way that any fair-minded reader cannot help but be taken aback; stunned, really. And he links this evidence directly to JFK’s actions on behalf of peace.
He knows, however, that to truly convince he must break a “conspiracy of silence that would envelop our government, our media, our academic institutions, and virtually our entire society from November 22, 1963, to the present.” This “unspeakable,” this hypnotic “collective denial of the obvious,” is sustained by a mass-media whose repeated message is that the truth about such significant events is beyond our grasp, that we will have to drink the waters of uncertainty forever. As for those who don’t, they are relegated to the status of conspiracy nuts.
Fear and uncertainty block a true appraisal of the assassination – that plus the thought that it no longer matters.
It matters. For we know that no president since JFK has dared to buck the military-intelligence-industrial complex. We know a Pax Americana has spread its tentacles across the globe with U.S. military in over 130 countries on 750 plus bases. We know that the amount of blood and money spent on wars and war preparations has risen astronomically.
There is a great deal we know and even more that we don’t want to know, or at the very least, investigate.
If Lee Harvey Oswald was connected to the intelligence community, the FBI and the CIA, then we can logically conclude that he was not “a lone-nut” assassin. Douglass marshals a wealth of evidence to show how from the very start Oswald was moved around the globe like a pawn in a game, and when the game was done, the pawn was eliminated in the Dallas police headquarters. As he begins to trace Oswald’s path, Douglass asks this question: “Why was Lee Harvey Oswald so tolerated and supported by the government he betrayed?” After serving as a U.S. Marine at the CIA’s U-2 spy plane operating base in Japan with a Crypto clearance (higher than top secret but a fact suppressed by the Warren Commission), Oswald left the Marines and defected to the Soviet Union. After denouncing the U.S., working at a Soviet factory in Minsk , and taking a Russian wife – during which time Gary Powers’ U-2 spy plane is shot down over the Soviet Union – he returned to the U.S. with a loan from the American Embassy in Moscow, only to be met at the dock in Hoboken, New Jersey by a man, Spas T. Raikin, a prominent anti-communist with extensive intelligence connections, recommended by the State Department. He passed through immigration with no trouble, was not prosecuted, moved to Fort Worth, Texas where , at the suggestion of the Dallas CIA Domestic Contacts Service chief, he was met and befriended by George de Mohrenschildt, an anti-communist Russian, who was a CIA asset. De Mohrenschildt got him a job four days later at a graphic arts company that worked on maps for the U.S. Army Map Service related to U-2 spy missions over Cuba. Oswald was then shepherded around the Dallas area by de Mohrenschildt who, in 1977, on the day he revealed he had contacted Oswald for the CIA and was to meet with the House Select Committee on Assasinations’ Gaeton Fonzi, allegedly committed suicide. Oswald then moved to New Orleans in April 1963 where got a job at the Reilly Coffee Company owned by CIA-affiliated William Reilly. The Reilly Coffee Company was located in close vicinity to the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and Office of Naval Intelligence offices and a stone’s throw from the office of Guy Bannister, a former Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Chicago Bureau, who worked as a covert action coordinator for the intelligence services, supplying and training anti-Castro paramilitaries meant to ensnare Kennedy. Oswald then went to work with Bannister and the CIA paramilitaries.
During this time up until the assassination Oswald engaged in all sorts of contradictory activities, one day portraying himself as pro-Castro, the next day as anti-Castro, many of these theatrical performances being directed from Bannister’s office. It was as though Oswald, on the orders of his puppet masters, was enacting multiple and antithetical roles in order to confound anyone intent on deciphering the purposes behind his actions and to set him up as a future “assassin.” Douglass persuasively argues that Oswald “seems to have been working with both the CIA and FBI,” as a provocateur for the former and an informant for the latter. Jim and Elsie Wilcott, who worked at the CIA Tokyo Station from 1960-64, in a 1978 interview with the San Francisco Chronicle, said, “It was common knowledge in the Tokyo CIA station that Oswald worked for the agency.”
When Oswald moved to New Orleans in April 1963, de Mohrenschildt exited the picture, having asked the CIA for and been indirectly given a $285,000 contract to do a geological survey for Haitian dictator “Papa Doc” Duvalier, which he never did , but for which he was paid. Ruth and Michael Paine then entered the picture on cue. Douglass illuminatingly traces in their intelligence connections. Ruth later was the Warren Commission’s chief witness. She had been introduced to Oswald by de Mohrenschildt. In September 1963 Ruth Paine drove from her sister’s house in Virginia to New Orleans to pick up Marina Oswald and bring her to her house in Dallas to live with her. Thirty years after the assassination a document was declassified showing Paine’s sister Sylvia worked for the CIA. Her father traveled throughout Latin America on an Agency for International Development (notorious for CIA front activities) contract and filed reports that went to the CIA. Her husband Michael’s step-father, Arthur Young, was the inventor of the Bell helicopter and Michael’s job there gave him a security clearance. Her mother was related to the Forbes family of Boston and her lifelong friend, Mary Bancroft, worked as a WW II spy with Allen Dulles and was his mistress. Afterwards, Dulles questioned the Paines in front of the Warren Commission, studiously avoiding any revealing questions. Back in Dallas, Ruth Paine conveniently got Oswald a job in the Texas Book Depository where he began work on October 16, 1963.
From late September until November 22, various Oswalds are later reported to have simultaneously been seen from Dallas to Mexico City. Two Oswalds were arrested in the Texas Theatre, the real one taken out the front door and an impostor out the back. As Douglas says, “There were more Oswalds providing evidence against Lee Harvey Oswald than the Warren Report could use or even explain.” Even J. Edgar Hoover knew that Oswald impostors were used, as he told LBJ concerning Oswald’s alleged visit to the Soviet Embassy in Mexico City. He later called this CIA ploy, “the false story re Oswald’s trip to Mexico…their ( CIA’s) double-dealing,” something that he couldn’t forget. It was apparent that a very intricate and deadly game was being played out at high levels in the shadows.
We know Oswald was blamed for the President’s murder. But if one fairly follows the trail of the crime it becomes blatantly obvious that government forces were at work. Douglass adds layer upon layer of evidence to show how this had to be so. Oswald, the mafia, anti-Castro Cubans could not have withdrawn most of the security that day. The Sheriff Bill Decker withdrew all police protection. The Secret Service withdrew the police motorcycle escorts from beside the president’s car where they had been the day before in Houston; took agents off the back of the car where they were normally stationed to obstruct gunfire. They approved the fateful, dogleg turn (on a dry run on November 18) where the car came, almost to a halt, a clear security violation. The House Select Committee on Assasinations concluded this, not some conspiracy nut.
Who could have squelched the testimony of all the doctors and medical personnel who claimed the president had been shot from the front in his neck and head, testimony contradicting the official story? Who could have prosecuted and imprisoned Abraham Bolden, the first African-American Secret Service agent personally brought on to the White House detail by JFK, who warned that he feared the president was going to be assassinated? (Douglass interviewed Bolden seven times and his evidence on the aborted plot to kill JFK in Chicago on November 2 – a story little known but extraordinary in its implications – is riveting.) The list of all the people who turned up dead, the evidence and events manipulated, the inquiry squelched, distorted, and twisted in an ex post facto cover-up – clearly point to forces within the government, not rogue actors without institutional support.
The evidence for a conspiracy organized at the deepest levels of the intelligence apparatus is overwhelming. James Douglass presents it in such depth and so logically that only one hardened to the truth would not be deeply moved and affected by his book.
He says it best: “The extent to which our national security state was systematically marshaled for the assassination of President John F. Kennedy remains incomprehensible to us. When we live in a system, we absorb and think in a system. We lack the independence needed to judge the system around us. Yet the evidence we have seen points toward our national security state, the systemic bubble in which we all live, as the source of Kennedy’s murder and immediate cover-up.”
Speaking to his friends Dave Powers and Ken O’Donnell about those who planned the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba, JFK said, “They couldn’t believe that a new president like me wouldn’t panic and try to save his own face. Well, they had me figured all wrong.”
Let’s hope for another president like that, but one that meets a different end.
 http://consortiumnews.com/print’2009/091309a.html [This link appears to be too old to still work. Unlike the print age, the digital age loses references, another way that memory and history are stolen.]
 Vernon Loeb, “Soviets Knew Date of Cuba Attack,” Washington Post, April 29, 2000
 See James K. Galbraith, “Exit Strategy,” Boston Review, October/November 2003
Edward Curtin teaches sociology at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts
The Cosmic War, by Dr Joseph P Farrell
A review from Amazon of this extraordinary and compelling ‘must read’ book, The Cosmic War:Interplanetary Warfare, Modern Physics, and Ancient Texts: A Study in Non-Catastrophist Interpretations of Ancient Legends,Author Dr Joseph P Farrell.
Farrell’s foray into ancient antiquity is scholarly in it’s precision and thought-provoking in its ramifications. Oxford educated researcher Dr. Joseph P. Farrell unleashes a reverberating hypothesis regarding ancient history whose echoes will be forever heard.
Cosmic War is an extremely intriguing incursion into the possibility of a very ancient war in high antiquity. Dr. Farrell’s hypotheses of an Ancient Interplanetary War is argued in an in-depth, precise and reasonable approach. The extensive evidence Farrell collates and synthesizes will leave the reader aghast with the possibilities.
Intriguingly, many ancient cultures stated that the ‘Wars of the Gods’ were quite real. Predictably, even though there’s extensive evidence for advanced physics, advanced weapons, ancient [millions and BILLIONS of year old artifacts found by reputable sources], the establishment has painted all over ancient history with myth.
Regarding this very issue, Jim Marrs in his book Our Occulted History, sets his cross hairs on this very issue: “The term mythology stems from the Greek word mythos, simply meaning words or stories reflecting the basic values and attitudes of people. In past ages, when the vast majority of humans were illiterate, easily understood parables were used to educate people about history, science, and technology. During the Dark Ages, when most of people were taught that the Earth was flat, the word mythology was changed by the Roman Church to mean imaginative and fanciful tales veering far from truthfulness. This small change in semantics has caused untold damage in current perceptions.”
Ironically enough, there is starting to be more and more evidence of ‘myths’ now turning out to be fact. As Chris Hardy Ph.D remarks in her poignant book DNA Of The Gods: “…let’s remember that, before the discoveries of loads of ancient tablets written in the pictographic Sumerian language (Late Uruk period, fourth millennium BCE), the kingdom of Sumer was believed to be a myth. We had already discovered Akkad and deciphered Akkadian, and still archaeologists wouldn’t give credence to the numerous carved references, within historical dated records, to a line of kings whose title was “King of Sumer and Akkad”.
Or how about the “myth” of Troy: “This myth collapsed in 1865 with archeologist Frank Calvet’s discovery of the historic ruins of not only one city of Troy but nine layers of it! The city, whose siege is recounted in Homer’s Iliad, is only Troy VII, the seventh level underground, dating to the thirteenth century BCE.”
The gatekeepers, for many reasons, want to keep established history in a nice little box. Fortunately, as anyone who has extensively research these topics know, there’s more than ample evidence that shows that at minimum history isn’t what we have been told.
In any case, Cosmic War covers wide ranging but pertinent topics such as Van Flandern’s exploded planet hypothesis, an analysis of plasma in relation to weapons that employ scalar physics, petroglyphs which show plasma instability glyphs that were recorded by ancient cultures, remnants of giants in ancient history, optical phase conjugation, the story of the ‘gods’ as related through ancient texts, pulsars, generational charts of the ‘gods’, the scarring of The Valles Mariners being possibly from a weapon, Iapetus and its hexagonal craters, and a LOT more.
The ramifications of this book abound, and filter in all aspects of our lives. Dr. Farrell gives compelling reasons [coupled with countless others in his other trenchant books] as to why we need to give history, particularly ancient history, a very long and thorough look.
In its totality, this book is a veritable fountain of information that is scholarly in precision, and thought-provoking in its ramifications. This book is a must read for anyone interested in ancient history, ancient civilizations, and any of the topics there-in. There is more than enough information to make the reader curious about our past in more ways than they can really imagine.
David Icke’s “Phantom Self”: A Book Review from Freedom Articles
Phantom Self, the latest book of researcher David Icke, takes conspiracy research to a new depth with the idea of a primal virus that has hacked Life itself.
(Editor’s note: this book is amongst the most fascinating, timely and thought-provoking books I’ve ever read. I strongly recommend setting aside all prejudice and past learning – what we were taught, and so believed – then reading it with an open mind. And then thinking deeply.)
Phantom Self is the latest book of famous researcher and free-thinker David Icke. Just as in his previous book The Perception Deception, David takes his research to a new level of depth with a comprehensive display of dot-connecting that will leave many in awe of his knowledge – but more importantly awaken people to the real dire straits humanity is in. Like many of his books, it ends with a positive message and the ultimate solution to all of humanity’s problems; however, most of the book is devoted to exposing the current reality of planet Earth, often in horrifying detail. This is an essential part of David’s message, for without the true knowledge of what is really going on – and the capacity to feel the horror of it – we will not muster the courage and motivation to change it. Part of the reason humanity is so stuck deep in the conspiracy is that it is engaged in massive collective denial, which it prevents it from acting decisively to quash and transform the evil (or unconsciousness as I prefer to call it). A hallmark of Phantom Self is that it takes a step further down the rabbit hole – past the reptilians and Archons – and looks at the controlling force behind them, which David says resembles some kind of computer virus that has hacked life itself.
George Orwell’s classic 1950 novel is very worthwhile reading (again for most people). It is frightening to review how much of what Orwell wrote is happening today, albeit is somewhat different guise. Recall Orwell was a member of the Fabian Society, where he learnt of their plans before resigning. He used novels as a practical was to publicise the plans he learn about from other Fabian members. The Amazon website – – explains much about the book, and presents several perceptive reviews – this is one of the 4,613:
George Orwell’s classic was incredibly visionary. It is hardly fathomable that this book was written in 1948. Things that we take for granted today – cameras everywhere we go, phones being tapped, bodies being scanned for weapons remotely – all of these things were described in graphic detail in Orwell’s book. Now that we have the Internet and people spying on other people w/ webcams and people purposely setting up their own webcams to let others “anonymously” watch them, you can see how this culture can develop into the Orwellian future described in “1984.” If you’ve heard such phrases as “Big Brother,” “Newspeak,” and “thought crime” and wondered where these phrases came from, they came from this incredible, vivid and disturbing book. Winston Smith, the main character of the book is a vibrant, thinking man hiding within the plain mindless behavior he has to go through each day to not be considered a thought criminal. Everything is politically correct, children defy their parents (and are encouraged by the government to do so) and everyone pays constant allegiance to “Big Brother” – the government that watches everyone and knows what everyone is doing at all times – watching you shower, watching you having sex, watching you eat, watching you go to the bathroom and ultimately watching you die. This is a must-read for everyone.
Heretic: Why Islam Needs a Reformation Now
Author: Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Ali was born in Mogadishu, Somalia, was raised Muslim, and spent her childhood and young adulthood in Africa and Saudi Arabia. In 1992, Hirsi Ali came to the Netherlands as a refugee. She earned her college degree in political science and worked for the Dutch Labor party. She denounced Islam after the September 11 terrorist attacks and now serves as a Dutch parliamentarian, fighting for the rights of Muslim women in Europe, the enlightenment of Islam, and security in the West.
Editor’s note: this book should be considered essential reading by anyone who has an interest in Islam as well as everyone who is or may be effected by Muslims (that means just about everyone!). The book is very comprehensive and, unlike most other books on the subject, provides not only a wide-ranging background and analyses based on her own experience, but some thought-provoking solutions. After scanning numerous reviews of this excellent book, the following written by ‘Helpful Advice’ on Amazon is more or less what I would have written.
After ‘Infidel’ and ‘Nomad’ worldwide known, equally hated and adored Ayaan Hirsi Ali is back on literary (and considering the topic inevitably political) scene with her new and probably the most controversial book so far she wrote – ‘Heretic’.
A book that will certainly be subject of numerous texts, quoted or despised, she raised the question of some key Islam teachings incompatibility with the values of modern or free society for which the majority (or at least we think so maybe) people in the world stands for.
It seemed that comparing to some other major religions, Islam somehow proved immune to changes in the new world we are living, characterized by enormous speed of information exchange and the development of human rights. There were some attempts such as Arab Spring that tried to challenge traditional thinking, ingrained prejudices or facts about the Muslim world. But with the simultaneous proliferation of Islamic fundamentalism and even its acceptance in certain circles of the population in the West, according to the author it seems that it is time for some radical actions that must be implemented by the very Muslims, not someone else from outside.
So, what Ali proposes needs to happen for Muslims to defeat the extremists for good? Economic, political, judicial and military tools have already been proposed, some of them deployed, though it seems that all these will have little effect unless Islam itself is reformed.
Therefore she calls for a Muslim Reformation—a revision of Islamic teachings, alignment of modern society with traditional religion doctrine, that seems difficult, but not unfeasible due to the rejection of extremist behavior among the majority of Muslims around the world.
She reminds that such reformation has been called for since the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the subsequent abolition of the caliphate, but instead of general phrases and generalized objectives she precisely pointed out five key precepts that have made Islam resistant to historical change and adaptation. And only when the harmfulness of these ideas will be recognized and as result they will be rejected, a true Muslim Reformation would be possible.
Although to comment each of them would require writing essays, I’ll just list all five of them:
• Removing of Muhammad’s semi-divine status, putting him into the history context as important figure that united the Arabs in a pre-modern time that cannot be copied in the 21st century. And consequently also recognizing the fact that Quran is the book made by human hands.
• Emphasizing that life is more important than something that comes after it will reduce the appeal of martyrdom.
• Appreciation of modern laws that need to be put in front of Shariah legislation that is violent, intolerant or anachronistic.
• The abolition of the individual’s right and so called religious police to enforce the law, something for Muslim community is unfortunately particularly known
• And most important, Islam must become a religion of peace removing the imperative to wage holy wars against infidels
Once again this author must be admitted undeniable courage to tackle the dangerous subjects in a world where because of the drawn cartoons you can easily lose a life. Her theses are clear, her objectives are fully explained, her mission to change the Islamic world from the inside continues, causing the happiness and satisfaction of all civilized Muslims worldwide.
Therefore high recommendations for Ayaan Hirsi Ali, this brave author who after fighting for the rights of women engages into even greater battle with the hope that one day we will be able to say that books like these changed the world. For the better.
The Death of Money
The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System. 8 April 2014. By James Rickards.
James Rickards, author of the other best seller, Currency Wars, has gone even further in The Death of Money: The Coming Collapse of the International Monetary System, in telling it like it is (and will be, so prepare yourself!). Jim’s all-facts, straightforward approach is peppered with just enough analogy and anecdotal wit to make sophisticated economic/mathematical/political concepts understandable to the (educated) layperson. His clarification techniques serve the book well by making sure the content never gets watered down or condescending. For anyone interested in knowing what is going on behind the scenes, how the dollar is being systematically devalued by The Fed (and why), what a rigged sham our banking system is, and how things are likely to play out in the very near future, read The Death of Money!
The Secret Assault on Our Nation’s Character by Diana West (May 28, 2013). Diana West’s newest book “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on our Nations Character” is a highly researched, blockbuster of a story taking 356 pages to tell with 29 pages of notes. Whilst not directly about ‘management’, this book is packed with information that any successful manager should understand, in particular regarding communications (propaganda?) and planning. It’s the most thought-provoking, worrying, disillusioning book I’ve ever read. I’ve attached a couple of reviews of the book from Amazon.com. American Betrayal, Diana West, May 2013. Reviews that give you a glimpse of what it’s about. John, of John’s Newsletter fame, noted: ‘American Betrayal explains what many already know about the creation of the soviet monster by the FDR administration, stacked with communist spies and the author of the cold war from as early as 1942. How FDR’s lackeys could give the USSR the atomic bomb via Lend Lease is fascinating and unfortunately true. It is clear that powerhouse though she may be, America has been ungovernable since the outset…Just too big, too complex and too full of leaks and confused ideologies. America is now, as a reaction, on the road to becoming a police state. Folk who have read the book called “The Open Society and Its Enemies” by Karl Popper will understand how the USA came to this pretty pickle and the realities behind this scandalous state of affairs. Horrific though her anecdotes are, I have seen independent corroboration elsewhere of Diana’s central themes and accept them as factual – when asserted as such. This book is too disturbing for general consumption.’
From Third World to First
The Singapore Story: 1965-2000 by Lee Kuan Yew (Oct 3, 2000). Note: although older, it is useful to read this book before the Grand Master’s Insights book, below. Some comments on the Amazon website: Lee Kwan Yew had a clear vision, set himself clear goals…. Above all, what led to his success is his execution skills…. Although Singapore is a free market economy, its philosophy concerning workers and employees are caring and genuine, unlike in the United States….His views regarding leadership and a wide range of management issues are profound….. Read this book to be inspired.
Lee Kuan Yew
The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States, and the World by Graham Allison et al., 1 Feb. 2013. Some comments on the Amazon website: Lee excels in pithy evaluations of regional and national strengths and weaknesses. At his best, the man is a cross between Confucius and Machiavelli. (Washington Times)……..”I found myself engrossed this week by the calm, incisive wisdom of one of the few living statesmen in the world who can actually be called visionary. The wisdom is in a book, “Lee Kuan Yew: The Grand Master’s Insights on China, the United States and the World,” a gathering of Mr. Lee’s interviews, speeches and writings…He is now 89, a great friend of America, and his comments on the U.S. are pertinent to many of the debates in which we’re enmeshed.” — Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal.
Many from the ‘Left’, progressives, Cultural Marxists and activists keep trying to stymie democracy with their shrill, often illogical, Orwellian and ideological views. The following articles provide evidence.
Theresa May’s omnishambles of a Brexit wreck, with her government in mortal crisis, has only one saving grace — the alternative is the unspeakable Jeremy Corbyn.
The British government is confused, disoriented and dogged. It resembles a dying man desperately driving to hospital but finding he’s going the wrong way down a one-way street.
Here’s the Kafkaesque twist — if it turns around and drives the other way, it finds itself in a new one-way street, still going the wrong way, against all the traffic. Its circumstances resemble a nightmare in which the dreamer knows the environment is irrational but cannot find the way back to consciousness.
This week May’s government suffered the biggest parliamentary defeat in the history of British democracy, and it did so on its core policy. May’s Brexit agreement with the European Union on how Britain will leave the EU was defeated by 432 votes to 202, a staggering margin of 230 after 118 Conservative Party MPs voted against their government.
Next day May easily defeated a vote of no confidence. The House of Commons is thus clear in its resolution — it wants Theresa May in government but is determined that she will not govern.
However, let’s not get too superior in our attitude to the British mess. It is an acute version of the crisis that is crippling Western democracy in many nations, and is as likely to spread.
Western democracy has a virus in its central operating system. It can no longer perform its core tasks. Democracy has lost the ability to make decisions.
At its heart, democracy is about choosing between contradictory policies. Sometimes this involves compromise and splitting the difference, sometimes it involves a clear choice. But choices must be made. If a society can’t do it democratically and in an orderly manner, it does so through the naked use of power — the power of mobs in the streets, the power of autocrats who break the rules.
Look around. France elected a charismatic President on a modest economic reform program. He tried to implement the reform and hundreds of thousands of rioters took to the streets to burn his presidency down.
Donald Trump won a tight election with no promise clearer than his commitment to build a wall along the border with Mexico. His opponents in congress will do anything to stop him.
Democratic accountability is no longer about keeping the bastards honest, it’s about keeping the bastards paralysed.
The EU has made its own epic contribution to democratic deficit by systematically eroding national sovereignty and preventing elected governments from exercising the mandates they win at national elections.
In the new political environment of 24/7 social media activism, of dark conspiracy theories and apocalyptic visions, of perceived social inequality and a collapse of trust in institutions, of a premium on anger and outrage for their own sake, no one any longer accepts that any decision has gone against them. The incentive to keep trying to thwart any vote you lose — the towering power of “nope” — is the addictive but arrhythmic adrenalin surge.
Because of the singular incompetence with which May has tried to manage these dynamics, like a cricketer who mistakenly went to the crease with a table tennis paddle instead of a bat, there is now a good chance that Britain will not leave the EU at all.
Yet the British people have voted to leave again and again. In 2015 David Cameron won a surprise majority at the general election by promising an in/out referendum on EU membership. The subsequent bill to establish this referendum was supported by the overwhelming majority of the House of Commons. In the 2016 referendum there was a vast fear campaign against leaving. The media was furiously pro-Remain. All the main parties — Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Scottish Nationalists, Welsh nationalists, Greens — supported Remain.
Robert Manne once quipped that you’d have a better chance of getting a referendum passed in Australia if it faced bipartisan opposition rather than having bipartisan support. That’s what happened in 2016. All the big British parties, the media, business, trade unions, every quango and NGO you could poke a stick at, all supported Remain, but in the biggest vote in the history of the British Isles, a clear majority voted to leave.
Then at the 2017 election both the Conservatives and Labour promised to honour the referendum and actually leave the EU. Between them they won 80 per cent of the vote. The pro-EU Liberal Democrats got smashed and the even more pro-EU Scottish Nationalists lost a dozen seats.
Here, though, is the paradox — there was a Leave majority in the nation but a Remain majority in parliament. So parliament has not seriously worked to bring about Brexit and the EU has actively worked to frustrate it.
David Davis, the former Brexit secretary, has suggested the most obvious way forward. Britain should leave with the misnamed “no deal”, which means trading with the EU on World Trade Organisation terms. But there should be a transition period of a year or more while both sides simultaneously work to achieve a Canada-style free trade agreement and also prepare all the regulations and practical arrangements necessary if an FTA could not be negotiated in time.
This is not fiendishly complicated and could certainly be achieved if there were a coherent government in London, committed to Brexit, and a reasonable partner exercising minimal goodwill in Brussels. Sadly, neither of those exists.
This process would undoubtedly involve some new costs and complications for business, but as even the left-wing Paul Krugman of The New York Times points out, it would create plenty of economic winners as well. And there would be the opportunity, through trade and economic policy and all the rest, for Britain to make its own economic destiny. Many “just-in-time” supply chains are maintained across modest tariff walls of the kind that would exist between Britain and the EU.
May once had something like this in mind. At the time of the referendum she was a quiet though clear Remainer. When the referendum result came through, Cameron resigned, the Brexiteers were triumphant and she became for a while a polemical Brexiteer.
But her disastrous performance in the 2017 election unnerved her, and since then she has exhibited the clarity of an uninterpreted Rorschach test and the policy strength of a jellyfish. Her instincts as a Remainer all along have been to secure minimum fidelity to the referendum result while causing minimal disruption, which also means minimal change.
This led to the catastrophic deal she brought back from Brussels. It would tie Britain to obeying EU institutions and rules but rob it of any influence on how those rules are formed. Britain would regain control of immigration but nothing else. It would be subject to EU court rules, trade policy, regulatory policy. And it would still have to pay into EU coffers indefinitely.
If it ever wanted to change anything about that, it would have to get approval from the EU, in this case all 27 EU national parliaments.
More than that, it also provides that even if it ever gets such EU agreement, Northern Ireland would remain forever ruled by EU regulations and institutions, thus destroying Northern Ireland’s constitutional status as part of the UK.
May’s deal was literally the worst of all worlds. To understand this it is necessary to conceive of Brexit as a kind of binary choice in which any splitting of the difference, the seeming middle ground, is actually far worse than the main two alternatives.
Thus Alexander Downer, who knows British politics better than any Australian, thinks the best choice is for Britain to leave the EU altogether. The second best choice is not a soft Brexit, either of the kind May proposed or of that similar kind now gaining momentum in the House of Commons, but rather simply to stay in the EU.
And the worst choice of all is a May-style deal or any other variant of the “soft Brexit”. That alternative not only means Britain must abide by rules it has no say in forming, it also means the EU can force Britain to take actions that are directly against its economic interests.
This is not eccentric or strange or unlikely. It is utterly obvious. Say, for example, the EU negotiates a free trade agreement with the US or Japan or some other nation. It can give up any single interest that affects Britain to benefit companies in, say, France or Germany.
The biggest financial centre in Europe is London. Guess which is the second biggest financial centre? Edinburgh.
Under a soft Brexit, Brussels can make any regulation it likes to penalise London or Edinburgh and advantage Frankfurt or Paris, and London has no avenue even to complain, much less do anything. Britain ceases to be a full, representative democracy and becomes, politically and economically, a governed colony of Brussels.
Outside the EU and its economic institutions, Britain can easily compete with EU capitals, and change its own regulations if necessary. And it can entice business from the rest of the world. Brussels hates and is terrified of this possibility.
Similarly, inside the EU Britain can oppose policies that uniquely harm it, make coalitions with other similarly minded Europeans such as the Dutch, even find common ground with the anti-EU government in Italy.
That is why a clean Brexit, a no-deal Brexit managed in an orderly way, or continued membership of the EU, are both infinitely superior to the kind of soft Brexit May is moving towards.
Here again, the British people are stymied by having a pro-Remain parliament that never had its heart in Brexit at all and only temporarily pretended to follow the will of the people.
London political insiders tell me May is determined never to enact a no-deal Brexit.
There are sharp parliamentary manoeuvres under way now for the bulk of the opposition to join with 20 or 30 or perhaps more pro-Remain Tories to legislate to make no-deal effectively illegal. They are prepared to overturn all parliamentary procedure so that the house majority, made up mostly of the opposition but with some Tory rebels, controls which motions are put, what legislation is considered and so on.
So the conflict is not just plebiscite versus parliament, but plebiscite versus parliament versus executive government.
Labour under Corbyn has been a study in ambiguity, not wanting to relieve Conservative divisions. Yet the latest polls actually put Labour six points behind the Conservatives, an astounding result for an opposition facing a government in this much disarray.
Corbyn has not said exactly what kind of Brexit he would favour but in general has supported Britain staying in the EU customs union, the softest of soft Brexits and, as Downer argues, a terrible outcome.
If May goes down this path herself, there is probably a clear parliamentary majority for such a deal. But it would be a majority comprised overwhelmingly of Labour and Scottish Nationalists, with a few dozen Tories thrown in. It would very likely lead to a crippling, bitter split within the Conservative Party.
The proposal for a second referendum is much less democratic than it looks. Already there are myriad Remain proposals to rig such a vote. There would be pressure to reduce the voting age to 16, to let EU citizens living in Britain vote and to rig the question itself, offering some specific and unpopular Brexit deal against remaining in the EU as the only two options. And of course the whole contest would be incredibly divisive and bitter.
And if they get a halfway fair question, the British people could still vote to leave. What then?
No problem has been solved and Britain is back where it was in 2016: a people who want to live in a sovereign, independent democracy and a parliament too scared or incompetent to give them what they want
People have rattled the elites – now they need to go further.
In the West in 2018, we witnessed the intensification of a new conflict – that between anti-populist political elites and a growing grassroots movement that is hostile to these elites.
Many commentators have interpreted this conflict in classical economic language. This is fundamentally a struggle over the distribution of resources, they claim. Even an astute commentator like Fareed Zakaria, who recognises that the ‘yellow vest’ protests in France are underpinned by profound cultural tensions, especially between rural and urban France, is nevertheless drawn towards a narrowly economic explanation. ‘It’s part class, part culture, but there is a large element of economics to it as well’, he says.
Zakaria’s commentary – titled ‘The new dividing line in Western politics’ – is a good illustration of today’s widespread reluctance to face up to new cultural and political tensions, to recognise that people are moved to protest these days by concerns that do not fit into the 20th-century model of socio-economic class struggle.
The best way to view the current populist moment is as a delayed response to the top-down cultural revolution that occurred in the Seventies. In that decade, new attitudes towards marriage, family life, relations between the sexes, the role of the nation and the meaning of citizenship came to be codified in many Western societies. By the beginning of the Eighties, new forms of cultural authority had been established by the political elites.
This so-called cultural turn is often attributed to the influence of ‘Cultural Marxists’ burrowing away in universities. But this analysis overlooks something important – that the cultural turn took place right under the noses of Thatcher and Reagan. It was in their era that the new post-Sixties cultural values were institutionalised by Anglo-American cultural elites.
In retrospect, it seems clear that the anti-traditional cultural turn that occurred under the watch of the Thatcher / Reagan political order was an attempt by Western political elites to establish a new foundation to their authority. Most strikingly, the emergent cultural oligarchy perceived themselves as mediators and gatekeepers in a globalised world where public life is impacted on by issues and problems that supposedly transcend the nation state and national control.
They devoted much energy to de-nationalising public life, and delegitimising the attitudes and values held by citizens. This was the era when the dogma that there is no alternative to globalisation really took hold. The belittlement of sovereignty – both national sovereignty and popular sovereignty – was a central task of the new cultural establishment. In a very short period of time, many people found that their long-held belief in the values of community, nation and family was being dismissed as outdated, irrelevant and even prejudiced.
We witnessed the pathologisation of customary attitudes towards family, community and human relationships. And the end result has been the crystallisation of a powerful sense of cultural insecurity in European societies. Over the past two or three decades, significant sections of European societies have been dispossessed of the values they lived by and which made great sense to them. Many of them felt silenced and defensive about voicing their concerns. They felt unable to raise their reservations about multiculturalism, diversity, immigration and the sacralisation of identity politics. In comparison to the younger generations – who are often influenced by the cosmopolitan ethos that is dominant in their schools and universities – older citizens felt culturally insecure and sometimes helpless. Those who lived outside the culturally privileged, globalist urban neighbourhoods felt very strongly that their way of life was despised and scorned by the new cultural elites. They felt like strangers in their own homes.
Most establishment commentators are reluctant to face up to the scope and nature of the current culture war in Europe. That is because disputes over values are more intractable than conflicts over resources. Values pertain to the meaning of life itself. Not even the most skilled negotiator can resolve the tension between someone who has a patriotic outlook and someone else who despises national sentiments. It is far easier to find a compromise in the sphere of industrial relations than it is to find a middle ground between two fundamentally different approaches to life. Values have become politicised to the point where there is little room for negotiation.
Meanwhile, the new elites have tried to de-politicise certain public-policy issues. Why? Because they know their policies go against the grain of public sentiment. So they portray migration as strictly an economic issue, never a political or moral one. They frame their arguments against Brexit entirely in economic terms, overlooking the political and cultural drivers of the movement against the EU.
Both the old and new left have adopted this line of economistic thinking. Typically, left-wing commentators describe protests like those in France as being driven essentially by economic grievances. They frequently criticise working-class and populist movements for not understanding their real economic interests and being too obsessed with issues of cultural insecurity. This idea that supporters of populist movements are not able to grasp their own ‘true’ interests, and are being led astray by wicked demagogues, is a left-wing version of the classical anti-democratic ethos that has prevailed since the days of Ancient Greece.
Whether the positive, democratic potential in the new populism can be developed further remains an open question. As the protests in France show, people are searching for a language through which they might express their very 21st-century form of solidarity. But they seem to lack the intellectual resources and leadership necessary to give their aspirations clarity. In the UK, millions feel empowered by the vote for Brexit. But none of the political parties represents their interests; the pro-Brexit majority is bereft of an institution that might enforce its ideals.
Unless populism can develop greater political clarity, and develop an inspiring view of democratic citizenship, it will struggle to make progress. In face of the considerable power of the political and cultural establishments, it can only advance if it develops a coherent alternative to the values of the prevailing order. There is a lot at stake in the coming years. An enlightened, democratically informed version of populist politics is what we need.
The year began with global panic about the renaissance of active democracy in the West. Much of the political media class entered a state of near hysteria as free-world citizens reclaimed democracy and the Western tradition as their own. The election of Donald Trump and the popular vote for Brexit provided an exit strategy from amoral globalism. Concerted efforts to undermine the US presidency and reverse Brexit have failed thus far. But elites have failed to learn the most important lesson of recent events: once lit, the democratic spirit cannot be put out.
Pro-EU elites have amassed to spoil the democratic vote for Brexit. They are making government an exercise in elitism by presenting Brexit options in a technical language that is inaccessible to the general public. They are threatening economic and political ruin across the UK. They are creating doomsday scenarios to spook MPs ahead of next month’s parliamentary debate on a Brexit deal.
The only thing worse than the malformed strategy for Brexit is the dismal dream of Eurocracy.
Brexit was achieved in a referendum with the largest voter turnout since the 1992 general election. It is a 21st-century peasants’ revolt and the elites want to suppress it. At every step, Eurocrats have tried to deny the democratic will of the British people to leave the EU.
European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker warned Britain would regret its decision to leave the union. The late Peter Sutherland, UN special representative for international migration and an ardent open-borders activist, tweeted that Brexit “somehow … must be overturned”.
Billionaire leftist George Soros is funding a campaign to overturn it by holding another referendum. The German Council of Economic Experts urged Chancellor Angela Merkel to block Brexit. They warned: “Political actors should not assume too soon that Brexit is a done deal.”
Britain’s experiment with direct democracy resulted in Brexit. It exposed a chasm between the world view of political elites and the people they claim to represent. At the time of the referendum, about 62 per cent of British MPs and 78 per cent of David Cameron’s cabinet opposed Brexit.
In the present state of play, the British government has three options: a revised deal with the EU, a no-deal Brexit, or a virtual reversal of the referendum result by parliament. The last option would be disastrous for British democracy. It would confirm the popular view among Brexiteers that EU elites govern nation-states without an electoral mandate or the consent of citizens.
Recent advice that Britain can revoke its declared intention to leave the EU has been celebrated by green-Left politicians. In an opinion for the European Court of Justice, advocate general Campos Sanchez-Bordona said the British government could unilaterally stop Brexit by withdrawing its intention to leave the EU.
The non-binding legal advice was given in response to a case brought by a group of antiBrexiteers led by green-Left politicians in Scotland.
The campaign to stop Brexit by triggering another referendum or bringing down Theresa May’s government is well funded and orchestrated. Britain’s The Telegraph reported that Soros had funded a campaign for a second referendum that would effectively overturn the democratic vote for Brexit. He has provided about £800,000 ($1.4 million) to the “Best for Britain” campaign that aims to trigger another vote.
Tory MP Amber Rudd appears to be supporting the idea of a second Brexit referendum. The May government’s Work and Pensions Secretary said last week the argument for a second referendum is “plausible” if the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal is rejected by the Commons. Rudd has form. Before the referendum, she joined socialist and Labour politicians in a vicious attack on Brexiteers. In a televised debate, she turned against her own team, accusing fellow Tory and Brexiteer Boris Johnson of being a liar. She smeared him, saying that he was “not the man you want to drive you home at the end of the evening”.
It is unsurprising that desperate Europhile politicians use ad hominem attacks to promote their cause. They struggle to make the case for EU membership because the weight of evidence is against them. Former Labour foreign secretary David Miliband demonstrated the problem in a column for The Guardian. He compared Brexit to arson and declared it would be an “unprecedented act of political self-destruction”.
Like many Europhiles, Miliband works tortured metaphors and motherhood statements to sell the benefits of EU membership. After claiming that “the EU multiplies British power, ideas and values in very direct ways”, he issued the stunning proof: a reduction in Somali pirate attacks and the deal on Iran’s nuclear program. Is that it?
EU officialdom makes a persuasive case against its own usefulness. It has grown beyond an alliance of states building a European common market into a bureaucratic leviathan that interferes with every aspect of life, including family relations, child-rearing, freedom of thought and expression, and the free exercise of faith. Worse still, it politicises societies to the degree that citizens and entire nations are judged according to their professed loyalty to PC dogma. Open borders, multicultural ideology, minority fundamentalism and casual antipathy to Western civilisation are the common values of Eurocratic elites. Dissenting individuals and states are held up for public ridicule and suffer retribution from Brussels.
The EU is a caricature of liberal democracy in its most degenerate form. Its cadres denounce democracy when the tide of public opinion is against them. They are so arrogant as to believe that their arguments require no proof. They have so little regard for the truth that politically correct ideology is presented as fact. They dismiss the Western tradition because its basis in public reason means the peasants can speak truth to power.
Eurocrats display the confidence of nouveau riche barbarians whose limitless self-belief comes from standing on the shoulders of midgets. They are unwilling to respect the free will of democratic citizens because they respect neither democracy nor freedom. The British people voted to leave the EU because it left them behind.
The US was the dominant world power, but has been failing, compounded by desperate plans for hegemony and appalling errors and lies over a long period. Will President Trump overpower the Deep State and restore the US in a unipolar world, perhaps in conjunction with President Putin and Chairman Xi?
Scroll down to read the most recent articles. Links to previous articles follow.
The U.S. military state overthrows democratically-elected governments that it deems to be a threat to corporate interests.
“There is plenty of evidence that the United States is the most depraved and dangerous “meddler” in the affairs of other nations that history has ever known.”
Dan Kovalik is a labor and human rights lawyer, but most of all he is an anti-imperialist and an author of three books. Kovalik’s first two books tackled the specific US war drives against Russia and Iran. His third installment, The Plot to Control the World: How the US Spent Billions to Change the Outcome of Elections Around the World, addresses the broad scope of US election meddling abroad. The book provides much needed political and ideological life support to an anti-war movement in the U.S that has been rendered nearly invisible to the naked eye.
The Plot to Control the World is as detailed in its critique of U.S. imperialism as it is concise. In just over 160 pages, Kovalik manages to analyze the various ways that the U.S. political and military apparatus interferes in the affairs of nations abroad to achieve global hegemony. He wastes no time in exposing the devastating lie that is American exceptionalism, beginning appropriately with the U.S. imperialist occupations of Haiti and the Philippines at the end of the 19thcentury and beginning of the 20th. The U.S. would murder millions of Filipinos and send both nations into a spiral of violence, instability, and poverty that continues to this day. As Kovalik explains regarding Haiti, “While the specific, claimed justifications for [U.S.] intervention changed over time- e.g., opposing the end of slavery, enforcing the Monroe Doctrine, fighting Communism, fighting drugs, restoring law and order — the fact is that the interventions never stopped and the results for the Haitian people have been invariably disastrous.”
“Kovalik wastes no time in exposing the devastating lie that is American exceptionalism.”
US expansionism has relied upon the ideology of American exceptionalism to silence criticism and weaken anti-war forces in the United States. American exceptionalism claims that the U.S. is a force for good in the world and completely justified in its wars of conquest draped in the cover of spreading “democracy and freedom” around the world. Kovalik challenges American exceptionalism by showing readers just how much damage that US expansionism and militarism has caused for nations and peoples in every region of the planet. Russia, Honduras, Guatemala, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Vietnam and many other nations have seen their societies devastated by U.S. “election meddling.” In Honduras, for example, a U.S.-backed coup of left-wing President Manuel Zelaya in 2009 made the nation one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, indigenous person, or trade-union/environmental activist. Thousands of Hondurans have been displaced, disappeared, or assassinated since the coup.
Another important aspect of The Plot to Control the World is its exposure of U.S hypocrisy surrounding the subject of “election meddling.” Since the end of the 2016 Presidential elections, the U.S. military, political, and media branches of the imperialist state have accused Russia of virtually implanting Donald Trump into the Oval office. The U.S. public has been fed a steady dose of anti-Russia talking points in an apparent effort on the part of the elites to beat the drums of war with the nuclear-armed state. No evidence has been presented to prove the conspiracy, as a recent National Public Radio (NPR) analysis states plainly. However, there is plenty of evidence that the United States is the most depraved and dangerous “meddler” in the affairs of other nations that history has ever known.
“The author shows readers just how much damage that US expansionism and militarism has caused for nations and peoples in every region of the planet.”
Just ask the much-vaunted Russians. Kovalik devotes an entire chapter to the 1996 Presidential election in Russia that re-elected the wildly unpopular Boris Yeltsin. The fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 began an era of “shock therapy” in the newly erected Russian Federation, a euphemism for the wholesale theft and transfer of socialized wealth into the hands of oligarchs and multinational corporations. Millions would perish in Russia from an early death due to the sudden loss of healthcare, housing, jobs, and other basic services. In 1996, President Bill Clinton ensured that Yeltsin maintained his near total grip on state power in Russia by providing the Russian President with a team of U.S. political consultants and over a billion dollars’ worth of IMF monies directly to the campaign. U.S. political and monetary support allowed Yeltsin to rig the election in his favor despite his dwindling popularity. Kovalik shows that if anyone should worry about election meddling, it should be the people of Russia and not the US elites that control Washington.
The Plot to Control the World takes readers into the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the CIA’s coup of revolutionary Patrice Lumumba continues to haunt the resource rich nation in the form of endless US-backed genocide. It travels to Guatemala, where the CIA overthrow of Jacobo Arbenz led to a U.S.-backed slaughter of a quarter million Guatemalans under the auspices of several military dictatorships. Kovalik shows us that the election of the fascistic Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil was no aberration, as the U.S. was primarily responsible for the rise in fascism in Brazilthrough its direct role in placing the nation under the control of a military dictatorship in 1964. The military dictatorship predated the CIA’s ouster of Chile’s Salvador Allende in 1973, which handed the once socialist state to Augusto Pinochet’s murderous and repressive leadership.
“The mission is always the same: to destabilize independent nations that refuses to bow down to the dictates of U.S. imperialism.”
The entire skeleton of the U.S. military state is on full display in The Plot to Control the World. The U.S. military state utilizes an array of tools to overthrow democratically-elected governments that it deems to be a threat to corporate interests. These tools include the U.S. intelligence agencies, so-called Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs) such as the National Endowment for Democracy, and the various branches of the military itself, to name a few. Regardless of the tools employed, the mission is always the same: to destabilize independent nations that refuses to bow down to the dictates of U.S. imperialism.Thus, while Nicaragua, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Vietnam may possess unique histories, their economic and political development has been shaped by the destructive interference of the United States.
Dan Kovalik is not likely to be reviewed in the New York Timesor other corporate outlets. That’s because Kovalik unapologetically speaks out against U.S. empire and all that upholds it. In doing so, Kovalik’s The Plot to Control the World walks in the footsteps of anti-imperialists such as Michael Parenti and William Blum. Blum, a former State Department employee, spent his post-State Department life providing humanity with knowledge about how US imperialism operates on the global stage. The New York Timeswasted no time in slandering Blum in their obituary . This showed the great lengths that the ruling elites will go to discredit, defame, and condemn critics of the military industrial complex and how important it is for those who oppose war let go of any expectation that the corporate media will cover Kovalik’s work or anyone else who speaks out against war.
“White supremacy is the biggest lie of all and is completely embedded in the ideology of American exceptionalism.”
With that said, one of the reasons that the left in the U.S. is so weak is because it has been numerically and politically isolated by the lies of the Empire. White supremacy is the biggest lie of all and is completely embedded in the ideology of American exceptionalism. Despite the ruthlessness of the austerity and incarceration regimes, many Americans continue to be convinced that the U.S. is the most exceptional nation in the world and do not balk when its military wages wars abroad at the expense of U.S. tax dollars and civilian lives. U.S. imperialism has made sure that Americans feel that they are special colonizers who see the victims of the U.S. military state as savages worthy of slaughter. The Plot to Control the World is based on a different premise: internationalism. The book links the struggle against US imperialism to the needs of the oppressed and working class living in the heart of empire, making it an essential read for those who are sick and tired of the prevailing narrative of American exceptionalism and want to be armed with knowledge that is essential toward changing it.
‘This is scary’, tweeted Senator Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, in response to the resignation of Jim Mattis, the already retiring US defence secretary. He continued, ‘[Mattis was] an island of stability amid the chaos of the Trump administration’.
Indeed, Mattis was an island of stability – ‘the only adult in the room’ as insightless anti-Trumpistas never cease to remind us. But only if by stability one means a stubborn adherence to militarism and the binary enmities of the Cold War. Because there’s little doubt that Mattis was that.
In opposition to Trump, he continued to talk up the importance of maintaining NATO, that military remnant of the anti-Communist past. He pursued a consistently anti-Russia line, driving the US’s withdrawal from the nuclear arms treaty, and pushing for an antagonistic relationship with Moscow and its allies in Beijing at every point.
And, perhaps most staggering of all, given the bloody mess in which the Middle East finds itself, he actively supported continuing and deepening US interventions in Syria and Iraq. After all, that was the straw that broke this former US marine commander’s back: Trump’s decision to declare the war in Syria over (at least to the extent it was now against ISIS rather than Assad), and withdraw 2,000 US troops.
This is not to say Trump’s decision to dial down US involvement in Syria is beyond criticism. It does look as if it might be the first significant step in the next betrayal of the Kurdish proxies the US has been backing in the fight against ISIS. Ominously for the Kurds, Trump’s decision to withdraw troops goes hand-in-hand with a warming relationship, motivated by a desire to isolate Iran, with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, complete with a relaxation of sanctions, a multi-billion-dollar arms deal, and, most worrying of all, a green light for Turkey to move deeper into Syria, against the Kurds.
Yet at the same time, this step back from Syria, alongside the withdrawal of 7,000 troops from Afghanistan, is not only consistent with Trump’s longstanding America First opposition to interventionism overseas – it is also a decision that ought to be supported in principle by any anti-militarist worth their salt. Unless of course you believe that the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, and the disastrous meddling in Syria, have been roaring successes that haven’t killed hundreds of thousands of people, ruined nations, and made no discernible headway towards their ever-changing objectives.
Mattis does believe all this and more. But then he would, given he, as a senior army general, gleefully commanded marines during the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. No wonder he defends them. He is up to his neck in the blood and guts of those miserable US-led adventures. He sees global affairs in the Manichean terms of the Clinton, Blair and Bush years, composed of ‘ethical’ foreign policy versus murderous dictators, of allies versus ‘strategic adversaries’, of the US and Europe versus Russia, China and Iran.
But what is the excuse of those liberals, those one-time not-in-my-namers, those would-be pacifists now crying angry tears over ‘mad dog’ Mattis’s departure, as if the Trump administration lost a grand elder statesman rather than a hot and cold warmonger? Are they so blinded by their animus towards Trump that they can’t distinguish between militarism and pacifism? Is their anti-Trump myopia so severe that invasion and occupation look like progress and peacekeeping? It looks that way. Broadsheet op-eds, and right-thinking tweeters, on both sides of the Atlantic, are treating Trump’s troop decision, incredibly, as a blow to the world order. They call it ‘foolish’, ‘strategically stupid’, and ‘reckless’. They say it will cost thousands of lives, that it goes against the oh-so-wise consensus view of policymakers and the US and beyond.
Anti-Trumpism is dragging too many into absurd, not to mention dangerous, positions. The largely laudable decision to pull soldiers out of Syria and Afghanistan is being condemned, and years of Western barbarism endorsed, all in the service of scoring a few points against Trump. There are plenty of good reasons to criticise the current US administration’s foreign policy, from its trade warring with China and Russia to its involvement in the catastrophe in Yemen. But withdrawing military forces from occupied countries? That’s one we should chalk up on Trump’s ‘plus’ column.
Tim Black is a spiked columnist.
It’s not Russia that’s damaging American democracy – it’s money
It is estimated that over $5.2 billion will be spent on the US midterm elections and it’s no secret that hundreds of millions of those dollars are supplied by billionaire donors. This system is incompatible with real democracy.
In a piece for The Guardian last week, Chuck Collins wrote that the three wealthiest families in the US — the Waltons of Walmart, the Mars candy family and the Koch brothers — own a combined fortune of $348.7 billion — a sum which is 4 million times the median wealth of a normal American family.
A recent study conducted by researchers at Northwestern University found that despite the popular narrative of the so-called ‘philanthropic’ liberal billionaire in the style of Bill Gates, most of these super rich mega-donors are“extremely conservative” in their political views. They believe in cutting taxes for the rich and abolishing the estate tax. They are opposed to banking and environmental regulation — and they aren’t overly enthusiastic about social programs upon which millions of Americans rely.
Instead of being loud and proud about these views, however, they practice what the study authors called “stealth politics” — in other words, they rarely speak publicly on politics, but spend massive amounts of money lobbying politicians on the quiet.
This is not to imply that conservative billionaire donors are bad and liberal billionaires donors are good, which is what mainstream liberal media would seemingly like us to believe when they promote the likes of George Soros as a paragon of goodness while lamenting the influence of the Koch brothers. It is, however, a simple fact that America’s wealthiest billionaires are overwhelmingly conservative — and very rarely are they interested in creating a society that is fairer and better serves the average working American.
But, regardless of the politics of those doling out the dosh, this is a rotten and corrupt system of legalized bribery and one that is completely incompatible with true democracy. How could it be? Politicians are beholden not to the people, but to wealthy donors and special interests. Don’t just take it from me. Former congressman Mick Mulvaney, who is now the White House budget director, was remarkably candid about all this during a speech back in April.
“We had a hierarchy in my office in Congress. If you’re a lobbyist who never gave us money, I didn’t talk to you. If you’re a lobbyist who gave us money, I might talk to you.”
Rich donors and lobbyists shovel obscene amounts of money into political campaigns knowing that politicians will serve their interests in Congress. Conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson, for example, has funneled more than $100 million into the 2018 midterms. If you’re wondering why people like Adelson, who have billions in hoarded wealth, would even bother with elections the answer is simple: abject greed. As Collins wrote in the Guardian, they are “spending millions to save themselves billions” down the road. Meanwhile, normal Americans, despite how politically active they may be, have a near-zero impact on public policy.
Yet, getting money out of politics and taking back control of their democracy does not seem to be as big a focus as it should be for most Americans. Instead, super-rich elites, aided by the mainstream media, have been massively successful in distracting the population with conveniently constructed narratives.
For the Democrats, so-called Russian ‘collusion’ and ‘interference’ has acted as a successful distraction tactic since Donald Trump was elected. For Republicans and Trump himself, over-the-top fear-mongering about immigration while ignoring its root causes (often destabilizing US foreign policy) has been a wonderful distraction tactic.
When Americans are talking non-stop about Russians and migrants coming to get them, they’re not focused on the fact that the political system in which they are operating is corrupt to the core and serves only a tiny minority of mega-rich citizens who reside in ivory towers. Actress Marsha Warfield summed it up perfectly in a tweet last week:
“Why the hell are you mad at immigrants seeking a better life and not the tiny percentage of greedy f*cks hoarding the world’s resources while we fight amongst ourselves for crumbs?”
In 2016, about $6.5 billion was spent on presidential and congressional campaigns. That’s about enough to give every teacher a $2,000 pay rise. Aside from the many ways such money could clearly be put to better use, there’s also the fact that money is a huge barrier to entry for any American trying to get into politics. If you can’t raise the money, you can’t run a campaign — and if you do manage to raise the money (thanks to wealthy donors), you are beholden to them later. Only very rarely does a candidate manage to build a successful grassroots campaign without accepting big donor and corporate money. Democrats often pay lip-service to the idea of getting money out of politics, but in reality, they’re just as happy as Republicans to take money from anyone who wants to throw it at them.
More than $1 billion has been spent by outside groups (independent of and not coordinated with campaigns) to influence the midterm elections. Nearly $128 million has been spent by“dark money” groups which do not disclose who their donors are. And, consider this: Only 0.42 percent of Americans have given $200 or more to elections this year. Yet, miniscule as that number is, those people account for more than 66 percent of all campaign donations.
This is not democracy in action. Until Americans realize that choosing between corporate Democrats and Republicans is like choosing between a slap in the face or a punch in the nose, nothing will be any different. When the ballots are counted on November 6, whether it’s a victory for the Democrats or Republicans, it will still be a tiny minority of elites who hold all the power.
What will Brexit mean, both short and long-term? Could it lead to more countries’ rank and file voters deciding to take back control from the elitists who denigrate the hoi polloi? Or will the elitist establishment continue trampling on democracy?
Theresa May’s hopeless Brexit deal with the EU, which would leave the country in thrall to Brussels’ rules without a say, is scheduled to face the House of Commons after January 14. Its likely demise paves the way for Britain “crashing out” of the EU by the end of March without a deal. Let’s hope so.
You too must be sick of the fearmongering by liberal economic elites about the supposed dire consequences of a no-deal Brexit. Britain survived the Armada, Napoleon and Hitler, but leaving a dubiously beneficial supranational bureaucracy that it joined only in 1973 will apparently cause the biggest recession in a century.
Never mind that the British Treasury’s forecasts before the 2016 referendum have proved gobsmackingly wrong. They claimed a Brexit vote would sap Britain’s GDP by 3.6 per cent and lift unemployment by about 500,000. In fact economic growth has accelerated, and the unemployment rate has fallen to 4.1 per cent, its lowest since the 1970s.
Not to be deterred, the Bank of England is back with even more terrifying predictions, suggesting house prices would plunge 30 per cent in the biggest recession since the 30s as a result of a “disorderly” Brexit. The thousands of refugees in Calais, itching to get to Britain rather than stay in the EU, aren’t paying much attention.
Those unhappy with the result of the 2016 Brexit referendum — overwhelmingly high earners in the media, finance, universities and politics — need to get a grip. Britain is a rich, influential country, the fifth-biggest economy in the world. That won’t change, whatever happens after March 29.
Even if leaving the EU harms the economy a little, the British people have spoken. Democracy trumps technocracy, or at least it should. If leaving the EU ultimately shaves British GDP growth by a little in the future, who cares? If it means a few checks on the Northern Irish border until new arrangements can be sorted out, so be it.
None of these scenarios is worth thwarting the British voters’ verdict: 52 per cent voted to leave.
Even if leaving the EU harms the economy a little, the British people have spoken.
The EU has become government of the elites, by the elites, for the elites. What started as a few sensible intergovernmental agreements in the 1950s has morphed into a costly monster with little legitimacy. Voter turnout at elections for the European parliament has fallen from 66 per cent in the late 70s to 43 per cent in 2014. In Britain, turnout was 35 per cent, suggesting the British in particular care little for an institution they are paying about £9 billion ($16bn) a year.
Free movement of people in the EU has improved life for high-income Britons, who can flit around the continent with ease. But what about everyone else? Last June, real average weekly earnings in Britain (£490 a week, according to the Office of National Statistics) were still lower than 12 years ago. And that’s the average, which is dragged up by the high-paid in the bailed-out financial services sector. No wonder the figures for median wage growth are hard to find on the government website.
In the Bank of England’s tendentious analysis, none of the costs of staying is considered.
It might be a nice idea, but the EU is failing. “The Union remains mired in deep existential crisis, and its future is very much in doubt,” writes Dani Rodrik, an eminent Harvard trade economist, in his 2017 book Straight Talk on Trade. “The symptoms are everywhere: Brexit, crushing levels of youth unemployment in Greece and Spain, debt and stagnation in Italy, the rise of populist movements, and the backlash against immigrants and the euro.” Rodrik would now have to add a France in turmoil, racked by the most damaging and widespread riots since the 1960s, aimed at a president strongly associated with the EU.
The notion the EU is popular in member countries other than Britain is also debatable. In 2005, almost 55 per cent of the French rejected a constitutional treaty that would have bound France more tightly to Brussels. The French government hasn’t dared put any similar questions since.
“Historians will one day look back and think it a curious folly that just as the Soviet Union was forced to recognise reality by dispersing power to its separate states … some people in Europe were trying to create a new artificial state by taking powers from national states and concentrating them at the centre,” said Margaret Thatcher in 1994, in remarks that look increasingly prescient.
Unfettered access to the EU’s market isn’t everything. And the share of British exports going there has been shrinking anyway, from 55 per cent in 2006 to 44 per in 2017, according to the British parliamentary library. That’s not much more than the 33 per cent of Australia’s exports China buys.
Outside the EU, Britain would have freedom to negotiate its own deals with faster-growing economies, a benefit the Bank of England and the British Treasury have played down.
As for the EU, under World Trade Organisation rules it could not discriminate against Britain. It could impose tariffs on British goods and services, but by not more than it does on those from other nations, such as the US.
Canada has negotiated a deal with the EU better than WTO rules. Britain could do the same. In any case, it’s unlikely the European firms that own swathes of the British car industry would want their investments undermined. Cars are the single biggest export from Britain to Europe.
Britain famously repealed its Corn Laws in 1846, slashing the price of food for ordinary Britons, and thrived. Perhaps it should do the same again, slashing prices of goods and services. That would have a much better chance of lifting real wages than taxing them to prop up a Brussels bureaucracy.
Britain’s enemy is not Russia but its own ruling class, UN report confirms
As the UK political establishment rips itself to pieces over Brexit, a far greater crisis continues to afflict millions of victims of Tory austerity.
A devastating UN report into poverty in the UK provides incontrovertible evidence that the enemy of the British people is the very ruling class that has gone out of its way these past few years to convince them it is Russia.
Professor Philip Alston, in his capacity as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights, spent two weeks touring the United Kingdom. He did so investigating the impact of eight years of one of the most extreme austerity programs among advanced G20 economies in response to the 2008 financial crash and subsequent global recession.
What he found was evidence of a systematic, wilful, concerted and brutal economic war unleashed by the country’s right-wing Tory establishment against the poorest and most vulnerable section of British society – upending the lives of millions of people who were not responsible for the aforementioned financial crash and recession but who have been forced to pay the price.
From the report’s introduction:
“It…seems patently unjust and contrary to British values that so many people are living in poverty. This is obvious to anyone who opens their eyes to see the immense growth in foodbanks and the queues waiting outside them, the people sleeping rough in the streets, the growth of homelessness, the sense of deep despair that leads even the Government to appoint a Minister for Suicide Prevention and civil society to report in depth on unheard of levels of loneliness and isolation.”
Though as a citizen of the UK I respectfully beg to differ with the professor’s claim that such social and economic carnage seems“contrary to British values,”(on the contrary it is entirely in keeping with the values of the country’s Tory establishment, an establishment for whom the dehumanization of the poor and working class is central to its ideology), the point he makes about it being “obvious to anyone who opens their eyes,” is well made.
For it is now the case that in every town and city centre in Britain, it is impossible to walk in any direction for more than a minute before coming across homeless people begging in the street. And the fact that some 13,000 of them are former soldiers, casualties of the country’s various military adventures in recent years, undertaken in service to Washington, exposes the pious platitudes peddled by politicians and the government as reverence for the troops and their ‘sacrifice,’ as insincere garbage.
Overall, 14 million people in the UK are now living in poverty, a figure which translates into an entire fifth of the population. Four million of them are children, while, according to Professor Alston, 1.5 million people are destitute – that is, unable to afford the basic necessities of life.
And this is what the ruling class of the fifth largest economy in the world, a country that parades itself on the world stage as a pillar of democracy and human rights, considers progress.
The values responsible for creating such a grim social landscape are compatible with the 18th not 21st century. They are proof positive that the network of elite private schools – Eton, Harrow, Fettes College et al. – where those responsible for this human carnage are inculcated with the sense of entitlement and born to rule ethos that defines them, are Britain’s hotbeds of extremism.
Professor Alston:“British compassion for those who are suffering has been replaced by a punitive, mean-spirited, and often callous approach apparently designed to instill discipline where it is least useful, to impose a rigid order on the lives of those least capable of coping with today’s world, and elevating the goal of enforcing blind compliance over a genuine concern to improve the well-being of those at the lowest levels of British society.”
Here, set out above in bold relief, is the barbarism that walks hand in hand with free market capitalism. It is the same barbarism that was responsible for pushing post-Soviet Russia into a decade-long economic and social abyss in the 1990s, and the values that have pushed 14 million people in the UK into the same economic and social abyss in our time.
Austerity, it bears emphasizing, is not and never has been a viable economic response to recession in a given economy.
Instead, it is an ideological club, wielded on behalf of the rich and big business to ensure that the price paid for said economic recession is borne exclusively by those least able to bear it – namely the poor and working people. It is class war by any other name, packaged and presented as legitimate government policy.
However, in Britain’s case in 2018, this is a war like no other because as Professor Philip Alston’s report lays bare, one side in this war has been throwing all the punches and one side has been taking them.
As the saying goes, wars take place when the government tells you who the enemy is; revolutions take place when you work it out for yourself.
Explain why white men accused of pedophilia are allowed to be photographed and questioned by reporters on court steps, while Pakistani Muslims are not. Explain why a police force that took three decades to start dealing with Muslim rape gangs was able to arrest and incarcerate a journalist within a few scant hours. Explain why a man can be arrested for breaching the peace when no violence has taken place. To the British government: explain your actions, or open Tommy Robinson’s cell and let him walk free.
The rule of law is fragile, and relies on the self-restraint of the majority. In a just society, the majority obey the law because they believe it represents universal values – moral absolutes. They obey the law not for fear of punishment, but for fear of the self-contempt that comes from doing wrong.
As children, we are told that the law is objective, fair and moral. As we grow up, though, it becomes increasingly impossible to avoid the feeling that the actual law has little to do with the Platonic stories we were told as children. We begin to suspect that the law may in fact – or at least at times – be a coercive mechanism designed to protect the powerful, appease the aggressive, and bully the vulnerable.
The arrest of Tommy Robinson is a hammer-blow to the fragile base of people’s respect for British law. The reality that he could be grabbed off the street and thrown into a dangerous jail – in a matter of hours – is deeply shocking.
Tommy was under a suspended sentence for filming on courthouse property in the past. On May 25, 2018, while live-streaming his thoughts about the sentencing of alleged Muslim child rapists, Tommy very consciously stayed away from the court steps, constantly used the word “alleged,” and checked with the police to ensure that he was not breaking the law.
Tommy yelled questions at the alleged criminals on their way into court – so what? How many times have you watched reporters shouting questions at people going in and out of courtrooms? You can find pictures of reporters pointing cameras and microphones at Rolf Harris and Gary Glitter, who were accused of similar crimes against children.
Tommy Robinson was arrested for “breaching the peace,” which is a civil proceeding that requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Was imminent violence about to erupt from his reporting? How can Tommy Robinson have been “breaching the peace” while wandering around in the rain on a largely empty street sharing his thoughts on criminal proceedings? There were several police officers present during his broadcast, why did they allow him to break the law for so long?
Was Tommy wrong to broadcast the names of the alleged criminals? The mainstream media, including the state broadcaster, the BBC, had already named them. Why was he punished, but not them?
These are all questions that demand answers.
Even if everything done by the police or the court was perfectly legitimate and reasonable, the problem is that many people in England believe that Tommy Robinson is being unjustly persecuted by his government. The fact that he was arrested so shortly after his successful Day for Freedom event, where he gathered thousands of people in support of free speech, strikes many as a little bit more than a coincidence.
Is the law being applied fairly? Tommy Robinson has received countless death threats over the years, and has reported many of them. Did the police leap into action to track down and prosecute anyone sending those threats?
If the British government truly believes that incarcerating Tommy Robinson is legitimate, then they should call a press conference, and answer as many questions as people have, explaining their actions in detail.
As we all know, there has been no press conference. Instead of transparency, the government has imposed a publication ban – not just on the trial of the alleged child rapists, but on the arrest and incarceration of Tommy Robinson. Not only are reporters unable to ask questions, they are forbidden from even reporting the bare facts about Tommy Robinson’s incarceration.
Why? British law strains – perhaps too hard – to prevent publication of information that might influence a jury, but Tommy’s incarceration was on the order of a judge. He will not get a jury trial for 13 months imprisonment. Since there is no jury to influence, why ban reports on his arrest and punishment?
Do these actions strike you as the actions of a government with nothing to hide?
Free societies can only function with a general respect for the rule of law. If the application of the law appears selective, unjust, or political, people begin to believe that the law no longer represents universal moral values. If so, what is their relationship to unjust laws? Should all laws be blindly obeyed, independent of conscience or reason? The moral progress of mankind has always manifested as resistance to injustice. Those who ran the Underground Railroad that helped escaped slaves get from America to Canada were criminals according to the law of their day. We now think of them as heroes defying injustice, because the law was morally wrong.
The inescapable perception that various ethnic and religious groups are accorded different treatment under the Western law is one of the most dangerous outcomes of the cult of diversity.
Diversity of thought, opinion, arguments and culture can be beneficial – diversity of treatment under the law fragments societies.
The blind mantra that “diversity is a strength” is an attempt to ignore the most fundamental challenge of multiculturalism, which is: if diversity is a value, what is our relationship to belief systems which do not value diversity?
If tolerance of homosexuality is a virtue, what is our relationship to belief systems that are viciously hostile to homosexuality? If equality of opportunity for women is a virtue, what about cultures and religions which oppose such equality?
And if freedom of speech is a value, what is our relationship to those who violently oppose freedom of speech?
Diversity is a value only if moral values remain constant. We need freedom of speech in part because robust debate in a free arena of ideas is our best chance of approaching the truth.
You need a team with diverse skills to build a house, but everything must rest on a strong foundation. Diversity is only a strength if it rests on universal moral values.
Is Tommy Robinson being treated fairly? If gangs of white men had spent decades raping and torturing little Muslim girls, and a justly outraged Muslim reporter was covering the legal proceedings, would he be arrested?
We all know the answer to that question. And we all know why.
Diversity of opinion is the path to truth – diversity of legal systems is the path to ruin.
If the arrest and incarceration of Tommy Robinson is just, then the government must throw open the doors and invite cross-examination from sceptics. Honestly explain what happened, and why.
Explain why elderly white men accused of pedophilia are allowed to be photographed and questioned by reporters on court steps, while Pakistani Muslims are not.
Explain why a police force that took three decades to start dealing with Muslim rape gangs was able to arrest and incarcerate a journalist within a few scant hours.
Explain why a man can be arrested for breaching the peace when no violence has taken place – or appears about to take place.
To the British government: explain your actions, or open Tommy Robinson’s cell and let him walk free.
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, often supported, even driven, by politicians. But opposition grows by the day as evidence and common sense start to prevail.
Scroll down to read the most recent articles; links to previous articles follow.
Editor’s note: Peter Ridd was sacked by James Cook University for questioning other scientists’ dubious reports, as noted below. A related court case is pending. JCU also removed world-renowned Professor Bob Carter (1942-2016) for similar reasons.
Scientists from James Cook University have just published a paper on the bleaching and death of corals on the Great Barrier Reef and were surprised that the death rate was less than they expected, because of the adaptability of corals to changing temperatures.
It appears as though they exaggerated their original claims and are quietly backtracking.
To misquote Oscar Wilde, to exaggerate once is a misfortune, to do it twice looks careless, but to do it repeatedly looks like unforgivable systemic unreliability by some of our major science organisations.
The very rapid adaptation of corals to high temperatures is a well-known phenomenon; besides, if you heat corals in a given year, they tend to be less susceptible in the future to overheating. This is why corals are one of the least likely species to be affected by climate change, irrespective of whether you believe the climate is changing by natural fluctuations or because of human influence.
Corals have a unique way of dealing with changing temperature, by changing the microscopic plants that live inside them. These microscopic plants, called zooxanthellae, give the coral energy from the sun through photosynthesis in exchange for a comfortable home inside the coral. When the water gets hot, these little plants effectively become poisonous to the coral and the coral throws them out, which turns the coral white — that is, it bleaches.
But most of the time, the coral will recover from the bleaching. And here’s the trick: the corals take in new zooxanthellae, that floats around in the water quite naturally, and can select different species that are better suited to hot weather.
Most other organisms have to change their genetic make-up to deal with temperature changes — something that can take many generations. But corals can do it in a few weeks by just changing the plants that live in them.
They have learned a thing or two in a couple of hundred million years of evolution.
The problem here is that the world has been completely misled about the effects of bleaching by scientists who rarely mention the spectacular regrowth that occurs. For example, the 2016 bleaching event supposedly killed 93 per cent, or half, or 30 per cent of the reef, depending on which headline and scientist you want to believe.
However, the scientists looked only at coral in very shallow water — less than 2m below the surface — which is only a small fraction of all the coral, but by far the most susceptible to getting hot in the tropical sun.
A recent study found that deep-water coral (down to more than 40m) underwent far less bleaching, as one would expect. I estimate that less than 8 per cent of the Barrier Reef coral died. That might still sound like a lot, but considering that there was a 250 per cent increase in coral between 2011 and 2016 for the entire southern zone, an 8 per cent decrease is nothing to worry about. Coral recovers fast.
But this is just the tip of the exaggeration iceberg. Some very eminent scientists claim that bleaching never happened before the 1980s and is entirely a man-made phenomenon. This was always a ridiculous proposition.
A recent study of 400-year-old corals has found that bleaching has always occurred and is no more common now than in the past. Scientists have also claimed that there has been a 15 per cent reduction in the growth rate of corals. However, some colleagues and I demonstrated that there were serious errors in their work and that, if anything, there has been a slight increase in the coral growth rate over the past 100 years.
This is what one would expect in a gently warming climate. Corals grow up to twice as fast in the hotter water of Papua New Guinea and the northern Barrier Reef than in the southern reef. I could quote many more examples.
This unreliability of the science is now a widely accepted scandal in many other areas of study and it has a name: the replication crisis. When checks are made to replicate or confirm scientific results, it is regularly found that about half have flaws. This is an incredible and scandalous situation, a view shared by the editors of eminent journals and many science institutions. A great deal of effort is going into fixing this problem, especially in the biomedical sciences, where it was first recognised.
But not for Barrier Reef science. The science institutions deny there is a problem and fail to correct erroneous work. When Piers Larcombe and I submitted an article to a scientific journal suggesting we needed a little additional checking of Great Barrier Reef science, the response from many very eminent scientists was that there was no need. Everything was fine. I am not sure if this is blind optimism or wilful negligence, but why would anybody object to a little more checking? It would cost only a few million dollars — just a tiny fraction of what governments will be spending on the reef.
But the truth will out eventually. The scare stories about the Barrier Reef started in the 1960s, when scientists first started work on it. They have been crying wolf ever since. But the data keeps coming in and, yes, sometimes a great deal of coral dies in a spectacular manner, with accompanying media fanfare. It is like a bushfire on land — it looks terrible at first, but it quietly and rapidly grows back, ready for the scientists to peddle their story all over again.
Peter Ridd was, until fired this year, a physicist at James Cook University’s marine geophysical laboratory.
Australia’s emissions reduction policies are in response to what has always been an ideologically charged, fashionable flight of fancy, writes Maurice Newman.
Once upon a time, politics was referred to as the art of the possible. It was less about what was right or best than what could be achieved politically.
Today, the political class has refined that dark art and, like the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland, has decided that “imagination is the only weapon in the war against reality”.
It removes the constraints of inconvenient truths and unpalatable facts. For the doubters, “experts” can always be enlisted to validate even the wildest fantasies.
Take the government’s latest national energy guarantee contrivance. Even though it requires significantly more wind farms than now and a much increased demand for gas (despite the constraints on its extraction), some pundits say it will allow Australians to have their cake and eat it, too. It will allow us to meet emissions reduction commitments, to deliver reliable electricity supplies and make energy use more affordable. Imagine that. South Australia tried something similar and ended up with the highest retail electricity prices in the world.
Yet, notwithstanding the vagaries of ageing coal-fired generators, the addition of the expensive Snowy Hydro 2.0 and an increased reliance on intermittent sources, we are assured that this time it’s different.
Australia’s emissions reduction policies are in response to what has always been an ideologically charged, fashionable flight of fancy: the imagined danger that industrial “greenhouse” gas emissions lead to catastrophic global warming. Somehow, across time, this became politically accepted “settled science”.
It spawned an industry of crony capitalists and other taxpayer-dependent rent-seekers. But it didn’t stop Mother Nature, independent scientists and scandal exposing the hollowness of the narrative. Rather than withdraw from economically crippling and socially impoverishing emission abatement schemes, the political class just doubles down.
Rational thinkers may ponder what it will take for policymakers to recognise reality. It clearly takes more than the University of Alabama in Huntsville’s 40-year satellite data, which to date has recorded no increase in Australia’s atmospheric temperature.
Likewise, NASA’s recently released global data, which recorded average temperatures for the two years to February this year, shows the biggest two-year drop in the past century. That cooling brought the worst British winter in 42 years, and the related deaths of 48,000, mainly elderly, Britons.
Perhaps this and last year’s Greenland melt season, which was the lowest since 1996, are just aberrations. But then what about the Ross Ice Shelf, the largest of the Antarctic ice shelves, which, contrary to scientific predictions, continues to expand? If sea levels are rising dangerously, why are 80 per cent of reef islands in the South Pacific and Indian oceans stable or growing? And why do the longest continuous Australasian records at Fremantle and Auckland reflect a tendency towards a general slowing in the rise of mean sea level? Perhaps the fact polar bears were listed as endangered in 2008 but have increased in number by more than 30 per cent since 2005 can pass without comment today. But there was a time when this was promoted as emblematic of global warming.
Albert Einstein told us: “Knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world.” Well, we know a lot more than we did 40 years ago.
Climate change advocates may say individual data points are simply isolated weather events, but collectively the evidence is mounting and no longer should be denied. Yet it is. The political class remains unfazed and seems determined to ensure that whatever the latest science may prove, ideology, not economics, will prevail.
It is no mean feat to take a country from being among the cheapest energy markets to one of the most expensive. Confirming the collapse of the low-cost market-based system, in nine years retail prices in the National Electricity Market are up 80 per cent to 90 per cent and wholesale prices have risen 120 per cent since 2015.
The economic cost of emissions abatement policies can be observed in increasing layoffs, relocations and industry closures. The cumulative effect has yet to be felt, but it will be significant and deep, consistent with experience overseas, where higher energy prices have led to many more job losses in the broader economy than have been created in the renewables space.
So where to from here? With the range of renewable energy subsidies paid for by consumers, and state, territory and federal taxpayers running at more than $4 billion a year and likely to remain in force to at least 2030, the outlook is bleak.
With financial inducements and priority to the grid, intermittent energy progressively will crowd out fossil fuel generators. In such distorted markets, new investment in reliable coal-fired power will be uneconomic. Subsidies to would-be clean-coal investors will distort the market further.
Perhaps after 27 years of uninterrupted growth, policymakers are as dismissive of the laws of economics as they are of inconvenient scientific evidence. Going from a virtual debt-free position 10 years ago to a half-trillion dollars and counting is alarming enough. But when the debt is hypothecated to unrealistic expectations of an endless demand for Australian exports, the risks magnify.
Add to this the Bank of International Settlements’ recent observation of record household debt, static real wages, rapid rises in non-discretionary household expenditure and potential interest rate hikes and Australian families have rarely been more exposed to an economic downturn than now.
There is no quick fix. Australia’s manufacturing base has been hollowed out and the mortgage belt is running on empty. This is an ideological mess of monumental proportions and the likelihood of returning the electricity market to some form of normality may well be beyond the political courage of today’s politicians.
Still, as Ayn Rand reminds us, “We can ignore reality but we cannot ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”
New Zealand is killing its economy by green zealotry
There are just over 20 days left to send the Government a message that you are not prepared to accept the economic consequences of their Zero Carbon Bill.
The consultation documents accompanying the Bill show the policies come at a very high economic cost to all New Zealanders. Their modelling forecasts that by 2050, the economy would be at least a quarter smaller, that the burden will fall disproportionately on lower income households, and that the output of emissions-intensive industries such as sheep, beef, and dairy farming, will be halved.
With that economic prospect ahead it’s no wonder Winston Peters tried to distance himself from the future when he announced his choice of the new Government: “We in New Zealand First believe that an economic correction, or a slowdown, is looming…”
While he said he was foreshadowing the downturn so as not to get blamed when it arrives, the reality is that he is very much to blame. Winston Peters is only political leader in our country’s history to have allowed the radical agenda of the Greens to become law. All other political leaders, who have been in a position to choose a coalition, have elected to leave the extremist Greens out of any Ministerial line up. Winston Peters, however, ignored the risk when he crowned Labour and opened the door to the radical Greens.
The reality is that the ideologically driven Climate Change Minister James Shaw, who is on a moral crusade to save the planet, is blind to the economic harm his policies will inevitably cause.
At no time during the election campaign did Labour or the Greens attempt to outline the full details of the wealth cost of their Carbon Zero policy. Even now, when the policy implications are being disclosed and the costs are becoming clear, they are continuing to down-play the cost and claim benefits when there are none.
No party has the right to introduce policies to destroy a country’s economic future without clearly spelling out their intentions during an election campaign.
Since Labour and the Greens did not do that, their Zero Carbon Bill should be rejected in the strongest possible way.
James Shaw announced the consultation on his Bill using his typical weasel words.
In spite of there being no real-life evidence that dangerous man-made global warming exists, James Shaw continues to attribute all manner of natural events to global warming: “But the frequency and the severity of storms, coastal and river flooding, droughts and wildfires is increasing, and will continue to increase as long as we and the rest of the world keep putting greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere… Sea level rise alone puts at risk, five airports, 46 kilometres of railway, 1,100 kilometres of road and nearly 70,000 buildings, with a replacement cost of $19 billion.”
His exaggerated claims have no basis in fact, and are no better than the sensationalist predictions from United Nations’ climate models that have proven to be grossly inaccurate for over twenty years – models used by former US Vice President Al Gore and the UN Environmental Programme to claim that sea level rise would engulf cities around the world and create 50 million climate refugees by 2010!
James Shaw is not only dishonest with his fear-mongering predictions of gloom, he is also dishonest about the economic benefits of de-carbonisation, which he claims will provide “an extraordinary opportunity to upgrade our economy, not just to be ‘clean and green’, but also more productive and better paid”.
But rather than quantifying the benefits, he refers to “the costs if we do nothing”. The truth is there is no rational argument in support of his policy position. It’s a policy built on fear.
James Shaw’s ‘clean’ and ‘green’ economy doesn’t exist – it’s a false prophecy. Wind and solar power, which he heralds as the clean green saviours of the future, depend on mining and smelting. A 3 metre wind turbine contains over 300 tonnes of steel, 5 tonnes of copper, 1200 tonnes of concrete, 3 tonnes of aluminium and 2 tonnes of rare earths – where mining one tonne of rare earths produces 200 cubic metres of acid waste water. Solar panels contain arsenic, aluminium, boron, cadmium, copper, gallium, indium, molybdenum, phosphorous, selenium, silica, silver, steel, tellurium, and titanium.
California’s obsession with sustainable energy has led to escalating power prices and massive power cuts, while Spain’s love affair with renewable energy has also ended badly, failing to provide affordable power or security of supply, despite decades of government subsidies.
James Shaw wants 95 percent of cars and 50 percent of trucks electrified by 2050, but has yet to provide any details – including how New Zealand is expected to generate sufficient clean green energy to power all of the batteries. Will he force people to comply with his world view by raising the carbon levy on each litre of petrol from the present 4.7 cents to over 55 cents – as predicted by the Productivity Commission – or will he do it by increasing the annual registration levies on petrol and diesel vehicles.
To see the folly of ‘clean green’ policies, one needs look no further than the government’s disgraceful decision to ban future oil and gas exploration. With domestic supplies of natural gas dwindling, and without the ability to discover new reserves – New Zealand’s importation of natural gas from distant overseas markets will eventually lead to an overall increase in emissions.
Labour exposed its reckless approach to governance when it dictated that the industry would close – without any prior warning, any costings, or any consultation – just so the Prime Minister could look decisive on the world stage. It remains one of the key reasons why Kiwi businesses cannot trust this government and why business confidence is declining.
So why would James Shaw, Jacinda Ardern and Winston Peters impose ideological policies onto New Zealand that have failed overseas? Why would they put our future at risk for a theory – for that’s all man-made global warming is?
To reiterate, there remains no real-life evidence that dangerous man-made global warming exists. The weather events that James Shaw likes to highlight as being proof of runaway climate change are not outside the bounds of natural variability.
During the Medieval Warm Period, the earth was far warmer than it is today, and during the Little Ice Age, far cooler. Carbon dioxide levels have been far higher than now, and far lower. Species continue to evolve as they always have, with some dying out and others adapting and flourishing. Storms have been fiercer and more frequent than the present, as have floods and every other adverse weather event. The climate is chaotic, but no more, nor less, than it’s ever been.
Furthermore, while carbon is classed as “pollution” by some, it remains essential for life on earth. Although the actual level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is miniscule, it plays an essential role in the food chain. All plants and animals breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide, but through photosynthesis in the presence of green chlorophyll and water, plants are able to capture the sun’s energy and carbon dioxide and store them as food, releasing oxygen in the process.
Yet Green socialists, intent on destroying economic growth and prosperity, have convinced politicians around the world that carbon dioxide is their enemy.
There is no doubt that at some stage in the future, sanity will again prevail and the current climate extremism will be relegated to the dustbin of history.
But in the meantime, how do we stop the politicians from destroying our economy and undermining our living standards?
One practical step is to encourage everyone who shares these concerns to express their views through the Zero Carbon Bill consultation. It’s open until 5pm on the 19th of July, and feedback can be provided through the website questionnaire HERE – or by directly emailing the Climate Change Team at ZCB@mfe.govt.nz.
The Zero Carbon Bill will create a vast bureaucracy: A Climate Change Commission, ‘emissions budgets’, climate change adaptation plans, and emissions targets.
The Bill presents three options for emissions targets for 2050. The first would regulate only carbon dioxide, the second carbon dioxide and methane, and the third carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide and any other gases they can find.
The second and third options are designed to target farmers, as environmental extremists want to see stock numbers reduced and farming limited as an economic activity.
While most methane in New Zealand is produced by ruminants digesting food, it is not the problem the activists are making it out to be. Soil scientist, Dr Doug Edmeades, explains:
“Methane is short-lived in the atmosphere. It hangs around for about 10 years before it is converted to CO2. For every unit of carbon the animal emits as CH4 it must ingest the same amount of carbon from its plant-based feed source, which, comes initially from the CO2 in the atmosphere. The animal is both the source of the carbon in methane and it is also the sink for the equivalent amount of carbon in CO2. In this sense the carbon-methane cycle – methane-to-CO2-to-forage-plants-to-animals-to-methane – is a closed cycle. The animal is CH4-carbon neutral.”
Dr Edmeades is right – and his finding illustrates only too clearly why climate science, like all science, is never ‘settled’, with new discoveries continually improving our knowledge and understanding.
Since livestock are carbon neutral, methane from agriculture should not be included in emissions targets. Without methane, New Zealand would have one of the smallest greenhouse gas emissions profiles in the developed world.
In fact, no gases should be included in emissions targets, because just like the Emissions Trading Scheme, James Shaw’s proposed Zero Carbon Bill will create a costly nightmare of red tape and bureaucracy that will waste time and money, drag down the economy, and destroy businesses and jobs – all for no benefit.
This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator is former Reserve Bank economist Michael Reddell, who shares his analysis of the economic modelling that has been carried out on the Zero Carbon Bill. He also expresses astonishment at what is actually being proposed:
“I guess these targets are advocated by zealots, but even the zealots surely recognise that what New Zealand does is not going to change the climate, and that many countries already richer and more productive than we are are proposing adjustments that are materially less costly or demanding than what the New Zealand government is proposing here. I am not suggesting we can or should do nothing – there is some minimum effort probably required to ward off the threat of trade sanctions – but surely on any reasonable cost-benefit assessment of the interests of New Zealanders, we would be confronting these costs – the wilfully given up opportunities for our kids and grandchildren – and pulling back?
“I would be surprised if ever before in history a democratic government has consulted on proposals to reduce the material wellbeing of its own people by up to 25 per cent. Wars, of course, come at a very considerable cost – and sometimes are worth fighting – but again, I doubt any democracy (or perhaps even any tyranny) ever entered a war thinking that as a result of doing so they would be so much poorer 30 years on. It is simply a breathtaking proposition – the more so in a country that at the moment struggles to achieve any material productivity growth at all.”
So, what should we, the people, do?
We need to push-back against the Bill and James Shaw’s moral crusade. Anyone who cares about New Zealand and our economic future should say no to emissions target. Doing nothing is not an option.
Regrettably, instead of taking a lead and standing up against the extremist madness of the Greens and this Bill, National’s new leader Simon Bridges has decided to support it. And without a Donald Trump – who had the courage to reject climate scaremongering and threats and put the wellbeing of his country and its people first – it’s up to us! Don’t forget, submissions close July 19.
All is now bustle and hubbub in the late months of the year. This goes for the stock market too. If you recall, on September 22nd the S&P 500 hit an all-time high of 2,940. This was nearly 100 points above the prior high of 2,847, which was notched on January 26th. For a brief moment, it appeared the stock market had resumed its near decade long upward trend.
We actually did not believe in the validity of the September breakout attempt: the extremely large divergence between the broad market and the narrow big cap leadership was one of many signs that an internal breakdown in the stock market was well underway. It is probably legitimate to refer to the January 2018 high as the “orthodox” stock market peak – the point at which most stocks topped out.
Chartists witnessed the take out of the January high and affirmed all was clear for the S&P 500 to continue its ascent. They called it a text book confirmation that the bull market was still intact. Now, just two months later, a great breakdown may be transpiring.
Obviously, this certain fate will be revealed in good time. Still, as we wait for confirmation, one very important fact is clear. The Federal Reserve is currently executing the rug yank phase of its monetary policy. As the Fed simultaneously raises the federal funds rate and reduces its balance sheet, credit markets are slipping and tripping all over themselves.
This week, for example, seven-year investment grade bonds issued by GE Capital International traded with a spread of 2.47 percent. For perspective, this is equivalent to the spread of BB rated junk bonds. In other words, the credit market doesn’t consider GE bonds to be investment grade, regardless of whether compromised credit rating agencies say they are.
But it’s not just GE debt that’s in question. Per a tweet by Scott Minerd, Global Chief Investment Officer at Guggenheim Partners: “The selloff in GE is not an isolated event. More investment grade credits to follow. The slide and collapse in investment grade debt has begun.”
The fact is, there’s now around $3 trillion of bonds rated BBB, the lowest rating bracket above junk. How much of this debt – like General Electric bonds – should be rated junk that isn’t? We suspect the next liquidity event will clarify the answer to this question.
The real question, however, is how did $3 trillion of questionable debt pile up to such a perilous level to begin with? What follows is an attempt at an answer…
How Fake Capitalism Works
One popular delusion is that America operates under an economic framework of capitalism. One where businesses, and their finances, are free to succeed and fail based on their economic merits. In reality, America hasn’t had a truly capitalist economy since the 19th century.
Moreover, the encroachment of government into the economy has increased over the last several decades. The ratio of federal government spending to GDP increased from 33 percent in 1973 to about 40 percent today. How can an economy that is composed of 40 percent federal government spending and extreme central bank intervention into credit markets be an economy of private enterprise? Naturally, it can’t.
In modern times government activity is taking up an ever larger share of the economy – but where will it end? Full-fledged communism? Note that the above does not count the indirect costs of federal regulations, which are estimated to amount to around $2.5 trillion per year.
The fake capitalism of the 21st century is, in essence, a destructive form of self-cannibalism. The economic model depends on three factors: big deficits, monetary policies of extreme intervention, and a central authority with a highly visible hand to direct the supply and demand of goods and services. Taken in concert, these factors consume tomorrow’s productivity with the gluttonous appetite of pigs devouring slop.
The results are an endless collection of gross distortions, misallocations, debt pileups and vulnerabilities. Stocks, corporate bonds, residential real estate, General Electric, Washington lobbyists, student loan debt, defense contractors, digital gizmo producers, Ford Motor Company, per capita healthcare costs, Anheuser-Busch, Bryce Harper’s imminent $400 million contract, unfunded state pension liabilities, federal debt, and on and on…
This is how fake capitalism works. And what you may not know is that under fake capitalism someone, most likely you, will be left holding the bag for these liabilities – and many more. You may not want to pay for them. You may not be prepared to pay for them. But you will pay for them, nonetheless. In fact, you already are…
The Intolerable Scourge of Fake Capitalism
You see, if you own residential property in America today you really don’t own it. You are merely leasing it from your local governments. Try skipping your property tax payment, if you don’t believe us.
One implication is that your city holds an option on your house. And when push comes to shove, they’ll exercise it. The city government will raise your property taxes to cover its pension obligations. Then it will raise it some more. Many cities already are.
And if your kids are in public schools, it is likely their classrooms are more crowded than they were when you were a kid. Why? Is there a shortage of teachers? On the contrary, there is a glut of retired teachers – some of whom haven’t taught a class for over 20 years – who have a claim on today’s taxes.
On top of that, your state wants to stick you with a progressive wealth exit tax if you try to sell your house and leave the state. After a lifetime of paying down your mortgage you can no longer flee to a tax friendlier state without being taken to the cleaners. Remember, you no longer own your property. Your local and state government owns your property.
A little Illinois data and cartoon collage: this is the quasi-bankrupt state in which the political class now ponders restricting the basic human right of free movement by blackmail in the form of an “exit tax”. Your property does not belong to you. You and all you own belong to them.
So, too, under a fiat money system, you don’t own your own money. You may think you do. You can see the balance in your savings account. But at all hours of the day, including holidays, the value is being extracted from your savings through deficit spending and policies of mass money debasement. This is why working and saving money has become an unending run on a treadmill. You can never get ahead. But you can run faster and faster.
Run as fast as you like – you will never catch up with this…
Of course, the taxpayer – that’s you – will also be responsible for picking up the tab on the next round of too big to fail corporate bailouts. You can count on it. The Treasury Secretary, through smiling teeth, will even tell you it’s for your own good… that they must destroy capitalism to save it.
Yet capitalism was destroyed long ago. And we find the fake capitalism that remains to be an intolerable scourge to a just society.
The cultural world changed with Professor Jordan Peterson
The Canadian professor’s entire moral enterprise arose from his horror at the ease with which murderous ideologies came to possess ordinary people. Most of us look only briefly at that matter and others, unsettling as they are, but Peterson explores the very bases of such thought and being
The cultural world changed after the UK Channel 4 interview which took place on January 16 this year, in which Cathy Newman “interviewed” the Canadian psychology professor Jordan B. Peterson.
The interview, or rather attempted harangue by Newman, became an instant phenomenon, mainly because Peterson’s demeanour, intelligence and patience with Newman’s rudeness, and real or assumed stupidity, were so impressive. The interview, contrary no doubt to the plan of Newman and Channel 4, greatly raised Peterson’s already high public profile, ensured best-seller status for his second book (12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos), and consigned Newman and Channel 4 to the ridicule of millions of viewers around the world. Whether either will recover is yet to be seen. (online editor: that video is embedded below)
While numerous profiles and interviews of Peterson have, over the last year, appeared in news and opinion outlets, most have been along the lines of: “Look at this wacky Canadian professor who seems to have millions of fans for some reason.” Few have attempted to come to grips with what are arguably his most important and original contributions to the ideas of the day. (A notable exception is the excellent hour-long interview by Dutch commentator Timon Dias, on the Geenstijl website and YouTube.) For me, writing as I have done for ten years about the importance of personal morality, in particular a return to a virtue framework, the most exciting thing about Peterson is that he is bringing talk about virtue and morality back to thousands of people in a West which has shunned and indeed ridiculed those ideas for fifty years.
I hope not to caricature Peterson in saying that in several talks and interviews, and also in his 1999 book Maps of Meaning, he has given an account of the development of morality which is based on evolutionary and psychological theory. According to Peterson, a moral way of life is that kind of life which maximises long-term good for both the individual and for the group. Humans are, after all, social animals.
For humans, who live in families and villages and suburbs and workplaces, morally right behaviour is that which benefits, indeed maximises long-term benefit, for the individual and for the group. It is unfortunate that this formulation sounds a little too much like utilitarianism, as widely understood, that is in “seeking the greatest good for the greatest number”. In Peterson’s presentation, however, the emphasis is heavily on the individual’s ability, and responsibility, to act in a morally constructive way. His view is therefore, in my opinion, closer to a “virtue ethics” position than to a utilitarian one.
For humans, this will involve sacrifices, restraints on personal desires, and trust in others to act similarly. It will involve, and indeed require, behaviour which conforms to a set of rules and expectations.
Note that this account of morality does not have anything to say about divine injunction or direction. There may, or may not, be a god or gods who supervise proceedings, and prescribe rewards or punishments, but the human systems can develop and proceed without them. The outcomes from infractions of the human systems generally include punishments and rewards in any event. The ancient question, posed earliest and best by Plato in the Euthyphro, as to whether an action is good because the gods direct it, or in itself, is here beside the point.
As it happens, Peterson himself has developed a religious (or quasi-religious) structure deriving from, rather than integral to, his view of the development of morality. This I shall discuss later.
For centuries, readers would have recognised the naturalistic framework from a similar formulation set out in the first century BC by the Roman philosopher, lawyer and politician Cicero, in his ethical work De Officiis. Clearly, Cicero had no conception of the evolutionary background which we now take for granted. Yet it was clear enough to ancient thinkers that human societies were already of great antiquity, and were based ultimately on the family. Cicero set out a naturalistic account of the origins of human virtue which is remarkably similar to Peterson’s, and, like his, started from the idea that humans are members of the animal world.
Cicero begins with the premise that every animal has both a sense of self-preservation and a reproductive drive. However, only the human animal reasons about cause and effect, the present and the future: only a human surveys his life and plans his behaviour accordingly. Humans by nature gather in groups, “form public assemblies”, and provide for family both immediate and extended. Family and social groupings thus develop. These natural tendencies promote the virtues—prudence, generosity, courage—which best preserve and improve the circumstances of the group.
In addition, the human mind hungers after knowledge: it desires to know what is true. It also resists submitting to others except in accordance with the rules of justice and law. These natural tendencies, again, promote the cultivation of those virtues, wisdom and justice. “From this attitude come greatness of soul and a sense of superiority to worldly conditions.”
Cicero’s philosophical works had a profound influence on early modern and Enlightenment thinking about morality. But who nowadays is familiar with De Officiis? Only specialists, usually on ancient philosophy, and they are not normally people who would give Jordan Peterson any consideration (alas, largely because they would probably believe media caricatures of him as “alt-right”).
It undoubtedly took someone who was not a philosopher, not an historian, not a student of ancient languages, to bring these strands of culture all together as Peterson has done. Specialists are too reluctant to step outside their field, and too cautious. Having been an undergraduate in the 1980s, I am old enough to remember the final echoes of a time when classical literary studies were last infused, to some extent, with “mythologism” and the deployment of “archetypes”: the faint vestiges of Sir James Frazer and The Golden Bough; Jane Ellen Harrison and Greek religion; Gilbert Murray, in 1914, finding Oedipal echoes in Hamlet. Then there was Levi-Strauss, and Jung, and finally Northrop Frye, promoting the mythical interpretation of literature. I remember puzzling over Frye’s “seasons” interpretations (winter = satire), wondering how it added to the literature under review, and thinking that it must be my fault that I failed to see its value.
The death knell of that kind of interpretation had been sounded in 1956, by Douglas Bush in an article in the Sewanee Review, “Mrs Bennet and the Dark Gods: The Truth about Jane Austen”, which satirically applied the mythological treatment to Pride and Prejudice. His piece, which is hilarious if you know both the novel and the mythology, demonstrated, as it apparently needed to do, that great literature is not rendered any greater by being read through the lens of mythological symbols. (One of my favourites from the paper is that Mr Bingley, because of his mysterious comings and goings with a train of followers, must be some sort of Dionysus figure.) Ovid, say, and Jane Austen, both have profound things to say about human life and psychology, but the one is not improved with a sprinkling of the other.
That Douglas Bush and his jeu d’esprit have entirely faded from public consciousness is a sign of the disappearance of mythological treatments of literature. In his idiosyncratic way, Peterson is bringing them back: he finds the Oedipal mother in the fairy tale of the Sleeping Beauty, and he finds suggestive archetypes in the Harry Potter stories. This is perhaps a compliment unearned by J.K. Rowling, whose books are more generally, and justly, considered an unstructured grab-bag of mostly Greek mythological elements.
The mythological view of literature was replaced, in the 1960s and thereafter, with something much worse, and in most cases far less justifiable: the Marxisant obsession with economic class; then post-Marxist and postmodernist gender focus; and finally race and colonialism, and now as appears, transgenderism, to the exclusion of any other considerations. This has been reinforced by the relentless practice of ad hominem condemnation of any writer whose works might be seen to be insufficiently attentive to gender and race; these people are invariably called white supremacists, and are hounded into abject apology, or unemployment. Naturally, on this kind of basis, Peterson himself has been called a Nazi.
As Peterson has said in a number of his talks, this has appalled him, particularly because his entire moral enterprise arose out of his existential despair and horror about the history of the twentieth century. Who, if he or she honestly considers the events of 1914 to 2001, or indeed to 2018, cannot be horrified? Who cannot dread the possession of ordinary people by murderous ideologies? Most of us look only briefly at the matter, because it is too terrible and too intractable, but Peterson has been moved to explore into the very bases of such ways of thought and being.
Peterson concludes that any and every person is capable of extreme evil. The answer to evil, in the end, he claims, is that each individual takes a decision which is not evil, rather than evil; that tends to the good, or at least does not tend to the bad. Social and national evils are compounded of individual evils, magnified exponentially.
On this basis, Peterson has practised what he has preached. He is best known for making two videos, in 2016, in which he said that he would not use the strange new pronouns devised for a range of gender variants, which were then proposed for inclusion in Canadian law; Bill C-16 was subsequently passed in 2017, and those variants are now established in law. Among other things, as Peterson and others have pointed out, the law, in being predicated on the view that gender, sexual expression and sexual identity vary independently of one another, instantiates a radical constructionist view of gender which is very much at odds with the facts of biology.
The “transgender pronoun issue”, then, was his line in the sand: his resistance to an attempt by extremist Left radicals, both outside and inside the Canadian government, to reinstate the old Soviet idea that human nature was not at all determined by biology, but only by environment and external manipulation. (The transgender activists do not put it like that; as they put it, transgender people “prefer” to be called by these pronouns, or have suffered harm because people haven’t used them, therefore everyone should use them. Of course, not even the first of these two propositions is true; a significant number of transgender people have told Peterson that the activists do not speak for them.) The riposte of the radicals is to call Peterson and others (including liberals such as Bret Weinstein) “biological essentialists”, which is meant to be a derogatory term.
The kind of people who consciously disregard biology are not likely to be influenced by weaker considerations such as reason or consistency. If, indeed, gender is a matter only of choice, why shouldn’t governments require people to choose a gender and stick to it? If nobody is “born this way”, but simply chooses it, then there is no requirement for the rest of us to observe anyone else’s whim about which gender they are. If a person has chosen his or her gender for the day or the week, I would take no more notice of it than I do of the shirt they have chosen to put on.
If it’s similar to changing your name by marriage or by deed poll, then what does it matter? I would not be breaking the law if I called Mrs Brown by her former name, Ms Black. Why would such nonsense have to be instantiated in law?
The answer, of course, is that everybody knows that biology is the heart of the matter, so the legal obligation to say the opposite is the point. The legal pressure which can be brought to bear is the point. The point is to force people, on pain of punishment, to avow what they know to be false. The point is to make people say that 2 + 2 = 5. They are also to say it as if they mean it, and if they do not, they risk losing their job, having their business deregistered, or ultimately going to jail.
But the question of whether or not gender is a matter of choice is very much alive. I note that very recently, some well-meaning scientists have endeavoured to return the transgender debate to a biological one, by claiming that a panel of genes may be involved in the causation of gender dysphoria. Geneticist Ricky Lewis has said, “It lends legitimacy, if that needs to be added, that transgender is not a choice but a way of being.” No doubt this is in part because of the ridicule which has been invited by the transgender activists’ recent contempt for biology. It remains to be seen whether they can have it both ways, so to speak.
Peterson’s approach, then, is characterised by utter seriousness and consistency about moral matters, and by a commitment to facts and truth. This is in contrast with those who consider themselves his ideological opponents, who can give no better reason for their stance in attempting to compel others to use certain words, than that we “must respect” transgender “preferences”, or people will be “harmed”. To which, and to all similar claims, I insist upon saying, with Shylock, “On what compulsion must I? Tell me that!” These same people are relativists about morality; they consider that there are no absolute moral values: yet, for some reason, they are full of “musts” and “shoulds” and “need tos”. This is the essence of insincerity.
If an accumulation of individual wrong acts can result in a societal, national or global disaster, the converse, according to Peterson, is that each person, making his or her heroic journey by taking responsibility and acting rightly, may do far more good than they expect. In Maps of Meaning,Peterson dwelt at length on the ancient Sumerian and Egyptian hero tales of Marduk and Osiris. Following Mircea Eliade, Peterson has identified the hero, in the mists of antiquity, as a performer of virtuous deeds, and an exemplar of those deeds to others, magnified and mythologised through time. Other humans felt motivated to imitate heroic actions, forming a virtuous cycle. Peterson quotes Eliade with approval:
Osiris becomes the model for all those who hope to conquer death … Following Osiris’s example, and with his help, the dead are able to transform themselves into “souls,” that is, into perfectly integrated and hence indestructible spiritual beings …
In suggesting this, Peterson (I suspect unconsciously) echoes the ancient Greek thesis of euhemerism, named after a late-fourth-century BC thinker called Euhemerus, who postulated that the heroes of Greek mythology were based on humans who had engaged in famous exploits. (The early Christian polemicists levelled euhemerism as a charge at their pagan opponents—“Your gods are nothing but men after all!”)
How long ago were these “mists of time” in which such heroic or archetypal events might have taken place? Not the least of Peterson’s achievements is to place, and keep, before his audience’s minds the immense length, against varying environmental backgrounds, of human and animal history. For a generation which has been taught no history, only grievances, this is an inestimable gift. In essence, the humanities courses being taught to high school and undergraduate students are, as near as possible, ahistorical. The postmodernists refuse to see any patterns except iterations of the exercise of power and exploitation, and certainly no progress. The lack of scrutiny on such matters as dates and sources which Foucault’s ostensibly historical works have officially received—as opposed to the regular deployment of his name as a token of authority—is evidence of this.
To emphasise how unlike Christianity Peterson’s position actually is, it is worth recalling that while he, consistently with Christian doctrine, emphasises the suffering of life, the solution he offers is entirely anchored in the world, and in human society. To reiterate, humans are social animals, subject to a large degree to the same hormonal chemical influences, rewards and punishments as other animals.
The Christian consolation, by contrast, has been to offer a better world after death, which is, to put it mildly, a far less believable scenario. (We have always been able to imagine, with sufficient force, what hell might be like; speculating what heaven might be like has led intelligent people into the most embarrassing avenues.) Augustine, the man whose (along with St Paul’s) fingerprints are most visibly all over orthodox Christian doctrine, said that the afterlife was the key reason for being a Christian. The old Roman religion, Augustine argued, said nothing about any god who could provide “Eternal life … the one object for which we are Christians”.
To be sure, some Christian commentators have recognised that whatever Peterson is promoting, it’s not Christianity. One David Robertson, on the Christian Today website, offered this, with characteristic tin-ear condescension: “[Peterson] is not the Messiah. He is not even a follower of the Messiah. He just needs the Messiah.” Another blustering American pastor deplores what he regards as Peterson’s tendency to Gnosticism; but then, he is writing a book about what he sees as the unfortunate revival of Gnosticism, and to a man with a hammer everything looks like a nail. A local reverend here in Sydney is troubled by the very thing which I find so valuable in Peterson’s moral approach: that it is works-based, not grace- or faith-based. By contrast, non-religious critic James Lindsay, in Areo magazine, condemns Peterson for being like a cult leader: but then Lindsay thinks nobody but himself gets religion right.
This brings us to another great, perhaps the greatest, merit of Jordan Peterson: that he is nearly always clear and intelligible. He is not trying to sound impressive or obscure. If he were, he would not have the high ground against the postmodernists, which he has. He is trying to write important truths in terms which people who may or may not have read any books to speak of (these days this includes journalists, university students, and other people with a “tertiary education”) will understand.
To some extent, this lays him open to the “Wacky Self-Help Professor” charge. This cannot be helped. The ancient program of virtue was the original self-help. Virtue, after all, literally means that kind of good activity which is proper to men, or humans, viri. It’s for humans and by humans: it’s essentially, painfully, human.
Which of course is why Christianity has always had a love-hate relationship with it. Why Luke claimed that there was more rejoicing in heaven over a reclaimed sinner than over ninety-nine righteous persons (dikaiois, which is to say the just: Luke 15:7). Why St Paul oscillated between flattering his Greek audiences by taking virtue seriously, focusing on “sin” as a virtual force of its own (Romans 7:17, 20), and claiming that the Holy Spirit was requisite for achieving the key virtue of self-control (egkrateia: Galatians 5:22–23). Why the climax of Augustine’s long polemical career was outgunning the Pelagian heresy (which had preserved features of pagan virtue), by insisting on the vital agency of divine grace. And, finally, why John Calvin maintained that human good deeds were neither here nor there.
Peterson’s focus on the naturalistic, on the parallels between human and animal chemistry, has drawn a great deal of ignorant derision from the Cathy Newmans in both traditional and social media. In her face-saving tweets after the notorious interview, she added: “though I don’t think I’ll ever come to terms with the lobster”. Similarly, here in Australia Leigh Sales and Annabel Crabb, two ubiquitous public broadcasters, had some fun with the lobsters. Peterson’s point, both in the interview and in the first chapter of his book, is that the chemical and social interactions between lobsters are remarkably, amazingly, similar to those among humans. People who are prepared to think about the result are moved to marvel at the antiquity of such structures, and what this might mean for thinking about human behaviour and human societies.
But not the Left: Newman’s response (not that she allowed him to elaborate on the point) was incredulity. Instead of concluding that the parallels between animal and human hierarchies are fascinating and meaningful, the response of the Left is rather like that of just about everyone in 1860 to the theory of evolution: “So, Mr Darwin, do you really think we could be descended from the apes? How very quaint!” The subsequent, endless series of memes of Peterson in one or another crustacean form (mainly created by his supporters) is only the natural echo of those crude mid-nineteenth-century newspaper cartoons of Darwin as an ape. We are indeed in strange times when the default position of the mainstream media—which in theory, and on occasion in practice, treats science with almost undue reverence—is to ridicule a scholar who insists upon the evolutionary origins of much of human life.
Judy Stove is a Visiting Fellow in the Faculty of Science at the University of New South Wales.
So much of mainstream journalism has descended to the level of a cult-like formula of bias, hearsay and omission. Subjectivism is all; slogans and outrage are proof enough. What matters is ‘perception’…
The death of Robert Parry earlier this year felt like a farewell to the age of the reporter. Parry was “a trailblazer for independent journalism”, wrote Seymour Hersh, with whom he shared much in common.
Hersh revealed the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and the secret bombing of Cambodia, Parry exposed Iran-Contra, a drugs and gun-running conspiracy that led to the White House. In 2016, they separately produced compelling evidence that the Assad government in Syria had not used chemical weapons. They were not forgiven.
Driven from the “mainstream”, Hersh must publish his work outside the United States. Parry set up his own independent news website Consortium News, where, in a final piece following a stroke, he referred to journalism’s veneration of “approved opinions” while “unapproved evidence is brushed aside or disparaged regardless of its quality.”
Although journalism was always a loose extension of establishment power, something has changed in recent years. Dissent tolerated when I joined a national newspaper in Britain in the 1960s has regressed to a metaphoric underground as liberal capitalism moves towards a form of corporate dictatorship.
This is a seismic shift, with journalists policing the new “groupthink”, as Parry called it, dispensing its myths and distractions, pursuing its enemies.
Witness the witch-hunts against refugees and immigrants, the willful abandonment by the “MeToo” zealots of our oldest freedom, presumption of innocence, the anti-Russia racism and anti-Brexit hysteria, the growing anti-China campaign and the suppression of a warning of world war.
With many if not most independent journalists barred or ejected from the “mainstream”, a corner of the Internet has become a vital source of disclosure and evidence-based analysis: true journalism sites such as wikileaks.org, consortiumnews.com, wsws.org, truthdig.com, globalresearch.org, counterpunch.org and informationclearinghouse.com are required reading for those trying to make sense of a world in which science and technology advance wondrously while political and economic life in the fearful “democracies” regress behind a media facade of narcissistic spectacle.
In Britain, just one website offers consistently independent media criticism. This is the remarkable Media Lens — remarkable partly because its founders and editors as well as its only writers, David Edwards and David Cromwell, since 2001 have concentrated their gaze not on the usual suspects, the Tory press, but the paragons of reputable liberal journalism: the BBC, The Guardian, Channel 4 News.
Their method is simple. Meticulous in their research, they are respectful and polite when they ask why a journalist why he or she produced such a one-sided report, or failed to disclose essential facts or promoted discredited myths.
The replies they receive are often defensive, at times abusive; some are hysterical, as if they have pushed back a screen on a protected species.
I would say Media Lens has shattered a silence about corporate journalism. Like Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman in Manufacturing Consent, they represent a Fifth Estate that deconstructs and demystifies the media’s power.
What is especially interesting about them is that neither is a journalist. David Edwards is a former teacher, David Cromwell is an oceanographer. Yet, their understanding of the morality of journalism — a term rarely used; let’s call it true objectivity — is a bracing quality of their online Media Lens dispatches.
I think their work is heroic and I would place a copy of their just published book, Propaganda Blitz, in every journalism school that services the corporate system, as they all do.
Take the chapter, Dismantling the National Health Service, in which Edwards and Cromwell describe the critical part played by journalists in the crisis facing Britain’s pioneering health service.
The NHS crisis is the product of a political and media construct known as “austerity”, with its deceitful, weasel language of “efficiency savings” (the BBC term for slashing public expenditure) and “hard choices” (the wilful destruction of the premises of civilized life in modern Britain).
“Austerity” is an invention. Britain is a rich country with a debt owed by its crooked banks, not its people. The resources that would comfortably fund the National Health Service have been stolen in broad daylight by the few allowed to avoid and evade billions in taxes.
Using a vocabulary of corporate euphemisms, the publicly-funded Health Service is being deliberately run down by free market fanatics, to justify its selling-off. The Labour Party of Jeremy Corbyn may appear to oppose this, but is it? The answer is very likely no. Little of any of this is alluded to in the media, let alone explained.
Edwards and Cromwell have dissected the 2012 Health and Social Care Act, whose innocuous title belies its dire consequences. Unknown to most of the population, the Act ends the legal obligation of British governments to provide universal free health care: the bedrock on which the NHS was set up following the Second World War. Private companies can now insinuate themselves into the NHS, piece by piece.
Where, asks Edwards and Cromwell, was the BBC while this momentous Bill was making its way through Parliament? With a statutory commitment to “providing a breadth of view” and to properly inform the public of “matters of public policy,” the BBC never spelt out the threat posed to one of the nation’s most cherished institutions. A BBC headline said: “Bill which gives power to GPs passes.” This was pure state propaganda.
Media and Iraq Invasion
There is a striking similarity with the BBC’s coverage of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s lawless invasion of Iraq in 2003, which left a million dead and many more dispossessed. A study by the University of Wales, Cardiff, found that the BBC reflected the government line “overwhelmingly” while relegating reports of civilian suffering. A Media Tenor study placed the BBC at the bottom of a league of western broadcasters in the time they gave to opponents of the invasion. The corporation’s much-vaunted “principle” of impartiality was never a consideration.
One of the most telling chapters in Propaganda Blitzdescribes the smear campaigns mounted by journalists against dissenters, political mavericks and whistleblowers.
The Guardian’s campaign against the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is the most disturbing. Assange, whose epic WikiLeaks disclosures brought fame, journalism prizes and largesse to The Guardian, was abandoned when he was no longer useful. He was then subjected to a vituperative – and cowardly — onslaught of a kind I have rarely known.
With not a penny going to WikiLeaks, a hyped Guardian book led to a lucrative Hollywood movie deal. The book’s authors, Luke Harding and David Leigh, gratuitously described Assange as a “damaged personality” and “callous.” They also disclosed the secret password he had given the paper in confidence, which was designed to protect a digital file containing the U.S. embassy cables.
With Assange now trapped in the Ecuadorean embassy, Harding, standing among the police outside, gloated on his blog that “Scotland Yard may get the last laugh.”
The Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore wrote, “I bet Assange is stuffing himself full of flattened guinea pigs. He really is the most massive turd.”
Moore, who describes herself as a feminist, later complained that, after attacking Assange, she had suffered “vile abuse.” Edwards and Cromwell wrote to her: “That’s a real shame, sorry to hear that. But how would you describe calling someone ‘the most massive turd’? Vile abuse?”
Moore replied that no, she would not, adding, “I would advise you to stop being so bloody patronizing.” Her former Guardian colleague James Ball wrote, “It’s difficult to imagine what Ecuador’s London embassy smells like more than five and a half years after Julian Assange moved in.”
Such slow-witted viciousness appeared in a newspaper described by its editor, Katharine Viner, as “thoughtful and progressive.” What is the root of this vindictiveness? Is it jealousy, a perverse recognition that Assange has achieved more journalistic firsts than his snipers can claim in a lifetime? Is it that he refuses to be “one of us” and shames those who have long sold out the independence of journalism?
Journalism students should study this to understand that the source of “fake news” is not only trollism, or the likes of Fox News, or Donald Trump, but a journalism self-anointed with a false respectability: a liberal journalism that claims to challenge corrupt state power but, in reality, courts and protects it, and colludes with it. The amorality of the years of Tony Blair, whom The Guardian has failed to rehabilitate, is its echo.
“[It is] an age in which people yearn for new ideas and fresh alternatives,” wrote Katharine Viner. Her political writer Jonathan Freedland dismissed the yearning of young people who supported the modest policies of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn as “a form of narcissism.”
“How did this man ….,” brayed the Guardian‘s Zoe Williams, “get on the ballot in the first place?” A choir of the paper’s precocious windbags joined in, thereafter queuing to fall on their blunt swords when Corbyn came close to winning the 2017 general election in spite of the media.
Complex stories are reported to a cult-like formula of bias, hearsay and omission: Brexit, Venezuela, Russia, Syria. On Syria, only the investigations of a group of independent journalists have countered this, revealing the network of Anglo-American backing of jihadists in Syria, including those related to ISIS.
Supported by a “psyops” campaign funded by the British Foreign Office and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the aim is to hoodwink the Western public and speed the overthrow of the government in Damascus, regardless of the medieval alternative and the risk of war with Russia.
The Syria Campaign, set up by a New York PR agency called Purpose, funds a group known as the White Helmets, who claim falsely to be “Syria Civil Defense” and are seen uncritically on TV news and social media, apparently rescuing the victims of bombing, which they film and edit themselves, though viewers are unlikely to be told this. George Clooney is a fan.
The White Helmets are appendages to the jihadists with whom they share addresses. Their media-smart uniforms and equipment are supplied by their Western paymasters. That their exploits are not questioned by major news organizations is an indication of how deep the influence of state-backed PR now runs in the media. As Robert Fisk noted recently, no “mainstream” reporter reports Syria.
In what is known as a hatchet job, a Guardian reporter based in San Francisco, Olivia Solon, who has never visited Syria, was allowed to smear the substantiated investigative work of journalists Vanessa Beeley and Eva Bartlett on the White Helmets as “propagated online by a network of anti-imperialist activists, conspiracy theorists and trolls with the support of the Russian government.”
This abuse was published without permitting a single correction, let alone a right-of-reply. The Guardian Comment page was blocked, as Edwards and Cromwell document. I saw the list of questions Solon sent to Beeley, which reads like a McCarthyite charge sheet — “Have you ever been invited to North Korea?”
So much of the mainstream has descended to this level. Subjectivism is all; slogans and outrage are proof enough. What matters is the “perception.”
When he was U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General David Petraeus declared what he called “a war of perception… conducted continuously using the news media.” What really mattered was not the facts but the way the story played in the United States. The undeclared enemy was, as always, an informed and critical public at home.
Nothing has changed. In the 1970s, I met Leni Riefenstahl, Hitler’s film-maker, whose propaganda mesmerized the German public.
She told me the “messages” of her films were dependent not on “orders from above”, but on the “submissive void” of an uninformed public.
“Did that include the liberal, educated bourgeoisie?” I asked.
“Everyone,” she said. “Propaganda always wins, if you allow it.”
Propaganda Blitz by David Edwards and David Cromwell is published by Pluto Press.
Who is planning a ‘New World Order’ (NWO), in what form, and what progress so far? Is reality different from the propaganda? Are you being programmed? And critically, what is being done to stop these plans?
Scan down to read the latest articles. Links to more articles are at the end of this post.
If the leaders of some nation states were citizens living in a civilised society, they would be in jail for perpetrating, or being accessories to, murder, torture, theft and corruption.
Yet they and their chosen representatives shamelessly take their place in the hallowed chamber of the UN General Assembly as arbiters of how the rest of the world should behave.
Take the Human Rights Council, which counts among its members the Democratic Republic of the Congo, where Joseph Kabila’s unconstitutional rule features massacres and gender-based violence among a long list of atrocities; and Venezuela, where President Nicolas Maduro strangles political opposition by carrying out hundreds of arbitrary killings under the guise of fighting crime.
There’s The Philippines, whose President Rodrigo Duterte condones policies that result in extrajudicial killings of suspected drug dealers; and Cuba, where President Miguel Diaz-Canel, in true Castro style, allows beatings, public shaming and termination of employment to quell political opposition. China’s President-for-life Xi Jinping oversees the holding of about a million Muslim Uighurs, including women and children, in re-education camps.
Yet this year Australia celebrated its membership of the UNHRC, while the US commendably withdrew, saying the council “has provided cover, not condemnation, for the world’s most inhumane regimes”.
Australia is also a member of the Economic and Social Council which, “to find effective approaches to ending poverty”, believes “those experiencing it must have a seat at the table’’. And so they do. The leaders of Algeria, Chad, El Salvador, South Africa, Sudan, Togo and Venezuela, to name a few, all believe in wealth redistribution. They practise authoritarian central planning and asset confiscation.
Not too many champions of competition and market economics there. Australia acts as a good global citizen, lending support for “collective action” that rewards bad behaviour.
Unsurprisingly, the UN’s Ecosoc readily accepts that “climate change and environmental crises are the result of vastly unequal levels of development in the last few centuries. The countries which are now rich became so by ignoring the consequences for the environment which now threaten the entire planet.” Ecosec reminds us of Agenda 21, put to the UN’s 1992 Rio de Janeiro Earth Summit, which recognises that the burden of climate change (whatever that may be) “falls most heavily on poor countries”.
Masterminded by Canadian socialist/Marxist and multimillionaire Maurice Strong and held under the auspices of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Rio summit was the largest political gathering in history. Strong believed the UN should become a world government with “environmentalism” the key driver. He believed: “The concept of national sovereignty … will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental co-operation. It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation states, however powerful.”
Journalist and long-time UN expert Claudia Rosett observes Strong understood how the “UN’s bureaucratic culture of secrecy, its diplomatic immunities, and its global reach, lends itself to manipulation by a small circle of those who best know its back corridors”.
Strong exploited this culture to ensure climate change became so embedded in global politics that few Western politicians would have the courage to challenge it, no matter how exaggerated its claims, or the financial cost. And so it has proved. His successor and fellow Marxist, Christiana Figueres, led the Paris climate conference that captured Australia.
Enter US President Donald J. Trump. In his second address to the UN General Assembly in September, Trump said: “America is governed by Americans. We reject the ideology of globalism and accept the doctrine of patriotism.”
He said the UN Human Rights Council had become a “grave embarrassment” and that countries admitted to the WTO “violate every single principle on which the organisation is based”. He said: “We will not allow our workers to be victimised, our companies to be cheated, and our wealth to be plundered and transferred.” He withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, calling it a “massive redistribution of United States’ wealth to other countries”.
In the 26 years since the Rio summit, no world leader has posed such a comprehensive threat to UN hegemony. Not only does Trump reflect disillusionment with globalism at home, he also taps into growing disenchantment with supranational governments in many places around the world, particularly in Europe.
Brexit was the first example. Italy’s defiance in the face of Europe’s rejection of its draft budget is the latest. While acknowledging Italy violates EU rules, Deputy Prime Minister Luigi Di Maio says: “This is the first Italian budget that the EU doesn’t like. I am not surprised. This is the first Italian budget that was written in Rome and not in Brussels.” A recent poll in Poland found a third of the country now backs an EU exit.
It is clear serious cracks in the relationship between the people and governing bodies like the UN and the EU are emerging. People may not fully understand the way remote, supranational governments work, but they can recognise authority which is harmful and lacking in integrity.
Australians are at that point, sick of being lectured to by UN “special rapporteurs”. They are crying out for leaders to stare down faceless bureaucrats in Geneva. They are angry at meaningless gestures and slavish obedience to pointless emissions targets that are crippling our industry and causing personal hardships.
Several months ago, one of the early pioneers of Facebook and its first President Sean Parker, voiced his regret regarding helping create social media in the form we know it today, saying:
“I don’t know if I really understood the consequences of what I was saying, because of the unintended consequences of a network when it grows to a billion or 2 billion people and it literally changes your relationship with society, with each other,”…
”God only knows what it’s doing to our children’s brains.”
Parker says the social networking site exploits human psychological vulnerabilities through a validation feedback loop that gets people to constantly post to get even more likes and comments.
“It’s exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology,” he said.
“The inventors, creators?—?it’s me, it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people?—?understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.”
Later on, another former Facebook executive opened up about the same concerns.
Chamath Palihapitiya, former vice president of user growth at Facebook stated at a recent public discussion at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, “I think we have created tools that are ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”
”The short-term, dopamine-driven feedback loops we’ve created are destroying how society works,” Palihapitiya said.
“No civil discourse, no cooperation; misinformation, mistruth. And it’s not an American problem? – ?this is not about Russians ads. This is a global problem.”
Palihapitiya then expressed the feeling of guilt, “I feel tremendous guilt. I think we all knew in the back of our minds?—?even though we feigned this whole line of, like, there probably aren’t any bad unintended consequences. I think in the back, deep, deep recesses of, we kind of knew something bad could happen. But I think the way we defined it was not like this.”
“So we are in a really bad state of affairs right now, in my opinion. It is eroding the core foundation of how people behave by and between each other. And I don’t have a good solution. My solution is I just don’t use these tools anymore. I haven’t for years.“
Unapologetically American” Green Beret Explains “Why We…
Almost 40,000 people have “liked” an by UFC Middleweight Tim Kennedy.
Concerning the issue of social media as a whole, Palihapitiya stated that he doesn’t use it anymore since he “innately didn’t want to get programmed.” And as for his kids, “they’re not allowed to use this shit.”
Then he goes on to express some really strong sentiments:
“Bad actors can now manipulate large swaths of people to do anything you want. It’s a bad, bad state of affairs. And we compound the problem. We curate our lives around this perceived sense of perfection, because we get rewarded in these short term signals: Hearts, likes, thumbs up. And we conflate that with value and we conflate it with truth, and instead what it really is is fake, brittle popularity that’s short term and that leaves you even more, and admit it, vacant and empty before you did it. Because it forces you into this vicious cycle about what’s the next thing I need to do, because I need it back. And think about that compounded by two billion people.”
“Everybody else has to soul-search a little bit more about what you’re willing to do,” he said.
“Because your behaviors, you don’t realize it, but you are being programmed. It was unintentional, but now you gotta decide how much you’re willing to give up, how much of your intellectual independence.”
He finishes this up by warning the audience not to think they’re too smart to fall for the implications of social media, and stated that those who are best-and-brightest are the most likely to fall for it, “because you are fucking check-boxing your whole Goddamn life.”
Now this is some really strong stuff, especially coming straightforward from Frankenstein’s mouth.
This is the first in a new series of talks called New World Awakening by my new favorite personality on the Alternative Media scene, Thomas Paine, aka Douglas Gabriel, PhD. In this one talk, he covers all or most of the themes I’ve been writing about on FKTV for the past 7 years and he offers solutions and actual signs that some of these seemingly intractable problems have been solved.
Dr. Gabriel is retired from a full career in education as a headmaster, administrator and teacher at various Waldorf schools, which are based on the work of Austrian philosopher, Rudolf Steiner. Prior to this, he was a Trappist monk and a Jesuit priest and prior to that, he was drafted into the Army, where he worked as a cryptographer and systems analyst in signals intelligence at NSA. Presumably, this where he gained the firsthand insights and contacts that inform his work on the American Intelligence Media YouTube channel, AIM4Truth.org and in several other interrelated websites and YouTube channels. He is married to Tyla Gabriel, aka “Betsy Ross,” who is equally devoted to the Christian mysticism which they espouse in other venues.
I mention all of this due to the pseudonyms and due to the slight mystification around the persona of Thomas “Paine in the ass of the Globalists” – but as he himself says, “All of history is a series of biographies. It is not a series of events. It is not a series of ideologies; Communism, Fascism, Marxism. It is about individuals – and that’s what we’re trying to tell you, in every one of our broadcasts.”
Naming names, Baby! More importantly for Douglas Gabriel, the geopolitical is spiritual. This is an idea with which many may agree, regardless of their religious beliefs.
Below are some of the many salient points made by “Thomas Paine” in this talk about the challenges we face, as well as some positive developments. Many will be surprised to hear that Trump has reinstated the right to religious and philosophical exemption to vaccines. (They were putting people in prison in California in the last year for that!)
Paine says, We’re currently seeing “Not only a revolution in geopolitics but a revolution in science and technology, in consciousness and religion; in all aspects of life…what we need to remember is it’s consciousness that is really evolving.”
Greatly underreported is how George Soros gave $6 billion to the DNC over the past few elections. In other words, one person basically bought the Democratic National Party. The rest of the $18 billion of Soros’ money was put into the 184 Non-Governmental Organizations that Soros supports or what he calls his foundations. Paine alleges that Soros created these NGOs so that the money couldn’t be seized from him and that these $18 billion are going to drive the Far Left agenda for years to come.
Over the past year, he says this money has been driving George Soros’s Purple Revolution or the attempted regime-change of a duly elected US President, which we’ve seen playing out in the Mainstream Media – and at our dinner tables.
Douglas Gabriel and his “conclave” are part of what he calls the Second American Revolution, which is helping a small group of people in the Alternative Media to start a revolution that not only counteracts George Soros’ Purple Revolution, but also stops the erosion of the Republic, stops the undermining of our US Constitution and the US Bill of Rights.
What’s happening today has been happening since the earliest days of this country. The revolution against King George and the British was only part of the story. The US was then being fought over by the imperialistic forces of the British East India Company and the Dutch East India Company and the revolution against those same imperialistic forces continues to this day. Now they’re now called Globalism and Transnationalism. International companies are given carte blanche to commit any crime they wish, such as selling weapons to both sides of the same war.
The following are the three aspects of the CIA: 1) The “Rogue CIA,” which is people who have left the CIA or using CIA methods for their own personal gain; 2) The gold-backed CIA. After World War II, the gold taken from World War I was put into the Bank for International Settlements. That gold was then stolen by the CIA (the OSS, as it was then known). The gold from Japan that had been stolen from China and countries in the East and stored in the Philippines was also added to the CIA stash, giving them immense leverage through certain corporations in world markets, such that they seem to have ultimate control of the military-industrial complex; 3) International Corporatism. The CIA has been the military branch of Corporatism and Imperialism from the beginning. Subversion, espionage, sabotage and indoctrination. That may come as a shock to some and Paine says it was a shock to President Trump, when he realized the depth of this and how far it goes. These people were an inch away from completing the overthrow of the US Republic via Federalism and Corporatism when Trump had his surprise victory, winning despite the election being rigged in so many ways.
The complete debasement of the US Government began when George Bush Senior was Vice President. The Rogue CIA had turned the White House into a mafia. Since that time, we have seen nothing but the CIA’s perversion of the Executive Branch of our government. The Federal Government that is led by the Executive Branch is made up of 4.5 million people who are completely a product of CIA. There has been absolute lawlessness in the last few Administrations and we see that coming out every day.
Under George Bush Senior, the United Nations went to war with Iraq because of a UNresolution. In other words, Bush bypassed Congress to go to war and he stood before the United Nations and said, “When we are successful, and we will be, we have a real chance at this New World Order, an order in which a credible United Nations can use its peacekeeping role to fulfill the promise and vision of the UN’s founders.” Paine says that’s when Globalism banner was raised and it wasn’t lowered until Trump was elected as President.
Paine says we should pull out of the UN completely. We should also pull out of the World Bank, which is part of the United Nations, the World Trade Organization which is also part of the United Nations and the International Monetary Fund, because these organizations have control over the US economy, under the guise that the UN is spreading Democracy, which is complete nonsense. The United Nations has never spread Democracy anywhere!
There was previous attempt to set up the UN after WWI called the League of Nations was but it could not be ratified by Congress. So the same group of Robber Barons behind that started the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). Paine says the CFR ran the US until the day Trump was elected. CFR members are the warlords, the rich bankers, brokers and warhawks from the military.
The CFR has had about 13,000 members, over the years. They continue Henry Kissinger’s plot, which is the “Clash of Nations”: the theory that we must always keep other nations in a condition of war in order for the US to keep its supremacy. This is the “counseling” of the Council on Foreign Relations. It couldn’t be any more evil. It couldn’t be any less American. It couldn’t be any more Globalist, Transnationalist or Internationalist, Paine says.
In 1913, one of the worst things ever happened to our economy, with the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank by the same Central Bankers who have done this throughout the world. The “Fed” is not Federal, it is not a reserve and it does not belong to the United States. It is a corporation that has a dozen central banks in it and they basically have the right to print money for us and charge us interest and we can never ever pay back that interest in time.
The US Federal Reserve Bank is a private corporation but there is a part that is public. Every few years, we give them around $20 billion and they break it up and give it to their dozen central banks and they give it to their stockholders. “Their shareholders. Yes. That’s right. US Tax Payer money goes to pay foreign interests who bought into the US Federal Reserve from the beginning and it is the one thing that continues to take us down.”
Little-known is that US Federal Reserve does not create US financial policy. That is done by the Exchange Stabilization Fund. The Bank for International Settlements was set up in 1930 and in 1934, a mysterious part of the US Treasury was set up that controls all markets, called the Exchange Stabilization Fund. It is a completely fraudulent system that’s been eroding our democracy through economic terrorism. There are about 127 central banks in the world and 84 of them are owned by the Rothschilds. It is not a “conspiracy” to say that these warlord bankers in fact control the US debt.
Some good things that Trump has done, according to Paine is he stopped $26 billion going to the UN Refugee Program. He stopped the US’ strong association with the UNWorld Bank and with the UN World Trade Organization. Trump pulled our money out of UNESCO, pulled our money from the UN World Health Organization, pulled it away from the “Peacekeeping Troops”, because they’ve been found to be pedophiles, creating horrible, horrible crimes wherever they go. Trump is also decreasing our association with the International Monetary Fund.
Paine claims that his conclave suggested to Trump that the US Government audit and seize the assets of the US Federal Reserve and the 12 central banks and then simply default on the debt (!) The contract with the Fed expired in 2013 and Paine claims the US Government can end it at any time and further, we do not owe the debt. Trump could make over $20 trillion in one day without an act of Congress or any Washington DC lobbying.
People are souring on the Silicon ValleyTech Lords, who Paine calls “the cardboard cut-outs,” who were put in those positions by DARPA and In-Q-Tel. With former Facebookexecutives and others recently coming forward, we’re learning that that they knew from the beginning that this gadgetry would in fact create illnesses, social diseases and all kinds of physical illnesses. It is a social experiment gone bad.
When we think about the Internet, we cannot forget that it was created for military purposes by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the CIA’s incubator In-Q-Tel.
When we talk about the tech warlords, we have to understand, we are in a battle not just for humanity but for our own sake, for own children’s sake. Are we going to let the illnesses that these devices create pervade all of our lives, our children’s? Billions of coherent electromagnetic frequencies, Wi-Fi, microwave frequencies and milliwaves are going through our bodies at all times.
We need to end the tech monopoly. Paine says that Mark Zuckerberg and Jeff Bezos were being presented our future Presidents when Trump said, “Antitrust.” He said, “Monopoly” – and now neither one of them seemed to be running for President anymore! Paine says the Silicon ValleyTech Lords who gave Obama $2 billion for his library are on the run and they don’t seem to think that Trump likes them very much and that’s the reason why his economic council completely dissolved.
In the medical field, the revolution is happening in our bloodstream and in agriculture, same kind of thing. Why are GMO products allowed? Why do we allow Monsanto Round-up and these poisons in our agriculture?
Paine says we need to dismantle corporate intelligence in the government and stop sharing our staff with that industry. 800,000 people have Top Secret security clearances. He says his conclave pointed this out and General Michael Flynn’s program stopped corporate intelligence. “Let the people who are doing these things for us have treason as their punishment held over their head. That’s what it is, when you’re in the military. That’s the reason so few people who were really in the military turned bad in that way.” Perfect examples of what goes wrong with corporate intelligence are James Clapper, James Comey and Robert Mueller.
Paine says we need to end all us covert military operations with ISIS and al-Qaeda and h says that has happened, that Trump did that.
He says we need to rewrite the National Defense Authorization Act and we need to close its agent, the CIA. “When John F Kennedy tried to close to CIA, Allen Dulles was averse to that and they got into a big argument and JFK fired him. It didn’t stop him. He still planned for two years through the CIA to assassinate JFK.
“We need to make sure that the CIA doesn’t exist anymore and all counterintelligence agencies, whether it’s the National Counterterrorism Center whether it is the Department of Justice National Security Division, which we’ve found out has been completely compromised or whether it be the counterintelligence division of the FBI, we need to end all of those. The fact that bureaucrats in these agencies order and maintain offices of Black Ops and Black Budget activities should be illegal. There should be no such thing but I assure you there are more offices and there are more Black Ops operations than anyone can count in the United States Government.
“Only the President should know of any counterintelligence activities. Only the President should order something that is so Top Secret that it has to do with National Security.”
Conspiracy theory, Wikipedia Link to Wikipedia, 21 Feb 2015 – Wikipedia has a remarkably comprehensive list of most ‘theories’ and issues relating to a New World Order, including 91 references and much ‘further reading’.
The former chief economist of failed US investment bank Lehman Brothers has warned that conditions for a financial crisis are “serious and intensifying”, scolding regulators for leaving the financial system vulnerable to “doom loops” more than a decade after the GFC began.
In a private note to clients titled “the next global crisis”, John Llewellyn, chief economist at Lehman until the bank collapsed a decade ago, told investors the combination of irrational exuberance, greed, explosive debt and ultra-low interest rates were creating an economic tinderbox.
“While greed cannot be eradicated, it can be discouraged. Few financiers have been fined, and almost no one has been jailed; incentives remain unduly skewed towards risk-taking,” he said, in a note based on comments made at a closed OECD forum in September, which included former ECB governor Jean Claude Trichet.
“It has become common place to say that considerable progress has been made in financial regulation (globally),” Dr Llewellyn said.
Dr Llewellyn, now a consultant, said banks could lend to sovereign governments without maintaining any equity — in effect a zero per cent risk weight. “Banks still have too much latitude to use internal models to set their own risk-asset provisioning,” he says.
Risk weights, based on the perceived level of risk set by regulators, permit banks to ignore shares of their assets when calculating their minimum equity requirements. In 2016 the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority increased the average risk weight for residential mortgages from 16 per cent to 25 per cent, which allows each dollar of equity to support $50 of lending.
“White-collar crime is generally treated far more leniently than its blue-collar counterpart,” he said.
Dr. John Llewellyn, managing director and former chief economist for Lehman Brothers. Picture: Bloomberg News.
The comments come at a delicate time for financial services after a damning report by the royal commission into the integrity of the financial service sector and the quality of its regulation.
Speaking at a parliamentary inquiry last week, officials at ASIC, which has come under heavy criticism for lack of vigilance in enforcing the law, said the corporate regulator would toughen its stance.
But ASIC chairman James Shipton also cast doubt over the government’s “industry funding model” for the watchdog, telling parliament he faced a cash shortfall to fund the expected 50 criminal and civil prosecutions to be launched against rogue executives and corporations over the next two years.
In numerous speeches since taking over as ASIC chairman in February, Mr Shipton has stressed the need to improve ethics and integrity in financial services to mitigate misconduct.
Lehman Brothers collapsed in October 2008, ushering in months of near unprecedented global financial turmoil, which prompted regulators to redraft prudential regulations.
Finalised last year, the revamped Basel bank regulations capped bank leverage at about 33 times their shareholders’ funds, and curbed banks’ ability to set their own equity requirements.
Since 2007 the major banks’ capital ratios — equity as a share of their total assets — has increased from 4.4 per cent to about 5.7 per cent.
Mr Llewellyn said economists were under “considerable pressure” to play down concerns. “Investment bank economists and most analysts have an employer … with a vested interest in the status quo: few are genuinely independent, and those who are generally have only limited access to the media,” he added.
Higher capital ratios reduce “return on equity” and curb the implicit subsidy from government to financial institutions. “Honest analysts are therefore hesitant to shout when they see crisis as imminent,” he said.
Ratings agencies were “less dysfunctional”, Dr Llewellyn said.
“But still no fundamental change has taken place in the incentives facing them — it is still the ‘ratee’ who pays,” he said.
Ratings giant S&P puts the major Australian banks in the bottom half of its global rankings for “risk adjusted capital”, noting they experienced among the “steepest declines” globally in 2017.
“Following unwarranted fiscal stimulus, the equity market is near an all-time high, and valuations are stretched,” Dr Llewellyn said.
This week’s global share market bloodbath was “a small tremor before the big earthquake” as the world moves “ever closer to economic Armageddon”, a former Australian government economist has warned.
John Adams, a former Coalition policy adviser who last year identified seven signs that the global economy was heading for a crash — later warning the window for action had closed — believes the US$4 trillion wipe-out was just the opening act of his apocalyptic prophecy playing out.
“When the economic earthquake hits, don’t be surprised to see soaring interest rates, massive falls in asset prices [like] shares, real estate and bonds, higher unemployment and widespread bankruptcies,” he said.
Adding to previously identified economic indicators such as household debt and record low-interest rates, Mr Adams has expanded his list of warning signs to 10, including rising inflation — fear of which had a hand in the latest sell-off.
“Against a whole range of economic and financial metrics, the Australian and international bubble which I warned about in 2017 has continued to grow larger over the past 12 months,” he said.
“Australian household debt has never been higher — now at nearly 200 per cent as a proportion of disposable income — household savings have slumped, the US share market is now in a bigger bubble than 1929, risky derivatives are now being sold in significant quantities and global debt is $US80 trillion more than it was in 2008.”
Adams said those born after 1973 — people under the age of 44 — had never experienced a major economic downturn as a working adult and hence needed to ensure they didn’t succumb to “normalcy bias”.
“Australians should be concerned about what lies ahead for themselves and the country as a whole,” he said, predicting a collapse likely to be more severe than the 1991 recession and which may potentially rival both the 1890 and 1929 depressions.
Those concerned can take some precautions for hard economic times, he added, by reducing their personal spending, increasing savings and having more cash on hand, paying down debt, reducing their exposure to risky or overvalued assets and managing the risk of rising prices, including interest rate payments.
“We all must assume personal responsibility and take pre-emptive action to ensure that we are able to ride out harsher economic times that are coming to our shores.”
SIGN 1: RECORD HOUSEHOLD DEBT
“According to the Reserve Bank of Australia, Australian household debt as a proportion of disposable income continues to soar and reached an all-time high in September 2017 of 199.7 per cent as the Australian Bureau of Statistics recently included debt from self-managed superfunds into this statistic,” Adams said.
This has parallels in the local market, where New Zealand national debt topped half a trillion dollars at the end of last year, up 7.3 percent from a 12 months earlier.
The Reserve Bank figures (for the year to April 30) show household debt has topped $250b, driven by rising property prices and an increase in consumer borrowing.
That’s an increase of more than 60 per cent in 10 years.
SIGN 2: DECLINING HOUSEHOLD SAVINGS
“Coinciding with the rise in household debt, Australian household savings have fallen to their lowest level since the 2008 GFC,” Adams said.
“According to the ABS, the Household Saving Ratio (seasonally adjusted) has fallen from a high of 10.1 per cent in the December quarter of 2008 to 3.0 per cent and 3.2 per cent in the June and September quarters of 2017 respectively.”
Comparatively, New Zealanders have fared better in this regard with improved savings helping to offset total volume of debt.
However, the risks remain high.
For New Zealand households, the ratio of debt to income has now reached a record – 168 per cent, well above the pre-financial crisis peak of 159 per cent.
SIGN 3: CONTINUED RECORD LOW INTEREST RATES
“Despite foreign central banks raising interest rates, the RBA has continued to keep the official cash rate at 1.5 per cent,” Adams said.
“However, in December 2012 former RBA Governor Glenn Stevens warned that interest rates kept too low for too long would prove macroprudential controls ineffective in controlling systemic financial risk as people would be driven to over borrow given the cheap rates.”
Last week, the Reserve Bank of New Zealand (RBNZ) held the official cash rate steady at 1.75 per cent, saying monetary policy will “remain accommodative for a considerable period”.
However, following the market uncertainty over the last seven days, acting Reserve Bank governor Grant Spencer warned that there could be more volatility to come.
SIGN 4: GROWING HOUSING BUBBLE
“Concentration of credit in the Australian housing market continued to grow by 7.23 per cent from June 2016 to June 2017. As of June 2017, Credit to Housing as a proportion of Australian Gross Domestic Product reached a 26-year high of 95.33 per cent compared to 21.07 per cent in June 1991,” Adams said.
“Over the same period, credit which has been directed at the business sector or to other personal expenses have remained relatively steady as a proportion of GDP.”
New Zealand has benefitted from a cooling housing market (particularly in Auckland), which saw the rate of credit growth ease last year.
In terms of housing credit growth, things “have definitely improved”, Spencer told the Herald last year.
SIGN 5: CONTINUED INCREASE IN GLOBAL DEBT
“Global debt continues to grow, driven especially by rapid growth of debt in emerging economies,” Adams said.
“According to the Institute for International Finance’s January 2018 Global Debt Monitor Report, global debt reached a record high of $US233 trillion in the third quarter of 2017 or 318 per cent of global GDP, representing growth in global debt of 8 per cent through the first three quarters of 2017.
“Global debt is now $US80 trillion higher than the end of 2007 with current interest rates substantially lower relative to the pre-GFC period.”
SIGN 6: MAJOR INTERNATIONAL ASSET BUBBLES KEEP GROWING
“The past 12 months has seen significant growth in major asset class values (particularly shares) across the world which has been fuelled by the significant increase in global debt,” Adams pointed out.
“For example, according to the PE Shiller Index, the US share market (as measured by the price of a company’s share relative to average earnings over the past 10 years for US companies in the S&P 500) is now at its second highest valuation level in history at 32.62, with the highest being the 1999 dotcom bubble.”
According to the PE Shiller Index, Adams said, the bubble in US share market is now bigger than the peak reached in September 1929 which was 32.54.
SIGN 7: INCREASING INFLATION
“In late 2017, inflation started to emerge in developed economies, beating the targets set by national governments and central banks,” Adams said.
“This emerging inflation was driven in part from rising global oil prices which increased by 51 per cent, along with increases in other commodities, over the past seven months.”
This has had a significant impact on a number of developed economies int he world.
“In 2017, the US Producer Price Index hit an annual rate of 3.1 per cent (a six-year high) and the US Consumer Price Index grew by an annual rate of 2.1 per cent whereas in the UK, inflation reached an annual rate of 3.1 per cent. In both the US and UK cases, inflation as measured by the CPI is above the stated 2 per cent target of the US Federal Reserve and the Bank of England.”
The impact stretches well beyond the US and the UK, Adams warned.
“Other developed countries such as Canada and Japan also saw a notable pick-up in inflation during 2017. Higher rates of inflation will put pressure on the value of bonds and currencies, placing countries that do not deal with inflation through higher interest rates at a competitive disadvantage as investors make lower returns.”
SIGN 8: TIGHTENING MONETARY POLICY AND RISING GLOBAL INTEREST RATES
“Many foreign governments in the past year have been tightening monetary policy (either through reducing or ending quantitative easing or through ‘quantitative tightening’) as well as raising interest rates,” Adams said.
“During late 2016 and all of 2017, interest rates were raised in both developed economies such as the US (four times, or 1 per cent), Canada (three times, or 0.75 per cent), or the UK (one time or 0.25 per cent) as well as smaller and emerging economies such as the Czech Republic, Mexico, Malaysia and Romania.”
Adams added that interest rates are expected to continue to rise in 2018 as global economic growth and inflation continue to rise.
“Higher interest rates will make the ability to service global debt increasingly more difficult.”
SIGN 9: INVERTED AND FLATTENING YIELD CURVES
“The US Government bond yield curve has continued to significantly flatten over 2017. In early 2018, the difference between the two-year and the 10-year bond yield reached approximately 0.5 per cent, which is the smallest difference since 2007.
“The Chinese bond yield curve (i.e. the difference in interest rates between the five-year and the 10-year bond) briefly inverted twice in 2017 and is now approximately less than 0.1 per cent.
“Inverted yield curves (i.e. where long-term debt instruments have a lower yield than short-term debt instruments of the same credit quality) are known as a market predictor of a coming market crash or broader economic recession.”
SIGN 10: RETURN OF RISKY DERIVATIVES
“According to the Bank for International Settlements, the value of the over-the-counter derivatives market (notional amounts outstanding) remained high between June 2016 and June 2017 to stand at $US542 trillion,” Adams said.
“Many of these derivatives contracts (which are agreements that allow for the possibility to purchase or sell some other type of financial instrument or non-financial asset) are concentrated on the balance sheets of leading global financial and banking institutions, are bought and sold privately, involve significant complexity and carry significant counter-party risk that many institutions and government regulators struggle to understand.”
Adams’ concern is supported by research out of a major bank.
“In November 2017, a research report from Citibank reported that ‘Synthetic Collateral Debt Obligations’, which were one of the main financial instruments responsible for the 2008 GFC, were now back and are being sold to investors in significant quantities and is expected to top $US100 billion by the end of 2017, up from $US20 billion in 2015.”
The Greatest Bubble Ever: Why You Better Believe It – Part 1 & 2
During the 40 months after Alan Greenspan’s infamous “irrational exuberance” speech in December 1996, the NASDAQ 100 index rose from 830to 4585or by 450%. But the perma-bulls said not to worry: This time is different—-it’s a new age of technology miracles that will change the laws of finance.
It wasn’t. The market cracked in April 2000 and did not stop plunging until the NASDAQ 100 index hit 815in early October 2002. During those a heart-stopping 30 months of free-fall, all the gains of the tech boom were wiped out in an 84% collapse of the index. Overall, the market value of household equities sank from $10.0 trillionto $4.8 trillion—-a wipeout from which millions of baby boom householdshave never recovered.
Likewise, the second Greenspan housing and credit boom generated a similar round trip of bubble inflation and collapse. During the 57 months after the October 2002 bottom, the Russell 2000 (RUT) climbed the proverbial wall-of-worry—-rising from 340to 850or by 2.5X.
And this time was also held to be different because, purportedly, the art of central banking had been perfected in what Bernanke was pleased to call the “Great Moderation”. Taking the cue, Wall Street dubbed it the Goldilocks Economy—-meaning a macroeconomic environment so stable, productive and balanced that it would never again be vulnerable to a recessionary contraction and the resulting plunge in corporate profits and stock prices.
During the 20 months from the July 2007 peak to the March 2009 bottom, the RUT gave it all back. And we mean every bit of it—-as the index bottomed 60% lower at 340. This time the value of household equities plunged by $6 trillion, and still millions more baby-boomers were carried out of the casino on their shields never to return.
Now has come the greatest central bank fueled bubble ever. During nine years of radical monetary experimentation under ZIRP and QE, the value of equities owned by US households exploded still higher—-this time by $12.5 trillion. Yet this eruption, like the prior two, was not a reflection of main street growth and prosperity, but Wall Street speculation fostered by massive central bank liquidity and price-keeping operations.
Nevertheless, this time is, actually, very different. This time the central banks are out of dry powder and belatedly recognize that they have stranded themselves on or near the zero bound where they are saddled with massively bloated balance sheets.
So an epochal pivot has begun—-led by the Fed’s committment to shrink its balance sheet at a $600 billionannual rate beginning next October. This pivot to QT (quantitative tightening) is something new under the sun and was necessitated by the radical money printing spree of the past three decades.
What this momentous pivot really means, of course, is ill understood in the day-trading and robo-machine driven casinos at today’s nosebleed valuations. Yet what is coming down the pike is nothing less than a drastic, permanent downward resetof financial asset prices that will rattle the rafters in the casino.
This time is also very different because there will be no instant financial market reflation by the central banks. And that means, in turn, that there will be no fourth great bubble, either. Here’s why.
As we explained in Part 1, the most dangerous place on the planet financially is now the Wall Street casino. In the months ahead, it will become ground zero of the greatest monetary/fiscal collision in recorded history.
For the first time ever both the Fed and the US treasury will be dumping massive amounts of public debt on the bond market—upwards of $1.8 trillionbetween them in FY 2019 alone—and at a time which is exceedingly late in the business cycle. That double whammy of government debt supply will generate a thundering “yield shock” which, in turn, will pull the props out from under equity and other risk asset markets—-all of which have “priced-in” ultra low debt costs as far as the eye can see.
The anomalous and implicitly lethal character of this prospective clash can not be stressed enough. Ordinarily, soaring fiscal deficits occur early in the cycle. That is, during the plunge unto recession, when revenue collections drop and outlays for unemployment benefits and other welfare benefits spike; and also during the first 15-30 months of recovery, when Keynesian economists and spendthrift politicians join hands to goose the recovery—-not understanding that capitalist markets have their own regenerative powers once the excesses of bad credit, malinvestment and over-investment in inventory and labor which triggered the recession have been purged.
By contrast, the Federal deficit is now soaring at the tail end (month #102) of an aging business expansion. And the cause is not the exogenous effects of so-called automatic fiscal stabilizers associated with a macroeconomic downturn, but deliberate Washington policy decisions made by the Trumpian GOP.
During FY 2019, for example, these discretionary plunges into deficit finance include slashing revenue by $280 billion, while pumping up an already bloated baseline spending level of $4.375 trillionby another $200 billionfor defense, disasters, border control, ObamaCare bailouts and domestic pork barrel of every shape and form.
These 11th hour fiscal maneuvers, in fact, are so asinine that the numbers have to be literally seen to be believed. To wit, an already weak-growth crippled revenue baseline will be cut to just $3.4 trillion, while the GOP spenders goose outlays toward the $4.6 trillionmark.
That’s right. Nine years into a business cycle expansion, the King of Debt and his unhinged GOP majority on Capitol Hill have already decided upon (an nearly implemented) the fiscal measures that will result in borrowing 26 cents on every dollar of FY 2019 spending. JM Keynes himself would be grinning with self-satisfaction.
Moreover, this foolhardy attempt to re-prime-the-pump nearly a decade after the Great Recession officially ended means that monetary policy is on its back foot like never before.
What we mean is that both Bernanke and Yellen were scared to death of the tidal waves of speculation that their money printing policies of QE and ZIRP had fostered in the financial markets. So once the heat of crisis had clearly passed and the market had recovered its pre-crisis highs in early 2013, they nevertheless deferred, dithered and procrastinated endlessly on normalization of interest rates and the Fed’s elephantine balance sheet.
So what we have now is a central bank desperately trying to recapture lost time via its “automatic pilot” commitment to systematic and sustained balance sheet shrinkage at fixed monthly dollar amounts. This unprecedented “quantitative tightening” or QT campaign has already commenced at $1o billionof bond sales per month (euphemistically described as “portfolio run-off” by the Eccles Building) during the current quarter and will escalate automatically until it reaches $50 billionper month ($600 billion annualized) next October .
Needless to say, that’s the very opposite of the “accommodative” Fed posture and substantial debt monetization which ordinarily accompanies an early-cycle ballooning of Uncle Sam’s borrowing requirements. And the present motivation of our Keynesian monetary central planners is even more at variance with the normal cycle.
To wit, they plan to stick with QT come hell or high water because they are in the monetary equivalent of a musket reloading mode. Failing to understand that the main street economy essentially recovered on its own after the 2008-2009 purge of the Greenspanian excesses (and that’s its capacity to rebound remains undiminished), the Fed is desperate to clear balance sheet headroom and regain interest rate cutting leverage so that it will have the wherewithal to “stimulate” the US economy out of the next recession.
Needless to say, this kind of paint-by-the-numbers Keynesianism is walking the whole system right into a perfect storm. When the GOP-Trumpian borrowing bomb hits the bond market next October we will already be in month #111 of the current expansion cycle and as the borrowing after-burners kick-in during the course of the year, FY 2019 will close out in month #123.
Here’s the thing. The US economy has never been there before. Never in the recorded history of the republic has a business expansion lasted 123 months. During the post-1950 period shown below, the average expansion has been only 61 monthsand the two longest ones have their own disabilities.
The 105 monthexpansion during the 1960s was fueled by LBJ’s misbegotten “guns and butter” policies and ended in the dismal stagflation of the 1970s. And the 119 monthexpansion of the 1990s reflected the Greenspan fostered household borrowing binge and tech bubbles that fed straight into the crises of 2008-2009.
Yet the Trumpian-GOP has not only presumed to pump-up the fiscal deficit to 6.2% of GDP just as the US economy enters the terra incognito range of the business cycle (FY 2019); it has actually declared its virtual abolition. Ironically, in fact, on December 31, 2025 nearly all of the individual income cuts expire—-meaning that in FY 2026 huge tax increases will smack the household sector at a $200 billion run-rate!
But not to worry. The GOP’s present-day fiscal geniuses insist that the current business expansion, which will then be 207 months old, will end up no worse for the wear. The public debt will then total $33 trillion or 130% of GDP—even as the US economy gets monkey-hammered by huge tax increase.
Alas, no harm, no foul. The business expansion is presumed to crank forward through FY 2027 or month #219.
Needless to say, the whole thing degenerates into a sheer fiscal and economic fairy-tale when you examine the data and projections. But that hasn’t deterred the GOP’s fiscal dreamers.
Not only have they implicitly embraced an out-of-this-word 219 month business cycle expansion, but they have also insisted it will unfold at an average nominal GDP growth rate that has not been remotely evident at any time during the 21st century.
As shown in the chart below, the 10-year CBO forecast of nominal GDP (yellow line) is already quite optimistic relative to where GDP would print under the actual growth rate of the last ten-years (blue line). In fact, the CBO forecast generates $16 trillion ofextra GDP and nearly $3 trillionmore Federal revenue than would a replay of the last 10-years—and notwithstanding the massive fiscal and monetary stimulus during that period.
Still, the GOP/Trump forecast (grey line) assumes a full percentage point of higher GDP growth on top of CBO and no intervening recession and resulting GDP relapse.
Accordingly, the GOP assumes $30 trillion of extra GDP over the coming decade or nearly 23% more than would be generated by the actual growth rate (blue line) of the last decade; and consequently, $6 trillionof extra revenue.
That’s right. An already geriatric business cycle is going t0 rear-up on its hind legs and take off into a new phase of growth in the face of an epochal pivot of monetary policy to QT and a public debt burden relative to GDP that is approaching a Greek-style end game.
(Note: Figures in the box are inverted. First line should be 2006-2012 redux and third line should be Trump forecast.)
Stated differently, fiscal policy has descended into the hands of political mad-men at the very time that monetary policy is inexorably slouching toward normalization. Under those circumstances there is simply no way of avoiding the “yield shock” postulated above, and the cascading “reset” of financial asset prices that it will trigger across the length and breadth of the financial system.
As usual, however, the homegamers are the last to get the word. The unaccountable final spasm of the stock market in 2017 will undoubtedly come to be seen as the last call of the sheep to the slaughter. And owing to the speculative mania that has been fostered by the Fed and its fellow-traveling central banks, it now appears that the homegamers are all-in for the third time since 1987.
Indeed, Schwab’s retail clients have never, ever had lower cash allocationsthan at the present time—not even during the run-up to the dotcom bust or the great financial crisis.
But this time these predominately baby-boom investors are out of time and on the cusp of retirement—if not already living on one of the Donald’s golf resorts. When the crash comes they will have no opportunity to recover—-nor will Washington have the wherewithal to stimulate another phony facsimile of the same.
The GOP-Trumpian gang has already blown their wad on fiscal policy and the Fed is stranded high and dry still close the zero-bound and still saddled with an elephantine balance sheet.
That is, what is fundamentally different about the greatest financial bubble yet is that there is no possibility of a quick policy-induced reflation after the coming crash. This time the cycle will be L-shaped—– with financial asset prices languishing on the post-crash bottom for years to come.
And that is a truly combustible condition. That is, 65% of the retirement population already lives essentially hand-to-month on social security, Medicare and other government welfare benefits (food stamps and SSI, principally). But after the third financial bubble of this century crashes, tens of millions more will be driven close to that condition as their 401Ks again evaporate.
That’s why the fiscal game being played by the Donald and his GOP confederates is so profoundly destructive. Now is the last time to address the entitlement monster, but they have decided to throw fiscal caution to the winds and borrow upwards of $1.6 trillion (with interest)to enable US corporations to fund a new round of stock buybacks, dividend increases and feckless, unproductive M&A deals.
Then again, what the GOP has not forgotten is the care and feeding of its donor class. That mission is being accomplished handsomely as it fills up the deep end of the Swamp with pointless, massive defense spending increases and satisfies K-Street with a grotesquely irresponsible tax bill that was surely of the lobbies, by the PACs and for the money.
At the end of the day, however, the laws of free markets and sound finance will out. The coming crash of the greatest bubble ever will prove that in spades.
This post presents a chronology of issues and events relating to Cairns Port development, including East Trinity. Scroll down for more background and sections 1 – 7.
Ports North net profit of $16.1 million for 2017/18 financial year
Cairns Post, 2 October 2018
Editor’s note: Approval has still not been received for several aspects of the dredging project.
THRIVING trade and steady tourism have doubled Ports North’s net profit over 12 months, prompting calls for Trinity Inlet dredging to be listed as a priority project.
The corporation recorded a $16.1 million net profit at June 30, compared with $8.8 million last year.
Ports North chairman Russell Beer said the corporation had been actively targeting trade “rather than just waiting for it to come in”.
“We’re seeing a lot more commercial activity through the port, more than we’ve probably seen for about 60 or 70 years,” Mr Beer said.
Cargo for the Mt Emerald Wind Farm and Rio Tinto’s Amrun (Weipa) mine projects has increased Ports North’s trade revenue, resulting in a $3.5 million boost in the underlying operating result.
The port also secured the contract as the supply port for cargo for the new $75 million green energy power plant at the Arriga sugar mill.
“Because we’ve demonstrated the capacity to deal in those large infrastructure components people are now looking at our port in a different light,” Mr Beer said. “We’ve got people chasing us now.”
An increase in super yacht and cruise visits also helped. Mr Beer said the loss of the Pacific Eden’s home port in Cairns shouldn’t adversely affect next year’s figures.
“The cruise ship isn’t one of the key drivers to our profitability,” Mr Beer said.
Cairns Port Development president Ron Crew said it was important to upgrade facilities to keep it financially healthy.
“We have Northern Australia’s most used port … and we seem to get left behind all the time,” he said, adding that the dredging needed to be a priority project.
Ports North has been allowed to retain this year’s dividends – normally paid to the State Government – as partial contribution to dredging costs.
Following approval of the environmental impact statement, Ports North is working to obtain all relevant approvals to move the dredging project to the construction phase.
Mr Beer said work could start after the wet season.
“A couple of years ago there were less than 20 vessels coming in; now we have more than 60, so the trajectory is in the right direction,” he said.
“We expect by the middle of the 2020 decade we’ll be seeing up to 150 cruise ships visiting here a year.”
Letter published in the Cairns Post, 15 September 2018
The recently released Queensland Ports Association report, Sediments and Dredging at GBR Ports report, June 2018, provides the figures for Cairns port on page 5.
Cairns port-related re-suspension of sediment is 1% of the total natural load; that is, tidal, wind and waves, and in any case is far from the reef.
The ‘Save the Reef’ activists greatly exaggerate the re-suspension loads, and so the supposed related costs.
These and similar furphys led to government policy such as the Reef 2050 Plan that initially caused our port development project to triple in cost based on several invalid assumptions, then get downsized and now delayed as well as banning future expansion.
The opportunities lost to our local economy are already valued in the 100’s of millions of dollars.
Letter published in the Cairns Post, 12 September 2018
Advance Cairns received special mention in the Queensland parliament Hansard records on the 10th of November 2015. Then the Minister for State Development stated that Advance Cairns supported a downscaled Cairns port that effectively condemned it to a backwater small scale port.
Today we still bear the brunt of the failure of Advance Cairns to support our port even though we have the largest population in Northern Australia with the largest marine servicing sector, reef tourism and fishing fleet based at the port. Industries in Cairns are lamenting the stagnation of port modernisation progress, yet Advance Cairns hosted the Prime Minister last week who appears unaware of the Commonwealth Governments draconian Reef 2050 plan imposed regulations with no solutions on offer. Moving marine mud to create a deep shipping channel within the harbour operating limits does not harm the reef.
Advance Cairns is not advancing Cairns port. Advance Cairns appears beholden to the interests of a few including the Queensland government-owned Ports North, a major sponsor of Advanced Cairns. The question remains, when is Advance Cairns going to do as their name suggests?
Letter published in the Cairns Post, 8 August 2018
Questions over spoil site
Re: Hedley’s $10.8m spoils (CP,8/8), taxpayers would like Ports North to answer the following questions:
What would be the alternative costs to place the bulk of the dredging spoil on the state-owned East Trinity site? The existing bund walls on this site would need minor upgrades, the site is closer to the planned dredging and the spoil would fix the serious and costly acid sulphate soil problems caused by the State ignoring CSIRO advice.
Would the East Trinity site involve less overall environmental issues?
If the spoil is pumped to Hadley’s quarry, could the raised area be suitable to convert later to industrial land?
The East Trinity site was evaluated in Ports North’s 2015 draft EIS report for the dredging project.
A submission to the Coordinator General noted serious flaws in the report’s assumptions.
Cairns Post readers back dredging for bigger cruise ships
THE dredging of Trinity Inlet is shaping up to be a multimillion-dollar windfall for former Cairns pub baron Tom Hedley.
The former high-profile developer is the owner of Northern Sands, the Holloways Beach quarry where 1 million cubic metres of dredge spoil is proposed to be dumped, as part of the Cairns Shipping Development Project.
Development applications for earthworks associated with the $120 million project — to widen and deepen the city’s shipping channel to accommodate larger cruise ships — were lodged last week with Cairns Regional Council.
The plans detail the first phase of the project, involving the construction of the “Northern Sands Dredge Material Placement Area” on land within the Barron Delta, containing Mr Hedley’s sand quarry, waste disposal and processing facility.
New bunds would be built at the quarry, which would be used alongside the placement of soft clay dredge material from Trinity Inlet.
The dredge spoil is to be delivered from the inlet into the area as a slurry through a 7.5km pipeline.
Ports North’s revised environmental impact statement (EIS) for the project shows site acquisition for the land placement of the dredge spoil will cost $10.8 million.
Compensation costs to other land holders may also be part of the site acquisition costs.
Mr Hedley declined to comment yesterday, citing a confidentiality agreement with the port authority.
Cairns Post, survey results, 19 July 2018
IF POLITICIANS are waiting for a mandate to ramp up dredging in Trinity Inlet, they have it now.
Four years. Three polls. No change in opinion.
The Cairns Post’s recent Your Say on the Far North Reader Survey asked if the current dredging program should be expanded to allow bigger ships full of tourists to dock.
An overwhelming 80 per cent of respondents backed the idea, in almost perfect synchrony with previous independent appraisals.
Compass Research conducted a random survey ahead of the 2016 local government elections and discovered 82.5 per cent of residents supported deepening the shipping channel.
A couple of years earlier, another Compass survey commissioned by Ports North found 78 per cent of people supported dredging.
The key difference this time is that dredging has been approved – subject to a protracted business case from Building Queensland – but not to a satisfactory degree for Far Northerners.
Cairns Regional Council Mayor Bob Manning believed politics, not economic and environmental realities, had triggered the current scaled-down 1 million cubic metre dredging plan.
The 2014 study for the Newman government’s since-abandoned 4.4 million cubic metre proposal found dredge spoil could be placed at a depth of 28.7m with basically no dispersal – even in cyclonic conditions.
“Dredge material deposited at that level does not move,” Cr Manning said.
“Here’s a case where the doctor says this is the diagnosis but we’re not going to treat you accordingly.”
Cairns Shipping Development Inc spokeswoman Emma Thirkell hoped Building Queensland was taking so long on the business case because it had realised the current proposal to cap cruise ships at 300m in length would be a wasted opportunity.
“I hope they might be allowing a redesign of the channel so they can get the Voyager class in,” she said.
“They’re up to 320m long.
“To tack on a bit more doesn’t have to be expensive.
“We would still work on getting the Reef 2050 Plan amended because of what that does to investor confidence.
“But at least it becomes less urgent.”
Proponents for a return to the original, quadrupled-in-scale project say the Federal Government is not free of blame, with its Reef 2050 plan banning placing capital dredge spoils at sea.
“It has to be amended,” Ms Thirkell said.
“It’s due for revision in 2019, and we will be advocating on behalf of the city to get it changed – you just can’t put this economic cap on the city.”
Freight boss calls for Admiralty Island port expansion for Cairns
THE boss of Australia’s biggest privately-owned shipping company says Cairns has three options – expand the port, cap the population or let future generations starve.
Sea Swift CEO Fred White has outlined a proposal to transform Admiralty Island into Northern Australia’s premier logistics hub, complete with road and rail access and a fuel tank farm removed from the mainland.
The idea has been bandied about for decades, only now undergoing a resurgence amid Trinity Inlet dredging’s awaited start and predictions of the region’s population doubling to 500,000 by 2050.
Mr White dared politicians to stake a claim for the future or watch jobs float away to centres willing to dream big.
“The hub incorporates a railhead, major road access realignment, laydown areas, and to remove the current constraints limiting existing port operations,” he said.
“Importantly, this concept provides certainty and optimism for current and prospective operators and users and will encourage private sector investment.
Sea Swift CEO Fred White has outlined a proposal to turn Admiralty Island into a new port precinct for Cairns called the Northern Australian Logistics Hub. PICTURE: CAIRNS POST
“There are too many constraints in the current port land use configurations, which impact on efficiencies and increased costs.”
Port land is facing death by a thousand cuts, with concepts like the State Government’s global tourism hub casino-resort expected to remove another valuable bank of potential growth land.
Even the approval for Hemingways Brewery to take over Wharf One raised questions over the State Government’s long-term vision for the port.
Mr White said the lack of an overarching strategic plan to 2050 meant piecemeal developments such as Mourilyan Harbour upgrades or shoe-horning cramped infrastructure into the existing Cairns port would occur sporadically.
Even then, the available land may have a rapidly approaching shelf life.
Cairns only imports fertiliser and fuel by ship, but the scenario will be very different once this century is half exhausted.
Mr White said containerised imports would be necessary once the population reached a critical mass unable to be served solely by road.
Royal Australian Navy, Boarding Party personnel demonstrate a search on a simulated suspect vessel during the Live Exercise demonstration at the Proliferation Security Initiative, Exercise Pacific Protector, 17 held at HMAS Cairns on September 9.
Like Sea Swift, he said major freight firms like Toll and Linfox would want to invest in a state-of-the-art logistics hub on Admiralty Island.
“We’re not quite there yet, but that population is coming and it’s coming at a rate of knots,” he said.
“That’s why we need to start thinking about this and planning for it.”
Sea Swift faces a battle getting the proposal considered by government, with major environmental and cultural concerns about developing the island, particularly considering the volume of dredge spoil necessary to reclaim the land.
Mr White said he was ready for that conversation, noting Portsmith was swampland until dredge spoil made it usable.
“You move it once and it’s future-proofed,” he said.
“It allows foreshore development, but more importantly it allows a working port future.
“We need to reinvest in Cairns and start treating this issue seriously as one of strategic importance to keep our operators here and to attract new ones.”
Enterprise North president Kevin Byrne. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
Byrne backs Sea Swift proposal
ENTERPRISE North has taken aboard Sea Swift’s proposed Northern Australia Logistics Hub as one of its key infrastructure policies.
The fledgling regional advocacy group’s president Kevin Byrne said the time was right to get Ports North, Cairns Regional Council and the State and Federal governments to the table.
He said the concept needed to be integrated into the council’s strategic plan, as well as “agile thinking and innovative funding” from all levels of government.
“Marine-based activities will play a decisive role in our future economic fortunes, providing for employment and domestic and international trading opportunities,” he said.
“We have oodles of land, deep water off Admiralty Island, and we are at the end of the northern rail line and the Pacific Highway.
“These are important strategic advantages and we need to capitalise on them.”
The possibility of moving HMAS Cairns was discussed but not deemed make-or-break, given existing operators’ shift would open up new Defence land in Portsmith.
Representatives from all three tiers of government have received informal presentations on the proposal, along with several marine operators who have showed varying degrees of enthusiasm.
Mr Byrne said the next steps were to work through the details and arrive at a general agreement about progressing the various and staged components of the plan.
“We have the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility here available to support these sorts of projects provided that there is the agreement between Federal and State governments,” he said.
“We create an additional industrial land bank, we relocate the fuel tanks farm to a new and more appropriate location on Admiralty Island, and free up and value-add land within the city in close proximity to the CBD.
“We can look at the growth of HMAS Cairns through a new set of eyes and provide some real impetus behind the mooted Cairns Marine Maintenance Precinct.
“What a wonderful opportunity now to do this.”
Cairns MP Michael Healy is not yet convinced Admiralty Island is the right solution. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE.
Questions over the need
THE only way Cairns MP Michael Healy sees the Admiralty Island pitch gaining traction is if Defence opts to shift HMAS Cairns across the inlet.
“If the Federal Government wanted to build a Defence facility at Admiralty Island, then the Federal Government would have the legal right to do so,” he said.
That foray could set the ball rolling for further development, but Mr Healy (above) was not ready to back the proposal without proper scrutiny.
“I think it’s fabulous that we’ve got a significant marine operator in our area that thinks they should be expanding to other areas,” Mr Healy said.
“The authority that is charged with the ongoing development and future needs of our port is Ports North.
“Ports North is made up of a board of selected individuals, the majority of them have been influential locals.
“I would see it as their responsibility to project growth in that area and where we need to be by 2030 and 2050.”
Mayor Bob Manning says working port land should be sacrosanct. PICTURE: STEWART McLEAN
Inevitability slowly marches forward
MAYOR Bob Manning hoped developing the untouched island between Cairns and East Trinity will not be necessary, but said it may be inevitable if the working port keeps losing space to expand.
“When the City Port masterplan was passed by the Cabinet, it defined the boundary between the City Port and the working port,” he said.
“There was never to be any stepping over the line into the working port.
“You don’t build an airport
and then use it as a parking lot.”
Cr Manning (left) said Cairns’s shipping potential was going backwards, despite multimillion-dollar promises of investment from governments.
“The port has probably the highest density of people of any part of the city,” he said.
“It (Ports North) is there to protect, preserve and provide for the future port needs of Cairns.
“It’s not there to shut these businesses out.
“That should be sacrosanct.”
Member for Leichardt Warren Entsch and Minister for Defence Marise Payne visits HMAS Cairns to speak about expansion plans to the Navy base. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE
Defending the port’s future
SHIFTING HMAS Cairns off the mainland has Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch’s wholehearted support – and he says the scheme is nothing new to Ports North.
“The Port Authority has already done a concept plan, and the base fits perfectly over there,” he said.
“The fact is, Defence has already committed close to $750 million for upgrades over the next 10 years.
“I’ve already raised it as a prospect the Defence Department needs to look at.”
Mr Entsch (left) said a letter of support from the State Government would help shore up the proposal’s legitimacy in the Federal Government’s eyes.
“We could start looking at some sort of land exchange,”
“They might be a bit nervous, but the State Government really needs to be on board with this, otherwise we’ll be going nowhere.”
The last of the Mt Emerald wind farm blades arrived at the Port of Cairns on December 19, 2017, in a shipment delivered from Houston in the United States. CREDIT: PORTS NORTH
Masterplan under review
PORTS North is due to create a new development masterplan over the coming 12 months.
“Since 2006, trade demand has been consistent with the masterplan, and the existing infrastructure does not constrain any of the port operations,” a spokeswoman said.
“As part of normal practice Ports North will be undertaking a review of the existing masterplan and developing a new masterplan for the future commencing during this financial year.”
The work will include “significant stakeholder and port user consultation”.
Norship Marine operating with all cylinders firing in February 2016 with maintenance, refits and restoration underway two Armidale Class patrol boats, one Cape Class patrol boat, one Pacific patrol boat, one Freemantle Class patrol boat, two Bay Class patrol boats and 30 commercial vessels (not all pictured). PICTURE: SUPPLIED
Comment: Time to knuckle down
THE term lingchi refers to the ancient Chinese “lingering death” torture and execution process, whereby tiny portions of a person’s body are gradually sliced away until the sweet release of death finally arrives.
Port land in Cairns is slowly but surely going the same way as those poor tormented souls – a finger lopped here for an admittedly lovely brewery, a big toe there for a “global tourism hub” casino.
We can survive on what we’ve got now, but eventually a critical mass will be reached where we need major port growth to allow imports as well as exports, just to keep us fed, clothed and employed.
Cairns has the biggest locally-based commercial marine fleet in the state with 1600 vessels – more than Brisbane’s 1200 and way above the 600 on Townsville’s books.
According to the 2016 census, it boasts the greatest employment in marine activities in Northern Australia, and the region’s population is also the fastest growing in the North.
Unless we take off the blinkers and look far ahead to 2050 and beyond, places like Darwin will catch us with our dacks down.
Turning Admiralty Island into a logistics hub may or may not be the answer, but it is at the very least a strong prospect that will become inevitable if this death by a thousand cuts is allowed to continue.
The benefits are obvious, but the cultural and environmental concerns cannot be ignored and will be a bloody minefield to negotiate.
Leases on the fuel farms in Portsmith start expiring from 2024, and the Federal Government is talking about spending $750 million over a decade on the marine industry with little detail on where it will go.
It’s time to start the discussion.
Cairns Post article, 14 June 2018
FUNDING for the dredging of Trinity Inlet is not expected to start flowing at least until next financial year.
The Palaszczuk Government has been criticised for not including any new funding for the Cairns Shipping Development Project in the 2018-19 State Budget.
The only mention the project receives in budget papers is a commitment to “progress approvals” for the widening and deepening of the city’s main shipping channel.
A spokesman for Transport Minister Mark Bailey said $60 million towards the project was already committed in the 2017-18 budget, subject to the business case stacking up and all relevant environmental approvals being obtained.
“That commitment, of course, remains,” he said.
“As identified in Budget Paper 2, the Port of Cairns is continuing to progress regulatory approvals.
“The Port is currently awaiting Federal approval of their EIS (Environmental Impact Statement), and the business case for the project is being finalised.
“The State’s funding will flow, and will be reflected in future budget documents, once all relevant approvals have been obtained.”
The initial project involved the removal of 4.1 million cubic metres of dredge spoil from Trinity Inlet, to allow larger cruise ships to berth at the port.
The project’s scope was reduced last year to allow 1 million cubic metres of spoil to be dredged, for better environmental and economic outcomes.
Cairns Port Development president Ron Crew, whose group has been fighting to have the channel dredged since the early 2010s, said it sounded like the project had stalled.
“I’m really disappointed in it not getting the green light,” he said.
“I am aware that Townsville Port has received about $1.6 billion, where we were promised $120 million.
“It’s almost laughable that we get left out of it.
“I just can’t believe that we’re not getting the money, and getting it in a hurry.”
Letter to the Cairns Post Editor following the Coordinator General’s evaluation report, 24 March 2018:
The Coordinator General’s evaluation report on the environmental impact statement for the Cairns Shipping Development Project is now available.
Two requirements stated in the project’s Environmental Impact Study report Terms of Reference were to 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 Coordinator General’s report covers a massive range of environmental considerations, but is silent on these two points.
Options for placement of spoil at East Trinity in the 2015 draft EIS had major errors noted in submissions to the CG. East Trinity is not even mentioned in the CG report.
The 2012 Ports North proposal included 10.5 million cubic metres of spoil; the 2015 plan had 4.3 million and the current proposal is ‘less than 1 million’.
Until Ports North presents a full benefit-cost assessment that demonstrates the current plan is the best option, no one, including the CG, should accept the present plan is optimal for the Cairns Region. It doesn’t even pass the ‘pub test’.
Letter published in Cairns Post, 25 July 2017
The Cairns Post article ‘Port must dig deeper’ (24/7) notes Federal Minister Matt Canavan ‘has promised to take up the fight for a more extensive plan…’.
After 5 years and over $8m preparing reports, the revised EIS report is at best a temporary fix; only a quarter of the dredging previously proposed. But current legislation would prevent any further ‘capital’ dredging projects for two decades.
It is vital that the current proposal be extended to be just the first phase of a longer-term project.
The current proposal to pump all spoil into sand pits by the Barron River is preferred to the alternative location at East Trinity. However, the report’s reasoning comprises mostly subjective assessments and a few unconvincing quantitative comparisons.
The next immediate step should be preparation of a detailed cost/benefit plan for a long-term phased dredging plan that includes credible comparisons with an alternative to place immediate and future spoil at East Trinity.
Calls for Cairns Port dredge spoil to go to East Trinity
DREDGING supporters have dusted off calls for East Trinity to be transformed into a new residential suburb built atop huge amounts of spoil scooped from the bed of Trinity Inlet.
Members of the Cairns Port Development group took Senator Matt Canavan and the Cairns Post on a helicopter tour of the city to point out potential sites where dredge spoil could be dumped.
Well-known authority on the issue Norm Whitney rejected the notion East Trinity was an environmentally important natural wetland, pointing to a photos from 1988 showing it was covered by cane farms, grazing land and a healthy melaleuca forest.
Hundreds of those trees now stand dead and leafless in artificial stagnant ponds.
“Compare that to the present environmental mess we overlooked where the now former high-and-dry farming land is overgrown with secondary growth vegetation and weeds and is a habitat for feral pigs and other vermin,” Mr Whitney said.
A CSIRO study found the lower sections of East Trinity were 1.4m lower than the original land level.
The group appealed to Mr Canavan to use his political influence to have Cairns classed as a priority port and the original 4.4 million cubic-metre capital dredging plan to be reinstated rather than the current scaled-back version.
A dead melaleuca forest now sits in stagnant water at East Trinity.
“The port has to be determined to be a strategic port and the dredging be able to continue as necessary,” Mr Whitney said.
“The present dredging program must only be classified as Stage 1 of the total project.”
Maintenance dredging is already undertaken annually but Down Under Cruise and Dive managing director Peppi Iovanella said it barely touched the surface.
He pointed out yachts and small boats actually avoiding the path set by floating leads directing users to the supposedly safest channel to the port, despite maintenance dredging being carried out just last week.
“It’s a joke. It’s not really dredging and it’s not safe. It’s not even maintenance dredging. It’s negligible,” he said.
“Forget the cruise ships, even the local operation is a problem. I don’t totally blame Ports North. All their money goes down to Brisbane.”
The Cairns and Far North Environment Centre and Ports North could not be reached for comment.
PLEDGE TO ACT
FEDERAL Minister for Northern Australia Senator Matt Canavan has pledged to take up the fight for a more comprehensive dredging scheme and further development of Port of Cairns.
“The port development is crucial to the future of the Cairns economy, especially to ensure it builds a diverse and resilient economy,” he said.
“I will take up the issues raised by Cairns Port Development with the Queensland Government and Ports North.”
Cairns Post, 16 February 2017
Dredge delays veiled in secrecy
Note: click on the thumb print if article does not show.
A letter published in the Cairns Post, 17 February, from this website’s editor summed up the reaction from all but the more extreme green/left community: ‘The continuing delays to deepening Trinity Inlet are a disgrace (‘Dredge delays veiled in secrecy’, 16/2) – what you would expect in a third-world dictatorship. I recall a meeting with Mayor Bob Manning nearly two years ago to discuss the port deepening and major associated benefits. I was dismayed at Bob’s explanations, and said so. Having led or advised on many far larger projects overseas, I know how projects can be completed rapidly, particularly when the benefit-cost calculations are very positive, as is the case with the port deepening. Now I realise that the main driver of FNQ infrastructure projects is politics, and offer my apologies to you, Bob, for my naivety. The latest explanation from Ports North for not completing a comprehensive project plan after some five years, and spending over $8 million dollars of our money, is pathetic and appears to assume we locals are idiots.’
22 June 2016. Excellent news that Cairns Port development seems to be back on track. The Cairns Post, 22 June, reported ‘PORTS North will zero in on two possible locations to dump one million cubic metres of dredge spoil from Trinity Inlet.The Cairns Post yesterday revealed dredging of the Cairns shipping channel would be fast-tracked to allow cruise ships up to 300-metres long to dock at the city’s port. City leaders welcomed the revival of the project, which would have a total cost of about $120 million. Ports North chairman Russell Beer said the organisation would work hard over the next 12 months to complete a rigorous environmental impact statement and “turn that into an approval”.’ Some background: After Ports North presented a practical plan in 2012, something happened causing their plans to veer off course. Was this applying fashionable ‘green’ ideology? Over $5 million dollars spent on consultants produced a draft EIS, checked by the Coordinator General and passed to Treasurer Pitt who pronounced the port development far too expensive at $365 million. This draft EIS was shown to have major flaws. Now different consultants indicate dredging only 1 million cubic metres of spoil – 23% of the previous 4.4 million – will enable larger cruise ships up to 90,000 tonnes and full fuel and sugar cargo ships to navigate the harbour. The proposal includes innovative ideas such as pumping the spoil to an underwater location in a sand pit, so no expensive treatment will be needed. Also, an East Trinity site is favoured – presumably to cover the small highly polluted area, as recommended by CSIRO in 1999. Hopefully the new plan, costed at $120 million, will now be expedited. It seems fair for the cost of this essential infrastructure be shared equally by the Federal and Queensland State governments.
8 June, the Cairns Post included an impressive 20-page supplement that presented a wide range of articles explaining the issues and benefits available from widening and deepening the Trinity Inlet. The lead-article was an open letter to the Prime Minister, leader of the opposition and the Queensland Premier asking for their support to expedite the port development project. The supplement is complimentary to the March 1 report to the Premier Cairns Port Development Report to Ministers.
1 June 2016: Advance Cairns, the peak independent non-government Advocacy and Economic Development Organisation for Tropical North Queensland (TNQ), advised on its new website: ‘RECOMMENDATION –Prioritise Cairns port infrastructure as a strategic investment in the regional economy enabling long-term sustained growth for tourism, Navy, port and service industries. Commit to this $1B industry by supporting the EIS process and implementing the CSDP’ (Cairns Shipping Development Project). The announcement continued: ‘Project Timelines – The final cost will be assessed as part of the revised Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) with expenditure in 2017-20. EIS commenced and extended until June 2017′. This very welcome announcement appears to override Advance Cairns and the Cairns Chamber of Commerce previous submission to the Coordinator General which concluded ‘We believe that the Cairns Port will need to continue to incrementally develop the inlet and associated port infrastructure’. http://www.advancecairns.com/project/shipping-development/ and Cairns Chamber, Advance Cairns submission.
The Cairns Post editorial, 17 May, noted the state government’s record of blatantly ignoring the results of it’s own consultation. ‘First there was the public hearing regarding dredging the Trinity Inlet…Business people presented a great case to have Cairns included as a “port of significance” that would allow large-scale dredging…They were so successful that the people hearing the arguments recommended the Government include Cairns on that list. ‘ The result? The Labor State Government kowtowed to the Greens and ignored the recommendation of it’s own committee. So much for democracy! (Click on editorial graphic to expand).
The following article in the Cairns Post, 6 May, written by Queensland State Treasurer’s about Cairns Port deepening, comprised a mix of facts and misleading information (click on graphic to expand). A letter published on 7 May explains some of the more egregious points: ‘State Treasurer Curtis Pitt writes ‘Still room to move in the inlet’ (6/05). The most worrying aspect is that readers may think this is a reasonable assessment. Just a few of the shortfalls are noted below. Pitt states the Ports North proposal included ‘land-based options around $365m’. He formed this view based on the DRAFT EIS, ignoring the correct process to await public submissions, one of which explained the costs were grossly exaggerated, ignored optimum technology solutions, and should cost less than $250m. Pitt explains simulations have enabled a few of the large cruise ships to berth at the CBD cruise terminal. He does not mention that the majority will still have to anchor off Yorkeys Knob. Pitt wrote ‘we’ve seen a good environmental and economic outcome..’, but does not mention the many cargo ships that arrive and depart half full because the channel is too shallow, resulting in far higher costs. Pitt notes Ports North ‘will also be allowed to remove … up to 150,000 cubic metres in any four-year period.’ That rate would take 120 years to deepen and widen the channel as proposed.’
Cairns Post’s InvestCairns magazine, April 2016, Loss of Cruise Control, include several quotes from ‘renowned economist Bill Cummings’ such as “While small to medium-sized cruise ships can be home-ported in Cairns, the city will only fully realise its potential to become a cruise shipping h um if deepening and channel widening takes place – something that will also result in efficiencies for Cairns as a cargo and naval port.”
A letter from Treasurer Curtis Pitt’s Chief of Staff, John Humphreys (Qld Treasurer reply 120416), 12 April included: ‘Far North Queensland Ports Corporation Limited (Ports North) requested an extension to the EIS deadline to allow it further time to review target vessel sizes and channel improvements options, include the latest survey and field information on revised channel designs, undertake simulations to verify the size of cruise ships and access of reduced upgrade channel and a tidal window analysis. This request was approved by the Coordinator-General in December 2015 and the project lapse date has been extended to 30 June 2017.’
A letter published in the Cairns Post, 5 April, summed up the current impasse: ‘I refer to the Cairns Post story “Make Aquis Happen – Stop mucking around’ (26/03). “A Cairns business leader is warning Queensland Government to stop playing politics with … Aquis”. Then on page 23 “Cairns a jobless hotspot – Cairns was still 2.1% above the state average.” (7/3) I also recall the article “HMAS Cairns major expansion to make it key northern defence base. The confidential documents, obtained by The Cairns Post, reveal a new role for the city that includes dredging the inlet and expanding the base to accommodate 3000 personnel in an estimated $2 billion boon to the local economy.” Since then, it has been a deafening silence. Also, a recent report sent to the Premier and ministers explained how the reasons given for delaying Cairns Port development have been overcome. The report (see www.better-management.org)recommended the State government should expedite completion of a “shovel-ready” project plan. The total inaction suggests the rumours after the State election that the Greens did a deal with Labor to prevent large-scale projects in Cairns were true. Sorry Cairns, you’ve been dudded by your Governments.’ Note: The report can be downloaded from Cairns Port Development Report to Ministers. The report includes: ‘An independent group of specialists should be contracted as soon as possible to deliver a ‘shovel-ready’ plan to complete the port development, including a full benefit-cost analysis. Suggested terms of reference for this assignment are at Cairns Port Deepening Plan, TOR 081115.
CPDI presentation to Coordinator General – Cairns Port Development Inc. made a presentation to the Queensland State Coordinator General from a high-level suite near the Trinity Inlet on 8 December 2015. The venue allowed the presenters to point out the CoG the major developments in Cairns that had been achieved over half a century using spoil dredged from the inlet. The presentation described the many issues relating to the proposed port development proposal, including several errors in the Ports North draft EIS such as the exaggerated costs. The major benefits the Cairns Region would gain following the proposed development were explained, together with tables showing the calculations. The Power Point presentation can be downloaded from: CPD Inc. Presentation to the Coordinator General, update.
The Cairns Post Editorial, 22 January, heading Public input just ignored, compared the Labor State Government’s parliamentary hearing concerning the reduced nightclub opening hours with the previous hearings regarding the Cairns port “priority port” status. In both instances, it is clear the supposed ‘consultation’ was a sham. Even when the government’s own priority port committee recommended, without dissent, that Cairns should have priority port status, the Labor masters in Brisbane ignored their committee’s recommendation; an expensive con more worthy of a communist state. The Editorial concludes: ‘To invite guidance from the public is fair and right, to then ignore it is the height of hubris and conceit – something the Queensland electorate has shown contempt for.’ The complete editorial below makes compelling reading:
A letter from Peter Campion, Tolga, in The Cairns Post, 2 January, summarises the current deplorable status: ‘Doctor Fanny Douvere, the marine program coordinator at UNESCO’s World Heritage Centre, does not expect the Abbot Point port expansion to hurt the Great Barrier Reef. Yet here in Cairns, the State Labor Government, using dodgy legislation and its fully-owned company Ports North, is continuing to delay the much-needed improvement of our port. Our local “environmental experts” at CAFNEC help the ALP’s anti-Cairns cause by spreading blatant falsehoods about our port, including that dredging it will kill the Reef. Science has proven our anti-port minority wrong at every step and now even UNESCO agrees dredging is not a problem. For Far North Queensland to be truly sustainable, we need our port to be fully functional. It’s now clear that to return our port to full efficiency we need to expose CAFNEC’s propaganda and to dump the ALP at the next election.’ Note: responding to a letter criticising this letter (09/01), Campion replied (CP letter 07/01): ‘(The writer) has been conned by CAFNEC and the anti-Cairns ALP and seems unaware of local history’, followed by supporting evidence.
The Cairns Post Editorial, 1 January 2016: ‘Tourism the way ahead…..With such a bright outlook for a tourism-related economic boost, it is timely for our city leaders to consider adopting a stronger stance on dredging Trinity inlet to allow larger cruise ships to dock. As the Australian dollar stays relatively low, more and more foreigners will add Australia to their travel lists, and the Far North and Great Barrier Reef are highly likely to be on the itinerary. In light of UNESCO’s tacit approval of recently announced wholesale dredging of the Abbot Point coal terminal near Bowen, surely that opens the door for the same in Cairns. Dredging opponents and federal and state government have used UNESCO’s threat to downgrade the Reef’s status as a reason to ban large-scale dredging in the inlet. But the world environmental watch dog barely gave a whimper after the Abbot Point dredging plan was revealed. As the inlet’s Environmental Impact process drags on, Abbot Point has now made itself a compelling precedent….’
An article was published in the Cairns Post business section, 23 November: ‘Benefits of dredging impossible to ignore’:
The article above followed the Cairns Post article by Nick Dalton, 19/12/15: Call to get big ships into port, reproduced below with additional comments in Italics:
Treasurer and acting State Development Minister Curtis Pitt has instructed Ports North to focus on ways to increase the size of ships entering the city’s port.
The Government has granted the authority an 18-month extension to an environmental impact statement. The final Terms of Reference for the Cairns Shipping Development Project were released by the Coordinator General in September 2012. Ports North announced they had commissioned consultants ARUP to complete the EIS in April 2013. Ports North stated the draft EIS report would be provided in May 2014, then a delay to September 2014. Ports North said changed conditions required further work and had delayed the report. In fact, the Terms of Reference had not changed, and the ‘changed conditions’, ie government ruling against dumping dredge spoil at sea, required far less work rather than more as the TOR always required assessment of options to place dredging spoil on land. The draft EIS was finally released in April 2015. Rather than waiting for submissions and a final EIS (a key requirement of the CoG’s assessment process), Mr Pitt announced ‘on the basis of the draft EIS, the government had decided against the proposed Trinity Inlet dredging’ – he later explained the $365m cost calculated in the draft EIS was unacceptably high. A submission to the CoG demonstrated the draft EIS had grossly exaggerated the project costs (Submission to Coordinator General.)
While full-scale dredging has been ruled out, Mr Pitt said dredging the mouth or approach channel to the Trinity Inlet shipping waterway and the swing basin was expected to be included in the EIS. Rather than ‘expected’, the EIS TOR required this inclusion.
Wholesale dredging has been ruled out on the grounds of cost (estimated at $100m) and a ban on dumping dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Marine Park. The terms ‘full-scale’ and ‘wholesale’ dredging have not been defined, so are meaningless. Again, the draft EIS described options for on-land placement of spoil, albeit at a grossly exaggerated cost.
The dredging was to allow larger ships, particularly cruise liners, to navigate the channel.
The Government wants the port to look at dredging parts of the channel and the swing basin so bigger ships can enter and turn around. This is precisely what the draft EIS was directed to do.
The Cairns Shipping Development Project is able to proceed under the transitional arrangements as part of the Sustainable Ports Development Act 2015 passed in the November 12 Parliament sitting. So the Sustainably Port Development Act 2015 was a complete red herring as far as Cairns Port is concerned – a massive distraction from the main event.
“The scope of the project includes capital dredging of the swing basins and Trinity Inlet and deepening of the approach channel to the port”, Mr Pitt said. Mr Pitt said previously the Reef 2050 report, on which the agreement signed by Federal Minister Greg Hunt with UNESCO is based, precludes ‘capital dredging’ in Cairns Port, which Mr Pitt said the Cairns Shipping Development Project would require. In fact, the Reef 2050 report states ‘Dredging can either be capital dredging, for newchannels and berths, or maintenance dredging, necessary to maintain existing and approved dredging areas.’ (Reef 2050 plan excerpts.) The Cairns Shipping Development project requires ‘maintenance dredging, defined as ‘to maintain the safe and effective ongoing operation of a port facility’.
Mr Pitt said the Coordinator-General had allowed Ports North until June 30 2017 to re-submit an EIS for the project. Ports North contracted their consultants in April 2013 to produce a draft EIS report that covers everything Mr Pitt says he wants. The draft EIS did not adequately cover two key requirements of the TOR: ‘Sufficient baseline economic data to underpin a comprehensive assessment of the direct, indirect, cumulative, costs and impacts of the project’.And ‘The indirect impacts likely to flow to other industries and economies from developing the project, and the implications of the project for future development.’ Competent specialists could complete these two requirements in a few months if they were directed to do so. An extension of 18 months, when there has already been a delay of more than 12 months, is completely unnecessary, and can only be deliberate procrastination.
“Granting this extension gives Ports North more time to develop a project that is economically and environmentally sustainable for the expansion of Cairns Port”, he said. Nothing additional to the requirements of the original EIS TOR has been requested. It must therefore be concluded that Mr Pitt’s announcements can only be a deliberate means of delaying the port deepening and subsequent benefits to the Cairns Region even longer.
“We can strike a balance that protects the environment and supports economic development, jobs and future trade growth.” This is exactly what the CoG’s TOR for the EIS required.
Perhaps, as The Cairns Post Editorial, 3 September, noted:‘The decision by State Development Minister Anthony Lynham to consign Cairns’ port to second-tier status should [has] cause[d] outrage throughout the Far North.’
The editorial Cairns Post editorial, EIS backflip a big query, 220815 explains the main problem:‘If the revised EIS suddenly comes back with a favourable opinion of increased dredging, surely this raises suggestions the government is advising its consultants what outcome they should find rather than merely letting the science do the talking.’ Not only the ‘science’, but assessing and describing in more detail the major benefits the Cairns Region will gain after the port deepening has been completed (See Cummings Economics submission Cummings Economicssubmission).
It is highly unlikely that the Government will direct Ports North to produce a full plan for deepening the port that would be necessary for logical related decisions to be made, and so most unlikely Ports North will direct their consultants to produce such a plan. This plan should be produced by a new group of independent consultants as soon as possible, including a full benefit-cost analysis based on best-practice methods. Terms of Reference for such an assignment have been drafted: Cairns Port Deepening Plan, TOR 081115
A summary of the Cairns Port deepening saga
Cairns Region will gain major benefits from port deepening, estimated at $5 billion over 25 years, including business growth and many job opportunities. See Cummings Economicssubmission.
Australia’s long-established defence programs need Cairns Port naval base as a fully-operational strategic port for regional and coastal operations.
Spoil from major dredging programs will not be discharged offshore in future, irrespective of scientific reports. Why? Because government agreements and public perceptions and reactions preclude this.
…… HERE’S HOW
Dredging spoil has been put on land to develop Cairns city and its economy for many decades, and can be again – e.g. Portsmith.
So a new report is needed ASAP to present the most cost-effective plan and quantify the resulting benefits.
Government dredging decisions, including those following negotiations with UNESCO, have been based on the Reef 2050 report, which states: ‘Dredging can either be capital dredging, for new channels and berths, or maintenance dredging, necessary to maintain existing and approved dredging areas.’ Reef 2050 plan excerpts.
Port deepening: is NOT for a ‘new channel’; it IS necessary ‘to maintain (an) existing and approved dredging area’; and maintenance dredging IS allowed.
…… AND IF PORT DEEPENING IS NOT EXPEDITED?
The whole Cairns Region will suffer major economic, business and job losses, and Australia will not have a strategic port’ in the far north.
The miniscule coven of green/Labor extremists will have won their covert battle to impose their anti-growth ideology on the Cairns Region.
The State Labor Government can expect to lose the four local seats at the next election if the LNP demonstrate credible support for expediting port deepening.
Cairns Region Councillors that don’t support expediting port deepening can expect to be replaced at the election next year by Councillors that do.
SO WHAT SHOULD HAPPEN NOW? ‘PLAN B’?
Qld State Treasurer Curtis Pitt was reported in the Cairns Post on 15 May saying. “What we’ve said is that Ports North, as the proponent, can go back, recast that EIS and make another proposal which has an emphasis on onshore disposal.’
Dr Anthony Lynham, Qld Minister for State Development said on 11 November ‘The (Ports North draft) EIS proposal is respected by the government as being in place before this (the Port Sustainability Bill)….The Bill has nothing to do with the EIS….The Coordinator General (who controls the EIS process) is independent but has to abide by the government policy but on decisions such as extending EISs, he is independent…..I can’t tell him what to do….Maintenance dredging is for maintaining the existing channel. It is not for widening channels….Unfortunately the strategic designation (instead of the Bill’s category of Priority Port) doesn’t come under UNESCO or the Bill. That would be quite difficult to throw in another category now after all the negotiation with UNESCO.’
BUT…recall the Reef 2050 report, which formed the basis for Federal Minister Greg Hunt’s negotiations with UNESCO states: ‘Dredging can either be capital dredging, for new channels and berths, or maintenance dredging, necessary to maintain existing and approved dredging areas.’ The Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015, Schedule 1 subsequently modifiedthe Reef 2050 definition to: ‘Capital dredging – (a) means dredging or enlarging a channel, basin, port, berth or other similar thing; or’……. (b) does not include dredging to maintain the safe and effective ongoing operation of a port facility.
Surely ‘effective ongoing operation of a port facility’ includes the ability for large cruise, cargo and naval ships to use the port?
The Ports North proposal was submitted well before the Bill, and the EIS deadline has been extended to the end of March 2016. Minister Lynham said it is up to the CoG as to whether this deadline is extended, noting the only time an extension was not granted after a reasonable request was when the EIS was not completed after 7 years and the company had ‘folded’.
The State Government has given Ports North another $350,000 (on top of the previous $5.1m) for its consultants to review the draft EIS – presumably expecting different conclusions.
The latest technologies and methodologies should underpin the modified draft EIS, and result in different conclusions, including far lower costs (see Submission to Coordinator General).
The modified draft EIS could satisfy all requirements: lower cost dredging of the existing channel and all spoil put on land rather than at sea (thus complying with the Reef 2050 report, although possibly a problem with the Bill’s modified definition); meeting environmental requirements; complying with Federal Minister Greg Hunt’s agreement with UNESCO to not de-list the reef; meeting Australia’s naval strategic requirements; and last but not least, enabling the Cairns Region to benefit from the major economic benefits when the next stage of port deepening is completed.
How to ensure Ports North’s modified draft EIS results in expediting the requisite port deepening ASAP?
In a nutshell, the Coordinator General needs to ensure Ports North interpret the EIS Terms of Reference (TOR) correctly so the modified draft EIS provide: ‘Sufficient baseline economic data to underpin a comprehensive assessment of the direct, indirect, cumulative, costs and impacts of the project’; and ‘The indirect impacts likely to flow to other industries and economies from developing the project, and the implications of the project for future development.’ (See Cairns Shipping Development EIS TOR Nov 2012.)
These points were not covered adequately in the current draft EIS. The approach suggested in the following document would ensure the modified draft EIS provides all the information necessary for the relevant authorities to decide to expedite the port deepening:Cairns Port Deepening Plan, TOR 081115
Recent progress and events
The Cairns Post, 18 November article noted: SUPPORTERS of dredging Trinity Inlet will meet the state’s Co-ordinator General and lobby Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ensure deepening and widening activities suffer no further setbacks. Dredging restrictions are in place after the state’s Sustainable Ports Development Bill passed with bipartisan support on Friday…. The State Opposition has defended its stance in voting against exempting Cairns and Mourilyan from restrictions. “The two major parties’ collusion has put the Port of Cairns back 50 years.” …. Cairns Port Development Inc. spokeswoman, Emma Thirkell, said members would lobby federal politicians to place greater weight on scientific evidence supporting dredging, its lack of impact on the Reef and the positives for business that dredging offered. “Agreement is in place for us to meet the Co-ordinator General and we hope to update Cairns Regional Councillors on the present situation and the possible repercussions of this bill,” she said. See full article at: http://www.cairnspost.com.au/news/cairns/cairns-port-development-inc-takes-trinity-inlet-dredging-proposal-to-federal-politicians/story-fnjpusyw-1227612935494
Cairns Post articles, 4 and 5 November, spell out the State Government’s latest restriction on dredging limits for Cairns Port. At 150,000 cubic metres in 4 years, this would mean completing the 4.5 million cubic metres proposed to deepen the channel in 120 years. Weirdly, Advance Cairns CEO is quoted saying this: “provides for the ability for the port to grow as our city grows”. This is in line with the Advance Cairns and Cairns Chamber of Commerce submission to the Coordinator General regarding the Ports North draft EIS, which states: ‘We believe that the Cairns Port will need to continue to incrementally develop the inlet and associated port infrastructure to support the growth of the regional economy.’ Over 120 years? Listen to John MacKenzie discussing this conundrum with Peter Senior on 4CA radio talkback. Several other callers raised similar points with John, including a member of Cairns Chamber complaining that members had not been consulted, and she totally disagreed with the stance, as presented in today’s update ‘A workable solution for Cairns. We have some very exciting news to share with you…’:
28 October, 4CA Talkback: Federal Senator Warren Entsch discussed with Peter Senior the overall port deepening issue; in particular the point noted above that the proposed port deepening is defined as ‘maintenance dredging’ in the authoritative Reef 2050 report, as such is allowed and should go ahead – if only the local State Members would support what is clearly in the best interests of the Cairns Region. This is essential listening:
22 October. Senators Ian Macdonald and Bob Katter talked with John Mackenzie on 4CA Talkback about deepening Cairns Port to enable large naval, cruise and cargo ships to use the port and facilities. Both Senators noted deepening is essential, should be expedited, and will bring major benefits to FNQ. Naval access is also an essential Australian defence requirement. Senator Macdonald said: “The Qld Government really has to ignore the minority greens groups who will make up any story to stop any sort of development in Cairns or anywhere else and get some sensible advice…”. Everyone should listen carefully to these comments:
A letter from Dr Anthony Lynham MP, Queensland Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, 16 October 2015 stated: ‘The government will not divert from elements of the Bill which form part of our Reef 2050 plan… However, any future development must be consistent with the government’s commitment to protect the GBRWHA and its ban on sea based disposal of port related capital dredge material.’ See Minister Lynham letter 161015. As noted above, the Reef 2050 report states:‘Dredging can either be capital dredging, for new channels and berths, or maintenance dredging, necessary to maintain existing and approved dredging areas’ (see Reef 2050 plan excerpts.) Given that the proposed port deepening: is NOT for a ‘new channel’; and IS necessary ‘to maintain (an) existing and approved dredging area’; and maintenance dredging IS allowed, it seems the Minister is approving port deepening as further maintenance dredging, particularly if the dredging spoil is disposed of on land.
6 October, the second cruise ship anchored at Yorkeys Knob in so many weeks is unable to get passengers ashore for trips – passengers express great disappointment; Cairns reputation sullied; tour companies lose big $$$$$.
1 October, new Chairman of Ports North announced by State Labor Government Minister. Cairns Post article heading ‘Chairman confident of port progress’ only aligns with recent State actions if ‘progress’ means towards boutique port status. Noted on Facebook: Yes, another Labor stooge. If Labor wasn’t sure he’d follow their directives, he wouldn’t have been appointed. The sorry fact is, Government funds many activities in Cairns, and directs these operations through their well-paid bureaucrats that also mostly lean to the green/Left. What an unholy alliance! Labor’s recent decisions prove they intend financing Townsville expansion and downgrading Cairns Port to boutique status, irrespective of contrary evidence. If Cairns Port deepening supporters continue to play by the Brisbane-controlled Labor rules, we’ll lose – for sure. Go figure…
18 September: the Ports Sustainability Bill has been postponed.
The Cairns Port Development Inc. petition signature sheets were handed to the Queensland Parliament at 7.28 AM on 15 September. The 4,099 written signatures plus the 2,017 online signatures totalled 6,116 – one of the largest petitions ever from the Cairns region.
As a reminder, the petition reads: TO: The Honourable the Speaker and Members of the Legislative Assembly of Queensland. Queensland citizens draw to the attention of the House the Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 does not include the ports of Cairns and Mourilyan as priority ports. If capital dredging is discontinued, new larger passenger, naval and cargo ships will not be able to enter the ports. The estimated earnings foregone may be more than $5Bn over the next 25 years, compounding the record high youth unemployment rates. Your petitioners request the House to amend the Sustainable Ports Development Bill 2015 to include the ports of Cairns and Mourilyan as ‘priority ports’ allowing the ports to carry out vital capital works dredging NOW and always. We also request that an independent project be commissioned to assess and recommend the lowest cost environmentally acceptable dredging solution. Revitalize our economy, restore confidence and save many businesses from the brink of bankruptcy.
Six months out from the local government election, Cairns lawyer Jim Brooks on Friday announced the arrival of his Connect Cairns teamin front of supporters, including Cairns MP Rob Pyne. Brooks, Pyne and CAFNEC are joining forces to oppose deepening the Port and stymie the huge economic benefits the Cairns region would gain.
The Cairns Post 3 Sept. noted: ‘Minister shuns committee report into developing Port of Cairns’ and ‘A WIDE-reaching inquiry by a Queensland parliamentary committee has found that excluding the Port of Cairns as a priority port would have a “detrimental impact” on the growth of the region and have negative impacts on employment and tourism, and on business. ‘However ‘Minister for State Development, Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham, who dismissed the committee’s findings just hours after they were released. “I appreciate the committee’s consideration of the Bill and their report will be considered in full and in detail,” he said in a statement. “However, the Government will not divert from elements of the Bill which form part of our Reef 2050 plan.’http://www.cairnspost.com.au/business/minister-shuns-committee-report-into-developing-port-of-cairns/story-fnjpusdv-1227509909212
An allied issue is flagged in the Cairns Post editorial, 27 August, ‘THE State Government must act immediately or we can all watch the Aquis ship and its bounty sail out of the (undredged) Trinity Inlet….the stench of bureaucracy-induced failure… If the Fungs walk away from Cairns, heads should roll in the halls of state parliament.’CP Editorial re Aquis 270815.
Terms of reference for a new assignment to produce a Cairns Port Deepening Plan respond to Treasurer Curtis Pitt’s requests to: ‘recast that EIS and make another proposal which has an emphasis on onshore disposal’; and put another option ‘on the table.’ This plan would provide essential information to enable State and local governments, Cairns business leaders and the Cairns community to understand fully and make informed decisions on deepening and widening the Trinity Inlet and basin. Terms of reference for this assignment have been prepared: Cairns Port Deepening Plan, TOR 081115.Any related decisions made before this or a similar project is completed, including public disclosure, are likely based on conjecture and/or ideology.
Cairns Post 4 August, article by State Treasurer Curtis Pitt: ‘Where we differ from the previous government is that its proposal for capital dredging in Trinity Inlet never stacked up on any measure and couldn’t proceed – the volume of dredge spoil and costs over $360 million were uneconomic….The EIS is a live process and will be used as a vehicle to put in an overarching plan for expansion works.’ The $360M has been shown to be very and deliberately exaggerated, and surely ‘expansion works’ does not suggest the proposed vital major port deepening project?
The Ports Bill Committee public hearing at Cairns, 29 July, was a great success for supporters of dredging the Trinity Inlet and basin as far as conveying our message to the Committee and emphasising the width and depth of Cairns’ public support. But will it be effective? The Cairns Post front page heading DON’T SINK OUR PORT, editorial, cartoon and double-page spread describe overwhelming support, demanding major changes to the Ports Bill, and action from Federal and State Governments to expedite the dredging. Failure will lead to Cairns’ economy slowly sinking. http://www.cairnspost.com.au/business/state-government-urged-to-rethink-ports-bill-for-far-north/story-fnjpusdv-1227462332057. The numerous calls to John MacKenzie’s 4CA Talkback were equally supportive.
Cairns Post poll, 24 July:‘Do you support increased dredging of Trinity Inlet’. Result in Monday 27th edition: YES 73%.
Friends of the Port of Cairns submission to the Qld Coordinator General responded to the Ports North draft Environment Impact Report (EIS):Submission to Coordinator General. The submission summary concludes: ‘We request the Coordinator General recommend to the Government that a more comprehensive study be undertaken of placement options in consultation with the Cairns community with a view to developing a lower cost and environmentally acceptable solution to enable the project to proceed as soon as possible.’
Cummings Economics submission to the Qld Coordinator General,Cummings Economicssubmission, presents a compelling case for the dredging. Conservative calculations of the benefits to Cairns total $1.35 billion NPV – $5 bn in cash terms over 25 years, or at least $200 million each year. Who is stalling these benefits?
Adam Gowlett, Branch President of the Urban Development Institute of Australia talked with John MacKenzie on 4CA radio talkback, 21st August, explaining how the Qld State Labor Government is short-changing Cairns in favour of the South East, and Townsville in particular where $65m has just been allocated to dredge and expand their port plus more major expenditure: .
Local developer Ken Frost’s submission presents an exciting approach for Cairns long-term needs – EIS submission KF
A brief submission from Advance Cairns and Cairns Chamber of Commerce equivocates, noting ‘Ports North will need to be able to continue to undertake incremental development projects…’:Cairns Chamber, Advance Cairns submission.
East Trinity for future urban growth and more vital benefits for Cairns were described in an article in the Cairns Post, 6 June (click on picture below to expand).
Radio 4CA July 23, 2015. John MacKenzie speaks with Peter Senior from Cairns Port Development Inc. and Tim Nicholls MP for Clayfield and shadow minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning, Small Business and Trade 23rd July 2015 about progressing the dredging of Cairns Harbour.
Talkback host John MacKenzie discussed Friends of the Port of Cairns’ submission with Peter Senior on 3 June:
Ports North $5 million draft EIS can be downloaded in sections from:.Click here to see the draft EISExecutive Summary.
An aerial photograph of East Trinity, Trinity Inlet and the Cairns CBD in 1942 is shown below, with points of interest flagged (click on graphic to expand). Note the area some ‘greens’ insist should be ‘restored’ to wetlands never was wetlands – it was saltpan, grassland and woodland.
…. and this is a recent photo of the Southern end of the East Trinity property. Note the dead Melaleuca trees as a result of flooding by sea water – which CSIRO strongly recommended against.
The next 7 sections explain the convoluted steps that resulted in the current dismaying situation.
For the latest in the long-running saga concerning dredging the Trinity Inlet at Cairns and reclamation at East Trinity, check the Facebook site, Friends of the Port of Cairns – https://www.facebook.com/PortofCairns.
The Facebook site includes a petition you may want to send to the Coordinator General: http://www.gopetition.com/petitions/save-the-port-of-cairns.html – it only takes a couple of minutes to read, then send if you agree. As at 4 June, 1,298 have ‘liked’ the site, and 170 almost-all local people have sent the petition.
Check this Post for more background information and proposals.
The Cairns Shipping Development Project draft Environmental Impact Statement report was released on Saturday 18 April. State Government Treasurer Curtis Pitt announced that, on the basis of the DRAFT EIS, the government had decided against the proposed Trinity Inlet dredging. Listening to callers on radio talkback shows, the overwhelming overall reaction is extreme dismay.
Cairns Labor MP Rob Pyne added to the dismay, as described in the Cairns Post Editorial, 25 April (see full text in Section 3): ‘Cairns MP Rob Pyne’s outburst against the business sector is about as undiplomatic as you’ll ever see from a politician… Industry and commerce quite rightly supports the dredging of Trinity Inlet because it would have brought bigger cruise liners, cargo vessels and navy ships to Cairns and provided a $1.3 billion boost to the economy… He really starts off badly by describing business as the “big end of town” and then his Facebook rant continues with “your unsustainable, unfunded and illogical ‘capital dredge proposal’ will not fly…”.
Cairns Post article, 27 April (full text is in section 3) included: Industry group Cruise Down Under is urging the Government to consider theeconomic benefits of dredging of about $1.3 billion. CDU general manager Jill Abel said a study showed cruise ships injected $12.6 million into the city’s economy in 2013-14. Ms Abel said. “… Cairns is a must-see destination from a passenger perspective, and integral to the eastern seaboard itineraries.”
Cairns Post, 30 April, article (see details in section 3): BARRON River MP Craig Crawford has broken political ranks to back the dredging of Trinity Inlet.
This post suggests a practical and cost-effective way to avoid dumping the dredging spoil at sea as well as reclaiming the degraded State-owned area at East Trinity. Many related issues are discussed, media coverage is presented and relevant background is explained.
The report, Dredging and East Trinity opportunities 081214, presents a proposal to dredge Cairns Trinity Inlet channel; and reclaim the State-owned degraded East Trinity property; and gain major short and long-term benefits for Cairns community and businesses……AT NO NET COST to taxpayers. Imagine a residential suburb at East Trinity:
2. Another option: a phased approach
Note: This section has not been updated since the draft EIS was released. Some of the assumptions and figures used in the draft EIS are in serious doubt, as are some of the conclusions. It is expected that further checking by different specialist engineers will identify substantially different conclusions that may be more in line with the proposal outlined in the Phase 1 proposal described below.
Another variation on Phase 1 (call it Phase 1b) could be, if both the State and Federal Governments are persuaded to allow capital dredge to be placed offshore (currently very unlikely), then the State could sell their 944 ha property at East Trinity to pay all dredging costs, with the proviso that the developer must resolve the current pollution problems on parts of this property.
Responding to comments by the previous State Member for Parliament, Gavin King, that East Trinity could not be developed for many years until the dredged spoil has settled, an alternative option is now presented.
Pending release of the Environment Impact Statement (EIS) report, it was stated that ‘500 hectares’ of East Trinity land will be required to place the 4.4 million cubic metres of spoil. Given the fact that the State-owned property at East Trinity is 943.6 ha, the residual 443.6 ha of property could be available for development immediately, noting 168 ha of this part is raised, affording grand views across the inlet to the CBD and hills beyond.
The original report has been updated to include a Phase 1 where half of the residual 443.6 ha is sold to one or more developers for a nominal sum, on the condition that the developer(s) pay all the costs of dredging, spoil treatment and associated costs, which the original report estimated at $125m. However, as it is understood the Ports North EIS estimates these costs as between $200m and $250m, a midway figure of $225m is assumed. The changes to the original report are shown in red. An alternative with the same effect would be for the state to sell the land outright and use the proceeds to pay for the dredging and spoil treatment. Phase 1 is estimated to produce a profit of $7m, although more land could be available which could enable the level of profit to be increased. The updated report can be downloaded from Dredging and East Trinity opportunities, phased, 230115.
Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan
The Federal Government’s Reef 2050 Long-Term Sustainability Plan, released on 21 March 2015, includes the intention to: ‘mandate the beneficial reuse of port-related capital dredge spoil, such as land reclamation in port development areas, or disposal on land where it is environmentally safe to do so; [and] to establish a maintenance dredging framework which identifies future dredging requirements, ascertains appropriate environmental windows to avoid coral spawning and protect seagrass, and examines opportunities for beneficial reuse of dredge material or on-land disposal where it is environmentally safe to do so.’ Unfortunately the report becomes suspect when it introduces climate change alarmist ‘PC’ phrases such as ‘ocean acidification’, which are not included in the ‘glossary of commonly used terms’ and is an oxymoron anyway – all oceans are alkaline (PH about 8.1); it is physical impossibility for oceans to become acid, i.e. less than neutrality, about PH 7. Recent government dredging decisions have been based on the Reef 2050 report, which states: ‘Dredging can either be capital dredging, for new channels and berths, or maintenance dredging,necessary to maintain existing and approved dredging areas.’ Port deepening: is NOT a ‘new channel’; it IS necessary ‘to maintain (an) existing and approved dredging area’; and maintenance dredging IS allowed. SeeReef 2050 plan excerpts.
During an interview by John MacKenzie with Federal MP Warren Entsch on John’s Talkback show, 18 March 2015, Warren described his proposals for the dredging and East Trinity which are identical to the proposal in the Phase 1 report. Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch has applauded the government’s move to ban the dumping of any capital dredge spoil in Great Barrier Reef Marine Park waters, but says it shouldn’t be news to Ports North in regards to their Port of Cairns dredge proposal.
Warren Entsch: “dredging critical for growth”
An article in Dredging News Online, 20 March, noted: ‘Entsch says land-based disposal “dredging critical for growth”. “I congratulate Environment Minister Greg Hunt for this decision, it’s something that I’ve been arguing for forever – even in regards to maintenance dredging going into the waters,” Mr Entsch said. “I’ve always said that we have an obvious opportunity on East Trinity, it’s the perfect site for disposing of the dredge spoil. “It provides us with an opportunity to bring the next stage of the development of Cairns closer to the CBD by developing a site that is only five minutes across the water.” Mr Entsch said he couldn’t see why the option hasn’t already been factored in by Ports North. “Greg Hunt has indicated for a long time that his preferred option for disposal is on land, and I have certainly conveyed this message to Ports North with every meeting I have had with them. So I don’t see any reasons why there would be delays as they have already considered a number of land-based options.” Mr Entsch said it was critical that the dredging of Trinity Inlet take place. “Just look at the expansion of the cruise ship industry, which has been phenomenal. One of the large cruise companies is looking at Cairns as a home base, but that may never happen without dredging. “While undoubtedly a land-based option will be more expensive, what needs to be factored in is the environmental benefits of taking the pressure off hill slopes as our city grows, and the economic benefits of reducing ribbon development as we head south past Gordonvale. “Originally the plan was for 25,000 people at East Trinity, this can be expanded further to the adjoining land west of the Yarrabah road, allowing a significant increase in our population base. It also gives us a genuine second access to Cairns and would significantly improve connectivity between the Yarrabah community and the city.” Mr Entsch said he understood that it would be several years before any dredge spoil at the site would have settled enough to be developed. “However there’s an opportunity to develop the adjoining areas in the meantime, and encourage private investment,” he said. “The end result is that it would significantly expand capacity close to our CBD and contain the city to a much smaller footprint. “There’s been more than enough time for EIS to be assessed. I’d urge the new Queensland government to release it as soon as possible, so that the Cairns community can talk about the options.”
Achieving a failed promise at no cost to the taxpayer
One would imagine that achieving a failed promise made by the previous LNP Government at no cost to the taxpayer would be viewed very favourably by the new State Treasurer, Curtis Pitt (who has inherited a very serious budget deficit) as well as the new MP for Cairns, Rob Pyne. Regrettably, complications arising from current charges relating to the State Government member for Cook, Billy Gordon, may delay the long-awaited release of the EIS report for public viewing.
Why the delay?
Consider the statement by The Honourable David Crisafulli MP, Ex Queensland State Member for Mundingburra and Minister for Local Government on John MacKenzie’s talkback radio 23rd January, a week before the State election:
‘…We do need to find a way to get that dredging done. Now, there has been every roadblock put up that could possibly happen….. (details and context below).
Note: the Liberal National Party (LNP) was swept from power in a rout at the Queensland State election on 31 January 2015, to be replaced by Labor (ALP) in a coalition with an independent member and Katter party members. To date, in addressing the dredging EIS, the four local Cairns region Labor candidates said only that they will await the EIS release before making any related decisions. It may be relevant that the Labor Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, is the local Mulgrave member and won his seat comfortably. So, back to all in limbo, but with different people in charge! It may also be relevant that the previous Cairns Member, Gavin King, who consistently spoke in almost sycophantic support of Ports North’s plans, lost his seat in a landslide.
Surely the general public has a right to know exactly what these ‘roadblocks’ noted by David Crisafulli are; not just hinting at dark secrets that sound more like a conspiracy. Hopefully all will be revealed shortly by the new Labor Government and its four local members.
Who gains by delaying the EIS?
It would probably be quicker and easier for Ports North to dump the dredged spoil in the proposed extended area at the end of the Trinity Inlet Channel (if some-one else pays). However, this is at odds with the Labor State Government’s view as well as Federal Government and the previous LNP State Government views and directives.
Both the Cairns Regional Council and all those involved in the sudden recent announcement of the major residential development at Mount Peter would likely be very averse to competition from another residential development a few kilometres away at East Trinity.
Last year (2014) the CRC Mayor, Bob Manning, expressed his belief that the spoil should be placed at sea, and that the State-owned land at East Trinity should not be involved in the dredging project at this time.
There is a general rule that invariably assists resolution that first came to prominence in All the President’s Men (1976), Deep Throat: ‘Just follow the money trail.’ The three points above give rise to further questions:
Who are the ‘road-blockers’ that David Crisafulli (see above) refers to?
Exactly what ‘roadblocks’ would detractors be likely to put up?
Are there significant connections between the un-named ‘road-blockers’?
How much would genuine competition from an additional residential development improve related outcomes for future residents?
What will a Labor Queensland State Government do, given that three local members are now Labor (the fourth, Billy Gordon is now independent but likely to align with Labor), including the likely Treasurer, Curtis Pitt, who has the residual of the previous Labor Government’s massive budget deficit to tackle? Note: It is the Coordinator General’s role to assess the EIS, but it seems likely that the outcome will now be influenced by Labor’s plans and may be less influenced by current ‘road-blocks’ (see John MacKenzie’s talkback radio 23 January, below).
Will new Cairns State Member, Rob Pyne, be able to fulfil his intention to expedite release of the EIS (see article in Cairns Post, 3 January, below)?
“It’s just unaffordable …”
Gavin King, previous Member of Parliament for the Queensland state seat of Cairns, commented on the TV7 news on 15 August: “It’s just unaffordable, certainly in the short-term. Unless either the private sector or the Feds come across with some dollars.”
Both proposals (see links above to download the reports) respond to Gavin King’s comment: The private sector could ‘come across’ with all the costs for the dredging by buying the dredging spoil, a valuable resource, as part of the overall development of East Trinity. Unless there are material errors in the reports assessments, they both demonstrate the dredging:
Could be ‘affordable’;
Could be achieved at no net cost to taxpayers;
Could avoiding widespread concerns about dumping huge amounts of spoil near the Great Barrier Reef; and
Would make a major contribution to Cairn’s economy including allowing large cruise and other ships to enter Cairns port.
3. Articles and letters in the Cairns Post
TWO senior State Government ministers are not ruling out developing the Port of Cairns, including dredging. Queensland Treasurer Curtis Pitt and State Development Minister Anthony Lynham are calling on Ports North to re-examine their Environmental Impact Statement on dredging Trinity Inlet shipping channel. Dredging has been ruled out on economic and environmental grounds by the government, with sea dredge spoil dumping estimated to cost $100 million and land based $365 million. “What we’ve said is that this EIS doesn’t rule out future port development, what it does is say the options that are on the table … are not viable options,” Mr Pitt said. “What we’ve said is that Ports North, as the proponent can go back, recast that EIS and make another proposal which has an emphasis on onshore disposal. CONDITIONS: State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said any dredging of Trinity Inlet would have to include land-based spoil disposal at Ports North’s cost. “It could mean that they need to change focus from being on large cruise shipping to ensure they can look at a suite of works that may need to happen in terms of future port expansion.” He said that might include expanding the Reef Fleet terminal, a barge ramp or a wharf expansion. Dr Lyneham said any dredging would have to include land-based spoil disposal at Ports North’s cost. The Cairns Regional Council has called on the government to defer a final decision on channel dredging and to re-examine the proposal. Ports North declined to comment. Royal Caribbean International commercial director Sean Treacy, who was in Cairns yesterday preparing for the visit of the giant Legend of the Seas cruise ship next month, would not be drawn on the dredging issue. He said the company would continue to work with governments and ports on the best way for their ships to visit. Mr Treacy said the practise of using tender boats to transport passengers to shore at Yorkeys Knob was common for the company throughout the world.
A letter to the Cairns Post Editor: Mr Hitchcock’s letter, 9-5, stated ‘Peter Senior’s opinion piece (2-5) is very misleading’. This letter responds to some points in his letter. Far from being misleading, I have provided credible evidence for every point I made in my opinion piece. Warren Entsch, in his article also on 9-5, congratulated me for my ‘very considered contribution’.
Mr Hitchcock is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts. For instance, a 1942 photo on Warren Entsch’s office wall shows the East Trinity site, far from being ‘largely rehabilitated wetlands’, was mainly salt-pans and grasslands, similar to Portsmith.
Mr Hitchcock had attended last December’s meeting of the local Volunteer Fire Brigade, he would have heard the overwhelming support for the dredging and East Trinity reclamation – except, of course, from the CAFNEC attendee.
If Mr Hitchcock and his colleagues had not strong-armed Peter Beattie’s government into cancelling the approval for the proposed world-class Royal Reef Resort at East Trinity, which included resolving all pollution problems, then Beattie’s Government would not have had to pay $10m of tax-payers money to NatWest Bank, plus the continuing maintenance costs.
A letter to the Cairns Post Editor: ‘For the Queensland Government and Ports North not to reconsider immediately their policy decision not to dredge Trinity Inlet and allow continuing expansion of the Port and the economic development of our City defies all logic. Overwhelming evidence in the draft EIS giving scientific advice that an alternative off shore dump site is suitable and would not be damaging to the Great Barrier Reef and the environment. Alternatively the EIS preferred site for on shore disposal area, a section of the 10 sq km East Trinity freehold property owned by the State Government, must be given greater consideration. This is more important following the reported statements from the highly qualified Engineer and Consultant, Peter Senior published on Saturday last where he detailed the potential revenue to the State from development of that property could cover the entire cost of the dredging operation and secure a future suburban growth area for the City only one km from the CBD.’
An article in the Cairns Post was heavily edited from the submitted copy. The article below shows words as-published in black, with the words edited out in red:
The Cairns Shipping Development Project draft Environmental Impact Statement draft report (EIS) was released on Saturday 18 April.
State Government Treasurer Curtis Pitt announced that, on the basis of the draft EIS, the state government had decided against approving the proposed Trinity Inlet dredging.
The overwhelming reaction of numerous callers on Cairns’ radio talkback was extreme dismay and disillusionment.
Most Cairns people are now thoroughly confused. Little wonder as there are so many conflicting views and reports.
This article presents a summary of the main factors relating to the proposed dredging and draft EIS, then proposes a way forward.
The economic analysis presented in the draft EIS report indicates the dredging project has a very strong benefit-cost ratio, with additional income benefits to Cairns over 25 years estimated in present values, with future benefits discounted at 7% per annum, totalling $1.3 Billion.
The $4.2m draft EIS is just that: a ‘draft’. Proper process requires a draft EIS to be published, inviting submissions to the Coordinator General’s office for consideration, then a final EIS. The Coordinator General then is required by law to send[s] a recommendation to the government. No final EIS exists, so presumably the Government has not received the recommendation. What then is the government’s decision based on? Many articles in main stream media focus on alarmist reports and views. For example, TV7 local news often shows a video with brown water around a dredge.
This video, provided and paid for by ‘green’ organisations, clearly suggests pollution.
The major objectors to the proposed dredging comprise four broad groupings:
People who believe the scaremongering, many of whom genuinely care about the environment, some with almost religious fervour;
A few shrill extreme environmentalists who are anti-development (recall their attempts to prevent Skyrail);
Unelected organisations with other agendas such as the UN, WWF and Greenpeace (UNFCCC’s Christiana Figueres said: “We are setting ourselves the task.. to change the [world’s] economic development model”);
Several government departments such as GBRMPA (GBRMPA’s alarmist GBR 2014 report largely blamed climate change for their dire forecasts concerning the Great Barrier Reef, mentioning ‘climate change’ 365 times).
The draft EIS estimates off-shore sea disposal would cost about $100m. [Some] Reports based on scientific evidence conclude disposal near shore would not be harmful or environmentally damaging.
The EIS Terms of Reference includes: ‘Provide descriptions of all feasible alternative land-based spoil disposal.’ And ‘Sufficient baseline economic data to underpin a comprehensive assessment of the direct, indirect, cumulative, costs and impacts of the project.’
The report selects the 964.3 ha state-owned East Trinity site as the preferred option for land-based spoil disposal. Most of that area was in continual agricultural production since the first survey in 1894.
CSR purchased the property in 1971 and expanded it by constructing a bund wall, then re-contouring the area into productive cane fields. [But when] Cane production [became] was uneconomical, so the land was sold to developers.
The report notes ‘In the early 1990s a proposal to develop a satellite city on the site attracted community attention, but failed to gain approval. In 2000, the Queensland Government purchased the site.’ More accurately, the Royal Reef Resort proposal for this site was approved in 1995.
But the Labor State government succumbed to persuasion from green pressure-groups and overrode the approval.
The developer went into receivership. National Westminster Bank commenced legal action against the State, resulting in a $10m out-of-court settlement.
The draft EIS assesses placing spoil on 518 ha of low land at East Trinity.
This area is highly degraded, costing about $500,000 for annual maintenance that has failed to fix the degradation.
CSIRO advice to cover this area with spoil was ignored. The report’s benefit-cost of developing this 518 ha concludes development would be uneconomical.
The whole site comprises 518 ha plus partly-raised 428 ha. The latter could be developed immediately, but the report ignores this option.
Applying figures from the report to developing the 428 ha area indicates sufficient profit to pay for all the dredging and treatment costs, leaving the 518 ha to be developed later. The report also ignores related benefits such as providing work for Yarrabah people, and funding potential tourist trails on adjacent wetlands.
It seems the State and Federal governments is unlikely to be convinced that evidence-based science concludes responsible near-shore dumping of spoil would not be detrimental to the reef – political factors appear to outweigh evidence.
Cairns now urgently needs a credible and visionary leader to assemble a well-respected team to develop as soon as possible a new proposal to achieve the many benefits to Cairns that will accrue when the dredging is completed.
Optimising port operations and tourist potential is critical to Cairns’ future. Surely an option that meets environmental standards and is self-funding, or requires minor taxpayer funding, would be acclaimed by our state government?
Crawford backs dredging on Trinity Inlet. BARRON River MP Craig Crawford has broken political ranks to back the dredging of Trinity Inlet.He says the widening and deepening of the channel to accommodate larger cruise ships may not happen in the short term, but needs to happen eventually – as long as the Queensland Government has the money to fund it. “I would like to see it happen. What’s restricting us at the moment is certainly the finances for it,’’ he said. The Palaszczuk Government dumped the Cairns Shipping Development Project about two weeks ago, saying there was no economic or environmental case for it. The draft environmental impact statement for the project stated the minimum cost would be $100 million, but only if the 4.4 million cubic metres of spoil was dumped offshore. It would cost an estimated $365 million for land-based disposal options. The LNP had committed $40 million for the project. Mr Crawford believed the dredging of the port could still go ahead, if more research was done on the income generation associated with the cruise industry. “The projection for cruising in Cairns is certainly good, pushing out into 2025, that sort of thing,’’ he said. “We don’t have to do this thing this year, and we certainly don’t have to do this sort of thing next year. “This is not a situation right now where if we don’t dredge the inlet right now, we’re going to miss the boat totally on these sorts of things. “We’ve got a window, so in time, hopefully we can get what we need. At the moment, the restriction is money.” He said he had faith the Labor Cabinet had made the right decision to knock back the proposal. “Coming into the campaign with this government, there was a lot of election commitments given by all sides and a lot of discussion with all groups about financial management and debt reduction and all things like that,’’ he said. “Now we’ve got a Treasurer who’s working on that and obviously trying to make sound financial decisions. “Throwing $365 million at dredging the inlet tomorrow probably wouldn’t be one of his best financial decisions. So I trust him in that, but I do want to see this done at some point in the future, when it’s right.” Treasurer and Mulgrave MP Curtis Pitt said since the EIS was announced, he’d made it clear alternative proposals for port expansion and other initiatives to support the cruise ship industry in Cairns may be considered. Cairns and Far North Environment Centre marine programs co-ordinator Josh Coates invited Mr Crawford to contact the centre to be told about the potential environmental impact of the dredging.
Cairns Mayor Bob Manning responds to Rob Pyne’s dredging Facebook rant. Share. FIGHTING WORDS: Cairns mayor Bob Manning has hit back at a dredging social media spray by Cairns MP Rob Pyne, urging residents to respond to the released EIS in the hopes people power will put it back on the agenda. CAIRNS mayor Bob Manning has hit back at a dredging social media spray by Cairns MP Rob Pyne, urging residents to respond to the released draft EIS in the hopes people power will put it back on the agenda.Last week Mr Pyne took to Facebook to slam the “big end of town” and vow the project “will not happen”. He later stood by the comments and said health and education services should take priority. But Mr Manning took a swipe back, warning such statements could be unpopular with the electorate. “When you get involved in any form of political life people will judge you,” he said. “The saying is the public always gets it right and in three years they will make their decision.” Mr Manning has already called for the $40 million slated for the project to remain in Cairns. But Mr Pyne said yesterday he was unaware the money was even available. “Is there $40 million? If there is of course I want it spent in Cairns,” he said. “But if there is $40 million I want it spent on a special school, I want it spent on a unit for brain injuries.” Last week Mr Pyne took to Facebook to slam the “big end of town” and vow the project “will not happen”. The public have been given until June 1 to respond to the EIS and Mr Manning said it was vital people were aware of its conclusions. He said he would never support anything that put the Great Barrier Reef or rainforest in jeopardy and believed the study affirmed neither were in trouble. Industry group Cruise Down Under is urging the Government to consider the economic benefits of dredging of about $1.3 billion. CDU general manager Jill Abel said a study showed cruise ships injected $12.6 million into the city’s economy in 2013-14. “Here is an industry that wants to bring tourists and their spending to Far North Queensland in large numbers,” Ms Abel said. “Having recently returned from our key international trade event, Cruise Shipping Miami, the message is very clear that Cairns is a must-see destination from a passenger perspective, and integral to the eastern seaboard itineraries.”
Rob Pyne’s rant against business is unfounded.Cairns MP Rob Pyne’s outburst against the business sector is about as undiplomatic as you’ll ever see from a politician. CAIRNS MP Rob Pyne’s outburst against the business sector is about as undiplomatic as you’ll ever see from a politician.The ALP member has been elected to represent everyone in the community – to single out a sector that employs tens of thousands of workers is foolish, if not naive and inflammatory. Industry and commerce quite rightly supports the dredging of Trinity Inlet because it would have brought bigger cruise liners, cargo vessels and navy ships to Cairns and provided a $1.3 billion boost to the economy as well as lucrative taxes and other government fees this administration desperately needs. The Cairns Chamber of Commerce and Advance Cairns have called for the original $40 million promised for the work to be quarantined and even be used for a smaller dredging project. But Mr Pyne wants none of that. He prefers the money to be spent on health, something that is needed, but an area that does not create as many new jobs or generate money. He really starts off badly by describing business as the “big end of town” and then his Facebook rant continues with “your unsustainable, unfunded and illogical ‘capital dredge proposal’ will not fly. It does not stack up and it will not happen”. He then goes on to say that he is only interested in improved health, education, training, disability, community and sporting opportunities for the “ordinary people” of Cairns. Industry and commerce quite rightly supports the dredging of Trinity Inlet because it would have brought bigger cruise liners, but Cairns MP Rob Pyne believes it will only suit “the big end of town”. Mr Pyne singles out “Tories” (conservatives) and says he will only deal with health board chairman and conservative Bob Norman. The post also contains a photo of a man lighting a cigar with an American banknote. Mr Pyne’s criticism is sure to alienate a large section of the community and appears to show he is not concerned about business, the sector which employs the most people in his electorate and produces the billions of dollars needed to keep the economy humming. It’s no secret that the city’s economy continues to struggle and still needs a major project such as Aquis or the Aspial towers to start as soon as possible. Fortunately his colleague, Mulgrave MP and State Treasurer Curtis Pitt, has a far better grasp of what makes this city tick and will achieve a lot more than Mr Pyne’s list of priorities. At least our business leaders have shown the sense not to react to his surge of illogical rage.
LNP spent $4.2 million on failed Cairns Trinity Inlet dredge study. DREDGE DIFFICULTY: A huge amount of money was spent on finding out dredging Trinity Inlet is not feasible. TAXPAYERS forked out $4.2 million for a study which strongly found against the dredging of Trinity Inlet. [Editor’s note: these first two paragraphs are totally incorrect.] The State Opposition’s infrastructure spokesman Tim Nicholls yesterday revealed how much the Newman government contributed to the Cairns Shipping Development Project, which was knocked back by Labor on Friday. The long-awaited draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the widening and deepening of the city’s shipping channel was released on Friday, showing there was no environmental nor economic case for the project. The 3000-page report stated the minimum cost of the project would be $100 million – but only if the 4.4 million cubic metres of spoil was dumped offshore. Both parties have committed to preventing dredge spoil from being dumping within Great Barrier Reef waters. The LNP promised $40 million towards the project in 2012 as an election commitment. In a statement yesterday, Mr Nicholls said it was disappointing the Palaszczuk Government was “pandering to the Greens” with no thought or plan on how it would open up tourism or boost the economy and jobs in the Far North. “The money spent on this project is an investment in the future of Cairns and unfortunately the Treasurer has dismissed this project too quickly without looking at all the options or considering funding partnerships with the private sector,’’ he said. The former Queensland treasurer said with the ever-increasing size of new cruise ships, it was essential the port was positioned to respond. “Dredging Trinity Inlet would have provided access for larger cruise ships, boosting economic and tourism benefits for the region,’’ he said. “It is now on Labor to detail what their plan is to bolster and support industry, tourism and create jobs in Cairns.” He said the report was not released before the election as the Co-ordinator-General had to take into account the changing Federal Government position on dredge spoil dumping. His spokeswoman did not respond when asked if the LNP would still push for the dredging of Trinity Inlet. Cairns and Far North Environment Centre marine programs co-ordinator Josh Coates said the project was never necessary, never environmentally responsible, and did not represent a good use of taxpayers’ money. “The fact is that there is no need to expand the port for larger cruise ships, which continue to visit Cairns transporting passengers to shore at Yorkeys Knob,’’ he said. “We have welcomed the State and Federal governments’ commitment to put a stop to new dredge spoil dumping offshore in the Great Barrier Reef marine park. “This ban should be extended to all World Heritage areas to address dumping elsewhere in Queensland.” He said while the Government had ruled out funding the project and released the EIS for legal reasons, it was still important for people to have their say on the project.
JCU Trinity Inlet dredge report tells of damage. RULED OUT: Increased dredging of Trinity Inlet to allow larger cruise ships to dock in Cairns has been quashed by a number of sources. An independent study into the economic benefits of cruise shipping has revealed the industry would be of little-to-no benefit in Cairns. The findings have been released after an unrelated State Government review rejected a plan to grant extra dredging permits for Trinity Inlet to allow “mega” cruise liners to dock in Cairns. James Cook University’s report into the economic opportunities and risk of cruise tourism in Cairns, which will be released today, concludes that even if every person onboard a major cruise liner made a day trip to the reef or Kuranda, the net benefit for local companies would be negligible. The $10,000 study was commissioned by the Australian Marine Conservation Society (AMCS). “The price of a shore excursion purchased onboard is typically marked up between 70 per cent to 200 per cent, with less than half that amount paid to excursion operators,” the report states. “The swift arrival and departure of high volumes of cruise passengers can put pressure on local tourism capacities, degrade the natural resources upon which they depend, and lower the overall level of tourist satisfaction.” The report states the average spend of an international cruise passenger in Cairns is about $200 a day, 66 per cent higher than domestic tourists. It comes just days after the Palaszczuk government released a 3000-page scientific report showing that dredging the inlet would do untold environmental damage. AMCS Great Barrier Reef campaign director Felicity Wishart said the report showed dredging was not necessary for the Cairns tourism economy to access the benefits of the cruise industry. “Dredging … could result in serious damage to the environment – which is the reason people want to come here in the first place,’’ she said. Advance Cairns CEO Mark Matthews, who read the government’s EIS yesterday, said there was no consideration of the impact of ships not being able to offload passengers at the current facilities at Yorkeys Knob due to bad weather. “The researcher has not spoken to any of the cruise lines,’’ he said. “Their information is taken from annual reports, they acknowledge that some of their data cannot be verified.” Ports North chairman Brett Moller said dredging could only proceed if it was fully funded by government and “the Queensland Government has indicated that it will not be funding the project.” Cairns Chamber of Commerce CEO Deb Hancock still backed expansion of Trinity Inlet to attract larger vessels. “While the Government’s decision is not to proceed with the port expansion project, the allocated funds should be used to develop portside or other infrastructure for our future economic development.”
Trinity Inlet dredging canned after Environmental Impact Statement raises issues. CAIRNS’ potential as a mega-cruise ship and navy hub is sunk after the State Government used environmental and financial factors to stop the required dredging of Trinity Inlet.The move is sure to anger business leaders hoping for more cruise passengers in Cairns. Treasurer Curtis Pitt yesterday released the long-awaited draft Environmental Impact Statement which he said showed there was no case in favour of dredging. “The $40 million the Newman Government committed to the project in 2012 was politically cynical and misleading because it was never enough to make the project viable,” he said. “The proposal, which includes dumping dredge spoil at sea, would cost more than $100 million and the land-based dumping options about $365 million.” Releasing the document is a legislative requirement but the Newman administration refused to make it public prior to the January election. LACKING BENEFIT: Treasurer Curtis Pitt yesterday released the long-awaited draft Environmental Impact Statement into dredging Trinity Inlet, which he said showed there was no case in favour of dredging. Mr Pitt said he wanted Queenslanders to have an accurate understanding of the economic costs and environmental impacts of dredging. “This EIS highlights the Newman government’s reckless disregard for the one of Queensland’s most valuable assets, the Great Barrier Reef,” he said. “It was never fully funded and anyone who looks at the proposal and its environmental and economic impacts can see why the government is not proceeding with it. “The Palaszczuk Government opposes the recommended option in the draft EIS to dump dredge spoil in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park and World Heritage Area.” Ports North had proposed to widen and deepen the Port of Cairns channel in Trinity Inlet to allow the future expansion of the HMAS Cairns naval base and accommodate mega-class cruise ships. Great Barrier Reef Minister Steven Miles accused the LNP of having “complete disdain for Queensland’s environment” and putting election pledges ahead of sound economic policy. “We’re not going to waste $40 million subsidising a dredging project which has now been exposed as environmentally and economically unsustainable,” he said. “The money the LNP wanted to waste on this unviable project would be far better spent on frontline services or job-generating projects, including initiatives in Far North Queensland.” HOPES DASHED: Ports North had proposed to widen and deepen the Port of Cairns channel in Trinity Inlet to allow the future expansion of the HMAS Cairns naval base and accommodate mega-class cruise ships. PICTURE: BRENDAN RADKE Source: News Corp Australia. The Great Barrier Reef supports about 70,000 full time jobs and contributes $5.7 billion a year to the Australian economy. State Development Minister Anthony Lynham said on that basis alone the dredging proposal had no merit. “When people look at the EIS they will see why the only option is to discontinue the project,” he said. “That’s why the government, in line with its election commitment, has decided to withdraw the money allocated by the Newman government. “The Great Barrier Reef needs to be protected not only as a unique natural wonder, but also because of its economic importance.” Copies of the EIS will be available at the Cairns City Library from April 20 to June 1. Electronic copies can be ordered by phoning 4052 3888. To lodge a submission on the draft plan, click here.
A Letter to the Editor in the Cairns Post 20 March: The article ‘Port EIS release delayed – Labor tardiness questioned’ (18-03) is very worrying. The Cairns Post is to be congratulated for requesting a copy of the draft EIS under the Right to Information laws, subsequently denied by the Coordinator General. The department says there is an “intrinsic responsibility” to not disclose this multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded EIS. Cairns Labor MP Rob Pyne notes this denial is “undemocratic”. The delay and denial are also disgraceful and completely unacceptable. It appears that a tiff between Ports North and the Coordinator General has somehow managed to delay progressing this project and the major economic benefits it will bring to Cairns. The question must be asked: who is running our government? A few unelected bureaucrats, or our elected representatives? Hopefully this denial will be a catalyst to force immediate progress of this vital project.
An article in the Cairns Post 20 March:
An article in the Cairns Post 19 March: A REPORT into the potential dredging of Cairns Port is expected to be publicly released “within weeks”. Cairns MP Rob Pyne has spoken with Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines Dr Anthony Lynham about the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Cairns Shipping Development Project, which has been locked away by the government since late last year. The Minister’s department blocked the release of the taxpayer-funded document after it was requested under Right To Information laws by the Cairns Post. Mr Pyne said Dr Lynham gave him an undertaking the 3000-page report would be released publicly after an upcoming Cabinet meeting. He could not say, however, how soon that would be, instead saying he would be “disappointed” if it was any longer than the next two months. “All I can say is it’ll be tabled over coming weeks and discussed by Cabinet, and then made public,’’ he said. Mr Pyne had previously questioned the department’s transparency but said the latest development had restored his faith in the Labor Government. He said the Far Northern community needed the report to inform the debate about whether Trinity Inlet should be widened and deepened to attract larger cruise ships to the region. “We need to look at the report and look at whether it actually stacks up,’’ he said. “I think the report will tell us if such expenditure would be supported or such an investment would stack up, in terms of benefits to the Cairns community. “It will, very importantly, look at any environmental costs as well.” Ports North submitted the EIS to the Queensland Coordinator-General and the Federal Government’s Department of Environment late last year. The Newman administration didn’t allow the document’s release before the January election. Cairns and Far North Environment Centre director Angelika Ziehrl welcomed the EIS finally being made public. “CAFNEC is looking forward to this finally being released so the public and CAFNEC can comb through it,’’ she said. Green groups have raised concerns the large quantity of sediment generated by dredging could impact the marine environment.
Two Cairns Post articles, 18 March: Cairns MP Rob Pyne questions government decision to block port study from public release. THE transparency of the Queensland Government has been questioned by one of its own Labor MPs after it blocked the release of the report into the proposed dredging of Cairns Port. The Department of State Development has denied The Cairns Post’s request under Right to Information laws for a copy of the draft Environmental Impact Statement for the Cairns Shipping Development Project. The long-awaited report was due to be released for public comment late last year but is still under consideration by the Co-ordinator General. The department says there is an “intrinsic responsibility” to not disclose the taxpayer-funded EIS, which the Co-ordinator General needs to be satisfied adequately covers the terms of reference. “The information was received in circumstances which would make it unacceptable conduct for the receiver to disclose the information in a way the giver has not authorised,’’ a departmental officer wrote. Once the Co-ordinator approves the EIS, it will be released for public and state government advisory agency consultation for six weeks. The Newman Government committed to fully funding the EIS as part of its $40 million investment in the project. Cairns Labor MP Rob Pyne said for the department to deny the document’s release under RTI was “undemocratic.” “These things need to be transparent and the document should be released for people to talk about,’’ he said. Advance Cairns CEO Mark Matthews said it was in the region’s best interests to see the report, to have a way forward for the dredging project. The Office of the Co-ordinator General did not respond to questions about when the report would be released.
Future in the balance. Far Northern leaders are adamant the region’s economic future hinges on a plan to develop the Cairns Port. The Cairns shipping Development Project promises to inject $634 million of 25 years into the local economy and create more jobs by dredging the Trinity Inlet to accommodate large cruise ships. But complete bans on sea dumping proposed by the state and federal government could jeopardize the project. Federal Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch said a land site must be found for dredge spoil, no matter what the cost. Cairns Mayor Bob Manning was confident port development and a healthy reef could co-exist. “It’s inevitable that our region is going to grow and it’s inevitable the port will need to grow”, he said.
Cairns Post article, 11 March: ‘New bid to release Inlet EIS. The time for talking about releasing the Trinity Inlet Environmental Impact Study into dredging is over, according to Advance Cairns CEO Mark Matthews. And Cairns MP Rob Pyne agrees. Both have been in discussions for release of the document which is stuck in the Coordinator General’s office. “As an organisation we have been calling on government to release the EIS and get on with it,” Mr Matthews said. “We asked for that in our early engagement with government and in my first meeting with Rob, so we expect that will be forthcoming.” Mr Pyne has been applying what political pressure he can and insists he won’t be stone-walled. “I wrote, emailed and phoned requesting its release last month and I’ll do that again today,” Mr Pyne said. “Some people have foregone conclusions about what they want to see happen in the inlet, but I want the EIS released so those people who are thoughtful can read it and base their opinions on something that has rigorous content.” Ports North submitted the EIS to the Queensland Coordinator General and the Federal Government’s Department of environment in November last year. The Newman administration didn’t allow the document’s release before the January election. The new Labour Government is yet to make a move on the document.’
A letter in the Cairns Post on 9 March noted: ‘Deputy Premier Jackie Trad has stated that strategic assets will be retained, but ‘assets such as unused land and vacant buildings will go under the hammer.’ Perhaps Ms Trad includes the 946.3 ha (that’s nearly 10 square kilometres) State-owned unused land at East Trinity? The proceeds from this sale could well pay all the costs of dredging the Trinity Inlet Channel as well as providing land to place the dredging spoil. It appears that only about 500 ha will be required for the spoil, so there is ample land left to sell to developers to pay for the dredging. Perhaps this is what Jackie Trad is flagging?’
Cairns Post article, 27 February: Still no word on Cairns port Environmental Impact Statement. The release of a long-awaited study into the dredging of Cairns’ port has been further stalled by the new Queensland Government. It’s now been five months since the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the Cairns Shipping Development Project was last expected to be made public. The state’s Co-ordinator General has now delayed the report’s release, citing the Palaszczuk Government’s policy on dredging within the Great Barrier Reef marine park needs to be taken into account. Prior to the state election, the ALP committed to preventing dredge spoil associated with the project being dumped within the marine park. A Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning spokesman said the 3000-page document would not be released at this stage. “The implications of the new State Government’s policy statements and position on the project need to be taken into account,’’ he said. “In particular, the Co-ordinator General is seeking the advice of the proponent on how it intends to meet the government’s commitment of no sea-disposal.” Cairns MP Rob Pyne, who previously vowed to make the report public, said he would continue to push for the study’s release. “As we speak I’ve emailed the minister requesting its release and awaiting reply,’’ he said. “How can you have an intelligent public discussion if this information isn’t made public?” Widening and deepening of Trinity Inlet will allow the city to accommodate larger cruise vessels in its main channel. Ports North has proposed to remove 4.4 million cubic metres of dredge material from the inlet and deposit it either at sea or on land. One of the sites under consideration for dumping the sediment is inside the Great Barrier Reef marine park. Minister for Environment and Heritage Protection and Minister for the Great Barrier Reef, Steven Miles, said the Co-ordinator General was assessing if the EIS was “adequate and suitable” for public release. “The Government was elected on a platform of protecting the Great Barrier Reef, which I know is important to many Cairns residents and the Cairns economy,’’ he said. “Consequently, the Government will not support any proposal that involves the dumping of dredge spoil offshore. “I would expect that the Ports North EIS has included a land-based disposal option (Editor’s note: assessment of land-based options is a requirement of the EIS Terms of Reference – see below). “When the EIS is released for public comment my department will assess the project and provide advice to the Co-ordinator-General.” Cairns and Far North Environment Centre marine programs co-ordinator Josh Coates said the project should be shelved.
An article in the Cairns Post, 3 February: CAIRNS MP Rob Pyne has vowed to publicly release a study into the dredging of Trinity Inlet – as long as he has the power to. The former Cairns Regional councillor has cemented Labor’s commitment to preventing 4.4 million cubic metres of dredge spoil associated with the Cairns Shipping Development project from being disposed within the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Mr Pyne also said if his party formed government he would endeavour to publicly release the long-awaited Environmental Impact Statement – which despite being completed late last year, has yet to see the light of day. “If I have the power to make it public, I will make it public,’’ he said. “The public paid for (the report).” He said his opinion of the project, to widen and deepen the city’s main shipping channel, was that it still “needed to stack up”. Ports North has proposed to remove dredge material from the inlet and deposit it either at sea or on land. Sites under consideration for dumping of the material include East Trinity, Admiralty Island, on cane land in southern Cairns near the inlet, along the Esplanade and near the Cairns Airport. Five offshore sites were also under consideration, including areas within the marine park. Queensland’s former Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney late last week blamed Ports North for the delay in releasing the project’s EIS, which was initially expected to happen in September. In a brief statement yesterday, Ports North chairman Brett Moller said the authority had submitted the draft EIS to the Queensland Co-ordinator General last year.
30 January 2015
An article in the Cairns Post, 28 January: ‘DEPUTY Premier Jeff Seeney has blamed Ports North for the delay in releasing a study into the potential dredging of Trinity Inlet. The Environmental Impact Statement, which will determine whether the deepening and widening of Cairns’ port should proceed, has still not been made public by the government. The draft EIS for the project, which involves the removal and disposal of 4.4 million cubic metres of dredge spoil from the channel, was initially expected to be released in September after being submitted to the Co-ordinator General. Mr Seeney, who visited the Tableland yesterday on the election trail, told The Cairns Post he did not know when the EIS would be released. The Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning said Ports North had not yet addressed Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s new regulations to ban dredge spoil dumping in the Great Barrier Reef marine park. “The Federal Minister took a decision in relation to offshore disposal,’’ he said. “So we had to go back to the proponents and say, well the Federal Minister has said this is the situation and you have to address that situation in your application.” He said the EIS did not need to be rewritten, only one particular section of the report. “That section of the EIS that deals with the disposal of the material now needs to look at other disposal options, be it further out to sea or on land or whatever,’’ he said. He could not say when the report would be completed or released. Ports North refused to answer questions yesterday about whether it had resubmitted its EIS, and what – if anything – it needed to change in the report to address the Federal Government’s new regulations.’
28 January 2015
A letter to the Cairns Post Editor, 28 January, noted: ‘Dear Editor, ‘Resort project promised all help Newman can give’ (24-01). Good one, Premier! Most Cairns people are very frustrated about yet another delay of the dredging EIS. The LNP will lose many votes if they tell us nothing before the election except that we’ll just have keep waiting. Most Cairns people support ruling out dumping spoil at sea. In any case there is a much better alternative: pump the spoil on to the lower 500 ha of the State-owned property at East Trinity, and sell some of the residual 446 ha to pay for the dredging and treatment costs. This will also enable fixing the pollution there, as recommended by the CSIRO.’
‘How about two more promises, Premier? Commit to supporting pumping the dredging spoil on to the State-owned property at East Trinity if the final EIS recommends this, and repeat your previous promise to fund up to $90 million dollars if necessary.’
12 January 2015
An article in the Cairns Post, 12 January, noted: ‘Business leaders blast delay in vital dredging report.A DECISION to delay the release of the long awaited Environmental Impact Statement for the dredging of Trinity Inlet to widen and deepen the shipping channel has been savaged by two leading business groups in Cairns. Advance Cairns and the Cairns Chamber of Commerce have blasted the State Government for holding back its release until after the January 31 election. Originally it was earmarked for a September release last year but has been dogged by hold-ups. Dredging of the channel was an LNP election promise in 2012 with $40 million pledged towards the cost. At issue is whether to dump the spoil at sea, which is cheaper, or on land. Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the Co-ordinator General was currently considering the Trinity Inlet EIS. “As the Co-ordinator General adheres to caretaker conventions, the EIS will not be released during the election campaign,” he said. Advance Cairns chief executive Mark Matthews said the delay was frustrating. “While we appreciate the assessment process and the conventions of a caretaker government, it is disappointing to see that the only key election promise for Cairns made by the government prior to the previous election has yet to be fulfilled,” he said. “We have no entertainment precinct, no shipping development. Is the government serious about growth and prosperity in the north? “And if so, then let’s see a clear commitment and action to deliver major infrastructure projects for our region.” Chamber chief executive Deb Hancock said the decision was “very disappointing”. “It’s very convenient to hide behind the conventions of a caretaker government,” she said. Ms Hancock said the government would have known when the election was to be called and “made a conscious decision not to release the information”. “It was an election promise (in 2012) and they have failed the community,” she said. “We would like to hear how the LNP government will continue economic growth, particularly in the shipping area.” She said the LNP had three years to honour the promise, which included a $40 million funding commitment. “They have taken no action with regard to implementation and even to make a decision,” Ms Hancock said. Tourism Tropical North Queensland declined to comment.’
6 January 2015
Another article in the Cairns Post, 6 January, noted: ‘THE Queensland Government has been urged to release a study into the potential dredging of Cairns Port before the State election is called (Editor’s note: the election was called for 31st January later that same morning), or shelve the project completely. The draft EIS for the project, which involves the removal and disposal of 4.4 million cubic metres of dredge spoil from the channel, was initially expected to be released in September (Editor’s note: the first release date promised was May 2014, then September, then ‘the end of the 2014’ – after missing all 3 promises, no date has been announced since). In a statement yesterday, however, Deputy Premier Jeff Seeney said the report was still being assessed by the Co-ordinator General. “The EIS process is rigorous, thorough and undertaken without political interference,’’ he said. Before the 2012 election, the Newman Government committed to dredging Trinity Inlet so larger cruise liners could enter and dock at the Port of Cairns. Advance Cairns CEO Mark Matthews said the LNP had yet to honour its commitment. “I think it’s beyond the time,” he said. “If it can’t go, it can’t happen, then let’s say it can’t happen and let’s get on with it. “The dragging on of this whole process causes a lot of confusion.” ‘
6 November 2014
Another article in the Cairns Post (6-11-14) was very supportive of expediting dredging the Trinity Inlet. The article covering the visiting National Geographic MV Orion, with about 100 passengers disembarking, noted: ‘One of the world’s leading adventure travel companies is willing to bring more of its fleet to Cairns if the city’s shipping channel development goes ahead. ….. Australian business development director, Jeremy Lindblad, said if Trinity Inlet could be widened and deepened the company would look at bringing more of its vessels to Cairns.’
11 November 2014
Another article in the Cairns Post (11-11-14) reported: ‘Labor environment spokesman Mark Butler vows to stop dredge spoil dumping on Great Barrier Reef off Cairns. FEDERAL Labor has committed to preventing dredge spoil from entering Great Barrier Reef waters if the Cairns Shipping Development project goes ahead. The ALP announced yesterday, if re-elected, it would impose a ban on capital dredge spoil being dumped in the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. The Federal Opposition’s environment spokesman Mark Butler, in Cairns yesterday with his Queensland counterpart Jackie Trad, said 4.4 million cubic metres of dredge spoil associated with the widening and deepening of Trinity Inlet could only be dumped onshore.’
15 November 2014
More from the Cairns Post, 15 November: ‘Secrecy shrouds Cairns Inlet dredge report release.…. Despite the office of Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt being uncertain about whether dredge material from the channel expansion was included in a proposed ban, Mr Entsch said there was clarity on the policy. “We can be absolutely definitive that there is a new position on dredge spoil disposal,” Mr Entsch said. “Any new proposals will be subject to this and the Federal Government is currently setting out the legal frameworks and legislative instruments to accompany it. “We can be crystal clear on this….In addition, I’ve spoken to Minister Hunt about it many times and he is well aware that I am vehemently opposed to water-based disposal – it will happen over my dead body.” ’
23 April 2014
Another Cairns Post article, 23 April, spelt out The Federal Government’s thinking, preceding Labor environment spokesman, Mark Butler’s, similar announcement above: ‘Five million cubic metres of dredging spoil is unlikely to be dumped at sea if a port development in Cairns goes ahead. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt yesterday met with Ports North to discuss the Cairns Shipping Development Project, which proposed to widen and deepen the shipping channel at Trinity Inlet for so-called mega-class ships. “The overwhelming preference if anything were to happen in Cairns is for land-based disposal.” Mr Hunt said. He backed Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch, who continues to advocate for spoil to be dumped at East Trinity near Yarrabah. Mr Entsch said: “I absolutely think it’s critical that we go ahead and do this, I believe the most appropriate site is …the degraded NatWest (land at East Trinity) and it can be done in an appropriate way, which actually will strengthen Cairns in many ways.”
Cairns Post G20 magazine, September 2014
The Cairns Post G20 magazine, WORLD OF INVESTMENT OPPORTUNITIES, reproduced the double-page photo with the superimposed new residential area at East Trinity, as above, on pages 52-53 in an article describing a future vision of Cairns:
An inside source revealed that the authors of this article were ‘strongly ticked off’ for including this photograph, and were directed to remove this and associated photos from the newspaper’s library. The source did not know who made the initial complaint, or why Cairns Post reacted this way, but it is interesting to speculate when considering the ‘road-blocks’ noted above.
4. John MacKenzie’s radio talkback show
A 22-minute interview with Peter Senior can be listened to at Note: if necessary, copy the address and paste into your internet link box.
John MacKenzie kicked off over two hours of non-stop discussion on the State Government’s decision to turn down the dredging proposal with an interview with Cairns Regional Council Mayer Bob Manning. Bob explained at length how this was a shocking and altogether wrong decision for many reasons. Bob noted that all ‘the science’ showed there would be no problems if the proposed dredging spoil was placed in the proposed area at the North East end of the Trinity Inlet. A later caller added that internationally-recognised reef experts, Dr Walter Starck and Professor Bob Carter, endorsed this view, noting all the inner areas between the land and reef already have some one metre of spoil at the bottom of the shallow sea from centuries of sediment drained for the land. Other callers noted: the $365m cost stated in the draft EIS was excessively high, and ignored the potential for selling some or all of the excess State-owned land at East Trinity to pay for the dredging and treatment costs. Several references were made to the two proposals linked at the start of this post. Every caller presented additional information in dismay, and in some instances, disgust, that the State Government had made this decision before even waiting for submissions on the DRAFT EIS report. The overall view was that Cairns leaders and the general public must make their views known to the State Representatives to dissuade them from this fundamentally wrong decision. The following day’s show continued the theme for nearly two hours as well.
During an interview by John MacKenzie with Federal MP Warren Entsch on John’s Talkback show, 18 March 2015, Warren described his proposals for the dredging and East Trinity which are identical to the proposal in the Phase 1 report.
23 January 2015
The Honourable David Crisafulli MP, Queensland State Member for Mundingburra and Minister for Local Government said: ‘…We do need to find a way to get that dredging done. Now, there has been every roadblock put up that could possibly happen….. My role in the next Government will be work with blokes like Trout, like King, like Kempton to strike a balance for our part of the world.’
Would David, had he still been Minister, have succeeded in changing Gavin King’s views, as quoted below? And how will the new Cairns Member, Rob Pyne address these points now Gavin King is no longer in a position to ‘road-block’?
‘It would be 20 – 30 years before the land at East Trinity could be developed’ – thousands of other reclamations started development within a few years, including Portsmith and Trinity Park.
‘It’s just unaffordable, certainly in the short-term…’ – Gavin continues to ignore the potential for revenue gains from development.
‘A bridge would be required’ – not necessary, noting it is faster to drive from East Trinity to the CBD in rush-hour than from Palm Cover.
‘The change by Federal Government regarding dumping spoil at sea caused Ports North to carry out considerably more assessments which had caused the delay’ – Not so; the final Terms of Reference were released in November 2013 requiring all land-based options to be fully assessed. This was 4 months before Ports North let the EIS contract to ARUP.
Portsmith reclamation: ‘That was a century ago’ – Portsmith reclamation was completed in the late 70s; many of the current buildings were completed in the 80s.
20 January 2015
A conversation between Queensland State Minister for the Environment, Andrew Powell, and Michael Trout, Member for Barron River and Peter Senior covered the following points:
Peter asked why Gavin King had said it would be 20 – 30 years before the land at East Trinity could be developed, then noting there was ample land currently available for development that would not be required for spoil placement, further noting such development could pay for all the costs of dredging and spoil treatment. Andrew said they were aware of such options but it was necessary to wait for the EIS report.
Peter asked why the EIS report was delayed so much past it’s original promise of May 2014, given the Terms of Reference had not changed since the original TOR published in November 2013, requiring full evaluation of all land-based options. Responses from Andrew and Michael did not really address the question, noting again the need to await the Coordinator General’s completion of the EIS assessment.
15 January 2015
A conversation between Gavin King and Peter Senior covered the following points:
Gavin said it would be 20 – 30 years before the land at East Trinity could be developed. Peter noted that ‘only’ about 500 ha of the 946.3 ha of State-owned land at East Trinity was apparently required to place the spoil. So the other 446.3 ha could potentially be available for development immediately, including the 168 ha of raised land at the North East end.
Gavin said a bridge would be required. Peter noted this was costed by GHD in the late 90s at $400m, so about $800m could be realistic now. But a bridge is not needed, noting it takes longer to drive from Palm Cove to the CBD in the rush hour now than it takes to drive in from East Trinity. A small, regular fast passenger ferry from East Trinity across the 1 Km of water to the Pier marina would probably attract considerable numbers of residents for work and pleasure.
Gavin twice said that the change by Federal Government regarding dumping spoil at sea had caused Ports North to carry out considerable more assessments which had caused the delay. Peter pointed out that the project Terms of Reference had not changed after the November 2013 update that was the basis for the ARUP contract. Full assessment of all potential land options were a requirement of the original terms of reference, so nothing has changed.
Gavin said Peter should talk with Ports North, as he had previously offered to arrange. At that point, John MacKenzie terminated the discussion due to shortage of time. Peter had been about to tell Gavin that Norm Whitney and he had three long meetings: first on 18/o4/13 with the Mayor and executives from Ports North; then 3/9/13 with Ports North executives plus ARUP consultants; then a month later with the ARUP environmental consultant at East Trinity; then 3/6/14 Peter met with the Mayor to discuss progress – we agreed, politely, to disagree on most points. Ports North clearly indicated at the three meetings they considered on-land disposal would be a far more costly option with no benefit.
An earlier conversation on this talkback show between Gavin and ‘Bill’ concerned the issue of Portsmith having been successfully reclaimed. Gavin said this was ‘a century ago’. In fact filling at Portsmith was mainly carried out during 1960’s and completed in late 1970’s. Buildings at Portsmith, especially around Aumuller street and Redden Street, were constructed mainly during 1980’s.
5. TV7 News
During an interview on the TV7 Bold Report on 16 November, the Hon Julie Bishop, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Deputy Leader of the Liberal Party stated: ‘I have been involved in some detailed discussions about the Great Barrier Reef and Australia is committing to world best practise in the conservation and preservation of the Great Barrier Reef, and last week we ann0unced there would be no dumping of capital dredge waste in the marine park’. How much clearer can the Federal Government be?
6. Background and history
The report at Dredging and East Trinity opportunities 081214 presents details and several photographs that tell the story of East Trinity. Then you will be able to compare this proposal with the Ports North EIS report when it is released by the Coordinator General.
Ports North originally stated the EIS report would be presented to the Coordinator General last May, some 8 months ago. Release to the general public would be authorised by the Coordinator General at a later date, expected to be announced in the Cairns Post. Further information is noted below in.
Terms of Reference for the EIS
The Coordinator General’s Terms of Reference for the EIS report include the requirement for Ports North to present:
An outline of the alternative options considered and reasons for selecting the proposed development option.
Detail the criteria used to determine the alternatives and provide sufficient detail to convey why certain options or courses of action are preferred and why others are rejected.
Provide descriptions of all feasible alternative land-based spoil disposal.
Sufficient baseline economic data to underpin a comprehensive assessment of the direct, indirect, cumulative, costs and impacts of the project.
The indirect impacts likely to flow to other industries and economies from developing the project, and the implications of the project for future development.
The EIS should therefore include full responses to the five points above with regard to the East Trinity option without the need for further extensive investigation.
Ports North initially stated the report would be delivered in May 2014. Later the delivery date was stated as September 2014. In an article in the Cairns Post, 9 August 2014, Brett Moller, chairman of Ports North, wrote: ‘After 18 months of studies, the project EIS is due for submission to government later this year’. A later statement from Ports North noted an ‘October’ completion. On 6 November Chairman Moller told John MacKenzie on his radio show the report would completed ‘by the end of this year’. The report will be available for public release when the Coordinator-General’s office authorise this.
Options East Trinity
Other approaches could be suited to the East Trinity property such as a large marina, residential and commercial properties, and a large resort with a golf course, as was proposed then approved by Queensland State Premier Peter Beattie’s government in 1995 (this proposal is described at the end of this post). Imagine the now-familar depiction of the amazing Aquis resort superimposed on the graphic below:
The issues were captured brilliantly in a cartoon in the Cairns Post, 16 August 2014:
Cairns is a small idyllic city on the North-East coast of tropical Queensland. The Great Barrier Reef, rain forest and glorious tropical weather are just three features that attract visitors from across Australia and the rest of the world.
Many cruise ships visit Cairns, docking at the cruise terminal adjacent to the central area with its many restaurants, entertainment facilities and the lagoon by the marina. Larger cruise ships have to anchor a few kilometres North of Cairns off Yorkeys Knob. Passengers come ashore in tenders. A Channel 7 TV News item on 28 November 2012 interviewed several passengers who were dismayed at the long boat trip to get ashore, then the lack of welcome, unlike other ports they visited that have music, gifts of flowers and shelter. Queensland State MP, Gavin King, suggested putting up a welcome sign. It was dismaying to hear a cruise director from the Celebrity Solstice, visiting Yorkeys Knob on 4 December 2012, tell me: ‘It’s like a dead city; no welcome, no taxis for my passengers…’.
Almost 2 years later, on 19 November 2014, the Cairns Post announced the ‘Yorkeys Knob’s newly upgraded $2.2m cruise liner facilities will host its first cruise this morning. Passengers from luxury P&O vessel Pacific Dawn are expected to arrive ashore at Half Moon Bay Marina from 9.30 this morning. A two-year joint venture between Ports North, Yorkeys Knob Boating Club and the State Government, the upgraded facilities include a reconfigured car park with a large covered area, an improved jetty, resurfacing and lengthening of the boat ramp and a new floating walkway.’ A temporary shade tent was again erected on the nearly-sealed area for waiting passengers.
Proposal to dredge the channel
Ports North propose to dredge the Trinity Inlet channel to provide sufficient depth of water for all except the largest mega-cruise ships to navigate the channel and dock at the central cruise terminal – clearly a major advantage for cruise passengers, and certain to attract more cruise ships. This dredging project has many implications and potential major benefits in addition to attracting more cruise ships. The downside is that Ports North plan to dump the massive amount of spoil – 5+ million cubic metres initially plus ongoing maintenance – from the dredging in an extended area near the Great Barrier Reef (click on diagram of Cazalys Stadium for clearer definition).
It is important to note that, whilst most local public opinion is against dumping this spoil at sea, and State and Federal legislation currently prevents ‘capital’ dredging spoil being dumped at sea, many credible technical explanations and assessments have demonstrated that such dumping at sea would not harm the reef providing it is done in a controlled manner. Much of the negativity about dumping dredging spoil at sea has been stirred up by both extreme environmentalists and organisations, including some government departments, that have been seduced by bodies such a the UN that promote very dubious and ideological aims. The key factors are explained well in an article by Professor Bob Carter, The Australian, 29-12-14: http://www.theaustralian.com.au/opinion/great-barrier-reef-a-shore-thing-muddied-by-misconceptions/story-e6frg6zo-1227168703706
What 5+ million cubic metres looks like
The Queensland Coordinator-General issued draft Terms of Reference (TOR) for the dredging project assessment; submissions were invited so anyone could comment on the draft TOR. The deadline was 29 October 2012. One submission presented can be viewed at Submission for Cairns Shipping Development Project draft Terms of Reference, Peter Senior, 291012. This submission canvasses the key issues and presents several suggestions, in particular noting that dredging spoil could be used as a valuable resource for several land-based projects such as bulk-fill to assist fixing the environmental disaster at East Trinity.
Revised Terms of Reference
It was very gratifying that the Coordinator-General’s considerably revised Terms of Reference document included a well-balanced approach that requires rigorous assessment of a range of land-based solutions for the use of Trinity Inlet dredging spoil.
On 25 September 2012, the Queensland Government declared the project as a “significant project for which an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) is required”, following the submission of an Initial Advice Statement. The Queensland Coordinator-General is managing the State’s assessment process and Terms of Reference (TOR) for the project are available at www.dsdip.qld.gov.au/assessments-and-approvals/cairns-shipping-development-project.
Ports North provided a submission to the Federal Government to determine if the project is a controlled action, which means it has to be assessed for environmental impacts under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act). The project was declared a “controlled action” on 5 October 2012 and will therefore require the preparation of an EIS that addresses Federal Government guidelines. Information on the Federal EIS process and guidelines can be found on the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities website www.environment.gov.au
The Cairns Regional Council’s 12th December 2012 meeting considered the Great Barrier Reef Ports Strategy, a succinct and relevant paper which includes requests for submissions by 14th December:
A ‘Deputation’ to the Cairns Regional Council was planned to be presented to the full Council on 27 February 2013. This was cancelled hours before the scheduled start time because several people felt strongly that the presentation would be counter-productive at that time. Here is the Power Point presentation that was planned for the deputation: Trinity Inlet dredging proposal (2.8 MB).
Ports North announced on 22 April 2013: ‘The Cairns Shipping Development Project took another step forward today announcing Arup in partnership with BMT WBM as the Lead Consultants who will work with Ports North to deliver a comprehensive Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to meet the requirements of both the State and Commonwealth Governments.’ As at 3 September 2013 the consultants were making good progress towards completion of the draft EIS report.
Many Cairns local business people and community members look forward with great interest to reading what the report has to say, and what the Queensland Co-ordinator General’s departmental response is, regarding the EIS terms of reference points (as listed above).
Meeting the consultants
A meeting with Ports North and their consultants on 3 September 2013 demonstrated the consultants were on track to prepare a draft EIS report for Ports North to make available for public consultation starting in May 2014. At this meeting, the following points were re-iterated:
It is likely the lowest direct cost of the total dredging project will be to dump the spoil in an extended area by the current dumping area. This solution also appears to fulfil the Ports North objectives. A primary concern remains that there may be major benefits for the Cairns community, economy and environment through managing this massive amount of dredging spoil as a valuable resource that could contribute towards several important on-land projects – ‘may be’ because no significant investigation or cost-benefit studies have ever been undertaken in the past to address this issue.
Also the EIS appears to extend well outside the formal role and objectives of Ports North, and moves towards a much wider mandate. To this extent Ports North is in a difficult position in determining just how far they are required to go outside the Port’s mandate to fulfil the EIS. Recalling that the most obvious location to place the dredging spoils is over the environmentally-devastated East Trinity area, two close neighbours of that area, Brigadier Mansford and Norm Whitney, noted that, under the management of QASSIT (Queensland Acid Sulphate Soil Investigation Team) and other government bodies, this area has become a major health and environmental hazard. For instance, destruction of an entire new forest of melaleucas – a 2013 photo:
Yet landowners face stiff penalties for such vandalism. A range of signs, community concern, media articles and reports such as the SKM’s ‘Improved Dredge Material Management for the Great Barrier Reef Region’ suggest dumping dredging spoil at sea off the Queensland coast has a very limited life.
The 1988 aerial photo
The 1988 aerial photo below shows a light-brown area, lower-left where the developers purchased dredging spoil from the harbour board to test the effect of placing spoil on the land. It is recorded that the trial was successful. It is instructive to compare this area now with satellite photos on Google Earth
LNP’s quarterly magazine, Dialogue
The Liberal National Party’s quarterly magazine, Dialogue, has an article (pages 24 – 27) in Issue 6 describing the history of the East Trinity property: LNP Dialogue magazine, A Sustainable East Trinity, that concludes: ‘Wise decision-makers, unafraid of disinformation from a very small but vocal minority, need to act now. The environmental catastrophe at East Trinity can be resolved and the property made available for the City’s future growth. The land, and potentially another four square kilometres, could become an urban residential development area very close to the CBD, as advocated by town planners. A bonus would be that valuable agricultural land presently earmarked for residential development would remain productive, extending the viability of the sugar industry and the associated jobs. Surely that is a win-win for the environment as well as most Cairns stakeholders.’
The fundamental issue is this: is it better for the Cairns community to place this massive amount of spoil in an extended area close to the Great Barrier Reef, with possible attendant dangers, or to manage this spoil as a potentially valuable resource that may enable the large East Trinity area – only 2 kilometres from Cairns’ CBD – to be reclaimed and become part of Cairns future development. The EIS report is required to address this issue.
Earlier letters to the Cairns Post
A letter published in the Cairns Post on 17 February 2014 posed the question:‘The dredged material need not be an off-shore disposal problem. Instead this valuable resource could enable creation of more land of a similar size to Portsmith only 2 kilometres from the CBD. Our city’s forefathers chose to create Portsmith using dredging spoil from Trinity Inlet. Will our current city leaders be as wise?’
Another letter in the Cairns Post on March 11 2014, written by Brigadier Mansford addressed the issue of short-term expediency over long-term planning and benefits: ‘If the impending report on dredging Cairns Port advises that dumping at sea is safe, then do it as an interim measure. However, given the long-term needs for continued expansion of port facilities it would be stupid to consider it a permanant solution. The region’s future should not be determined by controversial and questionable treatment costs. Government must pursue and determine innovative and economical methods to use the spoil on degraded land and convert it into assets that will contain future infrastructure, abundant green open space and environmental corridors on the very perimeter of the CBD that any city would envy. The past history of reclaiming many areas of degraded land in Cairns should be part of the research to determine fact from fiction. We need to be more positive. It’s time to roll up our sleeves and find ways to do what we can and must do, as opposed to assuming it’s all too difficult.’
Meeting the consultants, 31 October 2013
Stepping back a few months, a meeting on 31 October 2013 with one of the consultants at a property adjacent to the Queensland State-owned East Trinity area in question demonstrated at that stage the consultants had minimal knowledge of the current and past status and events that lead up to the state of this ‘disaster area’. Several previous reports about the area were passed on to the consultant, together with detailed explanations of related past events.
CAFNEC public meeting
The Cairns Post published an article on 5 April 2014 noting the draft EIS report is now expected in September rather than May. (Click on graphic below to enlarge). Much of the article describes the views of the local miniscule extreme environmental group, CAFNEC, who organised an event on Sunday 6 April protesting dumping dredging spoil ‘near out reef’ (as several banners read) Other banners and T-Shirts had messages including:
Don’t stop our fishing
Our reef is already sick
i-care about our environment – www/acfonline/org.au
Save the Turtles
Save the Great Barrier Reef
Dump on Abbott, not our reef
Big Coal is killing Nemo
Sea Shepherd Australia
Fish are my friends
CAFNEC’s views for many years have been consistently against any development (recall they were strongly against the superb and world-acclaimed Skyrail project). Their argument against dumping spoil at sea is quite widely supported by Cairns’ locals. Their other argument concerns the dredging spoil ‘…so the obvious solution of using it as fill for building really isn’t an option in this case because of the nature of the sediment’. They fail to point out that the real issue is the cost of treating and compaction, which of course CAFNEC do not address, nor how this spoil from the same area was successfully used over many decades to cover then develop much of Portsmith. Note too there have been major advances in spoil management technology and equipment for preloading and compacting since Portsmith was created, including for the forthcoming Abbotts Point project. Perhaps CAFNEC’s ‘obvious solution’ is indeed both practical, economic and would provide a range of major benefits for most Cairns residents and businesses. Ports North chairman Brett Moller sensibly noted: ‘Ports North are not prejudging the outcome of the EIS in relation to the relocation of dredge material ….‘. That was, of course, before the 11 month delay – and counting…..
4,000 ha is available…
A potentially overriding aspect of the issue of where to place the dredging spoil was summarized in a letter published in the Cairns Post on 12 April 2014: ‘Several recent letters and articles raise concerns about future housing and rental affordability if the huge Aquis development goes ahead. For instance ‘Affordability key to fate of Aquis’ (10-04). Perhaps it’s time to dust off proposals from the 1990s to develop housing on land at East Trinity? There are over 4,000 hectares of land largely wasted at East Trinity that could become available for residential development. This land could provide housing for at least 60,000 people, would avoid using other valuable agricultural land further South and fulfils modern town planners’ recommendations for urban development to be close to the CBD. This option to accommodate Cairn’s certain population growth appears to have much merit. Perhaps Cairns Regional Council have this on their drawing boards as one of several options for assessment?’
Ruling on land-based disposal
A further update of the Federal Government’s thinking was spelt out in a Cairns Post article, 23 April 2014: ‘Five million cubic metres of dredging spoil is unlikely to be dumped at sea if a port development in Cairns goes ahead. Federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt yesterday met with Ports North to discuss the Cairns Shipping Development Project, which proposed to widen and deepen the shipping channel at Trinity Inlet for so-called mega-class ships. “The overwhelming preference if anything were to happen in Cairns is for land-based disposal.” Mr Hunt said. He backed Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch, who continues to advocate for spoil to be dumped at East Trinity near Yarrabah. Mr Entsch said: “I absolutely think it’s critical that we go ahead and do this, I believe the most appropriate site is …the degraded NatWest (land at East Trinity) and it can be done in an appropriate way, which actually will strengthen Cairns in many ways.”
The deadline for the project’s environmental impact statement was extended to September to allow for further water-quality studies. Earlier this month, hundreds of residents rallied in Cairns to protest port developments near the Great Barrier Roof, including the Trinity Inlet proposal.
Legal personality for the reef
The Environmental Defenders Office of Northern Queensland is campaigning to grant the reef a legal personality so it can be defended in court. It was prompted by a Great Barrier Roof Marine Park Authority decision to allow three million cubic metres of dredging spoil to be dumped in the marine park as part of the Abbot Point coal port expansion, north of Bowen. An online petition for a referendum to award the reef legal rights has attracted more than 600 signatures. Mr Hunt yesterday dismissed the campaign: “The reef already has a legal personality, the GBRMPA is there to represent the reef, it defines the area of the reef, it does a tremendous job. “The GBRMPA is an independent executive agency, it is one of the world’s leading marine park agencies, if not the world’s leading marine park agency,” he said.’
These views were reinforced in a Cairns Post article, Committee fears for Reef, 24 July 2014: ‘Leichhardt MP Warren Entsch, however, said both he and Environment Minister Greg Hunt’s preferred disposal site was on-land. “Greg Hunt had already made it publicly clear that he wants the dredging on land,” he said. “I have made is very publicly clear that I want it on land, at East Trinity. It won’t be a blow-in from Tasmania who will influence a decision to have it there.” He said depositing the dredge spoil at East Trinity would also provide land for the city’s future population growth.’
The plan that was prevented when Peter Beattie’s Labor government withdrew its approval to appease environmental activists, resulting in Cairns losing what would have been a fine development, and paying the National Westminster bank what is rumoured to have been many millions of dollars to avoid being sued. The Royal Reef AIS and EIS reports (respectively 1992 and 1995), two exceptionally comprehensive 40 mm thick reports produced by a team of specialists led by Brannock Humphreys, Town Planning Consultants, describe the proposal in detail. Section 10.0 CONCLUSIONS notes: ‘There will be no major detrimental impacts to the environment as a result of the proposed development which has been modified to be generally in accordance with the Trinity Inlet Management Plan.’ A selection of diagrams from the report are below: a hotel and beach, a plan of the whole resort and a location plan.
It seems The Cairns Post is the only ‘leader’ pushing a vision for Cairns on a range of issues including many articles describing the manifest benefits that would result from dredging the Trinity Inlet. One example was published in the Cairns Post in May 2012: Cairns Post front page 08-05-12Cairns Post follow-on 08-05-12. Hopefully Cairns’ civic leaders will take up the challenge soon.
Labor Premier Beattie turns a blind eye
It also seems no-one showed former Labor Premier Peter Beattie all the evidence that had been provided to his departments, or informed the Cairns City/Regional Council on related matters. A letter from Peter Beattie dated 4 February 1999 included: “In relation to the acid sulphate and sewerage issues you raise, this Government has seen no evidence which would indicate there is an acid sulphate problem at East Trinity, while matters pertaining to solid waste disposal are primarily the responsibility of the Cairns City Council and, as such, should be raised directly with this authority.”
As the “British Exit (Brexit)” stalls in the UK, Italy picks up the torch of resistance…
June 4, 2017
“Here’s a great idea, boys. Gather around. We’re going to build, on top of every national government on the European continent, another government, bigger, more bloated, more corrupt, more powerful. Who’ll notice? Who’ll care?”
“Terrific. Love it. But ultimately we’ll need to destroy all those separate countries and rule the whole continent as one entity. We can do that, yes. We’ll open all borders and let in a massive flow of immigrants and erase national identities. Terror attacks will multiply. We’ll put a lid on talking about immigrants as the cause of the terror. Call it hate speech. We’ll train the population of Europe to accept terrorism as part of the glorious future. It makes no logical sense, but so what? No top-down ideology ever made sense. We’ll preach unlimited tolerance and love. We’ll be a de facto Church of sorts. We’ll hypnotize the whole continent…” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)
As I was writing this article, multiple terror attacks were launched in London. To say the human destruction “once again raised the question of immigration” would be a vast understatement.
In the run-up to the Brexit vote in 2016, immigration came to the fore as the key issue. But of course, the European Union has a policy of opening borders of all member countries.
The EU wants one continent, no separate countries—and the way to achieve that is by creating a massive flood of migrants. Destroy traditions and cultures that define countries. In the process, accept terrorism as “inevitable.” Don’t talk or write about the actual effects of immigration. That would be “hate speech.” Keep eyes and mouth shut, and march straight ahead into a future of one European continent ruled from above by the EU.
Ever since the UK vote to leave the unelected, terminally corrupt, and rotting edifice known as the European Union, stall tactics and threats have been launched at Brits.
First it was, “It’s going to take a long time to untangle the UK from the EU, it’s very complicated.” Actually, that tactic was predated by Prince Obama traveling to England to warn the population they’d stand at the back of the line in forming separate trade deals with the US, if they left the EU. It’s called interfering in the political affairs of another nation. Now it’s the EU and Queen Merkel beating the UK to the punch by plotting trade deals with India and China, in order to leave the British out in the cold.
But the basic question is, Is Britain a nation? Does it exist? It’s a question citizens are supposed to answer. Not Merkel, Obama, or the EU.
This issue, in case it’s unclear, is all about Globalism. According to that totalitarian political philosophy, of which the EU is a standard bearer, there are no nations. There are only mega-corporations and banks.
As the recently departed guru of the Rockefeller Trilateral Commission, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wrote in 1969, “[The] nation state as a fundamental unit of man’s organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force. International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation state.”
This is not only a political and economic statement, it’s a prescriptive piece of psychological advice: Stop thinking of yourself as a citizen of a country; you’re a global citizen; you exist and function at the pleasure of a new collaborative international order.
And the new order will triumph. Bow your heads and accept it.
Unless people get up on their hind legs and say no, which is what happened in the 2016 Brexit vote.
Defection. Decentralization. Independence.
Hideous words to the ears of Globalists.
Their basic strategy, since the end of World War 2, has been to spin a highly complex network of political and economic relationships, from one end of the world to the other—a labyrinth—from which escape is seen as virtually impossible.
Trade deals like NAFTA, CAFTA, and GATT are only part of this system. The EU itself keeps churning out thousands of rules, regulations, and laws.
Build the maze; put national governments and populations in the maze.
Then more or less claim the planet would collapse without the maze.
European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker just issued a “maze statement” to President Trump after Trump rejected the Globalist Paris Climate (non-) Treaty: “Europe’s duty is to say: it’s not like that. The Americans can’t just leave the climate protection agreement. Mr. Trump believes that [he can] because he doesn’t know the details…We tried to explain that to Mr. Trump in Taormina in clear German sentences. It seems that our attempt failed, but the law is the law, and it must be obeyed. Not everything which is law and not everything in international agreements is fake news, and we have to comply with it.”
Supremely arrogant, Juncker was winging it and writing his own script, because, in fact, the US didn’t sign on to a treaty in Paris. Obama tried to unilaterally bind the US to the climate pact, when a two-third’s vote by the US Senate is actually required for such international agreements. And no Senate vote was taken.
But this is the EU’s preemptive attitude toward defection, decentralization, and independence.
In the case of Brexit, climate change wasn’t the issue. Immigration was. The EU tried its best to chastise England for daring to insist unlimited numbers of migrants might be too many. “You’re in the maze, stay in the maze.”
And there is another vector of attack being launched at England: reminders the nation is evil for its colonial practices, which can never, ever be erased. But the covert leaders in that propaganda effort, the EU and its Globalist bosses, feel entitled in their own attempt to colonize the whole planet. “Your colonizing was bad, ours is good.”
With an annual budget in the vicinity of $100 billion, the EU is intractably corrupt and incompetent. It’s estimated that $5 billion a year is stolen from that budget. As for the other $95 billion, what is it for? Nations can govern themselves. The EU could disappear tomorrow and no one would catch a cold. The entire bloated structure, employing between 30 and 50 thousand people (depending on how far the count is extended) is a vast boondoggle.
It’s astonishing that anyone in the UK would feel a sense of loyalty to the EU.
There is nothing strange about Brexit at all. It’s a natural reaction: One day, a house pet goes outside and wanders off into the woods and never comes back. Who is really surprised?
The “system” called the EU insists that terrorism is somehow a price the British people must pay for entering “a better future for all.” Don’t ask what that future looks like. Don’t think about it. The UK doesn’t have the right to set its own immigration policy.
The chaos and destruction that result from open borders are simply an “adjustment period,” after which things will settle down. A new and better England and Europe will emerge. Diversity will triumph. How? Don’t worry about that, be happy.
You see, diversity is a high-minded principle, and by definition it implies a more humane society. Therefore, there is no counter-evidence. Facts are unimportant.
The latest London attacks are a message to the British people: You may have exited from the EU, but the EU policy on immigration still stands.
No it doesn’t. Britain is free to set its own policy.
To do so, politically correct speech will have to be jettisoned. Facts will have to be widely expressed. Lies will have to be widely exposed.
The EU will need to be named as a driving force in immigration, and the results of migration will need to be laid at its door.
The EU sees immigrant terrorism as its ticket to greater control over Europe.
The London attacks are a challenge thrown in Britain’s face. Bow down and accept; or rebel.
Leaving the EU means LEAVING the EU.
How many times must British citizens witness these attacks and watch police come in after the fact? How long before leaving means LEAVING?
How long before the British people realize that the flood of migrants is not simply “a refugee crisis” created by the US and its allies, whose imperialist policies of Empire and wars in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, initiate “blowback?”
How long before they see numbers of these “refugees” are just military-age young men who arrive with destruction on their minds?
How long before they see England is riddled with EU agents who are “forwarding a humane immigration policy,” come hell or high water?
One continent, under no liberty and no justice, with suffering and slavery for all.
The author of three explosive collections, THE MATRIX REVEALED, EXIT FROM THE MATRIX, and POWER OUTSIDE THE MATRIX, Jon was a candidate for a US Congressional seat in the 29th District of California. He maintains a consulting practice for private clients, the purpose of which is the expansion of personal creative power. Nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, he has worked as an investigative reporter for 30 years, writing articles on politics, medicine, and health for CBS Healthwatch, LA Weekly, Spin Magazine, Stern, and other newspapers and magazines in the US and Europe. Jon has delivered lectures and seminars on global politics, health, logic, and creative power to audiences around the world.
Sesto San Giovanni, a town on the outskirts of Milan, used to be one of the industrial capitals of Italy.
With around 200,000 inhabitants (45,000 blue collar workers, and a robust middle class), it was the headquarters of some of the most dynamic Italian companies, including Magneti Marelli, Falck, Breda and many more.
Today Sesto is an industrial desert – the factories are gone, the professional middle class has fled, many stores have shut down, and the city is trying to reinvent itself as a medical research center.
Twenty-three kilometers (14 miles) to the north of Sesto, the town of Meda was the seat of various symbols of Italian excellence: Salotti Cassina and Poltrona Frau, both of which exported high-quality furniture all over the world and employed tens of thousands of workers and designers. They fed a number of small family-based companies providing parts and highly qualified seasonal labour. Today both companies are gone.
Montezemolo: Public enemy
Luca Cordero di Montezemolo, a former chairman of Ferrari, Fiat and Alitalia, and now a public enemy because of his dismissal of the “Made in Italy” label, acquired both companies and moved them to Turkey, choosing profit over quality—and Italian jobs. Montezemolo, of aristocratic background, is a champion of Italian neoliberalism, having founded the influential “free market” think tank Italia Futura (Future Italy) in 2009.
Another victim is the town of Sora, with a population of 25,000, 80 km. (50 miles) east of Rome. Until recently Sora was an affluent commercial city, with medium-sized paper factories and hundreds of shops. Today, all of the factories are gone and 50 percent of shops have closed.
All over Italy, the neoliberal policies that led to the economic crisis and resulting social decadence have accelerated in the wake of the financial collapse of 2007.
Once The Stalingrad of Italy
Sesto San Giovanni used to be known as ‘the Italian Stalingrad’, due to the strength of its working class and the Communist Party receiving over 50 percent of the vote. Now the strongest party in town is the Lega (The League), a right wing, xenophobic party. This has been accompanied by a demographic shift, as Sesto has lost almost one third of its population, but acquired tens of thousands of immigrants, which today constitute almost 20 percent of its population.
The Italian Communist Party, once the strongest in the capitalist world, has in the meantime disappeared, together with the working class. There is also the destitution of a dwindling middle class accompanying the breakdown of the social fabric with rampant corruption. All the traditional political parties have been wiped away.
Sesto San Giovanni: Once the Italian Stalingrad
They have been replaced by the so-called ‘populists’: TheLega and the 5 Star Movement, undisputed winners of the latest elections in March, who are now in the process of trying to form a new government. The Lega expresses the frustrations of the north of Italy that is still productive (fashion, services and some high quality products), and demands lower taxes, as Italian taxes are among the highest in Europe. They also want a parallel national currency, a reduction in circulation of the Euro (which slows down exports, especially to Germany) and limits to immigration.
The 5 Star Movement, which is partly considered to be the heir of the former Communist Party but with a different social base consisting of an undifferentiated lower class replacing the disappearing working class. It advocates a moralization of the political parties and a universal basic income of 750 euros per month ($875) for the poorest to reduce the effects of the social disaster which took place in the south of the country in the last 10 years: 20 percent unemployment, affecting 40 percent of young people, making the mafia and organized crime the biggest ‘employers’ in the most critical southern regions.
This is the new Italy. The old one, the Italy of Fiat, Cassina, small family-run businesses, the Italy of the Christian Democrats, the Communist Party and vibrant working-class culture is no more.
Open letter to EU boss Jean-Clause Juncker: yes, break up America!
“There is a line that governments cross. When they reach a certain size, and when they are exerting enough control, they turn around and tell their citizens, ‘We love you and we care about you and we help you. In return, all we ask is that you do whatever we tell you to do, no matter what the consequences are. That’s fair, isn’t it?'” (The Underground, Jon Rappoport)
Here is a piece I wrote in March of 2017. It was prompted by an outburst from European Union (EU) boss, Jean-Claude Juncker. “The Junk Man” is quite a piece of work. To put it nicely and politely, he’s an unelected gas bag:
The Express (March 30, 2017): “European Union boss Jean-Claude Juncker this afternoon issued a jaw-dropping threat to the United States, saying he could campaign to break up the country in revenge for Donald Trump’s supportive comments about Brexit.”
“In an extraordinary speech the EU Commission president said he would push for Ohio and Texas to split from the rest of America if the Republican president does not change his tune and become more supportive of the EU.”
Dear Jean-Claude, You unfathomable twit, we love you! Come to America soon and help a few of our states secede from the US. Our country is far too big. The federal government is a titanic engorged bureaucracy. The idea of a limited Republic is dead. The people are too distant from their ruling government—exactly the situation in which the people of Europe find themselves, with their unelected swollen overseers—of which you are the present leader.
You and your cronies and minions make the laws, and there is no recourse. You’re a useless barnacle on the European continent. So come here and help Texas and Ohio secede. It’ll be a party. You might learn something.
I would suggest you begin with California. The state government presently has $440 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities stretching into the future. Perhaps you could help California cancel the unsolvable problem. “We’re free! We don’t owe anybody anything! It was all an illusion.”
Perhaps you could convince the new nation of California to take in 30 or 40 million more immigrants. “New citizens are good for the economy.” You know, use the same tactics you’re using in Europe. Prosecute anyone who speaks out against immigration. People need repressive fascism. It’s good for them.
I suggest New York City and Chicago should become countries. Why not? They’re big enough. Let them rise and fall on their own. That would be a sight to see. Chicago is the major trafficking hub for Sinaloa Cartel drugs. Chicago could come right out in the open and announce itself as Heroin Cocaine Central. “These are our products! This is what we sell! This is how we thrive!” New York is the world center for News. “Buy our fake stories! They’re limitless!”
Here’s another strategy you could promote. Link all 300 US sanctuary cities and colleges together as one nation. “We want to be the home for EVERYBODY from EVERYWHERE.” I think some kind of theocracy would work for this emerging nation. A Pope who favors infinite kindness. Citizens would be income-taxed at a rate of 80% to fund the grand altruistic program. Hollywood celebs would be appointed cardinals and bishops.
But here is a dire prediction. Somewhere along the line, as you carry out your plan for secessions, a US state that becomes a nation is going to pop up with a truly dangerous idea: SELF-SUFFICIENCY.
O the horror. That state is going to turn down all outside funding. It’s going to institute a robust free market, in which anyone can sell any non-harmful product or service, absent red tape. For example—a hundred different forms of natural-health treatments. On the other hand, a company that pollutes the landscape with poisonous chemicals and doesn’t immediately fix the problem will see its executives sent to prison for long terms. The people of this state will do their best to produce what they need from inside their own borders. Speaking of which, the state will do its best to keep out people who refuse to subscribe to hard work, earning their own way, and free speech. No political correctness. No triggering. No safe spaces. No need for them.
This could be your Waterloo, Jean-Claude. Suddenly, that state (a new nation) would be setting a shining example for other emerging nations to follow.
People would wake up to the life they’ve always wanted. Wouldn’t it be interesting to watch you try to put that genie back in the bottle? You, the great defender of top-down arbitrary rule by Globalists. You, the entitled buffoon, who wants One Europe. You, the arrogant parasite on your throne.
Come to the US, Jean-Claude. We need many new Republics springing up across the land. Help us. Liberate the buried spirit of America. Perhaps you’ll feel your blood moving through your calcified veins again.
Well, perhaps not. You’re dedicated to the Big Bloat. In your gluttonous mind, the citizenry is suffering from a deficiency of bureaucracy, and you’re the prescribing doctor.
The EU employs 46,000 people. My God, that’s not nearly enough, even though each member nation already has its own federal government. Here’s an idea. Automatically make every migrant who comes to Europe an EU employee. What would they do? Promote and facilitate more immigration! Perfect!
Anyway, we’re waiting for you to come to America and help states secede from the Union. I’m ready to provide you with talking points. But first, I suggest you read an old dusty document called the US Constitution. You’ll find a trove of ideas there for newly minted nations like California and Texas.
If you really want to push a subversive destructive agenda in the US, and raise the ire of our federal government, wave the Constitution around and start citing sections of its corrosive doctrines. You’ll cause a great deal of trouble, I guarantee it.
You’ll probably land in jail. But we’ll back you. We’ll make you a hero.
FREE JUNCKER! FREE JUNCKER!
You’ll love it.
And when they shut down your budding Twitter account and You Tube Channel, we’ll take to the streets!
‘Sustainability’ is a modern buzz-word, a fashion, a vital tool for preservation and all-to-often a cover for dangerous covert agendas, not the least being the danger of related policies returning electrical power delivery to third-world status.
If our worst enemies abroad were given one evil wish to destroy our economy they probably would look to curse perhaps our greatest natural advantage: access to almost unlimited cheap energy.
Yet, as if to prove that fact is stranger than even this madcap fiction, this is a hex we are visiting upon ourselves.
If a prosperous nation decided to burden its people with expensive and unreliable power, imposing hardships including job losses, costs on struggling families, reduced profits and missed investment opportunities, to create a more benign environment for all the people of the world, it would be truly altruistic. But if it were inflicting pain on its citizens and handicapping future generations for no discernible benefit, then it would be an act of sheer madness.
Yet here we are. We are in a self-imposed energy crisis. No one disputes the urgency — Coalition and Labor politicians, state and federal, agree prices are too high; they are spending on diesel generators, large-scale batteries and stored hydro to find a way through; companies are having power cut or being paid to reduce demand; consumers and industries fear dire consequences; regulators sound alarms about lack of supply; and policymakers float a raft of possible solutions.
Yet it is all our doing. By mandating renewable energy targets, committing to global carbon dioxide emissions-reduction goals, subsidising wind and solar generation including by domestic consumers, toying with emissions trading schemes and imposing (for a time) a carbon tax, we have up-ended our electricity market, forced out some of the cheapest and most reliable generation and made our power more expensive and less reliable. The lion’s share of investment across a decade — upwards of $30 billion — has gone into the sure bet of subsidised renewable energy that has a guaranteed market but that cannot be relied on to meet peak energy output at any given time. Billions more have been spent on government payments and grants. All this money is recouped in the end from consumers, who are paying enormous sums to go backwards.
Since 1999, average spot prices per megawatt hour have leapt from $50 to $110 in South Australia and from less than $25 in NSW and Victoria to $80 and $95 respectively. Electricity costs for manufacturers have increased 79 per cent since 2010 and in that period there have been net job losses of about 140,000 in the sector. Price rises have squeezed family budgets, created hardship for pensioners and forced companies to cut jobs or shut down.
South Australia was plunged into darkness for hours and the Australian Energy Market Operator has warned that without remedial action, even in NSW where cheap and reliable coal-fired power has been abundant, there will be supply vulnerability in the coming years that could lead to 200,000 homes going without power during peak summer demand. The closure of NSW’s Liddell coal-fired power station in a few years will make the situation worse.
This month AEMO warned again that the “unprecedented transformation” of our electricity system means Australia “does not have the energy reserves it once had to lean on” when we need it. This is deplorable.
We are the world’s largest coal exporter. We will soon be the largest exporter of liquefied natural gas. We are the third largest exporter of uranium.
Australia powers the economic and manufacturing powerhouses of northeast Asia, and other parts of the world, with cost-effective and reliable energy supplies. But we decline to do the same for ourselves.
We may as well feed the people of the world with our wheat and sheep exports while our own people go hungry. Why are we doing this to ourselves? Politicians from both major parties and the Greens pretend — surely they are feigning because they must know the facts — that this is our contribution to global efforts to combat global warming. This is fraudulent.
We need to do what the climate activists constantly implore of us: back the science. All the facts tell us that, scientifically, Australia’s climate action is doing nothing to improve the global environment. We are putting ourselves through extended economic pain, with deep social consequences, for nothing more than climate gestures. This is the hard edge of gesture politics: national virtue-signalling, with the poorest citizens and jobless paying the highest price.
Don’t take my word for it; listen to Chief Scientist Alan Finkel, who the government tasked with revising policy. He confirmed before a Senate estimates committee hearing a year ago that Australia’s carbon emissions amounted to 1.3 per cent of the global total (that proportion is shrinking as world emissions grow). Finkel was asked what difference it would make to climate change if all of our nation’s emissions were cut — pretend 25 million of us left Australia idle — so that world emissions dropped by 1.3 per cent. “Virtually nothing,” was his reply.
But wait. Our contribution is much less significant even than “virtually nothing” because we will not eliminate all our emissions. We aim to reduce them by 26 per cent — so our best impact may be a quarter of virtually nothing. Wait again; we become even more irrelevant. Global emissions are on the rise. Led by China (growing by up to 4 per cent so far this year) world CO2 emissions are increasing at close to 2 per cent. So, more science, more facts. China’s annual emissions are about 30 times higher than ours and in any given year the increase alone in China’s emissions can be more than double what we plan to cut by 2030. While global emissions rise our piddling cuts do zip. We are emitting into the wind. Our price rises, blackouts, job losses, investment droughts, subsidies and energy system dilemmas are all for nothing.
Anyone with a pulse must understand this. Why they persist with proposing or backing costly climate policies is the question. They want to display their commitment to the cause. They want to associate themselves with protecting the planet. It is earth motherhood, dictated by political fashion and a reluctance to go against the zeitgeist. What a sad indictment on our political/media class — indulging its progressive credentials for social and diplomatic acceptance at the expense of struggling families, jobless blue-collar workers and our economic competitiveness.
The Coalition is starting to tear itself apart again; led by Tony Abbott, those who understand mainstream concerns are rising up against those stuck in commercial, media and political orthodoxy. Malcolm Turnbull and Josh Frydenberg’s national energy guarantee is a retrofit mechanism to encourage some investment in dispatchable electricity.
As they negotiate for a bipartisan position they could be left with a stark choice: satisfy Labor and its premiers or placate the Coalition partyroom. It may be impossible to do both — the partyroom may at least demand a plan to extend the life of Liddell — and another political short-circuit may be in the offing.
The national energy system is so badly distorted by a decade of renewable subsidies and the threat of future carbon prices that there is no easy solution. All sides of the debate propose expensive government interventions. Investors in anything but renewables are wary.
If we had done nothing on climate action we might have had plentiful and cheap coal and gas power on the back of private investment. But we killed that goose. There is bound to be a reckoning; eventually we will reclaim the energy advantage we export to other nations. And if we ever need a zero-emissions future, we will embrace the silver bullet of nuclear energy. The only question is whether it takes us three years or three decades to come to our senses — and how many political careers will be hoist with this petard in the interim.
Australia’s power policies are killing its economy
You couldn’t make it up if you tried. Australia is a huge exporter of energy as coal, LNG and uranium, yet it has unreliable and expensive electricity. South Australia has achieved a first for Australia: it has the most expensive electricity in the world. A short time ago it had cheap coal-fired power.
Australia remains the only G20 country with no nuclear power yet has 30 per cent of the planet’s in-ground uranium, mainly in South Australia. Victoria has banned drilling for onshore gas in its two gas-rich basins yet suffers a gas shortage.
Australia’s energy crisis is based on a flawed fundamental. Global human emissions are only 3 per cent of total annual emissions. It has never been shown that human emissions of carbon dioxide drive global warming. If it were shown, it would also have to be shown that the 97 per cent of emissions from natural processes such as ocean degassing, volcanoes, natural chemical reactions and exhalation don’t drive global warming.
In the geological past, Earth’s atmosphere had hundreds of times the CO2 content of the modern atmosphere yet there were no carbon dioxide-driven catastrophes. The past shows that climate change is normal, that warmer times and more atmospheric carbon dioxide have driven biodiversity and that cold times kill.
Ice core drilling shows that 800 years after natural warming, the atmosphere increases in carbon dioxide. The zenith of the Little Ice Age was 300 years ago and since then we have slightly warmed and cooled during a long-term warming trend. Instrumental temperature measurements over the past 150 years show no correlation between human emissions of CO2 and temperature. On all timescales it can be shown that there is no correlation between CO2 emissions and global warming. Without correlation, there can be no causation.
The worldwide temperature record has been changed. Cooling trends have been “homogenised” to warming trends. In the corporate world, if a loss is “homogenised” to a profit, it is fraud. Why is climate science different?
No genuine environmentalist could honestly support subsidised wind turbines that despoil the scenery, slice and dice birds and bats, damage human health and spread toxins. This is not environmentalism. It is power over people by unelected activists, often funded from outside Australia.
Unless the laws of physics are changed, solar power cannot be made more efficient. Solar facilities result in the clearing and environmental degradation of huge acreages and depositing of toxins.
Construction and maintenance of wind and solar facilities release far more carbon dioxide than they are meant to save over their working lives and they need to be supported 24/7 by coal-fired generators. The Spaniards invented a way of producing solar power at night without changing the laws of physics. Diesel generators with floodlights illuminated solar panels. Subsidies were so generous that profits could still be made at night. No wonder Spain went broke.
Australia’s CO2 emissions are only 1.3 per cent of global human emissions, which are 3 per cent of the total global emissions. To reduce Australian emissions will have absolutely no effect on the planet’s temperature. The only effect will be a rapid reduction in jobs as electricity prices skyrocket.
Those who signed the Paris Accord actually believed they can twiddle the planetary dials to minimise warming to less than 2 Celsius yet seemed blissfully unaware that whatever humans do, they cannot change Earth’s orbit and radiation released from the sun that drive climate. Australia’s signed a suicide note yet didn’t seem to notice that China, India, Indonesia and the US did not commit to reducing their large carbon dioxide emissions.
The grasslands, crops, forests and territorial waters of Australia absorb more carbon dioxide than Australia emits. Australia should demand the Paris Accord shell out some of the billions sloshing around in the climate business.
The subsidies for wind and solar power and the must-take mandate have attracted all sorts of dodgy enterprises, lickspittles and carpetbaggers to the renewable energy honey pot. The National Energy Market was the nail in the coffin and, after 40 years of falling electricity costs and a reliable grid, Australia now has energy poverty and destruction of businesses. Electricity is not a luxury; it is a necessity for any civilised society.
The solution requires political courage. Cancel the renewable energy target, large-scale RET, renewable energy certificates, clean energy target and any funding that subsidises renewable energy. Cancel funding for climate research institutes, climate conferences, carbon capture schemes and jaunts for signing suicide notes.
If any energy company provides electricity to the grid, decree that it must have 90 per cent availability 24/7 and get rid of the must-take mandate. Cancel the charitable status of feral activist groups like Greenpeace. Change the Corporations Law such that green activists, environmentalists, unionists and lobbyists abide by the same conditions of probity as company directors.
Because investment confidence in energy in Australia has been destroyed, governments must build modern coal-fired and nuclear power stations. Australia needs a nuclear industry that could start by using modular reactors for isolated mines and towns before growing a vertically integrated nuclear industry.
Only elections can change the madness but no major political party has nation-building leaders and a coherent policy to cut electricity costs and increase reliability. Politicians fiddle around the edges. As soon as the words emissions, climate change and Paris are used, you know you are being conned and that the world’s biggest scam will continue.
Australia’s energy policy is based on the fallacious assumption that human emissions of CO2 drive global warming. This underpins the Finkel and Australian Competition and Consumer Commission reports, the Paris Accord and political quick-fix solutions. Renewable energy has become ruinable energy, thanks to green ideology.
I fear there will be years of increasing pain before there is enough political courage to bring Australia to what it had in the past: cheap, reliable employment-generating electricity.
Emeritus Professor Ian Plimer’s Climate Delusion and The Great Electricity Rip-off (Connor Court) has just been published.
Australia’s electricity is far too expensive and unreliable
There’s an app for everything these days, even one that tracks in real time the startling cost of Australia’s ludicrous energy policy.
We are indebted to PocketNEM for informing us that the spot price of electricity on the National Energy Market shot above $150 a megawatt hour in the eastern states late on Sunday afternoon, hitting $365 in the windmill-powered dystopia known as South Australia. During a largely overcast and windless winter weekend, SA and Victoria sucked up megawatt after megawatt of coal-generated electricity from NSW and Queensland, stretching the interconnectors to their limits.
To whom will the cost of these expensive buy-ins be charged? To the customer of course — you, me and the business we rely on to provide jobs, goods and services.
When the dust settles, the 33,000 gigawatt-hour renewable energy target will prove to be the costliest legacy of the Rudd and Gillard governments. Sure, there are plenty of other multi-billion-dollar blunders to choose from — the cost blowout to the National Disability Insurance Scheme, for example — policies that, like the RET, were implemented with noble intent but vacant attention to detail.
Yet on the scale of bureaucratically orchestrated disasters they are dwarfed by the RET, a Soviet-scale exercise in market intervention that is unravelling before our eyes, presenting Malcolm Turnbull’s government with a diabolical policy challenge that cannot be deferred.
How quickly the world has changed. Barely nine months before Turnbull became Prime Minister the Australian Energy Market Commission, which is supposed to know about these things, predicted that scrapping the carbon tax, falling electricity demand and increased capacity would cause retail electricity prices to fall.
The AEMC’s latest forecast presents a very different picture. Household electricity bills will rise acutely, particularly in South Australia and Victoria. The closure of SA’s brown-coal-fired Northern power station 13 months ago, followed by the closure of Victoria’s Hazelwood power station this year, means that for the first time in at least a half-century there is a shortage of active generation capacity.
Last December, the AEMC calculated that the closures would increase the cost of wholesale energy by 55 per cent in Victoria and Tasmania and 41 per cent in SA by the next federal election.
The Turnbull government will get only one shot at fixing this mess before rising power prices start to bite, and it will steady its aim this Friday with the release of Alan Finkel’s review of the National Electricity Market.
It is a chance to rescue energy policy from the sectional interests that want the renewable energy gravy train to keep running, and to frame it to serve the national interest. The ideologues, aided and abetted by the self-interested renewable energy lobby, will try to make this a debate about “sustainability” in the hope of deflecting attention from our demonstrably unsustainable energy policy. We must ignore their soft-headed nonsense and focus on securing what we really need: a reliable supply of affordable energy within our carbon emission targets.
The review is unlikely to recommend, nor is the government willing to countenance, the abolition of the RET, attractive as that may seem to energy market rationalists.
It should, however, help us recognise that putting most of the burden on the electricity grid to deliver Australia’s promised carbon emissions reduction was a ghastly mistake. It has neither assisted the reduction of carbon emissions nor encouraged the development of new technology.
Even Ross Garnaut, the Rudd government’s professor of choice, called for it to be phased out. The RET “does not necessarily encourage the lowest cost means of reducing emissions”, he wrote in 2011, “nor does it encourage innovation: it favours the lowest cost established technologies that are eligible within the scheme”,
In fact, it can cost up to $100 a tonne to abate carbon emissions through large-scale wind and solar, and up to double that amount using small-scale domestic solar panels.
Meanwhile another arm of government, the Emissions Reduction Fund, can do the same job for less than $12 a tonne. Allowing thermal generators to offset emissions by purchasing credits from the ERF instead of renewable energy certificates at eight or nine times the price may give them a fighting chance.
The review also presents the opportunity to end the sacred treatment of wind and solar and to share subsidies, if subsidies there must be, with low-emission thermal energy production such as gas and clean coal. It would not fix the gas shortage but at least it would give the owners of mothballed gas plants a little more confidence of a return on investment.
If common sense is allowed to intrude, we will no longer pay subsidies of about $85 a megawatt hour for the fitful supply of unstable energy using subprime technology of windmills.
Renewable energy suppliers have little incentive to improve the reliability of their product since it is the public, not they, who are forced to pick up the bill for buying in thermal power at the spot price when the blades stop tuning.
The energy market as currently constructed is a classic example of moral hazard where one party decides how much risk to take, while another bears the cost when things go wrong. If renewable energy companies were made to shoulder all, or at least part, of the cost of their failure to provide electricity at 50 hertz for 24 hours a day, they might invest more in the development of storage.
What could go wrong? After all, Alan Kohler assured us in his column in The Weekend Australian that wind and solar are at the point of becoming cheaper than coal and gas, and batteries are just around the corner. We are about to see a flood of renewable investment that will spell the end of coal.
A clear-headed readjustment of the RET will allow us to test that somewhat brave assumption. Oh, and help us keep the lights on.
Nick Cater is executive director of Menzies Research Centre.
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.
The first article is presented below; there are links to all 21 parts at the end of this post, the latest is a ‘must-read’: Part 21: The Role of the Media: Act I – Whatever Happened to Investigative Journalists? Frances poses the critical question: ‘What is wrong with the Western media? Why have they not jumped at the opportunity to cover the scoop of the century — the wealth of crystal-clear evidence that proves the government has been lying about the attacks of September 11, 2001, for the past sixteen years?’ Frances then presents a comprehensive answer – which is very disillusioning. Read the full article at:
Editor’s Note: Frances Shure, M.A., L.P.C., has performed an in-depth analysis addressing a key issue of our time: “Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?” The resulting essay, to be presented here as a series, is comprised of a synthesis of reports on academic research as well as clinical observations.
Ms. Shure’s analysis begins with recognition of the observation made by the psychology professionals interviewed in the documentary “9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out” by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, who cite our human tendencies toward denial in order to avoid the discomfort of cognitive dissonance. Indeed, resistance to information that substantially challenges our worldview is the rule rather than the exception, Ms. Shure explains. This is so because fear is the emotion that underlies most of the negative reactions toward 9/11 skeptics’ information. Ms. Shure addresses the many types of fear that are involved, and how they tie into the “sacred myth” of American exceptionalism.
Through the lenses of anthropology and social psychology, Ms. Shure focuses on diffusion of innovations; obeying and believing authority; doublethink; cognitive dissonance; conformity; groupthink; terror management theory; systems justification theory; signal detection theory; and prior knowledge of state crimes against democracy and deep politics. Through the lens of clinical psychology, Ms. Shure explores viewpoints described in the sections on learned helplessness; the abuse syndrome; dissociation; and excessive identification with the United States government. Two sections on brain research provide astonishing insights into our human nature.
Finally, the sections entitled “American Exceptionalism,” “Governmental Manipulation and the ‘Big Lie,’” and Those Who Lack Conscience and Empathy” contain valuable information from an amalgam of the disciplines of history, social psychology, clinical psychology, and brain research. The final sections address how we can communicate about 9/11 evidence more effectively, and our human need for awareness and healing. Ms. Shure concludes by quoting poet Langston Hughes in an inspiring epilogue, which asks: “Is America Possible?”
This month’s installment begins with Ms. Shure’s Preface and Introduction. Succeeding segments will continue the journey that explores contributions of Western psychology in answering the pressing question, “Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—about 9/11?”
The following essay is not meant to persuade anyone of the theory that elements within our government were responsible for the devastating attacks of September 11, 2001. Rather, this paper is addressed primarily to the 45% of Americans1—and those people in other parts of the world—who already believe a new investigation is needed, as well as those who simply have had their doubts about the official account of 9/11 but have not explored the issue further. This paper is also addressed to psychology professionals and social scientists who may wish to consider the question in the title in greater depth.
Furthermore, this essay should be helpful to anyone who encounters resistance to any paradigm-shifting idea about which he or she may be communicating, since the same dynamics and research would apply in all such cases.
This work was not crafted entirely alone. I am grateful to the Writing Team of Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth who suggested I write an article in the first place—thus the seed was planted. Once the seed began germinating, it was nurtured by substantial suggestions from Marti Hopper, Ph.D., Sheila Fabricant Linn, M.Div., Dennis Linn, M.Div., Daniel K. Sage, Ph.D., Dorothy Lorig, M.A., Earl Staelin, J.D., Joseph Lam, Gregg Roberts, John Freedom, C.E.H.P., Danielle Duperret, Ph.D., Paul Rea, Ph.D., Tim Gale, Sonia Skakich-Scrima, M.A., and by the care taken by proofreaders Nancy Hall and Dennis McMahon. I am profoundly indebted and grateful for their enthusiastic help.
In addition, this work could not have been written without contributions from the people named and quoted in the document. I have drawn from wherever I found research, credible observations, or inspiration that seemed to apply. I hope others will become inspired to add to this synthesis of research and observation to further help answer the question, “Why Do Good People Become Silent—or Worse—About 9/11?”
“If what you are saying is true, I don’t want to know!” exclaimed a young male visitor at our 9/11 Truth booth at the Denver People’s Fair. He was referring to the evidence of controlled demolition of the three World Trade Center (WTC) skyscrapers on September 11, 2001.
“Why?” I asked.
“Because if what you are saying is true, I would become very negative. Psychologically, I would go downhill.”
With gratitude, I responded “Thank you!”
Surprised, he asked, “Why are you thanking me?”
“Because it’s rare to hear such raw truth. Thank you for being so honest.”
Softened by our exchange, the young man chatted with me a while longer before taking his leave. I have never forgotten him; he has likely never forgotten me. We both felt it. Paradoxically, deep truth had been shared.
Forceful resistance from our listeners
We who work to educate the public about 9/11, and about false flag operations,2 are puzzled by the often forceful resistance from our listeners. Yet, many of us in the 9/11 Truth Movement also once vigorously resisted this challenging evidence. We have our own stories to document this. What drives those negative reactions?
Before continuing, I would like to clarify that people who continue to resist the evidence that indicates 9/11 was a false flag operation are no more mentally healthy or unhealthy than those of us who question the official account. Both groups consist of folks who span the mental health spectrum.
No need to pathologize
So, there is no need to pathologize those who currently do not see what is now so clear to us, just as those of us in the 9/11 Truth Movement should not be dismissed and maligned as “conspiracy theorists”—the latter being an obvious defense and a not so obvious offense.3
The psychology professionals interviewed in the documentary 9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth clearly speak about our human tendencies toward denial in order to avoid the discomfort of cognitive dissonance. They speak compassionately about all of us. There is no sophisticated name-calling (diagnosing) as can sometimes be popular among the members of this profession. This is indeed refreshing.
In this spirit, and in the spirit of beginning a conversation—for we humans are complicated creatures—I will share my thinking as to why some of us defend ourselves from information that is troubling.
Vigorous resistance to paradigm shifts
History tells us that to determine reality, even scientists, whom we stereotypically view as objectively and open-mindedly looking at data, rather than at belief, often vigorously resist paradigm shifts. Gregor Mendel’s experiments and resulting theory of genetic inheritance, for example, was resisted by scientists from the time of its announcement in 1865, and was only rediscovered in 1900 by three other European scientists. Resistance to information that substantially challenges our worldview, we find, is the rule rather than the exception.4 Fortunately, change does occur, consensus reality does shift, sometimes rapidly, sometimes excruciatingly slowly.
To reiterate what I said in the film 9/11: Experts Speak Out, fear is the emotion that underlies most of the negative reactions toward 9/11 skeptics’ information: fear of receiving information that will turn our world upside down, fear of being overwhelmed by our own emotions, fear of psychological deterioration, fear our life will have to change, fear we’ll discover that the world is not a safe place, fear that our reputation will be tarnished or that we’ll lose our jobs, fear of being shunned or banished by friends and family, and fear of looking like a fool because we bought the official account so thoroughly.
This last reason may be true especially for intellectuals who often identify strongly with their intellect. None of us, however, like to feel bamboozled, as this often threatens our very identity and brings us very close to feeling betrayed. Carl Sagan noted:
One of the saddest lessons of history is this: If we’ve been bamboozled long enough, we tend to reject any evidence of the bamboozle. We’re no longer interested in finding out the truth. The bamboozle has captured us. It’s simply too painful to acknowledge, even to ourselves, that we’ve been taken. Once you give a charlatan power over you, you almost never get it back.5
Social psychologist and scholar Laurie Manwell tells us that one of her professors said that he could sum up human behavior with this statement: “People liked to be liked, they like to be right, and they like to be free—in that order.” Thus, most people will give up their need to be right or free if their need to be liked is threatened.6 Why is this?
The fear of banishment is surely among the greatest fears we humans harbor, albeit often unconsciously. We are social creatures. We need others in order to survive, and we need to have a sense of belonging. To have some sense of wholeness and well-being, we need to feel connected to others, to love and to be loved. This is the reason that ridicule and shaming are such potent strategies used—consciously or unconsciously—to censor those with views that diverge from a culture’s sacred mythology.
A “sacred myth”
A “sacred myth” is a special story, found in every culture, whether true, untrue, or partially true, that tells us who we are and why we are doing what we are doing.8
What is our American sacred myth? It goes something like this:
We are a truly exceptional nation with exceptional forefathers. We rebelled against tyranny and established a democratic republic, a model that the world has largely accepted and imitated. Our country is the purveyor of democracy and freedom around the world and our interventions in other countries are benevolent actions. On September 11, 2001, we were caught off-guard when al Qaeda terrorists in a sneak attack, similar to that at Pearl Harbor, succeeded in flying commercial airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, the most significant wound to our homeland to date. However, true to the American spirit, we immediately rose to the challenge to militarily smite the world of terrorists who hate us because of our freedoms. This is why we have an unending Global War on Terror.
Fear of severe repercussions
If we can set aside this belief in our sacred myth, look at the evidence, and recognize that 9/11 was a false flag operation, then we may also fear severe repercussions from corrupt authorities if we should speak out. As one person told me, “I appreciate everything you all are doing with this 9/11 issue, but I hope you understand, I have children; I can’t get involved with this.”
Fear is an integral part of the human condition; and yet, if we are committed to psycho-spiritual growth, we do not let fear dictate what we do—or do not do. We can be aware of the fear while not letting it rule our lives.
Most of us were traumatized9 by watching the horrifying destruction of the Twin Towers, knowing there were thousands of our fellow humans beings killed in that moment. Some of us were again deeply shaken when we discovered evidence indicating that 9/11 might be a false flag operation.
Why do some of us embrace the evidence and its implications and get active, while others feel powerless in the face of this evidence or react with apathy? And why do others get defensive and stay defensive—sometimes vehemently? Why, indeed, upon hearing the evidence that contradicts the official account of 9/11, do good people become silent, or worse?
Intellectually contorted measures
What is the difference? How, for example, can some people watch World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC7)10 implode and collapse into its own footprint and not see what is right in front of them—even when they know about its free fall acceleration and the other characteristics of controlled demolition? These people may feel compelled to intensify their resistance with intellectually contorted measures to convince themselves and others that this was not controlled demolition. Others will content themselves with shaming anyone who wants to investigate the 9/11 evidence that contradicts the official sacred myth.
There is a worldview that is being seriously challenged. What is it? In essence, it was described well by words from a journalist whom I met at a street action: “I am aware that our government does bad things, but not this! Not those towers! They would not be that evil.”
Government is supposed to protect us
So we assume our government—which is supposed to protect us but sometimes does bad things—would never commit acts this heinous. A man said to me during a public presentation, “I find your statement that our government orchestrated 9/11 very disturbing and offensive.” “I believe I said the evidence trail leads to elements within our government, not the government,” I replied. He retorted, with great seriousness, “It makes no difference. There is no way you can state this that is going to make me feel any better!”
Many of us unconsciously relate to our governmental leaders as parental figures on whom we project our (often unmet) needs for a protective parent. We even agree culturally to the term “our founding fathers.”
Disciplines that belong to our Western culture
The disciplines of Western psychology and anthropology have much to offer toward understanding human behavior, but we must remember that these disciplines, as impressive as they are, are ultimately disciplines that belong to our Western culture only. In the East and in some tribal societies, for example, people may use the philosophy of the transmigration of souls to explain human behavior; and the Sufis, the mystical branch of Islam, use the nine personality types of the Enneagram to explain our disparate human propensities.
Remember the proverbial five blind men, each touching one part of an elephant? Each man draws a conclusion as to what the object is, depending on which part he is touching. The result? Five partial and laughably inaccurate descriptions of reality.
The more lenses we look through, therefore, the greater is our capacity to see a clearer—a more dimensional—picture of our human tendencies. Nonetheless, within the overlapping viewpoints of the rich disciplines of Western psychology, anthropology, brain research, and history, we can find several lenses that shed much light on the conundrum of why information that contradicts our worldview is so difficult for us to receive.
The next sections
Through the lenses of anthropology and social psychology we will find helpful information in the sections below entitled Diffusion of Innovations; Obeying and Believing Authority; Doublethink; Cognitive Dissonance; Conformity; Groupthink; Terror Management Theory; Systems Justification Theory; Signal Detection Theory; and Prior Knowledge of State Crimes Against Democracy and Deep Politics.
Through the lens of clinical psychology we will explore viewpoints described in the sections on Learned Helplessness; The Abuse Syndrome; Dissociation; and Excessive Identification with the U.S.A.
The two sections on Brain Research provide us with astonishing insights into our human nature. Finally, the sections entitled American Exceptionalism; Governmental Manipulation and the Big Lie; and Those Who Lack Conscience and Empathy, contain valuable information from an amalgam of the disciplines of history, social psychology, clinical psychology, and brain research.
Let me emphasize that this paper will be a synthesis of reports on academic research as well as clinical observations. None of the sections will fall neatly into one category or another, but they will overlap each other, as any rich and complicated subject will tend to do.
Let’s begin our journey with an anthropological study…
Note: scroll to the end for links to the next sections………
2http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/False_flag_operation.3 Lance deHaven-Smith, Conspiracy Theory in America (University of Texas Press, 2013). DeHaven-Smith analyzes the history of the development of the derogatory nature of the term “conspiracy theory,” tracing it to a CIA propaganda campaign to discredit doubters of the Warren Commission’s report. In this light, the use of this pejorative term can also rightly be seen as an offensive tactic to shame, and thus censor, those who question official governmental accounts.
4 Earl Staelin, J.D., “Resistance to Scientific Innovation: Its Causes and How to Overcome It,” a paper delivered at the Intercept 2001 Conference, July 6–9, 2001, Laughlin, Nevada, sponsored by the Kronia Group. A further insight from Earl Staelin is that most of us also experience psychological inertia when presented with a new theory that we firmly believe is not true, and we must be convinced that it is worth our time to be open to the new theory.
Thomas S. Kuhn, The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50th Anniversary Edition (University of Chicago Press, 2012).
See also http://www.scribd.com/doc/13481854/Resistance-by-Scientists-to-Scientific-Discovery-Barber-1961.
5 Carl Sagan, The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark (Random House Publishing Group, 1996).
It’s hard to know where to begin when writing on a subject that seems to top the Google search engine charts year after year. It’s no secret that the world is fascinated with the idea that intelligent extraterrestrial life did, and currently could be, visiting our planet, and regularly.
The unfortunate part about the phenomenon is that the world rarely sees evidence for it presented in a credible way. Nearly all mainstream media outlets, news anchors, and journalists do more harm than good, discrediting a topic that has plenty of proof behind it. Either it’s not discussed at all, or it’s done through ridicule.
Yet the very first Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) flat out told the New York Times in 1960 that, “behind the scenes, high ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs, but through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense.”
I’m led to wonder whether the connections we’ve written about in the past between the CIA and the media included official disinformation campaigns pertaining to the UFO/extraterrestrial subject, and if so, whether that’s still happening today.
You can explore these connections, and a few of the actual documents straight from the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), in the articles linked below:
Today, there are hundreds of people and documents that have shown, beyond a doubt, that UFOs exist, and that some of them could be extraterrestrial, and others, our own advanced technology.
The documents show objects traveling at unattainable speeds, and performing maneuvers that no known aircraft can perform. Here is a great example, out of thousands, detailing one such encounter.
Here’s one regarding an encounter over Antarctic military bases describing red, yellow, and green “flying saucers” that were spotted hovering for more than two hours.
As far as people, we have high ranking military personnel, politicians, astronauts, and academics from different fields flat out telling us that we are not alone, and that this is known at the highest levels of government, or those who puppet the government.
Whether it be a former Chairman of the Royal Navy telling us that “there is a serious possibility that we are being visited, and have been visited by people from outer space,” a former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee telling us that “I do know that whatever the Air Force has on the subject is going to remain highly classified,” or an Apollo 14 astronaut saying that “there have been crashed craft, and bodies recovered,” we have no shortage of high ranking insiders attesting to the reality of this phenomenon.
For decades, as General Carlos Cavero told the world in 1979, “everything” has been “in a process of investigation both in the United States and in Spain, as well as the rest of the world.” On a global scale, “the nations of the world are currently working together in the investigation of the UFO phenomenon” and there is “an international exchange of data.”
This is why so many academics, like Harvard professor and Pulitzer prize winner John E. Mack, believe that “it’s both literally, physically happening to a degree; and it’s also some kind of psychological, spiritual experience occurring and originating perhaps in another dimension.”
Perhaps his most astonishing investigation came from more than 60 schoolchildren in the town of Ruwa, Zimbabwe. You can read more about that here.
Former Canadian Defense Minister Paul Hellyer also went on record stating that “visitors from other planets” came here decades ago.
This all raises so many questions in so many branches of human knowledge. Take physics, for example. Jack Kasher, Ph.D, a professor emeritus of physics at the University of Nebraska, points out that “there is another way, whether it’s wormholes or warping space, there’s got to be a way to generate energy so that you can pull it out of the vacuum, and the fact that they’re here shows us that they found a way.”
So, as you can see, if you’re a believer in the extraterrestrial hypothesis for a possible explanation for the already verified UFO phenomenon, you’re not alone, and you are in good company.
“Intelligent beings from other star systems have been and are visiting our planet Earth. They are variously referred to as Visitors, Others, Star People, ETs, etc. . . . They are visiting Earth NOW; this is not a matter of conjecture or wistful thinking.” – Theodore C. Loder III, Phd, Professor Emeritus of Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire
Extraterrestrial Reproduction Vehicles
Well-known aerospace journalist James Goodall, an accomplished speaker who specialized in the history, development, and operations of the world’s only Mach 3 capable, manned air breathing aircraft, who also wrote for for publications such as Jane’s Defense Weekly, Aviation Week & Space Technology, and Intervavia, interviewed many people from the classified black budget world. He did all of this while being the Associate Curator at the Pacific Aviation Museum.
According to him, and the people he has spoken to, “we have things out there that are literally out of this world, better than Star Trek or what you see in the movies.”
He also claims to have known Ben Rich — the second director of Lockheed Skunkworks — very well. In a video interview, Goodall stated that he spoke to Rich approximately 10 days before he died:
“About ten days before he died, I was speaking to Ben on the telephone at USC medical center in LA. And he said, ‘Jim, we have things out in the desert that are fifty years beyond what you can comprehend. They have about forty five hundred people at Lockheed Skunkworks. What have they been doing for the last twenty years? They’re building something.”
Another source for Ben Richs’ comments come from Jan Harzan, a senior executive with IBM, along with Tom Keller, an aerospace engineer who has worked as a computer systems analyst for NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. They discuss a talk Ben gave some time ago.
On March 23, 1993, at a UCLA School of Engineering talk where he was presenting a general history of Sunk Works, he said:
“We now know how to travel to the stars. There is an error in the equations, and we have figured it out, and now know how to travel to the stars and it won’t take a lifetime to do it. It is time to end all the secrecy on this, as it no longer poses a national security threat, and make the technology available for use in the private sector. There are many in the intelligence community who would like to see this stay in the black and not see the light of day. We now have the technology to take ET home.”
There are multiple sources for statements coming from Ben Rich, but I’ll stop there. Below is a video of Jan telling the story.
This brings us to the next point, the alien reproduction vehicle. This concept was introduced by Mark McCandlish, an internationally-recognized artist who has specialized in aviation and conceptual art within the defense and aerospace industries for three decades. His father was a 25-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force, which is where he developed his love for the subject.
He has gone on record stating his belief that carefully protected technology has been co-opted by an as-yet-unknown group, and the sequestration of this technology has provided this organization a great deal of leverage in global politics, finance, and international conflicts over the past five decades.
Below is a clip from 2001, where hundreds of former military personnel gathered at the National Press Club to share their experiences and information. In the clip below, he speaks of the alien reproduction vehicle and how he came across it, and also mentions his interest in UFOs due to a sighting over a nuclear weapons storage facility.
Here is a more recent talk by McCandlish at a conference discussing the secret space program, where he goes into more detail regarding the feasibility of interstellar travel.
Before we get to the vehicle you see in the picture above, it’s important to note that there is evidence showing this type of exotic technology that dates back prior to the Second World War.
A classic example would be the CIA keeping tabs on developments in Germany, as explained by this document, which looked into “a German newspaper” that “recently published an interview with George Klein, famous engineer and aircraft expert, describing the experimental construction of ‘flying saucers’ carried out by him from 1941 to 1945.”
Here’s another document that goes on to mention an experiment described by Klein:
The “flying saucer” reached an altitude of 12,400 meters within 3 minutes and a speed of 2,200 kilometers per hour. Klein emphasized that in accordance with German plans, the speed of these “saucers” would reach 4,000 kilometers per hour.
One difficulty, according to Klein, was the problem of obtaining the materials to be used for the construction of the “saucers,” but even this had been solved by German engineers toward the end of 1945, and construction on the objects was scheduled to begin, Klein added.
Below is a clip from Dr. Steven Greer’s film Unacknowledged, now available on Netflix. He is the one who brought fourth 400 hundred verified, high ranking former military witnesses, some of whom testified at the National Press Club along with McCandlish, as you saw in the video above.
It was also held at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, and saw a number of professors, historians, scientists, and high ranking political and military personnel gathered to elaborate on the ongoing reality of the UFO phenomenon to several former Congresspeople.
Dr. Greer also released a previous film, titled Sirius, where he revealed having had high level meetings within the Pentagon regarding the UFO/extraterrestrial topic. This was verified by Dr. Edgar Mitchell, the Apollo 14 astronaut who accompanied Greer on his meetings.
The “Sneak Peak.”
The Secret Space Program
Although there are still many people who would dismiss you for even considering there’s any truth to a secret space program that has reversed engineered extraterrestrial technology, it comes from a place of innocent ignorance on their part.
It’s easy to condemn something without ever really looking into it, and this is a result of a small group of people and the corporations they run controlling all major media networks, painting whatever picture they’d like us to perceive about our world, and using it to their advantage.
Just to reiterate that you are in the presence of good company, I thought I’d use yet another example. According to Herman Oberth, one of the founding fathers of rocketry and astronautics, “Flying saucers are real and… they are space ships from another solar system.
I think that they possibly are manned by intelligent observers who are members of a race that may have been investigating our Earth for centuries.” (Oberth, Hermann: “Flying Saucers Come from a Distant World,” The American Weekly, October 24, 1954) (source 1)(source 2)
Here’s another great clip, taken from the Thrive documentary, of a former NASA astronaut and Princeton physics professor. I’ve been using it for years, so my apologies if you’ve come across it already.
UFO don’t necessarily equate to extraterrestrial, but in some cases, they might.
The programs doing this exotic work exist and are known as Special Access Programs (SAP). From these we have unacknowledged and waived SAPs. These programs do not exist publicly, but they do indeed exist. They are better known as ‘deep black programs.’
A 1997 U.S. Senate report described them as “so sensitive that they are exempt from standard reporting requirements to the Congress.”
I just wanted to provide a little bit of background information about the “secret space” program and what could be going on in it. For a deeper look into the subject, below is a great lecture given by researcher Richard Dolan.
Presidents, Prime Ministers, Congressmen, Generals, Spooks, Soldiers and Police ADMIT to False Flag Terror
In the following instances, officials in the government which carried out the attack (or seriously proposed an attack) admit to it, either orally, in writing, or through photographs or videos:
(1) Japanese troops set off a small explosion on a train track in 1931, and falsely blamed it on China in order to justify an invasion of Manchuria. This is known as the “Mukden Incident” or the “Manchurian Incident”. The Tokyo International Military Tribunal found:
“Several of the participators in the plan, including Hashimoto [a high-ranking Japanese army officer], have on various occasions admitted their part in the plot and have stated that the object of the ‘Incident’ was to afford an excuse for the occupation of Manchuria by the Kwantung Army ….”
(2) A major with the Nazi SS admitted at the Nuremberg trials that – under orders from the chief of the Gestapo – he and some other Nazi operatives faked several attacks on their own people and resources which they blamed on the Poles, to justify the invasion of Poland. The staged attacks included:
The German radio station Sender Gleiwitz [details below]
The strategic railway at POSunka Pass (Jab?onków Incident), located on the border between Poland and Czechoslovakia
The German customs station at Hochlinden (today part of Rybnik-Stodo?y)
The forest service station in Pitschen (Byczyna)
The communications station at Neubersteich (“Nieborowitzer Hammer” before 12 February 1936, now Kuznia Nieborowska)
The railroad station in Alt-Eiche (Smolniki), Rosenberg in Westpreußen district
A woman and her companion in Katowice
The details of the Gleiwitz radio station incident include:
On the night of 31 August 1939, a small group of German operatives dressed in Polish uniforms and led by Naujocks seized the Gleiwitz station and broadcast a short anti-German message in Polish (sources vary on the content of the message). The Germans’ goal was to make the attack and the broadcast look like the work of anti-German Polish saboteurs.
To make the attack seem more convincing, the Germans used human corpses to pass them off as Polish attackers. They murdered Franciszek Honiok, a 43-year-old unmarried German Silesian Catholic farmer known for sympathizing with the Poles. He had been arrested the previous day by the Gestapo. He was dressed to look like a saboteur, then killed by lethal injection, given gunshot wounds, and left dead at the scene so that he appeared to have been killed while attacking the station. His corpse was subsequently presented to the police and press as proof of the attack.
(3) The minutes of the high command of the Italian government – subsequently approved by Mussolini himself – admitted that violence on the Greek-Albanian border was carried out by Italians and falsely blamed on the Greeks, as an excuse for Italy’s 1940 invasion of Greece.
(4) Nazi general Franz Halder also testified at the Nuremberg trials that Nazi leader Hermann Goeringadmitted to setting fire to the German parliament building in 1933, and then falsely blaming the communists for the arson.
(5) Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchevadmitted in writing that the Soviet Union’s Red Army shelled the Russian village of Mainila in 1939 – while blaming the attack on Finland – as a basis for launching the “Winter War” against Finland. Russian president Boris Yeltsinagreed that Russia had been the aggressor in the Winter War.
(6) The Russian Parliament, current Russian president Putin and former Soviet leader Gorbachevall admit that Soviet leader Joseph Stalin ordered his secret police to execute 22,000 Polish army officers and civilians in 1940, and then falsely blamed it on the Nazis.
(7) The British government admits that – between 1946 and 1948 – it bombed 5 ships carrying Jews who were Holocaust survivors attempting to flee to safety in Palestine right after World War II, set up a fake group called “Defenders of Arab Palestine”, and then had the psuedo-group falsely claim responsibility for the bombings (and see this, this and this).
(8) Israel admits that in 1954, an Israeli terrorist cell operating in Egypt planted bombs in several buildings, including U.S. diplomatic facilities, then left behind “evidence” implicating the Arabs as the culprits (one of the bombs detonated prematurely, allowing the Egyptians to identify the bombers, and several of the Israelis later confessed) (and see this and this).
The U.S. Army does not believe this is an isolated incident. For example, the U.S. Army’s School of Advanced Military Studies said of Mossad (Israel’s intelligence service):
“Ruthless and cunning. Has capability to target U.S. forces and make it look like a Palestinian/Arab act.”
(9) The CIA admits that it hired Iranians in the 1950?s to pose as Communists and stage bombings in Iran in order to turn the country against its democratically-elected prime minister.
(10) The Turkish Prime Minister admitted that the Turkish government carried out the 1955 bombing on a Turkish consulate in Greece – also damaging the nearby birthplace of the founder of modern Turkey – and blamed it on Greece, for the purpose of inciting and justifying anti-Greek violence.
Starting in the 1950s Turkey’s deep state sponsored killings, engineered riots, colluded with drug traffickers, staged “false flag” attacks and organised massacres of trade unionists. Thousands died in the chaos it fomented.
(11) The British Prime Minister admitted to his defense secretary that he and American president Dwight Eisenhower approved a plan in 1957 to carry out attacks in Syria and blame it on the Syrian government as a way to effect regime change.
(13) In 1960, American Senator George Smatherssuggested that the U.S. launch “a false attack made on Guantanamo Bay which would give us the excuse of actually fomenting a fight which would then give us the excuse to go in and [overthrow Castro]”.
A U.S. Navy HSS-1 Seabat helicopter hovers over Soviet submarine B-59, forced to the surface by U.S. Naval forces in the Caribbean near Cuba (October 28–29, 1962) (Source: Wikimedia Commons)
(14) Official State Department documents show that, in 1961, the head of the Joint Chiefs and other high-level officials discussed blowing up a consulate in the Dominican Republic in order to justify an invasion of that country. The plans were not carried out, but they were all discussed as serious proposals.
(15) As admitted by the U.S. government, recently declassified documents show that in 1962, the American Joint Chiefs of Staff signed off on a plan to blow up AMERICAN airplanes (using an elaborate plan involving the switching of airplanes), and also to commit terrorist acts on American soil, and then to blame it on the Cubans in order to justify an invasion of Cuba. See the following ABC news report; the official documents; and watch this interview with the former Washington Investigative Producer for ABC’s World News Tonight with Peter Jennings.
(16) In 1963, the U.S. Department of Defense wrote a paper promoting attacks on nations within the Organization of American States – such as Trinidad-Tobago or Jamaica – and then falsely blaming them on Cuba.
(17) The U.S. Department of Defense also suggested covertly paying a person in the Castro government to attack the United States:
“The only area remaining for consideration then would be to bribe one of Castro’s subordinate commanders to initiate an attack on Guantanamo.”
(18) A U.S. Congressional committee admitted that – as part of its “Cointelpro” campaign – the FBI had used many provocateurs in the 1950s through 1970s to carry out violent acts and falsely blame them on political activists.
(19) A top Turkish general admitted that Turkish forces burned down a mosque on Cyprus in the 1970s and blamed it on their enemy. He explained:
“In Special War, certain acts of sabotage are staged and blamed on the enemy to increase public resistance. We did this on Cyprus; we even burnt down a mosque.”
In response to the surprised correspondent’s incredulous look the general said, “I am giving an example”.
(20) A declassified 1973 CIA document reveals a program to train foreign police and troops on how to make booby traps, pretending that they were training them on how to investigate terrorist acts:
The Agency maintains liaison in varying degrees with foreign police/security organizations through its field stations ….
[CIA provides training sessions as follows:]
Providing trainees with basic knowledge in the uses of commercial and military demolitions and incendiariesas they may be applied in terrorism and industrial sabotage operations.
Introducing the trainees to commercially available materials and home laboratory techniques, likely to he used in the manufacture of explosives and incendiaries by terrorists or saboteurs.
Familiarizing the trainees with the concept of target analysis and operational planningthat a saboteur or terrorist must employ.
Introducing the trainees to booby trapping devices and techniques givingpractical experiencewith both manufactured and improvised devices through actual fabrication.
The program provides the trainees with ample opportunity to develop basic familiarity and use proficiently through handling, preparing and applying the various explosive charges, incendiary agents, terrorist devices and sabotage techniques.
(21) The German government admitted (and see this) that, in 1978, the German secret service detonated a bomb in the outer wall of a prison and planted “escape tools” on a prisoner – a member of the Red Army Faction – which the secret service wished to frame the bombing on.
(22) A Mossad agent admits that, in 1984, Mossad planted a radio transmitter in Gaddaffi’s compound in Tripoli, Libya which broadcast fake terrorist transmissions recorded by Mossad, in order to frame Gaddaffi as a terrorist supporter. Ronald Reagan bombed Libya immediately thereafter.
(23) The South African Truth and Reconciliation Council found that, in 1989, the Civil Cooperation Bureau (a covert branch of the South African Defense Force) approached an explosives expert and asked him “to participate in an operation aimed at discrediting the ANC [the African National Congress] by bombing the police vehicle of the investigating officer into the murder incident”, thus framing the ANC for the bombing.
(24) An Algerian diplomat and several officers in the Algerian army admit that, in the 1990s, the Algerian army frequently massacred Algerian civilians and then blamed Islamic militants for the killings (and see this video; and Agence France-Presse, 9/27/2002, French Court Dismisses Algerian Defamation Suit Against Author).
(25) In 1993, a bomb in Northern Ireland killed 9 civilians. Official documents from the Royal Ulster Constabulary (i.e. the British government) show that the mastermind of the bombing was a British agent, and that the bombing was designed to inflame sectarian tensions. And see this and this.
(26) The United States Army’s 1994 publication Special Forces Foreign Internal Defense Tactics Techniques and Procedures for Special Forces – updated in 2004 – recommends employing terrorists and using false flag operations to destabilize leftist regimes in Latin America. False flag terrorist attacks were carried out in Latin America and other regions as part of the CIA’s “Dirty Wars“. And see this.
(27) Similarly, a CIA “psychological operations” manual prepared by a CIA contractor for the Nicaraguan Contra rebels noted the value of assassinating someone on your own side to create a “martyr” for the cause. The manual was authenticated by the U.S. government. The manual received so much publicity from Associated Press, Washington Post and other news coverage that – during the 1984 presidential debate – President Reagan was confronted with the following question on national television:
At this moment, we are confronted with the extraordinary story of a CIA guerrilla manual for the anti-Sandinista contras whom we are backing, which advocates not only assassinations of Sandinistas but the hiring of criminals to assassinate the guerrillas we are supporting in order to create martyrs.
(28) A Rwandan government inquiry admitted that the 1994 shootdown and murder of the Rwandan president, who was from the Hutu tribe – a murder blamed by the Hutus on the rival Tutsi tribe, and which led to the massacre of more than 800,000 Tutsis by Hutus – was committed by Hutu soldiers and falsely blamed on the Tutsi. [GR Editor: This government report is contested. The alleged role of foreign powers in the shoot down is not acknowledged]
(30) Senior Russian Senior military and intelligence officers admit that the KGB blew up Russian apartment buildings in 1999 and falsely blamed it on Chechens, in order to justify an invasion of Chechnya (and see this report and this discussion).
(31) As reported by the New York Times, BBC and Associated Press, Macedonian officials admit that in 2001, the government murdered 7 innocent immigrants in cold blood and pretended that they were Al Qaeda soldiers attempting to assassinate Macedonian police, in order to join the “war on terror”. They lured foreign migrants into the country, executed them in a staged gun battle, and then claimed they were a unit backed by Al Qaeda intent on attacking Western embassies”. Specifically, Macedonian authorities had lured the immigrants into the country, and then – after killing them – posed the victims with planted evidence – “bags of uniforms and semiautomatic weapons at their side” – to show Western diplomats.
(32) At the July 2001 G8 Summit in Genoa, Italy, black-clad thugs were videotaped getting out of police cars, and were seen by an Italian MP carrying “iron bars inside the police station”. Subsequently, senior police officials in Genoa subsequently admitted that police planted two Molotov cocktails and faked the stabbing of a police officer at the G8 Summit, in order to justify a violent crackdown against protesters.
(33) The U.S. falsely blamed Iraq for playing a role in the 9/11 attacks – as shown by a memo from the defense secretary – as one of the main justifications for launching the Iraq war.
Even after the 9/11 Commission admitted that there was no connection, Dick Cheneysaid that the evidence is “overwhelming” that al Qaeda had a relationship with Saddam Hussein’s regime, that Cheney “probably” had information unavailable to the Commission, and that the media was not ‘doing their homework’ in reporting such ties. Top U.S. government officials now admit that the Iraq war was really launched for oil … not 9/11 or weapons of mass destruction.
Despite previous “lone wolf” claims, many U.S. government officials now say that 9/11 was state-sponsored terror; but Iraq was not the state which backed the hijackers. (Many U.S. officials have alleged that 9/11 was a false flag operation by rogue elements of the U.S. government; but such a claim is beyond the scope of this discussion. The key point is that the U.S. falsely blamed it on Iraq, when it knew Iraq had nothing to do with it.).
(Additionally, the same judge who has shielded the Saudis for any liability for funding 9/11 has awarded a default judgment against Iran for $10.5 billion for carrying out 9/11 … even though no one seriously believes that Iran had any part in 9/11.)
(34) Although the FBI now admits that the 2001 anthrax attacks were carried out by one or more U.S. government scientists, a senior FBI official says that the FBI was actually told to blame the Anthrax attacks on Al Qaeda by White House officials (remember what the anthrax letters looked like). Government officials also confirm that the white House tried to link the anthrax to Iraq as a justification for regime change in that country. And see this.
(35) According to the Washington Post, Indonesian police admit that the Indonesian military killed American teachers in Papua in 2002 and blamed the murders on a Papuan separatist group in order to get that group listed as a terrorist organization.
(36) The well-respected former Indonesian president also admits that the government probably had a role in the Bali bombings.
(38) In 2003, the U.S. Secretary of Defense admitted that interrogators were authorized to use the following method: “False Flag: Convincing the detainee that individuals from a country other than the United States are interrogating him.” While not a traditional false flag attack, this deception could lead to former detainees – many of whom were tortured – attacking the country falsely blamed for the interrogation and torture.
(39) Former Department of Justice lawyer John Yoosuggested in 2005 that the US should go on the offensive against al-Qaeda, having “our intelligence agencies create a false terrorist organization. It could have its own websites, recruitment centers, training camps, and fundraising operations. It could launchfake terrorist operations and claim credit for real terrorist strikes, helping to sow confusion within al-Qaeda’s ranks, causing operatives to doubt others’ identities and to question the validity of communications.”
(40) Similarly, in 2005, Professor John Arquilla of the Naval Postgraduate School – a renowned US defense analyst credited with developing the concept of ‘netwar’ – called for western intelligence services to create new “pseudo gang” terrorist groups, as a way of undermining “real” terror networks. According to Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh, Arquilla’s ‘pseudo-gang’ strategy was, Hersh reported, already being implemented by the Pentagon:
“Under Rumsfeld’s new approach, I was told, US military operatives would be permitted to pose abroad as corrupt foreign businessmen seeking to buy contraband items that could be used in nuclear-weapons systems. In some cases, according to the Pentagon advisers, local citizens could be recruited and asked to join up with guerrillas or terrorists…
The new rules will enable the Special Forces community to set up what it calls ‘action teams’ in the target countries overseas which can be used to find and eliminate terrorist organizations. ‘Do you remember the right-wing execution squads in El Salvador?’ the former high-level intelligence official asked me, referring to the military-led gangs that committed atrocities in the early nineteen-eighties. ‘We founded them and we financed them,’ he said. ‘The objective now is to recruit locals in any area we want. And we aren’t going to tell Congress about it.’ A former military officer, who has knowledge of the Pentagon’s commando capabilities, said, ‘We’re going to be riding with the bad boys.’”
(41) United Press International reported in June 2005:
U.S. intelligence officers are reporting that some of the insurgents in Iraq are using recent-model Beretta 92 pistols, but the pistols seem to have had their serial numbers erased. The numbers do not appear to have been physically removed; the pistols seem to have come off a production line without any serial numbers. Analysts suggest the lack of serial numbers indicates that the weapons were intended for intelligence operations or terrorist cells with substantial government backing. Analysts speculate that these guns are probably from either Mossad or the CIA. Analysts speculate that agent provocateurs may be using the untraceable weapons even as U.S. authorities use insurgent attacks against civilians as evidence of the illegitimacy of the resistance.
(42) In 2005, British soldiers dressed as Arabs were caught by Iraqi police after a shootout against the police. The soldiers apparently possessed explosives, and were accused of attempting to set off bombs. While none of the soldiers admitted that they were carrying out attacks, British soldiers and a column of British tanks stormed the jail they were held in, broke down a wall of the jail, and busted them out. The extreme measures used to free the soldiers – rather than have them face questions and potentially stand trial – could be considered an admission.
(43) Undercover Israeli soldiers admitted in 2005 to throwing stones at other Israeli soldiers so they could blame it on Palestinians, as an excuse to crack down on peaceful protests by the Palestinians.
(44) Quebec police admitted that, in 2007, thugs carrying rocks to a peaceful protest were actually undercover Quebec police officers (and see this).
(45) A 2008 US Army special operations field manual recommends that the U.S. military use surrogate non-state groups such as “paramilitary forces, individuals, businesses, foreign political organizations, resistant or insurgent organizations, expatriates, transnational terrorism adversaries, disillusioned transnational terrorism members, black marketers, and other social or political ‘undesirables.’” The manual specifically acknowledged that U.S. special operations can involve both counterterrorism and “Terrorism” (as well as “transnational criminal activities, including narco-trafficking, illicit arms-dealing, and illegal financial transactions.”)
He should do what I did when I was Minister of the Interior … infiltrate the movement with agents provocateurs inclined to do anything …. And after that, with the strength of the gained population consent, … beat them for blood and beat for blood also those teachers that incite them. Especially the teachers. Not the elderly, of course, but the girl teachers yes.
(47) An undercover officer admitted that he infiltrated environmental, leftwing and anti-fascist groups in 22 countries. Germany’s federal police chief admitted that – while the undercover officer worked for the German police – he acted illegally during a G8 protest in Germany in 2007 and committed arson by setting fire during a subsequent demonstration in Berlin. The undercover officer spent many years living with violent “Black Bloc” anarchists.
(48) Denver police admitted that uniformed officers deployed in 2008 to an area where alleged “anarchists” had planned to wreak havoc outside the Democratic National Convention ended up getting into a melee with two undercover policemen. The uniformed officers didn’t know the undercover officers were cops.
(49) At the G20 protests in London in 2009, a British member of parliament saw plain clothes police officers attempting to incite the crowd to violence.
(50) The oversight agency for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police admitted that – at the G20 protests in Toronto in 2010 – undercover police officers were arrested with a group of protesters. Videos and photos (see this and this, for example) show that violent protesters wore very similar boots and other gear as the police, and carried police batons. The Globe and Mail reports that the undercover officers planned the targets for violent attack, and the police failed to stop the attacks.
(51) Egyptian politicians admitted (and see this) that government employees looted priceless museum artifacts 2011 to try to discredit the protesters.
(52) Austin police admit that 3 officers infiltrated the Occupy protests in that city. Prosecutors admit that one of the undercover officers purchased and constructed illegal “lock boxes” which ended up getting many protesters arrested.
(53) In 2011, a Colombian colonel admitted that he and his soldiers had lured 57 innocent civilians and killed them – after dressing many of them in uniforms – as part of a scheme to claim that Columbia was eradicating left-wing terrorists. And see this.
(54) Rioters who discredited the peaceful protests against the swearing in of the Mexican president in 2012 admitted that they were paid 300 pesos each to destroy everything in their path. According to Wikipedia, photos also show the vandals waiting in groups behind police lines prior to the violence.
(55) On November 20, 2014, Mexican agent provocateurs were transported by army vehicles to participate in the 2014 Iguala mass kidnapping protests, as was shown by videos and pictures distributed via social networks.
(56) The highly-respected writer for the Telegraph Ambrose Evans-Pritchard says that the head of Saudi intelligence – Prince Bandar – recently admitted that the Saudi government controls “Chechen” terrorists.
(57) Two members of the Turkish parliament, high-level American sources and others admitted that the Turkish government – a NATO country – carried out the chemical weapons attacks in Syria and falsely blamed them on the Syrian government; and high-ranking Turkish government admitted on tape plans to carry out attacks and blame it on the Syrian government.
(58) The former Director of the NSA and other American government officials admit said that the U.S. is a huge supporter of terrorism. Jimmy Carter’s National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinskiadmitted on CNN that the U.S. organized and supported Bin Laden and the other originators of “Al Qaeda” in the 1970s to fight the Soviets. The U.S. and its allies have been supporting Al Qaeda and other Islamic terrorist groups for many decades, and providing them arms, money and logistical support in Libya, Syria, Mali, Bosnia, Chechnya, Iran, and many other countries. U.S. allies are also directly responsible for creating and supplying ISIS.
It’s gotten so ridiculous that a U.S. Senator has introduced a “Stop Arming Terrorists Act”, and U.S. Congresswoman – who introduced a similar bill in the House – says:
“For years, the U.S. government has been supporting armed militant groups working directly with and often under the command of terrorist groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda in their fight to overthrow the Syrian government.”
(59) The Ukrainian security chief admits that the sniper attacks which started the Ukrainian coup were carried out in order to frame others. Ukrainian officials admit that the Ukrainian snipers fired on both sides, to create maximum chaos.
(60) Speaking of snipers, in a secret recording, Venezuelan generals admit that they will deploy snipers to shoot protesters, but keep the marksmen well-hidden from demonstrator and the reporters covering the events so others would be blamed for the deaths.
(61) Burmese government officials admitted that Burma (renamed Myanmar) used false flag attacks against Muslim and Buddhist groups within the country to stir up hatred between the two groups, to prevent democracy from spreading.
(62) Israeli police were again filmed in 2015 dressing up as Arabs and throwing stones, then turning over Palestinian protesters to Israeli soldiers.
(63) Britain’s spy agency has admitted (and see this) that it carries out “digital false flag” attacks on targets, framing people by writing offensive or unlawful material … and blaming it on the target.
(64) The CIA has admitted that it uses viruses and malware from Russia and other countries to carry out cyberattacks and blame other countries.
(65) U.S. soldiers have admitted that if they kill innocent Iraqis and Afghanis, they then “drop” automatic weapons near their body so they can pretend they were militants.
(66) German prosecutors admit that a German soldier disguised himself as a Syrian refugee and planned to shoot people so that the attack would be blamed on asylum seekers.
(67) Police frame innocent people for crimes they didn’t commit. The practice is so well-known that the New York Times noted in 1981:
In police jargon, a throwdown is a weapon planted on a victim.
Perez, himself a former [Los Angeles Police Department] cop, was caught stealing eight pounds of cocaine from police evidence lockers. After pleading guilty in September, he bargained for a lighter sentence by telling an appalling story of attempted murder and a “throwdown”–police slang for a weapon planted by cops to make a shooting legally justifiable. Perez said he and his partner, Officer Nino Durden, shot an unarmed 18th Street Gang member named Javier Ovando, then planted a semiautomatic rifle on the unconscious suspect and claimed that Ovando had tried to shoot themduring a stakeout.
As part of his plea bargain, Pérez implicated scores of officers from the Rampart Division’s anti-gang unit, describing routinely beating gang members, planting evidence on suspects, falsifying reports and covering up unprovoked shootings.
(As a side note – and while not technically false flag attacks – police have been busted framing innocent people in many other ways, as well.)
(68) A former U.S. intelligence officer recently alleged:
Most terrorists are false flag terrorists or are created by our own security services.
(69) The head and special agent in charge of the FBI’s Los Angeles office said that most terror attacks are committed by the CIA and FBI as false flags.
(70) The Director of Analytics at the interagency Global Engagement Center housed at the U.S. Department of State, also an adjunct professor at George Mason University, where he teaches the graduate course National Security Challenges in the Department of Information Sciences and Technology, a former branch chief in the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, and an intelligence advisor to the Secretary of Homeland Security (J.D. Maddox) notes:
Provocation is one of the most basic, but confounding, aspects of warfare. Despite its sometimes obvious use, it has succeeded consistently against audiences around the world, for millennia, to compel war. A well-constructed provocation narrative mutes even the most vocal opposition.
The culmination of a strategic provocation operation invariably reflects a narrative of victimhood: we are the victims of the enemy’s unforgivable atrocities.
In the case of strategic provocation the deaths of an aggressor’s own personnel are a core tactic of the provocation.
The persistent use of strategic provocation over centuries – and its apparent importance to war planners – begs the question of its likely use by the US and other states in the near term.
(71) Leaders throughout history have acknowledged the “benefits” of of false flags to justify their political agenda:
“Terrorism is the best political weapon for nothing drives people harder than a fear of sudden death”.
– Adolph Hitler
“Why of course the people don’t want war … But after all it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship … Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.”
– Hermann Goering, Nazi leader.
“The easiest way to gain control of a population is to carry out acts of terror. [The public] will clamor for such laws if their personal security is threatened”.
– Josef Stalin
Postscript 1: It is not just “modern” nations which have launched false flag attacks. For example, a Native American from one tribe (Pomunkey) murdered a white Englishwoman living in Virginia in 1697 and then falsely blamed it on second tribe (Piscataway). But he later admitted in court that he was not really Piscataway, and that he had been paid by a provocateur from a third tribe (Iroquois) to kill the woman as a way to start a war between the English and the Piscataway, thus protecting the profitable Iroquois monopoly in trade with the English.
Postscript 2: On multiple occasions, atrocities or warmongering are falsely blamed on the enemy as a justification for war … when no such event ever occurred. This is more like a “fake flag” than a “false flag”, as no actual terrorism occurred.
The NSA admitsthat it lied about what really happened in the Gulf of Tonkin incident in 1964 … manipulating data to make it look like North Vietnamese boats fired on a U.S. ship so as to create a false justification for the Vietnam war
Pulitzer prize-winning journalist Ron Suskind reportedthat the White House ordered the CIA to forge and backdate a document falsely linking Iraq with Muslim terrorists and 9/11 … and that the CIA complied with those instructions and in fact created the forgery, which was then used to justify war against Iraq. And see this and this
Time magazine points outthat the claim by President Bush that Iraq was attempting to buy “yellow cake” Uranium from Niger:
had been checked out — and debunked — by U.S. intelligence a year before the President repeated it.
Everyone knewthat Iraq didn’t have weapons of mass destruction. More
The entire torture program was geared towards obtaining false confessionslinking Iraq and 9/11
CIA agents and documents admitthat the agency gave Iran plans for building nuclear weapons … so it could frame Iran for trying to build the bomb
The “humanitarian” wars in Syria, Libya and Yugoslavia were all justified by highly exaggerated reportsthat the leaders of those countries were committing atrocities against their people. And see this
Afterword: The corporate media will likely never report on false flags … as it is ALWAYS pro-war.
This Memorial Day, Monday, May 29, 2017, is the 100th birthday of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, the 35th President of the United States.
JFK was assassinated on November 22, 1963, as he approached the end of his third year in office. Researchers who spent years studying the evidence have concluded that President Kennedy was assassinated by a conspiracy between the CIA, Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Secret Service. (See, for example, JFK and the Unspeakable by James W. Douglass)
Kennedy entered office as a cold warrior, but he learned from his interaction with the CIA and Joint Chiefs that the military/security complex had an agenda that was self-interested and a danger to humanity. He began working to defuse tensions with the Soviet Union. His rejections of plans to invade Cuba, of the Northwoods project, of a preemptive nuclear attack on the Soviet Union, and his intention to withdraw from Vietnam after his reelection, together with some of his speeches signaling a new approach to foreign policy in the nuclear age (see for example, https://www.jfklibrary.org/Asset-Viewer/BWC7I4C9QUmLG9J6I8oy8w.aspx ), convinced the military/security complex that he was a threat to their interests. Cold War conservatives regarded him as naive about the Soviet Threat and a liability to US national security. These were the reasons for his assassination. These views were set in stone when Kennedy announced on June 10, 1963, negotiations with the Soviets toward a nuclear test ban treaty and a halt to US atmospheric nuclear tests.
The Oswald coverup story never made any sense and was contradicted by all evidence including tourist films of the assassination. President Johnson had ro cover up the assassination, not because he was part of it or because he willfully wanted to deceive the American people, but because to give Americans the true story would have shaken their confidence in their government at a critical time in US-Soviet relations. To make the coverup succeed, Johnson needed the credibility of the Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court, Earl Warren, to chair the commission that covered up the assassination. Warren understood the devastating impact the true story would have on the public and their confidence in the military and national security leadership and on America’s allies.
As I previously reported, Lance deHaven-Smith in his book, Conspiracy Theory in America, shows that the CIA introduced “conspiracy theory” into the political lexicon as a technique to discredit skepticism of the Warren Commission’s coverup report. He provides the CIA document that describes how the agency used its media friends to control the explanation.
The term “conspiracy theory” has been used ever since to validate false explanations by discrediting true explanations.
President Kennedy was also determined to require the Israel Lobby to register as a foreign agent and to block Israel’s acquisition of nuclear weapons. His assassination removed the constraints on Israel’s illegal activities. http://www.voltairenet.org/article178401.html
Memorial Day is when Americans honor those in the armed services who died serving the country. JFK fell while serving the causes of peace and nuclear disarmament. In a 1961 address to the United Nations, President Kennedy said:
“Today, every inhabitant of this planet must contemplate the day when this planet may no longer be habitable. Every man, woman and child lives under a nuclear sword of Damocles, hanging by the slenderest of threads, capable of being cut at any moment by accident or miscalculation or by madness. The weapons of war must be abolished before they abolish us. It is therefore our intention to challenge the Soviet Union, not to an arms race, but to a peace race – to advance together step by step, stage by stage, until general and complete disarmament has been achieved.”
Kennedy’s address was well received at home and abroad and received a favorable and supportive response from Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev, but it caused consternation among the warhawks in the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The US led in terms of the number of nuclear warheads and delivery systems, and this lead was the basis for US military plans for a surprise nuclear attack on the Soviet Union. http://prospect.org/article/did-us-military-plan-nuclear-first-strike-1963 Also, Many believed that nuclear disarmament would remove the obstacle to the Soviet Army overrunning Western Europe. Warhawks considered this a greater threat than nuclear armageddon. Many in high military circles regarded President Kennedy as weakening the US viv-a-vis the Soviet Union.
The assassination of President Kennedy was an enormous cost to the world. Kennedy and Khrushchev would have followed up their collaboration in defusing the Cuban Missile Crisis by ending the Cold War long before the military/security complex achieved its iron grip on the US government. Israel would have been denied nuclear weapons, and the designation of the Israel Lobby as a foreign agent would have prevented Israel’s strong grip on the US government. In his second term, JFK would have broken the CIA into a thousand pieces, an intention he expressed to his brother, Robert, and the Deep State would have been terminated before it became more powerful than the President.
But the military/security complex struck first, and pulled off a coup that voided all these promises and terminated American democracy.
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.
The report Table of Contents, then the Summary, are below:
KiS Report – Table of Contents
2.01 There are glimmers of hope
2.02 Check the roadmap first
3. Issues Influencing KiS Government
3.01 Democracy evolution
3.02 The modern nation-state
3.03 Cargo Cult mentality
3.05 Freedom of speech
3.06 Trade unions, labour laws and productivity
3.07 Standards, regulations and intrusion
3.08 ‘Carbon pollution’ v. weather
3.09 The ‘green mafia’
3.10 Water management
3.11 Energy management
3.12 Global governance
3.13 NGO influence
3.14 Bureaucracy and convoluted government management
3.15 Levels of government
3.17 Economics and financial management
3.18 The modern politician
3.19 Human imperfections and differences
4. KiS Issue Summary
5. KiS Philosophy
6. KiS Vision for Australia
7. KiS Management
7.01 Management 101 delivers optimum results
7.02 A starting point to improve on
8. KiS Government Organisation
8.01 KiS national government objective
8.02 KiS national government law process
8.03 National Government structure
8.04 Two levels of government
9. KiS Government management
9.01 Criminal Justice
9.02 National and local service fees
9.03 Excise tax and royalties
9.04 Financial management
9.05 Commercial and financial oversight
9.06 Citizenship and Visas
9.07 Infrastructure and the environment
9.08 Labour laws and productivity
10. Implementing KiS Government
10.01 Transition plan
10.02 KiS government activities and resources
10.03 Planning and plans
10.04 International agreements and foreign aid
10.05 Asset ownership
10.06 Process and regulation simplification
10.07 Culture and values tests
10.08 Guardian group and freedom of speech
10.09 Communicating KiS changes
11. Would the Silent Majority Vote for KiS?
11.01 Are the silent majority of Australian voters sufficiently fed up?
11.02 Boiling frog syndrome
11.03 An about-turn by politicians as well as the silent majority?
A. Australian immigration history
B. The Greens’ agenda
C. ‘Carbon Pollution’ in the UK
D. The Silent Majority (1): Australian divorce
E. The Silent Majority (2): ‘I’m tired’ (US)
F. The Silent Majority (3): What good people do
G. ‘The Australian Government beat me to it’
KiS Report Summary
Surveys, ‘pub-talk’ and media comment indicate that most Australians are very dissatisfied with their Government. Few voters believe that current political parties can fix the plethora of problems which arise from the government itself – and politicians tend to exacerbate problems rather than fixing them.
Voter frustrations include: excessive governmental intrusion and bureaucracy; financial regulator failures; abysmal government management of risk, building, health, water, energy and immigration; ineffective criminal justice; ‘carbon pollution’ taxes and waste; the ‘green mafia’; variability of freedom of speech; covert influence from some NGOs; inadequate employment laws; and the regularity of politicians’ breaking of promises.
No democratic government in the world is widely viewed as very successful, so there is no ideal model to copy. The complexity of government and the depth of related problems are too entrenched for incremental improvements to be effective. A keep-it-simple policy could provide the best solution. KiS is a completely different way of democratic government, starting with a ‘clean slate’ and applying the best management practices. Key components of a KiS government would include:
Recognition that competent and diligent governmental staff are often thwarted by excessive complexity and by covert agendas of power brokers and ideologues.
Government structure comprises two levels: national and local. States have figurehead roles only. Local governments have wider roles including health and education boards.
House of Representatives and Senate member numbers are reduced to a total of 100. Members demonstrate excellent competencies and comply with fiduciary duties of care.
All taxes are replaced by ‘flat rate service fees’ introduced over 3 years: 20% on individual incomes and 10% on business expenditure. Compliance is simple.
Businesses such as mining companies using natural resources pay economic rents which enable fair profits and encourage investment and growth, including overseas investment.
Recreational drugs are not illegal. Excise duties are charged on alcohol, tobacco and recreational drugs at rates that cover all related costs with rigorous auditing and penalties.
Government processes, systems and regulations are reviewed using ‘clean slate’ methods that optimise efficiency and effectiveness, and, if necessary, are modified or replaced.
All government departments have audited plans that conform to guidelines reflecting best practices, and which include preparation for such contingencies as catastrophic weather.
The criminal justice system focuses first on full compensation of all victims’ losses and all related judicial costs, then on the rehabilitation of criminals. When appropriate and possible, custodial sentences consist of home detention – prison is a last resort.
Government asset ownership is retained only if no better alternative be available.
Commercial and financial oversight is strengthened to ensure that GFC-type greed and excesses are not repeated. Net government debt is eliminated as soon as practical.
All government funding relating to ‘carbon pollution’ ceases. Related actions are reviewed after rigorous assessments and recommendations from a Royal Commission.
Immigrant assessments are completed and decisions made within three months. Immigrants sign contracts agreeing to abide by Australian law and to support Australian culture and values. Major transgressors are evicted from Australia.
A Guardian group investigates concerns about covert influence and behaviour.
Implementation is gradual over several years; each step builds on the last success.
KiS solutions focus on the concerns and wishes of the ‘silent majority’ of voters — the antithesis of political power-brokers, ideologues and rent-seekers. KiS proposals are not intended to be definitive; rather they provide a basis for improvements and further reforms.
Are the ‘silent majority’ of voters so fed up with existing governments that they would vote for radical change such as KiS? Would sufficient candidates with the requisite competence and credibility stand for KiS and promote it, or would an existing political party adopt KiS policies if it became clear a growing movement of voters demand change? Failure to implement radical change soon will result in Australian politics and government descending even further into complexity, intrusion and waste with little hope of real reform.
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.
The technology for ‘free’ (over-unity) energy has been demonstrated beyond doubt to be known by some ‘black’ government departments and subcontractors, but is currently kept secret.
Numerous crimes have been committed by deep state government groups and associated military/industrial organisations to protect their industry and advantages.
The technologies for ‘free energy’ include zero-point (sub-atomics / quantum) as well as received electro-magnetic energy.
‘Science’ has made fundamental errors, deliberate and otherwise, including defining energy systems as ‘closed’.
Open experiments to produce ‘free’ energy have to date been suppressed covertly by energy industry leaders.
Access to ‘free’ energy will eventually enable massive improvements throughout all parts of the world, far greater than the industrial revolution.
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; energy, agriculture, telecoms, 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 trillion, so energy comprised about 15%.
Numerous organizations are working flat-out 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, 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. Science has an alarming history of ‘getting it wrong’. As Einstein said, it only takes one person to prove I’m wrong’.
There is considerable evidence that some US ‘black’ government departments have been aware of the ability to produce ‘free’ energy for many decades. This is discussed below, in particular by Dr Greer.
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.
A broad introduction to subject of ‘free energy’ is presented 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. Note: there are many more later presentation covering major progress. Also the following video interview with Dr Carol Rosin: Von Braun’s legacy – 34 min 2013 YouTube
Recent article (170930) explaining the current situation and issues surrounding ‘free energy’. Note in particular the third video. ZPE / ‘free energy’ has been demonstrated for over a century, but bankers (J P Morgan / Nicola Tesla), the international energy industry (estimated to be worth well over $200 trillion) all conspire to steal the technologies, experiments etc. and prevent the world from getting free energy.
Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Bearden, US Army, PhD, probably THE world guru on the subject, 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’. A 2013 video presents the science, issues and economics in fairly simple language. An earlier similar video below. The third bullet provides Tom Bearden’s incredible CV.
Another video recorded around 2002, but similarly valid in now, presents a similar series of issues. The main difference is that his point regarding ‘money-printing’ has extended his forecasted deadline – 47 minutes
The 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 note quotes etc. This old video ~2003 – predicts the 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. By Eugene Mallove RIP.
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.
But technical designs to harness zero-point energy would not fall into this category because sub-atomic zero-point energy is claimed as the input source of energy’. The issue is, what boundaries comprise the overall system in which the energy resides?
‘Science’ considers all energy systems are ‘closed’; that is, no energy can come in or out of them. Closed system thermodymamics is taught as gospel by conventional academics and forms the foundation of our civilization and all current technologies. The problem is, there is no such thing as a closed system. All systems have varying degrees of interaction with their environments, both macro, micro, nano and sub-atomic (quantum). ZPE, for instance, considers energy from sub-nuclear ‘fields’. Electro-magnetism comes in and goes out from everywhere in the universe (albeit in rather small amounts after applying the cube rule to distant sources).
Another key factor is those who control all energy in the world are less than keen on experiments with above-unity power system, so they do everything they can to stop them (e.g. JP Morgan and Tesla).
‘Science’ appears to have made a colossal mistake in simplifying Maxwell’s equations (see Tom Beardon’s article) and losing a key component that provided for over-unity power generation. But science in universities etc. get all their funding from governments who stick with the PC view, including science.
However, there are cracks appearing in the armor. One article noted ‘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).’
There are many other views and experiments to develop over-unity power system (the system generates more power than it consumes) deploy various electro-magnetic forces, often based on Tesla’s experiments. Some have been demonstrated to be successful, but without full explanations are to how or why they work. There are many examples of these experimenters being either bought off or possibly assassinated. It is assumed those controlling various aspects of the power industry are responsible for such repression.
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 JP 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. First a long interview with Tesla from ~1900, with a link to a 1916 interview.
The ‘science’ of frequencies, and their relevance. Nikola Tesla, the great genius and father of electromagnetic engineering, had once said, “If you only knew the magnificence of the 3, 6 and 9, then you would hold a key to the universe”. The 3, 6, and 9 are the fundamental root vibrations of the Solfeggio frequencies. Albert Einstein stated: “Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.” All matter beings vibrate at specific rates and everything has its own melody. The musical nature of nuclear matter from atoms to galaxies is now finally being recognized by science.
Tesla: his background, genius and how his advances were stolen. To what effect now?
Dr Steven Greer (also covered in part below in Extra-terrestrials and UFOs)
Steven Greer, re new/free energy/East Trinity summary 2009.
Greer video, 16 mins, in which he explains a conversation with a billionaire who would not back Greer’s free energy device because GM already had this, but an executive who was planning to release it to produce free-energy cars was murdered 2 weeks after he presented his plans. The 85-year old billionaire said he was not afraid for himself, but for his family. NB this is the fifth video in a 5-part series.
The potential for ‘free energy’ is discussed at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zero-point_energy – Utilization Controversy section. Zero-point energy, also called quantum vacuum zero-point energy, is the lowest possible energy that a quantum mechanicalphysical system may have; it is the energy of its ground state. Despite the scientific stance to typically discount the claims, numerous articles and books have been published addressing and discussing the potential of tapping zero-point-energy from the quantum vacuum or elsewhere. See 44 references with links.
The RET Scheme, a monstrous mis-allocation of resources, continues to make Australia poorer for no good reason. Those who concocted and voted for it seem determined to hobble the nation’s prospects while slipping some $5 billion every year into the pockets of rent-seeking saboteurs
One Senate inquiry is addressing Australia’s drift towards a fuel crisis, a sin of omission on the part of the Rudd/Gillard government and the current Liberal one. Another Senate inquiry is investigating a sin of commission that started under John Howard’s watch and continues to this day, namely the proliferation of wind turbines under the RET Scheme.
Submissions to the latter inquiry are online here. I commend submission Number Five by your humble correspondent. It is reproduced below:
No electric power producer would take power from a wind turbine operation if they had the choice. All the wind turbines in Australia have been forced upon the power companies that take their output.
Why do we have wind turbines?
So the question has to be asked, why do we have wind turbines in the first place?
Wind turbines are commonly considered to produce renewable energy. This is distinct from energy sources that are once-through and thus finite. The rationale for renewable energy is that its use reduces the consumption of fossil fuels by substitution. The rationale for that, in turn, is that fossil fuels contribute to the warming of the atmosphere through the greenhouse effect. This last rationale goes to the source of the wind turbine problem. So it is apposite to examine that claim.
While climate change is real in that the climate is always changing, and the greenhouse effect of carbon dioxide is real, the effect at the current atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide is minuscule.
The greenhouse gasses keep the planet 30°C warmer than it would otherwise be if they weren’t in the atmosphere. So the average temperature of the planet’s surface is 15°C instead of -15°C. Of that effect, 80% is provided by water vapour, 10% by carbon dioxide and methane, ozone and so on make up the remaining 10%. So the warming provided by carbon dioxide is three degrees.
The pre-industrial level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 286 parts per million. Let’s round that up to 300 parts per million to make the maths easier. You could be forgiven for thinking that if 300 parts per million produces three degrees of warming, the relationship is that every one hundred parts per million produces a degree of warming. We are adding two parts per million to the atmosphere each year, which is 100 parts per million every 50 years and, at that rate, the world would heat up at a fair clip.
The relationship is logarithmic
But the relationship isn’t arithmetic, it is logarithmic. The University of Chicago has an online program called Modtran which allows you to put in an assumed atmospheric carbon dioxide content and it will tell you how much atmospheric heating that produces. It turns out that the first 20 parts per million produces half of the heating effect to date. The effect rapidly drops away as the carbon dioxide concentration increases.
By the time we get to the current level in the atmosphere of 400 parts per million, the heating effect is only 0.1°C per one hundred parts per million. At that rate, the temperature of the atmosphere might rise by 0.2°C every one hundred years.
The total atmospheric heating from carbon dioxide to date is of the order of 0.1°C. By the time humanity has dug up all the rocks we can economically burn, and burnt them, the total heating effect from carbon dioxide might be of the order of 0.4°C. This would take a couple of centuries. A rise of this magnitude would be lost in the noise of the climate system. This agrees with observations which have not found any signature from carbon dioxide-related heating in the atmosphere.
Carbon dioxide level is dangerously low
The carbon dioxide level of the atmosphere is actually dangerously low, not dangerously high. During the glacial periods of our current ice age, the level got as low as 180 parts per million. Plant growth shuts down at 150 parts per million. Several times in the last three million years, life above sea level came within 30 parts per million of extinction due to a lack of carbon dioxide. The more humanity can increase the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, the safer life on Earth will be.
Further to all that, belief in global warming from carbon dioxide requires a number of underlying assumptions. One of these is that the feedback loop of increased heating from carbon dioxide causes more water vapour to be held in the atmosphere which in turns causes more heating, a runaway effect. And that this feedback effect only starts from the pre-industrial level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – not a higher level or a lower level, but exactly at the pre-industrial level.
Some estimates of the heating effect of atmospheric carbon dioxide are as high as 6.0°C for a doubling of the concentration from the pre-industrial level. For this to be true, atmospheric heating of at least 2.0°C should have been seen to date. In the real world, there has been a temperature rise of 0.3°C in the last 35 years, as measured by satellites. This is well short of what is predicted by global warming theory as practiced by the CSIRO, Bureau of Meteorology and others.
This is also a far more plausible reason for the warming of the planet during the current Modern Warm Period which followed the ending of the Little Ice Age in 1900. The energy that keeps the Earth from looking like Pluto comes from the Sun and the level and make-up of that energy does change. The Sun was more active in the second half of the 20th century than it had been in the previous 8,000 years. As shown by the geomagnetic Aa Index, the Sun started getting more active in the mid-19th century and the world’s glaciers began retreating at about the same time.
It is entirely rational to think that a more active Sun would result in a warmer Earth, and this is borne out by empirical observation. To wit, the increased Antarctic sea ice cover observed during the satellite period.
Arctic sea ice extent retreated for the last 20 years of the 20th century. That is compatible with global warming for any reason. At the same time, Antarctic sea extent increased by an amount similar to the Arctic sea ice loss. This is not possible if we accept that global warming is due to carbon dioxide. It also means that global warming due to carbon dioxide did not cause the bulk of the warming in the rest of the planet because carbon dioxide’s effect was overwhelmed in Antarctica by some other force.
Increase in Antarctic sea ice extent
The increase in Antarctic sea ice extent is entirely consistent with increased global temperatures due to high solar activity, as explained by Henrik Svensmark’s theory, which holds that high solar activity produces a lower neutron flux in the lower troposphere from intergalactic cosmic radiation, in turn providing fewer nucleation sites for cloud droplet formation and, thus, less cloud cover. Sunnier skies over Antarctica in turn mean that more solar radiation is reflected by high-albedo snow and ice instead of being absorbed in the cloud cover. Thus Antarctica has cooled.
The rest of the world has enjoyed the best climatic conditions, and thus agricultural growing conditions, since the 13th century. But what the Sun gives it can also take away. Solar physicists have been warning for over a decade that the Sun is entering a prolonged period of low activity similar to that of the Maunder Minimum from 1645 to 1710. Most recently, Livingstone and Penn have predicted a maximum amplitude for the next solar cycle, Solar Cycle 25, of 7. By comparison, the previous solar cycle, Solar Cycle 23, had a maximum amplitude of 120.
The longest temperature record on the planet is the Central England Temperature Record from 1659. Using the solar-based forecasting model developed by Dr David Evans and the Livingstone and Penn estimate of Solar Cycle 25 amplitude of 7, a prediction can be made of the effect on the Central England Temperature out to 2040. The reduction in solar activity now being observed will result in temperatures returning to the levels of the mid-19th century at best, with the possibility of revisiting the lows of the 17th and 18th centuries. Peak summer temperatures may not change much but the length of the growing season will shorten at both ends, playing havoc with crop yields.
The notion of global warming
The notion of global warming has resulted in an enormous mis-allocation of resources in some Western societies, but we can be thankful for one thing. If it had not been for the outrageous prostitution of science in the global warming cause, then the field of climate would not have attracted the attention that has determined what is actually happening to the Earth’s climate. Humanity would otherwise be sleepwalking into the severe cold period in train.
As demonstrated above, there is no moral basis for Australian society’s investment in wind turbines if the purpose of that investment is to reduce carbon dioxide emissions through a form of renewable energy. Global warming due to carbon dioxide is of no consequence and the world is cooling anyway.
WIND TURBINES may lack a moral purpose, but might there be some other good involved? Let’s examine the claim that wind turbines provide renewable energy, thus reducing our depletion of finite energy resources.
Wind turbines are made using energy from coal at about 4 cents per kWh and provide energy thought to cost of the order of 10 cents per kWh. In effect, they are machines for taking cheap, stable and reliable energy from coal and giving it back in the form of an intermittent and unpredictable dribble at more than twice the price.
That is one thing. But what stops wind turbines from being renewable is that the making of wind turbines can’t be powered using energy from the wind turbines themselves! If power from wind turbines costing 10 cents per kWh was used to make more wind turbines, then the wind turbines so produced would make power at something like 25 cents per kWh. The cost would compound away and any society that attempted to run itself on wind energy would collapse. Wind energy as a component of a power system relies upon transfer of energy at its inception from another source. It is not renewable energy. It is no consolation that solar power from photovoltaic panels is much worse in this respect.
That wind energy is renewable energy is the second lie on which the RET scheme is based, the first being that renewable energy is a palliative against global warming.
There is not much more that needs to be said. The RET Scheme is a monstrous misallocation of the nation’s resources and continues to make the Australian people poorer for no good reason. Those who concocted it and voted for it have sold the Australian people into the servitude and oppression of rent-seekers to the tune of $5 billion per annum. The science and economics it is based on are no better than voodoo and witchcraft. The wind turbines scattered around the Australian countryside are a physical manifestation of the infestation of the body politic by the self-loathing, millenarian cult of global warming.
The RET Scheme draws resources from better schemes
Unfortunately, the RET Scheme and its ilk have drawn resources from the development of energy sources that would power Australia cheaply, efficiently and with enough of a return on energy invested to maintain Australia’s high standard of living into the next millennium.
The same kind of intense interest from the wider scientific community that determined what is really happening with climate has also determined that the optimum nuclear technology for society to adopt is the thorium molten salt reactor. Any middle-ranking industrial power, such as Australia, could develop this technology, and should do so.
Much time and treasure has been lost chasing the phantom menace of global warming. The sooner the RET Scheme is put to rest, the sooner that the nation’s efforts can be properly directed towards our security and welfare in developing the best possible energy source if the nation is to survive and prosper.
David Archibald is a visiting fellow at the Institute of World Politics in Washington DC where his research interest is strategic energy policy. The Institute is a graduate school for US security agencies, State Department and Department of Defense. He has published several books and a number of papers on climate science. He has lectured on climate science in both US Senate and Congressional hearing rooms. His most recent book is Twilight of Abundance (Regnery, 2014)
Energy plan puts public service before public good
by Alan Moran, Director, Deregulation, Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) March 14, 2014
THE energy white paper under preparation proclaims that government has a role in the energy industry. But it is one that is best limited to controlling natural monopoly elements within the industry. It is certainly not to provide some blueprint for the future.
A history of public ownership
Energy has an ongoing history of public ownership, at least in part stemming from misplaced notions that it is a natural monopoly and a necessity requiring government interventions. The outcome has been deleterious and has been compounded by a determination of governments to use the industry to accommodate its social, environmental and industry policies. This has transformed an inherently low-cost industry into one that now has among the world’s highest prices.
A worrying feature of the review is a prominent role given to the supposed need to maintain analytical capability within the government. This appears to be a priority to protect departmental personnel jobs that sits badly with the market-driven industry the white paper claims to be championing. The priority may be partly due to an excessive number of goals that the white paper’s “issues paper” specifies. These encompass supplying and using energy:
To put downward costs of business and households.
To grow exports.
To promote low emissions energy technologies.
To encourage the more efficient use of energy.
Whatever may be said of the first two of these stated goals, the third and fourth are in conflict and have spawned the egregious interventions in energy policy that have created a need for a white paper. The fourth also adopts the discredited hubris: “I’m from the government and I’m here to help you.”
Markets develop from the interactions of consumers with businesses, which seek to sell their goods, access inputs and reduce risks. Government’s role is to allow these processes to be pursued and to uphold the law.
A plethora of goals
Rather than a plethora of goals, the white paper should have a single focus: to allow the market to bring about efficient production of energy with interventions limited to addressing natural monopoly situations. Anything beyond that will perpetuate the weaknesses presently evident.
Energy is a vital factor in the direct wellbeing of consumers.
More important still for Australia, it is a key component of economic development. Our minerals and agricultural processing industries are natural fits to the resource endowment that Australia has and cheap energy is both part of that endowment and crucial to its development.
Irresponsible government actions
Irresponsible government actions have impaired the value of our energy resources. This can be seen in four key areas:
Retaining ownership of energy businesses in networks where such ownership is verifiably inefficient and always likely to remain so.
Placing taxes and regulatory imposts on energy suppliers to force them into costly measures in pursuit of government-determined efficiency, consumer consultation and greenhouse-reducing measures.
Impeding access to land for gas exploration and development.
Suppressing prices to certain customer groups, thereby weakening incentives to supply and maintain industry resilience.
Policies to rectify these impairments often entail government action, which are the cause of the problems in the first place.
In the past, as with the post-Hilmer competition policy payments, governments were rewarded (and occasionally punished) with regard to an agreed set of principles.
But the use of government to combat government deficiencies is oxymoronic.
Indeed, if a previous commonwealth government had attempted more forcefully to exert pressure on states to promote a goal it favoured, energy saving measures, the outcome would have been even more perverse than that which has eventuated.
The white paper’s aforementioned issues paper continues to promote market interventions in many places associated with green energy and energy efficiency.
It also has to be said that providing incentives for governments to do things that are in the interests of their own consumers is logically questionable.
A useful starting point
A useful starting point for policy, in line with the government’s deregulation initiative, is to announce the early sun-setting of all regulatory measures and discriminatory charges and taxes on energy supplies at the commonwealth level. This would be accompanied by an invitation to state governments to adopt similar programs. In the absence of such a measure the best that can be hoped for is to have the process unveil costs of poor decisions in the past as counsel for future decision-makers.