The Death Cult. Prime Minister Abbott.
In education there should be no class distinction. Analects of Confucius
The Winds of Climate Change 1
North America has experienced another Polar Vortex, a sustained blast of freezing air and snow from the Arctic. Historically these weather events occurred every twenty years. In quick succession in 2009-10, 2013, 2014 and 2015 these events portend climate rather than weather. This year snow has fallen in 48 of the 50 American states, Hawaii and Florida were spared. The situation was so dire that the Government ensured buses round the country with engines running all night provided shelter to thousands of homeless who would have frozen to death in temperatures down to -26*C.
The physics of these events is the Polar Vortex flowing round the Arctic Circle curves into lower latitudes. This is caused by the increased melting of Arctic ice as the sun heats the exposed water, moisture laden air rises to form feedstock for the violent Vortex blizzards which travel south displacing the more temperate Jet Stream. North America, Europe and Asia in recent times have all suffered unusual cold spells. As cold air roars out of the Arctic warm moisture laden air flows north to become feedstock for the violent snowstorms. Historically the Polar Vortex has been strong and kept the cold weather circulating round the polar region, this circulation system is weakening and the occasional Vortex is now increasingly looking like climate.
On the other side of the Pacific Ocean in Australia, listening to reports on the aftermath of cyclones Marcia (Cat.5) and Lam (Cat.4) a disturbing number of rural food producers are starting to give up after being flattened by three cyclone disasters in four years. Issues swirling round these disasters are leading to expanding mental health problems. Concurrently and related to increasingly violent weather events there have been over 1000 separate bush fires in Western Australia in what has been described as the hottest summer on record.
Reports of people giving up could be a growing global trend, is this a thin edge of the social wedge that gives weight to Gilding’s statement “The future is upon us”? Those entrusted with Homeland Security must be viewing trends with apprehension.
The Cockpit that is Europe.
Until Australia merges ethnically and culturally closer into South-East Asia it should remain very aware of developments in Europe. Caucasian Australians should be viewing with concern a growing crisis in Europe, a flash point that has its origins in European history. It is a situation shaped by the past and a disturbing present. After the Second World War and following the formation of the Common Market and later the European Union citizens were given to believe there would be a permanent state of prosperity. Put into collective amnesia was the fact that over 100 million people had been killed between 1914 and 1945.
After the Second World War the US Marshall Plan and the projection of unity was supposed to submerge the old animosities between France and Germany and between Britain and France. Since the late 1940s there has been a disturbing loss of sovereignty with power shared solely between Moscow and Washington. This situation lead to a declining vitality among European nations even as the Common Market formed to be followed later by the European Union, this was followed by the decline of the Soviet Union and the birth of a menacing bear, the Russian Federation. This loss of sovereignty and the lack of competition between Europeans left a dissatisfied nationalism manifest in the rise of right wing nationalist political parties across Europe.
Europe has a long lived fracture line extending from the Baltic to the Black Sea, this is the ‘blood lands’ of Europe, it is where the ‘Border Lands to Europe’ are situated some 400 miles from the sea, it is where orthodox Slavic Christianity and orthoprax Islam inter-finger with the Catholic and Protestant West. The current flash point is Ukraine whose national anthem is ‘Shche ne Umeria’, ‘Ukraine has not yet Died’.
The European international situation has degenerated to where Europe is not wealthy but Germany is wealthy, this nation has reached the unsustainable position where it exports 50% of its GDP, compared to an impecunious Europe. Intra-European markets have virtually closed down but what Germany needs is a free trade zone and it now has to look to South-East Asian markets and here there are huge problems.
German unemployment is only 5% and this is destabilising when compared to Greece 26%, Spain 24% and Italy 22%, although Greece only accounts for 2% of the European economy a measure of Euro instability can be judged by a concern for a Greek default. Populations in Europe are becoming increasingly reactionary and it is a German nightmare should countries in the Euro zone erect trade barriers
It has been mooted that Europe is in this ‘slough of despond’ because of the existence of the European Union. The Union destroyed competition between nations and levelled the playing field until it became a morass in which all became bogged in mediocrity. If Europe had kept only to the Common Market all would have been a lot better. Europe is a small continent comprised of some fifty sovereign entities, it was friction at the borders that created healthy competition. Neighbourley malice has been largely submerged by fifty years of growth, now malice and right wing nationalism is returning. Europe has slumbered on ignoring deep structural problems, national, economic and cultural, now these triplets are waking up after a long sleep. Ideas for this article have been derived from ‘The Future of Europe’ by Dr George Friedman, Stratfor.
Indonesia has no better friend than Australia.
; A map of south-east Asia showing the ASEAN Community is instructive, Australia is missing. The three pillars of the Community are socio-cultural, political and economic, these are laudable and it would appear Australia has much to offer. In assessing Australia’s place as an adjacent non member of the Community three exclusion factors are important, ethnicity, religion and an inherited GDP per head. Australia can never become a member of this Community in its present form due to these exclusion factors, GDP per head for ASEAN is $4,300 (The Economist) while for Australia it is $67,000 (World Bank). Historically and politically it is quite different but in time with Asian immigration and fecundity this will change.
In the unsustainable world of the 21st century Australia will become more isolated and perforce Australia and New Zealand will be drawn closer together under a defence pact with a potentially unenthusiastic America. Australian policy makers must hope America will continue to use Australia as a barracks for a fighting force, a naval base for refits, R&R and a military communications facility, in this context it is of interest to note that the communications base in the Caribbean has been quietly moved to Western Australia. Australia is included as a marginal outlier in the OECD ratings and a peripheral observer to NATO. Unfortunately the way the economy is declining it could loose its place in the G20.
Australia has two great opportunities to counter this potential isolation and to become central to South East Asian affairs. Its secondary and tertiary education standards are widely admired, Australia should now be training quality teaching staff and expanding existing schools and preparing to build new ones for a coming influx of Asian students. The second opportunity will be to contribute impressively to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership initiated by China. This will provide for Australian construction companies, engineers and research institutions to be at the forefront of infrastructure projects.
What has all this to do with the recent proximate quote by Prime Minister Abbott “Indonesia has no better friend than Australia, we will stand by you and help you in times of need”! Drilling into this statement it unwittingly reeks of superiority and an ex-Empire mentality. This turn of phrase would never be used between two equals.It is a statement that gives the impression it does not recognise the ruling elite and intelligentsia of the ASEAN Community are on a par or more astute than equivalent Australians. While Australian foreign aid appears well meaning it is not lost on many in Cambodia, Malaya, Nauru, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea that Australian aid may be associated with refugee issues.
With the exception of Thailand all other members of the Community have living memories of colonialism, Australia is tainted with this tar brush as it is a successful coloniser in another’s land and has inherited a standard of living that has its roots in Empire. Religion is another great differentiate, Australian Christian faith has virtually nothing in common with Islam or Buddhism.
The Winds of Climate Change 2
Following on from January blog cyclone Pam over Vanuatu and cyclone Olwyn over Carnarvon, WA, are both associated with similar physical characteristics. Cyclone Pam was the strongest ever recorded in this portion of the Western Pacific, it was classified as category 5 moving towards an unclassified 6, wind was gusting over 200 mph (320 kmph). According to the National Centre for Atmospheric Research, USA, the sea surface temperatures were 2*C warmer and moisture content was 10-20% greater than normal for this time of year. Likewise the sea surface temperature of the north-west coast of Western Australia was also 2*C above normal. In 2011 the Carnarvon region suffered devastating damage to its banana crops, it is the same again in 2015. Similarly with the banana industry in north Queensland in recent years, for how much longer can citizens climb out of the financial and physical debris and start again?
Fault Lines between Cultures
The Death Cult, what a ridiculous phrase! Is this absence of understanding on the part of the Australian Prime Minister or is it a deliberate attempt to mislead Australians as to the causes of this phenonomen? In either case it is unprofessional.
The Sunni Islamic State was conceived as a response to Bashar al-Assad’s minority Alawite (a corrupt off-shoot of Shi’ite belief) regime slaughter of Sunni Syrians, it was a response to a dreadful civil war in which the Christian West refused to become involved. The Islamic State is following an interpretation of the Qur’an and hadith of the Prophet. Considering the Enlightenment has not reached Islam there is a similarity to Catholic and Protestant massacres in the Middle Ages. That Islamic State has erupted in Syria and Iraq is not unexpected since both countries were controlled by essentially Shi’ite administrations that persecuted the Sunni majority.The movement must be tamed and its ideology redirected, Australians must be given more than jingoistic phrases to gain community understanding.
The term ‘radicalising of Moslem youth’ by third parties is only part of the problem. It would be more correct to suggest Australia is, in part, a contributor to the radicalisation. The French Government has recognised its responsibility and is looking at an integration program. Despite the back slapping hoo-ha of Australian multiculturalists it is likely many young Moslems cannot see a vision for their own future within a Caucasian society indifferent to their needs and aspirations, there is no manly challenge for them. The average Moslem is more religious than the average Christian so they may be enthused to take up arms in the name of Allah and right the wrongs imposed on Sunni by Shia.
That the Australian Government suggests this is not a religious problem is incorrect, it will mainly be Sunni who volunteer for the Islamic State, Shia Moslems have other concerns. This problem is a spiritual issue highly charged with emotion, it cannot be remedied by the dead hand of terrorist legislation. Surveillance and police raids will have some success but it will not purge the thoughts of thousands of young Sunni Moslems who are aware. The Romans tried to destroy Christian belief in the coliseum and failed
There are two related factors, for centuries young men have flocked to war, it is in the nature of young men to want excitement, derring-do and glory, that reality might be different is not a deterrent. The second factor is that young Moslems must be provided with a sense of purpose and satisfaction in their lives, this is even more urgent considering unemployment levels in Australia. Indonesia is concerned at the number of its youth attempting to join Islamic State, the population is 99% Sunni. This is significant as it suggests that the motive is primarily to join jihad. This fact is relevant for Australia’s approach to the problem since it can be inferred that discontent with life in the Australian community is of lesser moment than also a desire for jihad. This is a belief issue and will be hard to change while in the embrace of Sunni Islam. The Prime Minister must realise this is a religious problem.
Turning round young minds will take a long time but a suggested start is to initiate a modified Duke of Edinburgh award scheme that challenges bodies and minds and concurrently introduce current affairs-cum-politics sessions into schools, both would be a compulsory part of the curriculum. Enhanced training/ employment opportunities should be established in popular Moslem residential areas. The Government will have to lead this charge using open minded young Moslems who speak the language of their peers, ageing Imams are not the answer.
Any program will be costly for the Australian taxpayer but that is the cost of open ended multiculturalism where minority faiths are involved.
Education and Employment
The ABS produced informative figures of educational achievement in 2009 on the working age population of 10.15 million and its educational standards (rounded) are:
Post Graduates <1%, Bachelor 23%, Diploma 15%, Certificate 1-4 35%, Unskilled 26%. (410.2 Australian Social Trends, September, 2010) The Sydney Morning Herald (6/10/14) joined the chorus and reported on the serious STEM (science, technology, maths, science) study decline. Working on a post graduate estimate of <1% this means Australia is is producing less than 10,000 STEM graduates each year while the majority will be studying 'soft' subjects, on these numbers Australian future high tech industrial development will tend to stall. The Q&A show on the 16th March dealt with Education and Unemployment. Canada has a similarity to Australia, it was also reliant on natural resources but has revitalised its industrial capacity, the painful surprise was that as GDP increased so did unemployment. Modern industrialisation is now driven by computers and automation not factory labour. This outcome has special relevance for the 25 to 30 percent of the labour force (subject to adjustment for 2015) that is Unskilled. While it is important that students live with dignity and that HEX fees are not an intolerable burden the critical requirement is for Australia to raise standards and numbers of STEM teaching staff at schools and universities Commencing with Whitlam in the early 1970s Australia developed an egalitarian education system to ensure youth would have the opportunity to reach their potential. Now the Australian public must be made aware it is the upper echelon of the work force together with capital that will produce employment and industrialisation for the bulk of Australians. Meaningful employment will have to be generated for a probably increasing Unskilled group. To give these ideas substance more resources will be required to identify and and extend young minds to ensure what ever their 'class' they will have the opportunity to embrace STEM material. With in these same schools with the above arrangement classes can be organised to cater for those with aptitudes and aspirations towards trades and diplomas, this is 'streaming' but in an increasingly competitive world people may have to amend cherished opinions. Chinese Hegemony – A rising International Oligarch.
The confusing comments on the benefits of the proposed 49% leaseing arrangements of ‘poles and wires’ to a ?Chinese investor days out from a NSW State election generated a search for trends in Chinese industrial investment in Australia. Activity is from a low base but rising, if the trend continues by mid-century Chinese foreign investment will be considerable as will also be an increasing Asian demographic within Australian society. Individually investment trends may not be significant but the cumulative influence will become clearer because many of the commercial activities will be directly controlled by State organisations directed by Chinese government policy.
Data was gathered for Chinese investment activities in real estate, natural resources, agribusiness and electricity distribution, gross figures are:
* between 2006-2012 investments were $46.9 billion (US)
mining $36.9, gas $8.9, renewables $0.2, agribusiness $0.9
* for 2013 investment was $5.4 bn
* for 2013 Australian global share of investments was 10.8%
* since 2008 Chinese global expenditure on mineral/petroleum assets was $175 bn
REAL ESTATE. The state controlled Sino Ocean Land Company is building huge (40 floor) blocks of flats in Melbourne and possibly Sydney, expenditure in 2013 was nearly $6 billion.
NATURAL RESOURCES. A surprising condition of the recently signed Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with China is that mines are specifically excluded from Australia’s strategic assets, China considers Australian raw materials are vital to its economy. Current major projects are the Curtis and Browse gas fields, lithium, alumina, Karratha iron ore mine, several coal mines in the Hunter valley, two coal projects in the Galilee basin and the Watermark coal project, Gunnadah, for which the Shenhua Group paid $300 million for the right to explore. The recent acquisition of the lithium resource south of Perth by the Chengdu Tianqi Group and the China Investments Corporation is significant. This is reported as the largest spodumene (lithium aluminium silicate) deposit in the world, 70% of production will go to China for electric car batteries.
AGRIBUSINESS. In the period 2011-2012 Chinese investment was $980 million for logistics facilities and sugar, cotton, crop and wine producers, a recent acquisition has been 50 dairy farms in Victoria. Breaking news, Chinese interests have purchased Glenrock cattle station in the Hunter Valley for $45 million. Prime beef production will now be directed towards the Chinese market.
ELECTRICITY DISTRIBUTION. The State Grid Corporation of China has purchased a controlling interest in the South Australian and Victorian networks.Should the Liberals win the NSW State election on the 28th March 49% of the State’s ‘poles and wires’ might be acquired by Chinese State interests. Thus for south-eastern Australia including the Australian Capital Territory power distribution could be controlled by an overseas Communist state. What other capital in a Western democracy is in this situation?
CONCLUSION. Chinese investment in Australia is frequently arranged through State controlled organisations. The investment is in critical industries, if prosecuted over time aggregate foreign control will become significant, the beneficiary being the Chinese market. The caveat is that to develop Australia foreign investment is essential. The Economist has predicted that in 2015 the outbound foreign investment by China will exceed inbound foreign investment
(Reference. Australian Business Review, August 2013. Financial Services,February,2015)
A dry summer has morphed into a dry autumn. Graziers in a wide area of New South Wales are being forced to sell all but a few breeding cows. Dams are drying up and creek water has disappeared into gravels. The country is too dry to sustain pasture and to damp to sustain cactus. This is the twilight world of purgatory for many on the land.