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7 Feb 2003. Thought for the Week: "Knowledge can be of two kinds: knowledge of the world outside ourselves, the macrocosm, and knowledge of the kingdom within, the microcosm, both of them boundless.
"The better we know ourselves the easier it will be to know the world; alternatively, the better we know the world, so much easier it will be to know ourselves and our deepest and most enduring needs.
"It is not more and more knowledge that we need for
the purpose of strengthening our position as individuals,
but only knowledge of a kind that holds together and makes
sense. We need a coherent interpretation of the history
of the age in which we live and an insight into what it
is that we must have if we are to be physically well and
in good spirits."
WAR DRAWS CLOSER
by Jeremy Lee
Federal Parliament is due to resume in a few days, and it is certain to be dominated by the Iraq question. For the first time in a long while the Prime Minister will be on the defensive. Is he committed to the UN process? What if the Security Council does not produce the resolution President Bush wants? Both Howard and Crean will be aware that the public is following the debate much more closely than usual.
Both the US and Australian administrations are ignoring the fact that under the UN Charter no member-state can take military action against another without express UN Security Council permission. If this is to be regarded as valid, it cannot simply be upheld when it suits our purpose and set aside when it doesn't. Our Foreign Minister, Alexander (Eiderdown) Downer was a keen advocate for the International Criminal Court (but not, he said, if directed towards Australian forces). Partaking in a war without UN sanction could well invoke international law against the aggressors. Are Howard and Downer prepared to countenance this possibility?
AUSTRALIA'S ECONOMY UNRAVELLING
Economist Gerry van Wyngen gave a picture of the Australian economy in The Australian Financial Review (Weekend, 24-27/1/03) that was truly sobering. The nation's exports are flatter than they have been for the last 20 years. Imports are running at double-digit figures. We are set for record current account deficits, which are consolidated into our foreign debt. The housing boom which is just coming to an end was the result of new credit to the extent of $84 billion being pumped in over a two-year period. One result was a massive, inflated rise in house prices over the two years Sydney +35%; Melbourne +41%: Brisbane +53%; Adelaide +41%; Perth +21%; Canberra +34%; Hobart +25%; Darwin +14%
According to the latest figures, household
debt is now 1.3 times income. Ten years ago it was 0.7 times.
Van Wyngen predicted that our dollar would start to wobble this year, our economic activity would contract, and our debt-rating downgraded. The drastic effects of the drought have still to be felt. Exactly a year ago the Australian Bureau of Statistics provided a statistical snapshot of the nation, listing the value of all our assets. Included was the value of all homes in Australia, valued at $555.9 billion. Later figures revealed that home mortgages were worth $557 billion. In other words, mortgages on homes was higher than the total value of the homes themselves!
THE GREAT DIVIDEInevitably, the divide between rich and poor grows ever wider, although the plight of the poor and destitute never figures in the statistics Treasurer Costello bandies around. On January 30th the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) released its latest report. The number of people seeking welfare help had risen to drastic levels, and welfare agencies were unable to cope. There had been a 19 percent increase in those who were turned away. Altogether, some 2.4 million people had sought help during the year an increase of 12 percent over the previous 12 months. All this in the nation described by the World Bank as the "richest nation in the world". The last census revealed that we had 5.9 million Australians over the age of 15 living on incomes of $300 or less per week. Every time we increase taxes to expand welfare, the poverty gets worse. The problem is shortage of purchasing power, which cannot be fixed by trying to re-arrange what there is. The Social Credit explanation provides the only logical explanation why this is so, and the only logical answer.
REPORT FROM THE WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM
Among those who attended this gathering of the international glitterati was Robert Gottliebsen, veteran economic forecaster. He was startled by the announcement that a number of big economies China, Japan included were considering shifting their assets out of American dollars: "You could have heard a pin drop at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
An American commentator had just declared
that as both Japan and China were investing their trade surpluses
in US dollars, they were funding the US current account deficit
(i.e currently about $400 billion annually Ed.)
Gottliebsen pointed out that China, with a population of 1.3 billion, was poised to take over manufacturing from such giants as Japan, Germany and the US.: ....The Chinese plan to dominate global manufacturing by combining low-cost labour with the best technology will have big repercussions for Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, the ASEAN countries and Australia. The Chinese were among many at the forum who believe that Afghanistan and Iraq are not one-off events and that stock markets will need to adjust to periodic US crises ...."
He pointed out that of China's population, 400 million lived in the coastal communities where GDP is growing at some 12% annually. The remaining 900 million live inland and are growing at about 2 or 3 percent: "China plans to swing half the 900 million rural people into manufacturing and services over more than a decade. This would enable land consolidation and much greater rural efficiency.
"Beijing is looking to attract
the Asian tigers (Malaysia, Taiwan, Indonesia, and Thailand)
into the Chinese component supplier network ...."
All of which indicates that Howard's insistence in hitching the Australian wagon to the ailing US star is short-sighted indeed. The flight of Asian investment from the US, coinciding with any war in Iraq, will plunge the US into immense crisis, sending ripples throughout the economies of the Industrial World. All Costello's golden claims about our Australian economy will turn to ashes in his mouth to add to the ashes of the bushfires sweeping eastern Australia.
The Asian memory is long. Rightly or wrongly, many feel slighted by the insensitive patronage of our envoys and ministers. Timor still rankles in the Indonesian psyche, and its troubles are not over. With our limited forces committed to somebody else's war in the Middle East, Australia's current resources are over-stretched. We would do well to re-establish our genuine independence from the US State Department-driven fiasco.
Now is the time Australia should be looking
to its own interests. We should be urgently building up our
ability to defend out own country not invading others.
The resurrection of well trained Citizens' Reserve Forces,
perhaps organized on a shire-by-shire basis, well decentralized,
should be a major priority. An urgent re-building of Australian-owned
self-sufficiency should be top policy. We should be planning
to rebuild our own ability to withstand trade wars and the
periodic retraction of markets without decimating our producers.
If such a vision was spelt out to the Australian people, it
is likely the nation would endorse the introduction of National
Service, for at least a year, as a means of tackling unemployment
and giving a sense of purpose and responsibility to young
Is there any major political figure capable of providing a lead in this direction? Hardly! Regeneration has never started among politicians, but through an increased sense of urgency at community level that throws up new movements and leaders. And it usually happens when it appears to be too late. The emerging "coalition of ordinary people" opposed to war with Iraq is more significant than we realize. Already, it is capable of changing the whole debate we are about to hear in Parliament. We can be sure it is having a major impact on both John Howard and Simon Crean. Letters to politicians, normally consigned to waste-paper baskets, will be counted very carefully, as the readers sense a new mood in the nation of Australia.
SOLZHENITSYN INCURS WRATH OF JEWRY
Nick Walsh, Moscow correspondent of The Guardian, 25/01/03, reports Solzhenitsyn's latest book, "Two Hundred Years Together", has raised a storm of protest amongst some Jewish leaders and historians. The title is a "reference to the partial annexation of Poland and Russia which contains chapters discussing the Jewish role in the revolutionary genocide and secret police purges of Soviet Russia." Now in frail health, the 84-year-old Solzhenitsyn insists, "Russia must come to terms with the Stalinist and revolutionary genocides and that its Jewish population should be as offended at their own role in the purges as they are at the Soviet power that also persecuted them."
Yevgeny Satanovsky, president of the
Russian Jewish Congress thought the book was "a mistake".
Professor Robert Service of Oxford University, rated as "an
expert on 20th century Russian history, said that from what
he had read about the book, Solzhenitsyn was 'absolutely right'".
The professor, whilst researching a book on Lenin had come
across the details of how Leon Trotsky, who was of Jewish
origin, "had ensured that Jews were enrolled in the Red
Army". Trotsky also ensured "that Jews were disproportionately
represented in the Soviet civil bureaucracy, including the
Cheka" (the Soviet Political Police.)
Retired "KGB colonel and historian
of the secret services and the NKVD" thought the "question
of ethnicity did not have any importance either in the revolution
or the story of the NKVD. This was a social revolution and
those who served in the NKVD and Cheka were serving ideas
of social change."
TO THINE OWN SELF BE TRUE
by Betty Luks:
Roger Markwick ("Clash of the anti-christs
Do we need another book about Stalin?" Sydney
Morning Herald, 16-17/11/02) is typical of those who will
not 'come to terms' with the role played by many westerners
in forcing Communist regimes upon hapless peoples around the
world. In his critical review of Martin Amis' book "Koba
the Dread" (Jonathan Cape), he accuses Amis of "venting
his spleen against all those intellectuals... who were foolish
enough to identify with the Soviet experiment..." Experiment?
Markwick excuses the terror, the torture, the man-made famines, the mass deportations and the massacres, on the basis of the need for Stalin to 'force-march' "a backward, isolated, agrarian society into the industrial era in the face of an economically hostile world". A great 'social experiment'! He would have us believe, "To label Stalin's crimes worse than Hitler's is to pull everything out of context" and therein lies the crux of the matter.
To claim that Stalin's crimes were of a far greater magnitude in numbers and intensity and barbarity than Hitler's, would weaken the claims of the Jews to being the most persecuted of peoples, and, at the same time, would open up enquiry and debate as to the role of the Jews, both of the west and the east, in the Communist movements and regimes. Not only does Russia need to "come to terms with the Stalinist and revolutionary genocides", but so does the western world and the role its own intellectuals and elite played in the Communist crimes against humanity. But for that process to begin, they, individually, would have to "their own self be true".
FLY NOW, PAY LATER WITH MUGABE
Such was the wording heading an article
in The Strait Times (Singapore), 21/01/03. The writer,
Greg Mills is national director of the South African Institute
of International Affairs, Wits University, Johannesburg. He
writes: "On Jan 12, I flew from Singapore to South Africa
with Mr. Robert Mugabe sitting in the seat directly behind.
At Changi Airport, more than 15 trolleys were piled high with
shopping in boxes labelled 'Zimbabwe House, Harare'. As we
were about to depart, into the aircraft strode the Zimbabwean
President, his family and entourage. "Aside from their
shopping spree, their 10 business-class seats would have cost
at least US$30,000 (S$52,000), buying a lot of food and humanitarian
relief for Zimbabwe's starving population, six million of
whom are likely to experience food shortages this year.
Has Mr. Mills forgotten the history of that small nation once known as Rhodesia? Surely he must be aware of the part played by western leaders, especially in Australia and the United Kingdom, in the downfall of that small land once known as Rhodesia? Why would they now rescue a people they once betrayed? One wonders just how far down George Bush's list of 'rogue' states is Zimbabwe? What will shift them? The outrage of decent human beings at the continuing 'social experiments'?
LETTER TO THE EDITORThe following letter was sent to the editor of the Herald Sun, the first two paragraphs were published.
WRITING IN THE NAME OF THE AUSTRALIAN HERITAGE SOCIETYIt has been brought to our attention a letter, headed "Reclaim Australia Day" appeared in Issue 100 of the Queensland newspaper "Its Time". It was worded in such a way as to give the distinct impression it was an official release from the Australian Heritage Society, a division of the Australian League of Rights. It was not a letter from the Australian Heritage Society and the Editor of "Its Time" will acknowledge this fact in the next issue of his newspaper. At no time was any officer of the Australian Heritage Society approached for permission to place the letter in the newspaper.
ACTION STATIONS FOR CONVENTION PROCESS
In a speech to the South Australian Constitutional and Parliamentary Reform Conference last August 2002, Labor's Attorney General Michael Atkinson had this to say: "In a recent paper, one of my caucus colleagues, John Rau, described the South Australian constitution as, 'an insect frozen in amber. The structure represents the best of British 19th century constitutional technology.' He noted, however, that, 'the British system has moved on in many ways since.' In comparison, he suggests, our system has not."
Peter Lewis has given South Australians a once in a lifetime opportunity to change governance for the better in South Australia and the planned Constitutional Convention has in Michael Atkinson's words: "brought the issue of constitutional reform into the very centre of political debate in this state." But we must play our part to ensure the people not only have their say but have the chance to change governance for the better for themselves, not for politicians or political parties!
Enclosed with this edition of On Target is a detailed list of agenda, time frames, etc. The Attorney-General insists that a guiding principle of the whole process "is to involve the public of South Australia as widely and directly as possible". Another guiding principle is "to be informed, intelligent and brave in what we hope for and expect from the process". He even goes so far as to say, "The Government believes that such an important matter requires engagement of the people of South Australia, and their direct involvement in and control of the process."
After the convention is conducted experts will be on hand to answer questions put by the attendees at the Convention where positions on issues will be determined and recommendations will be drafted for Parliament. Parliament will finally decide referendum questions: According to Michael Atkinson, it will be the Parliament which will determine what, if any, recommendations are to be subjects of a referendum and/or amendments to legislation.
League supporters participate
The Members of the Parliamentary Steering Committee are:- Hon Peter Lewis, Chairman, Speaker of the House of Assembly; Hon. Ron Roberts, President of the Legislative Council; Hon. Michael Atkinson, Attorney-General; Hon. Robert Lawson, Shadow Attorney-General; Hon. Gail Gago, Member of Legislative Council; Mr. John Rau, Member of House of Assembly; Hon. Angus Redford, Member of Legislative Council; Hon. Dean Brown, Member of House of Assembly. All can be contacted by writing care of Parliament House, North Terrace, Adelaide, 2000.
Meeting dates and times in your region and or suburb have been announced and you have ready access to the Discussion Paper. What about organizing a house meeting and showing the video on CIR? Encourage each attendee to contact up to 10 more people and 'spread the message' of the importance of CIR?
BASIC FUND: Donations during this last week have brought the fund up to $16,087.50. Thank you to those who have given so generously. To those who have not yet made a contribution to the annual appeal, what about adding your contribution for the ongoing work of the League?
SYDNEY CONSERVATIVE SPEAKERS' CLUB: The next meeting will be held on Wednesday, February 26th, at the Lithuanian Club, 16 East Terrace, Bankstown. There is ample parking at the Club, situated only 600 metres from the Bankstown Railway Station. There are nearby facilities for a meal before the meeting. The cost of your attendance is $4 per person. The guest speaker is Mr. Keysar Trad (Executive Director of the Lebanese Muslim Association). His subject will be "Iraq and the Middle East". Mr. Trad is an excellent speaker who will explain the implications of the pressure on Iraq.
NOW AVAILABLE NEW EDITION OF "HITLER'S WAR" BY DAVID IRVING: Please get in touch with your State League Book Service if you have had Irving's book on back order. Plenty of stock. Price is $100.00 for hardcover edition posted.
"Terrorism and War" by Howard Zinn. The author is one of America's most articulate historians. He explores the growth of the American Empire, as well as the long tradition of resistance to militarism within the United States from the socialist party in WWI to the opponents of military intervention in Afghanistan (and possibly Iraq?) today. Zinn was a bombardier during WW2 and has spent decades contrasting the rhetoric governments use to justify military conflict with the harsh and horrible reality of the impact of war, especially on the civilians who are increasingly the victims.
"Germs: The Ultimate Weapon" by authors William Broad, S. Engelberg and J. Miller. Bio-terrorism is the subject of this book and the authors say bio-terrorism is a more effective weapon of mass destruction than the hydrogen bomb! Definitely not light reading, this book explains 'germ warfare' has its origins in a laboratory and the 'bio-bomb' capable of wiping out whole cities can be transported in a brief case! Readers will learn of the Soviet Union's biological weapons programme, with the rows and rows of silos filled with anthrax germs and the efforts of such states as Iran, Iraq to recruit the scientists who created these horrors. An alarming but an authoritative and timely book. $35..00 posted from all League Book Services.
"Pawns in the Game" by Commander William Guy Carr. He was a distinguished Canadian and author of seven books, "Pawns in the Game" being the best known. This book is a classic exposure of the international conspiracy. After his retirement from naval services, Carr toured Canada warning his fellow countrymen of the dangers of this unchecked push for world power. His book remains in the category of 'essential reading'. Price $18.00 posted from all League Book Services.
"Water's War: privatisation, pollution and profit" by Vandana Shiva. In Water's War the author uses her remarkable knowledge of science and society to analyse the historical erosion of communal water rights. Examining international water trade, damming, mining, and aqua-farming she exposes the destruction of the earth and the disenfranchisement of the world's poor as they are stripped of their right to a precious common good. She reveals many of the most important conflicts of our time, most often camouflaged as 'ethnic' wars or religious wars, such as the on-going Israel-Palestinian conflict, are in fact conflicts over scarce but vital natural resources. Water's War celebrates the spiritual and traditional role water has played in communities throughout history, and warns that water privatization threatens cultures and livelihoods world-wide. Price $50.00 posted. Available only from the Australian Heritage Society, PO Box 163, Chidlow, WA, 6556.
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