MARK LATHAM AND ALL THAT READING
by Betty Luks
Journalist Janet Albrechtsen The Australian 28/4/04,
has taken Mark Latham to task for his slick policy-headline-grabbing:
"Latham stutters over reading revolution". "If
we read three storybooks a night to our infant children,"
says Mark, "by the age of five they'll be able to read."
And as he is inspired by the children's story-writer, Mem
Fox, who is a passionate advocate of the whole language approach
to reading, Albrechtsen insists Latham's slick literacy policy
shows little interest in the hard yakka of policy detail.
Why is this so?
Mark Latham, insists the journalist,
by publicly promoting Mem Fox's works, is promoting a failed
teaching method supported more by ideology than evidence.
Thirty years of research should have settled the 'reading
wars' because all the evidence points one way: to phonics.
Albrechtsen is saying: The science of phonics is the proven
method of successfully teaching children to read and write.
Phonics and the Phoenicians
Phonics leads us back to ancient times -- through the Phoenicians
back to the land of Sumer and to the 'mother' language of
the European nations.
Early Sumerian writing was pictographic, that is, pictures
were drawn for words. As life became more complex and people
needed to express more ideas, an ideographic writing system
developed in which symbols stood for words, for both things
and ideas. In many cases, the symbols bore no relationship
to the things which they represented.
The Phoenicians, a branch of the earlier
Sumerians, are credited with the development of the written
phonetic language. About 2000BC, it was discovered the spoken
word consisted of a series of separately uttered sounds. Eventually,
a written symbol was devised to represent each speech sound.
This marvelous invention enabled people to write down any
word they could say, by recording the speech sounds in their
Further development provided us with a two-way operation.
Once we knew the symbols, we could work out the written word
by translating each part into its correct speech sound.
The English language with only 26 letters
to represent the 44 basic sounds of the language consists
of hundreds of thousands of words. English is therefore an
alphabetic language. An example of a modern ideographic language
is Chinese. 'Whole language' reading might be fine for a written
ideographic language such as Chinese but not suitable for
English. Mark Latham needs to be reminded of this by the Mums
and Dads who send their children to government schools.
Take up feather, ink and parchment, or
stylus and clay -- today!
For further reading: "Spelling Made Easy"
by Barbara Dykes & Constance Thomas.
THOSE THINGS WHICH HAVE BEEN 'LOST'
The following article, "Cry God
for Harry, England and Saint Alban," which appeared in
The Spectator, UK 24/4/04 got me thinking:
"This is the time of year when we stop complaining for
a moment about the dreadful spring weather and start complaining
about the neglect of England's patron saint, St George. Our
grumbles go something like this: we don't know what to do
to mark his feast day (23 April), we have no traditions like
the shamrock or daffodils to fall back on - and the nearest
we can manage to a dragon seems to be a bout of football violence.
All that is true; and it reinforces, my view that adopting
St George as our patron saint was a terrible mistake, it was
something we stumbled into and don't know how to get out of.
St George was a soldier who openly reproached
Diocletian for his cruelty. He was beheaded in 304; one of
many Roman soldiers who chose to be a martyr rather than deny
the exclusive Lordship of Christ over this world. And there
is nothing wrong with that as an exemplar. But there were
problems in adopting him from the start. For one thing, he
had no connections with England; for another, he is the patron
Even our English genius for pageantry
has failed to find a secure place for George in our national
consciousness, except for that brief period of pride in the
Empire when we still constructed pantomime dragons to be slain.
By that time, of course, he had gone through a period of mediaeval
transformation and become a dragon-slayer. With the dragon
standing for Satan and all his works, that at least provided
the nation with a spiritual legend. But there was a downside.
The mediaeval legend also had George rescuing a damsel in
distress, which sits uneasily with our developed understanding
of the role of women.
But what do we do when a mistake has
become enshrined in tradition? Put up with it, like the English
rain, on the grounds that there is nothing we can do about
it? Defend the choice because tradition is sacrosanct? Or
face the fact that we have made a mistake, perhaps even committed
a sin, and then repent and start again?
I hesitate between sin and mistake because
I don't for one minute think the 'choice' of St George was
a conspiracy. I think it was a cock-up. As with so many human
faults, it stemmed from an accumulation of human frailty,
confusion and ignorance -- all manipulated by the sins of
greed, pride arid chauvinism.
But England needs a patron saint. If
George goes, who should replace him? We need only go back
to the year of George's martyrdom to find a suitable English
saint. This man was Alban. In 304, he was scourged, then beheaded,
for the crime of protecting a priest. He died for the faith.
His feast is on 22 June -- and June is a rather more clement
month than April. St Alban for England would take some getting
used to, but I think it is time to leave George to those he
belongs to, our persecuted brethren of the Middle East who
certainly need a dragon-slaying champion.
(The article was based on a sermon given by the Prebendary
Graham Claydon at St Paul's on St George's Day.)
Let's recap on a couple of things
* "Even our English genius for pageantry has failed
to find a secure place for George in our national consciousness."
· Rubbish! The Red Cross of St. George is easily traced
back to the Sun Cross of the Hitto-Phoenicians as the origin
of the pre-Christian Cross on coins and monuments of the early
Phoenician-Britons and later of the Celtic Cross in Christianity.
* "St George was a soldier who openly reproached Diocletian
for his cruelty. He was beheaded in 304."
· L.A. Waddell in "The Phoenician Origins of
Britons, Scots & Anglo-Saxons," 1924, explains
the Red Cross of St. George of Cappadocia is called by modern
ecclesiastic writers, 'The Greek Cross' because it was adopted
by the Greek Christian Church about the fifth century A.D.
as the form of the Christian emblem for their converts in
the old Gothic region of Byzantium. The Goths had been using
this Gothic Red Cross as their sacred emblem from time immemorial.
The Greek Church, as well as the Crusaders later, continued
to use this cross in its old original Catti or Gothic sense,
as a simple symbol of Divine Victory.
* "This man was Alban. In 304, he was scourged, then
beheaded, for the crime of protecting a priest. He died for
the faith. His feast is on 22 June -- and June is a rather
more clement month than April."
· Response: You will find throughout Europe there are
many saints and heroes who share June 22nd as 'their' day.
The Latvians, as an example, celebrate "John's Day"
on June 22nd. It is the day when the legendary national hero
is celebrated. And, it is also the summer solstice!
St. George, the Patron Saint of England
reminds us of all that is honourable and just, all that is
noble and brave, all that is good and true in our traditions
and culture. It is a National Day for the English people,
just as Anzac Day is Australia's National Day. And both National
Days grew out of the legends, myths and history of different
branches of the British people!
THE PAPACY AND USURY
by Peter Lock
Taken from the journal of the Economic Reform Association,
"In 1891, Pope Leo XIII issued his
much acclaimed Encyclical Rerum Novarum known as The
Workers' Charter. Early in the latter, Leo XIII refers to
a sequence of situations responsible for social problems and
He concludes, "Hence by degrees it has come to pass that
workingmen have been surrendered, isolated and helpless, to
the hard-heartedness of employers and the greed of unchecked
competition. The mischief has been increased by rapacious
usury which, although more than once condemned by the Church,
is nevertheless, under a different guise, but with the like
injustice, still practised by covetous and grasping men."
There are two short paragraphs of Pope
Pius Xl in his Encyclical Letter Quadragesimo Anno
in May 1931, commemorating the fortieth anniversary of Pope
Leo XIII's much-acclaimed Encyclical Rerum Novarum
which are among the most quoted of Papal statements pertinent
to social injustice.
"In the first place then, it is patent that in our days
not alone is wealth accumulated, but immense power and despotic
economic domination is concentrated in the hands of a few,
and that those few are frequently not the owners, but only
the trustees and directors of invested funds, who administer
them at their good pleasure. This power becomes particularly
irresistible when exercised by those who, because they hold
and control money, are able also to govern credit and determine
its allotment, for that reason supplying, so to speak, the
lifeblood to the entire economic body, and grasping, as it
were, in their hands the very soul of production, so that
no one dare breathe against their will."
In Nature there is neither debt nor
usury - deceptive misuse of 'interest'
This last sentence becomes alarmingly real and meaningful
when it is considered that Pope Leo XIII was the last pope
ever to mention and condemn usury. Over one hundred years
have passed since then and no other Pope, nor Pontifical Commission
has dared breathe one single word against the will of the
global usurers. Indeed the word usury no longer has a place
in the considerations and determinations of Canon Law.
The evolution of Christian Church teaching
on usury has witnessed a development from intolerant condemnation
to tolerant justification. To make a profit from lending to
someone in real need was always considered reprehensible.
In Nature, there is no precedent for either debt or usury.
Money which was exacted purely for a loan as such, always
being deemed contrary to Nature, began to be viewed in a new
light. Changed economic considerations preferred the use or
rather the deceptive misuse of the word interest in the place
of the more objectionable usury, which now became permissible
provided it followed statutory regulations and did not become
'Interest' belonged to sacred realm
or court of justice
It is instructive to examine a little more closely the historical
evolution of the word interest. In ancient Roman law, when
one party defaulted on a contract, the other could exact over
and above the actual agreement of the contract, a form of
compensation based on the difference between the position
of the creditor, before and after, the situation caused by
the debtor's default. This difference was termed in Latin,
id quod interest, from the verb interesse which meant,
to be between, and could be reckoned according to the actual
loss which had occurred.
Justice demanded that this interest of creditor be taken into
account. In its original meaning, interest did not belong
to the sphere of borrowing but to the sacred realm or court
Through a debtor's default, a creditor
might have missed out on a possible profit, but profit-losing
was not classified as interest because one could not be said
to lose that which one never ever had. The only concern of
interest was with an actual gain ceasing (lucrum cessans)
or with a damage emerging (damnum emergens) and not
some mere hypothetical eventuality. Receiving interest was
an honest seeking of real equity. The creditor lent freely
but the debtor was obliged by law to compensate the creditor
for any costs involved in defaulting on the contract. Id
quod interest was purely a matter of justice.
Usury a sin now 'rationalised'
As generally understood by theologians in past centuries,
usury was the sin of exacting money purely for a loan of money.
The creditor aimed for a real gain, to get more money, over
and above the loan, for nothing, from the borrower. In time
canonists rationalised usury and misappropriated the interest
of Roman justice to cover up the malice and injustice of the
prevailing financial system's usurious interest.
Clerical casuistry and a most lucrative
means of power and control
The tools of ecclesiastical casuistry were a well-seasoned
array of semantic distinctions, like the right to an object
and the right to its use and usufruct, intrinsic and extrinsic
titles, gain ceasing and damage emerging...
Does the sanction of an uncivil Civil Law or corrupt custom
make what is intrinsically an injustice, become now legitimate
and acceptable even though it is contrary to Natural Law?
No one denies that in modern economic
systems money has taken on new aspects or rather been given
different functions from what its own true nature would determine.
Speculators make it into a commodity with which to gamble.
The directors of banks and financial institutions use it,
particularly in its scarcity-function, as a most lucrative
means of self-aggrandizement and control and power over their
fellow human beings. As catalytic finance-capital in any industry,
money can become virtually productive by making virgin real
wealth more productive through human enterprise, but there
are limits to the growth of agriculture and of industry beyond
which the economy trespasses to its own destruction.
A sorry sort of licit case can be made
out by churchmen to justify the charging of interest by the
wealthy haves-of-this-world on investments and loans of already
existing legal tender money made to this world's have-nots.
No amount of clerical casuistry however can justify the charge
of more than a simple service fee for bank-created credit.
On almost costless invented make-believe wealth or credit
money, virtually created out of nothing, any rate of interest
at all is more than grossly immoderate. This diabolical usury
enslaves the entire human race and is the greatest social
injustice and fraud in the history of commercial and marketplace
Contemporary Moral Theology found
In the past, the decisions of traditional Moral Theology concerning
the charging of interest on loan contracts between individuals,
were generally in respect of real coin-money which had some
intrinsic value. As stated above, modern economic monetary
systems have taken on completely new forms which involve the
rest of the community in the payment of the debtors' interest.
This new solidarity perspective and the implications of exponential
growth are neither understood nor considered by ecclesiastical
authorities today. Contemporary Moral Theology has yet to
pass judgment on these issues and give an authoritative answer
to the basic question arising from marketplace activity. How
can anyone conceive and claim an extrinsic title to interest
on money loaned, from gain ceasing or damage emerging, when
the loaned money itself has come costlessly into existence
from nothing? There are other considerations, far more cogent
still, which can be directed against the specious arguments
of the inadequately informed Canonists of the past
Institution of Vatican Bank
With the institution of its own Vatican Bank, the Roman Papacy
has now made financial speculation and usurious moneymaking
(and losing) its own sin. This situation is understandable
in the light of events last Century. The Lateran Treaty which
Benito Mussolini's Government concluded with the Vatican in
1929 gave the Roman Catholic Church a wide range of benefits,
not the least being that Italy undertook to pay the Holy See
the sum of 750 million lire and to hand over at the same time
Consolidated 5% State Bonds to the bearer for the nominal
value of one billion lire. A Special Administration was set
up by Pope Pius XI - and a layman, Bernardino Nogara, appointed
its head. The latter accepted the office only on condition
that any investments he chose to make would be untrammeled
by religious considerations and that he would be free to invest
Vatican funds anywhere. Almost overnight, the Vatican became
a Capitalist enterprise engaging in Stock Exchange, futures
and currency speculation. Self-interest produced a complete
reversal of the Church's teaching with regard to money lending.
Great moral, social and economic issues
neither understood nor answered
One final glimmer of a quickly extinguished light appeared
in the Encyclical Letter Populorum Progressio of Pope
Paul VI in March 1967, "This unbridled liberalism paves
the way for a particular type of tyranny, rightly condemned
by Our Predecessor Pius XI for it results in the 'international
imperialism of money'. Such improper manipulations of economic
forces can never be condemned enough: let it be said once
again that economics is supposed to be in the service of man."
Is less than ten lines in a century enough?
Though he condemns any misuse of the monetary system, it is
clearly evident from what follows later in the Encyclical
that the real moral, social and economic issues of the great
social questions are neither understood nor answered. A similar
comment applies to the subsequent Encyclicals of Pope John
Paul II. The reader searches in vain for an echo of any condemnation
of international finance or the imperialism of money.
It was understood by those who knew the
mind of the tragically too-well-informed Paul I, that he would
dare to breathe against the will of those who have fraudulently
usurped the function of supplying the lifeblood to the entire
economic body. Their hopes or fears, like the life of this
most lovable and much respected would-be reformer were very
quickly and quite mysteriously cut short. After barely one
month in office, he was found dead in bed. He died alone,
agony written on his face. His body was straight away embalmed,
an autopsy refused."
Peter Lock's "The Great Harlot"
is available from all League Book Services: $15.00 posted.
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Workers worse off with pay rises
"Workers worse off with every yearly pay rise" was
the headline to an article in The Advertiser 27/4/04.
"Australian workers who welcome their inflation-linked
pay rise each year are actually going backwards, according
to new research." The article went on to say that the
Howard Government must ease Australian's tax bills at the
next budget to avoid one in three being slugged the top two
tax rates within three years.
Why is there a need for a pay rise? It stems from recognition
that the cost of living has risen and needs to be compensated.
Could there be a better way to offset the costs?
Let us look firstly at what happens when a pay rise is granted.
Keeping it simple, we will presume 100 workers are paid $500
per week and are due for a rise of $50. The employer had a
weekly payroll of $50,000 which will increase to $55,000 with
the pay rise. The first step undertaken by the employer is
to approach his bank to increase his working overdraft. The
workers achieve their pay rise and at first feel they have
regained their financial status. However, it is not long before
they notice the tax deducted from the pay packet has reduced
the $50 rise. It probably is down to less than $40! Meanwhile
the employer has discovered his overdraft costs have risen
along with the need to pay higher superannuation and workcover
charges. Hence his cost per worker has exceeded $50 to something
like $56. He is faced with the choice between a lower profit
or having to increase the price of his goods for sale, neither
of which is good for the economy. The end result after the
pay rise is that workers have $40 extra to buy goods which
have risen to $56. That is cost inflation which spirals and
causes friction between workers and their employers.
Could there be a better method to
maintain purchasing power?
Using the same example where it is acknowledged that the cost
of living has risen and needs to be compensated, what if the
government offered the workers a tax cut of $50 per week.
Immediately their pay packet increases by $50 and their boss
need not incur any penalty for bank costs, superannuation
or workcover etc. This means that prices have no need to rise
and profitability is not affected. Workers benefit by the
whole $50 rise and spiralling inflation is halted. Harmony
between workers and employers would increase. It is obvious
that the taxman is the only one who has lost in this scenario.
So the question then becomes - Is the government fostering
a process which causes spiralling inflation and the accompanying
social problems, so it can fill its coffers?
How then would the government get
funds for its projects?
There is much documented evidence confirming government access
to new credit, but even if it was not prepared to grasp that
nettle and simply borrowed funds like the rest of us, the
outcome would be preferable to spiralling inflation. Instead
of business increasing borrowings to fund a pay rise that
benefits nobody, the government could borrow for its purposes
and leave industry to flourish.
Ken Grundy, Naracoorte South Australia
Editor's note: It certainly would
give the employers and workers a respite Ken. But government
charges on industry also have to go into final prices. As
long as governments continue to borrow from the banking system
on the basis of 'society' having to repay that which is 'borrowed',
via taxes and other charges which includes industry, industry
has to recover those charges, therefore, those costs must
be included in prices or the producer will suffer loss.
C.H. Douglas wrote in "These
Present Discontents & The Labour Party & Social Credit":
"The most important and fundamental function of a bank
should be to envisage the capacity of the community it serves,
(the true State..ed) taken in conjunction with its plant and
culture, to meet the demands made upon it.
"Control of credit issue and the regulation of prices
are interdependent - you cannot tackle one of them alone.
Such issues of credit are constantly in progress at present,
and simply put up prices
Credit issue and price making
are the positive and negative aspects of the function which
controls the economic life of a community - and so controls
the community itself."
BRAVE NEW WORLD, NINETEEN EIGHTY FOUR
- OR NEITHER?
"When, in 1956, Ford's opened their
first fully automated car plant in Detroit, they invited the
automobile workers' leader, Walter Reuther, to the ceremony
and tour of inspection. 'How yoo goin' to collect doos of
these machines Mr. Reuther,' a smart-ass junior executive
asked. Reuther looked him up and down in silence for a few
moments and then replied, 'Sonny. How are you goin' to sell
automobiles to these machines?'
And therein lies the dilemma, the question, the problem, that
has its roots in the industrial revolution three hundred years
ago. Mankind must find the answer to that question if it is
to live with the machine in terms of human satisfaction, and
not upon the terms of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World
or George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four. Both are expressions
of the Will to Power and a combination of the twin evils is
always possible if we do not come to grips with the question
and insist on a political answer.
We cannot serve both God and Mammon
"Historically, in fact, not only Reuther's question but
also its answer was formulated over (now eighty) years ago.
For the science of economics the answer turned out to be as
novel and as radical as the Copernican theory had been for
the science of astronomy. Unfortunately politicians have gone
on believing the economists' superstition that the money-system
is the centre of the Universe, fixed and immutable by Divine
decree, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary."
Taken from Anthony Cooney's "Clifford Hugh Douglas."
Available from all League Book Services, $5.50 posted.
We are British you know
The behaviour of protesters in throwing eggs and rubbish bins
at the car of a major French statesman on a visit to Britain
("Le Pen sparks riots on British visit", 27/4) reminds
us that fanaticism does not always come from misguided adherents
of Islam. Moreover, Le Pen's host organisation, the British
National Party, which is largely the creation of its remarkably
gifted former leader John Tyndall, is a much more impressive
political movement than insult terms such as "extreme
right" or "Nazi" suggest. It stands for the
simple position that Britain should, fundamentally, remain
the land of the British people. The British have never been
asked in a referendum if they wished to be swamped with non-British
immigrants, as has happened during the past fifty years. BNP
opposition to that swamping is not "virulent", but
principled - the exact reverse of the "anti-racist"
hooliganism in Manchester.
Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Victoria.
"The Money Power Versus Democracy"
by Eric D. Butler:
This is one of a number of 'gems' Eric Butler produced over
the years; it was first published during World War II. Professor
Anthony Sutton had dis-uncovered and written of the nexus
between International Finance and International Communism,
listing the massive economic 'blood transfusions' from the
West that had sustained the Communist economy. In later years,
Rockefeller established the Chase Manhattan Bank of China
to help sustain Communism under Chairman Mao. The centralisation
of the Money Power and its control of the politics of all
nations are instrumental in furthering its objective of a
World Government. As the author proves in this great little
book, centralised power is contrary to reality and inevitably
produces greater friction and chaos. $8.00 posted.
"One Land, Two Peoples"
by Ilan Pappe: A history of modern Palestine.
Ilan Pappe's book is the story of Palestine, a land inhabited
by two peoples, with two national identities. It begins with
the Ottomans in the early 1800s, the reign of Muhammad Ali,
and traces a path through the arrival of the early Zionists
at the end of that century, through the British mandate at
the beginning of the twentieth century, the establishment
of the state of Israel in 1948, and the subsequent wars and
conflicts which culminated in the intifadas of 1987 and 2000.
While these events provide the background to the narrative
and explain the construction of Zionist and Palestinian nationalism,
at centre stage are those who lived through these times, men
and women, children, peasants, workers, town-dwellers, Jews
and Arabs. It is a story of coexistence and co-operation,
as well as oppression, occupation, and exile.
Price: $45.00 Includes Postage & Handling: Order your
copy today from your State bookshop.