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22 Feebruary 2013 Thought for the Week:
“With the coming of the industrial revolution, man's potential for leading a free creative life was enhanced beyond the imagination of even a hundred years before. Now it is quite vital to grasp the fact that man's activity is divided in two: the necessitous, and everything else he does. There is a ratio of necessity to freedom, which over a very long period of time remained fairly constant. The development of agriculture and methods of animal breeding, the invention of simple machines for weaving and for processing food, shifted the ratio in favour of freedom slowly but not greatly.
With the harnessing of power and its application to industry the ratio was rapidly and drastically altered. Working for necessities now became only a small fraction of man's time. Christ's promise ("Seek ye not what ye shall eat") might have been fulfilled, had the Church seen more deeply into the meaning of Christ's teaching. For Christ spoke in the language of his day; He could do no other.
But the Church in the face of the industrial revolution was like an arithmetician who turns his back on algebra. "And this know, that if the good man of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched, and not have suffered his house to be broken through". And it is precisely at this point that the Christian Church failed.
- - Bryan W. Monahan “Mystery, Magic, Music and Metaphysics” 1971
THE SECRET IS… NEIGHBOUR TO NEIGHBOUR AGREEMENT
Whether one agrees with Coal Seam Gas projects or not, what freedom loving people would agree on is their right to decide for themselves what they want for their community. The following report was picked up by America’s Next World TV and the message is theirs.
"In New South Wales, Australia there is an area covering about 90 towns that have fought the gas industry and won! At a meeting in February 2012, residents saw a Coal Seam Gas film, then voted overwhelmingly to make their roads and lands "CSG Free".
Coal Seam Gas is a form of natural gas extracted from coal beds, also called CBM or Coal Bed Methane. Obviously, it is extremely destructive to the environment.
"We encourage other communities to do what we've done here. The secret is neighbour to neighbour engagement. A "Gas Seam Free" road sign is of little use unless there's a community behind it," says one participant. "We're all leaders in this movement. It's up to us!"
THE FISCAL COSTS OF POPULATION GROWTH
by Peter Ewer
Costs of Growth Underestimated - Peter Ewer not the only one to think so
ALL TO DO WITH PEOPLE MANAGEMENT
You are right Vivienne Ortega “governments are undermining any individual or organisational efforts to live sustainably”. Biologist Geoffrey Dobbs wrote of this situation - its history stretches back to the 1930s. In “The Local World” Geoffrey set out the background to the setting up of The New Deal, the first American great socialist experiment:
“… More important still was the way in which the whole population was managed, their opinions and policies manipulated with the aid of almost unlimited money, into line with the policy of the TVA (Tennessee Valley Authority). Individuals, groups, institutions of all sorts found that it paid (financially) to co-operate enthusiastically with the Authority, and the example spread to other areas from which much of the labour was drawn. This was what Lilienthal called 'grassroots democracy'. Its essence was decentralised administration of a centrally imposed policy: and it is this which is the aim of those who seek for a World Government to 'save the planet'.
From the start the whole operation was set up as an example to be copied, as it has been, in modified ways, first in the USA and later throughout the world… If the people of the Tennesse Valley had been allowed a small fraction of the vast sums expended by the TVA along with some genuinely informed advice from the Soil Conservation Service where wanted, all the real improvements necessary to restore and conserve the soil could have been carried out without any of the monstrous interference with land, water and people which was imposed upon them by central direction. The valley lands could have been retained, and the floods restrained, mainly by afforestation and conservation of the higher terrains; where necessary by a few flood-control dams.
There was not then, and there is not now, any secret about the measures necessary to restore the land and conserve the soil; but all over the world they are beyond the powers of the debt-enslaved farmer. Tree-planting, contour ploughing, terracing, legumes, careful choice of crops to suit the soil and real needs rather than urgent cash-return, sub-soiling, and so on: they are all perfectly practicable.
Nature (is) too slow to ‘pay’ even the interest, let alone the capital, of borrowed money…
FROM RHODESIA TO ZIMBABWE; FROM RICHES TO THE PIT OF POVERTY
by Chris Knight
The nation’s once strong agricultural industry failed in 2000 after President Robert Mugabe seized the land of over 4,000 white-owned farms. The country went into hyperinflation reaching 11,200,000 per cent. Zimbabwe today,; the United States tomorrow; Australia, the day after tomorrow.
AN ENDANGERED SPECIES – WORTH REVISITING: On Target 4 September 1979
One of the most amazing aspects of the Rhodesian drama has been the manner in which a handful of whites have been able to provide the know-how and leadership which has enabled them, in co-operation with the blacks, to continue to produce not only sufficient food for a rapidly increasing African population, but to provide a surplus for export. If the white man is driven from Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, the agricultural system must collapse with the most chilling consequences for the blacks.
Irrespective of what Bishop Muzorewa may be pressured into agreeing to at this week's London talks, unless the morale of the remaining whites can be sufficiently sustained to encourage them to stay, Zimbabwe-Rhodesia is doomed.
With his ill informed attacks upon the white minority in Zimbabwe-Rhodesia, Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has made a major contribution towards eroding the morale of those who alone can prevent another African State from collapsing into chaos and assisting the very Communist strategy which Mr. Fraser says he is so concerned about…”
HOBBESIAN NIGHTMARE – OR BREAKTHROUGH OF SUCH SPLENDOUR?
Is There an Artificial Crisis Over Artificial Intelligence? asks Cris Sheridan, 6 February 2013 at Financial Sense.com
“There’s a lot of controversy over robots these days. The NY Times reports , “Robots have once again gripped the nation’s imagination, stoking fears of displaced jobs and perhaps even a displaced human race.”
Andrew McAfee: Our economy is bigger than it was before the start of the Great Recession. Corporate profits are back. Business investment in hardware and software is back higher than it's ever been. What's not back is the jobs.
Is this just an artificial crisis, or is AI something that we should take seriously?
If we focus exclusively on the hardware aspect of AI—that is, robotics—there’s reasons to be skeptical. As the Atlantic explains, “let's calm our warm-blooded nerves by remembering that the current stock of humanoid robots is still remarkably primitive, as Brynjolfsson and McAfee acknowledge themselves. They look creepy. They struggle with people skills. They fall down stairs. They're bad at problem-solving. They're not very creative.”
In discussing the current or future impact of machine intelligence—whether on the economy, the stock market, or with military weapons, for example—it is important to distinguish between hardware and software. Take, for example, the millions of algorithms currently evolving in the stock market today. What do they look like? Or, how about self-replicating cyberweapons like Stuxnet and Flame used for attacking Iran. How are they with people skills, problem solving, and creativity?
Another thing: It is terribly misleading to associate progress on AI with our ability to create something that looks, walks, or talks like us. This is where most people get side-tracked. A good analogy that I’ve mentioned before is the historical attempt to master flight. Many well-meaning but unfortunate inventors once thought the key to flying was by strapping on wings and imitating a bird. Given how much of a failure that turned out to be, we likewise shouldn’t attempt to judge the nature of AI on something that resembles our physical likeness. Software, of course, is immaterial.
So, I repeat the question: Is this just an artificial crisis—as the Atlantic and others assert—or is AI something that we should take seriously?
As WSJ reporter, Scott Patterson, writes in one of my favourite books “Dark Pools: High-Speed Traders, A.I. Bandits, and the Threat to the Global Financial System” 
When we consider just how much influence the machine of global finance has over the world, the greatest threat posed by AI is not to replace our jobs locally, but to replace our worldwide influence in one of the most sensitive networks we've ever created—a network more strategic, concentrated, and vital than any military alliance between countries.
With money, trade, and the fate of nations now laying in the market’s hands the real question we should be asking is, if AI takes over global finance, what does that mean for the rest of the world?”
Wallace Klinck of Canada responded to the above article:
Can we not see that Work is to achieve its proper end of providing material needs and wants efficiently with less work, instead of perversely, to create more of it? We surely are absolutely mad. We are so close to a genuine and profound revolution. What can we do to break through the "veil of finance" maintained by the obstructive forces of Puritanism into the unobstructed light of day?”
There is such a thing as ‘enough’, there is such a thing as ‘sufficiency’:
THE LOGIC OF DREYFUS
by Ian Wilson LL.B.
However, by the same legalistic reasoning Christopher Pyne can be defended. He did not exactly equate the Gillard government with Hitler. What his comparison was, was between acts of “downfall”, namely that the desperation portrayed by Hitler and Gillard was comparable. This is probably a bit of poetic excess, but it is not politically incorrect. At no point has Dreyfus proven that the remarks are offensive to reasonable people, “right-thinking” Australians.
LIBERALISM ACHIEVING ITS GREAT DEATH WISH
The address “The Great Liberal Death Wish” by Malcolm Muggeridge has been mentioned in these pages recently. It is not too difficult to see why this essay is not quoted all that much. Speaking about abortion and the millions of babies aborted each year and the Holocaust Muggeridge said:
“…what is even more ironical, the actual considerations that led to the German holocaust were not, as is commonly suggested, due to Nazi terrorism, but were based upon the sort of legislation that advocates of euthanasia, or “mercy killing” in this country and western Europe, are trying to get enacted. It’s not true that the German holocaust was simply a war crime, as it was judged to be at Nuremberg. In point of fact, it was based upon a perfectly coherent, legally enacted decree approved and operated by the German medical profession before the Nazis took over power. In other words, from the point of view of the Guinness Book of Records, you can say that in our mad world it takes about thirty years to transform a war crime into a compassionate act”. Controversial words in today’s political climate.
The great liberal death wish captures the idea that liberalism itself is an incoherent and self-destructive political ideology. Its extreme worship of liberty over all other values, leads to enslavement. Its pursuit of anti-discrimination, leads to discrimination. Its shallow idea of freedom leads to no fr5eedom at all. Liberal values such as freedom of speech are discarded whenever it suits the liberal.
Bob Livingston “The Failing American Regime” (Personalliberty.com 4 February 2013, nicely links the creation of money out of nothing or “fiat witchcraft” and growing levels of political oppression: “As regimes collapse, they step up oppression of their subjects. Because the collapse is gradual, so is the increased oppression. Gradualism and stealth are key components to the success of the elites and their stepped up oppression of the people”. Fiat money does the same reducing people “to a very low standard of living, driving them toward eventually becoming beggars rummaging through garbage cans”.
Fiat money, created out of nothing, is really a transfer of wealth from the people to the power elites, which will continue until the Collapse comes.
The power elites are ready for this inevitable social breakdown.
The US military are working with Homeland Security and local law enforcement to conduct training drills such as the one which was recently conducted in Miami where black hawk helicopters zoomed through the night sky unleashing blank rounds from Mini-guns.
NOT WILD ABOUT ISLAMISATION
Dutch Freedom Party leader Geert Wilders will be in Australia in March. He has recently been quoted as proclaiming that “Judeo-Christian humanist” values are fundamentally better than Islamic values (The Weekend Australian 2-3 February, 2013 p.11). Linking Judaism and Christianity is problematic for some, but humanism is often thought to be compatible with both.
Never mind, Wilder rolls on in his critique:
A recent article “1 in 4 Swedish Women Will be Raped as Sexual Assaults Increase 500%” (frontpagemag.com, 29 January, 2013), supports Wilders thesis. Between the years 2004-2012, Sweden’s population increased from 9 million to 9.5 million, with immigration from Afghanistan, Iraq and Somalia, etc. At present 16 per cent of all new-born babies have mothers born in non-Western countries. Immigrant unemployment is 54 per cent.
Sweden’s rape statistics rose from 9.24 per 100,000 in 2003, to 36.8 in 2005 to a staggering 53.2 in 2008, after South Africa the second highest in the world. Muslims are represented in around 77 per cent of rape cases. Stockholm, a city which is one-third immigrant and between a fifth and a quarter Muslim, has an average of 5 rapes a day. What would the Vikings of old have thought of this?
It will be interesting to see what Mr. Wilders has to say on this question when he comes to Australia. In our politically correct regime, it is amazing that he can even visit.
CAN TWO WALK TOGETHER … UNLESS THEY BE AGREED?
asks Uri Avnery: https://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/02/07/uri-avnery-attends-the-new-knesset/
Uri Avnery – the old rebel of Israel
It was the opening session of the new Knesset, and former members were invited to a reception with the new ones. Then we were seated in the plenum hall. I did not attend the last few times, but this time I was curious to see the new members – 49 out [“of”] 120, an unprecedented number – some of whom I had never even heard of before. It was really a good sight. Some of the new people were leaders of the social protest movement of summer 2011, some investigative reporters from the media, some social workers. Some fascists remained, but the worst were gone. The change was not large enough to make me jump into the air from sheer joy, but enough to be glad. Beggars cannot be choosers.
It was a ceremonious occasion, with trumpets and all. Up to a point. Unlike the British, Jews have no talent for pomp and circumstance. Real Jewish synagogues – not the Western European copies of Catholic churches – are quite chaotic. In my ten years in the Knesset, I took part in many “festive” sessions, in honour of this or that historic event or personality, and not one of them was really uplifting. We just haven’t got it. This one was no exception. The President of the State, Shimon Peres, who enjoys much respect abroad but very little in Israel, arrived with an escort of motorcyclists and horse riders, trumpets sounded. He entered the building, made a dull speech full of platitudes. So did the oldest Knesset member (a youngster of a mere 77 years, 12 years younger than I). Many members were dressed casually, in shirt-sleeves or sweaters. Few wore ties. Very Israeli. During the speeches, members wandered in and out. All the Arab members left immediately after being sworn in, with Hanin Zuabi in the lead, before Hatikvah, the national anthem, was intoned.
Ben Gurion and Uri – Early Knesset Days
Yet there the similarity ends. I represented a tiny faction, his is the second largest. I brought with me a revolutionary new outlook for Israel – peace, a Palestinian state next to Israel, separation of religion and state, equality for Arab and Eastern Jewish citizens. He brings a cocktail of pious slogans.
Nevertheless, the first day in the Knesset is like the first day at school. Exciting. Every new member brought with him his whole family, with the children in their best clothes, to gaze down from the gallery at father or mother sitting below in this proud company. In this first meeting, members old and new are not allowed to say anything, except the two words “I undertake” (to serve the State of Israel).
Studying the Knesset statutes, I discovered a loophole. I demanded to move a motion for the election of the new speaker, and had to be called to the rostrum. So I made my first speech right there: a proposal to appoint an Arab speaker in order to symbolize the equality of all citizens. David Ben-Gurion, who, as the oldest member, served as temporary speaker, looked at me with wonderment mixed with distaste, an expression immortalized in a rare photo.
When it was over and Binyamin Netanyahu stood up, like all of us, a curious thing happened: Ya’ir Lapid jumped from his seat, ran up to him and embraced him. It was more than a casual gesture. As I have said before, Lapid’s future depends on his now making the right decisions regarding his role in the new coalition and his terms of joining. Tension is in the air. The minimum Lapid needs to satisfy his voters is well beyond the maximum Netanyahu can politically afford to give him. To strengthen his hand, Lapid has ganged up with Naftali Bennett, in order to keep the orthodox factions out. The manifest aim is to compel the orthodox to serve in the army.
Arafat and Uri
True, Bennett has a knack for hiding his real ideology behind a façade of bonhomie. He pretends to belong to the same social sector as Lapid: White, Ashkenazi and liberal, the Israeli equivalent of the American WASP (White_Anglo-Saxon_Protestant).
The small size of his kippah serves the same purpose. (It always reminds me of an admonition a British judge in Palestine gave to aspiring lawyers: “Let your summing-ups be like a lady’s skirt: long enough to cover the matter and short enough to be attractive.”)
If Lapid doesn’t care, what does that tell us about him? He chose to start his election campaign in the capital of the settlers, Ariel. He emphasized that Jerusalem, “the eternal capital of Israel”, must remain undivided. That already is a non-starter for peace.
Talk Show Host – Ya’ir Lapid – aka ‘the Hunk’
On the evening of the Labor Party’s victory in the 1999 elections, tens of thousands of delirious voters spontaneously streamed to Tel Aviv’s Rabin Square to celebrate what was seen as a liberation from Netanyahu’s (first) government. When the victor, Ehud Barak, appeared on the balcony, the shout went up from the thousands: “Anything but Shas! Anything but Shas!”
A few days later, at the opening session of the new Knesset (the last one I attended until this week) I went up to Barak and whispered in his ear: “Take Shas!”
Four years ago, when TzipI Livni could have set up a government instead of going to elections, she needed Shas. Shas, as is its wont, demanded a lot of money for its clientele.
What About the Real Boss? No, I don’t mean Sara’le Netanyahu, who also starred at the opening session. I mean Barack Obama. Back when Bibi thought he was going to nail Obama with his Romney ace in the hole. Without warning he announced this week that he is coming to Israel. Immediately after the formation of our new government. He will go to Ramallah, too. Should we be happy or not?
Depends. If it is a consolation prize for Netanyahu after his election setback, it is a bad sign. The first visit of a US President since George Bush Jr. is bound to strengthen Netanyahu and reinforce his image as the only Israeli leader with international stature. But if Obama is coming with the intention of exerting serious pressure on Netanyahu to start a meaningful peace initiative, welcome. Netanyahu will try to satisfy Obama with “opening peace talks”. Which means nothing plus nothing. Even Bennett can agree to that. Not to mention Lapid and Livni. Yes. Let’s talk. “Without preconditions”. Which means: without stopping settlement expansion. Talk and go on talking, until everyone is blue in the face and both Obama’s and Netanyahu’s terms are over.
But if Obama is serious this time, it could be different. An American or international blueprint for the realization of the two-state solution, with a strict timetable. Perhaps an international conference, for starters. A UN resolution without an American veto.
LETTER TO THE PRESS
To the Editor of The Australian, 9th February 2013
You have performed a great service to Australia in the last year or so by mounting a steadfast and varied defence of free speech in a wide range of published opinion articles, of which those by Michael Sexton ('Freedoms fall to silent enemy', 8/2) and Ross Fitzgerald ('Suffocate debate and we all lose', 9-10/2) are the latest excellent examples.
- - Nigel Jackson, Belgrave, Vic
|© Published by the Australian League of Rights, P.O. Box 27 Happy Valley, SA 5159|