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German free market forces warn against EU militancy on Brexit

At last someone in Europe realizes that the EU bureaucrats are skating on thin ice in their hardball negotiations with Britain. In the event of Britain leaving with no agreement in place, the EU would have a lot to lose. With no agreement, the EU would be obliged to put tariffs on incoming British goods.  Britain would then retaliate and it would be a trade war. And Britain always wins its wars with Europe.  Britain could even put a complete embargo on imports from the continent. And Britain buys far more from Europe than it sells so Europe would be the biggest loser.

German car manufacturers and French farmers in particular would be badly hit.  French agriculture is in a perennial state of crisis so losing the British market would have French farmers marching on Paris -- with predictable results.  Paris always caves in to their farmers.

And in Germany, VW has recently taken some huge knocks due to their own arrogance.  Losing the British market could push them over.  Germany exports 800,000 cars to Britain annually so the whole German motor industry would be in trouble.

Britain, by contrast is itself a big motor vehicle manufacturer -- courtesy of Honda, Toyota and Nissan -- so Brits would have no shortage of excellent cars to buy.  And farm products are in permanent glut worldwide so the range of fresh foods in British supermarkets would be undiminished.

So the EU honchos are very foolish with their present aggressive stance.  Frau Dr. Merkel and M. Macron might soon have to rein them in.  A simple declaration from both of them saying that they would not put trade restrictions on Britain and it would be game over -- with a huge but well-deserved loss of face for the EU bureaucrats.


Germany’s Free Democrats have demanded a special “Brexit cabinet” in Berlin to safeguard the vital interests of the country, citing growing alarm among industrial and manufacturing companies over the disastrous implications of a failed deal with the UK.

The fast-rising party says it will push for an amicable compromise in Brexit talks if it joins the ruling coalition this autumn - as now looks increasingly likely - warning that it would be a fatal error for Europe to humiliate Britain.

“We are hearing an uttering of concerns from German companies and trade unions about what could happen if there is a crash-Brexit and no deal in place. Criticism is growing,” said Michael Theurer, MEP, the party’s economics chief.

SOURCE

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Maternal deaths and the elephant in the room

Below is a judicious article from a medical journal that addresses a problem that should not be happening.  Why is giving birth in the USA so often fatal?  The article runs through the range of possible causes and notes that it is mainly a black problem, but not entirely so. And the various potential causes do make sense.  So, as with many social phenomena, it is reasonable to conclude that a range of factors contribute to the final outcome.  There are many things you can die from.

But there is an elephant in the room that is only obliquely mentioned. One that could very well contribute to the deaths: Obamacare. Many people cannot afford the much higher premiums now demanded and there are even more people who are only nominally insured. They have insurance but their deductibles can easily reach $10,000 or more -- which in effect means that they are not insured at all. A lot of routine medical costs are way below $10,000 so no help with such costs is available. And even costs below $10,000 can be hard to meet for a big family or for people with many calls on their funds -- such as working single mothers who have to pay for childcare. And some people are just not good at saving so the effective absence of insurance to help with medical costs simply means that medical care is simply not sought by them on many occasions.

So there can be little doubt that many precautionary visits to the doctor are not made and many possibly revealing scans are not carried out. So problems are missed until it is too late.  Early diagnosis is universally advantageous but is not practically available.  So Obamacare should be called DeniedCare.  Someone should tell the "rebel" GOP senators who are blocking reform that they are killing mothers


In 2005, 23 US mothers per 100 000 live births died from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth. In 2015, that number rose to 25. In the United Kingdom, the number was less than 9. In Canada, it was less than 7.

Very few wealthy countries saw increases over those years. Many poorer countries, including Iran and Romania, saw declines. But here in the United States, things got worse.

These numbers have been confirmed by independent research. Last year, a study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that the maternal mortality rate in the United States had increased by more than 25% from 2000 to 2014. This trend differed by state, however. Although California had shown some declines, Texas had seen significant increases.

Texas in particular has been the focus of much of the news on maternal mortality in the last few years. From 2011 to 2014, the rate doubled. Although we lack good data to tell us why, many have postulated that changes to family planning in the state coincided with this increase. In 2013, for example about half of the state’s clinics that provided abortion in addition to other reproductive health services were closed because of regulations passed against them. In 2011, the family-planning budget was slashed in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Many clinics closed and more were forced to reduce their services.

Family planning matters. About 50% of pregnancies in the United States are unplanned and might lack preventive care that properly planned-for pregnancies might.

There’s more to this story than changes in regulations and family planning. Some of the increase is likely due to the growing prevalence of other chronic conditions. Obesity, diabetes, and heart disease likely contribute to maternal mortality, and trends for many conditions have been increasing over the last decade. Women are having children later in life than they used to, and some have more complex conditions. More women have caesarian deliveries, which can lead to complications. The opioid epidemic may contribute to maternal mortality, as well.

Disparities exist in maternal mortality as they do in other areas of health care. The increases we’ve seen are most noticeable in non-Hispanic black women. The number of deaths per 100 000 live births among black women is more than 3 times that among white women. In fact, for any state, the higher the percentage of black women in the delivery population, the higher its rates of maternal mortality. But racial disparities can only account for so much of the problem. Even if you look only at white women in the United States, the rates of mothers who die is greater than those in other developed countries.

The fragmented nature of the US health care system doesn’t help either. Too many people in the United States go without necessary care, because they lack access to care or avoid it because of cost. This is just as true of pregnant women as it is of everyone else. As many politicians argue that maternity care shouldn’t be considered essential benefits, some worry that coverage might get worse with reform.

It is possible that some of the increase in maternal mortality is due to better record keeping. States have been working to improve how they keep track of maternal deaths, as well as other causes of death, and better reporting would be reflected as increases in prevalence. It’s hard to imagine, however, that this increase in better records has been solely in the United States, and could account for all of the increases. There’s no reason to believe that all other countries would be keeping themselves in the dark. Moreover, the more universal and socialized health systems are less likely to have women, and their deaths, fall through the cracks and be missed.

Pregnancy and childbirth are risky. We don’t like to talk about it, but maternal mortality is the sixth most common cause of death among US women age 25 years to 34 years old. Proper maternal care helps to prevent morbidity and mortality, but that care is difficult when clinics close and insurance lapses. Medicaid can help to close the gap and often does with pregnant women, but even then, both physician services and mother’s finances are strained.

As with many things in health care, a rising tide would lift all boats. Efforts to improve the health of women in general would improve our rates of maternal mortality. Reducing levels of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease would achieve results. So would getting a handle on the opioid epidemic. But we’ve spent the last few years—if not more—focused on efforts to reduce infant mortality. Mothers may need a similar commitment.

SOURCE

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Evolutionary biology:  Three theories

Evolutionary biology is an inherently speculative field and new fossil finds seem regularly to upset such theories. So I am going to concentrate on theories for which we have some solid data -- in the form of IQ scores.  I am going to look at just 3 populations for which average IQ has now been fairly securely assessed: East Asians, Europeans and Australian Aborigines. Why do the scores decline so markedly across those three groups? I think the main key is warfare or the lack of it.

Europeans are an interesting example of balance.  They have had frequent and ferocious wars with one-another but have also had substantial periods of peace. And they seem to have benefited from both.  Wars are often won by guile rather than by numbers  but that is never easy and requires ever-changing tactics.  So a general problem solving ability was selected for.  Europeans developed their IQs to help them win their many wars. A smarter tribe tended to win and therefore prosper, with more children being born for that tribe.

But the periods of peace were long enough for the pursuits of peace to thrive from time to time also.  And one of the most interesting peaceful pursuit is enquiry, scholarship, finding things out.  And because of that scholarship tends to be highly regarded.  Even in ancient Sumeria there is a record of a father bringing a fleece to give to a teacher. Which is something of an advance on an apple but we can see the same motive and the same respect.

So scholarly people tended to be well supported and hence were an economically successful group.  Sadly, many of the European scholars were celibate monks so the effect was probably much less than it might have been. The monks did however help to make scholarship prestigious so that was a useful function.

An interesting special case is the Germans.  For most of history, there was no German nation.  Germany was a geographical concept only.  It was a place where many large and small independent nations lived who all spoke a form of German.  And, ever since the Roman republic and probably before, Germans have always been warlike. And they as often made war on one-another as they did on others.  So they were heavily selected for martial ability.  Only good warriors survived.  And that selectivity did result not only in a healthy IQ but also in other advantageous attributes.  Their average IQ did not become outstanding compared with their neighbors because it was supplemented by other advantages, one of which is extreme: innovativeness.

It was probably the desirability of military flexibility that made Germans into master innovators, something I have written at length about previously. Leftist psychologists go to great lengths to isolate important intellectual abilities that are not captured by IQ tests but their suggested alternatives mostly reduce to absurdity.  So it is amusing that one of the few genuine alternatives is innovativeness.  That Germans are the masters in that attribute must grind a few gears, however.

Hollywood war movies portray German troops as rigid and robotic bunglers so my characterization of them as flexible will no doubt be a surprise to non-historians. In fact however, flexibility in tactics was preached in Vom Kriege, that great Prussian bible of military doctrine by Clausewitz, written early in the 19th century. The big bunglers of WWII were allied troops.

Particularly in the case of the Prussians (North-Eastern Germans), their martial tendencies were channeled in another direction as well:  into a military personality, with self-discipline being a major part of that. For instance, punctuality requires self discipline and Germans are famous for that.

Speaking more generally, it once used to be said that you just had to drop any German into a military uniform and he immediately became the perfect soldier.  And the exploits of the Wehrmacht in WWII were amazing.  Although heavily outnumbered they very nearly won, despite the large handicap of Corporal Hitler's overall inept leadership.

Just to give you the flavor of that, the British air ace with the highest number of enemy aircraft shot down was "Johnnie" Johnson, with 38 "kills". By comparison, Erich Hartmann of the Luftwaffe had 352 "kills". A similar ratio was not unknown in WWII tank battles.

But Germany did have periods of peace so the arts of peace thrived there as well.  It might be noted that the contributions to the arts made by Germans as a group were however very unevenly distributed, with Austria being by far the greatest contributor -- particularly in music -- and Prussia the least. To this day, about two thirds of the classical repertoire in music was composed in Austria (Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Schubert etc.).

So what is distinctive about Austria?  It was a large empire that got big not by war but by intermarriage of its royal family with other royal families.  They did have wars -- particularly with invading Prussians -- but life in the empire was mostly peaceful.  So "useless" but beguiling things like music and literature could thrive.

And up to WWII, Vienna, the capital of Austria, was THE great city.  It was the intellectual capital of the world.  Most of the eminent philosophers (e.g. Schlick, Wittgenstein), psychologists (e.g. Freud, Jung), Economists (e.g. Boehm von Bawerk, Mises) and artists (e.g. Klimt, Klee) were there. And Vienna was also prominent in new music. It was the home of a great new musical artform, the operetta -- with operettas by composers such as Strauss and Kalman generating many perennially popular songs.  Dutch musical entrepreneur Andre Rieu is a great user of songs from operetta.

China

Compared with Europe, China had long periods of peace under the various dynasties.  So peaceful pursuits could flourish.  And one of those pursuits was scholarship, a much respected pursuit. So China developed its famous civil service examinations, which gave you access to the Chinese elite.  You reached the top in China not by the sword but by the ink brush. And that made scholarship universally respected and aspired to.

And a major factor in scholarly achievement is IQ. So it was the high IQ section of the Chinese population who got all the gravy. They flourished economically and thus tended to have more children.  So IQ was heavily selected for in China over many generations. And so we have the finding today that the Chinese are roughly half a standard deviation higher in average IQ than are Westerners.

And Chinese civilization was much admired in Korea and Japan.  Confucian thinking was adopted there. Chinese bureaucracy, culture, religion, and philosophy were closely studied.  Japan had a particular advantage there.  The Tokugawa shogunate gave Japan over 200 years of peace, an unprecedented achievement. So peaceful pursuits were of particular interest there as well. The Chinese model was largely adopted, with similar results.  So China, South Korea and Japan are closely similar in IQ.

Which leads to an interesting contrast:  Other East Asians, such as the Chinese and Vietnamese do quite poorly on average IQ.  How come?  They all look the same to us!  The Philippines is an easy answer. They are separated from China by rather a lot of ocean.  China did have some influence but the Filipinos mostly went on with their own ways.

And for Vietnam, the problem was the neighborhood bully:  China.  Vietnam was a minor issue in China but China was a big issue in Vietnam.  Little Vietnam kept being invaded from next-door China.  And because China could muster far more troops than Vietnam, Vietnamese had to develop as warriors if they wanted to keep China at bay. And they did.  Like Germans, the Vietnamese became a warrior race -- as both France and the USA found out in the 20th century.  So there was much less scope for peaceful pursuits in Vietnam. Keeping out foreigners became the Vietnamese specialty. And they are still good at that.

Aborigines

And so on to Australian Aborigines, who register one of the lowest average IQs that have been found.  And their unusual situation was very clear: isolation. They had virtually no contact with the outside world for as much as 60,000 years. So they developed with reference to the Australian environment only. And Australia as it was before white settlement tended to be an unforgiving place.  It was hard to make a living there.  For a primitive people the food supply was always precarious.  So the environment was the big challenge and the big shaping influence.  And shape them it did.

Aborigines are not inferior to others intellectually.  They have just deveoloped different intellectual skills.  The skills they have are a very poor at dealing with IQ tests or modern life generally but are superbly adapted to their lives before the white men came along.  Each tribe usually had a fairly wide geographic range that they wandered over.  They had to.  They were hunter/gatherers, not farmers.  So food was scarce everywhere, particularly in the large dry areas of Australia.  So detecting from afar and creeping up on juicy herbivores was the big requirement for life.

So Aborigines developed a quite eerie ability to "read" and remember the landscape. If a few leaves on the ground had moved in the last day or two, an Aborigine would notice that as a message that there was an animal nearby.  He could probably even say which sort of animal. You have to see it to believe it.  They just have enormous visual abilities and a vast visual memory.

That extraordinary skill was in fact very useful to the white man in earlier days. It was useful in tracking down fugitives and criminals.  So the phenomenon of the "black tracker" arose.  Aborigines were hired by police to find people who would otherwise be unfindable.  An evildoer might think that he had made good his escape and he would be right in thinking that -- UNTIL the police put a black tracker on his trail.  The black tracker would see a clear trail that was invisible to whites.  Just a slightly turned leaf would be enough. So crooks who thought they were safe were often surprised to find police knocking on their door.

I could go on.  The way the environment often underlies human differences is fascinating.  I will forbear from mentioning Africans however.

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This new Trump speech sent the media into their worst meltdown ever

A loving and inspirational speech was picked at by the media over a few small details without any mention of its overall character or its enthusiastic reception.  It was alleged that he broke precedent by mentioning current politics and that he used a couple of marginally unpleasant words.  But Trump makes his own rules and always has. It is his strength that he breaks out in new directions and shakes up convention.

It was a great speech and one that the scouts will remember -- regardless of Leftist nitpicking.  I reproduce the first part of the transcript below so you can judge the matter for yourself. Don't trust my take on it or anybody else's.  It speaks for itself.  But I think you will see what I mean

It was a very thoughtful and effective touch that Trump pointed out how many of his cabinet were former scouts. And he even brought them with him to introduce to the crowd. That must have been immensely encouraging to the young scouts present. The American dream is to succeed and excel and Trump showed that dream to be a reality. No wonder the Left hated it. They described it as a Hitler Youth rally, which did, I suppose, at least recognize the enthusiasm of the audience


President Trump Monday addressed the Boy Scouts’ National Jamboree in Glen Jean, WV. Trump addressed tens of thousands of Scouts, speaking about character, loyalty and the obstacles he faces from the Fake News media.

And it sent the Fake News media into their worst meltdown ever, with liberals incoherently screeching their pre-programmed cries of “white supremacy,” “hate rally” and “Nazi Youth.”

Yes, the media are so afflicted by Trump Derangement Syndrome they now think the Boy Scouts are a paramilitary organization planning to kill them.

While the lying media get fitted for a straitjacket, check out this amazing speech.



THE PRESIDENT: Thank you, everybody. Thank you very much. (Applause.) I am thrilled to be here. Thrilled. (Applause.) And if you think that was an easy trip, you’re wrong, but I am thrilled — 19th Boy Scout Jamboree — wow — and to address such a tremendous group. Boy, you have a lot of people here. The press will say it’s about 200 people. (Laughter.) It looks like about 45,000 people. You set a record today. (Applause.) You set a record. That’s a great honor, believe me.

Tonight, we put aside all of the policy fights in Washington, D.C. — you’ve been hearing about with the fake news and all of that. (Applause.) We’re going to put that aside. And instead we’re going to talk about success, about how all of you amazing young Scouts can achieve your dreams. What to think of — what I’ve been thinking about — you want to achieve your dreams. I said, who the hell wants to speak about politics when I’m in front of the Boy Scouts? Right? (Applause.)

There are many great honors that come with the job of being President of the United States, but looking out at this incredible gathering of mostly young patriots — mostly young — I’m especially proud to speak to you as the honorary President of the Boy Scouts of America. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!

THE PRESIDENT: You are the young people of character and integrity who will serve as leaders in our communities, and uphold the sacred values of our nation.

I want to thank Boy Scouts President Randall Stephenson, Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh, Jamboree Chairman Ralph de la Vega, and the thousands of volunteers who have made this a life-changing experience for all of you, and when they asked me to be here I said absolutely, yes. (Applause.)

Finally, and we can’t forget these people, I especially want to salute the moms and the dads and troop leaders who are here tonight. (Applause.) Thank you for making scouting possible. Thank you, mom and dad — troop leaders.

When you volunteer for the Boy Scouts, you are not only shaping young lives, you are shaping the future of America. (Applause.) The United States has no better citizens than its Boy Scouts. (Applause.) No better. The values, traditions, and skills you learn here will serve you throughout your lives, and just as importantly they will serve your families, your cities, and in the future and in the present, will serve your country. (Applause.) The Scouts believe in putting America first. (Applause.)

You know, I go to Washington and I see all these politicians, and I see the swamp. And it’s not a good place. In fact today I said we ought to change it from the word swamp to the word cesspool or, perhaps, to the word sewer. But it’s not good. Not good. (Applause.) And I see what’s going on, and believe me I’d much rather be with you. That I can tell you. (Applause.)

I’ll tell you the reason that I love this and the reason that I really wanted to be here is because as President, I rely on former Boy Scouts every single day, and so do the American people. It’s amazing how many Boy Scouts we have at the highest level of our great government. Many of my top advisors in the White House were Scouts. Ten members of my cabinet were Scouts. Can you believe that? Ten. (Applause.)

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is not only a Boy Scout, he’s your former national president. (Applause.)

The Vice President of the United States, Mike Pence — good guy — was a Scout, and it meant so much to him. (Applause.) Some of you here tonight might even have camped out in this yard when Mike was the governor of Indiana, but the scouting was very, very important. And by the way, where are our Indiana Scouts tonight? (Applause.) I wonder if the television cameras will follow you. They don’t like doing that when they see these massive crowds. They don’t like doing that. Hi, folks. (Applause.) A lot of love in this big, beautiful place. A lot of love, and a lot of love for our country. There’s a lot of love for our country.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke is here tonight. Come here, Ryan. (Applause.) Ryan is an Eagle Scout from Big Sky Country in Montana. (Applause.) Pretty good. And by the way, he is doing a fantastic job. He makes sure that we leave our national parks and federal lands better than we found them, in the best Scouting tradition. So thank you very much, Ryan. (Applause.)

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry, of Texas, an Eagle Scout from the Great State. (Applause.) The first time he came to the national jamboree was in 1964. He was very young then. And Rick told me just a little while ago, it totally changed his life. So, Rick, thank you very much for being here. And we’re doing a lot with energy. (Applause.)

And very soon, Rick, we will be an energy exporter. Isn’t that nice — an energy exporter? (Applause.) In other words we’ll be selling our energy instead of buying it from everybody all over the globe. So that’s good. (Applause.) We will be energy dominant. And I’ll tell you what, the folks in West Virginia who were so nice to me, boy, have we kept our promise. We are going on and on. So we love West Virginia. We want to thank you.

Where’s West Virginia by the way? (Applause.) Thank you.

Secretary Tom Price is also here. Today Dr. Price still lives the Scout Oath, helping to keep millions of Americans strong and healthy as our Secretary of Health and Human Services. And he’s doing a great job. And hopefully, he’s going to get the votes tomorrow to start our path toward killing this horrible thing known as Obamacare that’s really hurting us, folks. (Applause.)

AUDIENCE: USA! USA! USA!

THE PRESIDENT: By the way, you going to get the votes?

He better get them. He better get them. Oh, he better — otherwise, I’ll say, Tom, you’re fired. I’ll get somebody. (Applause.)

He better get Senator Capito to vote for it. You got to get the other senators to vote for it. It’s time. After seven years of saying repeal and replace Obamacare, we have a chance to now do it. They better do it. Hopefully they’ll do it.

As we can see just by looking at our government, in America, Scouts lead the way. And another thing I’ve noticed — and I’ve noticed it all my life — there is a tremendous spirit with being a Scout, more so than almost anything I can think of. So whatever is going on, keep doing it. It’s incredible to watch. Believe me. (Applause.)

Each of these leaders will tell you that their road to American success — and you have to understand, their American success, and they are a great, great story was paved with the patriotic American values as traditions they learned in the Boy Scouts. And some day, many years from now, when you look back on all of the adventures in your lives, you will be able to say the same: I got my start as a Scout just like these incredibly great people that are doing such a good job for our country. So that’s going to happen. (Applause.)

Boy Scout values are American values, and great Boy Scouts become great, great Americans. As the Scout Law says: “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal” — we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that.

AUDIENCE: “helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.” (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT: That was very impressive. (Laughter.) You’ve heard that before.

But here you learn the rewards of hard work and perseverance. Never ever give up, never quit. Persevere. Never, ever quit.

You learn the satisfaction of building a roaring campfire, reaching a mountain summit, or earning a merit badge after mastering a certain skill. There’s no better feeling than an achievement that you’ve earned with your own sweat, tears, resolve, hard work. There’s nothing like it. Do you agree with that?

AUDIENCE: Yes!

THE PRESIDENT: I’m waving to people back there so small I can’t even see them. Man, this is a lot of people. Turn those cameras back there, please. That is so incredible.

By the way, what do you think the chances are that this incredible, massive crowd, record-setting is going to be shown on television tonight? One percent or zero? (Applause.)

The fake media will say: President Trump — and you know what this is — President Trump spoke before a small crowd of Boy Scouts today.

That’s some — that is some crowd. (Applause.)

Fake media. Fake news. Thank you. And I’m honored by that, by the way, all of you people they can’t even see you. So thank you. I hope you can hear.

More HERE

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Census 2016: Australia the world's least racist country?

A small note on the Chinese in Australia.  Salty Bernard below says we have 510,000 Chinese-born residents. That is both true and misleading.  The China-born persons of Han Chinese origin are probably only half of the total Han Chinese immigrants.  Many of the people from Vietnam and Malaysia particularly are Han Chinese by ancestry and know it.  Additionally many have been in Australia for a long time now and have children and grandchildren born here.  So the number of Australian born Han could well be greater than the number born overseas.

I repeatedly in my daily life come across people of unmistakeably Han ancestry who speak Australian English as well as I do: They have obviously grown up here.  So I estimate that there are around 2 million Australians of Han ancestry, which makes the total population around 5% Han.  We are lucky to have so many bright, hard working and peaceful people among us.

So the Han give demographers a few problems.  The "Overseas" Chinese who have come to Australia from Southest Asia identify strongly as Han so for most purposes should be lumped in with the China-born Han.

But an upcoming process will create even greater definitional difficulties.  Young Han women in Australia are generally short in stature and seem to be universally determined to marry a tall man.  And if a tall Han man cannot be found a tall Caucasian man will do.  In my observation, that is actually universal.  Young Han women ALWAYS have a tall man with them if they have anyone at all. They know how to get what they want.  Looking at it from the other way, around 50% of tall Caucasian men will have a little Asian lady on their arms if any. That will undoubtedly produce a large crop of Eurasian children in the not too distant future.  How will the demographers classify them?

The phenomenon I have just described also does pretty well as an indication that neither Han nor Caucasian Australians are racist.  In the Bogardus scale of social distance, marriage is the highest level of non-racism


Australian migrants have to really want to come to this country. We are not like Europe or Africa or the Americas where migrants can trek from one country to another across a land border. And Australia isn’t conveniently positioned between continents teeming with humanity. We’re a bit out of the way … in fact we’re a long way out of the way. Which means that if migrants do decide to make the journey to Australia, then getting back to see family and friends is difficult. I think our isolation, the tyranny of distance, delivers an urgency to the Aussie migrant’s yearning for success.

Come to Australia, mate, work hard, pay your taxes, make a civic contribution, perhaps raise a family and share in the resources of our bountiful continent. Large-scale migration shapes the culture of the host population. Migrants lift the bar; they have something to prove; they measure their success by the success of their children (and often set up by the exceptionally hard work of the migrating parents). Without migration Australia would have remained a white Anglo enclave, a colonial outpost of Britain. Migrant effort, energy, enterprise and muscle have shaped this nation and changed the way we eat (pasta), style our homes (back veranda is now alfresco) and greet each other (cheek kissing) along the way.

All of which leads me to conclude that Australia is the greatest migrant nation on earth. And here is why I believe we can make that claim. According to the latest census figures 28 per cent of the Australian population was born overseas, up two percentage points in the past five years. This proportion in the US, Britain and Spain is barely 13 per cent. Only New Zealand (25 per cent) and Canada (20 per cent) come close to the Australian figures.

If we include residents with at least one parent born overseas then this proportion rises to 49 per cent. Or at least this was the proportion last August; by now we probably have topped the 50 per cent mark. There are more than 6.1 million migrants living in Australia — up 870,000 from the 2011 census — which represents an increase of 174,000 per year.

In Greater Melbourne, Perth and Sydney migrants comprise between 36 per cent and 39 per cent of the population (and even higher proportions in tighter definitions of these cities). This proportion in Greater New York is 37 per cent, in Paris it is 25 per cent, in Berlin it is 13 per cent, in Tokyo it is 2 per cent and in Shanghai it is less than 1 per cent. The Germans get all angsty when Berlin pushes much beyond the 13 per cent mark; Greater Sydney is sitting at 39 per cent and rising. And if we again include local residents with at least one parent born overseas, then 65 per cent of Sydney’s population is a migrant or closely connected to the migrant experience.

I do not see how anyone can credibly make the case that Australians are fundamentally racist — racist incidents perhaps, but not fundamentally racist — when close to 40 per cent of the population in our biggest city consists of migrants. If Australians had a fundamental problem with migrants then the issue would have been brought to a head long before Sydney got to be a more cosmopolitan city than New York.

There is no rioting in our streets. Generally we all get along. There are, of course, serious issues that we are dealing with in regard to refugees. However, I cannot cite another nation with metrics even approaching Australia’s generosity in accepting migrants.

Australia’s largest migrant groups are the British (1.088 million) and New Zealanders (518,000). The Brits arrived en masse after World War II as “ten-pound Poms”, while enterprising New Zealanders have always sought to test their mettle in the bigger market of Australia. However, through the 2020s it is likely that there will be a switch in our largest migrant populations. The Brits are dying off and the recovery of the New Zealand economy has stemmed the flow of Kiwis.

The rising migrant forces in Australia are unmistakably Asian. The latest census counted 510,000 Chinese-born residents, increasing at a rate of 38,000 a year, which means they probably already have surpassed the Kiwis as Australia’s second largest migrant group. Then come the Indians with 455,000, increasing at a rate of 32,000 a year. Then there are the Filipinos with 232,000 and the Vietnamese with 219,000.

The Chinese are our leading source of new migrants; they probably have replaced the Kiwis as our leading source of visitors; they form the largest body of overseas students; and China is our leading export market and source of imports. I think it’s time we made Mandarin a compulsory second language in the school curriculum. Indeed I think it is in the national interest for Australians to understand some Mandarin (and at times in business not to let on that we understand some Mandarin).

There are migrant hotspots in every major city, especially among non-English-speaking settlers. The Chinese make up 9 per cent of the population in Hobart’s Sandy Bay. In Darwin’s Coconut Grove Filipino migrants comprise 10 per cent of the population. In Brisbane the Chinese comprise 23 per cent of the population in Macgregor, Indians cluster in Runcorn (9 per cent) and the Vietnamese congregate in Inala, where they comprise 20 per cent of the population. In Adelaide, for some reason English migrants love McLaren Vale where they account for 15 per cent of the population.

Generally British and New Zealand migrants integrate seamlessly into the Australian social fabric. Contrary to popular opinion New Zealanders do not dominate the Sydney suburb of Bondi, where they form just 3.4 per cent of the population. In fact the newest Kiwi enclave is a long way from hip Bondi; it’s Marsden in suburban Brisbane, where they form 13 per cent of the population. The Brits do congregate, but mostly as retirees in lifestyle locations such as Melbourne’s Mount Martha where they also comprise 13 per cent of the population.

The migrant component to the Australian population swishes and swirls to every nook and cranny on the continent. I say this imbues Australians with a global perspective not found elsewhere. We have developed an absorbent culture that soaks up and showcases migrant influences. Perhaps because we are so removed we see overseas and cosmopolitan influences as a mark of sophistication. Quinoa salad, anyone? ....

Which brings me to a final observation about Australia’s migrants. They make the journey to Australia to secure a better life for themselves and their families.

And in so doing I think they make choices based on work availability and perceived quality of life. Sydney may offer the next generation of migrants work opportunities in financial services, but it is the first generation that wants to buy a home, perhaps as a symbol of their success in the new world. And when you think about it, this aspiration to work and to own a home aligns nicely with fundamental Australian values.

SOURCE

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Griffo's "Pik a hot Pak"

About 55 years ago when I was about 20, I had a job selling transmission machinery from a shop in George St., Brisbane. It rather strangely had 3 names: Gearco, Irvine's and Munro Machinery. That is such a strange job for a literary type like me that I think I should say a few words about how I got that job.

There were not many jobs advertised in the local paper for experts in Middle-English poetry -- which is what I knew most about -- so with supreme optimism I applied for job as an engineering equipment salesman.

I was interviewed by Harry Beanham, who owned a chain of similar shops in other capital cities.  I turned up for the interview in a green suit wearing a green fuzzy felt hat.  That was not a good move.  But Harry was a cautious man so he just asked me two questions which should have sent me on my way.  He asked: What is a tap and what is a reamer?  Being a country kid I answered both questions correctly.  And if you think a tap is something you get water out of you don't know engineering machinery.  Harry was so delighted to meet a kid who actually knew something that he gave me the job straight away.

And I vindicated his faith in me.  At one stage I made a big sale of diehead chasers  -- which are sort of complicated things.  Apparently none of Harry's other people were selling diehead chasers so Harry gathered together his whole stock of them and sent them up to Brisbane for me to sell.  In his mind I became the diehead chaser man.  Which actually served me well on a later occasion.  But that's another story.

Anyway, while I was working there in the shop, most people in the area seemed to know of a Greek cafe nearby called "Griffo's".  And people flocked there to buy a lunch called "Pik a hot pak".  It was yummy.  It was basically a toasted bacon & egg sandwich but with other stuff in it as well. At that time in my life I was busy saving money so my lunch was usually a cheese and pickle sandwich that I brought from home.  But the Griffo's product was so attractive that I did splash out on one at times.

Sadly, however, Griffo's eventually vanished, as so much does over the years. As one gets older, however, one does tend to reminisce about "the good ol' days" a lot and the memory of Griffo's came to me recently.  So I decided that I would try to recreate a "Pik a hot pak".  I am of course not sure how close I got to the original but the taste is at least pretty similar -- and super-yummy.

So what's in it?  The first constraint was that it had to contain pretty familiar ingredients.  Any "foreign muck" would not have been well received in Brisbane of that era.  So I used absolutely routine breakfast and lunch ingredients as I knew them at that time.  So it is something that any cafe would be able to put together for you to this day.

It is simply bacon, fried egg, cheese, sliced tomato and fried onion topped by a small dab of tomato sauce all piled together into an ordinary toasted white-bread sandwich and cut into four. My local cafe puts it together well for me and it's the best toasted sandwich I have ever had!  So some long overdue thanks to Griffo's.

Warning:  If you try it you could become addicted!



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Australia: 'The education system is broken': Teacher who quit her job after 30 years reveals why she intends to home-school her grandchildren

Rather unclear what she wants changed.  More staff and less assessment is part of it but the rest is unclear.

I think she fails to understand that continuous assessment is designed to circumvent reliance on a "sudden-death" examination at the end of the year.  That was once the system but was often protested against as being an unfair measure of a pupil's ability.  Lots of students who did poorly were said just to be having a "bad day".

And teachers "taught to the test" back then too.  It would be irresponsible to do otherwise.

And she ignores the function of the NAPLAN (national) exams in detecting and hopefully improving failing schools.  There are many quite bad schools in the government sector.  That is why 40% of Australian teenagers go to private schools.

It is of course possible to have a school environment where students feel relaxed and learn in their own way.  I once taught in such a "progressive" school myself. It had a great staff/student ratio and friendly teachers  but, even so, one half of my pupils did well and the other half learnt nothing.  And the school did not survive that.  It closed down after a few years.  A school system meant to serve all just cannot be run that way.

The classic example of such a school, "Summerhill", still struggles on but it still has only 60-70 pupils and is too expensive for most parents -- meaning that most pupils come from rich homes -- and they are above-average pupils anyhow.  The school is also said to be "surprisingly strict" these days. The school has been around since the '20s but has few imitators today.  It is clearly not a viable model for government schools


She set the internet alight last year, after she penned a damning essay about the state of the Australian education system and why she was quitting after 30 years in the profession.

And now the Queensland-based teacher, Kathy Margolis, has said she has absolutely no intention of letting her grandchildren into the school system either: 'The education system is broken,' she said.

'I have said to my three sons, "If you guys one day have kids, and I haven't managed to get the system changed, then I’m going to home-school every last one of them",' she told Mamamia on Monday.

In her latest statement, Ms Margolis has said that one of her biggest concerns about the school system is the fact that kids are being expected to read and write in their first formal year of schooling.

'There are kids who are saying, "I'm stupid, I can't do this,"' Ms Margolis said.

'They can see their friends who know all the sight words. Not only that, we're giving them report cards that are telling these parents, "Your child hasn't met this standard," when really, what we should be saying to the parent is, "It's okay, they're just not ready yet, don't stress." But they're not hearing that and they're going out and getting tutors.'

Ms Margolis added that she would have 'lost her job' if she had told parents that their child merely needed an 'extra year'.

'Parents want their kids to do well and to be okay, so they're coming from a place of helping their kids. Really, the kids just need extra time,' she said.

Since Ms Margolis quit teaching, she has started working for the organisation, Protecting Childhood.

This stands for play-based learning till the age of six, no set formal homework until the age of eight, and no standardised testing which is used to 'pass or fail' kids.


READ KATHY MARGOLIS' FULL POST FROM FACEBOOK:

Education in Australian schools is in crisis and someone has to listen to those who are game enough to speak up. I have been a primary school teacher in Brisbane schools for over 30 years. This year, after much thought, I have decided to look for another job, not easy for a woman in her 50s. I cannot continue to do a job that requires me to do what is fundamentally against my philosophy of how it should be done. I love my students and they love me. I know how to engage children in learning and how to make it fun. It’s what I do best.

Teachers have very little professional autonomy anymore. We are told what to do, how to do it and when it has to be done by. Never have I experienced a time in my profession where teachers are this stressed and in real fear for the mental health of not only themselves, but the children that they teach. The pressures are enormous. And before we get the people who rabbit on about our 9 to 3 day and all the holidays we get, let’s get some things straight. No teacher works from 9 until 3. We are with the students during those hours. We go on camps, we man stalls at fetes, we conduct parents/teacher interviews, we coach sporting teams and we supervise discos. And of course there is the lesson preparation, the marking, the report cards. Full time teachers are paid 25 hours a week. Yes you read that correctly, 25 paid hours a week. In any other job that would be considered part time. So now that I have justified our holidays, many of which are spent doing the above, let’s talk about what is going on in classrooms across this great nation of ours.

Classrooms are overcrowded, filled with individuals with all sorts of needs both educational and social. Teachers are told we must differentiate and cater to each individual. Good teachers try desperately to do that but it is near impossible and we feel guilty that we are not doing enough to help the children in our care.

The curriculum is so overcrowded. Prep teachers who used to run lovely play based programs (which might I add work beautifully) are teaching children sight words and how to read and write alongside subjects like history and geography. As a teacher and a mother of 3 sons, this scares the proverbial out of me. We all know that boys this age need to be moving around doing things that interest them, not sitting at desks. And what about the notion of readiness? I fear those little ones who are not ready are going to be left behind. And here’s the problem with our crowded curriculum. There is not enough time to consolidate the basics. Every teacher on this earth will tell you that the early years should be about the 3 R’s. My own children went off to year one after having had a lovely, enriching play based year of learning back in the days of pre-school. They didn’t know any sight words; they could write maybe a few letters and guess what? They learnt to read and write without being pushed at such an early age.

In my teaching career I have never seen so many children suffering from stress and anxiety. It saddens me greatly. Teaching at the moment is data driven. We are testing them and assessing them and pushing them so hard. I get that teachers need to be accountable and of course we need assessment but teachers have an innate ability to know what kids need. A lot of it is data for data’s sake. Don’t even get me started on NAPLAN. Teachers wouldn’t have a problem with NAPLAN if it wasn’t made out to be such a big deal by the powers that be, the press and parents. It has turned into something bigger than Ben Hur.

So why am I writing this? I’m writing this because teachers need to speak up but we are often afraid of retribution. We need to claim back our profession but we are powerless. Teachers teach because we love children and are passionate about education. Our young teaching graduates enter the profession bright eyed and bushy tailed, energetic and enthusiastic, ready to make a difference. So why I ask are they only staying for an average of 5 years? Of course that question is rhetorical. I know the answer. They are burnt out and disillusioned. Older teachers like me have seen better days in the classroom so in a way it’s harder for us to see all the joy slowly being sucked out of learning. But we also have a wealth of experience to draw from and we know which hoops you don’t necessarily need to jump through. We occasionally speak out. We are not as easy to “control”. But we are tired and also burning out with disillusionment.

I write this in the hope that we can spark a public discussion. We need the support of parents, who I know agree with us. I write this because I love children and I can’t bear to see what we are doing to them. Last year, as I apologised once again to my class for pushing them so hard and for the constant barrage of assessment, one child asked me “if you don’t like the things you have to do then why are you still a teacher?” That question got me to thinking long and hard. I had no answer except that I truly loved kids and it was with a heavy heart that I realised that wasn’t enough anymore.



The teacher's original 976-word essay was published on her Facebook page last year. In it, she said the system was in 'crisis' and added that she wrote the post in the hope of sparking public debate.

'Classrooms are overcrowded, filled with individuals with all sorts of needs both educational and social. Teachers are told we must differentiate and cater to each individual. Good teachers try desperately to do that but it is near impossible and we feel guilty that we are not doing enough to help the children in our care,' she wrote at the time.

'Teaching at the moment is data driven. We are testing them and assessing them and pushing them so hard. I get that teachers need to be accountable and of course we need assessment but teachers have an innate ability to know what kids need. A lot of it is data for data's sake.'

The post swiftly went viral and was shared thousands of times online.

Daily Mail Australia has reached out to the Queensland Department of Education for comment.

In a recent statement issued by the state's education minister, Kate Jones, to ABC Radio, she said: 'I have to ensure that early year teachers feel that they have the flexibility to do the appropriate age learning for students in their class.

'Also in the recent budget we announced that there will be a fully funded prep teacher aide in every classroom in Queensland.

'The statements will identify any issues they believe the prep teacher should have and we will provide that directly, and this is something prep teachers have asked for.'

SOURCE

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Yale historian warns Trump’s rise perfectly mirrors frightening ascent of Fascism and Nazis in the 1930s

Typical Leftist cherry picking below.  He quotes a few bits he likes and leaves out the rest. He can't find much that Trump has said so he quotes Steve Bannon -- quite ignoring that Bannon is now out of influence with Trump.

He says that Trump’s showman style of populism is heavily influenced by Bannon. But Trump has been a showman for decades, long before Bannon was heard of. You would have to go back a long way before you found a time when Trump was not in the news. Here's an example of Trump as a young man:



It is true that Trump's rise to power was rapid and Snyder  implies that Fascists rose to power overnight too.  But they didn't.  Hitler fought many elections before he was able to cobble together a minority administration in the "Reichstag". There is no comparison to Trump's sweep.

He does quote Trump as liking the prewar "America First" movement and implies that it was Nazi.  It was in fact the exact opposite. It was the chief anti-immigration and anti-intervention movement in 1930s America.  They were isolationists. The last thing they wanted was to march on any other county.

Snyder in fact just disproves his own argument.  He admits that America First was isolationist but then says that the 1930s Fascists were internationalists.  Che?  But they certainly WERE internationalists. Hitler tried to take over Russia.  Trump gets condemned for being too friendly towards Russia!

It is true that German conservatives gave Hitler some support but that was only because they saw him as a lesser evil than the KPD: the powerful German Communist party.  There was no such threat in America.  The Democrats trust in bureaucracy, not class war. It is in fact the Democrats who are the true modern Fascists.  Right into the war years, Hitler trusted in bureaucracy too.

And the guy below is a historian!  More accurately a fraud

Note that there have been many equally shallow attempts to brand Trump and his followers as being Nazi/ Fascist/ racist/ authoritarian. As authoritarianism is my main area of academic expertise I have debunked all of them that I know of. See here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.



Writing for The Guardian, Timothy Snyder warns that conservatives seem to be unaware that Trump is taking their governing philosophy into darker — and more violent — territory.

According to Snyder, Trump’s showman style of populism is heavily influenced by White House Chief Strategist Steve Bannon.

“Stephen Bannon, who promises us new policies ‘as exciting as the 1930s,’ seems to want to return to that decade in order to undo those legacies,” Snyder writes. “He seems to have in mind a kleptocratic authoritarianism (hastened by deregulation and the dismantlement of the welfare state) that generates inequality, which can be channeled into a culture war (prepared for by Muslim bans and immigrant denunciation hotlines).”

“Like fascists, Bannon imagines that history is a cycle in which national virtue must be defended from permanent enemies. He refers to fascist authors in defense of this understanding of the past.”

Noting that President Trump is not an “articulate theorist,” Snyder points out that the president gives Bannon’s dark vision a populist veneer that has historical parallels.

“During the 2016 campaign, Trump spoke of ‘America first,’ which he knew was the name of political movement in the United States that opposed American participation in the second world war,” Snyder explains. “Among its leaders were nativists and Nazi apologists such as Charles Lindbergh. When Trump promised in his inaugural address that ‘from now on, it’s going to be America first’ he was answering a call across the decades from Lindbergh, who complained that ‘we lack leadership that places America first.’ American foreign and energy policies have been branded ‘America first.'”

“Conservatives always began from intuitive understanding of one’s own country and an instinctive defense of sovereignty. The far right of the 1930s was internationalist, in the sense that fascists learned one from the other and admired one another, as Hitler admired Mussolini,” Snyder continued.

“One of the reasons why the radical right was able to overcome conservatives back in the 1930s was that the conservatives did not understand the threat. Nazis in Germany, like fascists in Italy and Romania, did have popular support, but they would not have been able to change regimes without the connivance or the passivity of conservatives.”

“If Republicans do not wish to be remembered (and forgotten) like the German conservatives of the 1930s, they had better find their courage – and their conservatism – fast,” the historian concludes.

SOURCE

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What an airhead!

The fantasy below is by Ida Auken, a Member of the Parliament of Denmark and a priest of the Church of Denmark.  She is a member of a radical Leftist party and as Green as they come



Her fantasy set out below reminds one powerfully of an earlier fantasy, which predicted that "the state will wither away" (Marx, Engels, Lenin) -- which was a very bad prophecy. The State in fact grows rather than recedes. She thinks private property will wither away, which is also Marxist and just as improbable. Her prophecy dismisses almost the whole of human experience.

Ida's idea seems to be that a coming era of robotics will abolish the need to work.  But that prophecy has been made many times as machines became more and more sophisticated.  Yet the proportion of the population working remains much the same through all these changes.  People's needs and wants expand as the possibilities do.

And private property is now way more extensive than ever before.  Kitchen gadgets alone have proliferated enormously.  I have an electric crockpot, an electric can-opener, an electric rice-cooker, a microwave oven, an electric sandwich maker etc.  My parents had none of those even in their declining years.

The actual trend in society is massively opposite to what the poor deluded woman hypothesizes. The brain beneath her blonde hair clearly has some twisted bits in it. She is high on dreams. Her no. 1 passion seems to be recycling, which is quite labor-intensive. One wonders how that fits in with her dream of idleness below


Welcome to the year 2030. Welcome to my city - or should I say, "our city". I don't own anything. I don't own a car. I don't own a house. I don't own any appliances or any clothes.

It might seem odd to you, but it makes perfect sense for us in this city. Everything you considered a product, has now become a service. We have access to transportation, accommodation, food and all the things we need in our daily lives. One by one all these things became free, so it ended up not making sense for us to own much.

First communication became digitized and free to everyone. Then, when clean energy became free, things started to move quickly. Transportation dropped dramatically in price. It made no sense for us to own cars anymore, because we could call a driverless vehicle or a flying car for longer journeys within minutes. We started transporting ourselves in a much more organized and coordinated way when public transport became easier, quicker and more convenient than the car. Now I can hardly believe that we accepted congestion and traffic jams, not to mention the air pollution from combustion engines. What were we thinking?

Sometimes I use my bike when I go to see some of my friends. I enjoy the exercise and the ride. It kind of gets the soul to come along on the journey. Funny how some things seem never seem to lose their excitement: walking, biking, cooking, drawing and growing plants. It makes perfect sense and reminds us of how our culture emerged out of a close relationship with nature.

"Environmental problems seem far away"

In our city we don't pay any rent, because someone else is using our free space whenever we do not need it. My living room is used for business meetings when I am not there.

Once in awhile, I will choose to cook for myself. It is easy - the necessary kitchen equipment is delivered at my door within minutes. Since transport became free, we stopped having all those things stuffed into our home. Why keep a pasta-maker and a crepe cooker crammed into our cupboards? We can just order them when we need them.

This also made the breakthrough of the circular economy easier. When products are turned into services, no one has an interest in things with a short life span. Everything is designed for durability, repairability and recyclability. The materials are flowing more quickly in our economy and can be transformed to new products pretty easily. Environmental problems seem far away, since we only use clean energy and clean production methods. The air is clean, the water is clean and nobody would dare to touch the protected areas of nature because they constitute such value to our well being. In the cities we have plenty of green space and plants and trees all over. I still do not understand why in the past we filled all free spots in the city with concrete.

The death of shopping

Shopping? I can't really remember what that is. For most of us, it has been turned into choosing things to use. Sometimes I find this fun, and sometimes I just want the algorithm to do it for me. It knows my taste better than I do by now.

When AI and robots took over so much of our work, we suddenly had time to eat well, sleep well and spend time with other people. The concept of rush hour makes no sense anymore, since the work that we do can be done at any time. I don't really know if I would call it work anymore. It is more like thinking-time, creation-time and development-time.

For a while, everything was turned into entertainment and people did not want to bother themselves with difficult issues. It was only at the last minute that we found out how to use all these new technologies for better purposes than just killing time.

SOURCE

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My five-year-old daughter was fined £150 ... for selling lemonade

 Andre Spicer

Disgusting British bureaucracy.  When my gorgeous twin stepdaughters were about 8 or 9 we had a very productive lemon tree so experimented  with making lemonade out of some of its produce.  When we had a product, I organized for the girls to set up a stand outside our place and sell glasses of lemonade to passers by for $1 each.  They loved it and it is one of their fondest memories of their childhood.  We were living on a main road so at one stage the local cop -- this was in a small Australian country town -- drove past, came to a screeching halt when he realized what he had just seen and approached the girls.

Did he create anything like the horrible scene described below?  No way. He was fascinated and talked to the girls in a friendly way.  He bought a drink and went on his way with a pleasant memory of the day.

Why could those animals of British bureaucracy not do that?  Why could they not have turned a blind eye? The more you see of British bureaucrats the more you doubt that they are really human.

There have been incidents in the USA where officials have tried to shut down children's lemonade stands but the outcry has made them backpedal. Will that happen in Britain after this episode?  Don't hold your breath


Like many parents, I’m forever searching for ways to entertain my children – especially at this time of year, when the school holidays loom. I know that visits to our local playground won’t be enough to get us through the long summer days. So, I was pretty pleased when I hit on the idea of helping my five-year-old daughter to run a lemonade stand at the end of our street.

I would have thought twice if I knew what was in store for us.

Really, it was my daughter's suggestion. On the way home from school one day, she told me that she wanted to run a stall like they had at the school fete. "What do you want to sell" I asked.

"Food and toys", she replied.

"Do you want to your sell your toys?", I replied, trying to hide my excitement. My daughter took a second to think.

"Maybe just food then".

The next morning, she announced that she wanted to run a lemonade stand. It sounded very American, but it would entertain her and she might even learn a thing of two. I started looking up lemonade recipes.

That weekend, after 30 minutes of labouring over the blender, we had four jugs of lemonade. My daughter drew a sign with some beautiful bright yellow lemons on it. I added the prices: 50p for a small cup; £1 for a large one. After cleaning off an old table, we packed up our things and walked to the end of the street. A music festival was taking place in a nearby park, so dozens of people streamed by every minute. My daughter stood proudly in front of the table. "Who wants lemonade", she called out. Within a minute, she had her first customer.

The lemonade quickly disappeared and her little money tin filled up. A happy scene. And then, after about 30 minutes, four local council enforcement officers stormed up to her little table.

"Excuse me", one office said as he switched on a portable camera attached to his vest. He then read a lengthy legal statement – the gist of which was that because my daughter didn't have a trading permit, she would be fined £150. "But don’t worry, it is only £90 if it’s paid quickly", the officer added.

My daughter burst into tears, repeating again and again "have I done a bad thing"?

After five minutes, the officers' jobs were done and they went on their way. We packed up and made the short walk home. My daughter sobbed all the way.

When my she had finally calmed down, I started to try to make sense of what had just happened. I’m a professor in a business school, so I probably should have known some kind of permit was required. But this was a five-year-old kid selling lemonade. She wasn’t exactly a public safety hazard.

Later, I tried to lay the matter to rest. "We can get a permit and have a stall another day", I said.

"No. It’s too scary", she replied.

Holding the notice of the fine in my hand, I’m reminded just how restrictive we have become with our children. When I was growing up, my brother and I were able to wonder miles from home without adult supervision. We were encouraged to sell things to raise money for clubs we were part of. By selling biscuits, we learned about maths, communication and basic business skills. But more importantly, we gained a degree of confidence. I can’t ever recall a council officer popping up and fining us.

The world my children are growing up in is radically different. Today, kids are watched by parents around the clock. Most are not allowed beyond the front gate of their house. Everything children do today is carefully regulated by officials, inspectors and their own parents. There are good intentions behind all this obsessive monitoring. But these good intentions can quickly sour.

At the same time as we supervise the joy out of childhood, many of the things which actually help our children thrive are disappearing. Councils have closed youth clubs and young people’s services. Teachers spend more time ticking bureaucratic boxes than teaching kids. Parents are more interested in monitoring their social media feed than playing with their kids. Meanwhile, the number of children being prescribed anti-depressants has gone up 50pc in five years.

Now, after Lemonadegate, as I contemplate the long school holidays which lay ahead, I’m even more confused about how to entertain our children. Setting up a lemonade stand is obviously far too risky. Perhaps I should just rely on that good old fashioned parenting technique – handing my daughter an iPad so she can spend hours watching a creepy guy opening up toys he has just bought.

SOURCE

UPDATE: The power of publicity at work.  The council cancelled the fine and apologized.

In a statement Friday, the council said it was “very sorry” about what happened and that its enforcement officers are expected to “show common sense, and to use their powers sensibly.” “This clearly did not happen,” it said.

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Arabian gold

Did you know that they mine gold in Saudi Arabia?  I didn't but I should have.  There are over 400 mentions of gold in the Bible so it had to come from somewhere. And Arabia is right next door. But as far as I can find the only mention of gold's origin is in Genesis 2:

"And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads. The name of the first is Pison: that is it which compaseth the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold".

Archaeologists have recently identified where the ancient river Pishon flowed.  And it is roughly in the middle of Arabia.



A few excerpts about modern gold mining in Saudi Arabia:

State-controlled mining firm Saudi Ma'aden plans to develop the Mansourah, Massarah gold mine, industry sources told Reuters.

Ma'aden operates six gold mines in the Central Arabian Gold Region, western Saudi Arabia which contains much of the Kingdom's gold rich ore deposits. It has recently started operating the Ad Duwayhi gold mine.

Saudi Arabia's efforts to build an economy that does not rely on oil and state subsidies involves a shift towards mining vast untapped reserves of bauxite, the main source of aluminium, as well as phosphate, gold, copper and uranium.

SOURCE
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'The sensible centre is the place to be': Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull claims the Liberal party is NOT conservative and never has been

Turnbull is certainly speaking of himself when he says that the Liberals are centrist. And it may be that his centrism has given him surprising success at getting his legislation through a fractious Senate. He has enacted most of his initial agenda, notably the building industry watchdog.

He also quotes Menzies accurately but overlooks that what Menzies described as liberalism is conservative today.  The Left have drifted into a hate-filled Marxist party that no longer gives any real respect to liberalism as Menzies saw it.  They support the thuggish building unions, for instance, whereas Menzies emphatically believed in individual liberty and the rule of law.  I quote:

"We are told today that the parliamentary system is antiquated, that it is slow, inefficient, illogical, emotional. In the presence of each charge, it may admit to some degree of guilt. But with all its faults, it retains a great virtue, alas! in these days, a rare virtue. Its virtue is that it is the one system yet devised which ensures the liberty of the subject by promoting the rule of law which subjects themselves make, and to which everyone, Prime Minister or tramp, must render allegiance. We British people still believe that men are born free, and that the function of government is to limit that freedom only by the consent of the governed."

It is Mr Abbott who is the chief defender of individual liberty in Australia today


Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has made the sensational claim the Liberal party was not a conservative party, and never has been.

Speaking in London on Monday, Mr Turnbull said the Liberal party was moulded by former Australian prime minister Robert Menzies, who 'went to great pains not to call his new centre-right party a conservative party'.

'The sensible centre was the place to be. It remains the place to be,' Mr Turnbull said, according to The Australian.

'In 1944 Menzies described our party as the Liberal party, which he firmly anchored in the centre of Australian politics. 'He wanted to stand apart from the big money, business establishment politics of traditional conservative parties, as well as from the socialist tradition of the labour movement embodied in the Australian Labor Party.'

The Liberal party has been embroiled in scandal in recent months amid rising tensions between conservative and moderate ministers.

Former prime minister Tony Abbott said last week he would 'continue' to stand up for conservative voters. 'There is, it's no secret at the moment, a bit of division inside the ranks of those who have regarded themselves as Liberals,' he said.

'I've made the judgement that at least for the moment, and obviously there's a limit to how far this can continue... it's important for someone to stand up for those Liberals feeling a bit let down and disenfranchised.'

Mr Abbot feared the conservative members would leave the Liberals to join a different party - due to the growing moderate voice led by Mr Turnbull.

Mr Abbott was slammed by South Australian senator Nick Xenophon for criticising his own government. 'I think Tony Abbott's being a huge pain in the a*** right now,' he said. 'I need to use the sort of cut through language that Tony Abbott is renowned for.'

His comment was in response to Mr Abbott's criticism of the federal government's May Budget.

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PETA CREDLIN: The problem with our Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull

Peta is pretty right below but she is basically asking Turnbull to be what he is not.  He has no enthusiasm for conservative policies but for his own reasons supports many of them.  His status as a rich businessman may have something to do with his support for conservative policies.

And he is arguably the right man in the right place at the moment. He has had quite a lot of success in getting his legislation through a very difficult Senate and his centrism might have been the key to that.  If he had been more doctrinaire, he might have met more resistance.

Peta clearly wants him to be more like her old mate Tony Abbott but Abbott did get the boot so is that a good model?


IT was his problem when he was the Liberal leader last time, and it’s still his problem now; Malcolm Turnbull has no political judgment.

Rather than use the one-year anniversary of his election win as a chance to lay out a new agenda and give voters a sorely-needed sense of direction, the Prime Minister used a speech to a UK think tank to deepen Liberal Party divisions, and remind ordinary people that this is all about him, not them.

Right now, the Liberal Party needs leadership. The government has not won a Newspoll since it scraped home with a one-seat majority (Mr Turnbull’s own test not ours) and the base is splintering.

It was like this last time when he tried to force an ETS through the party room with his unforgettable words: “I will not lead a political party that’s not as committed to effective action on climate change as I am,” and he’s doing it again.

There’s a breakaway movement by Cory Bernardi that’s increasing membership each week and I know he’s being asked to speak at events around the country that once would have been the mainstay of Liberals.

And of course there’s One Nation that’s become a powerful vote of protest and only growing stronger because of a failure of Liberal leadership to address the issues it articulates on behalf of disillusioned voters.

But rather than unite, the Prime Minister chose to divide. It was poor judgment when there was actually much to support in his speech but trying to pick a fight with conservatives was dumb in the extreme.

It shows an abject lack of commonsense to poke the bear at a time when the current divisions were kicked off by the impudent gloating of his factional lieutenant Christopher Pyne.

When Pyne spoke of the “winner’s circle” he made it very clear that the party’s left-wing Liberals view today’s political fight as a battle for control of the party rather than a battle of ideas to win over disillusioned voters who are leaving the Coalition in droves. And losing 15 straight Newspolls is hardly “winning”.

Did Turnbull hope to get a rise out of conservatives by declaring the fact Sir Robert Menzies chose to name his new party, the Liberal Party of Australia, as evidence it was not conservative? If so, he was naive and a poor student of party history. The Liberal Party is a proud exponent of both the classical liberal and conservative traditions and an assessment of policies over time makes this clear.

It has only governed successfully when both these strands of Centre-Right philosophy have a seat at the table. But Menzies himself knew a shift to the left was always dangerous for a party built on the individual freedoms, the aspirational ordinary person and sound economic management.

As he wrote in a letter to his daughter, Heather, in 1974 that she recently published, he said: “The main trouble in my state is that we have the State Executive of the Liberal party, which is dominated by what they now call ‘Liberals with a small l’ — that is to say, Liberals who believe in nothing, but who still believe in anything if they think it worth a few votes.

The whole thing is tragic… Why should I, at my age, have to be worrying myself about what is happening to the party which I created, a party which had principles to which I most firmly adhere, principles which have now been completely abandoned by what they call ‘little l’ Liberals.”

For most Australians, a debate about philosophy inside the Liberals is an esoteric own-goal.

Instead, the Prime Minister would have been wiser to spend the one-year anniversary of his one-seat win outlining his agenda — and he should have delivered this message in marginal seats, backed up by a mini-campaign push from ministers.

The electorate is desperate to see leadership from the man that’s always shown promise but never really delivered.

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"Daddy's girl" in the era of Trump

Those who have been involved in it know it well enough but there is very little said either in the popular press or in the academic journals about the "Daddy's girl" phenomenon.  So I think I need to give a brief outline of it.

What happens is that an unknown but probably substantial proportion of fathers absolutely adore their little daughters.  And they express that in every way, including spoiling the little girl rotten.  And the little girl laps it up of course.  The two become bound in a bond of mutual love.  It is in my mind the most beautiful human relationship there is.

So to take an example:  The father comes home from work and as soon as he steps in the door the little girl runs to him with open arms.  He snatches her up, gives her a close cuddle and then carries her further into the house where a mother sees two faces with big smiles on them.  Since she loves those two persons she too smiles with pleassure.  It is a happy homecoming.

I am sure that Leftists will deplore that example as "heteronormative", or whatever their latest neologistic jargon is, but they are the losers if they have never been part of that. It happens.

I also see fathers and little daughters coming into my favorite coffee shop.  The daughter will cling to the father as both of them order and will then wind herself around the proud and happy dad when they sit down.  You have to see it.

Having been part of such a relationship gives the girl confidence in her desirability and that is usually a long-term effect. It permanently gives the girl self-confidence and repose for all the rest of her life. And even after she has married and herself become a mother, she will at some times of stress go home to see "Dad".  And when she sees his eyes light up as she enters the room, calm and reassurance will come over her.  It may not solve her problems but gives her strength to bear them.

I was once talking to a mother who said that when her daughter's father came home, there was no-one else in the room for the girl but her father.  She just ran to him on sight.  I was concerned that the mother might be a bit put out by that so I said to her that the girl was lucky as that "Daddy's girl" relationship would give her strength and confidence for the rest of her life.  The mother replied serenely:  "Yes. I know.  I was one too".

To my regret, I never had a daughter but I was very close to a beautiful step-daughter so I have some personal feeling for what that is all about.

Where does the mother fit in?  Some may ask.  I am afraid that it does make the mother the usual disciplinarian but the father can be a backup.  If he told his little daughter that something "would make Daddy sad", that would be powerful.

So that brings us to the Trumps.  To anyone aware of the phenomenon, Donald and Ivanka have an outstandingly strong "Daddy's girl" relationship.  They dote on one another and wherever Donald is, Ivanka is usually no more than yards away, if that.  They are as close to inseparable as they can reasonably be.



For me the picture below encapsulates best the relationship between the two. They were (of course) together at the big G20 meeting but the personal was not for a moment forgotten.  A comforting hand is on Ivanka's shoulder saying "I am here".  And she looks on with a relaxed smile at what is before her. (And what WAS the Japanese Prime Minister thinking?)



I think that loving relationship is thoroughly admirable And tells you much about Donald Trump.  Had Obama had such a relationship, he would have been praised to the high heavens for it.  But with Donald Trump it is totally ignored.  I hope I am not the last to congratulate Donald on his outstandingly loving relationship with his daughter.

There has of course been much foul speculation about Ivanka and Donald as seen in the picture below when she was 15 years old.  But it is just the girl being loving towards her Dad.  Close physical contact is normal in that context.



There were events in my relationship with my stepdaughter that would have looked most alarming to an outsider looking in but everything was in fact completely innocent and known to be such by all the family.

The happy, poised and self-confident lady we see in Ivanka today is clearly NOT the victim of sexual abuse.



And I think the picture below shows how good they are for one-another.  She is happy and he is relaxed as they walk along. It's a beautiful relationship.



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The glacier that didn't bark

I am of course alluding to the dog in "The Silver Blaze", a Sherlock Holmes story.  Sometimes it can be significant and surprising when something does NOT happen.  We see an example of that in the AFP article below.

Warmists have been harping on about the danger and significance of the Larsen C ice shelf breaking off (calving) for at least a year.  I last referred to it on May 5, 2017 and earlier on Dec 6, 2016.  So what has happened now that the calving has happened?  Very little.  The announcement below rightly notes it as an entirely routine and natural phenomenon.

Someone has however injected an attempt at alarm into the story by postulating that the shelf MIGHT have been holding back the grounded ice-mass adjoining it and that this mass may soon therefore slide into the sea and melt.  That is however just a conjecture and fails to discuss, among many other things, the possibility that a new shelf may form where the old one was. And if something does slide off it might just sit there floating where the old shelf was and NOT melt.  I think we may safely see the event as a damp squib from a Warmist viewpoint


A trillion-ton iceberg, one of the largest ever recorded, has snapped off the West Antarctic ice shelf, scientists who have monitored the growing crack for years said on Wednesday.

"The calving occurred sometime between Monday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 12, when a 5,800-square kilometer (2,200-square mile) section of Larsen C (ice shelf) finally broke away," the Swansea University said in a statement.

The massive ice cube, larger than the U.S. state of Delaware, has a volume twice that of Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes. It is about 350 metres (1,100 feet) thick.

"The iceberg weighs more than a trillion tons, but it was already floating before it calved away so has no immediate impact on sea level," the team said. It will likely be named A68.

With the calving, the Larsen C ice shelf lost more than 12 percent of its total surface area.

Icebergs calving from Antarctica are a regular occurrence. But given its enormous size, the latest berg will be closely watched as it travels, for any potential risk to shipping traffic.

The calving may have heightened the risk of the remaining ice shelf disintegrating, the Swansea team said.

Ice shelves float on the sea, extending from the coast, and are fed by slow-flowing glaciers from the land.

They act as giant brakes, preventing glaciers from flowing directly into the ocean.

If the glaciers held in check by Larsen C spilt into the Antarctic Ocean, it would lift the global water mark by about 10 centimetres (four inches), researchers have said.      

The calving of ice shelves occurs naturally, though global warming is believed to have accelerated the process.

Warmer ocean water erodes the underbelly of the ice shelves, while rising air temperatures weaken them from above.

The nearby Larsen A ice shelf collapsed in 1995, and Larsen B dramatically broke up seven years later.

The final break was detected by a NASA satellite.

"We will continue to monitor both the impact of this calving event on the Larsen C ice shelf and the fate of this huge iceberg," said lead investigator Adrian Luckman of the university’s MIDAS project.

The fate of the berg is hard to predict. It may stay in one piece, but could also break into fragments.

"Some of the ice may remain in the area for decades, while parts of the iceberg may drift north into warmer waters," said Luckman.

The team said the calving at the iceberg cannot be directly placed at the door of global warming, describing it as a "natural event".

Human actions have lifted average global air temperatures by about one degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) since pre-industrial levels, according to scientists.

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Do Republicans Really Work Against Their Constituents' Interests?

This is an old chestnut.  For decades in Britain and Australia, Leftists fumed that about a quarter of the working class deserted "their" party and voted conservative. Books were written about it. I did some research on it. And I found that these "strange" people were actually the normal ones.  It was the Left working-class voters who had deviant attitudes. The conservative working-class voters had society-wide values.

A very old conservative claim, much stressed by Benjamin Disraeli in the 19th century, is that conservatives stand for and represent the interests of the nation as a whole.  Donald Trump made great use of a similar claim. Trump's victory therefore shows that such claims have a powerful appeal to all classes, including the workers.  Many of the workers are therefore prepared to put the best interests of the nation before their own immediate self-interest. Disraeli saw that nobility in the workers too, calling them "angels in marble"

The article below makes a similar point: Working class conservatives and their representatives are voting for their long-term good rather than the advantage of the moment. They are smart enough not to take a simplistic Leftist bribe


Leftists don't see the world the same way, and thus they make wrong assumptions about those interests.

It’s not news — not even fake news — that the political Right and the political Left don’t see things the same way; they are different. The Left frequently sees things as problems that the Right doesn’t regard as problems, and vice versa. And even when the two sides agree that something is a problem, they have vastly different ways of addressing it. The gulf between the two factions is arguably wider today than ever before.

The idea that Republican voters sometimes/often vote against their own interests is a Democrat talking point, and this myth was the subject of a recent New York Times podcast. The podcast host, Times managing editor Michael Barbaro, interviewed domestic-affairs correspondent Sheryl Gay Stolberg, who cited the situation in Kentucky, one of the states that suffered mightily when the war on coal put enough people out of work to run Kentucky’s coal jobs to the lowest level in 118 years.

The out-of-work miners, forced onto Medicaid by the war on coal, benefited greatly from ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, Stolberg said, “yet, its Republican senators are leading the charge for ObamaCare repeal, including for Medicaid reform. How can that be?”

The answer to that question comes from the different ways of looking at the world and at life from opposite sides of the political spectrum.

Which of the following sets of ideas do you most closely observe?

1). The nuclear family is an antiquated idea, traditional ideas of morality and culture are oppressive, sexual autonomy is a virtue, and we just can’t get by without government “help.”

2). We graduate from high school and possibly college, find a job to sustain ourselves, marry, and then have children and raise a family.

If you chose 1, you almost certainly lean toward the political Left; if you chose 2, you likely lean toward the political Right. These different views of how to live our lives define why Republicans vote against what seem to be their “interests.”

“Now, between the two parties, which one has centered its appeal around married parents with kids and which party has doubled down on single moms?” National Review’s David French asks. “Even worse, the Democrats’ far-left base has intentionally attacked the nuclear family as archaic and patriarchal. It has celebrated sexual autonomy as a cardinal virtue. Then, when faced with the fractured families that result, it says, ‘Here, let the government help.’”

How does this relate to Kentucky’s Republican senators? They’re voting on their ideas of what makes America great, and according to French, those interests “depend on the complex interplay between our faith, our families, and our communities.” It’s all about core values.

New York Times columnist David Brooks traces these values back to American frontier towns, where life was “fragile, perilous, lonely and remorseless,” and where a “single slip could produce disaster.” As a result, the frontier folk learned to practice “self-restraint, temperance, self-control and strictness of conscience.”

Those values are at the heart of the American experience of carving a powerful and free republic out of a wilderness, a nation that has as a result led the world for decades. They reflect the Biblical values brought here and cultivated during America’s first turbulent and troubled decades, and which formed the basis of the government created following the “Colexit” of the Colonies from Mother England’s repressive grasp.

Republicans, or at least those who are true conservatives, honor the ideals of Liberty, personal responsibility, self-reliance, and limited government, and to a less-than-perfect degree — but a far greater degree than those who call themselves liberals, progressives, or socialists — try to live by these values.

Kentucky’s Republican senators dislike the government’s solution to the problem that the government itself created when it over-regulated nearly everything, and so they see a vote against maintaining this absurdity as a virtuous one. They prefer a system freeing Americans to make their own decisions about health care and health insurance without the one-size-fits-nobody concept Democrats created that we commonly call ObamaCare.

Their vote seemingly punishes those they should most want to help: their constituents and supporters. But the bigger picture shows instead the desire to free their constituents from the damaging big government policies that put them on the government dole. They want to create an environment where they can find another job that can sustain them above the poverty line, and off of Medicaid.

Republicans want to do away with this Democrat-created problem. Their fundamental goal is to free Americans from this horrible, failed big government mechanism. Democrats’ aim is to ultimately create a single-payer, totally government-controlled health care system that would mirror the British system. You know the one: It recently took control of decisions on seriously ill infant Charlie Gard’s care away from his parents, and effectively ordered Charlie’s death.

That case demonstrates precisely how government-run health care will degenerate into death panels — a system where government makes decisions about who lives and dies based on numbers on a spreadsheet. And that explains why Republicans seem to vote against their constituents’ interests. They’re not voting against them at all, but for their Liberty.

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