Public Service

Surely there must be some mistake?!

Has the World Economic Forum (WEF) taken leave of its senses? Not even we think President Trump is a “world-class speaker” despite his capacity to draw huge crowds and make us all sit up and listen. There is a touch of irony to see Trump included by the WEF in this category. Poor old Al Gore will speak but presumably dud predictions has put him on the B-list.

A brief study of the upcoming live sessions published by the WEF reveals it isn’t hard to work out what an utter waste of aviation fuel the summit will be. Woke causes feature broadly. See the following list of live streams available;

The 26th Annual Crystal Award Ceremony

Join us in honouring exceptional Cultural Leaders who are improving the state of the world through their outstanding contributions to inclusive and sustainable change.

Redesigning Democracy in the Digital Age

From data dignity to quadratic voting, join economist and best-selling author Glen Weyl for an exploration of radical solutions to societal decision-making in the wake of unprecedented technological change.

The Fight for Artistic Freedom

Join Wanuri Kahiu on her journey from filmmaker to unintentional leader for freedom of expression in Kenya after her film.

On Music and the Human Spirit

On the 250th anniversary of Beethoven’s birth, conductor Marin Alsop shares lessons on how music can help cultivate joy in the darkest of times.

The Reality of Racial Bias

From politics to the public sector and from housing to education, racial bias perpetuates a crushing structural disadvantage for people around the globe. Join Phillip Atiba Goff as he illustrates how data and evidence-based approaches can be used to turn racial bias into a solvable problem.

The Role of Faith for a Cohesive and Sustainable World

Eighty-four per cent of the global population identifies with a religious group. With eroding social cohesion and near climate breakdown, how can the power of faith foster a cohesive and sustainable world?

Musical Moments: Yo-Yo Ma plays Bach’s Cello Suite No. 1

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma, 2008 Crystal Awardee and a member of the World Economic Forum’s Board of Trustees, performs Bach’s Suite for Solo Cello No. 1 to inspire a conversation about how culture helps us to seek truth, build trust and act in service of one another.

Free to Be (LGBTI)

Fifty years after the Stonewall riots in New York and the birth of the gay liberation movement, LGBTI youth still face rejection and discrimination, resulting in high mental illness and suicide rates among LGBTI youth. How can schools and families contribute to safe and inclusive environments for all?

Seeing the Other

Join photojournalist Rena Effendi to learn about her mission to give a voice to the voiceless through her collection of portraits and places celebrating the strength of the human spirit. Rena Effendi is a Fellow of the New Narratives Lab, a mentorship programme dedicated to fostering a new and diverse generation of cultural leaders.

An Insight, An Idea with Jin Xing

A conversation with choreographer and 2020 Crystal Awardee Jin Xing on her journey from male army colonel to one of China’s most influential female TV personalities.

The Power of Youth

From the 2018 March for Our Lives fighting for gun control in the US to the Global Climate Strike in 2019, young people are mobilizing and increasingly influencing today’s most pressing political and environmental issues. How can these movements transform their will for change into action?

The Beauty of Inclusion

Join Thando Hopa, the first woman with albinism to appear on the cover of Vogue, on her journey to unearth the missing stories needed to achieve equality for all persons. Thando Hopa is a Fellow of the New Narratives Lab, a mentorship programme dedicated to fostering a new and diverse generation of Cultural Leaders.

A Conversation with will.i.am

Join a conversation with musician will.i.am and young activist Naomi Wadler on the fight to end gun violence, and how they are influencing policy change and inspiring the next generation.

Augmented Voices

Join vocalist and researcher Harry Yeff, also known as Reeps100, who reveals our true range of communication and the hidden potential of the human voice.

How to Turn Protest into Progress

Anti-government protests fuelled by anger about inequality, corruption and political repression are paralysing cities and nations. How can movements transition from protest to political change more effectively? This session was developed in partnership with Tortoise Media.

Power of Narratives

Powerful narratives, consisting of shared causal and principled beliefs, are the prerequisite for human collaboration, yet also lead nations to war and move markets. How might societies co-create powerful narratives for a cohesive and sustainable world?

Being Out and Equal

While openness about being LGBTI at work increases well-being and productivity, more than half of the community avoids being open about their sexual orientation and gender identity in professional settings for fear of negative consequences. What are best practices to create open and inclusive workplaces for all? Access the Platform for Shaping the Future of the New Economy and Society on TopLink.

Although we shouldn’t be too critical of WEF. Economics does find its way into the subject matter.

Behind close doors, we note that Greta Thunberg will speak on a panel discussing “Averting a Climate Apocalypse“, Al Gore will speak on “What’s at stake: The Arctic” and Christina Figueres will speak on “Swapping subsidies for Green Incentives.” Precious little open-mindedness to be expected in those sessions.

Other topics will include the following;

After Brexit: Renewing Europe’s Growth

As the European Central Bank maintains interest rates at record lows, the economic forecast for the region remains weaker than desired. What will a new Commission and the eventual withdrawal of the United Kingdom mean for the European economy?

Shaping the Global Growth Agenda

In 2019, global debt levels soared to a record $250 trillion, alongside a “race to the bottom” for interest rates. What level of debt, inflation and interest rates are healthy for economies to grow?

Stakeholder Capitalism: Creating Common Standards for Social Excellence

From supply chain labour standards to operating in conflict-affected regions, navigating the social responsibilities of a company is a complex endeavour. What difficult decisions are chief executives facing in the pivot towards a broader social purpose?

In the face of all the dire predictions of climate doom to be reported by the media, we can be rest assured the assembled globalists will be telling our government officials that we minions stand the best chance of survival – economic, environmental and otherwise – if we submit to their superior intelligence.

50 years of Davoz. The Global Shapers will be the rope the Multistakeholders use to hang the rest of us with

Davos is upon us. That event where the world’s elite congregate via private jet and helicopter transport to tell the rest of us to reconsider our use of a second hand SUV to take the kids to soccer practice for the sake of the planet.

This event marks 50 years. What started as a good idea is now nothing more than a networking event for crony capitalists looking to exploit gutless governments into backing their schemes and ridiculing those that don’t sign up for multi-million dollar memberships.

We should applaud the World Economic Forum (WEF) for helping perpetuate the culture of systemically brainwashing our youth.

In the 2020 Global Risks report, we get the following table which highlights adults (‘Multistakeholders’) and the youth (‘Global Shapers’). Who knew that environmental issues took the Top 5 positions among the kids? Privacy be damned. Adults were more concerned with politics and trade wars. Hint hint President Trump.

The long term outlook produced even more drama. The adults seem to have appeased the kids on climate but their private jet powered life styles at the very least mention global governance failure and the risk of asset bubbles popping.

The youth on the other hand ramped up the global warming rhetoric to 11. The Top 6 concerns are climate and #8 turns out to be about climate refugees. That’s the result of a Marxist education, one that NZ is only too proud to boast about. Forget rational debate to engage kids on how to see two sides of an argument. They will be admonished for speaking out against the orthodoxy. Or doxxed on social media. Or both. Is it any wonder we have a mental health crisis?

Although it is worth mentioning that the deteriorating global economic fundamentals highlighted in the same report risk handing the kids their ideal utopia by way of a deep recession thanks to excessive global debt levels and low interest rates. It is unlikely these self-entitled ‘Global Shapers’ have ever contemplated, much less lived through such an outcome with all of their earth ending hysteria. Best tell them that if they pursue their dream of 100% renewables and zero carbon emissions they can bask in the shared misery of having let their teachers blindly mislead them by never challenging them on anything. Experience is a hard teacher. They’ll get the test first and the lesson afterwards. But such reality will be too late and take decades to fix.

Perhaps these ‘Global Shapers’ would do well to study the reasons why inequality and social upheaval will continue to grow if the world pursues the barking mad drive to decarbonise the world. The report even makes a point to talk of the disruption in France by the yellow vests. It noted,

In France, for example, the persistence of the “gilets jaunes” movement had caused businesses more than US$11.4 billion in losses by December 2019 and complicated the government’s plans for economic revival.

The yellow vests are protesting over regulation and climate related taxes.

Under the chapter of ’10 years left’, we got the following passage which is full of untruths as to beggar belief.

Governments, markets and, in an increasing number of societies, voters are awakening to the urgent realities of climate change—it is striking harder and more rapidly than many expected. The last five years are on track to be the warmest on record. Climate-related natural disasters such as hurricanes, droughts and wildfires are becoming more intense and more frequent, reportedly now averaging a disaster a week. Polar ice is melting more quickly than anticipated, with drastic implications for sea levels and coastal populations. Severe weather is worsening: the last year witnessed unprecedented wildfires and devasting storms across the globe, sea ice loss in the Arctic and record-breaking heatwaves in Europe.”

Yet how was it that Queenslanders voted to keep the incumbent government in power because of its support for a coal mine? Why is China committing to 300-500 new coal-fired power plants?

How is it that the UN has reported categorically that it has ‘low confidence’ on any shift in the behaviour of natural disasters? In the UNIPCC’s March 2018 report on weather extremes with respect to anthropogenic induced global warming) it says,

“…There is low confidence in observed trends in small-scale phenomena such as tornadoes and hail because of data inhomogeneities and inadequacies in monitoring systemsin some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter, for example, in central North America and northwestern Australia. There is limited to medium evidence available to assess climate-driven observed changes in the magnitude and frequency of floodslow confidence for the attribution of any detectable changes in tropical cyclone activity to anthropogenic influences..low confidence in projections of changes in extreme winds.. low confidence in projections of changes in monsoonslow confidence in wave height projections…overall low confidence because of inconsistent projections of drought changes…low confidencein projected future changes in dust storms…low confidence in projections of an anthropogenic effect on phenomena such as shallow landslides.”

Where is the evidence of 10s of millions of climate refugees fleeing rising sea levels an coastal populations?

Virginie K. E. Duvat of the Institut du Littoral et de l’Environnement, University of la Rochelle-CNRS, La Rochelle sponsored by the French National Research Agency; French Ministry of Environment, Energy and Oceans (MEEM) wrote.

Analysis “using tide gauges and satellites showed 30 Pacific and Indian Ocean atolls including 709 islands, revealed that no atoll lost land area and that 88.6% of islands were either stable or increased in area, while only 11.4% contracted.

This confirms a 2010 study by Webb & Kench which revealed,

that 86% of islands remained stable (43%) or increased in area (43%) over the timeframe of analysis. Largest decadal rates of increase in island area range between 0.1 to 5.6 ha. Only 14% of study islands exhibited a net reduction in island area. Despite small net changes in area, islands exhibited larger gross changes.

There is even reference to properties sold in Florida and the risk they become uninsurable. Then why is the Florida house price index at record highs?

What about record breaking cold waves in Europe and Canada? Unprecedented wildfires and storms? Not according to the data.

Unprecedented media sensationalism more like it.

One comment made in the report was the fact that 14x more women die than men during natural disasters. Is this proof there are only two biological genders or are the studies on non-binary deaths during disasters incomplete? This may have to be a separate break out session.

The report also issues this stark warning.

Aside from a number of vanguard first-mover champions, most companies, too, appear ill-equipped to address climate risk.

Ill-equipped or paying lip service?

Take Josh Bayliss, CEO of Virgin Group. He said,

“It’s definitely true that right now every one of us should think hard about whether or not we need to take a flight.”

Why doesn’t he close down the airlines in the portfolio? Instead of waiting for his customers to grow a conscience and do the right thing why not force their choice? The obvious answer is that it’s hypocritical.

Yet even our own ASIC feels the need to force the minds of corporates to deal with climate change. Forget the data that shows reporting on the subject has collapsed since 2011 from an already low level because the free market mechanism reveals that pricing to offset such fears simply don’t exist in any meaningful way. The regulator’s wish to enforce reporting only proves it needs to construct a narrative to ward off a problem that doesn’t rate much of mention other than virtue signaling.

Perhaps this urgency to get regulators to pressure corporate leaders showed up with this snippet in the WEF report,

In the World Economic Forum’s survey of business leaders, none of the top 10 risks globally are environmental, suggesting a critical blind spot…industry partners of the World Economic Forum ranked environmental risks higher than business leaders surveyed more broadly…Overall, lack of consistent awareness-raising among business leaders may create first-mover advantages for some, but it also potentially demonstrates the much more concerning overarching risk: that many businesses may not be planning for the physical and financial risks that climate change may have on their activities and across their value chains.

So in plain English that says that the majority of corporates that don’t pay into the WEF’s Davos slush fund are evil and if we can get the governments of the world to force change, its members will be the first beneficiaries of any new climate legislation.

Yes, Global Shapers are merely the rope that the Multistakeholders will use to lynch the rest of us with.

Did spending $1bn more on fire services in 2018-19 just end up in smoke?

Based on a request for further data across more fire services in Australia, it is clear that funding hasn’t been a problem. It seems allocation of those funds must be. As we showed in the NSW RFS and VIC CFA reports, expenditure seemed to be directed at increasing staff in administration accompanied by higher salaries instead of equipment, where numbers went down.

Expenditures, not revenues are a better place to look because more than income, spending denotes actual deployment of capital. Note most of the country’s fire services spend more than they earn so as government entities, the state governments back and fill those budget holes. So what might not appear purely as a direct appropriation from a state government at the start of the year, someone has to shore up the deficit. Note many fire services keep the earnings from fire levies and other quasi-taxation lines so that doesn’t show up in the budget line.

More importantly, were expenses allocated sensibly we could reasonably argue that the so called “budget cuts” the media keeps banging on about clearly weren’t having any impact on their ability to spend an extra $956.4mn over and above the 2014-15 aggregate figure. That’s an average 33% increase.

We looked at 8 fire service across the country and compared 2014-15 spending to the latest 2018-19 published figures. Here are the results.

Fire & Rescue NSW

$674m -> $814m ( +20.7%)

NSW RFS

$311.2m -> $554.8m (+78.2%)

Victorian MFB

$372.5m -> $507.7m (+36.3%)

Victorian CFA

$484.8m -> $656.7m (+35.5%)

Queensland FES

$569.9m -> $724.6m (+27.1%)

WA DFES

$359.8m -> $435.5m (+21%)

SA CFS

$74m -> $89m (+20.4%)

Tasmanian TFS

$76.2m -> $96.6m (+26.8%)

Not a lot of budget crimp in there. If budgets were being so drastically cut no amount of calendars featuring fire fighters clutching puppies would make up the short fall. More than that, state governments would have tried to ratchet back the deficits in the future budgets. Yet they didn’t.

So once again if we look at the direct appropriations from the states as a line item we get:

Fire & Rescue NSW

$603m -> $724m ( +20.1%)

NSW RFS

$149m -> $491m (+329.5%)

Victorian MFB

$325.7m -> $414.3m (+27.2%)

Victorian CFA

$451.2m -> $622.2m (+37.9%)

Queensland FES

$494.7m -> $561.2m (+13.4%)

WA DFES

$303.7m -> $418m (+37.6%)

SA CFS

$74.9m -> $77.4m (+3.3%)

Tasmanian TFS

$57.8m -> $66.8m (+15.6%)

So in every case, government spending (whether state or federal) and the state levies these bodies can charge, went up on 2014/15.

Pity the media keeps jabbing with budget cut narratives when the numbers simply don’t paint that picture.

As we’ve said all along, we need to take a long hard look at who have been making the decisions inside the fire service administrations (not the front line fire fighters) before we start pinning medals to their chests.

Is this why impeachment took so long to send to the Senate?

Nancy Pelosi was waiting on those customized pens to arrive from China.

The brainwashing of kiwi kids


You can’t make this stuff up. Jacinda Ardern’s government will be introducing climate change into the 11-15yo curriculum in order to lock in the brainwashing early. A perfect reason not to ever have Jacinda as our PM. The Guardian noted,

Every school in New Zealand will this year have access to materials about the climate crisis written by the country’s leading science agencies – including tools for students to plan their own activism, and to process their feelings of “eco-anxiety” over global heating.

The curriculum will put New Zealand at the forefront of climate change education worldwide; governments in neighbouring Australia and the United Kingdom have both faced criticism for lack of cohesive teaching on the climate crisis. The New Zealand scheme, which will be offered to all schools that teach 11 to 15 year-old students, will not be compulsory, the government said.”

One imagines those students that don’t attend such classes will be made to feel isolated. Don’t bother to teach the kids to think critically and evaluate both sides of the argument. Just push a narrative and force kids to regurgitate this nonsense as they tap into their personal devices while plugged into a wall.

Maybe Jacinda Ardern could cut the Wellness Budget in half were she to tell kids that they will be ok rather than scare them witless into the nearest mental health service. Talk about creating a market for services based on misinformation. It is a disgrace and utterly irresponsible.

Bit by bit, the freedom of independent thought is being taken from us in front of our very eyes. The sad thing will be when economic reality smacks these kids who fell for the Kool-Aid. Their lives will be palpably worse buy all of the doomsaying they were spoon fed will never have eventuated. For people who can see through this, where is the pushback to accept this nonsense?

Turnbull proves to us that he still can’t see what everyone else does

Former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has written an opinion piece in The Guardian and proved beyond all doubt the reasons why he no longer holds the privileged post and how blind the Liberal Party faction that supported him managed to bury their judgment.

Turnbull’s first few paragraphs flush this out. He opined,

Have we now reached the point where at last our response to global warming will be driven by engineering and economics rather than ideology and idiocy?

Ideology? Surely you jest, sir? Do climate skeptics push 17yo pig-tailed truants to peddle their warming religion? Did 31,000 climate skeptics,who question the governance behind the science, fly into COP25 to tell the rest us all how to behave?

Idiocy? One just needs to examine the utter hypocrisy of the climate protestors who can often be seen gorging on fast food made by evil corporations that reinvented single use packaging. Easier still, just follow Hollywood stars who think they can offset their enormous carbon footprints via regular use of private jets, stretched limos and lavish dozen room mansions by eating vegan and sacrificing fashion choice to one tuxedo for a season of gala dinners.

Let us start with the optics before the content.

Turnbull will go down in history as one of the only conservative party politicians to avoid conservative media outlets like the plague. If he looked in the mirror, how far off the Liberal reservation must he have been to have to limit himself to the left-leaning mainstream media even when he was PM?

To choose the climate alarmist Guardian as his platform speaks volumes. Where else would he find an audience that would would be so soft and stroke his ego?

The content of his op ed wasted little time heaping lashings of self-praise on his own record at the top, which frankly is not much to write home about.

We need to plan this carefully – we have to keep energy affordable and reliable as we make the transition. My government’s policy for a national energy guarantee (Neg) integrated emissions reduction and reliability, and would have enabled us to continue to make the switch to renewables without compromising the reliability of the electricity network…if ever there was a crisis not to waste, it is this one. Morrison has the chance now to reinstate the Neg with higher targets. Both he and Josh Frydenberg were among its strongest supporters when I was PM. They abandoned it in the lead-up to an election, to pacify the right wing of the Coalition that sabotaged it in the first place.”

Mr Turnbull, we are a bit curious. How was it Morrison managed to win the election by backing coal in the lead up? Pacifying the right wing or realizing that the real base of the party would never have backed you in 2019 still favour economic wellbeing to virtue signalling? The answer is obvious.

The thought of all these new green jobs. We think you ought to check the ABS for the latest statistics on those wonderful employment opportunities that just don’t exist in green jobs. Turnbull wrote,

The children in Muswellbrook and Singleton will not have to breathe in coal dust and sulphur dioxide from the mines and power stations, and their parents will have jobs in industries that thrive with cheap, green power…We can demonstrate that abundant zero emission energy will create thousands of new jobs that will vastly exceed those lost as coal burning comes to an end.

Annual direct FTE employment in renewable energy activities in Australia was estimated at 17,740 jobs in 2017-18 according to the ABS, a number below that of 2011-12.

Mining, according to the latest ABS stats, employs around 220,000. Electricity, gas and water approximately 131,000.

If we examine Turnbull’s “priority this decade should be our own green new deal in which we generate, as soon as possible, all of our electricity from zero emission sources. If we do, Australia will become a leader in the fight against global warming. And we can do it...” comment one assumes that we don’t have any coal fired generation.

Does Turnbull honestly believe the same amount of power generation could occur if “the degraded landscape of old mines could be covered with solar panels”? And at lower cost?

This is the trend of Australian energy price inflation and manufacturing jobs over the last two decades. Notice anything? A correlation of about 90%. Energy prices go up, manufacturing comes down. We have shed 250,000 manufacturing jobs in the last two decades. 

Germany gives us a wonderful case study on how a renewables based energy system has backfired spectacularly.

In 2007, Germany forecasted that 2020 residential electricity prices would be approximately 16 Eurocents with the shift to renewables away from nuclear. Today they trade at c.31 Eurocents. Der Spiegel, a normally left-leaning journal wrote in a two-part series. 

Part 1 – Germany Failure on the Road to a Renewable Future

“But the sweeping idea has become bogged down in the details of German reality. The so-called Energiewende, the shift away from nuclear in favour of renewables, the greatest political project undertaken here since Germany’s reunification, is facing failure. In the eight years since Fukushima, none of Germany’s leaders in Berlin have fully thrown themselves into the project, not least the chancellor. Lawmakers have introduced laws, decrees and guidelines, but there is nobody to coordinate the Energiewende, much less speed it up. And all of them are terrified of resistance from the voters, whenever a wind turbine needs to be erected or a new high-voltage transmission line needs to be laid out.”

Germany’s Federal Court of Auditors is even more forthright about the failures. The shift to renewables, the federal auditors say, has cost at least 160 billion euros in the last five years. Meanwhile, the expenditures “are in extreme disproportion to the results, Federal Court of Auditors President Kay Scheller said last fall, although his assessment went largely unheard in the political arena. Scheller is even concerned that voters could soon lose all faith in the government because of this massive failure.

There is also such an irony when these mad green schemes encounter scourge from animal rights groups. Former Green’s leader Bob Brown knows the feeling,

“The bird of prey [red kite], with its elegantly forked tail, enjoys strict protection in Germany…Red kites are migratory, returning from the south in the spring, but they don’t return reliably every year. The mayor would have been happy if the bird had shown up quickly so its flight patterns could be analyzed and plans for the wind park adjusted accordingly. It would have been expensive, but at least construction of the project could finally get underway.

But if the bird doesn’t return, the project must be suspended. Spies has to wait a minimum of five years to see if the creature has plans for the nest after all. Which means the wind park could finally be built in 2024, fully 12 years after the project got underway.”

Part 2 – German Failure on the Road to a Renewable Future

An additional factor exacerbating the renewables crisis is the fact that two decades after the enactment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act (EEG), 20-year guaranteed feed-in tariffs will begin expiring next year for the first wind, solar and biomass facilities. Some of those who installed solar panels back then — often farmers and homeowners — are still receiving 50 cents for every kilowatt-hour they feed into the grid. Today, larger facilities receive just 5 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The state has redistributed gigantic sums of money, with the EEG directing more than 25 billion euros each year to the operators of renewable energy facilities. But without the subsidies, operating wind turbines and solar parks will hardly be worth it anymore. As is so often the case with such subsidies: They trigger an artificial boom that burns fast and leaves nothing but scorched earth in their wake.

That doesn’t include the 360,000 German households in energy poverty. That is those people who can’t afford their electricity bills and have power to their homes cut off. Australia already has 42,000 in energy poverty,

Our electricity prices are among the highest in the world but Mr Turnbull believes he has the solution by getting rid of reliable coal-fired baseload in favour of solar panels, wind farms and battery storage, all heavily reliant on the very fossil fuels he wants to be terminated.

Yet Mr Turnbull believes that we can ditch coal because it is going out of fashion.

But above all we have to face this fact; coal is on the way out. It is, as we are seeing today, a matter of life and death. Whether we like it or not, demand for our export coal is going to decline and expire.

The world must, and I believe will, stop burning coal if we are to avoid the worst consequences of global warming. And the sooner the better. The good news is that thanks to technology we can have abundant energy which is both green and cheap.

Is it on the way out? Is that why China has 300-500 new coal-fired power plants in the works with a further 17 coal mines to be opened? Is that why India is keen to build out Adani? Even Germany is backtracking on coal fired power plant closures because it knows its grid can’t cope without it.

He closed with,

But the lies of the deniers have to be rejected. This is a time for truth telling, not obfuscation and gaslighting. Climate change is real…our response must be real too – a resilient, competitive, net zero emission economy – as we work to make our nation, and our planet, safe for our children and grandchildren.

He even suggests a world where we’re all driving EVs. While we aren’t sure whether Mr Turnbull owns a Tesla himself, he should know that the energy that goes to make the batteries is equivalent to the car doing 150,000km of CO2-e emissions before it leaves the showroom floor. Don’t forget the stress on the grid to charge all these cars. Who needs the reality of EV infrastructure rollouts across the Nullarbor which are powered by diesel gen sets? Mr Turnbull, any ideas? Run a cable from Snowy 2.0?

It is sad to see a former leader still feel he has a voice on a subject matter his party rejected based on economics. We already spend a fortune on green energy. We are pulling our weight as a Top 3 per capita nation on energy spend. In real terms we spent 2x more than France in 2019. We can only hope PM Morrison doesn’t fold from the poor media advice during the bushfires and see Turnbull’s endorsement as a sign to do the exact opposite.

Analysing 37 anti-Trump Psychiatrists for glaring bias

On July 7, 2019, a video did the rounds on social media referring to a book titled, The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump,which contained the updated findings of 37 psychiatrists and mental health experts, led by Dr Bandy X. Lu, a forensic psychiatrist from Yale School of Medicine.  It followed on from a previous work published in October 2017, where only 26 other psychiatrists had joined forces with Lu at the time. 

Social media lapped up Dr. Lu’s claim that she was the President of the World Mental Health Coalition (WMHC).  If one throws ‘world‘ in a title it sounds more impressive, doesn’t it? Although Americans often struggle with the word “world”. For decades Americans hosted a baseball event called the “World Series” where no other nations played.

Still, we felt compelled to check how gargantuan the WMHC is to properly measure its global status. For reference, the American Psychiatric Association has c. 38,000 members. We could be easily led to believe the WMHC had multiples of that. Sadly not. It has a total of 37. Yes, thirty-seven. Given the World Psychiatric Association represents 200,000 members worldwide, we can get a fair idea of how much ‘pull’ WMHC hasn’t.

Turns out WHMC is an “all-volunteer organization, and donations are used for direct educational activities, to strengthen the fabric of society as we better our collective mental health.” with the following donation manifesto:

“We:

1. provide consultation to government bodies upon request;
2. organize public forums for discussion and education; and
3. alert, protect, and educate the public when when we see signs of imminent or lasting danger within the body politic or in its leaders.” [although there is a typo they might wish to address which we have highlighted for them]

Perhaps the most telling part of the bias in the updated version can be found in the Amazon summary of the latest book,

The prestigious mental health experts who have contributed to the revised and updated version of ‘The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump’ argue that their moral and civic “duty to warn” supersedes professional neutrality.

You don’t say? If these psychiatrists ever testify in court (as they proudly claim they often do), any attorney defending the accused should just dredge out this summary to prove they aren’t impartial by their own admission.

Lu proved once again that Trump Derangement Syndrome lives and breathes within the walls of elite tertiary institutions of America, just like Stanford law professor Pamela Karlan who admitted she crossed the road to avoid walking in front of a Trump building during her impeachment testimony. This is the level of maturity one gets for a $70,000pa education.

The WMHC has no qualms publishing a question from a town hall which included an “…historic number of leading psychiatrists in our country felt the imperative to publish such a book because of their unprecedented fears about a President with such severe mental problems…”

Historic being 37…If 500 law professors can get their act together on co-signing a letter on articles of impeachment, surely the psychiatric community can achieve a higher watermark. May we suggest they take a leaf out of the 11,000 scientists who signed a letter on climate change which Mickey Mouse, Albus Dumbledore or Araminta Aardvark were among the co-signatories.

Back to the video. Lu’s opening statement was that Trump “failed every criterion for rational and reality-based decision-making capacity.”

Reading in a robotic style off an autocue, Dr. Lu said that Trump is unfit to be president based on the wealth of data gleaned from the 448-page Mueller Report (released to the public on April 18, 2019). So between April 18th to July 7th, the WMHC has absorbed all 448-pages with a thorough and impartial eye.

Forget that the Mueller said under oath that the report “did not find that the Trump campaign, or anyone associated with it, conspired or coordinated” with Russia.

Dr Lu said, “first and foremost, we want to remove Mr Trump’s access to nuclear weapons and war-making powers…we could offer many more, but given the urgency, we decided to focus on the two most important.”

Since when did 37 psychologists become experts in foreign policy?  In more than 1,000 days in office, no country has come close to being nuked by Trump. Unlike his predecessor, foreign powers realise he is not messing about. Cross a red line and there are consequences. Period. Are psychiatrists confusing unorthodoxy with mental illness?

Did the WMHC predict that Iran would end its retaliation so soon? It is a bit silly to believe that they won’t continue the 4-decade proxy war.

However CNN (which is in thorough need of psychiatric assessment alongside WaPo. NYT and other mainstream media outlets) indulged us with, “Iran’s strikes seem intended to avoid US deaths. Here’s why that might be the case.” Wow. That is a pretty darned expensive way to fire shots across a bow. We guess once in possession of Obama’s gift of billions, Iranian generals can afford the luxury of expending multiple $100,000 missiles instead of $1,000 shells.

Maybe the WMHC can tell us why CNN believes those thoughtful leaders of the Iranian regime were compassionate enough to spare the lives of an enemy they swear death to. Who knew?

Lu makes the audacious claim that, “Our work is not about Mr Trump who may not be a danger as a private citizen, but about protecting society against the powers of the presidency in a person who has not demonstrated the ability to handle them.

If the work isn’t about Trump, why does the WMHC have a section that also targets this administration’s border protection policies? It released a statement on refugees which said the following,

We write as mental health professionals who are deeply concerned about the psychological harm our nation’s current immigration practices inflict on asylum seekers, immigrant communities, and our society…We are alarmed that recent changes in executive policy and personnel show increasing cruelty with intent to inflict as much pain as the law allows.”

It is a safe assumption to think that the WMHC members aren’t staunch Republicans. Never mind that Obama first introduced kids in cages separation laws at the border, something confessed by the mainstream media late last year. Who needs facts on the psychiatrist’s couch?

Presumably, the next iteration of the book will suggest that the 63m that voted for Trump are equally in need of having their voting rights repealed for their inability to handle their democratic rights.

Lu proudly states she has testified in court cases with respect to forensic psychiatry but in this case feels that interviewing the subject is not important. She read out from the screen,

As the evidence was overwhelming, and since outside perspectives are more important in a functional exam than a personal interview, we did not feel we needed one…the wealth and quality of the report’s content made this possible…in fact we had more and better data under sworn testimony than we have ever had in our usual practice.

Psychiatrists are banned by law from diagnosing patients without examining them although Lu thinks this step is unnecessary to make a determination that he is unfit. Hmmm.

Also, we are not interested in a diagnosis of the president because he is not our patient.

Lu said her group offered the president to undergo an examination if he believed himself fit. His office acknowledged receipt of the request. Like any sane human being, a polite “p*ss off” was the only appropriate reply to a bunch of sanctimonious intellectuals who think they know better than all of us.

Force in numbers (even as tiny as 37) signing consensus-based documents like this are the latest weapons used by liberals. Albert Einstein once said to a scientist who claimed he’d get 100 scientists to prove him wrong replied, “it only takes one!

Of course, we can already hear the defenders of the WMHC ring loud on the basis of their academic credentials.

However, we hold a different view. Just because one holds qualifications in a particular field from a reputable institution, doesn’t mean they don’t carry biases or conflicts of interest. Schools with brand names often escape rigorous scrutiny because they are so revered and citing them is seen as adding credibility to one’s own arguments.

In 2015 a claim was made against Harvard for not disclosing financial conflicts of interest. A press release entitled ‘Clean air and health benefits of clean power plan hinge on key policy decisions’ constituted a gushing praise of a commentary entitled ‘US power plant carbon standards and clean air and health co-benefits’ by Charles T. Driscoll, Jonathan J. Buonocore, Jonathan I. Levy, Kathleen F. Lambert, Dallas Burtraw, Stephen B. Reid, Habibollah Fakhraei & Joel Schwartz, published on May 4, 2015, in Nature Climate Change.

The claim (a letter to the Dean) suggested that

“two of the co-authors of the commentary, Buonocore and Schwartz, are researchers at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Your press release quotes Buonocore thus: “If EPA sets strong carbon standards, we can expect large public health benefits from cleaner air almost immediately after the standards are implemented.” Indeed, the commentary and the press release constitute little more than thinly-disguised partisan political advocacy for costly proposed EPA regulations supported by the “Democrat” administration but opposed by the Republicans. Harvard has apparently elected to adopt a narrowly partisan, anti-scientific stance…The commentary concludes with the words “Competing financial interests: The authors declare no competing financial interests”. Yet its co-authors have received these grants from the EPA: Driscoll $3,654,609; Levy $9,514,391; Burtraw $1,991,346; and Schwartz (Harvard) $31,176,575. The total is not far shy of $50 million…Would the School please explain why its press release described the commentary in Nature Climate Change by co-authors including these lavishly-funded four as “the first independent, peer-reviewed paper of its kind”? Would the School please explain why Mr Schwartz, a participant in projects grant-funded by the EPA in excess of $31 million, failed to disclose this material financial conflict of interest in the commentary? Would the School please explain the double standard by which Harvard institutions have joined a chorus of public condemnation of Dr Soon, a climate sceptic, for having failed to disclose a conflict of interest that he did not, in fact, possess, while not only indulging Mr Schwartz, a climate-extremist when he fails to declare a direct and substantial conflict of interest but also stating that the commentary he co-authored was “independent”?”

We don’t accuse the WMHC of committing crimes but we think this example shows that we shouldn’t blindly accept the findings from academics without heavier scrutiny.

Certainly, in the case of these 37 psychiatrists, even a deplorable uneducated Trump supporter can see through the heavy coats of bias and condescending rhetoric. The ultimate irony is these people have such confidence in their own intellectual superiority that they reckoned one would look under the hood.

Maybe when 200,000 global psychiatrists ascribe to the same view as WMHC, we may be inclined to lend more credibility to the suggestions of Trump being unfit for a role. At the moment the WMHC appears to be mentally unsuited to uphold the very high standards of the wonderful work done by the rest of the mental health community.

They needn’t worry. It is likely that more than 63 million Americans will make that determination in November 2020 on whether he is still fit to serve.