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Seedy
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 18, 2017 10:23 am 
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Moscow_Wolf wrote:
What happened 50 years ago - a Right Coup perhaps.


Something More Like THIS, Mr Wolf.... Wink

Although of course there was indeed a coup elsewhere 50 years ago. I fear that, as a school-boy, I was inordinately interested in Things that go 'BANG!' and had a hobby of making what I only learned several years later were called pipe-bombs*. Given that I used to detonate them on Salisbury Plain, close to the Army ranges, I imagine that it would be rather more frowned upon now than it was then. Very Happy

*Not to mention "cannon" that could fire a 50mm ball bearing over a mile.... Cool
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Xanthos
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 1:48 am 
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It's been a while, but it's bath night again and as I've revealed before I do enjoy a contemplative historical meander on the thread theme, whilst my bits get a good soaking, so here's the rub!! Err ... No, damn no ... scrub that! Apropos absolutely nothing related to my bath time (or the thread for that matter), but given the recruiting problems the British Army is experiencing with the 'Snowflake Generation', I must first share this delightful admission by China's PLA - it did so make Oi larf! Wink
http://tinyurl.com/yafer6gn

Ahem! So, back on thread, Erdogan has taken Bulgaria's neighbour Turkey down a particularly dark and I'm sure most would agree democratically regressive path; the extant EU deal is looking very dicey with Erdogan's 'dolly flying out of the pram'!

To be realistic, any 'migrant flow' through Bg, including both legitimate refugees and illegal economic migrants, is dictated by Erdogan turning the screw and adjusting the flow rate. He's made no secret of the filter process applied in Turkey, such as holding onto the engineers, scientists and medically trained refugees, and will only stem the tide of lower skilled humanity if the EU pays. However, Merkel is likely to trip the EU up again on the immigration front, especially as Mutti flaps her gums for the domestic audience during the final week of her political battle in pursuit of re-election.
http://tinyurl.com/y9lxeqfq

As others have mentioned, irrespective of their individual motivations, all non EU migrants entering the EU, if they're not documented visitors with the appropriate clearance and they've not sought registration for 'refugee status' or claimed 'political asylum' in the first safe country, are by convention - 'illegal immigrants'. That includes irregular transit from Turkey in the case of refugees, since it's deemed a safe country. Likewise any economic migrant is acting illegally, if they've not been granted the correct visa type / government approval to enter an EU country or overstay the stipulated timeframe.

Despite all that, human migration continues unabated and Bg's land borders remain porous in places, although I've mentioned previously, its physical geography remains a formidable challenge for many, especially mid winter, together with a rather robust approach to uninvited Southern visitors. As the poorest country in the union, Bg may not be quite as keen on these EU tactics being copied from Australia or at least a variation on a theme -
http://tinyurl.com/yak8s9u6

Realistically migrants view Bg only as a transit country with their end goal being countries like Germany, Sweden or the UK. Not least of these being some of the 'children' or those that claim to be, as mentioned by ZZ earlier in the thread and a factor that has overwhelmed some social services departments in the UK with appropriate assessments / placements (including fostering). As Seedy suggests one would have to question the sanity of a system that is patently ineffective in light of Friday morning's terrorist attack on the London Underground.

Unfortunately various criminal factions that previously put their efforts into smuggling (drugs, weapons, tobacco and other bric a brac) have found the human trafficking trade far more lucrative (it also has lower judicial penalties in most EU states). In recent months sea crossings made from Turkey to Romania and occasionally Bg have increased (or at least involve Bulgarian nationals), and in a few cases mimic the 'high roller' transfers cited earlier in a link on this thread.
http://tinyurl.com/y8k29nxh

The winter should see this tail off again, as with the Mediterranean routes exploited from North Africa across to Italy and Spain. Even though the migrant camps at Calais have been cleared out several times there are still chancers returning, but lorry drivers have hassles at other rest areas along the approach routes, with traffickers setting up their own 'waiting areas'. The link between the human trafficking and the drug trade in the UK is also quite evident, for example -
http://tinyurl.com/yc6alu7p

The migrant flow from MENA has been dominated by the central and western Mediterranean routes this summer, and many transport companies had rerouted their lorry traffic for the UK to Spanish ports like Bilbao, the lorry leeches have been picking on those routes creating problems for the ferry companies as well as the drivers. Meanwhile Hungary and other Eastern EU countries are defying the redistribution of refugees; the 'Visegrad Four' believing their stance is correct.
http://tinyurl.com/ybgwddpy

In broad terms I agree with them, since Mutti Merkel's actions in 2015 were diplomatically unsound and downright dangerous, both from a security perspective and an economic viewpoint. The recent events in London are evidence of both security and economic issues that threaten the UK, and of course other parts of Europe; the tourism industry can be greatly affected by such events, as Tunisia and Egypt have found to their cost.
https://www.visitbritain.org/forecast
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Seedy
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 19, 2017 6:02 am 
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Welcome back, Mr X! Just a point of order: I believe that posting from the bath is not compulsory, especially if one apparently follows Good Queen Bess' stricture re ablutions Wink

In true Armchair General fashion, I have difficulty seeing where the challenge lies in stemming the flow of invaders. Since your catholic reading seemingly includes the Daily Star I'm sure you read the recent article in that august publication which apparently revealed that London Underground is to be graced with rapid-fire trained special forces personnel of both (and presumably none/multiple/self-determined etc) sexes with "shoot to kill" orders. Leaving aside the likely mayhem on a crowded Tube train should any Brazilian electricians be injudicious enough to still use such means of going about their business, I wonder why it's not possible to use such measures at the country's borders - and indeed at those of other EU states. Border officers that I've seen in various EU countries recently all appeared to be armed but seemingly now work for Uber rather than the state. Presumably their weapons are "de parade, et ne pas de defense" and ammunition is deemed too dangerous by Brussels' 'Elf'n'Safety mandarins?

No less an expert than that nice Mr Bliar has discovered "the Truth": that we should stop bribing African thieves in an attempt to stop the flow of illegals into Europe and instead Errr..Bribe Them Some More Sad

Somehow, the combination of ever-increasing over-population, lack of resources to feed the resulting mouths, tribal warfare, medieval beliefs, theft and corruption are all OUR fault and WE need to do something about it, lest we get totally over-run with illegals destroying, by accident or design, the very things that bring them flooding over to Europe in the first place.

Mother Nature has her own way of adjusting the Population:Resources ratio and while it's not a pleasant prospect there's no point in just relocating the problem and waiting for it to happen again. We're all on the same planet but that doesn't mean we have to demonstrate some spurious "solidarity" by all getting into the same boat and going down together.
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Last edited by Seedy on Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:34 am; edited 1 time in total
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Moscow_Wolf
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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2017 7:33 pm 
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@Seedy, but we are doing something about it, we're selling them arms so that they can wipe more of themselves and US out and the government is making a healthy profit on paper too. It is a win, win situation - I think. Confused  
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Seedy
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PostPosted: Thu Sep 21, 2017 4:17 am 
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Talking about weaponry, Mr Wolf, it's interesting that Johnny Jihadi seems able to source automatic fire-power in Europe but not in the UK. Could John Bull's security services be so much better (unlikely methinks) or are we going to see some "spectacular" sooner or later?
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Xanthos
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 1:09 am 
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I'm observing Seedy's ablution advice today, whilst continuing my meander linked to the predatory nature of our 'civilised' species and the natural conclusion of its 'evolution', especially as it pertains to the nature of human migration both past and present. If it makes interesting reading, all the better, if not, c'est la vie!

Like expats in Bg who need to adapt to the physical and social environment in equal measure, our nearest ancestors fell foul of that necessary adjustment, but most importantly the essential genetic adaptation. It's likely homo sapiens mutated gene was the cause, evidenced by the extinction of less aggressive Neanderthals, although there is considerable evidence of interbreeding between homo sapiens and other hominids.
http://tinyurl.com/jqz5xxh

Indeed some minor differences in neurological processes resulting from differing percentages of Neanderthal genes (2-4%) found in Western and Eastern civilisations, may impact on certain cognitive behaviours. Some may be familiar with Robert Ludlum's 'Bourne Trilogy' novels, but specifically watched the 2012 'Bourne Legacy' film starring Rachel Weisz as the nerdy virologist. Whilst they're on the run, having killed off the bad guys and burned down her house, Weisz confesses to Jeremy Renner's character 'Aaron Cross', that his genes were doped by the CIA through a 'mystery flu' virus, but his physical adaptations are just minor adjustments increasing by just 1% the activity levels of his mitochondria (the biological engine of each cell), thus endowing him with extra speed and strength (N.B. Ludlum never actually wrote the 'Bourne Legacy' book or the totally different film script of the same name, because he died in 2001). The 'blue chems' that the Aaron Cross character uses, supposedly improve his cognitive skills and ability to deal with pain. Of course, the film's entirely a work of fiction, but the science alluded to is not; it offers real concerns for WADA in the area of sports doping too!
https://blog.athletigen.com/need-know-gene-doping/

Gene therapy has been an area of significant academic study over the last two decades in order to treat and/or prevent diseases and conditions; research for paediatric conditions like Muscular Dystrophy, and other conditions such as Huntingdon's disease, Alzheimers, cancer. I'm a parent of three kids myself, and as a clinician I treated many children with Muscular Dystrophy, Cystic Fibrosis, Sickle Cell Disease and other conditions earlier in my career. Unfortunately, these conditions often resulted in short and sometimes tragic lives (for their parents too), so I personally consider gene therapy as a necessity from a humanitarian perspective and also an economic one. It's a real philosophical bog to negotiate, and a moral minefield for humanity; from experience however, it's difficult remaining wholly detached as a paediatric specialist. A few will have heard of the 'three person baby', using genetic material from a donor to engineer an embryo in order to avoid a hereditary disease being passed to the offspring.
http://tinyurl.com/mbxjgnk

A Darwinian view of natural selection might suggest that some of the fiction of the 'Bourne Legacy' film will happen anyway with the passage of sufficient time, just as with finches and tortoises in the Galapagos. Personally, I see the physical degeneration of Western physiology far more likely on current trends! On the flipside, the evolution of homo sapiens, with their adaptations to different environmental conditions and innovation, including our progressive use of tools and scientific development (for good and evil intent), is perhaps just natural selection seen through a different lens.

In the real world of gene therapy, the application of Somatic gene therapy is not heritable, so the following generation isn't affected and the ethical consideration of altering one person’s DNA is not quite as fraught. Germline gene therapy on the other hand, is inherited by any offspring of the individual first treated, and will continue to affect subsequent generations. That is the real moral conundrum, and this obviously leads to ethical consideration for our future generations; it clearly runs counter to pervading religious views and the concept of natural selection.

I'm not finished with this issue and will return to the theme later, but having watched Trump give his debut speech at the UN, whilst also observing the body language of many delegates including General Kelly with his head in his hands, I assume POTUS was probably introduced to the wrong type of 'blue chems'. I believe this academic paper is quite apposite, especially the researcher's location!
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4947341/

What does seem indisputable, is that MENA countries along with those of the Sahel referenced by Blair do not require the West to find an excuse for having a serious go at each other, but since the UK started to liberate 'black gold' from the anticlines beneath present day ME, things have never been quite the same and I'll return to this later! Water is the critical factor for the stability of the Sahel region, although environmental warming may see a shift in precipitation for the better in these countries, whilst it may have adverse impact on the Balkans. For example it may affect ski resorts and related tourism, as snowfall cover is reduced and the season is shortened; evidence is already pointing this way.
http://tinyurl.com/ycyffcny

On Monday I watched the 'Grand Finale' documentary about the twenty year 'Cassini' project to explore Saturn and its moons, and the amazing discoveries produced by an exceptional team of scientists and engineers. One point I found particularly interesting was the rationale for Cassini not being sacrificed on Titan, as the moon was found to have a prebiotic environment. Had the spacecraft been allowed to crash there and contaminate the moon, any potential discovery of lifeforms by scientists in the future could not discount Cassini as a precursor or catalyst, so it finished its life plunging through Saturn's atmosphere. Eternal questions, why are we here; is there life elsewhere in the cosmos, and do we really want to screw up another planet?
https://saturn.jpl.nasa.gov/mission/grand-finale/overview/

To record the final moments of Cassini, the Canberra Deep Space Communication Complex, an earth station in Australia and part of NASA's mission tracking programme located at Tidbinbilla was tasked. It was responsible for retrieving data in the final stages of Cassini's mission as it crash dived into Saturn. It only deals with missions that are millions or billions of miles away, but it also brought the memorable images and audio to TVs across the world of Neil Armstrong's "one small step for mankind, one giant leap for mankind"! This included having to invert those images as Armstrong's camera was upside down on the moon's surface at the time (not quite as simple as Photoshop these days).

Apparently, the NASA specialist at Houston responsible for manipulating the Apollo mission data from Armstrong's camera was sick that day, and his relief apparently forgot to show up - crazy, but true! What else could possibly go wrong at NASA when people are perched on top of a massive fuel tank and the fuse is lit, or little heed is taken of the 'No 13' painted on the side of your hot ride?

When I read about different problems people have with stability of their electrical power or the speed of their internet connections in Bg, it's obviously disconcerting for the individuals concerned, but puts in perspective an amazing fact I learned about the Tidbinbilla station. It collects data transmitted from the Voyager 1 mission at a power of just 19W, approximately half that of a fridge light. The 'round trip' for that signal takes 30 hours, so missing your turning is a real nightmare!

The station is recording that amount of electromagnetic energy from 4.5 times the distance of Pluto from us; its strength is weakened by the spread over the intervening 20Bn Kms of space, such that the diffuse signal received on earth is just 1/20,000,000,000th of the energy output of the average watch battery! Like the Cassini data, that information is simple binary code, but its all collected and converted into the amazing images we view on TV or via the internet, and obviously other data utilised by mission scientists.

Tomorrow I'll return to more earthly matters, in particular the adverse the impact of discarding ancient science and loss of traditional knowledge.
  
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Seedy
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 3:52 am 
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Tomorrow, Mr X? Whatever happened to the "once a month whether needed or not" lustration schedule? Wink

In any event, I for one will be awaiting the sequel.

Incidentally, it appears that Mr Armstrong may have fluffed his lines if your version is indeed the correct one... Cool
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Seedy
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PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:36 am 
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Interesting also that more "primitive" hominids apparently existed in present-day Germany but, due to being "more cooperative and less aggressive" than subsequent waves of invaders, became extinct....sounds depressingly familiar: Migrants/Refugees Welcome!! anyone?
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Xanthos
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 24, 2017 11:42 pm 
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To continue the theme, I also mentioned the NASA centre in Australia for another reason, one totally unrelated to technological wonders. Rather it was about balancing the gains through new science uncovering the mysteries of extraterrestrial bodies, against the potential loss of culture and the ancient science of terra forming our own planet. The NASA complex, which opened in 1965 sits within a nature reserve and one of my former teaching colleagues works there at the Birrigai Outdoor School; 'Birrigai' is the Ngunnawal word for ‘laughter or to laugh’. The school is located about 40 minutes drive from the capital and is well worth a visit. Ngunnawal people are the traditional custodians of the region; Tidbinbilla was a significant Aboriginal meeting place, hence the 'Birrigai' naming. Neighbouring clans also used this meeting place, including the Ngarigo, Wolgalu, Gundungurra, Yuin and Wiradjuri people. Much like the gatherings of Roma clans in different parts of the Balkans, the indigenous people of the Australian continent held ceremonies, whilst trading and marriages also took place between different clans. Before the purists pile in, I'm not suggesting the Roma are indigenous to the Balkans, simply highlighting their traditions and cultural practice.

The name 'Tidbinbilla' is derived from the Ngunnawal word 'Jedbinbilla' viz 'a place where boys were made men'. This ancient Aboriginal initiation rite of passage, involves a long spiritual hike across the indigenous land. Known as 'Walkabout', but more recently the ritual has been referred to as 'temporary mobility', because the former is often used as a derogatory term in Australian culture! The term still crops up in English slang as a colonial throw back, often describing someone who is skiving and has wandered off from their job or maybe gotten lost. In reality, nothing could be further from the truth, as the Walkabout is a rite of passage to find oneself! Historically young (adolescent) Aboriginal Australians undertake a journey, specifically helping them 'transform' into adults. Usually made between age 10 and 16, whilst individual journeys can last up to six months and range a thousand miles; they're on their own in the wilderness, to live and survive.

Aboriginal youngsters are not completely unprepared for this journey, because in their formative years, the clan Elders instruct and advise them. They learn about the ceremony and adult life in general; they're passed the 'secrets' of their people, about the knowledge of their world and much of this is delivered through accompanied journeys and most importantly story telling. These stories are not just an oral history of their clan, they also help create a mind map of hundreds of thousands of square miles land and location of crucial resources within it, but with less young people going through this process the links to that traditional knowledge grows weaker. If anyone has spent time looking at ways to improve their memory, such as the Loci method, utilised by Plato delivering his oratory, turning to the different pillars 'locating' sections of his speech, they may also have come across the use of stories (and rhymes, songs). Storytelling is a significant trait of our species, which helps trigger synapses for storage and importantly our visuospatial recall. For those interested in knowing more about this neurological function and how it helps Aboriginal youngsters on their Walkabout, or just want to improve your returns on eBay sales!
http://tinyurl.com/yaedbd4e

For young people preparing to go Walkabout, other skills are taught before their journey, so the young person can create shelters, make weapons, hunt, fish and also recognise edible plants and utilise those with healing properties for survival during their journey. For example identifying plants such as bush tomatoes, Illawarra plums, quandongs, lilly-pillies, Muntari berries, wattle seeds, Kakadu plums, and bunya nuts. I'm certain as kids growing up in the UK, anyone still reading this would have learned, maybe from their old nan or grandad, the value of a 'Dock Leaf' to counter a stinging nettle rash caused by formic acid and histamine. Possibly fewer would have been taught the best way to actually use it, which involves squeezing out the alkali sap for a salve, more effective than just rubbing the Dock Leaf on their skin; likewise there are nutritional benefits of nettle soup, especially if you enjoy the taste of spinach or kale!

You might even fancy some natural 'blue chems' or Nootropics as they're known, which can be found in a herb called 'Water Hyssop' or 'Indian Pennywort' (Bacopa monnieri), an ancient Asian therapy! Were it not for the Jesuit's Bark the British could not have taken or held India. Just as their daily Quinine dosage was too bitter for most, so no-one would have bothered inventing the Tonic water to splice with the cheap gin, and I wouldn't enjoy my occasional G&T nowadays! Please note - downing half a dozen G&Ts is NOT anti-malarial medical advice, as in the present day Tonic water has no medicinal quinine effect whatsoever! Follow the British military and get psychotic on Larium instead!

Other healing techniques like Thai massage or Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), including Acupuncture are rooted in thousands of years of traditional knowledge from ancient cultures that have present day application. Having used acupuncture and acupressure in clinical practice for nearly twenty years I can vouch for the benefits (or my patients have), at least in terms of pain relief and rehabilitation of musculoskeletal problems. Broader aspects of TCM have been researched, and the key difference between TCM and Western approaches to medicine is the whole person approach of TCM - keeping body, mind and spirit in balance; this in turn relates I believe, at least in part to the genetic influences on some aspects of Western and Eastern cultures.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4947341/

The efficacy of some Western medicinal treatments, such as homeopathy had its roots (metaphorically rather than literally speaking) in failures of more tortuous forms of clinical butchery and the questionable practices of 18th century 'physicians', like their penchant for bleeding patients with the lancet or scarifier and blistering them to draw out dark humours! Modern medical practice has seen a return to the use of hirudotherapy, which is again an ancient form of healing now back in the medical toolkit. The use of leeches is quite efficacious for post surgical applications in plastic, reconstructive and microsurgery, whilst Hirudin the anticoagulant enzyme derived from leech saliva is more effective than Heparin or Warfarin in certain cases.

During the last decade, numerous military lives have been saved in combat in Iraq and Afghanistan, because of shellfish! Chitosan is derived from shellfish and is the active ingredient in Celox wound dressings, whilst Kaolin also works as a haemostat in QuikClot dressings! In other circumstances, debridement therapy through engagement of Green Bottle Fly larvae is quite successful in the recovery of venous ulcers. Historically, some medical remedies had a semblance of science behind them (even if the science wasn't properly understood at the time), whilst other approaches were just moon howling fads that gained favour, some had placebo effects (nothing wrong with that ) or snake oil sales techniques were applied.
http://tinyurl.com/z9s5ywo

Whilst the madness of King George III may have been familial, in so far as mental health issues can recur across generations, likely resulting in the King's bipolar disorder (according to current experts). His condition was not aided by the overdose of emetic tartar he was given for medicinal benefit - its main ingredient being arsenic! The latest view is that KG3 lost his marbles and a patch of dirt across the pond, according to the analysis of his handwriting writing produced during his life, whilst his behaviour was unlikely to be caused by Porphyria. The jury is still out on Variegate Porphyria being a genetic trait within the earlier royal line, but it's for certain the practice of intra family marriage is not healthy for the gene pool. This is about consanguineous trysts, in particular the 'successful' consummation of marriage between first cousins, as in the case of Victoria and Albert. I will return to Victoria in a moment, but Albert died age 42 and it was likely not Typhoid (just convenient to blame it on that at the time), but more probably Crohns Disease, which was not understood at the time, and is commonly linked to Irritable Bowel Syndrome these days and can be treated. In those times, not so much and was invariably fatal, as with Albert!
http://tinyurl.com/cp8ar4z

The concept of Iroquois Kinship is a considerable problem for certain segments of present day society, and I'll return to the Iroquois nation a few times in my meanders. For now I'm referring to marriage between 1st cousins, which are still legal in the UK, but are not in 30 US states. Bifurcate merging is another way of describing the interbreeding that results from the smaller gene pool; crucially Queen Victoria was a carrier of the very rare Haemophilia Type B in one of her 'X' chromosones, most likely inheriting a gene mutation from her father, Edward Augustus (Duke of Kent). As a carrier she passed on the defect to 2 of her daughters and 4 of her granddaughters were carriers of the disease. Queen Victoria’s son Leopold, 3 grandsons, and 4 great-grandsons were afflicted, most of whom bled to death at various ages. Since her children eventually married into politically important wealthy bloodlines, it weakened the genes of royal houses in England, Russia, Spain, and Prussia.

This practice is, however, a very serious issue in Southern India, and other countries, for example Sri Lanka, Southern Sudan, Northern Pakistan, Saudi Arabia. This offers a very useful view from a socio-cultural and religious perspective, in terms of the practice of consanguineous marriages or unions.
http://tinyurl.com/yalvkmdq

For the UK, this issue has become a serious social, health and education issue in cities like Bradford or Birmingham. It has significant implications for the economy.
http://tinyurl.com/zasmf4a

Drifting away from the genetics to look at more of the socio-cultural anthropology, there are many other examples of diverse cultures passing on nature's remedies or local knowledge of flora and fauna, but that close engagement with the natural environment is mostly a lost art in the West. There are programmes of re-education in the UK, such as Forest Schools or the movement started by an old friend Ray Mears. We worked together delivering selection weekends for aspirant venturers on Operation Raleigh in the early '80s, and later on other youth expeditions projects; he started Woodlore in 1983, which is still going strong. Before this, Ray learned some of his bushcraft skills living amongst the Iroquois people in New York state before returning to the UK and subsequently living off the land for six months in Ash Down Forest (home of Winnie the Pooh). It is in part coincidence, that the Iroquois nation will feature again in the next instalment.

Many years later, whilst making one of his documentaries, Ray visited New Zealand the home of the 'All Blacks' rugby team (other NZ teams use it as well), famous for the 'Haka' performed to intimidate opponents before a game. As most rugby fans know a 'Haka' is a traditional ancestral war cry, dance or challenge of the indigenous Māori people of NZ. The one they routinely perform is called the 'Ka mate, Ka mate' meaning - 'It is death, It is death'!

To oblige the sporting aficionados, it's usually performed without weapons on the pitch (haka taparahi), but this complex dance (and associated chant) is an aspect of Māori culture, an important expression of their passion, vigour and cultural identity. The latter is once again an element of the indigenous people of NZ that's being lost, which Ray was helping young Māoris rediscover through the art of 'hika ahi' using a 'Hika waniwani' or fire stick at a similar outdoor centre to the Birrigai school in Australia. This ancient skill and other traditional knowledge is no longer routinely passed on from one Māori generation to the next in NZ, although it's still regarded as an essential survival skill on some of the smaller remote islands of Samoa using a similar technique, since tropical cyclones mean they can’t always rely on external supplies arriving! Since much Aboriginal history is an oral record often conveyed through stories, and with their culture rooted in the manner of care-taking their environment, whilst living in harmony it is not a dissimilar approach practised by Native Americans and the Inuit people of Canada, Greenland, Siberia and Alaska.
http://tinyurl.com/jbfmtqp

The indigenous people of Australia and those of the Inuit nation have both been around for 20,000+ years adapting to a fairly harsh environment, through tried and tested means, closely observing and remaining in tune with their respective seasons, the habits of small / large mammals and patterns of migratory birds, and for the Aboriginal clan the nature of reptile and insect habitats. Living in harmony with their respective environment is reinforced through their cultural values; the process of spiritual renewal, connecting with ancestors, and crucially their practices to maintain natural resources. In recent decades the damage created by bush fires in various Australian territories, together with widespread flooding, has overwhelmed communities causing significant loss of life and adverse economic effects. In Australia's Western Desert the Martu people were the traditional owners of an area larger than the UK; they practised small scale 'land burning' for many thousands of years until they were cleared off their own land by the post WW2 European migration, encouraged by the Australian government to expand 'White Man' land in the 60's!!
http://tinyurl.com/yats3jjj

The Aboriginal burning practices encouraged both regrowth and renewal of diverse vegetation, whilst preventing large scale bushfires. The increase in large bush fires and loss of species over recent decades has caused the government to completely rethink the concept of these Aboriginal practices and the ancient science behind them. In a bizarre twist, the reintroduction of the practice sits well with the carbon credit system, which currently funds some of the Aboriginal rangers' work.
http://tinyurl.com/yargxehr

Were it not for characters like Kit Carson and early pioneers on the Oregon Trail in the US who made meticulous records of many events or had diarists accompany them on their journeys, the parallels between the fate of the Aboriginal people of Australia and the Native American people might be less clear! I'll get there in the next leg of the journey!
  
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 7:41 am 
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The "story" of the Horse Bust is vaguely amusing but I truly despair of Humanity (as least the US version of it) if anyone even smiled reading the patently absurd description that allegedly accompanied its sale on Ebay - it sounds rather more like self-shilling for the sake of an experiment. That someone really coughed up that kind of money for a clearly worthless piece of junk,or, even worse, was persuaded to do so the accompanying narrative indicates that Darwin was seriously mistaken in his ideas about the direction of Evolution!

Moreover, the CXL chappie is attempting to tell us about how suggestion works when we're offered subliminal messages about increasing our status and how to project the kind of image that punters will buy into to the extent of crossing our palms with silver. I can't speak for anyone else but the image it left with me is one of sloppy editing: can't they manage to work out that "Men's Wearhouse" isn't a "Warehouse" even when they have several screen-shots from it on their own page, for Goodness' sake? Of course, given that they clearly have a tenuous grasp of grammar and spelling I suppose one shouldn't be too surprised....the only "message" I got from CXL was that they CAN string together a bunch of ideas from other people but CAN'T string together a proper sentence of their own. Sad

A nice description of Aboriginal culture and the practice of Walkabout: you clearly share my view that modern education is severely lacking, since you so lengthily describe what I, clearly mistakenly, assumed that most people were already aware of. While we're on the subject of "cultural practices", I assume that you ARE aware that the latest research appears to show that marrying even first cousins carries no greater risk of birth/genetic abnormalities than that of women who give birth in their forties? I'm sure that a LOT more research is needed, partly because there are the effects of such a practice over many generations to be investigated but doubtless this is an area which needs a liberal application of "Cultural Sensitivity", aka PC BS.

Incidentally, have you come across any studies on "The Application of Homoeopathy in Battlefield Injuries"? I'm a great believer in the healing powers of diluted BS (usually taken with a liberal dose of rakiya, of course. Wink )

Seriously*, do keep the Bath-time Letters coming, they are always interesting and help to while away the hours of insomnia. Smile

* Yes, really!
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PostPosted: Mon Sep 25, 2017 11:00 pm 
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Many thanks Seedy, as you're likely the lone reader of my meander across the continents, I'm grateful for your continued interest, and by the way the cheque's in the post! Wink

In order to review the Balkan situation in light of its declining indigenous population and the present cycle of human migration, I believe its important to recognise previous patterns and the antecedents that have directly impacted or are likely to affect the region. The issues I mention in my literary wanderings are I hope informative, and occasionally interesting in line with the thread title.

The devastation of the Aboriginal population was a level of ethnic cleansing in Australia, together with the indigenous population of Tasmania the British government is loathe to admit, given its earlier behaviour on other continents like Asia, North America and in Polynesia. The Australian government was still in denial after more than two centuries.

Before the British settled in Australia in 1788, the Aboriginal population was estimated at 1M, but there are now just 470K in a population of 21M, constituting just 2% of the population. It was frequently children of mixed ethnicity that the government agencies chose to snatch, descending on Aboriginal communities and separating the lighter skinned children from those with a darker complexion, and taking them away. The twisted logic of the time, was to 'civilise' young Aboriginal children, in order to inculcate them with European values!

It should not be forgotten that a proud nation of people who already had very good moral and cultural values were systematically massacred by white Europeans supported by the convicted dregs of their 'own society', whilst the Aboriginal people sought to protect themselves from theft of their land, desecration of their culture, damage to their fruitful environment, rape of their women and girls, with random violence perpetrated against young and old. Violence towards other humans was not central to their culture, unlike the warriors of the Zulu nation Aboriginal social culture was based on cooperative community living practices - not mayhem and conflict. Despite this, they fought ferociously for their very existence, as illustrated by Jandamurra's last stand.
http://www.kooriweb.org/foley/resources/pdfs/127.pdf

I personally believe they were an exceedingly civilised group of human beings with far better understanding of the needs of their community and a deep respect for their environment that was never imbalanced by their activities, more often it was enhanced. As with the Native Americans they saw their role on the planet as caretakers and excelled at micro scale terraforming. With few elders left as guardians of their now fragmented traditional Aboriginal knowledge, it's highly commendable, but also rather sad that generations were lost, essentially preserving the empire of those that would destroy their own world. Their involvement in the Boer War was truly ironic!
http://tinyurl.com/ybqcstab

We can view some parallels with practices on the American continent, as both stemmed in part from white European Christian values tinted by the doctrine of Eugenics, and the aim to 'breed out their colour'. These policies were based on the Eugenics theories of English academics and Fabian socialists who believed 'aboriginality' was a degenerate trait. That it should be bred out, in particular by removing Aboriginal girls from their families and absorbing them into white society.

I've mentioned the Darwinian theme before in respect of the 'Bourne Legacy' film, and obviously most will have a basic if not a learned grasp of his 'Origin of Species', and his subsequent treatise 'The Descent of Man'. Fewer will be aware of Charles Darwin's cousin Sir Francis Galton, who invented fingerprint analysis techniques and contributed to statistical research methods.

Like Seedy, however, he was particularly concerned about older couples producing children in the 'civilised world', and the falling birthrates. He obviously had little concern for women's health knocking out 9 or 10 sprogs, and the consequent effect on their pelvic floor or bladder incontinence! He also scripted a natty little read called 'Hereditary Genius' and originally coined the phrase Eugenics, which became what would now be termed a 'social engineering' movement. Some may be surprised by illustrious members of that movement or there again, maybe not!
https://www.newstatesman.com/society/2010/12/british-eugenics-disabled

As we see the new traction of right wing politics in Germany's election yesterday, it will no doubt throw a bit of a wrench into Mutti Merkel's approach to domestic politics, but I guess only time will tell. In the meantime, science is already ahead of the genetic curve, as 'The idea of consumer eugenics is no futurist fantasy'! Unfortunately, science together with socialist state diktat (at least in China), has also created the hugely gender imbalanced populations in India and China with the aid of foetal scans and selective abortions. All this tampering with the very seeds of humanity, renders natural selection no longer being adaptation to environment, so where is the grand plan and more importantly who is controlling it?
https://www.spectator.com.au/2016/04/the-return-of-eugenics/

This PhD thesis, whilst it's not a peer reviewed research paper, still offers a useful examination of the effects and not just the application of Eugenics, but also highlights the concerted efforts made to expand the empire through the British Empire Settlement Act of 1922. Many may decry the work of NGO's nowadays in regard to their assistance to migrants, particularly the 'pull effect' as some see it for the migration from MENA to the mainland EU. However, the GB approach to child migration supported by several well known organisations, such as Barnardos and Fairbridge were directly supported by the government represented by our own 'Rocket Man' - Frank Whittle.

The 'good' Catholic church brethren paid 'close attention' to their young charges in the Australian outback of course, and to many parts of the Commonwealth that Britain sent unaccompanied kids, whether they wanted to go or not! I'll return to the small matter of Kenya in a while, which is one of Seedy's early homes I'm guessing. For the child migration aspect of the research, go to page 220.
http://www.kooriweb.org/foley/resources/AEK1201/eugenics/eugenics1.pdf

Meanwhile, stolen Aboriginal children were routinely given to white foster families from 1915 to 1969 or were raised in government institutions, orphanages and missions in an attempt by the government to assimilate the white and Aboriginal populations. The practices of relocation and indoctrination, in particular of 'Creamies' (as mixed ethnicity children were known), was a common practice ongoing into the late 1960's!

Australia's indigenous people had long called for an official expression of remorse for the litany of massacres, tribal expulsions and abuses meted out since the beginning of British colonisation in 1788. Aboriginal people in Tasmania were a 'bob a job', but in a rather different context to Baden Powell's 'Boy Scout' fundraising tradition; it was the price paid for an aboriginal person - preferably dead rather than alive!

The Van Diemen’s Land Company (VDL) was established in 1825 under Royal Charter by King George IV, it was a key contributor to the attempted genocide of Aboriginal people in Tasmania that occurred during the early 1800s. Much like a number of East India Company's 'historic' actions on the Indian continent in pursuit of wealth. For example the massacre of 1400 unarmed civilians in September 1857 at Kucha Chelan (for those interested 'The Tears of the Rajas: Mutiny, Money and Marriage in India 1805–1905' by Ferdinand Mount is quite a good read).

The Aboriginal people of Tasmania's NW were methodically hunted down and killed by VDL hunting expeditions directed by the company's Chief Agent - Robert Curr, including the Cape Grim Massacre of February 1828; by the end of 1830 the last Aboriginal people in NW Tasmania had been decimated with less than 60 surviving!

In 1995, the then Labour government of Australia commissioned the Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission (HREOC) to inquire into the separation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families. In April 1997 HREOC's report, entitled 'Bringing Them Home', was presented to the Attorney General of the subsequent Liberal government. It used empirical evidence and personal stories allegorically to present a devastating account of the impact and extent of policies of removal.

The recommendations of the report were that the State should respond to the policies of removal with five reparatory measures - acknowledgement and apology, guarantees against repetition, measures of restitution, measures of rehabilitation, and monetary compensation. In the late 1960s, as the discredited policy was finally jettisoned, one anthropologist described it as 'the Great Australian silence'.

Before the findings of the landmark HREOC inquiry were published, the full scale of the policy was not apparent and many white Australians were oblivious to it, but according to the report, it involved at least 100,000 children being forcibly removed from their parents. If you have never come across this, I reckon it's worth some attention in slow time -
https://www.humanrights.gov.au/publications/bringing-them-home-report-1997

The full report makes sobering reading and I'd opine, should not make any Westerner, in particular a European one, feel comfortable about actions taken in the name of THEIR form of 'civilisation'. For the briefest points this is the Report factsheet -
http://tinyurl.com/y6urkyj8

At that time, statistics reveal the Aboriginal people were the most disadvantaged segment of the population with a lifespan 17 years shorter than the national average; they had higher rates of heart disease, infant mortality, drug abuse, alcoholism and disproportionately high rates of imprisonment. Another indictment of the 'civilised Western world', having forcibly imposed its will to the detriment of humanity and culture.

It should also be remembered in the latter stages of the policy, it was occurring during a time when the Apartheid regime in South Africa was being globally condemned, whilst empire was waning. Forcing the Australian nation to face up to the truth of its past, rather than just gloss over and dismiss it, at a time when the relationships between Britain, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa were getting more complex in light of the Apartheid issue, it was a very tricky Haka to learn!
http://www.kooriweb.org/foley/resources/pdfs/137.pdf

It followed a war Australia had fought with its allies against the genocidal extremes of the Nazi regime (the Nazi extension of Eugenics). Christian white Australians, including the economic migrants from Europe (in particular from the UK) were engaging in cultural genocide even during a period of history when wars were being fought against fascism and later communism, to preserve the democratic values being denied to generations of First Australian people.

Sir Donald Bradman at least had a little backbone with the Apartheid issue, but it is unfortunate it never translated into a more critical inward view of the Australian policies!
http://www.naa.gov.au/Images/Cahsman_RG_Neale_Lecture_tcm16-49111.pdf

Twenty years on from the publication of that landmark report, how goes the healing of the Australian nation and others we've 'visited'? Next steps tomorrow for the Society of Insomniacs! Smile
  
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Seedy
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PostPosted: Tue Sep 26, 2017 4:52 pm 
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Mr X, I am sure that any thinking person would agree that the way most Aboriginal Peoples were treated by soi-disant superior invaders was repugnant not only morally but also from a humanitarian viewpoint. Moreover, I have no doubt that we as a species have lost much valuable and irreplaceable knowledge of the natural world as a direct consequence of our own barbarity. You'll have to excuse me if I am rather less concerned at any potential loss of what one might term La-la Thinking, however.

In my view, "Eugenics" is just another PC catch-all red herring in the "Give a dog a bad name and hang him" tactic that Lefties like to use in their quest to silence any voices that don't sing from their gormless hymn-sheet.

Just look at junk like this from your first "Eugenics link": "In his [Galton's] mind, superior mental and physical capabilities were advantageous not only to an individual but essential for the well-being of society as a whole." We are invited to be shocked by what is no more than the simple, and totally logical, truth.

Or the following, from the second such link: "Consider Adam Perkins, a lecturer at King’s College London, who has published a study echoing the Royal Commission’s attempt to quantify the feeble-minded. The group he aims to study are the ‘employment-resistant’: those disposed to a life on welfare as a result of genetic predispositions and having grown up in workless homes. With Galtonesque precision, he estimates some 98,040 ‘extra’ people were ‘created by the welfare state’ over 15 years due to a rise in welfare spending. They represent an ‘ever-greater burden on the more functional citizens’." Again, such a suggestion is apparently supposed to outrage and send us out demonstrating on the streets, Socialist Worker banners clutched in our fervid hands. Clearly I fall firmly into the ranks of the "feeble-minded" that the writer of this ludicrous article seeks to defend, since I am unable to see what has got him so heated up and what is supposed to be wrong with the suggestion he cites.

Thank you again for your latest offering, albeit it does give rise to a very wrinkle-skinned male version of Aphrodite rising from an over-long immersion in the suds!

Sadly, we are away from Chateau Seedy for a few days - visiting Perperikon and surroundings in the pouring rain - so I am unable to adequately respond to your, as ever, very enjoyable Insomnia Remedies, but I will certainly ensure that I am awake when the next one hits the aether Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 2:29 am 
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Family visits and travel preparations have disrupted my routine somewhat, thus interrupting my random scribbles yesterday, so apologies for the delay, Confused This instalment attempts to analyse a new phase of nation healing, and the embryonic development of a broader democracy for the Australia nation.

Back on track - my last post ended with reference to the production of the 'Bringing Them Home' report delivered to the Australian government 20 years ago. The Federal Government's formal response was delivered in December 1997; it questioned the report's methodology and a number of its findings and recommendations, but adopted recommendations that were in line with its own philosophy of 'practical reconciliation'. John Howard the PM expressly rejected the existence of 'inter-generational guilt' thus failing to recognise the impact that generations of immigrants had on the indigenous population.

Howard argued that a formal apology would reinforce a sense of victimhood in Aboriginal communities, and as modern day Australians were not responsible for previous policies, there was no need to apologise. His government was, however, prepared to respond to existing Aboriginal disadvantage, including the legacy of policies of removal, but it took the position that present generations had no responsibility for government policies of the past. Howard's government had previously been criticised for its intervention in the Northern Territory curtailing the rights of many indigenous communities, including quarantining half of their welfare payments to ensure they were spent on food.

In his classic book - 'Politics Among Nations', Morgenthau posited his six principles of political realism. These principles are applicable in both internal and external politics, together with policies of a state or political regime. The following is a relevant extract that may help explain some of what followed, just over a decade later when Howard's government was beaten at the polls.
https://homepage.univie.ac.at/vedran.dzihic/morgenthau.pdf

Morgenthau's principles require a sharp distinction to be made, between the desirable and the possible, differentiating what is desirable everywhere and all times from what is possible under the concrete circumstances of the particular time and place. Importantly, political realism considers a rational policy to be good policy, because only a rational policy can minimise risks and/or maximise benefits. Political realism believes in the concept of interest defined in terms of power and autonomous action, as distinct from other spheres like economics, ethics, religion etc.

Parallels may also be drawn with some political tap dances exhibited by the UK government in recent decades, when rationality in the interest of the nation State patently failed. In my view these included the actions of Blair's government with PFI initiatives and the Iraq War in 2003. Morgenthau considers that good motives give assurance against deliberately bad policies; they do not guarantee the moral goodness and political success of policies they inspire. More recent evidence of this can be found within the European dimension and Merkel's personal moral imperative driven through as State foreign policy in 2015, together with Cameron's fatal misjudgement in 2016, and similarly May's call for an early election this year in terms of its national interest at a critical juncture of Brexit - was it? It is also an issue at the core of the EU project where the idea of the unelected 'State' is a misnomer.

The concept of any Statesman or Stateswoman making a habit of presenting their policies in terms of their own philosophical and political sympathies, in order to gain popular support, is inevitably fraught with unintended consequences. Crucially, they must distinguish between their 'official duty', which is to think and act in terms of the national interest, and their 'personal wish' or 'desire', which is to see their own moral values and political principles realised. This dichotomy may be more evident in the spectre of Trump's agenda and the daily poo traps dogging his administration (pun for fun)!

In 2008 the new PM Kevin Rudd gave his inaugural speech, commencing with a direct apology referencing 'past mistreatment' and wrongs that the original Australians had endured, since British settlers first landed at Sydney Cove. Rudd's apology was delivered in a particular context, explaining its importance and the terms in which it was delivered. His apology took four minutes and received a standing ovation, both inside and outside parliament as it referenced the misdeeds of past governments' actions. Rudd subordinated the apology completely to the realm of politics; the questions that arise regarding the apology are solely in terms of political power i.e. that of the federal government and his own party. As PM, he considered that an apology would make his party and the federal government stronger by weakening the opposition parties, silencing the critics and by solidifying the control and coherence of the central government.

Adopting this strategy, Rudd recognised the difference between 'official duty' and 'personal wish', the 'desirable' and the 'possible'. It's also why he kept the option of financial compensation away, as it may have opened a floodgate of compensation claims which would have cost the federal and state governments millions. A key reason why Howard's government had refused to apologise. Through an apology, the State acknowledged the separate status of Aboriginal peoples and empowered them to accept or reject it. The public gallery was full of Aboriginal people witnessing the apology, but the success of its delivery and its acceptance did not depend on their presence; they were in effect, passive witnesses to a political performance.

Rudd's speech included - 'We apologise especially for the removal of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children from their families, their communities and their country.' ... 'We apologise for the laws and policies of successive parliaments and governments that have inflicted profound grief, suffering and loss on these our fellow Australians'. As PM he also knew that if the State previously passed laws forcing the assimilation of one cultural group into another, then the State couldn't guarantee that similar policies would not be repeated. Rudd was therefore somewhat disingenuous, when he declared 'we must make sure such policies never, never happen again', as it exemplifies the State's failure to account for the limits of its power in terms of the apology itself. Clearly as PM he could offer no more than his personal pledge that similar policies would not be implemented again in the future.

Crucially however, his apology to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples in Australia for laws resulting in forced separation from their families, was limited to the consequences of the laws of removal. It didn't intimate the State might have lacked the power to pass them. It focused exclusively on those consequences, without considering how it was that the State could have implemented such immoral and unethical policies in the interest of the 'whole' Australian nation.

Some critics believed that Rudd should have done things differently, given that significant thousands of the Stolen Generation were/are still alive (or their siblings / children), and possibly established a truth and reconciliation commission similar to that created in South Africa at the end of Apartheid. Forcing a nation to face up to the truth of its past, rather than just gloss over and dismiss it within a single speech.
Formal apologies followed from state parliaments in New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia, Queensland, and the Northern Territory parliament. Rudd's government also saw that the apology might solidify Australia's influence of the Pacific Islands, as its image to the indigenous people of these countries would be positive. Thus making it easier for Australia to negotiate any agreement defending its national interest with these islands.

The post war immigrants and the descendants of the earlier influx of Brits (and later British Indians), together with other predominantly white Europeans consider/ed themselves THE Australian nation and the Aboriginals, the indigenous population, as an underdeveloped, semi-civilised, backward race who lived in the outback and needed white intervention, protection and sponsorship. In light of political realism, the PM (and presumably the members of his Cabinet) were forced to look at the interests and power aspirations of both these sub-national groups. The most important thing is the political ability to translate what he has comprehended into successful political action. So, we see that Kevin Rudd could not translate all of his policies into action.

The PM's stated intention was to make efforts to close the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in 'life expectancy, infant mortality rates, educational achievement and economic opportunity'. There was a pledge for action as well as words, to tackle indigenous issues - 'I therefore propose a joint policy commission to be led by the Leader of the Opposition and myself'. The PM indicated the commission would first develop and implement an effective housing strategy for remote communities during the next 5 years. If that was successful the commission would then work on the constitutional recognition of first Australians. Rudd refused to scrap the previous conservative government's 'intervention' policy, which had seen police and troops deployed in remote Aboriginal towns.

Campaigners for the Stolen Generations had asked for a reparation fund of almost A$1bn (£443M), in line with the recommendations of the report, but the Minister of Indigenous Affairs of that time - Jenny Macklin stated that money would be put into health and education schemes instead. Where have we heard that one before? Rudd's subsequent apology was completely silent as to any government responsibility outside their existing legal liability. Whilst compensation is a tangible recognition that the government acted outside its power and injustice resulted, the Rudd government rejected the establishment of a Compensation tribunal. From Rudd's perspective, he acted prudently not only in the question of compensation, but also in the matter of options for acceptance of the apology.
http://tinyurl.com/y8azkk9q

Of course, such an apology is not complete without an acceptance. The need for acceptance has direct implications for the sovereignty of the State, and is the high point of the State's vulnerability. Through making itself vulnerable, the State opens up the possibility for the development of trust engendered in the victim/s. Apologising is then, a way of earning or recovering trust; again some parallels may be found with the UK, including the reluctance of many government leaders to apologise for the mistakes of previous policy decisions. I would refer to a number of instances involving NHS policy decisions and the disingenuous apologies put forward by Jeremy Hunt on behalf of the government, which were not accepted by the populous.

In the Australian context, there's no doubt that the staunchest advocates for the apology were the Stolen Generations, but that sub group was not the only Aboriginal people. An apology to the Stolen Generations was NOT an apology to ALL Aboriginal people, and it might be argued that the former group were not as hard done by, as those who weren't stolen! Notably, those who had to live through the 'apartheid' years, repressive administrations and protection boards with officials that had power over them. The key point here, is that it was not an apology to all Aboriginal people, and yet that's what most Australians have perceived it as being, which is in itself was a deception. It's also important to recognise the image of the 'Australian nation' in the minds of the majority of Australians i.e. the white Christian population with their predominantly European roots. The pale shades of the 'Ten Pound Pom' and the 'Boomerang Pom' being quite relevant here; for reference -
https://collections.museumvictoria.com.au/articles/13640

Australia's, Nationality and Citizenship Act was passed in 1948 allowing British migrants to apply for citizenship after residing in the country for just one year. This was a marked difference from other non-Brit white migrants who had to wait five years before they could apply. The British enjoyed many privileges, even if they weren't instant citizens, including the right to vote and the ability to enter and leave Australia freely. The issue of voting rights didn't exist for the vast majority of indigenous people until 1967. The very few that previously had voting rights having been removed that had electoral rights in some territories until the beginning of the 20th century (including females). Even beyond 1967, in a bizarre twist, it remained an offence to educate and/or encourage Aboriginal people to vote until 1983!
http://tinyurl.com/y923kkoy

I'll pause on Rudd's application of Morganthau's principles of political realism, whilst I switch continents again and turning the clock back in Asia, where other principles emerge.
  
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PostPosted: Thu Oct 05, 2017 9:27 am 
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Are you economising on the hot water these days, Mr X? Wink
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 5:34 am 
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Indeed Seedy, grateful for the nudge, it's an eco month, so no baths and sans alcohol, but I've jotted a few lines for your consumption this morning, because the neighbours woke me up early! To reassure the odd reader still following this trail, I'm wending my way histo-geographically back to Bg and its spartan population in many villages. Whilst doing so, I'm also considering several geopolitical factors, scientific advancements, economic cycles and particularly the waves of human migrations that have affected every continent or influenced nations in the past; some of these factors will likely determine Bg's future by the middle of this century. Having paused on Rudd's application of political realism in Australia, I wanted to consider the electorate issue and governance processes, whilst switching continents to highlight a modern day democratic conundrum and yet another legacy of Empire.

In contrast to the contradictory approaches taken by white Australia's engagement with indigenous communities to afford them their electoral rights, Pashtun villagers in Helmand Province and elsewhere in Afghanistan are actively encouraged by the government to participate in the democratic process. Meanwhile, indigenous 'Pashtunistan' Taliban are opposed to such processes in general and specifically in the case of women! Pashtuns are the largest sub group represented in the present day Afghan population. The linchpin, is 'Pashtunistan'. According to a noted 16th century Persian chronicler Mahommed Kasim Ferishta’s book 'The History of Mahomedan Power in India', the Arab Muslims had conquered this mountainous region in the 7th Century. They were responsible for introducing the Pashtuns to Islam; it's also understood some Arabs settled in the Suleiman Mountains amongst the Pashtuns.

Unlike Australia, Afghanistan has been fought over by empire builders and conquerors for millennia (British slaughter, subjugation of the indigenous Australians, and the Japanese attack on Darwin in WW2 aside). The important strategic position of Afghanistan served as the invasion route from central Asia into the Indian subcontinent, and the shortest route to the Indian Ocean. This invasion route had two way traffic, and was used by the 'great and the good'; the British fought three wars with the Afghans in 1838, 1878 and 1919. Of course, we later returned with NATO and the Northern Alliance in 2001; we're still engaged running the Afghan officer training academy, whilst other Brit troops provide force protection! Afghanistan has played a key part in British history; it could also be suggested that it was an 'Achilles Heel', and not just of our earlier empire.

The parallels with modern day human migration may also be viewed through the lens of Britain's historic outbound story, certainly in terms of numbers. As part of the government's plan to control its oldest colony, English migrants were encouraged to settle in Ireland, with numbers reaching 100K by 1640. A mass of British humanity sought a new life in the Americas with 400K having made the treacherous Atlantic crossing by the mid 1600s, whilst the next hundred years saw 1M leaving Britain's shores. These emigrants left, because of political, economic and religious instability in Britain during the 17th Century.

It's unclear if all of the people that shipped out from Britain's harbours intended to remain overseas, but it wasn't until the early 1700s that economic conditions improved on the home front and emigration levels started to fall away. As the first successful British colony in America, Virginia was intended for trading, but successful tobacco and sugar plantations had been established offered stability; I'll return to another unsavoury practices initiated in Virginia that has modern day equivalence. Other colonies in the Americas also began to flourish, migrants travelled with the intention of settling down to a new life and making their fortune (so what's new). It is certain that a step change was brought about, on the European, American and Indian continents and across many oceans/seas, during the 'Seven Years War' (1756-1763). It was effectively the first 'world war', and set the geopolitical stage for the next 200 years.
https://www.britannica.com/event/Seven-Years-War

It should also be remembered that millions of people, mainly from West Africa were being transported, initially by the Portuguese and Spanish to Southern America, the West Indies and several parts of Europe. Subsequently, the Dutch led this 'flesh trade', but eagerly followed by France until Britain started to top the bill (by volume), as they vied to build their empires. These were not willing travellers, but the oppressive slave trade from the African Gold coast. I raise this here, as it also highlights the beginning of a significant feature of asymmetric warfare that resulted in the ongoing instability of African territories. A key payment made by the slavers were the modern weapons of that era, which provoked and promoted tribal conflict on the continent. It should also be noted that the Europeans learned their human trafficking trade from the Moors, before they were booted out of Spain at the end of the 15th Century.

Britain directly benefitted from the slave trade for more than two centuries and indirectly for several more decades given the groundbreaking work of creating plantations and rice crops amongst other activities, before their 'enlightenment', although the trade never actually stopped. Ports such as London, Bristol and Liverpool had already benefitted immensely from the 'Triangle of Trade', including firearms manufacturers in the Midlands delivering an incredible 150,000 guns a year to the African coast to pay the human traffickers or the metalworkers producing the shackles and chains of slavery. As we'll return to in a while, many anti-slavery groups were established by women in Britain who were also pursuing their own suffrage cause. The trade of slavery was outlawed in 1807, but many of the existing slaves across the British Empire were not set free until 1834 when the Slavery Emancipation Act was effected. Some slaves were still being held by their owners more than six years beyond this Act being passed.
http://tinyurl.com/y9uc95ew

The estimate of African slaves 'legally' transported by the British is in excess of 10M; they were mostly young men in the prime of life, approximately one third of the total were women and children. Obviously the trade by British slavers continued long after this, as there was still plenty of American, Spanish, Portuguese and French buyers willing to pay. From 1808 the Royal Navy were hunting down and seizing many slavers crossing the Atlantic, whilst many of their captives were released in Sierra Leone. The latter is effectively a country the British distorted through release of thousands of slaves in Freetown on the African continent, resulting in a diverse mix of languages, ethnicities and religions. It will be remembered most recently for the devastating Ebola outbreak. Before the slave trade was abolished by the British, and Sierra Leone fell under British protection, it had been mostly muslim, but the majority of repatriated slaves were Christian. English remains the main language along with Krio.
http://glc.yale.edu/gullah-rice-slavery-and-sierra-leone-american-connection

By 1793, following the French Resolution, and despite their country being in turmoil, France declared war on Britain again (they're persistent buggers if nothing else), together with just about every monarchy in Europe. Within a decade Napoleon had found his stride and was wreaking havoc in Europe, but the strength of the British Navy limited his territorial ambitions beyond the European continent. Egypt came under Napoleon's thumb, whilst Rear Admiral Nelson was successful in his first action as commander of a British fleet, after a 'cat and mouse' chase from Toulon, effectively trapping the French Army by sinking most of Boney's fleet in the Battle of the Nile (or Aboukir Bay) on 1 August 1798. Napoleon wasn't immediately aware of his dire predicament; even feeling pleased with himself, having thrashed the Marmelukes a week before, in the 'Battle of the Pyramids'. Whilst Boney was sitting pretty in Cairo, Admiral Brueys lost most of his fleet, his leg and his life, but not necessarily in that order!

Napoleon's intention was to sever British communications, and disrupt its commercial trade with India through the 'Middle East' (that term likely arose in the British India Office, accredited to US Admiral Mahan in 1901, and later popularised in 1916 by Sir Mark Sykes - more of him later), but Nelson's intervention blocked the French logistics supply line and his Boney's reinforcements, as well as a way back home! A positive outcome of Napoleon's foray into Egypt were the advances made by the 'Savants' that travelled with the Army, pursuing scientific, historical and cultural knowledge of the region. Some of us enjoy using 'low tech' pencils for sketching or scribbling in diaries, notebooks etc., that was made possible by Jacques Conte during the British blockade. The 'Rosetta Stone' was also discovered, a significant advancement in Egyptology.

At the outset of the expedition to Egypt, ostensibly a part of the the Ottoman Empire, which was allied to France, but Egypt was not actually under Ottoman 'control.' Much of the Mediterranean coastline was under Ottoman rule and therefore hostile to the British navy apart from Gibraltar and Malta (the latter Napoleon overran en route to Egypt). By the end of the Egyptian campaign, the Ottomans were no longer best buddies with the 'Frogs' and had switched sides, fighting against them in the Levant. This alliance with the British was a case of 'my enemy's friend's enemy is my friend, at least for now'! The Ottoman's were an empire in decay, and the Russians were biting at their door in Eastern Europe, although they still had a firm grip on Bulgaria

This did make me chortle. It's an account of Bedouins attacking Napoleon's columns, cutting out and making prisoners of French stragglers, including women (camp followers). - 'When the prisoners were returned several days later, the stories they told spread through the whole army and squelched any urge to straggle on subsequent marches. The male prisoners, with their soft white skin, had provoked the admiration of their captors, lean but vigorous, who had raped them repeatedly. The women were merely beaten. The tastes of people who subsist on camel milk the year round are unpredictable. (Castelot, 106)'. The last quote was taken from this rather amusing and informative graduate paper, provides greater depth regarding Napoleon's venture in Egypt and the Levant.
http://www.napoleon-series.org/military/battles/c_egypt.html

After his abandonment of the Army in Egypt in 1799 (acting on orders), Napoleon decided to take over the show in France, but after a decade or more of victories he was getting a good ar*e kicking from the Cossacks. This occurred during his retreat from Moscow in the murderous cold of the Russian winter of 1812, whilst another brief spat had erupted in North America. The same year, a fairly young US had declared war on the British, which resulted in some payback for them after the American's earlier attack on the city of York in Ontario, Canada in June 1812.

In August 1814, Major General Robert Ross led his British troops into Washington, directing them to ransack and burn down the President's Mansion (not called the White House until it was rebuilt), together with sacking and looting several government buildings, but private properties were guarded by British troops and left untouched, as long as no resistance was offered. It's rather sad that the Library of Congress was also torched, with its irreplaceable collection of books. Apparently Obama's quip to Cameron during his visit to the WH in 2012 was that the PM's predecessors "really lit the place up”!

In 1749 and in later years beyond 1815 particularly during the 1830s, British government schemes helped to send migrants to places like Nova Scotia. In 1820 prospective emigrants were sought by the government for a settlers scheme for the Eastern border of the Cape Colony. The intent of this scheme was to help secure the border against the Xhosa tribesmen, the indigenous population, once again! As larger numbers of migrants arrived in various colonies, obviously more land had to be acquired from the local people and bargains had to be made. For South Africa this resulted in a series of wars against the Xhosa, before sufficient land could be acquired by conflict or cession, but severe climatic conditions and the longevity of this struggle against the Xhosa made it difficult for the British colony to attract sufficient migrants.

Not unsurprisingly, Britain emerged from two decades of wars somewhat scathed and asset rich, but exceedingly cash poor! The exchequer's coffers were drained, so taxation steadily increased at home and in the colonies, which ultimately led to the American War of Independence. In the meantime the depressed economy in Britain beyond the 1760s and the success of various colonies saw another 125K mainly Scottish and Protestant Irish emigrants depart. In the 18th Century one way to meet the cost of migration was to accept an indenture which was taken out by the ship's captain and auctioned upon arrival. Shades of present day human trafficking!

The migrant (and this usually applied to single men) worked for a number of years for little if any money and then once his time was served he was free. Some of these migrants worked on plantations in North America and in the Caribbean or as white servants for existing settlers. Ultimately the mortality rate amongst this labour group proved ineffective, and it required a different approach to the harsh work conditions in the sub tropical climate. This medical paper relates just to Barbados, but addresses the research of diseases found amongst Europeans and slaves brought to the West Indies, by Europeans predominantly from West Africa. It is a salutary public health lesson concerning ignorance, inhumanity and insanitary conditions, that has significant relevance to the present day.
http://tinyurl.com/y7b235yz

Back to England. Having previously lived and worked in Kent for many years, I always found the Martello tower fortifications to be useful landmarks for coastal navigation whilst sailing. Similarly, the Royal Military Canal doglegging across the Romney Marshes offered a fun paddle for young canoeists undertaking their first journey. The use of the substantial brickwork remains at the former Oare Gunpowder Works were fantastic for basic climbing and abseiling instruction to youngsters and adults in the 80's/90's; located in a beautiful woodland setting just a mile West of Faversham. Many will know of the famous Kent hops and Shepherd Neame brewery, but Faversham was also renowned for brick making and most particularly its gunpowder! The latter was being made from about 1573 and continued into the first half of the 20th Century. Of note, the Oare site was the second gunpowder works established in the 1680s by Huguenot asylum-seekers from France (French production techniques created more effective gunpowder in that era)!

Faversham produced huge amounts of various explosives over the years, both for military and civilian use, but it's certain that the British empire would not have been started nor England protected without gunpowder for guns, cannons and mortars. Personally I would have opted for a 'duvet day' on 2 April 1916, when 109 men and boys were killed by an explosion at the Explosives Loading Company factory at Uplees, near Faversham (blowing out windows the other side of the Thames Estuary). After considerable conservation work completed in 2005, the former Oare Gunpowder Works was opened as a country park; the area is well worth a visit if anyone is driving to/from UK via Channel routes and need to take a break. Plenty of good pubs and restaurants in the area too! Seedy earlier declared his fascination of making things go 'bang' as a kid, so this may be of interest, especially the gunpowder recipes!
http://tinyurl.com/y7jhcgua

The threat of Napoleon's invasion was very real in the early years of war, and many other fortifications can be found in Chatham and Dover of the same period, and some are preserved for visitors today. Where I now live in the New Forest is about a 20 minute drive to the Marchwood military base; I attended some boat courses there in the 70's, but it had another very important role, following the Napoleonic war. The Marchwood Magazine was the key munitions store in Britain for 150 years; this link is to a paper written by English Heritage, offering some interesting research of the site.
http://tinyurl.com/ycmc8hfp

However, through increasing the size of the army and navy of that time, together with public expenditure on the expensive coastal fortifications, taxes were again increased to fund them. The resulting economic struggles forced many men to join the army, but by the time Wellington had settled matters at Waterloo and Napoleon had been despatched to end his days on St Helena in the South Atlantic by 1815, the British Navy controlled the world's seas once again. Many British men and women were left in desperate misery due to the high taxes, and extortionate food prices, with unemployment caused by wartime trade restrictions, and the gradual increase of labour saving machinery.

Of course, the run down of British forces was a natural consequence, with soldiers discharged, sailors paid off from ships and naval officers left on half pay or worse. It should also be remembered that commissions into the Army were purchased until 1870, so many sold out.
http://tinyurl.com/ybdvwtyq

Whilst most are familiar with Wellington and Waterloo, it's perhaps less well known that Arthur Wellesley purchased his first commission, as an Ensign in 1787 and by 1794, after purchasing seven further commissions and having seen no military action and having received no military training, had swiftly 'raced' (7 yrs as against a modern equivalent of 17-20 yrs based on careful selection, training and meritocracy) up the 'greasy pole' to the rank of Colonel commanding his own regiment (this was the highest rank that could be achieved through purchase). Ironically, Wellington was neither wealthy nor well educated. His family’s limited resources were mostly directed at his older brother, so Arthur dropped out of school for both financial and academic reasons. Were it not for his subsequent victories and his military exploits in the war against Napoleon, such a process of purchase over merit and formal training might appear pure folly, both in Wellington's case and the British army.

Wellington was not alone since the purchase system, had been crudely founded in medieval times. It continued until 1871 in Britain, but it remained central mechanism for European armies to staff their officer corps (apart from Napoleon's army where aristocracy had gotten the chop, so meritocracy [and a spot of nepotism] got a chance). Although dominated by the upper class, the British officer corps was not its exclusive domain. This system of purchasing a military commission, was used to self-select officers into the Army, given the general difficulty in observing military talent and the lack of alternative filters or quality indicators.

Throughout the time of purchased commissions, successful regiments were paid in part through the spoils of war. The purchase system, by paying with prize money, provided an incentive to engage the enemy in battle. A key feature of the purchased commission, established a property right over the expected residuals from the battle.
By way of example, the 1826 British attack on the fortified city of Burtpore, 100 miles South of Delhi in India; survivors divided £480K in prize money. The British Commander of the attack - Combermere pocketed £60K of that! For the ordinary soldier, share of the prize money was smaller, but a key source of their income was booty, legitimate and illegitimate, which meant some soldiers accumulated small fortunes. For followers of the 'Sharpe' character in the TV series played by Sean Bean, his motley crew of Riflemen make a decent collection of the fruits of war following each scrap!

I've briefly mentioned Burtpore, but the Eastern Question concerned Europe for the better part of 500 years, and it reached crisis point several times during the 19th Century. Putting this into its geopolitical context, by 1770 (just a couple of decades before the Australian escapade began) Britain had a monopoly on opium production in India through the actions of the East India Company. They also had a fervent desire to expand that opium cultivation into Afghanistan (the Afghan poppy was neither a large nor commercial crop for its opium at that time). These were policies endorsed by the Crown, which we will return to in due course, specifically the opium harvest and its impact in the East and West.

Since India was a jewel in the crown of the British empire, the government viewed it as an imperative to protect its trade routes. Russia was busy spreading its reign over central Asia, but was afraid that the British were gaining a commercial and military expansion in central Asia through India. In terms of its strategic defence of trade, Afghanistan was pivotal, as the Russian and British empires engaged in territorial scraps for each others colonial possessions.

I will return tomorrow with another instalment, as the British Empire came of age, and reflect on Rudyard Kipling's legacy.
  
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