Thursday, October 03, 2019

A Christian private school principal has blasted Greta Thunberg in a newsletter, labelling her a “little girl with mental problems”

Rodney Lynn, head of Coffs Harbour Christian Community School, wrote the letter to pupils and parents on September 26. In the letter, seen by, he implored his students to put their faith in God and “not in the predictions of a little girl”.

He did not refer to Ms Thunberg by name, but he made reference to “a little girl from Scandinavia” who was promoting “doomsday waffle talk”.

“No one knows when the final wind up of the world will be,” he wrote. “Jesus said no one, only the Father God, knows about that day or hour.”

He said Ms Thunberg was a “little girl with self declared various emotional and mental problems that she thinks give her a special insight into a pending doom”.

“She says she is anxious. You too can be anxious. My life experience has taught me that the doomsday predictors are just attention getters,” he said in his September 26 newsletter.

The letter was published the same week the 16-year-old made an impassioned speech at the United Nations in New York — hitting out at world leaders for failing to take strong measures to combat climate change.

Galvanised by Ms Thunberg, young people around the world have taken to the streets to demand stronger action on climate change, but Mr Lynn questioned their actions in his letter.

“You can skip school. Hold up a piece of cardboard in the streets and call out for the government to ‘do something to stop it all happening’ … really???” he wrote.

“Do not be afraid. Your word’s future is in the hands of God, not in the predictions of a little girl and false prophets,” he wrote before signing off.

“God’s promises have never failed yet.”

Mr Lynn’s letter has been met with some local opposition, with the Coffs Coast Climate Action Group writing on Facebook that “we don’t like amplifying the toxic words of this Coffs Harbour principal”.

However, the statement went on to say “other more responsible church leaders are calling out his dangerous comments and talking about the need to protect our planet’s climate for younger generations”.


Spare us the diversity divas and teaching gurus

James Allan

I want now to list for you just some of the more specific problems with Australian universities. I have already hinted at the astounding level of managerialism and bureaucratic overreach in just about all of them.

What you see are top heavy and noticeably overpaid university administrations — more than 60 per cent of employees at all Australian universities are administrators and bureaucrats, not researchers and teachers.

And yet there are basically no secretaries around to enter marks or file papers or put exams into alphabetical order after marking or anything that remotely corresponds with a basic understanding of comparative advantage.

No, a proliferation of administrators in Australian universities have jobs that fall largely into the category of what has been described as “bullshit jobs’’.

If they went on strike no one would notice; indeed, the organisation would probably run more effectively. They are not really needed, these “diversity divas’’ and “how to teach gurus’’.

And yet, in Australian universities, administrators significantly outnumber those in the class and those actually producing peer-reviewed research.

Moreover, these university bureaucrats love uniformity; they impose one-size-fits-all regimes on all parts of the university (because they simply cannot leave law schools or philosophy departments to decide for themselves what is best for law or philosophy, down to the nitpicking minutiae of how many assessments you absolutely must give, or whether you can opt to have an optional assessment in your course; no, you need some recently hired deputy vice-chancellor brought in from a former teachers’ college to issue uniform diktats for all parts of the university).

Uniformity is king in Australian universities. Or, given that this deputy vice-chancellor may well be in charge of “diversity’’, let us say that “uniformity is queen’’ and let us say it while cordoning off some computer lab that will be out of bounds for anyone who is not indigenous.

As an aside, notice, too, that in the bizarre world of “university diversity’’ that “diversity’’ boils down to struggling to impose a 1:1 correlation between two or three features you find in the world at large and what these social engineers want you to find in the same ratio among university academics and, to a lesser extent, within the student body — most obviously (a) the statistically “right’’ ratio of the type of reproductive organs on campus, or (b) the “right’’ ratio of skin pigmentation specimens, or (c) the “right’’ ratio of whether, plausibly or implausibly, students and professors can claim to be a descendant of a person who arrived here tens of thousands of years ago. You never, ever, ever see “diversity divas’’ trying to get a statistical match within the university and the wider Australian public as regards political and economic outlooks. Never.

Even though in general terms over time 50 per cent of Australians vote for right-of-centre parties it is nevertheless the case that right-of-centre conservatives in our universities are exceptionally rare.

As I said, I have run through this in a different publication, but let me here give readers a taste of the lack of conservatives in universities. In US Ivy League law schools, because donations to political parties are public information there, law professors who give to the left-of-centre Democratic Party outnumber Republican ones by more than 6:1, and it is worse at non-Ivy League law schools. (And that was before President Donald Trump was elected and the ratio probably got even worse.)

After 14 years working here in a top Australian law school, and being the editor of a peer review law journal, and hence with a pretty good knowledge of this country’s legal academics, I would say that the ratio is worse here in Australia. The ratio of conservative to progressive or non-conservative law professors is smaller in Australia than in the US.

Or read Jonathan Haidt on how many academics in psychology in the US identify as right-of-centre conservatives. It is less than 1 per cent. Haidt is himself “of the left’’ but says this sort of imbalance is a disaster for students and for universities. Do any readers want to bet that here in Australia in women’s studies departments or indigenous studies departments or, heck, even in most universities’ sociology and politics departments, the percentage of righties is any better than it is with psychologists in the US?

But let me return for a moment to the astounding level of top-heavy, top-down and overcooked managerialism in Australian universities. Now, someone might well say in reply to this charge of insanely too much managerialism and bureaucratic overreach that, in fact, you actually need this bureaucratic managerialism in our universities to make things better.

Collegiality in running tertiary education institutions was not working, goes this line of response.

In other words, or so goes this claim, you need to break a few eggs to make an omelette.

But this is precisely the sort of argument put forward by all one-size-fits-all centralists. There is no better answer to it than the one George Orwell mordantly threw back at the defenders of the Soviet system who relied on that sort of apologist’s claim.

Asked in response to this “need to break a few eggs’’ assertion, Orwell replied “OK, but where’s the omelette?’’


Australia Foreign Minister says helping White House probe in national interest

Australia’s offer to help U.S. President Donald Trump investigate a report into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election was in the national interest, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne said on Wednesday.

The New York Times on Monday reported Trump had asked Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for help investigating the origins of what became Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russia’s efforts to aid Trump in the 2016 national elections.

A spokesperson for Morrison on Tuesday said the prime minister had agreed to help, drawing criticism from Australia’s opposition Labor party.

But Payne said cooperating with Australia’s closest ally was prudent. “We are working in Australia’s interests and we are working with our closest and most important ally,” Payne told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. “We should assist them as we can, we should ensure that assistance is appropriate and that’s what we’re doing.”

Trump is under mounting pressure amid an impeachment investigation by the U.S. House of Representatives into reports that he sought to influence foreign governments to go after his political adversaries.

The Democratic-led House began the inquiry last week after a whistleblower raised concerns that Trump tried to leverage nearly $400 million in proposed aid for Ukraine in exchange for an investigation of former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden.

Biden is seeking the Democratic nomination to run against Trump in the 2020 election.

The Mueller report was triggered in part by former Australian foreign minister Alexander Downer.

Downer was allegedly told in 2016 by George Papadopoulos, a Trump campaign aide, that Russia had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

Downer reported the details of the conversation, which Papadopoulos denies, to the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.


Australia eyes 'clear gaps' in US minerals supply amid China trade row

It would be Yuge if Australia replaced China as a supplier of "rare earths"

Australian rare earth miners could become major exporters to the United States as the Trump administration looks to lessen its reliance on China for the supply of valuable ingredients used in high-tech weapons, smart phones and electric vehicles.

In a new report released on Tuesday, the Australian Trade and Investment Commission (ATIC) has highlighted the potential for Australia to increase exports of a group of 17 obscure minerals that are used to manufacture high-technology products, as well as critical minerals such as cobalt, magnesium and lithium, which is used in batteries.

Its release comes as China's dominant position as the world's primary producer of rare earths and minerals triggers growing alarm in Washington following warnings that Beijing may move to restrict shipments due to its trade war with the US.

According to some estimates, China may hold up to 50 per cent of known global resources of rare earths elements and 80 per cent of their production, the report said.

Australian miner Lynas is the only significant rare earths producer outside of China and any move by Beijing to crimp supply would increase Lynas' importance. Lynas has recently secured a temporary increase in its licence to operate in Malaysia amid widespread opposition to the low level radioactive waste produced by the process.

Lynas is developing a processing plant in Texas in a partnership with Blue Line Corporation to separate and extract rare earths from ore.

"We have some of the world's richest stocks of critical minerals," Trade Minister Simon Birmingham said.

"This report shows there are huge export opportunities for Australian critical minerals producers in markets such as the US where there are clear gaps in the supply chain."

Australia is home to some of the world's largest recoverable deposits of critical minerals and the world's second-largest producer of rare-earth elements including neodymium and praseodymium, which are used to make permanent magnets, Resources Minister Matt Canavan said.

"Our political stability, strong environmental and safety regulations and existing expertise in the resources sector also adds to our appeal as a partner in the global supply chain of rare-earth elements," Mr Canavan said.

US President Donald Trump earlier this year moved to reduce dependence on Chinese supply chains for the US defence department, prohibiting the purchase of devices that contain magnets or tungsten from China, North Korea and Russia. And Mr Trump in July signed a memorandum authorising the defence department to direct funding to resources or technology.

The Australian Trade and Investment Commission said such moves had opened up a new opportunity for Australian companies to supply a growing US specialist manufacturing industry.

The Minerals Council of Australia, an industry group representing the nation's biggest miners, said there was "enormous potential" to grow Australia's trade and investment through the rare earth and critical minerals.

"Australia is well-positioned to extract and export the critical minerals the world needs for faster, smaller and more powerful technology," Minerals Council chief executive Tania Constable said.

"Australia has pioneered new advances in extractive technologies and is ideally placed to lead the growth of critical minerals globally."


Posted by John J. Ray (M.A.; Ph.D.).    For a daily critique of Leftist activities,  see DISSECTING LEFTISM.  To keep up with attacks on free speech see Tongue Tied. Also, don't forget your daily roundup  of pro-environment but anti-Greenie  news and commentary at GREENIE WATCH .  Email me  here

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