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Miscellaneous comments from 28 Jan 2016

Comments made on the previous Miscellaneous comments page from 11 Nov 2015 can be found here.

If you have anything you would like to raise, which is likely to be of interest to our site's visitors, which is not addressed in other articles, please add your comments here.

Comments

I don't entirely agree with this article: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/jan/27/world-heritage-forests-burn-as-global-tragedy-unfolds-in-tasmania

The Tassie fires were all lit by napalm - oops flash 21. Most, 95%, of lightning is negatively charged 'cold' explosive lightning and does start fires. The 5% is positively charge lighting that does every time. It can last 1 second or more, but is almost invariably followed by rain. This is just an attack on the wilderness and natural history - that is not very 'successful' by the sounds of it - despite the hype - 70 fires burning 7,000 hectares not 70,000 as I have been told - hard to confirm and no time.

Every year around 5 million migratory shorebirds take flight from Australia to their arctic breeding grounds.

But their numbers are plummeting at an alarming rate because of coastal development in Australia and their stopover sites in the Yellow Sea. "Coastal development" is a euphemism for environmental destruction.

If the numbers keep falling it could mean extinction – forever – for birds like the critically endangered Eastern Curlew which has lived alongside us for many thousands of years. If they don't have their stop-overs, they can die. Tired birds are more apt to collide with obstacles or falter in flight. This is especially true if the birds' flight path passes through storms or unfavorable wind patterns, or if the birds are migrating later in the season and must cover more ground each day to reach their destination.

Illegal hunting and poaching are also a threat at this time, and even legitimate hunters may make mistakes and inadvertently shoot protected birds that they have misidentified in flight.

Deforestation, the draining of wetlands, planting of non-native trees, the loss of areas to urban developments and intensive agriculture are major threats to birds. Numbers of many species are in serious decline as a result of habitat loss and these losses are particularly serious on islands, where bird populations are often small and very fragile.

Shorebirds need champions like you to fight for their survival.

Donate to Birdlife: Every $1 you donate will be worth $2

As Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, manoeuvres to try to get re-elected and increase the 10% Goods and Services Tax (GST) to 15%, we should not forget how in 1998 Australia's Parliamentary democracy to bring about the GST that then Prime Minister Howard had previously promised voters would 'never ever' happen. The following has been posted to discussion Increasing GST: not worth the effort. How about inheritance taxes? (5/2/16) on JohnQuiggin.com

Thank you, Chris O'Neill on February 7th, 2016 at 01:22 and BilB on February 7th, 2016 at 08:47.

Chris O'Neill wrote:

[Democrats Senator Meg Lees] put up some absolutely bizarre arguments. Like a card player saying she didn't know what to do when she held all the aces.

Another more recent example, is Senator Barnaby Rubble - sorry, Joyce, who promised at the 2004 Federal elections to oppose the privatisation of Telstra (or was it then still called 'Telecom'?). After he got elected, he voted for privatisation, contrary to what he had told voters. I recall that his one vote allowed the legislation to pass the Senate. If he had voted against privatisation, Telstra would have remained in public hands.

Of course, as he did with the GST, Howard said almost nothing about Telstra during the 2004 elections and again, after the vote, claimed a mandate for a policy, about which he and the newsmedia had intentionally kept the public in the dark during the election.

For his part, Kim Beazely refused to commit Labor to reversing privatisation should Labor have won the following election.

On the GST election rort, I found myself unable to find any information on Hansard about the 1998 committee to supposedly 'investigate' 'tax reform'. I am sure that an exhaustive search through the 1998 Hansard pdf files would reveal the information, but does anyone know the name of Liberal member, who, upon realising that it was only a vehicle to promote the 'never ever' GST, resigned from that committee?

BilB wrote:

... I've saved your account so that I can add the next stage in our passage towards the Friedmanian economy.

Thank you. Please feel welcome to visit my own web-site, candobetter _dot_ net which is linked to, over to the left.

On that site, we try to cover a range of topics which we consider critically important, but which are not given space on any other Australian blog site of which I am aware.

Surely having to increase GST to 15% is indicative of the failure of the "economic growth" model. If our economy is growing, why is our budget performing more and more poorly, and our nation costing us more to run?
In order to pursue the most central objective of modern economics – perpetual economic growth – amid increasing resistances from the laws of nature, and also the law of diminishing returns, modern economics has had to come up with a wide range of strategies for raking in ever increasing amounts of economic growth from the future.

The massive culture of consumerism and entitlement that has taken over the world, so that we can continue living as far beyond our means as at all possible.

Economic law states that if one input in the production of a commodity is increased while all other inputs are held fixed, a point will eventually be reached at which additions of the input yield progressively smaller, or diminishing, increases in output. A good example of diminishing returns includes the use of chemical fertilizers- a small quantity leads to a big increase in output. However, increasing its use further may lead to declining Marginal Product (MP) as the efficacy of the chemical declines.

If we must keep increasing taxes and costs of living, in a desperate attempt to keep our economy running, enough to keep our health, education and maintenance of infrastructure, then inefficiencies have crept in, and the cogs aren't turning properly. Our economy has become diseased by dis-economies of scale, an imbalance of cost/benefits, and too big and unwieldy to be "economical". Grabbing more and more from the hip pockets of the public, while our services are sliding backwards into crises of funding shortfalls, then our returns are diminishing. Our "economic growth" model sounds lucrative and reassuring, but it's nose-diving into more and more poverty and debt!

My thoughts exactly. The apparent current need for government to raise more revenue from taxes would indicate to me that more taxpayers do not make it easier for governments to provide for their citizens. i remember that the argument around population and infrastructure, especially related to rail services between capital cities in Australia went like this "We just don't have the population.If we had a greater population we could afford better transport in Australia." It now looks as though we are able to afford less with more people as other needs must be met by governments and there is a call for more taxes. I never hear anyone in the media interviewing members of the government asking why this has happened.i.e that they they now need more taxes than they used to.

Eco-system preservation key to protection from climate change:http://theconversation.com/the-best-way-to-protect-us-from-climate-change-save-our-ecosystems-54110?This (sort of) prominent recognition is both long overdue and welcome but I still have to groan at the almost autistic degree of reticence evident within its content - e.g.:"There is now clear evidence that intact forests have a positive influence on both planetary climate and local weather regimes."How can it possibly be otherwise given that climate, along with its sub-set of local weather regime, are entirely the product of bio-physical function?Is there any doubt that climate would alter due to massive physical change - ie shift in global axis, asteroid impact, etc?Why then is there such obscurity and caution regarding climatic impact due to the massive disruptions that are cumulative, and continuing, upon the bio-sphere?Also, how about proceeds from carbon pricing mechanisms go largely toward eco-system restoration rather than to gaming by global financial markets?

The Russians have cut off many of the pathways the C.I.A. has been using for a not-very-secret effort to arm rebel groups, according to several current and former officials. US Secretary of State John Kerry repeatedly implored Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to keep the Azaz corridor open, the major supply artery for "moderate rebels' in Syria. The rebels are increasingly cut off from their arms suppliers -- and the US is now begging for peace.

http://russia-insider.com/en/russia-has-destroyed-cias-weapons-smuggling-operation-syria/ri12821
Back in August last year, it was apparent even in Western media coverage that the so-called "Islamic State" (ISIS) is not sustaining its fighting capacity from within Iraq or Syria, but rather through supply lines that lead to and from adjacent nations. These nations include Jordan, Lebanon, Israel, and most obviously, NATO-member Turkey. Logic dictates that an army with empty stomachs is unable to march. Napoleon Bonaparte is credited with this quote, found out first hand just how true these words were when his army found itself deep within Russia without supplies, leading to its ultimate and catastrophic defeat. Likewise, ISIS' fighting capacity depends entirely on its supply lines.

We know that the United States provided Saddam Hussein with chemical weapons to use against Iran. This use of chemical weapons, we know that Ghouta attacks in 2013 were blamed on the Assad government, but it was all scam. Assad's enemies have been supplying vetted rebel groups with weapons via a Turkey-based operations center. Some of the vetted groups have received military training overseen by the U.S. CIA. The Syrian government says it aims to seal the border to cut rebel supply routes from Turkey.

From Population Education at http://www.populationeducation.org/content/world-population-video

World Population Video


Watch human population grow from 1 CE to present and see projected growth in under six minutes. This "dot" video, one of Population Education’s most popular teaching tools, was updated in 2015 and is now more accurate than ever with all dots placed using GIS. Stream below or purchase your own copy of the World Population DVD that includes the narration in six languages and closed captions.

Copyright 2015.

Accompanying the video is the companion site World Population History. Created for both classrooms and a general audience, the site lets visitors zoom in on the map for a closer look at population centers and many of the population dots are annotated with events and information about the location. A historical timeline simultaneously gives context to the changes on the map through milestones that have impacted population over the years. Readings, interactive tools, and classroom lesson plans make the site even more interactive experience for all visitors.

VicForests refused to stop logging an area rich in rare wildlife in the Kuark forest Block, home to Yellow-bellied Gliders, Long-footed Potoroos, rare plants, rainforest and the critically endangered new species of Galaxias fish.

VicForests declined to halt logging after court proceedings were filed.On Friday (12/2/16) our lawyers at Environment Justice Australia (EJA) filed a writ in the Supreme Court against VicForests over its logging in this stand of forest, south of Goolengook (30km NE of Orbost).

VicForests still refused to stop logging and so we were forced to seek an urgent injunction on the Saturday. A temporary injunction was granted and VicForests has since agreed not to log until March 21st. EJA is now preparing the necessary documents for this case to proceed.

A brief article about this appeared in Friday’s (19th February) Age.
East Gippsland logging faces fresh court challenge over endangered species

Surveys like those which have given us information to help base our case on were covered by the ABC. The news story can be read and listened to here.
Environmentalists accuse state logger of forest survey conflict of interest
Just last week the state's logger VicForests agreed to lock up 100 hectares of forest after environmentalists discovered 15 of the gliders.

Environmentalists argue VicForests hasn't done a good enough job at surveying the forests for protected rare and threatened species, so they're conducting their own surveys in other areas.

Of course, VicForests don't want to find threatened species, so they just don't look!

Donate to EEG
http://eastgippsland.net.au/donate-to-eeg

The American F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a dog, a hugely expensive dog, not least because it has only one engine, and jets in dogfights have flame-outs when upside down and their engine dies.

The Russian Sukhoi S-35 (not sure of spelling) has two engines and has vastly superior reliability, range, and manoevrability. Something about Vectoring Jets (guess like bow thrusters on ships). Indonesia is buying S-35s, and presumably China.

As ever, Australia is wheelbarrowing vast hoards of gold to the Boeing-Lockheed military-industrial complex.
Dave ZPG Hughes

Maybe I/we should be investing in some kennels including ones that are seaworthy. I agree that the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter is a dog and a bloody expensive one at $154 million and rising, inferior in these areas: top speed, manoeuvrability, fire power, fuel range, stealth - if it looks like a dog, if it smells like a dog and it barks, the chances are that it is a dog!!

To go hand in hand with our 72 duds of the sky we're going to get the Japs to build 12 seafaring dogs, I mean submarines. So we need 72 kennels and 12 sea-kennels. The potential for us to get really stung here is even greater! The Japs aren't recognised as being at the forefront of Sub building, there better at building....... whaling ships. Which is just another reason why we shouldn't be asking them to build our dogs.

For the privilege of owning all of these dogs is we, the taxpayers, are going to fork out $200 billion for some toys that we haven't yet got, will be dogs when we do and will reduce us to being a global laughing stock. But, don't worry the Yanks'll save us.......... Mmm, I think I''d better get my shanghai out and sharpen it up a bit - you never know??

From Russia Bans US GMO Imports (26/2/16) | New Eastern Outlook

Russia is making consequent its decision last fall to ban the commercial planting of Genetically Modified Organisms or GMO in its agriculture acreage. The latest decision, effective February 15, 2016 does not at all please Monsanto or the US Grain Cartel.

On February 15, a Russian national import ban on soybeans and corn imports from the United States took effect. The Russian food safety regulator Rosselkhoznadzor announced that the ban was because of GMO and of microbial contamination and the absence of effective US controls on soybean and corn exports to prevent export of quarantinable grains, also known as microbial contamination. The Russian food safety regulator added that corn imported from the US is often infected with dry rot of maize. In addition, he said, corn can be used for GMO crops in Russia. The potential damage from import and spread of quarantinable objects on the territory of Russia is estimated at $126 -189 million annually.

...

Why political professionals are struggling to make sense of the world they created.
By Peggy Noonan

We’re in a funny moment. Those who do politics for a living, some of them quite brilliant, are struggling to comprehend the central fact of the Republican primary race, while regular people have already absorbed what has happened and is happening. Journalists and politicos have been sharing schemes for how Marco parlays a victory out of winning nowhere, or Ted roars back, or Kasich has to finish second in Ohio. But in my experience any nonpolitical person on the street, when asked who will win, not only knows but gets a look as if you’re teasing him. Trump, they say.

I had such a conversation again Tuesday with a friend who repairs shoes in a shop on Lexington Avenue. Jimmy asked me, conversationally, what was going to happen. I deflected and asked who he thinks is going to win. “Troomp!” He’s a very nice man, an elderly, old-school Italian-American, but I saw impatience flick across his face: Aren’t you supposed to know these things?

In America now only normal people are capable of seeing the obvious.

But actually that’s been true for a while, and is how we got in the position we’re in.

Last October I wrote of the five stages of Trump, based on the Kübler-Ross stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Most of the professionals I know are stuck somewhere between four and five.

But I keep thinking of how Donald Trump got to be the very likely Republican nominee. There are many answers and reasons, but my thoughts keep revolving around the idea of protection. It is a theme that has been something of a preoccupation in this space over the years, but I think I am seeing it now grow into an overall political dynamic throughout the West.

There are the protected and the unprotected. The protected make public policy. The unprotected live in it. The unprotected are starting to push back, powerfully.

The protected are the accomplished, the secure, the successful—those who have power or access to it. They are protected from much of the roughness of the world. More to the point, they are protected from the world they have created. Again, they make public policy and have for some time.

Read more here: http://www.wsj.com/articles/trump-and-the-rise-of-the-unprotected-1456448550

or

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/2016/02/26/trump_and_the_rise_of_the_unprotected_377035.html

Here is the link to the discussion on Channel 7.
The Discussion about immigration on Channel 7’s Sunrise was revealing this morning (Sunday 13 March 2016). Well done to Mark Latham and Kelvin Thompson fighting the fight on economic grounds and sticking up for the average citizen in the suburbs. Too bad we aren’t advanced enough in the debate to think about the environment and the big picture global impact of high population.

The contradictions put forward by the Migration Council and Centre for Independent Studies are also revealing:

When there is congestion, poor roads and high house prices business groups say "poor planning by government ". When there are "skills shortages " business groups don't say poor planning by government, they say we need more government action to increase immigration to fill the shortages.

When business groups talk about taxes and government regulations they say get out of our way, Free enterprise will solve all the nations woes. When business groups talk about "skills shortages" they don't want the free enterprise system to solve the problem they want more government action to increase immigration. They forget all about free enterprise action like increasing wages and increasing training. The only time business groups talk about increasing training is when they want government to pay for it.

When business groups say high immigration helps the economy they mean it helps the top end of the economy. High immigration keeps labour rates low. That is one of the big reasons business loves high immigration. It keeps wages low and helps them improve profits. Corporate profits have increased 5 times faster than the average wage in the past 15 years while immigration rates have been high.

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/corporate-profits-hit-new-record-high-2012-11

An OK article in The Age on population growth, though it follows the silly "both sides" fallacy.

http://www.theage.com.au/comment/should-we-protect-the-melbournes-livability-by-limiting-population-growth-20160418-go95kq.html

I submitted the following comment.

After a decade of rapid growth, with no real increase in quality of life, affordability, wages, infrastructure, tax revenue, new services and transport to show for it, I think its fair to say that population growth to fix the economy simply does not work. Australia has had record high immigration levels, higher than many other Western nations, and we are still in a position where we require emergency low interest rates, cannot fund infrastructure we need.

Business cases for infrastructure show that its not worth the money, yet we have no choice.

It's time to abandon the idea that "growth" leads to prosperity. It doesn't, and demonstrably so. The only Australians who are benefiting are those who are riding on the housing boom, who need the supply side pressure to keep their prices elevated. Everyone else is just feeling the squeeze.

We do have a choice about growth. We can pressure the government to allow Australia to grow naturally, based on the number of children we chose to have, and not force a population target through policy we have no say in.

Lastly, shutting the door to people isn't dubious or selfish. We have a duty to look after our own people, our own children, and ensure we fulfil our social contract to them. There are 195 countries in the world that people can move to. To say that because one is going to slow immigration so it can look after its own, somehow deprives those peoples of options is simply laughable. We aren't the only country in the world people can move to.

The Age was hardly going to publish this comment! They have their snouts in the trough of big corporate interests, and the property/real estate industries. They call themselves "Independent" but they are not.

High population growth can be the result of an economic boom, of rich resources and increasing wealth. However, it's assumed that the converse is also true - that high population growth CAN produce the wealth! It does, but only for the elite who are able to watch from lofty heights, while the "normal" people struggle with traffic congestion, homelessness, increasing crime, a mounting debt crisis, and dis-economies of scale.

The following was posted to a discussion, Anzac Day, 101 years on …, on johnquiggin.com.

As terrible as the Gallipoli campaign was for Australia and New Zealand, even worse carnage awaited our soldiers in France and Belgium after 1916.

"The Murdoch Archipelago" (2003 - 580 pp) by Bruce Page shows how war correspondent Keith Murdoch - so lionised for blowing the whistle on the Gallipoli campaign - was subsequently uncritical of the campaign in France and Belgium.

On a related issue, "Hell-Bent - Australia's leap into the Great War" (2014 - 353pp), by Australian Author Douglas Newton, shows how, on two occasions prior to the start of the First World War, the Australian government actually tried to persuade the British Governent to go to war. The first occasion was the Agadir crisis of 1911. The second was during the Second Balkan War of 1913.

On each of those two occasions, popular opposition within Europe prevented the outbreak of a larger war.

In 1914, after the Sarejevo incident, the majority of the British cabinet was initially opposed to going to war.

However, in the ensuing weeks, the Australian government did all it could to persuade the British cabinet to declare war. As we know by 4 August 1914, that majority was reduced to a minority. So, Britain and the whole Commonwealth went to war and lost 900,000 lives, 60,000 of which were Australian.

So, Australia was both a victim and a perpetrator of that war.

The Conversation is the Fox News of academic discourse in an era when academics have become the lackeys and mouthpieces of corporate sponsors. Does Murdoch have any overt links to The Conversation (syndicated in several countries) or is it just the presence of his hacks, such as Michelle Grattan, the Australian Conversation editor? I'm not sure. Hope someone will look into the matter. Why anyone would think that The Conversation is somehow enlightened and intelligent, I don't know: I guess that those who thought the Age was, will think the Conversation is. Someone is always capturing public communication channels so that we cannot hear each other, only our self-designated managers.

Good call Dragonfly. I, too, have given The Conversation the flick. After having my comments on Martin Bryant edited while commenting on a piece by Rebecca Peters and Anthony Cunneen "Australian guns laws are saving lives - but are we now going backwards?". While my comments were forthright, they weren't personal nor malicious. I merely stated that Martin Bryant was innocent and the bare facts surrounding his arrest and imprisonment. I added that black market was/is thriving and that if anybody wanted a gun, access via that market was easy as...

While I was disappointed, I, like yourself, came to the realisation that they didn't want the REAL facts to surface.

There is a petition at https://www.change.org/p/cityofryde-ryde-nsw-gov-au-save-blenheim-park-no-highrise?recruiter=589003133&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=share_email_responsive

Save Blenheim Park - No Highrise

16 STOREY HIGH RISE IN BLENHEIM PARK PROPOSED

The developer of the three low density residential properties in Blenheim Park has successfully persuaded the Department of Planning to consider their proposal to rezone the 3 houses to allow a 16 storey development on the site. This will be considered by the Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) as a pre gateway determination on 31st August 2016.  

This recommendation by Departmental bureaucrats is despite Council rejecting the proposal and unanimously endorsing the acquisition of the properties and returning them to Blenheim Park. The Department of Planning has stated that it will not be considering Councils unanimous proposal for parkland until after the 16 storey tower proposal has been considered! 

Clr Craig Chung, Chris Turner and Brad Powe, along with Minister Dominello, have had a productive meeting with Minister Stokes to express the community concern at such a proposal.

Remember! This fight will only be won if we unite to push back the push for massive towers right in the middle of Blenheim Park. Resist the urging by some people for name calling and partisan politics. This is about a united community issue and defeating overdevelopment on our doorstep.

Let’s remember, when a developer buys low density residential home sites (Zoned R2) on the hope that they can rezone the land to high density for home units – it is a purely speculative proposal. It is a risk. It is a commercial decision. There is nothing underhanded about the community saying “Thanks but no thanks”. Allowing a mix of housing in the appropriate locations is one thing, but North Ryde has done its bit with the development of Lachlans Line and the North Ryde Station precinct.

*The proposed high rise development doesn’t fit in with the low rise residential development nearby
*It is a massive overdevelopment of the site overlooking the beautiful Blenheim park
*Traffic and parking in the area is already diabolical
*The intersections of Blenheim/Pittwater/Epping/Delhi Roads are all at failure and cannot cope with a high rise development on this site
*Infrastructure in the North Ryde area needs significant improvement before we can consider any more high rise development
*Victor Dominello MP has recently saved Tennis World from high rise redevelopment and now we have to fight the battle all over again with another site adjacent to Blenheim Park.

As a comparison, it is useful to compare this proposal with other developments that are either underway or about to commence:

Allengrove is 1.5:1 maximum 5 storeys
Whiteside is 0.99:1 with a maximum of 5 storeys
Ryde gardens is 4.3:1 with a maximum of 99 metres

THIS DEVELOPMENT IS PROPOSED TO HAVE AN FSR OF 4.3:1

16 STOREYS

120 APARTMENTS

Google denied responsibility for their placement. We found out that they were placed in error and they have since been removed. Apparently ad-sense does not place ads; it is up to the purchaser to place them.

A licence to kill native animals has been labelled “red tape” by the Baird government and will be abolished, prompting warnings the move will declare “open season” on kangaroos, emus, wombats and cockatoos. He may have been celebrated for ending the cruelty of greyhound racing, but there’s no such consideration for native animals – they are just “red tape” to be eliminated!
The Office of Environment and Heritage issued permits for 34 species, or a total of 145,550 animals and birds to be killed in 2015-16. This included more than 100,000 eastern grey kangaroos, almost 9000 corellas, 6500 sulphur crested cockatoos, 5500 galahs, 655 emus, 175 swamp wallabies, 113 wombats and 83 magpies. Apparently these iconic native animals aren’t part of our “environment” or even “heritage” now?
AWPC Baird government declares open season on native animals
Sign the petition: Stop the Baird government declaring "open season" on our Native Animals

James,

I stated that "Churchill sent my father to Greece to become cannon fodder for the Germans. The manoeuvre was executed by Churchill on the pretext of trying to get the US to support the British". While this may seem harsh, I believe that if anybody who has read Peter Ewer's book 'Forgotten Anzacs" (2016 revised edition) they would most likely agree with me.

However, in an attempt to lay all the cards on the table I have researched the matter to the best of my ability in the time available. While most of following has been taken from the aforementioned book, I've scanned the internet, mainly Wikipedia for further material. While I've tried to be open minded on the matter, some of the facts will always be open to interpretation and personal opinions can distort even the most obvious truths.

The circumstances surrounding the occupation of Greece by the Allied forces in 1941 are many and varied. "With the success of Operation Compass, and the failure of the Italian invasion of Greece, the complete defeat of Italy stared Hitler in the face - something sure to complicate his plans to invade Russia in the northern summer of 1941." [1]

The arrival of the Germans into the Mediterranean posed one of the greatest strategic choices of the war for Churchill and his high command: conquest over Italy in North Africa or to divert forces to Greece in an attempt to defend the European mainland. Furthermore, Churchill had a wider strategic imperative - that of impressing American political opinion with the aim of retaining their support and unltimately, their entry into the war. [2]

Franklin Roosevelt's re-election as President of the US in 1940 - a declared opponent of fascism - had supported the British despite America's opposition to being entangled in another European war. With the spectre of insolvency staring Churchill in the face, he cabled Roosevelt begging him not to insist on a ship laden with Britain's last gold reserves sail to the US in payment for American goods. With one of the master strokes of World War Two, the American President introduced Lend Lease whereby the British would be lent or leased goods which would be returned at the end of the war. [3]

In a bid to justify the means Churchill believed that the British needed to be seen fighting the Germans in Greece as opposed to success over the Italians in North Africa. While this may have been the logical imperative in the grand scheme, but whether it was in the interests of the Greeks, Australians and New Zealanders was another thing. [4]

The US employed William Donovan who flew into the Mediterranean warzone to assess the situation. His glowing assessment was a boon for the struggling British forces - " ... Britain was fighting, that it would continue to fight, that it could and would defeat the Germans as it had defeated the Italians, that America would support it to victory come what may, and that the American people were determined not to permit it to be defeated". [5]

Meanwhile Hitler initiated plans to invade the balkans including Greece followed by Russia. While the former went ahead as planned on April 6th 1941, the latter was deferred from May15th until June 22nd for various reasons. These included the Balkans campaign which required a diversion of troops and resources, an unusually wet winter which kept riveres in full flood until late spring. transport and fuel distribution problems and difficulty in locating airfields for the Luftwaffe. [6]

In early February 1941 general Richard O'Connor leading the charge into Libya was aghast at the suspension of the offensive to drive the Axis out of Africa while troops were deployed in the Greek campaign thus allowing Hitler to take the initiative in the Mediterranean. [7] Further to this was the tacit acknowledgement that Greece would fall to the Nazis within a matter of weeks. [8]

Negotiations between the British War Office and the Anzacs were far from explicit. While the Australian Prime Minister was seen to be otherwise distracted, the British Commander in Chief Archibald Wavell advised Menzies of the campaign on or around February13th who failed to make mention of it to General Blamey. On February 18th Wavell addressed Blamey on the matter who assumed that it would taken up by the Australian Government. Wavell's sophistication in the matter combined with Menzies' and Blamey's lack of communication saw both countries enter the campiagn without the consent of the Asutralian and New Zealand Governments. [9]

One of the major drawbacks of the British campaign in Greece was the lack of armoured support. The sum total of one armoured brigade which was extremely badly managed against the might of several German Panzer Divisions. [10] Furthermore, I estimate, the Luftwaffe outnumbered the RAF by more than 4 planes to one of better quality and firepower.

By the time British troops had begun to arrive in Greece, the Allied plan was beginning to unravel. With politicians of all persuasions including Churchill ducking for for cover as the British forces were out-numbered, out-gunned and out-resourced by the Germans. Blamey made it clear regarding the prospects of success: "In view of the Germans much proclaimed intention to drive us off the continent wherever we appear, landing this small British force would be most welcome to them as it gives good reason to attack ... Miltary operation extremely hazardous in view of the disparity between opposing forces in number and training." [11]

While Menzies pondered his future, in particular his long term aspirations of becoming the British Prime Minister, all of which lay in the hands of Churchill's critics. [12] By supporting the Greek campaign, Menzies was to come under further scrutiny from the head of the Australian army. Notwithstanding the success or failure of the Greek campaign, Churchill was buoyed by the news that the American Senate had voted in favour of Lend Lease. [13]

The Greek campaign has been variously described as a 'great risk for a good cause' , extremely hazardous, a piecemeal dispatch to Europe, a fiasco, it caused a furore in Australia at the time and around 39% of Australians troops were killed, wounded or became prisoners of war. [14]

In 1952 the Historical Branch of the UK Cabinet Office concluded that the Balkan campaign had no influence on the launching of Operation Barbarossa! [15]

[1] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 (Revised Edition) p72
[2] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 (Revised Edition) p73
[3] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 (Revised Edition) p73 {1} Martin Gilbert - Finest Hour pp975-976
[4] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 (Revised Edition) p74
[5] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 (Revised Edition) p75 {3} Op cit p155
[6] Wikipedia - Operation Barbarossa - {88} Bradley & Buell pp35-40, {89} Shirer pp829-830, {90} Beevor p163
[7] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 (Revised Edition) p79
[8] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 (Revised Edition) p79 {13} NA UK WO p193
[9] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 (Revised Edition) p84 {26} Long - Greece, Crete & Syria p20
[10] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 (Revised Edition) p86 {29} Maugham - Tobruk, El Alamein Ch3
[11] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 (Revised Edition) p91 {39} Op cit p17
[12] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 (Revised Edition) p92 {40} day - Menzies and Churchill
[13] Forgotten Anzacs - Peter Ewer - 2016 )Revised Edition) p93 {41} Op cit p20
[14] World War 2 Australia - Greece and Crete
[15] Wikipedia - Battle of Greece - {199} Kirchubel - Opposing Plans p16

The comment below was posted to the Flattr blog in response to the article about Flattr having recently, on 5 April, being bought out by Addblock Plus. Flattr is a system to provide any Internet user with an easy way to make a small payment to any creator of content - textual, graphic, video, visual or audio - that he/she sufficiently appreciated. It was launched in March 2010.

It's obvious to me that, two years since I joined Flattr, contrary to my hopes and to what was predicted by its creators, Flattr has made little noticeable impact on the Internet.

Instead of deriving adequate income through Flattr, each content provider still has to struggle to attract advertising to his/her site or go without income.

Those, who are not advertisers, who want to support web content producers are still obliged to use older means: credit cards, PayPal, direct deposit from bank accounts, etc.

Surely, it's time that the creators of Flattr ask themselves why it has not taken off.

The reason I no longer use it is that (as I recall) a Flattr users must commit himself/herself to paying a fixed amount each month.

Why?

Why not just make a payment and only have to pay more when it runs out?

What if one stops using the Internet for a period of time? What if over a given mopnth one one is unable to find sufficient content that he/she judges to be worth a Flattr payment?

Under the existing business model one just has to just keep on paying a fixed amount each month, regardless.