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Monday, December 5, 2016

The Gold Rush - Australia
About two weeks ago I stopped by the Red Kangaroo Books store in Alice Springs, Northern Territory, Australia during my month long trip Down Under.  Alice Springs is in the middle of the Outback close to the geographic center of the continent.  It is truly in the middle of nowhere.  I decided to purchase two books that would tell me part of the story of Australia.  The first of the two books is The Gold Rush - The fever that forever changed Australia by David Hill.  I have read books about the US and Canadian gold rushes and they briefly mentioned the Australian gold rush.  So picking up The Gold Rush was an easy choice. 
The Australian gold rush is not one gold rush but a series of gold rushes that took place in every state and territory of Australia over about 80 years, from the 1850s through 1930.  The history of the gold rushes is filled with very interesting people from all over the world that came to Australia to find and develop its gold fields.  Herbert Hoover, the 31rst President of the United States, began his business career running a gold mine in the outback of Western Australia.  
Over the first 20 years of the gold rushes Australia was changed from a series of isolated agricultural colonies of the United Kingdom to a dynamic growing destination for immigrants from many European countries, China and even the United States.  Can you imagine boarding a ship in England and spending four months at sea sailing to an unknown land, Australia, so you can walk a couple of hundred miles into the wilderness to search for gold?  The descriptions of the living and working conditions during the rushes are incredible.  Mr. Hill tells the story very effectively.  He includes bits and pieces of the writings of some of the actual participants which makes the story even more vivid. 
Needless to say, there was a lot of pain experienced by many people during the gold rushes.  Many of the miners didn't find any gold and lost all the money they spent in their attempt.  Miners died because they failed to appreciate the difficulty of working in the Australian climate and topography.  Western Europeans attacked Chinese miners repeatedly and took every action possible to keep them out of the gold fields.  There were many unsavory people that are part of the story of the Australian gold rushes. 
One of the major themes of the book is that the people participating in the gold rush were incredibly entrepreneurial and motivated people.  The ability of the participants to adapt to their situation and create a working community out of nothing is remarkable.  It is very hard for almost all westerners today to appreciate what life was like for those living in hardship of the gold fields in their attempt to strike it rich or just make a living.
The Gold Rush is a great book and I recommend it to anyone with an interest in this subject matter.  The review and comments on the second book I bought at Red Kangaroo Books will be coming soon.
9:43 pm          Comments

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

I have updated my DISCLOSURE article.  Dr. Steven Greer has given two very important seminars this month.  I have provided links to the YouTube videos in my updated introduction to DISCLOSURE.
8:54 pm          Comments

Saturday, November 26, 2016


My wife and I just returned home from our trip to Australia, with a couple of cruise port visits in Indonesia as a bonus.  After flying to Sydney and spending a few days touring the area we boarded a cruise ship and circumnavigated the continent during the next 29 days.  After we returned to Sydney we flew to Alice Springs and spent three days in the Outback which included a visit to Uluru (Ayers Rock).   I posted two blogs during our trip and decided I would write one long blog about the overall trip upon my return.  We visited the major cities of Australia, Sydney, Brisbane, Perth/Fremantle, Adelaide and Melbourne.  We also visited some smaller cities including Cairns, Darwin, Geraldton, Albany, Burnie and Alice Springs. We did not visit Canberra, the capital.  One of our stops was Hamilton Island.  From Hamilton Island we took a boat tour to the Great Barrier Reef. 

Sydney, Melbourne and Perth are large beautiful cities.  The downtown river-walk area of Melbourne is striking.  Melbourne has made a major investment in public funds for parks, buildings supporting the arts, stadiums and public areas in the downtown area.  It is one of nicest downtown areas I have seen anywhere in the world.  Perth is a relatively new city that is still developing itself.  Much of the downtown public area is new with more under construction.  Sydney is an older city but there are major construction projects underway all over the city.  We experienced the fabulous public transportation system in all three cities. Every coastal city we visited had major investments in port facilities supporting commodity exports.  This included a massive pile of wood chips waiting for export in Burnie (on the island of Tasmania) and a LNG tanker departing Darwin. 

One of the unique features of our trip was a six hour drive from Alice Springs to Ayers Rock through the Northern Australia Outback.  The Australians call their isolated areas "the bush".  After making the drive and looking at the vegetation of the semi-arid to arid area with only a roadhouse every 50 miles or so, it is easy to understand the use of the term.  All there is to look at are various forms of bushes, short trees and red dirt colored by iron oxide. 

Everywhere we went in Australia we saw historical markers that discussed the history of the indigenous people (Aboriginal Australians) along with the story of the first English settlers in the area.  Australia is attempting to deal with the issue of its terrible treatment of the people that had inhabited Australia for 20,000 to 40,000 years before the English and other Europeans began to arrive.  In the smaller towns like Alice Springs the current generation of the indigenous people were very visible.  It was like two different cultures living in the same area together, but completely separate.  It seemed unusual to see signs posted prohibiting public drinking of alcohol in certain areas, but maybe not so strange after we learned about the major alcohol problems encountered by indigenous people. 

In many respects Australia seems a lot like the USA.  However, when you stand in the Sydney international airport and look at the arrival and departure screens and observe the people arriving and departing you realize you are on the other side of the world.  You are surrounded by people from all over Asia and the Middle East.  Australia is an English speaking island in an Asian world.  If Australia wants to continue to grow its economy it will have to do so in cooperation with its closest neighbors in Asia.  Much of the new investment in Australia is being made with money from China.  As a result of these factors Australia is facing major issues with immigration and ethnic diversity. 

No matter where one goes in the developed world many of the issues are the same.  We had a great time in Australia.  We wish everyone Down Under all the best.  We hope to visit you again.


8:34 am          Comments

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Trump Wins From Albany, Western Australia


Our ship was docked in Albany, Western Australia, Australia when the final announcement came that Donald Trump had won the 2016 Presidential Election.  I watched a very tired Donald Trump give his subdued victory speech about 2:30 am EST - about 3:30 pm on Wednesday afternoon in my location.  When I got up Wednesday morning in Australia the Tuesday evening election coverage in US was just beginning.  We had the option of watching CNBC, Fox News and MSNBC.  While I was in my cabin I was switching back and forth to get the latest updates.

Albany is a small town of about 35,000 people on the southwest coast of Australia.  When it was clear that a lot of states were going to be tight and not called soon after the polls closed, I decided to leave the ship and walk into the town.  During my two hour walk I explained the US election process to some very nice Australians working in the shops where I made some small purchases.  They were very surprised when I told them I had voted for Trump.  At the time that I left the ship Trump was doing better than expected but nowhere close to winning the election.  After I returned to the ship I decided to watch the returns on one of the big screen TVs in one of the lounges with a group of about 15 people.  Most of the people were rooting for Trump but there were a few Clinton supporters watching.

After I got back to the ship Trump quickly got within reach of the magic 270 electoral vote target.  He was one big state, Michigan or Pennsylvania, away from the win and the “experts” were trying to determine Clinton’s path to victory, if there was one.  When Pennsylvania finally put Trump over the top and Clinton conceded in a phone call to Trump, the election was finally over.

For the past 30 hours or so our ship has been sailing towards Adelaide.  Life didn’t end in the US.  Some leftists have rioted in some of our largest cities, proving once again that the far left doesn’t believe in democracy.  I have seen some liberal progressive commentators almost crying because Clinton lost and the left has lost control of all branches of our government.  The reputation of the US mainstream media has been smashed.  They lost all of their remaining credibility.  The people have spoken under our system and the liberal progressives/Democrats have lost bigtime.

Will Trump be a great President?  Will Trump be a terrible President?  I don’t know.  If Trump makes a solid choice for his Supreme Court nominee the risk of electing him will have been worthwhile.  New York Senator Chuck Schumer is now the Minority Leader in the Senate.  He has known Trump for many years.  I see this as a good thing.  Trump and Schumer are going to need to make a lot of deals in the coming years to get legislation done that our nation badly needs.  I hope there is a lot a deal making done.  We badly need to move forward and end the government gridlock of the past six years.

I endorsed Trump several months ago in my blog.  I explained why I turned on Clinton a few weeks ago after supporting her 5 years ago, also in my blog.  Now it is Donald J. Trump’s turn to take us forward and make some progress on the big issues over the next four years.  Trump is worth the gamble.  I think he is off to a good start.  He doesn’t owe the political or media elites anything and he knows it.  The Americans that are the backbone of our nation elected Trump because it is time for real action.  We expect him to lead our nation as we work together to Make America Great Again.  I will do whatever I can to help him accomplish his objectives.


8:05 am          Comments

Sunday, November 6, 2016

A Day in Geraldton


I am sitting in my stateroom on the MS Maasdam which is tied up in the industrial port of Geraldton, Western Australia, Australia.  This is the first blog I have written about our trip to Australia that we began three weeks ago and it will continue for another two weeks or so.  Geraldton was added to our itinerary just a few weeks before our sailing date.  It is a small town on the western coast of Australia, 12 hours from my US east coast home.  I am literally on the other side of the world.  It is a beautiful day in Geraldton.  It is a Sunday. Families are out and about in the parks and playgrounds near the oceanfront.  This morning there was an event in progress at the public beach near the center of town.  It was the only place on the waterfront with lifeguards.

This is a town and area of hard working men and women.  There are two iron ore cargo ships tied up at the dock across from our balcony.  They are waiting to be loaded with iron ore delivered by rail from the mines.  On the other side of our ship there are two massive systems for loading grain onto grain ships.  Since a grain ship is not in port today were able to dock in the commercial port.  The grain is delivered by truck from the massive stations (farms/ranches) that aren’t too far from the coast. There are other docks in the complex for loading other commodities but they are blocked from my view.  Geraldton is a town that competes in the global commodities markets.  As I stood on the top deck of our ship I could see the massive complex that delivers Western Australia commodities to the world.  As interesting as this topic might be to some of us, this is not the reason why I decided to write my blog now. 

My wife and decided to just walk off the ship and take a self-guided tour of the city.  We had to take a shuttle bus to get out of the industrial port and when were dropped off some local volunteers gave us a map of the town and highlighted a few major sites for us to visit. It was a perfect day for a long walk and we decided to combine some needed exercise with sightseeing.   So we set off on our route.  One of the major points of interest was the HMAS Sydney II Memorial.  The sinking of the Sydney II, with over 600 crew members lost, occurred in November 1941, just a few weeks before Pearl Harbor.  It was another reminder that the war in the Pacific was well under way before Pearl Harbor.

But it was the last major stop on our walking tour that engaged me to write this blog now.  The stop was the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier.  The Cathedral was built between 1916 and 1938 and is historically important to this area.  My wife and I walked in and looked around.  We sat down in a pew about 10 rows from the front to rest a bit while we looked at the church.  Toward the front of the church a small family group was gathered with a priest who was performing a Baptism.  Two boys were being baptized.  They were about five and ten years old.  It was clear from the noise up front that the younger boy was not happy.  He was crying and screaming, and generally carrying on.  Since we were visitors it didn’t really bother us but it seemed a bit strange that children of this age were being baptized today.  Normally, infants are baptized within a few weeks of birth.  We didn’t do or say anything but a lady church volunteer came over to talk to us and we asked her if the ceremony was a Baptism and she confirmed that it was.  We asked why the boys were being baptized at their current ages.  She gave us a very surprising answer.

She believed the family had recently moved to the Geraldton area.  In order for the children to attend the catholic primary (elementary) school the children must be members in the Catholic Church.  If they attended the catholic primary school they could attend the catholic high school and avoid going to the public high school.  No decent white parent would want their children to attend the public high school because it serves many troubled children of indigenous families.  She told us that the majority of indigenous adults in the area are on welfare and won’t work.  She told us that many indigenous adults have problems with alcohol.  She explained that most indigenous people  haven’t adapted to western cultural but rely on western social programs to make their lives as easy as possible.  She told us it is very important for white families to keep their children away from the disruptive elements of their community.  We talked briefly about how this situation compared to issues experienced by Native Americans or African Americans in the US before she left us to attend to some other visitors.

To be totally honest I was stunned by the conversation.  I am on the other side of the world from my home and I can’t escape the race issue.  I knew a little bit before traveling here about Aborigine issues in Australia.  I never expected to be confronted with the issue as directly as I experienced couple of hours ago sitting in a catholic church here in Geraldton.  Was the person who talked to me giving me the truth about the indigenous issues here or was it the perspective of small minority?  I really don’t know.  I have no way to find out.  But it was truly a unique experience.

No matter where anyone goes on Planet Earth the race issue exists in some form.  Sometimes it is combined with religious issues.  It almost always results in economic issues and various forms of discrimination.  Long standing cultures are damaged or destroyed.   As I write this blog symbols of globalization are in front of me.  Port infrastructure, ships, men working on Sunday, equipment operating, cargo being prepared for export in the global markets are all in my field of view.   I am seeing wealth creation in action.

How do I reconcile all of this?  I can’t.  All of it is part of our lives.  The US is not unique in its issues.  Similar problems are everywhere.  All we can do is our best every day of our lives and attempt to be fair to everyone we meet along the way.


4:17 am          Comments

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