Monday, 2 October 2017

This was the U.S. owned and controlled island of Puerto Rico in the last week of September 2017

This was the U.S. owned and controlled island of Puerto Rico in the last week of September 2017 –  in the aftermath of successive hurricanes Irma and Maria.

This was U.S. President Donald Trump's response to the growing humanitarian crisis on this 9,104 km2 island with a population of est. 3.411 million people most of whom are U.S. citizens.

How The Washington Post saw the situation at the end of September 2017:

As Hurricane Maria made landfall on Wednesday, Sept. 20, there was a frenzy of activity publicly and privately. The next day, President Trump called local officials on the island, issued an emergency declaration and pledged that all federal resources would be directed to help.

But then for four days after that — as storm-ravaged Puerto Rico struggled for food and water amid the darkness of power outages — Trump and his top aides effectively went dark themselves…..

In Puerto Rico, meanwhile, the scope of the devastation was becoming clearer. Virtually the entire island was without power and much of it could be for weeks, officials estimated, and about half of the more than 3 million residents did not have access to clean water. Gas was in short supply, airports and ports were in disrepair, and telecommunications infrastructure had been destroyed…..

Even though local officials had said publicly as early as Sept. 20, the day of the storm, that the island was "destroyed," the sense of urgency didn't begin to penetrate the White House until Monday, when images of the utter destruction and desperation — and criticism of the administration's response — began to appear on television, one senior administration official said…..

He [Trump] blamed the island's financial woes and ailing infrastructure for the difficult recovery process. He also declared that efforts to provide food, water and medical care were "doing well."

On the ground in Puerto Rico, nothing could be further from the truth. It had taken until Monday — five days after Maria made landfall — for the first senior administration officials from Washington to touch down to survey the damage firsthand. And only after White House Homeland Security Adviser Tom Bossert and FEMA Director Brock Long returned to Washington did the administration leap into action. …..

The administration still fumbled at key moments after stepping up its response. A week after landfall, Trump still had not waived the Jones Act, a law that barred foreign-flagged vessels from delivering aid to Puerto Rico. Such a waiver had been granted for previous hurricanes this year.

Asked why his administration had delayed in issuing the waiver, Trump said Wednesday that "a lot of shippers and . . . a lot of people that work in the shipping industry" didn't want it lifted…..

Trump's top disaster-response aides have blanketed television in recent days in an attempt to reset the narrative. Duke, the acting DHS secretary, told reporters Thursday outside the White House that Puerto Rico was a "good news story." The comment seemed to unleash pent-up fury from at least one local official, after days of offering praise to the Trump administration in an apparent effort to secure more federal help.

"I am asking the president of the United States to make sure somebody is in charge that is up to the task of saving lives," San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulín Cruz said at a news conference Friday. "I am done being polite, I am done being politically correct. I am mad as hell. . . . We are dying here. If we don't get the food and the water into the people's hands, we are going to see something close to a genocide."

Trump's rosy assessment of the federal response has also contrasted sharply with the comments of federal officials on the ground.

Iluka Real Estate decided to tout a proposed development and instead stirred up the local community

Perhaps thinking to further his own commercial interests and apply a little pressure to the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel (NJRPP) currently considering a proposed 140 lot development on environmentally sensitive land, Iluka Real Estate owner Graeme Lynn took to the airwaves on 26 September 2017 spruiking this development which he has been advertising online since  2015.

Unfortunately for Mr. Lynn all he did was demonstrate that the Iluka community is not happy with the scale and design of this development application, as well as concerned with loss of biodiversity and habitat – particularly destruction of a Coastal Cypress Pine Endangered Ecological Community (EEC), loss of local koala habitat and fragmentation of a known wildlife corridor.

Up to the point that Mr. Lynn rose to his feet at the NJRPP Public Briefing Meeting on 20 September, the community debate on this planning issue had remained civil and constructive. Most Iluka residents are obviously trying to ensure it stays that way.

Here is how the online response to Mr. Lynn's on-air statements played out:


Opponents of a major residential subdivision planned for Iluka say it puts the village's unique charm at risk.

The Birrigan Gargle Local Aboriginal Land Council has been working with the Stevens Group on a 140-lot development on Hickey Street.

The state's Joint Regional Planning Panel hosted a public briefing on the issue last week.

Tony Belton, from the Association of Iluka Residents, said it was a huge project which threatened the character of the village.

"Iluka has so far avoided the over-commercialised coastal development that now characterises many seaside destinations," he said.

"And I think that sort of sums it up, people come here for that unique coastal experience that sadly has largely been lost due to over development.

"One speaker at the meeting the other day said this kind of development would be more suitable for a place like Mount Druitt. 

"And indeed that's the issue, it's a huge development with little consideration for the world-heritage status next door or for the feel of Iluka as it is now."

But not everyone is opposed.

The President of the Iluka Ratepayers Association, Graeme Lynn, said residents could see benefits in the proposal.

The shops here need more customers," he said.

"The golf club is right next door and it definitely needs more customers and it'll give better access to the golf club ... coming all the way through. 

"And the shops in town need those extra customers."

A spokesperson for Birrigan Gargle Land Council declined to speak with the ABC until after the development application had been finalised.

Roslyn Woodward Grahame Lynne is not only from Iluka real estate, he is also the president of the Iluka golf club, president of the association of Iluka residents and president of the Iluka Rotary. He spoke at the judicial panel meeting but did not declare he had an obvious financial interest. This map clearly shows the proximity to the World Heritage Area on the other side of Iluka Rd and the important east-west wildlife corridor link to the Clarence River. There are many threatened species on the site and lots of Koala sightings. The land council may need funds we are not to question that - but this land could certainly qualify for a biodiversity off-set which would be a win for the land council, Iluka's amenity and wildlife.
6 · 19 hrs
Jill Garsden Oh, no, please, no......Iluka is the only north coast coastal town we can retreat to without feeling that it's become too overdeveloped and touristy. Its charm and attraction lies in the fact that it has withstood further development. If it becomes like every other coastal town then it will lose not only our regular visits, but also those of many others.
2 · 17 hrs
Annie Leggett Well of course Graeme Lynn thinks it's a great idea.... he is the real estate agent working with the developer to sell the land/development.... good for him sure.... lots of money in it for him.... Good for the people of Iluka ?? Now that is a better question? If you listen to others, who aren't just focused on the money .... there are many things that are not okay about the development in its current proposal.
Tania Laurie What's wrong with all you Anti-development activists. The fact of the matter is that the population is growing and more housing is required. Don't you realize that there were native flora and fauna once where houses are now. As stated, heritage listed land is near so these species will move to safer habitat, not be wiped out. And it would be a disgrace to think all this opposition is because the Aboriginal land Council is involved. Eventually communities have to grow to help accommodate existing residents family as they get older and will help keep communities family orientated. Besides all that, it's a great economic injection for the town. Wake up and stop whinging.
1 · 17 hrs
Louise Devonforlunch No mention is made of the fact there have been four gravesites discovered. Two are located on the DA site and two opposite on the crown land. Ground Penetrating Radar undertaken during the Heritage study confirmed one of the gravesites had an 9/10 chance of containing human remains but despite this the site was excavated recently to the extent that one of the most intact gravesites has been destroyed beyond recognition!
Dave Schwarz You'd have to wonder what the Land Council is up to, seems the mighty $ is more important than the precious land? I'm no Greenie, but the argument the shops need more customers is surely crazy, surely the residents need fewer shops? 
Elizabeth Street 
Iluka NSW 2466
The Iluka Cemetery has been subdivided into a lot of about .3 ha and is believed to contain three bodies. The graves are thought to be located on the crest of a small sand dune about 20 metres off the northern side of Elizabeth Street. The site of the graves is covered with scrub vegetation. Only one grave is marked with a wooden cross and it bears the name of Earnest Eaton. Graves are not visible from the road. A memorial wall is located on the same side of the road about 100 metres away.
Peter Appleton One thing that surprised me with the original DA, listed by council on Christmas Eve 2015, is that they appeared to be unaware that this is an historic sand mining site. Seems strange to me as there are records and maps everywhere saying its been sand mined. As I understand it a Section 149 Certificate is a legal document issued by NSW councils under the EPA Act which gives detailed information about sites. The Clarence Valley Council (CVC) Section 149(2) Certificate issued for this site (as per the released DA material) does not mention the sand mining history of the site. Page 10 of the certificate says, "Council records do not have sufficient information about previous use of this land to determine if the land is contaminated." The engineering consultants engaged by the developer (Cardno Pty Ltd) then seem to run with this in their 8 August 2015 report which says on page 5, "There is no available evidence of land clearing, mining infrastructure, mining pits or dredging ponds in the aerial photography, which suggests that no mining, or on site separation processes were conducted on site." Seriously??? Cardno would then appear NOT to have undertaken any soil samples with regards to Zircon, Rutile or any of the other associated sand mining minerals.
Louise Devonforlunch Yes the original Cemetery was near Sid & Eileen Gill Park however the DA site was set aside as an additional cemetery between 1910 and 1928 when it was returned to Crown Land. The gravesites that were found at the South Western end of the DA site about 100m from each other. There are four in total but now since one has been destroyed only three remain. This is a part of Iluka’s history and whether they are Aboriginal or European they warrant further investigation and respectfully treated not subjected to the heavy handed approach used recently by the Police as I understand it.
Peter Appleton As you know Louise the one that has been destroyed was mentioned at a JRPP briefing meeting at Clarence Valley Council offices on 16 August 2017. In attendance were panel members Garry West (Chair), Stephen Gow, Jim Simmons, Jason Kingsley. Apologies from Pam Westing. Also in attendance were council assessment staff Carmen Landers (Development Planner) and Nigel Sutton (Development Engineer). "Key Issues Discussed" included "Aboriginal Burial Site". 
No cultural heritage or aboriginal heritage reports were presented with either the original or amended DA, despite council being advised via submissions of the likely presence on site of at least one aboriginal gravesite. This latest round of submissions commenced before the completion of both the Extent Heritage "Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Assessment" and "Baseline Historical Archaeological Assessment" reports. These reports were released to submitters only after they complained about their absence and were then only forwarded by council to two submitters that I am aware of. 
My email to council following this incident includes, "Were the local police involved in this operation advised by council that this site is currently subject to a development application and has been referred to the commonwealth with a decision still pending as to whether it becomes a controlled action? Were police advised by council that this is likely to be an aboriginal grave that they were bulldozing or is this something that council still wishes to dispute? Were police advised that this part of the DA site was an area described by the ecological consultant for the applicant as being the best example on site of the endangered ecological community Callitris columellaris? Were police advised that this is an historic sand mining site with the potential for radioactive concentrations of mineral sands to be found beneath the surface?" 
The excavator operator (a local) was left unsupervised to backfill after the excavation, was wearing no safety equipment, face mask etc and advised that he had excavated to a depth of 2 metres.

"The Truth" about Adani - according to Adani

The foreign multinational Adani Group appears to be trying a new public relations tack - replacing smoozing Australian politicians with a Facebook mini ad campaign.

One of the first of this mining corporation’s ‘truths’ is this:

Actually that’s not quite what Standard & Poors Global Ratings announced earlier in 2017. The BBB- (satisfactory) bond rating is for Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited,  not for any specific underutilised infrastructure such as Adani Abbott Point Coal Terminal (AAPCT) or the as yet unrealised Carmichael Coal Mine and Rail Project in the Galilee Basin, Queensland.

The Adani Abbott Point Coal Terminal is not even listed as an Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited asset having been hived off some years ago.

The Adani ‘fightback’ video also failed to inform viewers that Moody’s Investor Services has given Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Limited bonds a Baa3 rating which is essentially at the bottom ending of the rating scale being only a grade or two above junk bonds.

All these ratings tell the world is that it is likely that this India-based mining corporation will be able to pay back money it has borrowed from banks and financial institutions, but that it still has solvency issues.

Adani Abbott Point Coal Terminal is reportedly highly leveraged:

AAPCT faces a A$1.48bn refinancing by November 2018 and a cumulative debt refinancing of $2.11bn by 2020. The first payment of $A85m was due to be paid to the State Bank of India in September 2017. This refinancing is made even more difficult by the fact that the Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal (WICET) faces a stressed US$2.8bn refinancing around the same time. For the purposes of refinancing Abbot Point, Adani needs to demonstrate that Carmichael will progress in order to convince financiers that AAPCT will be fully utilized into the future…..

The owner of the Carmichael mine proposal, Adani Mining Pty Ltd, having shareholder’s funds of negative $230m and net debt of $1.48bn, making it a high-risk proposed user of up to 50% of the total volume of the Abbot Point port;

AAPCT has estimated net debt of $2.04bn (including through a series of complex intercompany loans) now roughly matching the original investment price, plus subsequent capex. With combined shareholders’ funds estimated at negative $228m, it appears that the AAPCT is entirely debt funded…..

Loans between entities within the complex structure mean that AAPCT entities have advanced $52m to the Adani Family’s T0 proposal and $182m to the Adani Family’s Carmichael Rail proposal;

The sole Singapore parent entity director is Vinod Adani, who has been the subject of investigations for money laundering by the Indian Director of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). [Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, October2017]

As Adani faces widely reported ongoing fraud and corruption allegations in India which are not likely to go away in the near future one has to wonder why the Adani Group thinks this 1:39 minute video will sway the Australian electorate.

Here is the odd text which accompanies the video:

Trying to stall pro-job developmental projects to further their own hidden anti-development agenda is a sad but true picture of these so called activists and their funding organisations. These ‘anti-development’ ‘anti-job’ campaigns affect job creation and the economic growth story of a nation. Some of them are spreading #Whitelies and misleading people in Australia and India to defame Adani's image besides sabotaging the progressive growth of Regional Queensland in particular and Australia in general, to be brought by Carmichael Coal mine. The entire baseless accusation on Adani is based on just one screenshot of random text with no mention of its origins or reference. Time to see facts and hear the truth. These allegations about abbot Point Coal Terminal viability and Adani Group finances are absolutely baseless and far from the facts.

-The Abbot Point Coal Terminal has consistently delivered 100% of supply-driven throughout and is not a low utilisation of Asset.
- The renewal of the TOP contracts are normal features of the infrastructure capacity contracts in Australia. There is currently queue at Abbot Point for port capacity which means that the demand for the capacity is greater than the capacity Abbot Point Coal terminal can actually provide to the access seekers. Then how does it have risky dependence on Carmichael mine?

Adani Mining is fully funded by shareholder/associate company funds and there is no third party or bank debt which has funded the development of the mine till now. The interpretation of the financial statement on which the question is based is wrong. Abbot is a profit making company. The capital structure of Abbot point is rated by rating agencies and has investment grade rating from S&P (BBB-). The analysis of the nos. from the balance sheet by Getup is not correct. In fact, the whole video is a bundle of lies.

Shameful attempt to twist facts and concoct lies to spin a false story.

Centrelink sent out 19,980 incorrect debt notices in just eight months

Australian Parliament, PARLWORK, Question Details:

Question asked of the Minister for Human Services and Liberal MP for Aston Alan Tudge on 31 May 2017:

How many Centrelink clients who were notified of a debt or the likelihood of a debt with Centrelink through its Online Compliance Intervention system, have subsequently had their debt (a) reduced, and (b) cancelled completely.
Could he provide a breakdown of parts (1)(a) and (b) by (a) state and territory, and (b) postcode.

One hundred and three days later the Minister deigned to reply:

THE HON ALAN TUDGE MP - The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:
1(a), 1(b) and 2(a) The number of debts reduced to zero and reduced but not to zero in total, by State and Territories as at 31 March 2017:
Debt Reduced to Zero1
Debt Reduced but not Zero1, 2
¹The month the change is reported is the month the reassessment or review of the debt was completed which may be different to the month the debt was raised.
2Debts can be reassessed multiple times. This is recorded each time as a reassessment in the appropriate month.

2(b) The breakdown by postcode is at Attachment A. To protect individuals’ privacy, cell sizes of less than five are represented as “<5”.

What it has taken the Turnbull Government so long to admit is that 37.31 per cent of the 19,980 incorrect debt notices sent out between 1 July 2016 and 31 March 2017 were manifestly false debts.

In the same period a further 62.68 per cent of the 19,980 incorrect debt notices had amounts owed reduced – sometimes to under $20.

What these figures do not reveal is the total number of people who received a debt notice over these eight months and the number who paid the original amount listed on the debt notice because they were afraid to challenge Centrelink even though they personally doubted that any money was owed.

Nor is there any indication of how many Centrelink clients were referred to aggressive private debt collectors by the department.

What is known was that 1,569,911 people were sent debt notices in the 2016 calendar year alone [Commonwealth Ombudsman—Department of Human Services: Centrelink’s automated debt raising and recovery system].

Of these 20 per cent were admitted by the Dept. of Social Services to be false debts and 80 per cent were recoded as debts against a Centrelink client resulting in $300 million repaid by welfare recipients over a six month period [Minister for Social Security and Liberal MP for Christian Porter, transcript, 4 January 2017].

A total of 216,000 debt notices were generated in the three months leading up to Christmas 2016 and 133,078 alleged debts were recovered.

The Turnbull Government expects to claw back a total of $4 billion from welfare recipients by 2021.

The number of suicides as a result of a Centrelink debt notice is also unknown to date, although at least one recorded death had Centrelink debt as a contributing factor.

Sunday, 1 October 2017

On average one woman has died a violent death every week in the first nine months of this year

From 1 January to 30 September 2017 the total number of female violent deaths reported in the media has reached 38 women – averaged out that is one woman per week.

With no-one left to police the Japanese whalers in the Southern Ocean this might be the last year we see him

Migaloo sighted off the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia, on 16 September 2017 as he journeys southward to Antarctic waters.

Is @Team_Trump45 an underground Trump election campaign Twitter account?

Peel back the layers and it appears highly likely that this Twitter account which Donald J. Trump, first as a presidential candidate and now as US president, likes to retweet was actually created by his election campaign team.