25 July – 03 August 2017:

Recent in-depth or cursory commentary, discussion or analysis on issues or topics as reported in the international media, i.e. as

contributions made by Carl. J. Kieck in a personal capacity (For business-related interest: See Carl J. Kieck Educational & Social Research & Consultative Services:  & )

Most recent first …

  • In response to a story in ITWeb:

  • Our Commentary:

  • A most unusual usage of the modern business & management concept of transformation in this article, and by different role players, journalistic and those in the renewable energy sector. In the international business sector this is actually supposed to denote adaptation to trends for competitive edge, as in deep structural business model transformation. To cite a relevant sector example, that of GE, ie General Electric ... in this regard, a global leader with either central or ancillary activities to various areas in the energy sector ... In the recent past, they have been pursuing a digital industrial vision that can be explained, very simply, as making big machine integrated systems that are informed by constant data input derived from processes of collection and analysis, this being their priority with an eye to the future. It's not at all clear how reverse gender discrimination leadership practices will help to transform, ie in the proper sense of the concept, the already medium & long-term economically challenged renewable sub-sector of wind turbine farming. Perhaps those active in the renewable energy sector are not aware that according to the IEA (or International Energy Agency), even by the 2040s, electricity produced in this way will still be more expensive than that generated from more traditional energy (re)sources like oil, gas, coal - and of course nuclear, the latter sub-sector the one with the best potential for South Africa. More worryingly, the renewable energy sector has independently been assessed as financially unsustainable without major subsidisation, placing ever greater indirect tax burdens on the ordinary citizenry. It's been found that once subsidies are phased out in the UK around 2020, the wind turbine renewable sub-sector may collapse altogether. Persuasive recent arguments in favour of extending moratoria on new wind farm expansions in the US have again reminded members of the public that these installations are operationally inefficient, working only 30% of the time, or much less, and that generally a majority of the electorate is opposed to something that's unsightly and forces property valuations to tumble. Shouldn't the SA Wind Energy Association instead focus on these pressing business considerations? Reverse discriminatory selection, training and hiring practices are again being scrutinised in the US and elsewhere, and are increasingly difficult to defend when many academic fields are producing a majority of female graduates, by the way. Carl J. Kieck

  • In response to a story in New Eastern Europe:

  • Our Commentary:

  • So necessary to illustrate the significance of the Warsaw Uprising - more attention should be given to it in the public domain, because local or national resistance army efforts are too often treated in mainstream historical narrative/s as 'sideshows'. As such, the WU was anything but a sideshow, instead, it should be fully credited with being the largest resistance offensive attempted during the war. This fact alone - because the offensive was crushed by the Nazis - makes it tragic, but more so, heroic. Articles like this one will contribute, beneficially explaining how there is growing awareness today, thanks to the efforts of the Law and Justice (PiS) government. Nothing mentioned about the historical philosophy of PiS, ie what's behind this historical recovery process? Very surprising that the authors don't refer to the Institute for Research into Totalitarianism (OBnT) by its full name, because the name of includes - preceding what's mentioned in the article, and is attached to - the legendary figure of Witold Pilecki. Nor does the article reflect the full scope and nature of research conducted, one may add, beyond collecting testimonies (as important as these are), as stated, "its mission is to translate and make accessible in English the testimonies of witnesses to German Nazi and Soviet crimes". I will give some more details below of the advanced analyses and studies that complement and enrich the contribution posed by the collected testimonies. Back to Pilecki, for now: Not only did Pilecki emerge with honour from his contribution as Polish soldier during WWII, he was also one of the founders of Poland's military resistance and an exceptional gatherer of evidence (if you prefer, 'intelligence') re. the extermination camp system of the Nazis. Almost impossible to believe today, camps like Auschwitz (infiltrated by Pilecki) , and what transpired there, were unknown to the outside world, in most cases to the fighting forces the same, not more than rumours at best. This is where Pilecki's biography becomes stranger than fiction: he deliberately allowed himself to be arrested and transported to the infamous death camp, broadcast reports from the camp (known famously as 'Witold’s Report') from a gradually reconstituted transmitter smuggled into it, thus gathering firsthand information as a pioneer witness on actual conditions. He then escaped and played the role of advocate for liberation of the captives. Enough support could not be mustered to fulfill this mission, although the Russians were asked to provide troops to do so, that they are said to have had in plentiful reserve. Returning to the Witold Pilecki Institute (Center for Totalitarian Studies), briefly: The research undertaken by participants, although focusing on the Polish experience of two totalitarian systems, ie Nazism and Soviet Communism, will have nonetheless universal relevance, because they are currently investigating the interpretation and understanding of totalitarianism from various perspectives, like that of memory; looking at the effects of disrupted continuity; how images of it (totalitarianism) appear in cultural history; as global political ideology with different narratives; and the challenge to national traditions of thought of this kind of system. The Institute can be visited via the following link: Carl J. Kieck

  • In response to a story in Epoch Times

  • Our Commentary:

  • A most commendable article highlighting the naiveté towards the Soviets by the Western Allies during the Second World War and immediately after, on the one hand, and, the courage and perseverance of the Polish people, through many decades of oppression, on the other. The struggle of the Polish people, in reaching its zenith during the 80s when Solidarity's lead gained momentum in the resistance against Communism, is expressed memorably in the article where the roles of three important forces are described as converging, i.e. that of Solidarity already mentioned, but also popular patriotism, and perhaps most important of all, those who remained true to the Christian faith. The exact lines (from the article) are: "The Solidarity movement, fueled by inextinguishable patriotism and the perseverance of the traditional Catholic faith, pitted millions of ordinary Poles against the foreign-backed regime that preached Marxism and atheism". Most remarkable of all, however, is how accurate a reflection this is of the fighting mentality of another great Polish warrior, namely Pope John Paul II, who is suitably remembered for his role in leading those gathered in Victory Square, the faithful, in Warsaw, by President Donald Trump in his recent speech (6 July 2017). Donald J.Trump says about that occasion that a million Poles chanted for God, desiring His presence, but the context of the American president's speech makes clear that it was actually part of a much greater struggle for national political freedom of a people that had known oppression many times throughout history, but had been hardened thereby and had so been prepared to continue struggling. The Pope used that impressive setting of Victory Square on the 2nd of June 1979 to invoke the spirit of the Unknown Soldier in his homily, thereby intelligently encouraging those gathered in their struggle as a nation and as a people, but also as a spiritual community, to pursue freedom, in the many senses of the concept, therefore, relating to mundane existence, first of all, but secondly also to the eternal and the divine. In his remarks on the meaning of that multi-faceted role of the symbolic, timeless and eternal soldier, His Holiness refers to the independence of Poland, probably having in mind that it could not be called truly thus whilst being part of the oppressive Soviet Bloc, i.e. "there can be no just Europe without the independence of Poland marked on its map!". He also refers to the soldier as a fighter for freedom and for human rights, relating this, the rights of the individual, to the rights of the people, i.e. " ... rights of man, indelibly inscribed in the inviolable rights of the people", but emphasises that this fight for the freedom and the rights of the individual, and the people in the round, is a universal quest, beyond the borders of one country, i.e. "our free­dom [-] and yours". It's appropriate that many recall this as the Pope's greatest sermon. Carl J. Kieck.

  • Our Commentary:

  • There's just so much to take issue with in this article, one doesn't know where to start. The call for collective action to force through pro- Climate Change policies is in direct conflict with the reference to democratic process as a means to getting rid of so-called deniers, because democracy is in essence respect for a diversity of viewpoints and Global Warming and Climate Change are indeed theories with many salient, cheese-like perforated holes deserving ongoing examination and challenge. The scientifically unassailable 16-year plus "pause" in global warming alone could keep us occupied for several days. Or, if you wish, on the populist side, verging on propaganda, the mistake-riddled 'An Inconvenient Truth' effort by Al Gore. The writer, in citing the Chinese connection and the alleged conspiracy beliefs of Trump and US Republican/Conservative figures, apart from disallowing stylistic freedom of expression, apparently doesn't know that under president Xi certain strong ideological positions relating to the environment are viewed as integral to promoting socialism with Chinese characteristics, and this is based on careful contextual analysis of the original Communist Party documents directly from Mandarin. No, PM Malcolm Turnbull IS right in stating that coal has a future, and this represents more than mindless collective action on behalf of Climate Change ideology - instead, it's a realistic democratic consensus relying on the best available opinion within his ruling Coalition. Carl J. Kieck.

Carl J. Kieck Independent International Educational & Social Research & Consultation Services … CONTINUED …

Carl J. Kieck is an Independent International Social and Educational Researcher and Consultant, primarily, and is currently involved in several long-term research projects. Originally from South Africa, he works internationally, thereby finding stimulation to developing new insights and broadening his horizons, undertaking work in primary, secondary and tertiary education, as well as many other areas, as a contractual, temporary or part-time teacher, lecturer and researcher. Within his many areas of expertise are (a) filmic and/or cinematic research and analysis, in most genres, encompassing various national and cultural traditions, both contemporary and historical and (b) news/reporting/media/broadcasting research and analysis.

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