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Sheila Newman's blog

About Sheila Newman, social researcher


Click on "About Sheila Newman, social researcher" to read more and for links to books by Sheila and reviews.

It is hard to label me conventionally because I really write in a new paradigm, where social and physical sciences come together.

For sociologists an early start-point for my work was Catton & Dunlap. My first research thesis compared population, energy and environment policies in Australia and France. For biologists and zoologists, my theory is compatible with Richard Dawkins' work.

COVID-19: Time the unsafe Australian Construction industry stopped demanding special consideration

On 27 March 2020, the AWU and Master Builders Australia jointly called on governments to ensure the continued operation of the building and construction industry, claiming that without it the economic knock-on effects would be devastating on a scale that would dwarf what we have seen to date.

There is no question that many dependencies on this very costly and demanding industry would cause more economic disruption, but what about safety with regard to COVID-19? Although the industry argues that it can be safe, we will argue that the industry is not suited to workers keeping safe distances. On the principle that a stitch in time saves nine, it would be better to shut down sooner rather than later because the later action is taken, the worse the grip of COVID-19 will be on the economy. Since the virus has caused the government to cease the mass migration that has driven huge expansion in the construction industry, demand has dropped, and now is the perfect time to massively curtail construction industry activity. In the meantime, will the industry take responsibility for the return home of the many temporary migrant construction workers from China and Indonesia who, unlike international cruise-ship passengers, are already onshore, virtually invisible, but numerous? And an industry worker argues that the industry is not capable of adapting to safe distance practice.

Capitalism, Closed for business & COVID-19? Oz economist, Steve Keen

Our version of capitalism is something the narcissistic writer Ayn Rand would have adored, but in a headlong rush to hyper-individualism, have we chosen freedom of the individual over the survival of our species…

Host Ross Ashcroft is joined by economist and author, Professor Steve Keen to discuss why coronavirus has closed capitalism.

Terrible news for Seaford environment (Vic, Australia) as Gov lets open slather

Frankston Councillor Glenn Aitken was notified on Thursday 12 March that the LXRP 'works' east of the railway line at Seaford will proceed without further consultation. "It is likely they will remove more vegetation immediately.They will flatten pretty much everything on the eastern side of the railway line from Eel Race Rd to Coolibar Ave. There is no right of appeal as it is on their land which...they conveniently forget... is still public land, owned by the State." This is the clear message that authorities need to hear and heed,as expressed by Cr Glenn, "Our natural environment is not negotiable and must be protected."

Duran analysis vid: "Putin furious with Erdogan, but will he stop Turkey's war in Syria?"

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris discuss the meeting in Moscow between Russian President Putin and Turkey's Erdogan. Erdogan made many outrageous claims, including that Turkey had killed over 2,500 Syrian troops during fighting in Idlib's surrounding areas...a claim which is ridiculous on its face, and exposes how out of touch the Turkish leader is when it comes to this reckless invasion of Syrian sovereignty. See more at The Duran: https://theduran.com

CIA Whistleblower Jeffrey Sterling: Assange Case Shows USA Will Use Any Method to Quiet Dissent

This video is from the 26 February episode of Afshin Rattansi's show, Going Underground. On this episode of Going Underground, Afshin Rattansi speaks to CIA Whistle-blower Jeffrey Sterling, who was convicted for revealing details about Operation Merlin. He discusses the extradition trial and persecution Julian Assange is facing, his own experience of being prosecuted for whistleblowing on circumstantial evidence, whether the Wikileaks founder will face a fair trial in Virginia, his experiences of racism with the CIA, his advice for other potential whistle-blowers and more!

(Video & transcript) Cr Glen Aitken's Proclamation for trees - Seaford protest against LCRA vandalism 24 Feb 2020

Today, 24 February 2020, Frankston Councillor, Glen Aitken, led a protest with a proclamation against the destruction of trees in a section of rare bush habitat along Kananook Creek. His speech is transcribed inside this article. The Victorian Railway Level Crossing Removal Authority is the author of what appears to be arrogant and gratuitous removal of precious old trees and bushland. This bushland is part of a several kilometer connected habitat that runs along the banks of Kananook Creek. The purpose of the moonscaping of this area is to construct a concrete bicycle path that no-one here wants.

Two Australian MPs with guts & conscience visit Julian Assange in prison, argue against extradition

See also: Protest Melbourne Friday 6:30pm to stop extradition of Julian Assange by outlaw U.S. regime (19/2/20)

Courageous Australian MPs, Andrew Wilkie and George Christensen, visit Julian Assange in jail and call on the UK government to stop his extradition to the US, warning about the WikiLeaks founder's deteriorating condition. Below is a link to the excellent Australian ABC interview with Christensen (LNP) and Andrew Wilkie (Independent), who defend Assange extremely well. https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/breakfast/australian-mps-visit-wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-in-prison/11978894

Interview with George Christensen in this news-video from RT.

US-NATO press lies again about Idlib to prevent peace in Syria

You probably didn't fall for the latest western-corporate press nonsense about Russia and Syria 'brutally attacking Idlib Province in Syria', but you may wonder what is really happening. This is how it appears to us: Turkey and the US want to retain a foothold in Idlib, Northern Syria, along with their terrorist proxies, so that they can sell arms, loot the place, and cause chaos in the region. Turkey is playing Russia and the US for whatever it can get out of them. President Erdogan wants to reestablish the Ottoman Empire in his own name and that is part of his plan for trying to acquire territory in Syria. The US has put some sanctions on Turkey because it purchased weapons from the Russians recently, instead of from the US. Turkey is kind of like a major political prostitute for NATO and anyone else with a mutual short-term aim, including ISIS. The Syrian Arab Army (the Syrian government forces) and the Russians are trying to free the terrorists' human shields in Idlib and restore it to order. Against all odds, the Syrian government has managed to take back nearly all of Syria from the terrorists. (Syrian Arab Army Cleans 16 Towns in 24 Hours from NATO Terrorists in Idlib and Aleppo (8/2/20) by Arabi Souli | SyriaNews) This is probably because it is the only force that has massive support from Syrians. The syndicated western press, which trots out guff about Syria attacking its own people, is a mouthpiece for weapons manufacturers, war, US expansionism and neocolonialism, all major investment stocks. By the way, Iran has opened a criminal case against the US for using terrorists to destabilise the region and for multiple murders and war crimes. Meanwhile the US pretends that it is combatting aggression from Iran. See
Iranian lawyers file lawsuit against US over fighters killed in Syria, Sunday, 09 February 2020

Uralla has no potable water - Resident asks fellow Australians to help - What future for dry overpopulated Australia?

Is this how our politicians and economists deal with water shortage?
Oliver Trymble of Uralla writes: "Dear All, I have just emailed the Premier and Barnaby Joyce to tell them that I am starting a social media campaign. (I don’t actually know how to do this, being the wrong generation...). Perhaps you can help.

We have no drinking water in Uralla. [Uralla is an inland town in NSW.] We have to fetch bottled water from out the back of our local shop. For the house-bound and the elderly, this is inadequate.
The state government is building sporting facilities in the city. They are intent on spending millions moving the Powerhouse Museum. Why is drinking water for NSW citizens not a burning priority?

We have no water.
WE HAVE NO WATER.
How can I make my voice heard? And the voices of Merle and Phyllis and Maggie and all the older people of this town?
Please help us."

Dead matter taking over Melbourne

In the Beginning …
Earth’s atmosphere was unbreathable to humans. But that was okay, since there were no humans. Photosynthesising cyanobacteria used sunlight to convert carbon dioxide and water into food, incidentally producing oxygen. The many microbially-mediated rocks (stromatolites) the bacteria left behind from their halcyon days indicate a cyanobacteria population explosion so vast that it seems likely that simple metabolism accidentally transformed the atmosphere to the one we love and overuse today. This ‘oxygen holocaust’ probably also brought about the fossil status of our inadvertent benefactors around 2.5 billion years ago.

Frankston asks for help re Green Wedge Protection vs Cr Hampton drastic development motion

Planning Backlash writes: We have an urgent matter in Frankston as Cr Hampton is putting up a Notice of Motion (NOM) at next Tuesday's meeting on 28 January 2020 to reverse Council's decision on the Frankston Green Wedge Management Plan of 14 October 2019 to allow instead industrial expansion in the Green Wedge as well as subdivisions for residential use. See happy outcome here.

Wildife rescuer asks Minister D'Ambrosio to cease roo shooting after fires

Update: Subsequent to the bush fires, both the South Australian and Victorian governments have suspended kangaroo harvest in their respective states. That's what it took to get their attention. Here is a letter from past president of Australian Wildlife Protection Council requesting this. To: lily.dambrosio@parliament.vic.gov.au

Assad: Europe was the main player in creating chaos in Syria-video

Monica Majioni of RAI Italia TV interviews Syrian President Bashar Assad. In the face of a politicized media and deluded self-censorship that undermine the remaining credibility of Italian public TV, it was the Syrian government that broadcast on state TV the interview we present to you on video and in the transcript edited by the Syrian State Press Agency SANA. There is a full transcript of the interview in English, plus the video is set or can be set to English subtitles (as well as the automatic arabic ones) on the youtube version.

Video & transcripts from event: "What is Happening to Julian Assange & Journalism?" (4 Dec 2019 )

Suelette Drefus, Julian Burnside, Kristinn Hrajnsson, and Lizzie O'Shea were the main people in this event. I have transcribed some of Suelette Drefus, Technology Researcher and Author's excellent summary of Julian Assange's contributions to the public internet and free software. She also displayed courage in criticising powerful people on stage. At around 1h 44m into the video she has the courage to criticise corporate media journalist, Peter Grest, for his repetition of opinions used to slur Julian's credentials as a journalist and publisher. Interesting to wonder why Grest was released without explanation after an international outcry from the same western block that is either persecuting Assange or leaving him to rot.

Regime change & overpopulation in Hong Kong. Why is the population so keen to riot?

Poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and overcrowding stalk more and more Hong Kong citizens. The United States is pushing for regime change, but that won't change anything for the better. In this half-hour video about the Hong Kong riots, and more about the US attempts at regime-change there than you will hear elsewhere, Michelle Greenstein gives a rundown on the social problems that have made the Hong Kong poor ready to riot. Although Greenstein talks about wealth inequality and the need for better distribution, she fails to identify what it is about Hong Kong's system that has caused these massive social disparities and housing shortfalls. The Hong Kong inheritance system is probably a major contributor to Hong Kong's wealth disparity and homelessness, however. Hong Kong's system is similar to Australia's and that of most American states. Inherited from Britain, it allows parents to disinherit their children and to leave property to anyone they choose.[1] This permits the alienation of property from families and its aggregation within corporations, other families or individuals, in fewer and fewer hands. The people lose control of the place. It is in this way that property speculation has come to rule over democracy in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong population and property growth lobby has taken over by engineering Hong Kong's population growth, with immigration numbers about three times as high as natural replacement numbers since 2014. A pretext, as in Australia, is that immigrants are needed to combat 'population aging'. We can see that Hong Kong citizens have been trying to control things from their side by having lower and lower birth rates, but the ruling classes have simply overruled them by pushing high immigration, to push up housing prices, despite the homelessness this creates. The rules for immigration are similar to Australia's, especially in the encouragement of foreign students to apply for permanent status.[2] Foreign domestic workers make up 4% of Hong Kong's population! [3]

Information overload delays Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security report

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) is busy finalising its consideration of the Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press.

The Chair, Mr Andrew Hastie MP, said ‘The Committee has received considerable evidence from submitters and witnesses regarding the media and their ability to operate effectively within Australia’s democratic society. All members are endeavouring to achieve a bipartisan report, which delivers tangible areas for reform and consideration. This will not be possible by the end of November.’

Tony Kevin, "Russia & the West" - Book Launch, Readings - Nov 25, 2019

The Melbourne launch of Tony’s latest book, being held at Readings in Hawthorn Monday, 25 November 2019, is likely to attract an interesting and critical audience. This book looks at the “last two action-packed years” – which is to say “false-flag packed” years, because it’s about the way Australian media and the Australian commentariat has enabled Imperial lies to spread and take hold in the population. The key ones Tony considers are the Syrian chemical weapons stories, the Skripal poisoning hoax, and Ukraine/Crimea. He centers his study around the disinformation operations of the Institute for Statecraft and the way he thinks it is operating in Australia to counter the “Russian point of view”.

Book Review of Ruby Hamad's White Tears Brown Scars, MUP, 2019.

This book aims to talk truth to power, using intersectionalist feminist concepts, within the strange paradigm of the corporate newsmedia [1] and US-NATO foreign policy. Power is identified as whiteness. White women are enjoined to stand with women of colour against male whiteness, which they are charged with propping up for their own benefit.

Roger Waters on UK press failure to cover state crimes towards Assange

Anti-war lyricist and singer, Roger Waters, who is identified world-wide with Pink Floyd, discusses Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s latest extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court and why it makes him ashamed to be English. The British magistrate is acting like an American puppet, taking advice from the US barrister. He explains why he believes the UK and US are attempting to kill Julian, why the extradition case shouldn’t even be happening and is a mockery of British justice. He talks about the protest that Australian journalist, John Pilger, and he, led recently, before a crowd of a thousand people. No British mainstream media reported it. That is how they control the kind of information people need to know. He compared British head-in-the-sand behaviour with the mass protests in Chile against the neoliberal US-backed President Sebastián Piñera and how the military crackdown is reminiscent of the Pinochet era.

MP Clifford Hayes introduces bill to make VCAT listen to councils

"People have a right to a say in the character of their street, and their neighbourhood. The principle of subsidiarity, of devolving power to the lowest practical level, is important. It is indeed good for people’s mental health if they have a say, and bad for their mental health if they feel powerless. My Bill does two key things – it requires VCAT to follow properly made Council decisions, and it gives Councils, rather than Ministers, the last word on height controls. Hayes says, "At present VCAT is out of control. Its proper role is to ensure that Councils don’t act in an arbitrary or capricious fashion [...]. But VCAT behaves as a Planning Authority in its own right, telling Councils that although the Council wants a height limit of, say, 4 storeys, they think that 6 storeys would be better! Councils should be able to put in place mandatory height controls at a height acceptable to the community. The high rise buildings being approved by Planning Ministers are not in the best interests of residents, overshadowing them and turning Melbourne into a soulless concrete jungle. Communities should have a say in relation to height limits." (MP Clifford Hayes in speech to Protectors of Public Lands Vic. reproduced here.) (Photos by Jill Quirk)

15 November 2019: Julian Assange subject of PEN Sydney annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer

Please consider attending the PEN Sydney annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer event 15/11/19. This year, Quentin Dempster will interview Jennifer Robinson, counsel to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/challenge-what-you-know-whats-really-happening-to-julian-assange-tickets-75281120859" "What’s really happening to Julian Assange? What has Australia done to protect his welfare? And why aren’t we hearing more about the most intriguing and complex threats to liberal democracy of our time?" Here is a link to the November edition of the Sydney PEN magazine on the Day of the Imprisoned Writer. https://pen.org.au

Stealing open land - golf course development

This is a taste of what is going to happen to Melbourne, as engineered by the Planning Department at DELWP, which is largely outsourced to developers. Here is what has become of the old Eastern Golf Club site - now a Metricon development known as Tullamore. We show before and after pictures. There are 3 pictures attached, a bit dark because of the light today. Several trees appear to have died, including the one shown here.

White sharks hang with buddies

Apex marine predators choose whom they hang with, researchers reveal. White sharks form communities, researchers have revealed. Although normally solitary predators, white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) gather in large numbers at certain times of year in order to feast on baby seals.

IPAN calls for volunteers to help with its Remember Vietnam moritorium

This is a call for volunteers to help with organising committees for 50th Anniversary of Vietnam Moratorium Campaign towards the celebration of 50 years on from the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign or offers of memorabilia from that campaign for display.
Please pass this on to your members or friends who might be interested.
To make it national, committees are needed in each state/territory to mirror that historical and successful national political campaign
Contact: bevanlramsden@gmail.com
This is an IPAN supported activity
The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN)
Remember Vietnam and Keep Australia out of U.S. wars

PPLVic AGM: Protecting Open Space in 21st Century Melbourne - Speaker Clifford Hayes MP

Rapid population growth has impacted heavily on private and public open space in Melbourne, especially over the last decade. Clifford will discuss some individual case studies and his Private Members' Bill to reintroduce local democracy into Victoria's planning law. Hear him at the Protectors of Public Lands AGM Saturday October 26th, 2019, 2.30pm. Flemington Community Centre, 25 Mt. Alexander Road, Flemington. All welcome!

Oz MPs finally starting to stand on hind legs to help Julian Assange - more needed!

Two Australian MPs - Barnaby Joyce and Andrew Wilkie - are at last trying to do something to get our government to help Julian Assange, who is currently at the mercy of the British establishment, which threatens to hand him over to a secret trial in the United States. See, "Barnaby Joyce says Government should protect Julian Assange from extradition to the US".

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