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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, in the spirit of E.O. Wilson's 'consilience', i.e. 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.

The Liberal Population Task Force Public Forums may yet be useful

The Victorian Liberals have been running public population forums for their "Victorian Population Policy Taskforce." Please read on to get an idea of what is involved and how you might use these forums for good, despite their cynical nature. The article includes a list of the forums still to be held at time of writing this article. As you would expect, the people comprising the Taskforce include some heavy hitters from the extreme growth lobby and, really only one person who has questioned population growth policy - Dr Bob Birrell. We can be sure that the Liberal politicians and other growth lobby activists behind the forums are pushing for extreme population growth to continue despite its awful consequences, just as the Victorian Labor Government is. The purpose of the forums is to manufacture consent by pretending that current immigration numbers cannot be stopped or reduced, however bleak their impact. The message is put in pseudo solidarity as, "Yes, we feel your pain, we wish we could do something, but we cannot." This throws the audiences into a state of helplessness. However, the forums do present the possibility of people who actually know the facts and are concerned about citizens, residents' rights and wildlife needs, to reach the wide spectrum of people who come to the forums and point to the way out of the false dilemma. Those audiences are dying to hear that the political parties (in and out of government) have the capacity to stop the massive population growth and that Australians should and must resist it. Consider taking copies of The Residents' Bill of Rights, which proposes that Australian growth be brought in line with the OECD average. Consider printing out this recent Population Flyer and taking copies. You might also consider taking a copy of recently retired Labor MP Kelvin Thomson's 14 point plan, which is a viable and well-informed plan to stabilise Australia's population. Inside this article there are also recent ABS and OECD graphs and a population doubling time calculator.

Walk to save St Kilda Rd trees and parklands Sunday 30 July 2017

Save the date: Sunday 30 July 2017. Walk in St Kilda Road and Environs for National Tree Day. Walk in St Kilda Road grand boulevard on Sunday 30 July 2017 or join an information walk in St Kilda Road and Environs. There will be information meeting points along St Kilda Road, from opposite Victoria Barracks down to near the intersection of Toorak Road and St Kilda Road, manned at least from 1.00pm to 4.00pm., and planners, engineers, politicians, arborists, heritage consultants and others will be invited and available for information and discussion on St Kilda Road and Environs. Video inside explains what is at stake.

Prof Justin O'Connor in "Smart Cities vs Creative Cities Symposium"

[Illustration from screen print of Prof Justin O'Connor's slide presentation.]The population and development behemoth is so multi-faceted that many of us feel like blind people trying to describe an elephant. Far richer than the bewildering 'policy porn' we are constantly subjected to by planners and growth merchants, the videos from this wonderful symposium provide vital clues to how we have been ambushed and sidelined by the nightmarish infrastructure juggernaut. "The ‘Creative City’ attempts to mobilise culture and creativity for city branding, urban regeneration and cultural industries growth, which also point to new forms of urban planning and governance. It has been closely associated with the “creative class” and the creative- entrepreneurial city in ways that have frequently become divisive and exclusionary, focusing on arts flagships, photogenic CBDs, and real estate profits. So too, cultural production has been reformatted under the rubric of the ‘creative industries’ in ways that foreground their contribution to economic growth. Increasingly calls have been for social justice, citizenship and the rights to the city, with a return of community and activist-focused arts activities, as well as new forms of ‘post-capitalist’ production communities." Source: "Smart City - Creative City", which is where the video of which this article is mostly a transcript, comes from, along with four others. The symposium took place at the Chunky Move – Dance Company Melbourne, Southbank, Australia on 15 June 2017.

Sustainable Australia Party fights the population ponzi

“The big issues we feel are job security, housing affordability, planning in our suburbs and our environment. And all of those major indicators are going backwards with this onslaught of rapid population growth. So, it’s changing our daily lives. It’s gone beyond some big number into the future. It’s actually hitting us in the face when we drive out of our driveway in the morning and we try and get to work. Or when we try to look up a job when we try to get our next opportunity. Or when we look at our green space in our suburb that’s disappearing. Or looking at our urban heritage… that’s just being bulldozed for this highrise development”. (William Bourke, Sustainable Australia Party, speaking on 3AW to Neil Mitchell)

Population song from Bangladesh, with translation

This song is sung in Bengali, which is a language from Bangladesh. It was a theme song for World Population Day 2013. I liked the tune and found the singers appealing. I wondered what the words were and obtained a translation through a friend in India. See inside.

The Propaganda Age: John Pilger, Vanessa Beeley on Sputnik with Neil Clarke

John Pilger and Vanessa Beeley talk about the amazing growth in mass-media supported war propaganda in our times, including the grotesque fantasies manufactured about Russian intervention in US elections and the creation of a false cold war. Vanessa Beeley describes how, when she was in Aleppo, she was witness to the absolute fabrication of what was happening there. And now, the almost complete silence on what seems like American ethnic cleansing of Arabs in Raqqua - where the US is using depleted uranium, phosporos weapons and not providing any humanitarian corridors.

3 Groups censor the rest on population numbers at Planning Backlash Rally 8 June 2017

The Minister for Planning has publicly insisted [1] that Victoria has to fit 10 million people in Victoria with four more million in Melbourne and that that is the reason for the planning dictatorship he is trying to force on Victorians. If we did not 'have' to fit in millions more, no new plan would be 'needed'. Population numbers as a topic dominate the mainstream press,[2] but three residents' action groups in Planning Backlash - possibly trading on their marginal electorate status - reportedly held the rest to ransom for their presence at the Planning Backlash rally on the steps of parliament 8 June 2017. Their ransom was censorship of their fellow groups in a promise that no rally speakers would mention the role that population growth has in driving Plan Melbourne 2017-2050 and all the destruction it promises. Even though the Victorian Government has openly published several written policies for massive population growth, [3] the Yarra Residents' Coalition, Brunswick and Moreland groups of Planning Backlash have been identified as censoring debate about this on the very steps of Victoria's parliament.

Video: Brad Marsh Restore residents rights Planning Backlash 8 june 2017

Brad Marsh of Alphington speaking for Yarra Residents' Coalition Brian Walsh of Kew Cottages Coalition, speaks at 'Restore Residents' Rights', a Planning Backlash Rally organised by Mary Drost on the steps of Victorian Parliament, 8 June 2017. This rally was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country. Read more here: https://candobetter.net/node/5228

Video: B McNicholas Restore residents rights Planning Backlash 8 june 2017

Ms B. McNicholas, of Save St Kilda Road, speaks about the removal of heritage listed trees by the state at dead of night from St Kilda Road. [St Kilda Road is Melbourne's Champs Elysees. Distinguished by its avenue of large old trees, botanical gardens and war memorials, it dates back to early Melbourne.] The removal of the trees was done under a police guard without notifying citizens or residents. See also this website on the problem: https://stkildard.com.au/?gclid=CITNuN_TudQCFdIHKgodkR8EGw.

Video: Mary Drost speaks at Restore residents rights Planning Backlash 8 june 2017

Mary Drost, Convenor of Planning Backlash, speaks to the protesters at 'Restore Residents' Rights', a Planning Backlash Rally she convened on the steps of Victorian Parliament, Australia, 8 June 2017. This rally was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through immigration, mostly through immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country.

Clifford Hayes speaks at Restore Residents' Rights - Planning Backlash

Speaking at the 8 June 2017 Planning Backlash Rally to Restore Residents' Rights, Clifford Hayes describes how Mr Wynn, Minister for Planning, has removed the protection given by residential zones that were put in by Matthew Guy, the preceding Planning Minister. Hayes says he has to give some credit to the previous government for having had the guts to introduce those zones, which were at least the result of some consultation with the residents. Minister Wynn, however, he observes, refuses to meet with resident planning groups, only listening to the developers, the planners. (A voice calls out in the background, "They're both the same!" and Clifford Hayes agrees.) The Planning Backlash Rally, organised by Mary Drost on the steps of Victorian Parliament on 8 June 2017. was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through economic immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country and the political parties. Hayes describes fighting high-rise development as Mayor and Councillor in Brighton against successive governments. He has also run as a candidate for the Sustainable Australia Party, which tries to educate the public about the need to fight against bi-partisan plans for massive population growth in Australia.

Professor Michael Buxton speaks at Restore Residents' Rights - Planning Backlash

Michael Buxton, Professor of Environment and Planning, RMIT University, speaks at 'Restore Residents' Rights', a Planning Backlash Rally organised by Mary Drost on the steps of Victorian Parliament, 8 June 2017. This rally was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country. The impact of this undemocratic policy is the architectural rape of our natural and built surroundings. Professor Buxton gives many examples of planning outrages, present and threatened in a strong and lucid speech.

David Davis, Shadow Planning Minister, speaks at Restore residents rights, Planning Backlash 8 May

David Davis, Liberal Shadow Minister for Planning 2017, makes many promises to reverse the Victorian Andrews Labor Government's destructive planning initiatives at 'Restore Residents' Rights', a Planning Backlash Rally organised by Mary Drost on the steps of Victorian Parliament on 8 June 2017. This rally was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through economic immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country and the political parties.

Jack Roach speaks at Restore Residents' Rights - Planning Backlash

Jack Roach, of Boroondara Residents Action Group (BRAG) speaks at 'Restore Residents' Rights', a Planning Backlash Rally organised by Mary Drost on the steps of Victorian Parliament on 8 June 2017. This rally was a huge protest by many residents' and ratepayer groups against the Victorian Government's despotic plan to privatise the planning system in order to provide for an increase in Victoria's population from approx 6m to 10m by 2050, mostly through economic immigration, in order to satiate the greed of developers who have taken over this country and the political parties.

What next after the 8 June protest? Residents groups on front line of democracy

Victorians and Australians need to initiate a new democratic process and hold to it. Residents' action groups now find themselves at the coal-face of democracy. They are the front line representing the future of our cities, states and this country. Their task is to identify, defend, and establish new property, community and natural environment rights and the implied citizens' rights that accompany these rights. We can no longer rely on the traditional environment NGOs or alternative political parties to represent us on these fundamental problems. They have been silenced by one means or another. Twenty years ago no-one would have contemplated making Planning Minister Mr Wynn's statements on drive-time ABC radio that we have to fit in 10 million more people in Victoria with four more million in Melbourne. This insane proposition is not the end of it by any means, either. Not only would Melbourne keep on growing, but most state governments are trying to force similar changes on their residents and the property development lobby has in the past admitted to the desire for something like 50 new mega cities around Australia, with eight new ones currently on the drawing board. The scale of these commercial projects will demand authoritarian regimes similar to China's. The looming privatisation of the planning system carries a danger of law suits from commercial developers against government, resident groups and private individuals if they try to object to any and all constructions. This paper proposes starting the new democratic process using the Planning Backlash Residents' Bill of Rights document and building on this. Victoria lacks any effective democratic process except state and council elections, but these elections give almost no rights to citizens and residents, renters or owners. This has to change or we will live in a property-developer-led dictatorship with our population completely replaced and displaced by constant massive construction and infrastructure projects, like those in China.

Michael Bayliss talks on Planning Backlash and the Development Crisis in Melbourne

3CR talkS to Michael Bayliss from Planning Backlash about the development woes facing Melbourne and how this issue will only become more serious in light of plans to further deregulate the planning system. Whether it is increasing densities in the inner suburbs or developing the urban fringe, we are not getting the standard of development that Melbourne requires as we proceed to a low carbon economy. (Article adapted from one published on 3CR at https://www.3cr.org.au/citylimits/episode-201705310900/planning-backlash-and-development-crisis-melbourne. Interview begins at 13.10. [Note that the links to 3CR probably won't work unless you remove the 's' in https. We have added the 's' in order not to be stigmatised by Firefox browsers as displaying 'passive mixed content'.]

ALP takes a backward step for Frankston's environment again

After years of residents battling to preserve Frankston Reservoir as a safe habitat for indigenous flora and fauna by preventing it being used for boating, biking etc, instead keeping it for passive enjoyment of nature, the latest Frankston ALP member has clawed it back under the management of the discredited Parks Victoria.

Hacked Macron emails and is the US Deep State funding Macron?

There is a piece going round, signed by 'Anon', which lists well-known facts about a Deep State organisation which is supposed to be funding Macron. It says, for instance, that Macron joined the Fondation Jean Jaures in 2006 and that this association is a puppet of the National Endowment for Democracy. Indeed, if you look at their political partners' website, you can see that The Center for American Progress is listed as one of their 'Political partners'. The Board of Directors of the Center for American Progress is redolent of the pre-Trump administration and the Clinton/Soros aligned. See some details of these links below the "Quick Rundown" inside. It does make sense, because Macron is backing the European Union which is really aligned with the United States and Macron has stated that he approves of Trump's recent foreign policy flip on the Middle East and North Korea. Macron has uncritically repeated the US CIA line of Putin being a dictator and a hacker.

Le Pen vs Macron & global elites in 3rd French presidential debate 2017

As the moderators summed up, Le Pen and Macron hold irreconcilably different points of view. This was a battle between a nationalist representing the French as a people and an ex-banker representing the global elite with all the support of banks, the mainstream media, the EU and the US-NATO bloc. Marine Le Pen is a highly skilled barrister, versed in criminal law, who was raised in anti-establishment politics, but one cannot help think of Joan of Arc trying to fight off the English here.

Plausibles and implausibles in the French Presidential elections 2017

Unexpectedly Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, the president of the Stand up France (Debout la France) has backed Marine Le Pen for President of France. He feels that France must be saved from Macron's savage globalism and believes that many Republicans will join him in this. One can see that on the face of it, Le Pen has slightly fewer prospective votes than Macron, if you go by the form on the nine candidates who didn't make it to the second round and how their voters might now vote. But Le Pen is running a superb campaign and elite favorite, Emmanuel Macron has already tripped over his highly publicised very expensive shoes. As Le Pen has implied, now that the field has narrowed, people will be able to see both candidates more clearly. [The original title of this article was "Le Pen's chances as President improve as Stand Up France's leader backs her & Macron looms."]

Wilson's Prom Tidal River threatened with daily commercial tour boats

Are you aware that Wilsons Prom is under threat from private interests again? This time they want to base a commercial boat tour operation at Tidal River. If you've ever visited the Prom, you will be familiar with the northern end of Norman Bay where the Tidal River estuary spills out across the wide flat beach. It is no exaggeration to say that this is the most popular beach for visitors to the Prom and a playground for children and families. This same spot is to be taken over by Pennicott Wilderness Journeys with 3 large amphibious boats (12m x 4m) which will take up to 32 passengers each on a 2 hour tour of the marine park. The boats will ride up onto the beach to load and unload their passengers - "Outta the way kids!" See also: "Parks Victoria fail to protect marine environment - Auditor General Victoria" and "Parks Victoria incompetent management of invasive weeds and animals: Auditor General

US chemical weapons in the Middle East available to ISIS

A report provided by the US Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs contains lists of weapons provided by the United States to Iraq, many of which - including aircraft - would later be seized by ISIS and probably later deployed in Iraq and Syria. These included an horrendous US-manufactured arsenal of chemical and biological weapons: including anthrax, botulinium, and E.Coli as well as human and bacterial DNA. Grotesquely, the United States, which had provided these weapons, has later accused the Syrian Government of using chemical weapons, and Trump has used this as an excuse to invade Syria.

Fungal-like fossils found in 2.4 billion years old seafloor lava

Researchers have discovered microfossils resembling fungi in lavas that erupted on the seafloor 2.4 billion years ago, representing the oldest evidence of fungal life.

The new paper, published in Nature Ecology and Evolution today, suggests that fungi not only emerged much earlier than suspected but also evolved beneath the sea rather than on land.

Until now, the fossil evidence for cavity-dwelling fungi only extended back 46 million years, but the new discovery potentially extends that record by 2400 million years.

Can Trump dodge his deep state destiny by acting absurdly?

To many it might seem strange that Donald Trump's recent departure from his election promises has made me think of Marcel Aymé's story about a character in a book who wanted to avoid her destiny. What could a French author of absurd comical novels have to do with the political analysis of Donald Trump's strange about-face from the foreign policy he promised before his election? Marcel Ayme, in "Le Romancier Martin," the first story in Derriere chez Martin, writes of a novelist who developed a bad habit of killing off most of his principal characters and even some less important ones, which made very depressing reading and diminished sales. The characters themselves and Martin's editor complained that their life expectancy was grossly inferior to that of characters in other novels. Madame Soubiron, the wife of a principal character, somehow sensing that she would be next to die, decided to challenge her fate. First she visited the writer and begged him to make certain changes, but he claimed to have little say in what his characters did. Once he had created them, he said, the die was cast. Although it seemed impossible for a mere fictitious character to influence her role, Mrs Soubiron ultimately managed this by deviating from what was expected of her in strange and unusual ways which the novelist could not have considered in advance. For instance, one evening at dinner, she took off her shoe and put it on her plate. Instead of eating the slice of beef she had served herself, she dropped it down the front of her dress and rubbing her stomach, mimed how tasty it was. As she continued to act more and more absurdly out of character, she eventually escaped death.

Just out! Pres Assad debunks alleged chemical weapons attack, fingers US Deep State

I have transcribed the text from an abbreviated version of President Bashar al-Assad's interview in the embedded video, which was released on 13 April 2017. The guts of President Bashar al-Assad's response to world allegations that Syria's national army attacked civilians with chemical weapons is that the Syrian Arab Army was not in the area at 6-6.30 am when Al-Quaeda alleges a chemical weapons attack took place, they were there around 11.30-12.00hrs. The area had no strategic value for them. Syria got rid of its chemical weapons arsenal in 2013, under international supervision, so what was the army supposed to have used? At the time of the alleged attack, the Syrian Army had the terrorists [Al-Quaeda/ISIS] on the run so why would they [invite punishment from the world community] in carrying out a senseless act with chemical weapons of no strategic importance, if they actually had chemical weapons, which they deny? The film of the alleged incident shows rescuers without any masks or other safety equipment supposedly dealing with people affected by toxic gas that is fatal on contact. Trump's U-turn on foreign intervention policy and US action on the fabricated incident shows that the president has no real power and that the United States is run by the Deep State. Text of statements are under the video inside this article. This transcription is provided because President Assad's English in the abbreviated version is not always completely clear. The entire interview, with English subtitles, is to be found at the bottom of my transcript of the shorter version. It is well worth listening to!

More saying how chem weapons story implausible - Prof Tim Anderson

As we watch the mainstream newsmedia step up their promotion of western government narrative in a kangaroo court on President Assad, more and more high profile people are coming out saying how implausible the mainstream line is. Those people deserve our support because the mainstream newsmedia and government are going after them precisely in order to deprive the rest of us of informed debate. One example in Australia is how the Sydney Morning Herald has published an article citing infotainment and advertising placement specialists, Associated Press, and PolitiFact, a corporate press network propaganda outfit, as authorities condemning Professor Tim Anderson's work as 'conspiracy theory', implying the same for some associated academics. Tim Anderson is in a unique position to judge conspiracy, having been convicted then freed after a conspiracy portrayed him as guilty in 1990 over the 1978 Hilton Hotel bombing in Sydney. It is thought that the Australian Government organised the Hilton Bombing as a false flag. See https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sydney_Hilton_Hotel_bombing The failure of the Sydney Morning Herald article fails to analyse Professor Anderson's arguments, preferring simply to condemn him via a press organisation and a propaganda outfit, is a hallmark of 'Fake News' and propaganda. The Sydney Morning Herald's inclusion of an old overturned conviction for Tim Anderson without further explanation seems gratuitous if not designed to damage the standing of his opinion. On the 17th and 18th of April, the Centre for Counter Hegemonic Studies will be holding a two day conference at Sydney University on the Syrian conflict: http://counter-hegemonic-studies.net/syria-conf-program/. This event is endorsed by Sydney University's Political Economy Society. We at candobetter.net do not necessarily endorse everything that comes out of universities, because these have now become strongly commercialised and mainstream-politicised, but we do endorse this conference because Tim Anderson's book, The Dirty War on Syria comes from long study, many documented visits to Syria and interactions with the Syrian community in Australia, and uses logical and documented arguments, unlike the Sydney Morning Herald or the Australian Government. We are also impressed by Sydney University's support for academic free speech.

Stanley town trying to defend its water from international bottling industry

The Stanley Plateau nestled in the foothills of the Victorian Alps, is fighting for the right to preserve its water resources from extraction by a company that transports the water to a plant in Albury, across the border in NSW, for bottling. The bottled water from Stanley and surrounding areas is for domestic and overseas distribution processed by a multi-national company. Stanley has commenced fund raising for the next stage of the Cue Springs Water Challenge - an appeal to the Victorian Court of Appeal. The website http://stanleywater.org.au/ invites a contribution to the fundraising appeal. Please distribute the webpage through your networks as Stanley needs all the help it can get. Stanley is a small Australian community fighting for its water and needs your help.

Syria decries US missile attack on army airbase as ‘act of aggression’

Syria has censured a US missile attack targeting an army airbase near Homs as an “act of aggression” against the country.

“A US act of aggression (was committed) against Syrian military targets, using several missiles,” said the Syrian state TV right after the US announced the attack.

The attack drew the applause of the foreign-backed opposition, which called for continued US military action against the Arab country.

The state TV quoted a Syrian military source as saying that US missile strike on a Syrian air base had led to “losses.”

Homs Governor Talal Barazi also deplored the aerial assault, saying the attack serves the goals of Daesh and other armed terrorist groups operating in the country.

Remarkable French Presidential election debate with 11 candidates 4 April 2017

The French system just pulled off a remarkable 11 candidate debate. Lasting nearly four hours, it was riveting viewing. Six less-knowns challenged the five established candidates, intellectually even if their presidential chances remain far behind. Most made valid and sometimes impressive points. As now nearly all the major contenders have adapted aspects of her policies, Marine Le Pen, ex-criminal trial-lawyer, who makes mincemeat of most interviewers, hardly stood out in the crowd of copycats.

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