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National Water Commission: No plan - no future for Murray-Darling

Fair Water Use (Australia) asks: Why has the National Water Commission which, according to their own core documents, "is responsible for driving progress towards the sustainable management and use of Australia's water resources," no national strategy to address the over-allocation of water that is killing the Murray-Darling system?

McCain reveals he knows how "to get Osama bin Laden" - seven years too late

After the documented loss of 4,152 US servicemen and 90,000 Iraqi civillians killed in the Iraq War and a cost to the US budget, so far, of US$574 billion, Republican Presidential nominee John McCain reveals that he knows how "to get Osama bin Laden". So, why didn't Republican Senator John McCain pass on that knowledge to the Republican Bush administration earlier?

See also: McCain says knows how to capture bin Laden (Reuters India, 4 Sep 08)

One Year After the Publication of The Shock Doctrine, A Response to the Attacks

Naomi Klein responds to recent attacks upon her work by the 'free market' think-tanks whose insidious subversion of democracy in the service of their corporate benefactors was lucidly exposed in her book The Shock Doctrine published one year ago.

Original article at www.naomiklein.org/articles/2008/09/response-attacks.

See also: Online Opinion discussions in which The Shock Doctrine is discussed: NSW power without pride and Winning the war in Iraq.

Two of the articles to which Naomi Klein's article is in response to are The Klein Doctrine - The Rise of Disaster Polemics (663K PDF file here) published by The Cato Institute on 14 May and Dead Left by Jonathan Chait published in The New Republic of 30 July 08

Minister Garrett can stop massive Shoalwater coal port this week

Demand that former protest singer and former President of the Australian Conservation Society Peter Garrett use his ministerial powers to prevent the tripling of Australia's coal exports by 2030 and prevent the destruction of Shoalwater Bay.

Murray-Darling water - It’s time to use the P-word

Whilst John Corboy, co-convenor of the misnamed Foodbowl Unlimited held out hopes 12 months ago that Australia may stand to gain from the impending collapse of China's and India's irrigated agricultural sectors, our fate may be little different should we fail to stand up to the corporate interests who gain from the over-extraction of water from the Murray-Darling system.

See also Fair Water Use media releases. For information on a related topic, see articles about the threatened privatisation of NSW's electricity assets.

NSW Greens defend O'Farrell

NSW Greens leader John Kaye defends Opposition leader Barry O'Farrell. O'Farrell and the NSW Opposition are now under concerted attack by the corporate sector and their newsmedia for having blocked Treasurer Costa's privatisation legislation in accord with the wishes of over 80% of the NSW public last Thursday.

See also: Iemma dodges his own $42 billion debt bomb (SMH, 1 Sep) by Barry O'Farrell, Mike Baird should make his move now - Online Opinion forum discussion about pro-privatisation state Liberal MP Mike Baird, now the darling of the corporate newsmedia.

Rainforest Action Network sells-out Canadian Boreal forests

Rainforest Action Network (ran.org) greenwashes destruction of half of Ontario, Canada's boreal forests; despite lack of any detail regarding vague promised protections, and without scientific findings that doing so is ecologically sufficient.

Originally published on 28 Aug 08 on forests.org.

Greens endorse strike against electricity retail sell-off

The United Services Union has called its members working in call centres of Energy Australia, Integral Energy and Country Energy off the job in protest against Premier Morris Iemma's 'plan B sell-off' announced late on Thursday.

See also: Iemma unethical, says ALP backbencher, Torbay urged to fire up in power debate

After cowardly backdown Costa, Iemma threaten back-door privatisation

After an expensive recall of Parliament to debate privatisation bills which NSW Treasurer Costa claimed to be "the most important pieces of economic reform contemplated in this State in a generation," debate was cut short after less than 3 hours. The perseverative Costa came back however with lesser plans to privatise the retail arm of NSW's electricity assets without scrutiny by the NSW Parliament.

Contents: Power retail sell-off plan punishes households and environment, Costa, Iemma must resign over back-door sale move, Costa's cowardly retreat from stunt gone wrong, speech by Dr John Kaye, speech by Sylvia Hale.

See also: NSW electricity privatisation can be stopped!

Privatisation debate exposes Costa's hypocrisy and incompetence

Before the promised debate on electricity privatisation was abruptly ended by a severely embarrassed NSW Labor Govenment, state Upper House Liberal leader Michael Gallacher and state Upper House Nationals leader Duncan Gay tore the credibility of Treasurer Michael Costa and his Government to shreds.

See also: Open letter to NSW state Opposition members urging a vote against electricity privatisation of 28 Aug 08, Open letter to NSW Labor parliamentary caucus members to urging a vote against electricity privatisation of 27 Aug 08

NSW state Opposition announces intention to block electricty privatisation

On 28 August 2008 NSW state Liberal Party and Opposition Leader announced in a media release the Opposition's intention to vote against privatisation

Queensland Government killing koalas for developer dollars

Queensland Labor Premier Anna Bligh, in a letter published in the Courier Mail on 8 August, claimed concern at the decline in South East Queensland's koala population. However, it was her Government which only recently legislated, against community and local council objections, to fast-track the destruction of much of the remaining koala habitats in South East Queensland to make way for residential development.

What you can do: Email Premier Anna Bligh (premier [AT] ministerial qld gov au) and Deputy Premier Paul Lucas (deputypremier [AT] ministerial. qld. gov. au) to demand that they act now to end Queensland's economic dependency upon population growth, which threatens the koala and other native species, including the lungfish, with extinction.

See also: Locals join koala 'crisis' taskforce in the Bayside Bulletin of 7 Aug 08 including readers' comments.

Oz Wildlife sacrificed as political and economic palliative

The Victorian Government report, "Land and Biodiversity at a time of climate change," was widely seen by Victorian wildlife organisations as a shocker. Here is an excerpt from AWPC Maryland Wilson's searing response.

Why did Karlene Maywald conceal surrender in fight to save Coorong from Goolwa meeting?

On 4 August 2008, 300 residents of Goolwa in South Australia attended a meeting to speak to state Water Security Minister Karlene Maywald about the fate of the lower Murray River lakes which are dying from a lack of water caused by previous over-allocation of water from the Murray-Darling system. Yet Maywald concealed from that meeting knowledge that the State Government had given up on the fight to save the lakes. Why?

See also: Minister Karlene Maywald 'too busy' for Save the Murray rally of 1 Aug 08, Why Karlene Maywald must lose water portfolio of 10 Aug 08

Port of Melbourne Corporation on 'go slow' again with the facts

The Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) appears to be misleading the public about the extent of damage being inflicted by its dredging operations on Port Philip Bay's beautiful underwater environment.

See also: www.bluewedges.org.

What socialists still don't get - growth will never cure poverty

Leftists often rationalise their refusal to oppose population growth by arguing that continued economic growth in developing nations will eventually bring prosperity to all now in poverty and bring about population stability without any need for drastic measures. However, the evidence stands against this, even if we assume that our our already periloulsy degraded planetary life support system could withstand the necessary additional demands.

See also: Why is the UN so complacent in the face of over-population peril? of 3 Jul 08

The rich get richer whilst the Australian middle-class is out-sourced

Senior public servants - earning hundreds of thousands of dollars already - received an up-to 19% pay increase; those earning minimum wage got a mere 4% increase, an additional AU$21 per week swallowed by increasing petrol and food prices.

See also: article Will Rudd Government's high immigration program turn Australia into Argentina? which originated as a comment on this article.

Victorian Biodiversity Green Paper signals Black Day for Biodiversity

In his submission in response to the Victorian Government‘s Land and Biodiversity at a Time of Climate Change Green Paper, renowned forensic biologist Hans Brunner is critical of the Green Paper's band-aid approach and its failure to confont the Victorian Government's encouragement of population growth, the main driver of Victoria's rapidly disappearing biodiversity.

Mayors of South East Queensland seek help from developers to push growth plan

A recent publication of the Council of Mayors South East Queensland highlights that the mayors of SEQ are seeking help from developers to push the Local Growth Management Strategies (LGMS). These are legal planning documents that force each local government area in South East Queensland to accept unsustainable growth.

Water trading will create barons

The decision by the Prime Minister and four state leaders to commence water trading in the southern states will lead to exploitation of a scarce resource and cost farmers and the environment dearly, according to Member for Calare Peter Andren.

"Anyone watching the manipulation of utility markets around the world can see how water trading will create water barons and lead to manipulation of the market, just as privatisation of the Snowy Scheme would lead to electricity market manipulation," Mr Andren said.

"While there needs to be a radical change in water use practices in Australian agriculture, such as far more incentive to invest in drip irrigation, water trading will disadvantage family farms and advantage speculators and urban water purchasers who can spread the cost over businesses and households.

Was the Club of Rome wrong?

Professor John Quiggin (JQ) states states "we can’t protect the environment unless we are willing to accept a radical reduction in our standard of living". Sorry, but I cannot accept this statement. If you define a high standard of living as 'owning stuff', then you are simply wrong. If our standard of living is so great, why is it we have to spend so much money repairing people? Why is there so much depression?

Our modern lifestyle is crap! I know, because on the whole I have divorced it. I have never been happier than since I quit working (for a wage of course, at the age of 46!) June next year, I will ditch my car, and I can’t wait! Finally organised so I no longer need it.

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Two views on the Gaza conflict

First View

I have hesitated to use the word 'genocide' to date because I think often the rhetoric can get very inflated in discussion of this conflict. Inflated rhetoric muddies the waters and prevents clear thinking. (That doesn't mean we shouldn't use words that express our emotions, but these need to be meaningful. Mistaken and over-use of emotive rhetoric devalues the currency of language. Then we don't have words for realities which do exist. People stop listening when the language has lost meaning. And 'genocide' is problematic because of the wide gap in ordinary usage and its meaning in international law.

The condition of the people of Gaza is utterly dreadful as the article below shows, far worse than for those in Lebanon, bad though that is. So what other word adequately describes what is now going on in Gaza?

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