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Don's party 2016 and the culture of opportunism - article by Sally Pepper

It was a hot night and twelve of us approached an impressive spread of endangered sea-creatures at a large table under cover outside. It was Don's birthday party. We had met him a few months ago at the local squash courts, and we only recognised four of the other guests, also squash players. I looked around me carefully. Would we all get on and have a laugh, reach furious agreement on something important, or would my friend and I be silenced in the face of others’ opinions in our effort not to make waves? Worse, would my partner open his big mouth? Unlike the 'old days' when it was so exciting to meet new people, on this particular evening I was plagued with doubt because of the strong political divides that are appearing in Australian society.

Neurologically poisonous organisms take over Murray Darling river system

Entirely predictably, the Murray Darling river system is toxic with effluent again, host to masses of poisonous cyanobacteria. As the Weekly Times reports, "WATER will be switched off to hundreds of farmers and town residents in the Mallee this week as the Murray River blue-green algae emergency worsens. The toxic outbreak now involves almost 500km of the Murray River and has claimed reservoirs, rivers, wetlands and parts of Victoria’s two biggest irrigation districts. Taps were turned off to towns and farms in parts of the southern Mallee late Friday when the algal bloom reached key Wimmera Mallee pipeline pumps near Swan Hill, catching most residents unaware. Experts said a record autumn heatwave, with temperatures soaring above 40C in northwest Victoria this week, was expected to grow the algal bloom until it choked almost all of the Murray River along the NSW-­Victoria border within weeks."[1] But these problems have been known for so long now, it seems foolish to believe that we can hope for any resolution that would keep the vast Australian desert from claiming on our only major inland river system. Certainly we should not meddle with the northern river systems, but unfortunately our psychopathic leaders have already started.

Victoria, once garden-state, now overpopulated - Kelvin Thomson's speech to PPLVic

An ecologist and an economist are swept off a tall building by a sudden gust of wind. The ecologist is horrified, but notices that the economist seems unperturbed as they plummet towards the ground. Why are you so calm, he asks? The economist replies, "because demand will create a parachute"? Economists, rather than ecologists, have been in the driver's seat concerning public policy for many years now, and I think there are plenty of signs that we are at risk of being swept off our tall building.
[This article contains the text of Kelvin Thomson MP's latest speech, to Protectors of Public Land Victoria Inc on the occasion of their 2016 AGM. It's full title is "Victoria, once the garden state, is now headed for population overload: how we are failing the next generation."]

US wants Assad out for not backing Qatari pipeline: Kennedy

Washington’s intention to overthrow Syria's legitimate and democratically-elected President Bashar al-Assad results from his refusal to back a Qatari gas pipeline project, an attorney says. Article first published by Iranian Press TV at http://www.presstv.ir/Detail/2016/03/03/453669/Washington-Bashar-alAssad-Qatari-gas-pipeline-project

Endangered southern brown bandicoot at risk as proposed habitat corridors deemed 'not cost-effective' - Article by Sara Phillips (ABC)

ntroduction by candobetter.net editor: This article reflects interviews with Frankston natural scientist, Hans Brunner, who has spent decades of his life trying to save the southern brown bandicoot, as many of those who know Hans are aware. Here the ABC takes up Hans's argument about the $20m promised by the State Government to be spent protecting bandicoot habitat that was threatened by Peninsula Link was never used as promised for a fox-proof fence. "Peninsula Link dutifully spent $20 million of taxpayers' money on the underpass, and handed over $1.6 million to Parks Victoria for the fence. But Parks Victoria never built the fence. At the completion of the freeway in 2013, and with only a single bandicoot hair detected two years prior, Parks Victoria chose to direct the money intended for the fence to bandicoot programs near Cranbourne..." in an area now allocated for a projected housing development. This is totally outrageous by Parks Victoria and by the government with which it is too closely aligned. Surely the current Parks Victoria Board should be sacked. Planning documents from 2011 show wide reserves with predator-proof fencing. But a 2012 revision made them a dotted line — an option if Federal Minister for the Environment Greg Hunt required it. Mr Hunt failed to do so. His dereliction with regard to this unique creature in the world, the southern brown bandicoot, seems to be his support for by Melbourne's [over]development. A Dubai conference recently named Greg Hunt 'the best environment minister in the world' seems a reflection of extreme cynicism or a calculated insult to the Australian public. Good on the ABC for promoting this investigation. Article by Sara Phillips, first published on http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-02-28/survival-of-rare-melbourne-bandicoots-under-threat/7181580

To the aged (and soon to be aged) of Australia - Article by Vanda Amandanstone

From the Minister for the Aged:

I need to let you people know that you have had it pretty good so far but you cannot expect things to continue as they are. You Baby Boomers are in fact an impending liability on the country. Having said that (and in a way, I wish I hadn't) you are probably mostly still in the workforce, but think what a drain you will be when you have finished your useful, paid, working life. I warn you that you will all need to pull in your belts, in the interest of Team Australia (pardon the expression but it is so very suitable in this context!)

Video: Mark Allen, planner: Fast population growth and poor planning - a vicious circle

“So, increasing the population – fast population growth and poor planning – they’re like a vicious circle. When I worked as a planner, I’d go to VCAT and, quite often, development applications would be turned down by councils and the developer’s argument would be, ‘I know, ideally, this isn’t the best place to build this development, but you do know that Melbourne’s population is going to double by 2040-something and so, therefore, we’ve got to start building high-density in areas where we wouldn’t normally build it, because, you know, unless we’re just going to sprawl outwards forever…’. But both are going to happen, so we’ve got to understand that rapid population growth and developers who are making sure that they’re taking control of the planning system - they’re intertwined.” Mark Allen, former planner, of Population, Permaculture and Planning in a speech at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne, 14 February 2016.

New Research: Mussels are fighting back against ocean acidification

The gradual rise in oceanic acidity is weakening the shells of shellfish, corals and sea urchins, making them vulnerable to predation and damage from oceanic movements.

Many marine animals produce protective shells and exoskeletons from calcium carbonate from seawater, but higher CO2 concentrations absorbed into seawater from the environment is lowering the oceanic PH.

Kelvin Thomson objects to motion to disempower environmental groups

This article contains a speech by Kelvin Thomson, critical of a motion to change environmental law by George Christensen, Member for Dawson, Queensland. Monday, 8 February 2016, House of Representatives, Chamber Speech, page 22 Hansard proofs.

Kangaroo culling trial: unwise call for extension to petfood trial in Victoria

National Party member for the Victorian seat of Lowan Emma Kealy has called on the state government to extend a kangaroo culling trial to West Wimmera Shire.

(Click link to vote on poll).

The government introduced a two-year trial to cull kangaroos for pet food in 2014.

A State Government trial involving Ararat, Horsham, Northern Grampians, Yarriambiack, Southern Grampians and Pyrenees local government areas is due to conclude in June.

Aussie WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the UK, UN panel finds

5 February 2016 – The founder of the WikiLeaks website, which published confidential diplomatic information, has been arbitrarily detained by Sweden and the United Kingdom since his arrest in London in December 2010, as a result of the legal action against him by both Governments, the United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention said today.

Californians for Population Stabilisation: Fight immigration myths in 2016

Malls and “destination” shopping are something I avoid, but I found myself in a retail center on January 2 to exchange a gift for another size. (My dislike for the mall world is such that if the transaction could have been handled online, I would have.) The relative tranquility in Los Angeles between the Christmas and New Year holiday due to significantly fewer people in town was gone by then, and the mall parking lot traffic lanes were filled by vehicles with nowhere to move – complete gridlock in a parking lot. Find original article here.

Victorian Forests: 20 year legal exemption must go

Wednesday 3rd February marks the 19th anniversary of an agreement that has allowed the logging industry a legal exemption from Australia’s environment laws. Jill Redwood from Environment East Gippsland, where this exemption from commonwealth laws was first introduced says the Turnbull government is planning to instate another 20 years of this special treatment. When the agreement between the state and federal govt was signed, EGipp was promised a multi-million dollar economic boost – 400 new jobs – a bright future. There were 20 sawmills at the time – it’s now down to 5. It employs less than 0.05% of the regional workforce. The joint MR of 3rd Feb 1997 promised world class protection of old growth and biodiversity – both of which have declined rapidly in that time.

Video Interview: Danish Parliament member recommends Australian refugee processing system

A frank discussion about the consequences of Merkel's open borders on Denmark, with a number of references to the Australian system for processing refugees. Note, however, that refugees do not usually achieve permanent resettlement in Europe, whereas they usually do in Australia. When European governments talk about taking in refugees, they are talking about a temporary situation. In this interview Oksana Boyko of RT asks Ft. Anders Vistisen about the Danish plan to confiscate valuables from refugee applicants to pay for their costs and how many more refugees can Denmark accept. Why is Denmark moving refugees to rural camps? Won't that detract from their integration?

Test blog

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Please enter all topics that the article may discuss. Before adding a new topic, please check 'tag cloud' on left side bar to see if an equivalent topic already exists. Where applicable, enter one or more political groups, after checking 'tag cloud' in box also on the left. Also, where applicable enter the name of a cause or campaign after checking the list of causes on the menu also on the left hand side.

Miscellaneous comments from 28 Jan 2016

Comments made on the previous Miscellaneous comments page from 11 Nov 2015 can be found here.

If you have anything you would like to raise, which is likely to be of interest to our site's visitors, which is not addressed in other articles, please add your comments here.

Australia Day ambivalence

Back in 1788 on 26th January, the First Fleet of British Ships arrived at Port Jackson, New South Wales, having landed a few days earlier at Botany Bay. The British flag was raised right there at Port Jackson by Governor Arthur Phillip and the previous inhabitants were summarily and officially dispossessed. The First Fleet comprised six convict ships lead by two Royal Navy escort ships. There are varying accounts of the number of convicts who arrived in the First Fleet but I conclude after looking at a number of relevant sites that over 700 convicts arrived of whom about a quarter were female.

Male-skewed immigration to Europe and sexist violence: Oksana Boyko interviews Prof Hudson

The assault and robbery of scores of women in Cologne on New Year's Eve, allegedly perpetrated by groups of migrants, has fanned the flames of the refugee crisis in Europe. And while European leaders introduce stricter measures to deal with offending asylum seekers, many are questioning the wisdom of the policies that brought them there. What's behind the seemingly increasing wave of violence by migrants and is the predominantly male migration skewing the European demographic profile, thereby predisposing its societies to even more crime? Oksana is joined by Valerie Hudson, a Professor of Political Science at Texas A&M University, to explore these issues.

Video & transcript: US involvement could tip South China Sea into war - Asia studies head - Shevarnadze interviews Dongxiao Chen

North Korea has apparently just tested an H-bomb - a shocking development, even though some doubt it actually was a hydrogen bomb. Already, Washington lawmakers are grabbing the moment to push through reinforcement of America’s presence in the Asia Pacific, already catalyzed by the “pivot to Asia” plan aimed against China. As Europe lines up to strike lucrative deals with Beijing, Washington is growing increasingly worried, even counter-attacking with the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. The world is already an uneasy place, with Jihad rampant and now we have potentially deadly armament at the hands of unpredictable Pyongyang. Will the US and China be able to co-operate? Why is the West is so afraid of Beijing? This program dives deep into the world of Asia Pacific political games with the president of the Shanghai Institute of International studies, Dongxiao Chen, on Sophie&co. This interview was first published at https://www.rt.com/shows/sophieco/328252-us-china-sea-war/ on 8 Jan, 2016 09:53

Who shrank Australians' backyards?

In a piece in The Australian[1] Dec 24, 2015, entitled "Honey, we shrank the backyard," population growth promoter for the property investment sector, Bernard Salt, observes that the block size of ordinary Australian houses has shrunk due to lifestyle changes such as after school organised sport and other after school activities and women working. The backyard, Salt acknowledges, was a “wondrous place” where children used to play in a relatively unstructured space, unobserved by parents, during an unsophisticated era devoid of today's patios and outdoor eating. The conclusion is that, after all, shrinking backyards come with bigger cities, and and a “leaner, cleaner more efficient way of living”.

Aussie MH17 Coroner Ignores Police Evidence, Rules in Favor of Dutch Government Investigator


The Australian
coroner makes a
bizarre ruling.
Why?

Amazingly, 17 months have passed since the crash, and the investigators still can't establish who shot down the plane. Our correspondent digs in to the latest developments

The Victorian (Australia) state coroner Iain West has concluded a 60-minute inquest into the deaths of Australians on board Malaysian Airlines MH17 by issuing a statement of findings contradicting the coroner's own statements, as well as the evidence of reports from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and courtroom testimony from the senior Australian police officer investigating the MH17 crash.

This article was originally published on 16 December on johnhelmer.net (aka 'Dances with Bears'). This article was republished on 17 December on Russian Insider. Other articles concerning the MH17 cover-up include The little Dutch boy, his finger, and the leak in the dyke story – make that the BUK story (22/12/15), Australian police, Dutch prosecutors break with Dutch Safety Board at first coroner's court inquest on MH17 crash (15/12/15), ...

New book: Internet Wars by Fergus Hanson

One of the most critical emerging power struggles of the 21st Century is taking place – the battle to control the Internet. The Internet offers up the opportunity for exercising extraordinary political, economic, and military power. Already exploitation of this super-network has helped create the world’s most valuable company, toppled governments, led to the largest wealth transfer in history, and created the most extensive global surveillance system ever So who won the Internet Wars in 2015? E-diplomacy expert and author of the recently released Internet Wars Fergus Hanson has delivered the verdict.

Video: Syria: University students in Homs celebrate Syrian Arab Army gains over IS

Video inside:Syrian students and teachers of one of the country's biggest universities gathered in the centre of Homs, Wednesday, to thank Russia for its role in the Syrian conflict. You can hear them chanting Bashar al-Assad and they are carrying banners featuring Assad and Putin's faces. The Australian and US press mislead us all into endorsing a war that Syrians do not want. The latest is Tanya Plibersek's pathetic complaint that Australian should be included in the NATO war-party on Syria. " Tanya Plibersek: Australia deserves a seat at the table in Syria negotiations." As aufinm remarked in the discussion under the Guardian article, "'Deserve' is a very weird word to use. This is a war, not a bloody christmas party planning committee." Check out the comments under Plibersek's ignorant article. They are unusually perceptive and well-informed on Syria.

VicForests facing legal action again - Environment East Gippsland

East Gippsland: VicForests is being very cooperative in giving Environment East Gippsland (EEG) new grounds for legal action. Not only had they just commenced logging in an area which EEG believes is a rich stand of forest for rare wildlife, but bold as brass, their contractors yet again cleared right to the edge of a patch of rainforest leaving no buffer. This, after all the bad media they received when found to have destroyed rainforest near Hensleigh Creek earlier this year.

Peace Delegation to Syria: Report by Shrikant Ramdas

The photograph to the left is of a young Syrian boy at his father's funeral. He saluted those present and gave a defiant and hope-filled speech in memory of his father, a soldier in the Syrian Arab Army. This article is composed of reports from two members of an international peace delegation led by Mairead McGuire, and hosted by Mother Agnes Mariam. This article is written by Shrikant Ramdas, one of the members of the delegation.

Polls finds Bashar al-Assad has more support than the Western-backed opposition - Article by Steven Gowans

Suppose a respectable opinion poll found that Bashar al-Assad has more support than the Western-backed opposition. Would that not be major news? Here are results of surveys that tried to find out what Syrians actually want in terms of government, rather than what foreign forces wish to impose on them.

Assange to take part in RT panel on security & surveillance today (Thursday 10 Dec 2015)

Australian freedom fighter and political refugee, Julian Assange, will take part in a discussion dedicated to information privacy and security in the digital age, organized as part of an RT conference on media and politics. Watch conference live.The WikiLeaks founder will tune in from the Ecuadorian embassy in London. He has been shamefully abandoned by the Australian government. (Introduction to this article which was republished from the RT site was by a candobetter.net editor).

Proposed massive over-development of Yarra Riverbank

We are a small group of Yarra River users : walkers, cyclists and rowers, and we are absolutely appalled by a proposed new apartment development by Salta on the Yarra Riverbank in Abbotsford. The developer is submitting in the busy period before Christmas, and before more onerous planning controls apply in 2016.

The proposed development at 647 -649 Victoria Street, for a 14 level building with 109 apartments, is the closest development to the river ever submitted. It is 26.5 meters from the river. The river itself is only 26 meters wide at this point.

Turkey: Russia - Breaking news about what's keeping ISIS afloat

video inside:In a huge stunning announcement yesterday by the Russian Foreign Minister, Russia presented direct evidence of Turkey buying illegal oil from the black market supporting terrorists. In this video change.org goes over the important revelations by the Russians, their consequences and the shift of the geopolitical field. The western mainstream media is simply not reporting this because it runs totally counter to their spin. If the western media were to properly bring this news to their readers, they would have to explain the torrent of lies they have issued forth so far in order to justify war. The western media is historically pro-war and Australians, Americans, British and Europeans who rely on the mainstream media alone never hear both sides.

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