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Where is the love in Google's sacking of James Damore?

James Damore was the man who sent a memo in Google in which he suggested that maybe the low participation of women in tech areas was because women in general had less desire to work in those areas. For this he was sacked.

Now for purposes of this article I am not so interested in whether he was right or wrong. I am interested in how he was treated. I think how James was treated in this matter reflects a far deeper malaise within our culture; that malaise is a lack of love and concern for others. If we really want to create a better society, with less conflict, hatred and violence, then we really need to consider deeply why people are punished and to what end.

Citizen Shadow Parliaments - an alternative planning approach?

Do you ever wonder what our society would look like if everyday people were calling the shots? If everyday people had more influence rather than a few privileged rich and large corporations? Would we have sold our public utilities? Would the centre of Melbourne look less like Manhattan; have less poorly constructed and dangerous residential towers? Would citizens be forced into selling off the backyards of family homes to pay their outrageous mortgages? Would we ever have allowed negative gearing and its looming financial tsunami?

On the traditional roles of men and women in Industrial Society

I have found that I and people I know are increasingly working longer and longer hours. And this with ever increasing demands on the job, as the demands for perfection increase, and the support to achieve it decreases. Especially the large organisations in which we are working appear as despotic, in that one has no say over what happens or what might happen, but instead is faced with a stream of orders and new demands being delivered constantly, yet randomly, through the impersonal medium of email. There is no discussing with this new invisible master - often the sender is not even a person with whom you can engage in conversation, but some impersonal departmental (i.e do-not-reply) email address. Then one finds that travel to anywhere is time consuming, and extremely stressful, as conditions are crowded and arrival on time is far less than certain - whether it be by train or car. With people arriving home late, exhausted we must prepare meals, often reply to a few still-unanswered work emails. All of which leaves us little spare time - and in such a state of mental exhaustion that we could not enjoy it anyway. Necessarily our weekends are often consumed with the other chores of life, maintaining houses, shopping, and preparing food and clothing for the next hectic week. This sad condition of modern people led me to reflect as to how we got into this state, and what has changed to make modern life so difficult. I wondered how we used to cope, and I recall as a child how the weekends were quiet, the shops were closed after midday Saturday, and there was hardly any traffic. Now, the busiest traffic times are on weekends, as is the busiest trading. And a major reason, I think is the fact that now both partners work, there is no-one with time to do shopping in the day, prepare meals for 6.00 pm (we often eat much later, even if we feed the children earlier, either my wife or I may find it is 9.00 pm before we have time for dinner). So why is modern life so crazy?

Musing on the Monarchy

A small public garden at Healesville in Victoria has a plaque stating that the garden was planted in 1953 in commemoration of the coronation of Queen Victoria II. She was crowned in 1952, almost 65 years ago. For such a long time has she reigned; few regents could boast 65 years in office. And it is over us, Australians, that she reigns; quietly, discretely, non-politically - in the background. But will it always be so? Prince Charles has shown a disposition to make comments on political matters. Will he continue the monarchy in the same silent manner? Surely his time must come soon – no one lives forever. What will happen then? What could happen then?

Gated Carparks for the Homeless - by the Seaford Housing Action Coalition

The Seaford Housing Action Colalition is looking at strategies to deal with homelessness in the Frankston area. They have held discussions with a number of people in the community and also other groups and bodies that have been dealing with these issues.

Attached here is a copy of their report examining the potential to use Gated Carparks as a place of safe refuge for people sleeping in cars or sleeping rough.

SHAC: Solidarity with homeless people and those at risk of homelessness
SHAC3198@gmail.com
http://www.seafordcc.org/forum/viewforum.php?f=20

The real challenge facing 'Back to the Earth' communities?

On Friday June 3rd 2016, the Simplicity Institute screened its newly produced film 'A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity'. The film is essentially a documentary of the Institute's attempts to create a simple living community along permaculture lines. Following a public invitation to participate a group of mostly fairly young people participated in this experimental community on a rural property in Gippsland. The project involved them growing and preparing their own food, and building the necessary infrastructure which included: houses for each other; a communal living area and kitchen in a large shed; vegetable patches; composting toilet systems, etc.

Patriarchal values are not male values.

Feminists may say that the prevailing attitude of men has always been that women’s place is in the home. Well the truth is that until the industrial revolution, everyone’s place was in the home. Home was where families worked – together. Men did not go off to work in offices and factories until there were factories and offices to go to. For most of western history they worked on the farm or in the shop with their wives and children. It was only the industrial revolution that rendered families and communities asunder, culminating in the stereo-typical 1950’s housewife – at home, isolated and alone – in a way, and on a scale, never seen before in human history. This article asserts that neo-liberal values may rule more men but that they are not natural male values and that Christianity, for instance, although dominated by male figures, endorsed values opposite to liberalism. Comments welcome. Editor, Candobetter.net.

The West is learning about Collective Responsibility

We are starting to realise that all the little decisions we make about what to do, or what not to do really matter. We are learning that throwing our plastic bag (or our used coffee cups, or our cigarette buts) into the street, does matter - because collectively all this rubbish is having an impact on our environment and especially our wildlife. We are learning that things we once thought of as insignificant are in fact significant and often have far reaching effects. In Australia we have learned that longer showers affect our water supplies, that our small individual actions are impacting our water storages as well as the flow down our rivers, and consequently the water available for farming and other purposes. What an awakening!

TPP: Time for Abbott to rethink this 'preferential' and 'dangerous' agreement

Yesterday, as the U.S. Senate resolved to ‘fast- track’ the TPP, in Australia, the Productivity Commission came out all guns blazing declaring the ‘free’ trade agreement ‘preferential’ and ‘dangerous’. Bill Davis and Dr Matthew Mitchell report.Republished with thanks from original article at Independent Australia.

See also: The Day the Earth Died and why Sierra Club, Greenpeace, et al. were virtually silent about it (25/6/15) | Global Research

Save Seaford Cabin Park


Meeting 27 Nov., 2014, Seaford Community Centre, 6.30 –
8.00 pm
Car parks over Community? Seaford Cabin Park houses marginalised people in around 80 units between Nepean Highway and Kananook Creek. Council plans will see people evicted from 20 of these units and possibly the closure of the entire cabin park.

The Cabin Parks sits in part on Crown land which it has leased from the Council for over 20 years. Council now wants to terminate that lease so as to create a car park. This will lead to the loss of around 20 cabins, meaning that the residents of those cabins will be displaced. The loss of the lease may even affect the viability of the entire cabin park, meaning all residents would need to find alternative accommodation.

There is very little 'social housing' available around Frankston and the Mornington Peninsula, yet Council has suggested these people could be relocated to Mornington - in an entirely different community! Assuming that such accommodation can even be found - there or anywhere else. Despite no clear justification for a car park, Council is stubbornly insisting on continuing with the eviction.

The problem is power, and our failure to learn

A couple of years back a Vietnamese colleague of mine told me how his father had to flee from Vietnam (after the war I believe). I asked about his family, and apart from his father, who was an academic, the rest were all farmers. Curious about how bad things really were in Vietnam before the war, and in so-called 'poor developing nations' in general, I enquired about the standard of living of his farming relatives, in particular his uncle - whom we were discussing. The first question was "Did he ever go hungry?". The answer was a no, hunger was never really an issue. The next question was "How hard did he work?" Here I was imagining dawn-to-dusk drudgery in the fields. My friend's reply was 'about four hours a day". At the end of this conversation life as a peasant farmer in Vietnam didn't seem too bad, debt free, and no (or little) risk of hunger or unemployment.

Australia - no home for the homeless


The Frankston Times and The Age have both this week published articles dealing with the problem of homelessness, and in particular the problem of "rough sleepers" - those sleeping on our streets and reserves.

There are rough sleepers in Frankston, and recently there have been anecdotal reports that these people are being preyed upon by small groups of thieves and sexual predators. This article discusses the problem of rough sleepers and a possible way we can help protect these people in Frankston.

Down's Estate at Seaford Wetlands - Public Meeting Thursday, June 26

7:00pm Thur, 26 June 2014, Public Meeting: Seaford Community Centre Meeting Room. The Down's Estate is the former farm owned by Harry Down a famous whip and saddlemaker who had a store on Nepean Highway in Frankston. It is located on Wells Rd Seaford, opposite the motorcycle club track. Representatives from the different groups will be talking at this meeting about the proposals for the area around the house site of the former Down's Farm (approximately 3 hectares of the 20 hectare site). See inside for details.

India: "Capitalism - a ghost story," by Arundhati Roy

The same forces are at work across the entire globe - whether it be Ukraine or Australia, Elites (the 1%) are seeking to make the vulnerable more vulnerable in an insatiable effort to consolidate their wealth, and perhaps more importantly for them (and us) - their power.

It is now clear that America's democracy is completely corrupted.
It seems that Australia is also going down this path, with Joe Hockey 'selling' access for $22,000, and many other rorts for a privileged few going behind the scenes, such as those involving Sinodinos.

ISDS and the TPP: Trading our National Sovereignty

This article was originally published at bloggerme.com.au Since Tony Abbott was elected, Australia has progressed with two trade agreements that place Australia at risk of Investor-State Dispute Systems (ISDS) — one already signed with Korea (which definitely includes ISDS) and another close to agreement with Japan (which may include an ISDS). ISDS creates a parallel legal system that allows foreign investors to sue Australian taxpayers if Australia passes laws that reduce the value of their investments or their profits.

The World is Not Hostile

Hobbes’ declaration that life is “Nasty, brutish and short” is often quoted today  (although , completely out of context, it was not unconditionally so) and modern economists may decry the “scarcity of resources”, but this is only one view of the world, and one that has been formed relatively recently in Western history – perhaps it is no coincidence that this attitude developed along with philosophies of self interest and social theories of “survival of the fittest” (this is no criticism of Darwin’s theories, just their misapplication to human affairs, as promoted by Herbert Spencer).

March in March: Enough Deception and Manipulation

March in March 1 [Note from candobetter.editor] Abbott took government by playing on the fears of Australians, supported by the Murdoch press.  Fears that have been built up and sustained through systems of secrecy, lies and deception. This is the emerging pattern of westernised governments and corporations across the globe.  And these techniques depend upon violence, fear and coercion. All of which were evident in the Manus Island riots and killing, despite attempts to demonise the victims (Howard pulled a similar trick with Tampa).

A Constitution for People and Country

Over recent centuries in the history of the West government has been about people and people’s rights. This led to some progress – at least formally, if not in practice - in relation to the rights of individuals. Such civic protections have been enshrined in systems of law and legislature i.e in formal constitutions which limit the power of leaders/rulers over the people. Formal constitutions often follow a tradition of establishing representative parliaments, an independent judiciary and an executive (in Australia, the Government’s cabinet) or some variation thereof and linked to the Magna Carta. The Magna Carta tradition is about protecting people from summary execution, or summary jailing or confiscation of property.These protections were sometimes far from perfect. Property rights were certainly not well protected for many English villagers who were removed from their land during the period of enclosures and industrialisation. Others such as Habeas Corpus – protection against arbitrary detention – have been somewhat weakened with recent anti-terrorist laws. The main point here is that for a past few hundred years (at least) the focus of constitutions for western governments has been on protecting the rights of people (and property rights).

The TPP, Treaties and the Constitution


Will our sovereign rights be signed away with the Trans-Pacific Partnership (the TPP) Agreement? Matthew Mitchell examines the likelihood in this article. Originally posted on the Australian Independent Media Network

We Need a People's Constitution and We Need it Now!

I am leveling the following charge against our Australian constitutional system: Everyday Australians must follow the rules, but they cannot change them. Australians have no real say over their own system of government, at either state or federal level.
If this accusation is correct the implication is that Australians are not free, they are subjects of the Elite.

Local Communities need to act now to save themselves and their environment

The Victorian Government is proposing a large development at the Port of Hastings. This will result in a six lane highway with a freight train line in the middle where the current Westernport Highway is. The development will have significant effects on Westernport Bay and the fish nurseries there.

Our processes for social decision-making are failing us.

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