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Miscellaneous comments from 25 Apr 2015

Comments made on the previous Miscellaneous comments page from 21 Feb 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.


A massive earthquake has killed more than 1457 people as it tore through large parts of Nepal, toppling office blocks and towers in Kathmandu and triggering a deadly avalanche at Everest base camp. It's the nation's worse disaster in 80 years, but the final toll from Saturday’s 7.8-magnitude quake could be much higher. Dozens more people were reported killed in neighbouring India and China.

The worst damage was in Kathmandu, where the historic nine-storey Dharahara tower, a major tourist attraction, was among buildings brought down. An estimated 4.6 million people in the region were exposed to tremors from the Nepal earthquake, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said. In Nepal, 30 out of 75 districts were affected by the quake.

Major historic monuments in the Nepalese capital have been destroyed in the powerful earthquake, eyewitnesses and officials have said. These include a nine-storey tower, temples and some parts of what was once a royal palace, all listed as Unesco world heritage sites.

On the other side of the planet, the volcano Calbuco has blown its top twice in recent days, sending a huge cloud of ash in to the air and forcing thousands of people to leave their homes. This week was the volcano's first eruption in 42 years. Ash from the volcano in Chile, which erupted without warning this week, has reached as far as southern Brazil on Saturday and prompted some airlines to cancel flights to the capitals of Chile, Argentina and Uruguay.

About 1,500 people in Ensenada, in the foothills of the volcano, were told to evacuate earlier this week, essentially turning it into a ghost town. The dust could contaminate water, trigger respiratory illnesses and halt more flights. More than 4.000 people have been evacuated.

The 6,500 foot Calbuco last erupted in 1972 and is considered one of the top three most potentially dangerous among Chile's 90 active volcanos.

Yellowstone National Park is the home of one of the world's largest volcanoes, and is capable of erupting with catastrophic violence at a scale never before witnessed by human beings. This would be a disaster felt on a global scale, which is why scientists are looking at this thing closely.

While we are warehousing more and more people in mega-cities, the risks of living in an unstable planet are mounting. Megacities – urban areas with populations exceeding 10 million people – already exist on five continents, and the number and size of these areas are growing. According to UN estimates, almost two-thirds of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2040.

Weather-related disasters, such as drought, floods and hurricanes, temporarily displaced some 20.6 million people in 2013. Add to that the growing millions that are displaced due to poverty, conflicts and terror!

The Asia-Pacific region experiences some of the world's worst natural hazards-frequent earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, cyclones and annual monsoons. It also includes many of the world's megacities-those with more than 8 million people-so the number of people exposed to hazard risks in the region is very high. A volcanic eruption on an uninhabited Alaskan island is unlikely to be a disaster, but a similar eruption in the densely populated Asia–Pacific region could be catastrophic. Many such growing urban areas will also be situated along the world’s waterways and will be especially vulnerable to the unfolding effects of climate change, including increased sea levels and more severe natural disasters.

Beyond Left and Right, Beyond Red and White:
Framing the Liberation War in Donbass

An interesting article by Nina Kouprianova on the conflict in Ukraine which provides a fresh perspective we don't get exposed to in our media.

Russia seems to represent a "regression" from modern Liberalism and it is here I think the West sees a threat. Russia, and in particular Putin encapsulate many aspects we thought we "moved on" from, perhaps due to Russia's isolation from modern Liberalism post WWII. The conflict is largely ideological, something I believe Putin is keenly aware of. He understands that Western Europe's modern Liberalism is detrimental to Europe's spiritual and demographic future. This challenges the very core of neo-Liberalism, as do many European populist parties such as the Front National.

The year 2014 saw an unprecedented surge of patriotism in contemporary Russia, which resulted in popularizing the notion of the Russian World. One reason for increased patriotic sentiment was Crimea’s return to the home port after the overwhelmingly positive vote by its majority-Russian residents in a referendum one year ago. The onset of the liberation war in Donbass from the West-backed Kiev regime was the other. This war truly delineated the stakes for the existence of the Russian World. The latter is not an ethnic, but a civilizational concept that encompasses shared culture, history, and language in the Eurasian space within a traditionalist framework. To a certain extent and despite the obvious ideological differences, the Russian Empire and the USSR embodied the same geopolitical entity. A particularly noteworthy aspect of the ongoing crisis in Donbass is the symbolism—religious and historic—that surpasses the commonly used, but outdated Left-Right political spectrum. In the Russian context, this also means overcoming the Red-White divide of the Communist Revolution. That this war pushed Russians to examine their country’s raison d’être is somewhat remarkable: for two decades its citizens did not have an official ideology, prohibited by the Constitution that is based on Western models. The emergence of a new way of thinking in Russia will become clearer once we refer to the meaning of religious insignia, wars—Russian Civil and Great Patriotic, as well as the question of ideology in the Postmodern world.

The Productivity Commission is investigating a price-based immigration system that would use entry fees as the primary determinant for who gains entry to Australia. The radical proposal to allow migrants to pay their way to immigrate to Australia has been played down by Prime Minister Tony Abbott as a discussion paper, and not as a policy of the government. This Productivity Commission suggestion is of selling citizenship to Australia for the wealthy. This was not about skills, needs, costs, or family reunion- but hard cash to become an Australian.

It's said that such a scheme could help the government rein in the budget deficit by bringing in tens of billions of dollars in extra revenue and allow it to trim the number of public servants administering Australia's immigration system. The mining boom is facing, and even real estate sales have limits, so, in desperation for commodities on the world market, it's come to selling visas to Australia!

Mr Abbott also claimed that by preventing people smuggling boats making the journey to Australia, the government had saved half a billion dollars, ahead of this year's budget to be released next week. We may have "stopped the boats" and vilified asylum seekers, but we haven't stopped the planes!

The Productivity Commission issues paper on Australia's migrant intake, released on Friday, raises some dramatic proposals including introducing an immigration lottery and creating a HECS-style payment system for immigrants to pay back their entry fee. It's really an admission that our high population growth, driven by economic migration, is not paying it's way!

It's significant that this suggestion, of selling citizenship to Australia as a commodity, comes on the heels of the centenary of the patriotism and sacrifice of the Anzacs. Citizenship in Australia had some meaning, identity, and value. Now, it's suggested that the meaningfulness of any sovereignty and identity can be bought for $50,000! Estimates of the costs of infrastructure are actually much more than this amount! If the government really wanted to balance our nations budget deficit, the Productivity Commission wouldinvestigate the costs of immigration, in infrastructure, welfare, city congestion and declining productivity.

European leaders are scrambling to find a way to stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean, after a large spike in deaths drew public condemnation. But, contradictorily, they have a policy of 'non-refoulement" which means that any operation would be obliged to observe this international legal principle meaning that people fleeing conflict or persecution are not sent back to a life-threatening place.

European Commission spokeswoman Natasha Bertaud also said that even if there were talks between Australia and Europe, they would never adopt Australia's controversial asylum seeker policy!

Another 5,800 migrants desperate to reach Europe were rescued this weekend as they tried to cross the Mediterranean, more than 2,150 of them on Sunday, the Italian coastguard said.
Bertaud said "the European Union applies the principle of non-refoulement," or no forced return under international law. "We have no intention of changing this. So of course the Australian model can never be a model for us," she added!

So, anyone who is "fleeing conflict or persecution" can't and won't be sent back. How many people in the world are facing conflict, persecution for numerous issues and challenges? It's an admission that there's no borders, and that anyone successfully arriving in a migration area of Europe will be accommodated! They may as well put out the WELCOME MAT and accept that the many deaths at sea are inevitable - or actually ferry them across?

Parents have slammed Bell Primary School’s reliance on portable classrooms 1 , launching a petition for the school to better cope with growth. Their seventh portable is now in use.

High population growth and distribution of permits for high density housing has pushed local schools to over their limits. The student numbers are clearly going to continue to increase, but parents are demanding that the school must find a solution rather than just putting in more and more portables. Planning has become synonymous with housing approvals, not actually catering for infrastructure demands and public services. Bell Primary is growing at a rate of about 60 enrolments a year, jumping from 343 students in 2013 to an expected 521 next year. Governments love and encourage population growth as being "good for the economy", but the benefits never are sufficient to cater for all the demands!

Sign the petition:

This petition is about planning for growth and engagement at Bell Primary School


1. ↑  See also: Parents protest use of portable classrooms at Bell Primary School in Preston (6/5/15) | Herald Sun , Students at over-crowded Preston school lose oval (4/5/15) | the Age.

I have been listening to the budget foreshadowings- re child care subsidies. The thrust is that they want to get women out to work and it seems- if I got the gist right that stay-at-home mothers will lose out to 2 parent working families.

All these child care subsidies must compensate families for the fact that 2 people have to work to service the mortgage or pay rent when one pay packet used to be enough. The tax payer pays for this in taxes and society as a whole pays in services not provided (as the money is diverted into child care) Children lose out as each becomes one of a crowd in a child care centre instead of having the individual attention of his/her mother. This is a really heavy price we are paying for population growth and foreign investment.

I discussed this with a friend yesterday. My point was that I thought adult to child ratios were too low generally in these outsourced arrangements when child care facilities were involved. My friend is sort of the expert as she used such facilities as a single mother in the 1990s. She said that the rule for young children was a ratio of ¼. I said I thought that was to too many kids for each adult . She said –“Well my mother did it.” I said “But you were not a set a quads.” She acquiesced. (Her mother had 4 in just under 5 years.)

But these are the rules:

My interest in this was sparked by the child who was left in a car outside a child care centre in Kyneton for several hours and died. It said to me – “Too many young children for the number of adults.” My friend protested that it was his mother who had left him there. I said that this is not the point. In the transfer or whatever was happening, someone lost track and no-one checked. That’s what happens when people have too much to take care of.

Child Care ratios and qualifications for child care

The Liberals supposedly represent traditional values and conservatism. I didn't realise pushing women back to work while children were farmed out away from family to communal day care was a conservative value.

These child care subsidies just distort the economy, by creating a fake appearance that it is a viable economic proposition. It isn't. If the subsidies were removed, and the true cost was borne by people, many more children would be staying at home.

We are essentially paying for votes, and to create this mirage that somehow we can both raise our children and work by not raising them at the same time...

The government and the opposition seem to want to entirely replace natural increase with economic immigration and for the Australian population to stop reproducing, work until they die, turn more of their superannuation over to the state, and reverse mortgage all their property so that the banks can resell it to the newcomers.

The reason we 'can't afford' housing, children, wages, and that small businesses cannot survive is because the cost of land, housing, water, power etc are all spiralling up due to population growth.

If we lower demand (by lowering population growth, i.e. immigration) we will lower the cost of living, the cost of doing business, pressure on wages, and make ourselves globally competitive and small business would thrive. You would not need two incomes just to survive, so you would not need lots of professional child care, rent supplements, constant employment, productivity increases (i.e. working more for less) etc.

But I have said this before, and better. One gets tired of repeating the obvious, since most people are conditioned to pay more attention to what they are told by the 'authorities' than what they see and experience personally.

It seems, through listening to the media commentary on the budget, especially with respect to child care that our society has lost focus on what should be life's purpose and pleasures. If we analysed from current discourse what is envisioned as our (Australians') purpose in life,what would emerge? Going to work seems to be right up there. Raising your own children which I would have thought to be a combination of one of life's great pleasures and great responsibilities, is very marginalised. Early childhood is a brief period with very rapid learning taking place. Would the majority, forced by economic necessity to hand over their 2 year olds to others for most of the day still do so if they had the choice?

I heard a caller yesterday on radio with a plea for adequate funds for child care reminding the radio audience that those who care for children are "raising the next generation of taxpayers". Had they just been people I guess she thought her comment would not have carried the same import. Also, yesterday in the parental leave context I heard someone pipe in, as though a piece of mammalian biology would be forgotten in the economic modal, that mothers should be allowed to breast feed their infants for 6 months because of the health benefits. That's nice, even dairy cows are allowed to feed their calves for a few days aren't they?

The U.K. Independence Party has won its first seat of the election, holding the eastern England. The party, which calls for Britain to leave the European Union and restrict immigration, had hoped to make an electoral breakthrough in this election. UKIP came a strong second or third in a number of constituencies but failed to win targeted seats.

With nearly 4 million votes, UKIP is now the third largest party in British politics in terms of vote share. Of course the media will downplay and find enormous delight in downgrading every flaw and inconsistency in the party and candidates!

It is disappointing that the country's outdated voting system means nearly 4 million votes for UKIP translates into a minimal number of seats.

Nigel Farage has been a dedicated public servant who, for five years, has led the conversation about immigration, the EU and so much else. For 10 years Farage has single-handedly kept the party together through sheer force of personality.

Dear contributors and guests,

I fear I may have just now, whilst removing forum spam, deleted a legitimate comment.

The post I deleted was from someone logged in from .

I apologise for my carelessness.

If you have posted a comment this morning (or very late last night) Australian Eastern Standard Time and it has not appeared, could you please consider re-posting it?

I also recommend that each contributor always keep his/her own copy of their contribution, in case further mishaps such as this occur in future.

Thank you.

The numbers of those sleeping rough in Sydney’s gritty inner streets is at a five-year high, a staggering 23 per cent increase since last August, and the beds that could rest them in emergency hostels and affordable housing are full. The numbers of those sleeping rough in Sydney’s gritty inner streets is at a five-year high, a staggering 23 per cent increase since last August, and the beds that could rest them in emergency hostels and affordable housing are full. The same story is in Melbourne, with people sleeping in our city's streets, and begging.
Daily Telegraph- Homeless people in Sydney grow in number as figures hit five year peak
Australia - the newest third world nation- caused by greed and an economy heavily reliant on population growth and the real estate market. It's not hard to recognise a Ponzi scheme when it's seen, and that's what our housing industry is! It keeps flourishing on new participants, investing more and more money, and discards the vulnerable and those who can't keep adding their wages and incomes! Governments are ignoring the impact of unaffordable housing prices, while the investors and wealthy (including foreigners) are accumulating wealth. It's a capitalistic market, of pumping up prices and ignoring the discarded. We are NOT creating sustainable, stable communities.
It's easy to pinpoint family problems, alcohol abuse, drugs, mental illness, unemployment and domestic violence, but they are all stemming from the same cause - we are NOT creating unified, cohesive, sustainable, and stable family-orientated communities. They are being broken apart and twisted by high population growth, the real estate industry's interests in maximum profits, and a neo-liberal policy from governments of giving market forces a free hand, without any impediments of control, regulation, concern for human welfare or social justice. What future do these young people have?

It's a capitalistic market, of pumping up prices and ignoring the discarded. We are NOT creating sustainable, stable communities.

The market isn't just Capitalist, it's a crony, scam market. Investors aren't Capitalists, they are rent seekers who are given a sheltered workshop style investing environment by the government. The government pulls out all efforts, tax payer funded, not just living tax payers, but those yet to be born, to ensure that the real estate market gets the outcomes it believes it deserves.

Capitalism is a harsh system, but it's made even worse by the fact that those with lobbying power are given exemptions from the harsh culling and reality that they would otherwise face. Capital Gains Tax concessions, Negative Gearing, First Home Owners grants, high immigration despite the lack of need, selective release and development of land and so on are all measures to make these specuvestors AVOID Capitalism. The LAST thing the real estate market wants, is true supply/demand Capitalism and a free market without intervention. They are reliant in intervention, on welfare and wealth redistribution to keep this false economy going.

Wheler Centre Population Growth talk - 13 May 2015

Wednesday 13 May 2015, 6.15pm-7.15pm there was a Q&A session at The Wheeler Centre, Melbourne.

The session was mainly based on questions from the public, for a strict limit of one hour. There was concern that our cities were growing, and outstripping infrastructure. It was pointed out that Melbourne at 8 million is being compared to some of the massive mega-cities in Asia, but in actual fact it would be the second largest city if compared to those in Europe.

There were questions of migration, and basic human rights to feel safe, and free from persecution. Someone suggested the idea of open borders and globalization. It was boo-ed as being unsustainable. We would quickly be inundated by masses, and nothing could be planned or sustained.

Our planet is already in overshoot, and it's a reality that all the world cannot live like we do in Australia, Europe or the USA. The UN is urging us to take more refugees from war-torn, poor countries. Our population is 23 million. If we were to accept a million refugees a year, it would destroy our economy and social structure, without making any difference to an annual world population increase of 83 million.

If everyone lived like we do, though there are huge extremes, we would need 3 planets to sustain us. Our lifestyles were once the envy of the world, but now we are seeing third world living on our streets, and a polarization of wealth to the elites.

Prof Ian Lowe pointed out the our immigration is far to high, and that with high unemployment, we don't need skilled immigration. We could accommodate more refugees and concentrate of family reunions. If we had NO immigration, we could stabilize our population within 2 decades. With lower immigration, zero net immigration, we could stabilize by mid century.

Keynesian economics is an economic theory named after John Maynard Keynes, a British economist who lived from 1883 to 1946. Keynesian economics further concludes that there is a pragmatic reason for the massive redistribution of wealth: if the poorer segments of society are given sums of money, they will likely spend it, rather than save it, thus promoting economic growth. It means a free rein to the economy, and few regulations and restrictions. Thus, people are either "leaners" or "lifters", taxpayers and economic units instead of people with needs.

Of course, population growth is "good" for the economy, but not good for people. Already our environment is suffering and declining, and houses around Melbourne are being built on fertile soils - and we can't eat houses.

Somewhere between 6,000 and 20,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar are drifting in the Andaman Sea while neighbouring countries take turns to deny them entry.

Along Myanmar’s crescent-shaped western coast, Buddhist communities fear their dominance is under siege. As in parts of Europe — such as The Netherlands and France — Myanmar’s riled-up patriots warn of a population time bomb: A demographic explosion of Muslims 'breeding' them into oblivion.

Authorities in western Myanmar’s Rakhine state have introduced a local regulation setting a two-child limit on Rohingya families in a bid to restrict population growth among the Muslim minority group.

The 2012 two-child limit only applies to Rohingyas, a stateless group widely considered in Myanmar to be illegal immigrants from Bangladesh even though they have lived in the country for generations. The measures were being implemented to curb Rohingyas’ high population growth. Muslims in a province of Burma have been ordered not to have more than two children in an attempt by the government to stop Buddhist attacks on Muslims.

The population growth of Rohingya Muslims is 10 times higher than that of the Rakhine Buddhists), and overpopulation is one of the causes of tension.

The bill, which introduces the practice of “birth spacing” or a three-year interval for women between child births, is expected to be signed by President Thein Sein in the near future.

Reflecting this concern with population growth, Rakhine State spokesperson Win Myaing told media last year that “overpopulation is one of the causes of tension.” He added, “The population growth of Rohingya Muslims is 10 times higher than that of the Rakhine [Buddhists].’’

Myanmar- the worsening plight of the Rohinga

UNHCR has to expect more peoples fleeing from impoverished Bangladesh. Southern part of Bangladesh was sinking into sea because the country was built on very low lying area. It has effect 20 millions peoples’ lives who living on Southern part of Bangladesh. They have to move from their land in next decade.

Overpopulation causes conflicts, poverty, displacement, tension, stresses on finite natural resources, intolerance, and thus migration!

The reality is that our world is "shrinking" from the explosion of human numbers, and there are fewer nations in the world that have excess resources to share, and compassion will inevitably become thinned out!

CLOSE to half of international students want to live and work in Adelaide after they graduate, a landmark survey has found, prompting migration and business experts to say they must be harnessed as an economic resource to fill skills shortages and boost the state’s population.

Close to half of South Australia's international students want to live and work in Adelaide after they graduate (This 'premium content' Herald-Sun article is behind a paywall. - Ed)

With record rates of unemployment, how does SA have "skills shortages" unless it's due to non-investment in domestic skill training and unaffordable university courses? SA’s monthly unemployment rate was 7.3 per cent in January, up from 6.6 per cent in December – and the worst in the nation.

Youth unemployment was up to 23.6 per cent, above the national rate of 20.3 per cent.

Thousands more foreign students will get the green light to compete for Australian jobs as from March this year, when the Government expands a work visa scheme. The Immigration quietly, by stealth, make these "changes" to visas outside democratic consultation, and without any relationship to needs or our employment landscape! It's using access to a tight jobs market as a lure for international students, to boost numbers!

We should be promoting academic excellence, and high standards of training and degrees, but all reports are on the contrary! Tertiary educational standards are being compromised by its business nature, so these "students" must now be given more opportunities to WORK in Australia too - and then PR?

From March 23, all international students will be allowed to stay and work in any job for up to four years after they graduate from an Australian university.

Work rules relaxed for foreign students

Our government is guilty of breath-taking hypocrisy by going through the motions of tightening restrictions on the 457 visa rort, to "crack down" on the system of putting imported workers before Australians in job queues, but at the same time expanding and relaxing the student visa system!

In response, Immigration Minister Brendan O'Conner's spokesperson said- "There is no guarantee that sub-class 485 visa holders will find a job at the expense of an Australian student". How out of touch with reality are these pollies - in their lofty towers away from the real world!

She said the government would monitor the use of the visas and "make changes in response to economic and employment circumstances". Australians should be first in the educational, training priorities, and job queues, not be apologies for international students who are being promoted at our expense!

The following was posted to a forum discussion on  :

Ikonoclast at May 18th, 2015 at 09:37 asked:

I really wonder what is happening in our society. I know is isn't good. Our young people are filled with despair and alienation.

This is an example of cause and effect.

The cause is the globalising neo-liberal 'small government' economic 'reforms' that Keating and his heirs on both 'sides' of our Federal and state parliaments have imposed on Australia since 1983.

The effect is that our society which is becoming ever more dysfunctional with higher unemployment, less career structure and more crime, domestic violence, drug abuse, health problems, environmental destruction, etc.

A component of this is the ever higher immigration of skilled workers in place of workers trained in Australia being employed here. (This was known as the Section 457 Visa system, but I believe it now goes by another name.)

As I may have written before, I remember a time when many workers would be trained in work time at the expense of their employers, whether government or private, and there was no need to study part-time, including late in the evenings or on weekends to get the additional necessary qualifications. (Another aspect of this scam is creeping credentialism, but, for now, I will leave that for another time.)

One Federal Member of Parliament who has consistently spoken up against much of this is the Labor Member for Wills, Kelvin Thomson.

This drive to attract more foreign students, by offering them job opportunities after, is more an admission of our failure to keep our universities attractive and viable. So, they are offered an extra incentive to come here and study! Australia is the most expensive place for an international student to go to university but it is not seen as the best place for a top quality education. It was estimated an international student in Australia would spend more than $42,000 each year on fees and supporting themselves. We ranked relatively low on quality and we are the most expensive, given that education is our largest export service.

Around 70 students from the universities of Newcastle and Sydney, and several other major universities, were recently caught up in a cheating racket stemming from their use of an online essay writing company. The website was written in Chinese, aimed at international students.

"The gap between student capabilities and academic demands increases the likelihood that students will offer inducements to academics in order to pass courses and, conversely, makes students more vulnerable to improper demands from academics," an Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC)paper said. The ICAC report found that academics can feel pressure to not enforce compliance with academic standards because of the competitive environment of the international student market. So, unless academics compromise their standards, they are threatened with job losses, and universities might lose more of their revenues! The educational export industry relies on international students for their fees, and rights to jobs are added in to the basket to attract more participants despite record high unemployment and that local graduates struggle to get jobs.

The Department of Environment found VicForests had needlessly destroyed rainforest canopy on the Errinundra Plateau. However, in revenge, members of an environment group, Goongerah Environment Centre (GECO), who revealed evidence of rainforest clearing in East Gippsland, in south-east Victoria, have been threatened with prosecution!
Whistle-blowers are not welcome in the logging industry, and if they do expose corruption, they end up being prosecuted!
The state forestry compliance officer has now threatened to prosecute members of GECO for trespassing in the disputed logging coupes. But, if they hadn't entered the "disputed" area the illegal vandalism would not have been discovered! Clearly, government organisations don't like the public exposing environmental crimes.
East Gippsland's Valley of the Giants contains some of the finest remaining old growth forest left in Victoria.
Mr Ed Hill said he had asked for Environment Minister Lisa Neville to intervene. They found that VicForests had needlessly destroyed rainforest canopy on the Errinundra Plateau. This violation of old growth forests in Gipplsand is for claimed to be for windows, doors and timber for the housing industry, to prop up the housing bubble and keep the building frenzy alive, while we continue with our world-record breaking rate of population growth. Actually, records obtained from VicForests' show that 85 per cent of our native forests end up as woodchips, sawdust and waste. This is a taxpayer-subsidised industry!

Green group threatened with prosecution after revealing Errinundra Plateau rainforest clearing

The Great Forest National Park is needed in Victoria.
Sign the petition:
Petition for the Great Forest National Park

Shocking footage has emerged of live export Australian cattle being bludgeoned to death with sledgehammers in Vietnam. There is a call for a BAN on live export. Evidence reveals slaughterers in abattoirs, that appear to be more like sheds, repeatedly hitting cattle over the head with sledgehammers!
The hidden camera vision was captured late last month in a facility in northern Vietnam.
Animals Australia spokeswoman Lisa Chalk said Vietnam was currently the second-largest export market for Australian cattle, with 178,000 animals exported there in 2014. There's nothing more alluring than MONEY and PROFITS to negate any responsibility for ethics or morals when it comes to animal welfare.
Agriculture Minister Barnaby Joyce said there were already three reviews under way into breaches in Vietnam of a system known as the Exporter Supply Chain Assurance Scheme. The ESCAS is nothing than an empty policy, and once animals are overseas, all control is gone.
But Mr Joyce said the government was “totally committed” to the industry. Similarly, terrorists and criminals are also "totally committed" to their causes!
The probe is seeking to determine how three family-run abattoirs got access to the animals, given they were not accredited.
In his usual unmovable and draconian mode, Mr Joyce ruled out any ban on live cattle exports, saying Australia had to fix the issue rather than resort to knee-jerk reactions. So, any exposure and outcry from the caring public is simply over-emotional response, a "knee jerk" reaction? There are social psychopaths that have no empathy for other living things, and can't understand the democratic system, or any other response to industries except profits and filthy lucre!

See also: Japan aquariums vote to stop using dolphins from Taiji (20/5/15) | Japan Times News, Japanese association to ban aquariums from obtaining dolphins captured via drive fishery (21/5/15) | Asia One, Japan aquariums say they'll stop getting Taiji-hunt dolphins (21/5/15) | Boston Herald, Japan Aquariums to Stop Obtaining Dolphins from Taiji (21/5/15), Australian group forces Japanese aquariums to stop buying dolphins caught in harrowing chase (21/5/15) | SMH

There's few victories for animals, and for animal rights activists, in a world more and more captured by human concerns, but at least there is one victory - for captured dolphins!

In a stunning setback to the dolphin hunt in Taiji, the Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums on Wednesday banned its members from acquiring animals captured during the annual slaughter. Of the country’s 54 aquariums that house dolphins, 17 are non-JAZA members and are not bound by the decision.

It's a blow to the live animal trade in Taiji!

The Pacific coast town of Taiji is known for its fishermen who trap dolphins and then kill them to sell their meat, a practice widely condemned as brutal. Fishermen also capture a small number for sale at zoos and aquariums. The meat is said to be laced with mercury!

JAZA (Japanese Association of Zoos and Aquariums) will "prohibit its members to acquire wild dolphins caught by drive fishing in Taiji and to take part in their export and sale,” the group’s chairman, Kazutoshi Arai, said at a news conference on Wednesday.

“This momentous decision marks the beginning of the end for dolphin hunting in Japan,” Australia for Dolphins chief executive Sarah Lucas said. It should mean the beginning of the end of cruel and brutal and unwarranted dolphin killings, and the end of taking these social animals out of the group into the artificial world of captivity, and entertainment.

The comment subject was previously "Warren Commission apologist opposed to investigation of crime?", but I have changed it after the person concerned objected.

The following was posted to a forum discussion on :

Thank you, Megan on May 21st, 2015 at 01:06 and on May 20th, 2015 at 21:32 and Julie on May 21st, 2015 at 09:06.

On the one hand Tim, by dismissing the evidence presented in Oliver Stone's JFK and in Jim Garrison's On the Trail of the Assassins, is taking sides with those, here and elsewhere, who wish to cover up the facts about the murder of President Kennedy on 22 November 1963 (and the murder of others who have blown the whistle on JFK's murder since) and, on the other hand, Tim has twice stated (on May 20th, 2015 at 17:08 and on May 21st, 2015 at 10:43) that he has no interest in finding out the truth of this matter.

You can't have it both ways, Tim. Either deal with the arguments I have presented or stop wasting my time and and stop wasting the time of other visitors.

Tim wrote on May 21st, 2015 at 10:43 :

Also, the JFK film, based on Garrison's account, provides just one point of view on an issue that, rather obviously, has multiple points of view that are at odds with each other.

The murder of a President John F. Kennedy on 22 November 1963 was a crime. When a crime is committed, particularly a crime as serious as the murder of a country's head of state (not to mention the subsequent escalation of the Vietnam War, made possible by that murder) the job of the police is to solve that crime, to charge and arrest suspects and present the evidence they have gathered to court so that a jury can decide on whether the person or persons charged is guilty or not guilty.

If all law enforcement officers were to adopt the mindset displayed by Tim, a good many more serious crimes would remain unsolved.

The following is to be posted to a forum discusion on

Tim on May 22nd, 2015 at 11:10,

My apologies for implying, whether implicitly or explicitly, that you were not posting to this forum in good faith.

Nonetheless, I think you should acknowledge that the issue of who killed President Kennedy, and why, is one of the critical questions of the late 20th century and the early 21st century. The 1,000 days for which Kennedy was President was one of two occasions in which the United States made a constructive, and not destructive, contribution to humanity. The other occasion was the period from March 1933 until April 1945.

In that time President Franklin Delano Roosevelt (FDR):

  1. scrapped the dogma of economic neoliberalism and used massive government spending programs to eliminate unemployment and lift the standard of living from ordinary Americans; and
  2. against understandable public opposition, got America to enter the Second World War against Nazi Germany and its allies, thereby probably making the difference (not withstanding the bravery of, and terrible sacrifice by, the Soviet peoples) between the survival of democracy and the global triumph of Nazism.

We are living today, in May 2015, with the consequences of the murders of the two Kennedy brothers and of Martin Luther King and the rule of the United States by a succession mostly of rogues since 1963. The consequences include:

  1. The Vietnam War;
  2. The wars and sanctions against Iraq since 1990 which according to former United States' Attorney General Ramsey Clarke, have cost as many as 3 million lives including 750,00 children;
  3. The invasion of Libya in 2011;
  4. The terrorist proxy war against Syria since march 2011, which has since 2011, cost over 220,000 lives;
  5. The coup which installed a neo-Nazi regime in Ukraine in January 2014 and the subsequent war against Russian speaking people in East Ukraine; and
  6. The current invasion of Yemen by the Saudi Arabian dictatorship.

Tim on May 22nd, 2015 at 11:10:

The stuff about law enforcement officers is just a rant, that has no relevance to anything I said.

The relevance is: With the exception of Jim Garrison and a few others, including a number of other police officers and security agents on duty in Dallas on 22 November 1963, most law enforcement officers with the responsibility to care for President Kennedy and solve his murder, abysmally failed in their duty to test "multiple points of view that are at odds with each other" against the evidence. That is why an innocent man was framed for the murder and killed that very same day before the supposed evidence against him could be tested in a court of law.

A good resource to understand the history of the United States is The Untold History of the United States (2012) by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick. The video of that book is now freely available here (update, 3/6/16 - no longer available, supposedly because of copyright violations) on YouTube.

The following is adapted from a post to a forum discussion, about the imposition of globalising 'race to the bottom' neoliberal economic 'reforms' by then Federal 'Labor' Paul Keating and his successors since 1983, and its effects, on :

A story in a local community newspaper, Australians feeling the hunger strain further confirms the overwhelming anecdotal evidence on this page (see May 19th, 2015 at 20:06):

TEN per cent of Australians say they can't afford to buy enough food.

That damning figure from the 2014 report by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development is compounded by the waste of so much fresh food.


Foodbank Victoria's Hunger Report last year revealed almost 9000 Victorians – 2700 of them children – were being turned away from food charities that couldn't keep up with demand.

The report, compiled from responses by 1197 food relief agencies, showed that more than 90,900 people in Victoria alone accessed food relief each month – almost a third of them children.


This was posted to a forum discussion on

'jt' wrote on May 23rd, 2015 at 08:16 | #8 :

On Prof Quiggin's order I will not argue with James

The 'argument' here ended when you failed to respond to the arguments I put in my post of page 1 of May 20th, 2015 at 16:46 | #54.

Sheila Newman asked me to post the following in response to other content 1  of the abovementioned post by 'jt' (Footnotes have been added by me):

I believe that it is a slur on me to suggest that I am linking to a 'right wing conspiracy site'. It is not obvious to me what the politics of the site were or are, nor are they relevant to my post. The first URL I give under the heading, 'Fantastic Conspiracy Theory analysis site found', gives the URL and cites from it a system for rating the validity of conspiracies that its first poster describes. That is the 'fantastic conspiracy theory'. Nothing under the heading in this comment on candobetter _dot_ net is mine. I am simply quoting what someone called 'Curmudgeon' posted suggesting a system for evaluating conspiracy theories to another site in 2007 (5 years prior to me citing it). The system is half humorous but does attempt to award points for what can actually be proven in a conspiracy theory. The moon landing being faked 'theory' scores a 3 out of 5. 5 is proven. 3 is not proven.

I do not show any particular approval for the moon landing as a hoax theory here. I don't say anything about it. It is possible that 'jt' thought that everything I cited was written by me, but actually none of it was; it was all written by Curmudgeon. Perhaps I could have put it in quotation marks, but 'jt' should have checked whose words he was attributing to me.

Regarding the second URL I cited, I cannot see how my detractor can say this is a UFO site. As far as I am concerned it is not a UFO site and being labelled as someone who apparently thinks a UFO site is great presents me as someone with values that I do not hold. I am an evolutionary sociologist and do not appreciate being portrayed as an enthusiastic endorser of UFOs and moon-landing conspiracies, although I do write on other controversial subjects, but I do this scientifically or journalistically. Furthermore, the slur has been reinforced with the implication that this is how I choose to live my life, as if enthusing over moon-landing conspiracies and UFOs on 'right wing' sites was a major defining quality of my writing. ('jt' writes, "If this is how someone chose to live their life, let them have at it.")

Why is this person targeting me?

The second site I referred to (which my detractor calls a UFO site) was one called, "The Top ten real conspiracies" and lists the following which few would dispute.

  • 1/ The Assassination Of Julius Caesar,
  • 2/ Nero Fiddles As Rome Burns,
  • 3/ The Gunpowder Plot - A Conspiracy Within A Conspiracy,
  • 4/ Galileo: The Suppression of Knowledge,
  • 5/ The Dreyfuss Affair,
  • 6/ The Birth Panama and it's Canal,
  • 7/ The Reichstag Fire,
  • 8/ The Suez Crisis
  • 9/ The Watergate Scandal and
  • 10/ The Iran/Contra Affair.

There are over 4000 articles on candobetter _dot_ net, of which a fair proportion have been written or edited by me. There is almost nothing on moon landings 2  and little endorsing right wing stuff. We have numerous writers. It is not a two person blog. I also do cartoons and I sometimes write satire. But the main subject is 'reform in democracy, environment, population, land use planning and energy policy '. If anyone wants to know more about what I really do, they can read about me on candobetter _dot_ node net /node/1882 .

I appreciate being able to clarify on this.

Tim Macknay on May 22nd, 2015 at 20:25,

The words "Warren commission apologist" have been removed. The title of the post is simply "Opposed to investigation of crime?"


1. ↑  For more information, see The "Conspiracy Theory" Label: Powerful Tool of Media Disinformation and Political Discourse (1/4/14) by Professor James F. Tracy | Global Research.

The article includes an embedded 4 minute YouTube video (aslo embedded above) in which Luke Rudkowski confronts Cass Sunstein who was, from 2009 to 2012, Administrator of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. Sunstein had said, in an article Conspiracy Theories (12/1/08) (in pdf):

What can government do about conspiracy theories? Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (my emphasis - Ed)

2. ↑  Apart from the comment previously linked to, I could find only one other reference to 'moon landings'. That reference is in a comment at /node/2406#comment-6260 cited an article, by Bernard Salt of 2 Jul 2008 on Rupert Murdoch's Australian, which has since disappeared.

The article uses similar techniques to those used above to ridicule people who dispute the official narratives about the murder of JFK, etc.

This was posted as a comment about Professor John Quiggin's article Standard Chartered and Galilee (23/5/15):

I am somewhat relieved to learn here here that this project is "financially marginal". Just hopefully, in spite of Tony Abbott's support, it will collapse.

The expansion of coal mining at such a breakneck pace when we face so much uncertainty about the future of our global life-support system ranks in criminality with the starting of the Second World War.

What I posted to my own web site's 'about' page in June 2007, when John Howard was still Prime Minister, may be of interest:

The only fundamental difference between today's globalised civilisation and those earlier failed civilisations that we have discovered fossil fuels formed over tens of millions of years through biological and geological processes under the ground. Instead of treating this endowment as a priceless gift, belonging to this and all future generations of humankind, we have dug up almost half of it in less than 200 years. The consumption of fossil fuels has allowed the world's population to double from 500 million in 1650 to from around 1 billion in 1850 and over the next 150 years to expand again by six and a half to reach today's global population of 6.6 billion. How such a large population is to have its current standards of living maintained, or even be fed once our fossil fuel reserves are exhausted, is uncertain at best.

The following was posted to a forum discussion on

A symptom of Internet illiteracy is the frequent use of the catch-phrase "just Google it" rather than supplying an explicit URL to link to the page. An example of this illiteracy follows:

... If you type "above type (sic) secret" into google, the Above Top Secret site comes up as the first link with the blurb:


The page linked to previously by Sheila Newman lists 10 known conspiracies which have occurred throughout history (listed on May 24th, 2015 at 01:04 | #11) and nothing about "Aliens and UFOs".

Nothing written by Sheila Newman, here or anywhere else, indicates a belief by her in the "faked Moon landing", the Roswell incident or other bizarre conspiracy theories. To the contrary Sheila, Newman has shown here in great detail (on May 24th, 2015 at 01:04 | #11) why she repudiates such beliefs and 'jt' should stop pretending otherwise.

The amazing, surprising, Africa-driven demographic future of the Earth, in 9 charts

The United Nations Population Division, which tracks demographic data from around the world, has dramatically revised its projections for what will happen in the next 90 years. The new statistics, based on in-depth survey data from sub-Saharan Africa, tell the story of a world poised to change drastically over the next several decades. Most rich countries will shrink and age (with a couple of important exceptions), poorer countries will expand rapidly and, maybe most significant of all, Africa will see a population explosion nearly unprecedented in human history.

Nine out of 10 low-income families will lose money under Budget savings proposed to be brought in by 2018-19. Research found that a couple with two children – one at primary school and one at secondary school — on a single income of $50,000 would lose about $68 a week of their disposable income from next year.

The Abbott government is stripping more than $15 billion over four years from families and lower-income Australians, new analysis by the Australian Council of Social Service shows. The cuts would "disproportionately and adversely impact on low income families, particularly single-parent families".

Research also found a couple with two children — one at primary school and one at secondary school — on a single income of $50,000 would lose about $68 a week of their disposable income from next year. It's pure Liberal policy, to give more to the money owners and wealthy, and cut out the poor.

This attack on struggling families is an attack on our status as a wealth nation. It's an attack on those most vulnerable, considering families are the backbone of our nation, and future generations. Our nation is being slowly, by stealth, dismantled from first world status, to a bulked up one of big population, but with more impoverished and disadvantaged people! It's about supporting those with monetary power, and allowing the poorer to be dis-emplowered.

Melbourne's heavy and unprecedented population growth is threatening our biodiversity. Ecologists have warned that Melbourne is at risk of losing more than half its native plant species over the next century, with grasslands in Melbourne's west most vulnerable to the city's urban sprawl.

Our population growth overload is turning deadly for native species.

Compared to 22 cities around the world, Melbourne had the largest "extinction debt" in terms of the proportion of native plant species likely to go extinct. This result is not surprising as our rate of population growth is outstripping other developed nations, and is unsustainable ecologically, ethically and economically.

Research found that 55 per cent of the 1200 Indigenous plant species found in greater Melbourne are threatened with extinction over the next 100 years. Housing is killing off our ecosystems, and species. We have governments in the palm of property developers, and their sponsorship means that any conservation or management is being thrown out the window.

Just 2 per cent of original grasslands between Melbourne and Adelaide still remain. 2% remaining is unsustainable, for reproduction and to maintain robust reproduction and wildlife. We are heading towards a dead-end of destruction, and deserts of housing, concrete, roads and infrastructure.

This is not "planning" but growth, and then trying to "manage" environmental impacts in hindsight. All environmental groups that are genuine should be addressing the threatening process of urbanization and destruction not only of native species, and grasslands, but of our food bowls! Nobody can eat houses.
"This is Australia's natural heritage. When we destroy it, it will not exist anywhere else in the world" says Mark McDonnell, director of the Royal Botanic Gardens' Australian Research Centre for Urban Ecology.

The Age: Biodiversity under threat as Melbourne's grasslands become suburbs

Dr McDonnell acknowledged development wasn't going to cease, but said it was important to work with what remained and try to incorporate grasslands in new housing estates. Trying to avoid the issue of unwanted, unwarranted and socially-engineered population growth means trying to "offset" the losses, but he should admit it's pure tokenism - existing green wedges are also under threat from being nibbled away!