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Sheila Newman's blog

About Sheila Newman, social researcher


Click on "About Sheila Newman, social researcher" to read more and for links to books by Sheila and reviews.

It is hard to label me conventionally because I really write in a new paradigm, in the spirit of E.O. Wilson's 'consilience', i.e. where social and physical sciences come together.

For sociologists an early start-point for my work was Catton & Dunlap. My first research thesis compared population, energy and environment policies in Australia and France.

ALP takes a backward step for Frankston's environment again

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

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

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

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

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

Plausibles and implausibles in the French Presidential elections 2017

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

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

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

US chemical weapons in the Middle East available to ISIS

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

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

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

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

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

Can Trump dodge his deep state destiny by acting absurdly?

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

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

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

More saying how chem weapons story implausible - Prof Tim Anderson

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

Stanley town trying to defend its water from international bottling industry

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Remarkable French Presidential election debate with 11 candidates 4 April 2017

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

Don't fall for another chemical weapons story: Idlib Syria US-NATO

It is weird that the mainstream press and the US-NATO war machine continue to put out the same stories as if they were spambots. You would think that real human beings could come up with something more convincing. It is known, however, that people tend to believe a message they often hear repeated, to the detriment of their own eyes and reason, so perhaps this is the intentional modus-operandi of the US-NATO-military industrial media complex. The only way to combat the oft-repeated lie is to repeatedly question it, which we are doing here. Once again the US-NATO deep state war-machine has tried to use the UN like Lucy's football for Charlie Brown, to give authority to accusations against the Syrian government which it actually has no reliable basis for. The consequences could be truly awful - but what do spambots care about World War 3?

Video interview: Tony Kevin's book Return to Moscow might help save the world yet

Recording of a timely and important interview with Tony Kevin, author of Return to Moscow UWA 2017. As a young Australian diplomat, Tony Kevin visited Brezhnev's Soviet Union in from 1969-1971. He returned on official business in 1985 when Chernenko was in power, then again, very briefly, in 1990. During these times he was not able to get to know the Russians due to the policy of both governments against fraternisation, thus Russia ironically became a source of growing fascination for him. He continued to inform his fascination from many sources, always at a distance. Concerned today by the threat to peace from US-NATO anti-Russian propaganda, and more fascinated by Russia than ever, he returned on his own to Russia (no longer the Soviet Union, of course) in 2016. Return to Moscow examines past and present attitudes to the people of Russia and to its leaders through empathic eyes and an understanding of the change in geopolitics from cold war to US interventionist.

On Putin: "Not since Britain's concentrated personal loathing of their great strategic enemy Napoleon in the Napoleonic wars was so much animosity brought to bear on one leader. Propaganda and demeaning language against Putin became more systemic, sustained and near universal in Western foreign policy and media communities than had ever been directed against any Soviet communist leader at the height of the Cold War. This hostile campaign evoked an effective defensive global media strategy by Russia. [...] A new kind of information Cold War took shape, with - paradoxically - Western media voices more and more speaking with one disciplined Soviet-style voice, and Russian counter voices fresher, more diverse and more agile." [Cited from Tony Kevin's book.] The interview in the video took place at Russia House in Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia. It was organised by Claire Woods of the Traveller's Bookstore. The interviewer was Associate Professor Judith Armstrong, former head of European Languages Department at Melbourne University.

Vic Auditor General Report shows Vic Planning and Development is reckless, incompetent; makes recommendations

The Victorian Auditor General notes that Victoria's population grew from 5.5 million in 2011 to about 6 million in 2016, and is expected to reach 10 million by 2051. That is in 34 years! Responding to this madness, the Auditor General has recommended the introduction of "a risk-based approach to development assessment processes and guidance materials, by developing clear, simple assessment pathways that ensure applications are progressed in a transparent way in proportion to the potential risk, impact and cost, and in accordance with community expectations reviewing efficiency indicators to support the application of a risk-based approach (see Section 2.2.2); [the strengthening] of accountability requirements for decisions by applying better-practice principles for discretionary decision-making and transparent public reporting, including publishing reasons for all planning decisions, and publishing advisory committee reports within three months of the committee handing its report to the Minister for Planning (see Sections 4.2 and 4.3.1). [It has also recommended working] with councils to complete the performance measurement framework for the planning system so that it provides the relevant information and data at the state and local levels to assess the effectiveness of the planning system, measure the achievement of planning policies and support continuous improvement of the planning system through monitoring the effectiveness of reforms (see Section 5.2)." Will this help Victorians and Australians to halt the environmentally dangerous and antisocial development push from growth lobby governments? This is an excellent and informative report that will be of use to anyone wanting to understand our current predicament and the relevant bits of the law. It includes the subject of loss of agricultural land and how so defined and a summary of the objectives of the Planning and Environment Act 1987, which have an ironic flavour under the present Victorian regime. [Emphases by candobetter.net editor.]

Vic Auditor General scrutinises Vic Gov's Environmental Effects Statements in property development

Successive Victorian governments too closely aligned with property development and investment have inflicted continuous rapid population growth on Victorians. This has had a terrible effect on democratic rights to object and protect property and the environment, built and wild. It has seemed that no power could hold the government up to any effective criticism. The Victorian Auditor General has tabled the following reports. We have included an extract from the report which shows a democratic deficit in the public review process. This report may be of use to population and environment activists and they should publicise it.

4Corners climate change propaganda against Syria by pre-Trump military establishment

Don't mention the role of war in climate change and economic devastation. Why we shouldn't believe that the US military establishment is sincere on its warning to Trump (and the rest of us) on climate change. I would once have swallowed this whole. A bunch of military men from prior US administration proselytise about climate change on this 4Corners program. Of course they totally ignore the role of war in carbon emissions which is probably the greatest contributor to carbon emissions. This is my reaction to the Australian 4Corners program of 20 March 2017.

Syrian president says he did not invite Trump's troops into Syria

Disappointing to learn that Trump's troops are in Syria without permission. Today, 11 March 2017, in a Chinese publication interview (conducted in English), Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad described the US incursion into Northern Syria from Raqqa as 'raids' which he did not think would succeed against ISIS because they are not coordinated with the Syrian government and army. He said that Russia's military manoeuvres against ISIS have been successful because Russia coordinated with the Syrian government and troops, and was invited. Assad said that he had been more hopeful about the Trump administration vis a vis Syria but that he has yet to have any direct (as opposed to indirect and unreliable) contact with Trump. Asked whether he had opened the door to these American troops, Assad said, "No, no, we didn’t. Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation or consultation or permission, they are invaders, whether they are American, Turkish, or any other one."

Trump's boots on the ground in Syria may still surprise critics

Is Trump just falling in line with the evil establishment and going for more 'regime change' in Syria like Obama who preceded him? Is this another illegal invasion of Syria by the United States and NATO? Probably not, because the Syrian President would have complained, but has said nothing. Neither has Russia. Nor has Turkey. Something new is going on in Syria and it may actually be good. Could the end of this terrible war inflicted by US-NATO upon Syria finally be in sight?

RSPCA Vic Inquiry about to close but you could make a late submission

Candobetter.net has only just heard of this inquiry which closes today. However the Secretary of the inquiry has been contacted and she indicated that if individuals write in to this address: rspcavicinquiry@parliament.vic.gov.au and request to make a late inquiry, stating who they are and how much time they might require, such as a week or two, permission will probably be granted. The inquiry seems to have been poorly publicised because a lot of people have only just found out due to an animal rescue group writing to various other groups and individuals to complain that there are only about 16 submissions. But it seems that very few people were aware of this inquiry. So, please consider making a submission.

War on Syria - brilliant Iranian-led discussion clarifies much - Video

Brilliant Iranian interviewer Kaveh Taghvai's questions on the subject are inspired in this debate - more of a discussion - between J. Michael Springmann, a former US diplomat, and Michael Lane, the founder of American Institute for Foreign Policy, both from Washington. The two guests and the interviewer all have an unusually deep grasp of the drivers of turmoil in the region and of the foreign players involved. We get some very interesting new perspectives and interpretations of the latest moves around Syria. For instance, Turkey's position is often hard to fathom. We know it wants to take land from the north of Syria, whilst pretending to be maintaining safe zones. We know it wants to drive the Kurds back, but the usefulness of the refugee camps for Turkey as a military buffer may not have occurred to everyone.

Yet another view on Trump

If you take your information from the mainstream media, then you could have thought that, under Obama/Clinton/John Kerry, Syria and East Ukraine were being rescued from dastardly governments by a benevolent US-NATO, which is standing up to Grizzly-bear Russia. If you read the articles on Syria and Ukraine on this site, which takes its information from a wide range of sources, you would be aware of how scary the prospect of Hillary Clinton winning the US 2017 elections really was. Already guilty of tens of thousands of deaths in Libya and Syria as Obama's foreign secretary, she seemed to be enthusiastically marching straight into WW3 with the approval of George Soros, Obama, Merkel, Hollande, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Australia, Israel .... The mainstream press was encouraging everyone to get right in there behind her.

Sponsor an Australian Child - new ads on the internet

Ads are now appearing on the internet, asking people to sponsor an Australian Child. They are from the Smith Family charity. https://www.thesmithfamily.com.au/sponsor-a-child They talk about how difficult it is for families to pay Australia's [world highest] rents, food and bills, then how difficult it is to finance the necessities for education. "One in seven Australian children and young people are growing up in poverty,[1] where even the bare necessities are hard to come by. In a family where there is no regular income, money goes on food, rent and bills. Finding money for a school uniform, proper shoes, textbooks or the next school excursion is often impossible."

Video: Alex Jones and Infowars on globalist reasons to overpopulate and overdevelop

Alex Jones! Infowars! I hear you say. Aren't they the far-right conspiracy theorists? Isn't Alex Jones a card-carrying nutcase? Well, that's what the mainstream press say about him and his followers, all 50 m plus.[1] Mainstream media is on the way out, but Jones is on the way up and he really puts on a show. Maybe judge the pudding by its contents, which vary. But sometimes Infowars seems to really hit the nail on the head. Before you scoff, check out the following video, which is about planning threats to self-government in Austin Texas. Remind you of Australia's cities and towns? You won't hear it on the mainstream news.

Ratepayers Vic gig Revised Rate Capping Guidance, Knox, 4 March 2017

There will be a Presentation/Workshop tailor-made to Ratepayers Victoria on 4 March 2017, 1pm-4pm, Knox Council Offices. See inside for details.

Working with the Local Government Inspectorate
Revised Rate Capping Guidance 2017-18
Presentation/Workshop tailor-made to Ratepayers Victoria

Call for Spring St to act: Knox Rally planned on height controls 27 Feb

Community outrage continues in the battle to protect the iconic Dandenong Ranges from inappropriate development following Knox Council’s recent failure to adopt the independent Panel recommendation for mandatory maximum height controls in the Upper Ferntree Gully Activity Centre. Knox Appropriate Development Alliance President, Catherine Kruse said that a petition to the State Government calling for their intervention is gathering momentum with interest from across Victoria. A rally is also planned for Monday February 27th at the Knox Council offices.

Julianne Bell Environment and Civil Rights activist - a firebrand extinguished

Funeral service Friday, February 3, 2017 at 2pm, St Michael's Church, 220 McPherson St., Princes Hill, 3054. Written by Jill Quirk and Sheila Newman. With the death of Julianne Bell at 5.00 a.m. on Friday, January 27, 2017, environmental activism in Victoria has lost a formidable force and a fearless friend. Julianne was a committed defender of nature and of our right to "keep public land in public hands" through environmental groups such as the Royal Park Protection Group and Protectors of Public Lands, Victoria (which she founded). She sternly opposed the encroachment of development on public land, such as the Commonwealth Games Village (a real-estate development which took a large slice of Royal Park and for which 2000 trees were removed).

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