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Miscellaneous comments from 15 November 2010

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Anna Bligh's concrete legacy

Re: Steve Irwin Day Hypocrisy

Well, perhaps environmentalists can be assured that Anna Bligh's legacy to Queensland's ecology will be what she left by way of a concrete impression, otherwise how she played a key role contributing to Australia's mass extinctions.

Bligh may use the above for her epitaph if she wishes. I give her my permission.

Suggan Buggan
Snowy River Region
Victoria 3885

Death penalty for Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi, 45, was sentenced on Monday by a court in Nankana district in Pakistan's central province Punjab. Ms Bibi's case dates back to June 2009 when she was asked to fetch water while out working in the fields. And her case spotlights the Muslim country's controversial laws.

She was arrested in Ittanwalai village and prosecuted under Section 295 C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which carries the death penalty.

Sentencing her to hang, Judge Naveed Iqbal "totally ruled out" any chance that Ms Bibi was falsely implicated and said there were "no mitigating circumstances", according to a copy of the verdict.

Although proponents justify the “defamation of religion” concept as protecting religious practice and promoting tolerance, it really promotes intolerance and human rights violations of religious freedom and freedom of speech for religious minorities in these countries.

A United Nations forum last year passed a resolution condemning "defamation of religion" as a human rights violation, despite wide concerns that it could be used to justify curbs on free speech in Muslim countries.

Numerous Christians like her and others have been victims of it, either because they have made a comment which has been construed as critical of the prophet of Islam or as a way of settling property and business disputes. Now she has become the first person to be sentenced to death under it.

The international community, the UN, and the EU must do everything they can to make sure this vulnerable woman does not suffer the extreme penalty.

Western governments and a broad alliance of activist groups have voiced dismay about the religious defamation text, which is ostensibly to broaden the concept of human rights to protect communities of believers rather than individuals.

Fortunately, the General Assembly resolution is non-binding against U.N. member states. Just how much of the UN resolutions are binding?

Husband Ashiq Masih, 51, told AFP that he would appeal her death sentence, which needs to be upheld by the Lahore high court, the highest court in Punjab, before it can be carried out.

"The case is baseless and we will file an appeal," he said.

Brumby boost to native waterbird annihilation and cruelty

Agriculture Minister Joe Helper has announced that the Brumby Government, in the lead-up to the election, was giving $400,000 of taxpayers money for hunting and shooting clubs to 'promote game management". This is on top of the $12.7 million for a shooting club. It's all under a Labor policy called "Pursuing the Great Outdoors" that will continue controversial duck shooting seasons and allow shooting in Red Gum National Parks.

This is despite the Yorta Yorta traditional owners not wanting
recreation duck shooting on their land.

The Brumby government intends moving recreational duck shooting from the Environment Minister's portfolio to the Agriculture Minister. Native waterbirds will be treated either as a "pest species" and managed like other wildlife, or procreated as "livestock". We all know how cruel some of our livestock industries are! This will be a disaster for native waterbirds.

The Coalition Against Duck Shooting are meeting outside Minister Joe Helper's electoral office

177 High Street, Maryborough (Melbourne Melways Map 627, A 1)

12 noon

Friday, 19 November 2010

to talk to the Maryborough constituents and hand out our leaflets

Greens Western Victoria candidate for the Upper House, Marcus Ward, will be joining the action. Marcus has a very good chance of winning this seat. It is essential for our native waterbirds that the Greens win the balance of power both in the Upper and Lower Houses.

Please make a special effort to attend this very important action and us know if you are coming - mobile: 0414 816 509.


Due to unforseen circumstances, our visit to Joe Helper's electoral office in Maryborough this Friday November 19, has had to be cancelled.

For further information please ring Laurie Levy on 0418 392 826.

Comment intially posted by Enne K. I wan't able to fix the author field. - editor

My daughter has begun training for an apprenticeship in a specialised trade with a small demand. People know each other. Until she gets an apprenticeship, she is aiming for casual employment, to get experience. She applied to one place and was rejected. Then she found out this place had employed two Indian nationals, probably students, as casual workers! She, understandably, feels let down.

Why should locals be disadvantaged by probably the cheaper rates accepted by foreigners?

Multiple human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch, accuse North Korea of having one of the worst human rights records of any nation. They refer to North Koreans as "some of the world's most brutalized people" with severe restrictions placed on their political and economic freedoms.

North Korean defectors testify to the existence of prison and detention camps with an estimated 150,000 inmates (about 0.85% of the population), with reports of torture, starvation, rape, murder, forced labour, and forced abortions.

Convicted political prisoners and their families are sent to these camps, where they are prohibited from marrying, required to grow their own food, and cut off from external communication. All religious activity is seen as a revolt against North Korea's socialist principles and the cult of Kim Jong-il and his father. A considerable number of secret Christians have been discovered, arrested, tortured, and sometimes killed. Despite this many take the risk of sharing their faith.

Last year we had evidence that some [of those captured] were used as guinea pigs to test chemical and biological weapons."

These sort of realities make our mainstream newspapers full of trivialities. The "news" is about selling papers and advertising, and promoting their own values. The reality of our planet, and the pain inflicted on, and because of, humanity gone wrong is white-washed, sanitized and censored.

Frankston Council has boasted of several environmental awards, notably the "Sustainable Cities award", which turns out to be made by the Victorian Government, apparently acting on behalf of Keep Australia Beautiful. If you go to the relevant website, you may search high and low, but you will not find any objective scientific criteria for this award. Indeed you will find almost no criteria at all. One wonders for what reason Frankston Council received the award.

Now Frankston residents may study the council’s Draft Climate Change Impacts Adaption Plan.

The description of the climate change impacts seem reasonably well researched and well presented.

The plan for action, however, limits actions to adapting and putting up with climate change. No consideration is given to avoiding or minimising climate change.

Australia is still increasing emissions by 3.1%. It is not reducing them. It is not even stabilising them.

Emissions are increasing because of continuous economic growth (a government policy), population growth (a government policy) and increased affluence per capita - a policy of increasing consumerism, which has the impact of increasing pollution.

These environmentally unsustainable goals are clearly demonstrated in the present Frankston City Economic Strategy plan which aims for more economic growth and more population growth, which will inevitably result in still higher CO2 emissions and the depletion of scarce resources. So Frankston City's Economic Strategy plan is anti-environmental and pro-climate change.

Obviously Frankston should aim for a steady state economy, self-sufficiency, and a stable population with the capacity for sustainable decrease, through attrition. This will not stop climate change but it will lessen the pollution that causes it and so lessen the chances of extreme changes. To continue with 'business as usual' is totally irresponsible and has serious consequences for our future generations.

Perhaps in the not-too-distant-future there will be Nuremberg Climate Change trials for councils and politicians who failed to make decisions to protect the helpless citizens of communities which paid their salaries and trusted them.

The new Victorian State treasurer, Kim Wells, sounds as if he is singing a new tune on housing, population growth and manufacturing. Or it sounds like that in an article by David Rood, "Economy too reliant on housing, says Wells," December 27, 2010 The Age

"VICTORIA needs to move beyond its unsustainable dependence on building houses to fuel economic growth, according to new state Treasurer Kim Wells.

In his first interview since assuming the role, Mr Wells said Victoria needed to broaden its economic base by rebuilding the neglected areas of agriculture and manufacturing. Mr Wells promised every coalition election policy would be delivered by the 2014 poll.

''We have an enormous reliance on building brand new houses in this state - I don't think long term that that is sustainable,'' he said."

Moreover, Kim Wells had already spoken on this issue prior to the election in his Shadow Treasurer State Budget Reply of 6 May 2010:

"The Victorian Economy

World economies finally appear to be improving from the lows experienced following the global financial crisis.

However, despite more optimistic forecasts in this Budget than last, the Victorian economy remains fragile.

Furthermore, the Brumby Government has failed to address the major underlying issues of high population growth, housing affordability and real structural change within the Victorian economy.

The Victorian economy has been increasingly reliant on the housing sector and population increases to drive growth.

Last financial year, Victoria's population increased 2.2 per cent - 70 per cent of that increase due to overseas migration.

Access Economics in its September Quarter 2009 report described population growth as "underpinning" the State's economic growth.

However, housing affordability is a real issue for many Victorians.

A median-priced house in Melbourne now costs more than eight times the average annual pre-tax wage of $63,000, making it extremely difficult for home buyers.

According to a recent international housing affordability survey by Demographia, the average Melbourne household would need to spend over 50 per cent of its annual income to pay for the mortgage on a median-priced house.

The survey also found Melbourne housing was ''severely unaffordable."

Out of 272 cities surveyed, Melbourne was rated the third most unaffordable.

Housing affordability is approaching levels where many first home buyers and new residents in Victoria will be shut out of the market.

This is due to:

* 1. the supply of new housing blocks failing to match the strong demand from population growth;
* 2. stamp duty payable on an average Melbourne family home being the highest in Australia; and
* 3. the Brumby Government's decade of inaction on the issue and its failure to properly plan for the state's significant population growth.

And of course, State Labor is further reluctant to do anything on the issue because of its vested interest in benefiting from the continual increase in stamp duty payable on rising property prices.

However, it is now crunch time and the Government has failed to address the critical issue that the Victorian economy now requires a wider, more stable economic base for continuing growth.

Last month's Commsec state economic analysis reinforced this view, rating the Victorian economy third last for economic performance among the eight State and Territory economies. It noted that "there is little to separate Victoria, Northern Territory and Tasmania" in the economic league table.

Under Labor, Victoria's manufacturing sector has continued to decline and the State's export performance can only be described as mediocre.

Since 1998-99, manufacturing's share of the Victorian economy has fallen by nearly a third to just over 11 per cent.

Victoria's export volumes are barely matching levels of a decade ago.

Victoria's share of national merchandise exports has decreased from 20 per cent in 1999 to just over 9 per cent a decade later.

Even New South Wales was able to grow its exports by 36 per cent since 2001, while Victoria's exports have fallen 22 per cent - the worst performance of any State.

The Brumby Government has failed to fix the infrastructure and regulatory blockages impeding our internationally competitive enterprises. "

Is democracy looking up in Victoria? Is hope possible in the early 21st century?

At we will all be watching closely.

Victoria's economy also heavily depends on foreign students. Considering many are lured here with the aim of PR, like the housing and property development industries, it depends on population growth. They contribute about $5 billion to the Victorian economy each year.

The new study from the Centre for Population and Urban Research shows that employment growth in Melbourne has been primarily in city building and people servicing industries, sectors which are dependent on population growth, mainly from overseas migration.

According to Monash University's Dr Bob Birrell, what's happened is that the population growth of the past five or six years had been taken as a starting point for the Government and business projections. They are assuming that the very high rates of recent years will simply go on into the future. On the other hand, he says we're not seeing any significant growth in the knowledge intensive or high tech area that the Government had hoped for. So much so that in per capita terms Victoria is the slowest growing state by far of all states and territories in Australia.

The study (Melbourne: A Parasite City?), pointed out that population growth had masked ''grim'' economic realities including the doubling of Victoria's international trade deficit to more than $35 billion.

Commonwealth Securities State of the States report (July 2010) rates Victoria one of the nation's worst performers when it comes to economic growth and retail spending, but among the best at building and financing houses, and expanding the population.

We seems to have ended up in a no-win situation, with Victoria relying on population growth to prop up our economy. Cutting immigration would hurt Sydney and Melbourne the most. Unless we have a sustainable and productive economy, we could thus implode under the our own weight. Where so we stop? 10 million, 15 million, 20 + million people in Victoria until we have eaten away at our future?

Any aim of sustainable future is simply political spin while our economy depends on population growth, and imports of goods and people.

It's so uplifting to have a political leader, even if it is Victorian Treausurer Kim Wells, from on the 'conservative' side of politics, point out facts that should have been obvious, but which have, apparently, somehow escaped the notice of all but very few of Australia's leading economists, journailists and politicians.

How could any economy, which is so dependent upon providing housing for current residents and immigrants, possibly be strong in comparison to others? How can the building houses and necessary infrastructure be anything but a massive cost to the Australian economy?

What can we possibly hope to gain in exchange, except more people?

To do what?

Build yet more houses, that is unless effort is put into building some other sector of the economy, which all of our governments have yet to do.

How could China's economy have gained such an advantage in relation to foreign economies, if its leaders had, instead of building their manufacturing sector, made their economy dependent upon housing in the same way that Australia's 'leaders' have? (This, of course, ignores the question of whether or not the consuming as much of the world's non-renewable natural capital as the Chinese are can possibly be sustainable.)

Thank you, Vivienne, for pointing out Victoria's $35 billion trade deficit. How could any economy, so dependent upon housing be other than in massive deficit? (Imagine, if you could what the size of China's deficit today would be if they had been similarly dependant upon housing.) What created by the housing sector can possibly be exported and used to reduce our trade deficit?

If, in spite of Kim Wells' observations, Australia continues in its dependency upon housing, where can this possibly lead us to, other than massive indebtdness and enslavement?

We rely unhealthily on imports. In the face of peak oil, costs will only increase and we lose more economic independence and skills. Manufacturing is the creator of jobs. Manufacturing is the engine of growth. Manufacturing develops the middle class. We are losing jobs offshore, and then import more people because we have "skills shortages"?

There should be incentives to produce and buy Australian goods, and impose import taxes on similar foreign made items. Globalisation will be limited in the future due to peak oil and the subsequent costs. Skills are being overlooked in Australia due to free trade.

Farms are being sold overseas due to looming scarcity of land and food production. Liberal economic policies in Australia, and the obsession of selling off to the highest bidder, is threatening Australia's future and autonomy as a nation. Short-term economic gains are threatening our sovereign security.

We need a campaign to embrace Australian made goods, and protect our shores from the flood of imports that deny us value for what is already here.

Globalisation should be wound-down as a retro concept ultimately not in our interests.

An economy that relies on population and economic growth is not sustainable, and we could end up crushed by the weight of our own numbers.

The abundance of four common species of bumblebee in the US has dropped by 96% in just the past few decades, according to the most comprehensive national census of the insects. ...

Editor's comment: Thank you, Vivienne. This coment has been republished as the article Climbing human population's food sources threatened by bumblebee population decline?

Everyday on the news you see the chaos and destruction caused by the floods and the suffering to humans and their pets which of course is terrible...There is no mention at all of the suffering caused to our beautiful native wildlife..What has happened to the kangaroos, wallabies and all the others..Why doesnt the destructive human parasite get of its high horse and show some respect and care to our wonderful native animals...Its not all about humans and their concrete jungles..

I also wonder about the fate of animals, especially wildlife in the floods. I heard a fragmented story about horses that were killed in the Queensland floods. I hope that wildlife although displaced by the rising waters have a bit more hope than animals that are tethered, confined or in some way unable to escape. One of the problems is likely to be fences that will impede their flight to safety. All will be revealed as the waters recede but I imagine that since kangaroos get caught on fences under more normal conditions then this will also have happened in the floods.

Animal rights activists are threatening legal action to prevent duck shooting in Victoria. It follows an announcement from the DSE that the season will run for a full 12 weeks from mid-March. The government says it will closely monitor duck hunters when the season begins in March.

Coalition against Duck Shooting Laurie Levy has been called an real eco-terroist". This sounds like what the Japanese whalers call Sea Shepherd! The term "eco-terrorists" is being applied to anyone who dares to interfere with people killing wildlife and polluting the environment - for commercial interests or for fun. He should be proud to be considered amongst the finest!
On the contrary, terrorists are the killers, not those protecting the victims.

This announcement is disgusting and just a slap in the face for those who thought we might have an accountable government with a bit of compassion and common sense. They are just bending to the political power of the shooting lobby, despite their diminishing numbers, and the numbers of self-serving employees in the DSE who are also shooters.

Waterbirds are trying to survive and breed, to build up their sadly depleted numbers. What will happen? They will be shot out of the air for entertainment!

Incredibly, rural voters bemoan the locust plague, but they are quite willing to support the recreational shooting of any of the few waterbird survivors of a long drought that might prey on them.

These were posted to a discussion about the road toll on the John Quiggin web site. So far, they have drawn one response which is included below.

Sunday 16 December update: I had not noticed one statistic, given at the start of the discussion, that does seem to show that failure to enforce road rules with sufficient vigour can lead to greater fatality rates even if the roads are much less crowded as they must have been in 1970, when 1061 died on Victoria Roads. This makes the appalling Victorian road toll of 300 of 2010 look almost acceptable by comparison.

One of my responses follows:

Even roads that much less crowded as they must have been in 1970, still saw horrific road tolls of 15 jan 11

It had escaped my attention that at the start of the post Professor Quiggin did give the evidence, in hard statistics, which showed conclusively that too little enforcement of traffic rules and automotive safety standards were largely the cause of Victoria’s horrific road toll of 1061 in 1970 as compared to the still unacceptable Victorian road toll of 300 in 2010.

My apologies.

Clearly, unless harsh penalties are applied, the road toll will be unacceptable even on roads as uncrowded as they were in 1970.

Nevertheless, still I think that much of what I wrote in my previous posts still stands.

If acceptable road safety could be achieved just by punishing, ever more harshly, those who have broken rules, which our authorities responsible for road safety tell us divide drivers into those who are driving ‘safely’ and those who are not, we should have achieved that long before now.

If 300 were still killed in 2010, even with the harsh enforcement of traffic rules that was applied then, then I think other factors I have mentioned, which are clearly detrimental to road safety have to be addressed.

One of the posts which caused me to look again more closely is below.

Most recent comment of 15 jan 11

Liam, I would certainly like to see more comprehensive Australian road toll statistics. The road toll statistics for Victoria you have offered to John from the 1950s to 1998 would be a good start. Is it available on-line? Is it available in a digital electronic format?

I think comprehensive road toll statistics would reveal a lot more than our Governments and the greedy vested interests they serve would want us to know, for example, what is the correlation between the death toll and:

* the crowding of so many millions more people into this country in recent decades?

* abysmal urban design, which forces so many of us to travel, usually by car, vast distance every week to go to work, school, shopping centres, other vital amenities, for recreation or to socialise?

* lack of decent public transport, which is really only just another aspect of Australia's poor urban design.

Are the Ponzi 'growth' economists plans to further double Australia's population likely to (a) increase or (b) decrease our road fatality rate?

(BTW, I am surprised that my previous comment did not draw a response. Of course, I don't really mind that much if it doesn't.)

Earlier comment, referred to above

Breaking road rules is not, in my view, always the same as driving dangerously nor is exceeding the speed limit always the same as speeding.

In past times, when the enforcement of road rules was nowhere near as strict and harsh as it is today, many who, from time to time, broke these rules which arbitrarily distinguish between ‘safe’ driving and ‘unsafe’ driving, were still rightly regarded as safe and careful drivers.

Very likely, many such drivers would have found themselves regularly deprived of their driving licenses if today’s harsh driving law enforcement regime had been in force back then.

Individuals, who break road rules, even to the point of statistically increasing the risk to themselves and to others, are not all reckless and uncaring.

Much of the breaking of traffic rules is done by people pressed for time by the pressures of life imposed by economic ‘reforms’ of recent decades and our poorly designed cities and road networks which force many millions of commuters every week to endure many hours of gridlock to go to and from work or to other necessary life amenities.

The people who have imposed these economic ‘reforms’ and poor city planning on us, made even worse by population growth, that few existing residents want, are at least as culpable as ordinary road users for the appalling road toll.

"Specious logic", a response to my above two posts

Your argument is one of those act v rule utilitarian claims. It plays fast and loose with collective action problems and tries to sneak things into the uncertainty envelope.

It is specious logic.

We absolutely need rational and robustly enforced road rules. That’s not the same as arguing that everyone who breaches one is reckless or will cause a tangible harm to another’s legitimate interests. What the breacher often does though is impose the risk on people who haven’t consented to it, in much the same way that some one embezzling a trust fund to play the commodity markets may welll make a fortune and yet never cost his or her unwitting creditors a penny. Yet he is still a schyster if he is imposing risk on others to which they have not consented.

If the rules could be robustly enforced in real time, there would be an argument for more variable speed limits and for latitude for those with better maintained vehicles and proven skill and competence i.e. a better match between risks, costs and rewards. The fact that there was more margin for error would create a benefit that could be shared about more equitably. If nobody is driving with PCA and nearly everyone is sticking to the speed limit and respecting traffic control signals and all the demonstrably unfit persons are off the roads as drivers, then maybe everyone can drive a little faster, ceteris paribus.

But making up your own rules to suit is simply externalising the cost of your convenience.

Bayer AG and the death of the birds
by F. William Engdahl
Believed to be behind the decline in bee populations that has swept across many parts of the world, a new class of insecticides marketed by German chemicals giant Bayer AG is now suspected of causing the decimation of bird species. It is so effective at killing insects, that it has deprived birds of their basic food. F. William Engdahl points an accusing finger at a system where corporations fund the research, the scientists and the government agents, thus making sure all the cards are stacked in their favor.

Comment contributed by Val Yule

This book has been translated from the German in 2009 by Anne Wyburd. It was first published in Germany in 2007 as Kriege ohne fronten: Die USA in Vietnam. The promotion on the back page which caught my interest in the local Robinson's bookshop is:

To this day, the My Lai massacre has remained the most shocking episode of the Vietnam War. Yet this infamous incident was not an exception or an aberration. Based on extensive research and unprecedented access to US Army archives, and tracing the responsibility for these atrocities all the way up to the white House and the Pentagon, War Without Fronts reveals the true extent of war crimes committed by American troops in Vietnam and ho a war to win hearts and minds soon became a war against civilians.

No attention was even given to the My Lai massacre until a year and a half afterwards, according to the introduction (p 4). It continues:

In principle the accredited journalists in South Vietnam could easily have done so. Soldiers from various units circulated the story for months; Radio Hanoi repeatedly broadcast corroboratory reports; some reporters admitted later to having known about it. However, the majority of reporters had, according to Peter Braestrup of the Washington Post. 'subscribed to herd journalism'.

An honourable exception to this was Seymour Hersh, whose story of the My Lai massacre was printed in 36 newspapers on 13 May 1969. However, Hersh's more recent work stands in stark contrast to his service to journalistic truth in 1969. His book The Dark Side of Camelot of 1997 which seeks to falsely blame President Kennedy and his brother Robert Kennedy for escalating the Vietnam War, when they both tried to end it. For trying to end the war, and in JFK's case, stopping nuclear war on three occasions, they were both murdered by the US military industrial complex against which former President Eisenhower warned. To what other figure in all history can humankind be so indebted as to the Kennedy brothers? So, what kind of journalist would attempt to diminish their standing as Hersh has done?

Hersh's treatment of the Kennedy Brother's are answered in, amongst other works, Oliver Stone's magnificent movie JFK, James Douglass's "JFK and the Unspeakable - Why he died and why it matters" of 2008 and David Talbot's "Brothers".

I am also currently reading "Brothers" by David Talbot, (but my reading has been interrupted by a friend's reading at my urging.) This book firmly commends the legacy of the Kennedy Brothers. However it also fully discloses all significant facts of the Kennedy's records in public life, including many which don't seem, at face value, to be to their credit. The views of the Kennedy's harshest critics are also presented in "Brothers". So it is possible to find the Kennedys dislikable and unprincipled on some pages of the book. In fact, books as harshly critical of the Kennedys as The Dark Side of Camelot could have been easily written by just using selected material from Brothers. However, all critics of the Kennedys are answered and all apparently unprincipled actions of the brothers are explained in the context of the American political system which was loaded against people of good intentions ever being able to win and hold onto high office in the US. Because Talbot has looked at the record of the Kennedy brothers from every possible side, I find this book takes an unusual amount of effort to read, but it is also immensely rewarding and well worth the trouble.

Brothers firmly and unambiguously endorses the Kennedys as two of the bravest and most well-meaning people to have ever entered US public life and is damning of those in the establishment newsmedia and those supposed 'left-wing' and 'bleeding heart' intellectuals who have helped conceal the truth about the Kennedys and their murders. In spite of his heroism back in 1969, Seymour Hersh is amongst those intellectuals, and is specifically dealt with by Talbot.

War Without Frontiers - The USA in Vietnam costs AU$27.95 and should be available in many Australian bookshops. Brothers and JFK and the Unspeakable are still easy to order on-line, but may not be in stock on the shelves of most Australian bookshops.

See also: Why won't the "left" thank JFK for preventing nuclear war?.

CIA Agent Ray Davis shooting Pakistanis deserves Pakistani Justice

[Ed. This comment was originally placed as an article, but we have published it as a comment due to its length.]

When will the United States and Israel learn that sending their respective military cloak and dagger agents to criminal missions in foreign countries is not part of liberty and justice.

May US CIA agent Ray Davis receive proper Pakistani justice, according to Pakistani law.
If he is found guilty and summarily executed, so be it a lesson for US spying.

How else is the Pentagon to change its terrorism behaviour?

John Marlowe

In the debate about refugee funerals, no one has yet discussed the morality of a government granting rights and privileges to undocumented aliens far in excess of what is granted to citizens.

In October 2001, I was being held in Silverwater Prison Sydney, on remand, on federal (ACCC) charges. When my mother died in Perth, I was refused permission to leave NSW to attend her funeral. I believe all states and territories have similar rules in not allowing prisoners to attend interstate funerals.

Had the funeral been in NSW, I would have been obliged to pay my own transport costs. As well I would have had to pay the transport and accommodation costs ot two guards. I saw how this substantial cost prevented aboriginal prisoners attending funerals in Bourke or Brokern Hill from Sydney.

Now a precedent has been set, I would support the commonwealth funding funeral visit costs for all Australian prisoners. Especially across state borders, under section 92 of our constitution.

David Hughes

* The ACCC case can be found on their website, putting "HUGHES" in their search box.

For those who want to send a message to the Coalition (who take notice of the readers of the Weekly Times) on whether cattle should be kicked out of the Alpine National park – please
go here and vote YES

So far it’s 60% of voters who want the cattle kept up there. Editorial comment: As of 1:20PM on Saturday 5 March, the vote is 51% in favour of removing cattle from the National Park and only 49% in favour of keeping them in the park.

My efforts to understand the causes of what has been going on in the Arab countries of North Africa and the middle east have not been helped by the reporting by the mainstream newsmedia, or, for that matter, even much of the supposedly 'left-wing' newsmedia. They refuse to make known to their readers, proven facts of recent history, most disturbingly, that the pretext for the current "American War on Terror" including the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, is a lie[1]. So, should it be any surprise that their reporting of these upheavals makes little sense? A far more informative article is one written by Fidel Castro Ruiz, the retired former President of Cuba, whose nation has defied threats of invasion from its powerful northern neighbour since 1959. The article, published by the Canadian service Global Research, is NATO’s Inevitable War: The Flood of Lies regarding Libya. One can only hope that the course of events does not bear out Castro's pessimism. Castro's warning of nuclear war in Fidel Castro Warns of Imminent Nuclear War; Admiral Mullen Threatens Iran; US-Israel Vs. Iran-Hezbollah Confrontation of August 2010 has, most thankfully, not come to pass. However, humankind has only averted nuclear war in past decades due to no less than 2 enormous strokes of good luck, the first being that from 1961 until 1963, President Kennedy three times prevented the US military-industrial complex, against which former President Eisenhower warned, from launching global nuclear war. Sadly, Kennedy was murdered by the military-industrial complex for this (another fact that the media, including most of the supposed 'left' refuse to make clearly understood by their readers). The second stroke of luck is that former Vietnam War fighter pilot Lieutenant Colonel Robert Bowman publicly campaigned against plans by the administration of US President Reagan to launch global nuclear war in the 1980's. His incredible story can be heard in his interview by Australia's John Bursill here. The mp3 file of the interview, linked to from that page is here.

Another most helpful article is, of course, BAHRAIN - National General Strike - Demand for Representative Democracy in an immigrant overloaded state published here on candobetter.


1. The lie is, of course, that Islamist extremists based in Afghanistan, launched the attacks of September 11 on the Word Trade Centre and the Pentagon. If it is true, then how is it, that after a ten year military occupation of Afghanistan, not one person with a proven link to 9/11 has been captured? To learn the truth about 9/11 that none of the mainstream newsmedia, including the ABC, or the supposed 'left' newsmedia, including Green Left and Direct Action from Australia will publish, please visit the sites,, and sites liked to from them or read articles on this site concerned with that issue.

Dear Rev Fred Nile

In yesterdays wednesday 9/3 business pages of The Australian,
there was a story about the imminent bankruptcy of TXU - Texas Energy USA.
Loaded up with debt, and having its cash stolen by the usual wall st criminals.
ref. film The Inside Job; ref: book Griftopia.

The connection that worries me is that to my knowledge TXU Aust changed its name to TRU ENERGY amd recently bought gen trader rights, and half the retail electricity and gas sector in NSW. You chaired an enquiry into those shonky deals.

Maybe TRU ENERGY Aust has other solvent shareholders, dont know.
A news ltd journo told me they plan to go public IPO later this year.

If TXU - TRU ENERGY goes bankrupt, what chaos will this cause to consumers in NSW?
How could the ALP sell huge assets to a tottering (overseas owned) company?

Would you be able to raise this issue during the NSW Election campaign.?

David Hughes

Editorial comment: The following was originally posted as a comment to the article What recourse do victims of nuisance dog barking have? of 18 Jul 11. As a bug in the earlier version of Drupal, from which this site is built, prevents links to pages, other than the first comment page from working, I have reposted the comment here.

These dogs are everywhere in Manitou spgs, Co., (Not sure whether this is a place or what? - Ed) where k 9s are respected more than people. Since Manitou doesn't subscribe to the aspca, it's a real battle to impress upon code enforcement that noise is an issue. As a retired individual and a combat vet. I truly appreciate my silence. But when the code officer doesn't live in town and is a dog owner, well you're really pushin' chain. Basically in my humble opinion it's a real matter of consideration by the dog owner, if they don't give a crap about your life, etc, then why shouldn't I use every legal effort to make that owners life as miserable as they make mine. I know that sounded petty but I'm open to alternatives. One of these owners happens to be deaf, doesn't know noise from silence. But the village puts up with such, and since I seem to be the only one complaining ( my auditory abilities are better than normal ) I'm the odd ball. This doesn't preclude a valid complaint, but when you're one against the whole village of dog owners, you may as well have leprosy. I can only hope that some these inconsiderate owners, someday get the annoyance of their lives by some screaming red headed triplets. I like animals, I have raised children, dogs, and can shoe a horse, all the time in doing so there was never a complaint by others to me to manage my animals. Inconsiderate, this is the bottom line for those with animals that cause this nuisance.

In her recent comment to Sheila's article on Andrew McLeod, Vivienne Ortega cited Clive Hamilton's book of 2010, Requiem for a Species (currently described in a brief article at the top of, which is not perma-linked).

Unfortunately, whatever value there is in Requiem for a Species and other writing by Hamilton (and I have found a lot) I also find it necessary to remind others of an an unsavoury fact about Clive Hamilton. He has published on the ABC arguments in favour of the imposition of Mandatory Internet Filtering on the specious grounds that he claims it is necessary to prevent access to Child Pornography or access by minors to hard-core pornography. To be sure, he writes towards the end of the article "I have deliberately not considered the question of whether it is feasible to effectively filter extreme and violent pornography on the internet." That was somewhat a relief. Nevertheless, it is of great concern to me that Hamilton has not since done anything to bring about the "community debate on the question of whether we should do it before we consider the question of whether we can do it."

As my article How to end the sexual exploitation of women and children without giving up our freedoms of 22 Apr 2010 points out, Mandatory Internet Filtering will, if anything, make the fight against Child Pornography and, indeed, all forms of evil (not least of all, high immigration) harder and not easier. It will certainly not prevent those, with power, influence and wealth, from being able to access Child Pornography using encrypted Internet connections. Why anyone who opposes high population growth, would want to give so much power to precisely the same people who are imposing high population growth is beyond me. And why the co-editor, with Sarah Maddison, of Silencing Dissent of 2007 would not be loudly raising the alarm about such a threat to our freedom is an even greater mystery.

the un security council has been quick to agree to the invasion of libya to “protect its citizens”. now it condemns what it calls illegal abuses in bahrain where sunni muslim rulers have launched a brutal crackdown against shiite protesters.

iran has now complained to the united nations and asked neighbours to join it in urging saudi arabia to withdraw forces from bahrain.

Do you think the un will do anything at all about this request to protect bahrain's pro-democracy shiite people against the invasion by saudis and the assaults from its own government?

NO. because the invasion of libya is to provide a distraction from what is happening in bahrain.

the usa (and the un) will continue protect their compliant rulers in saudi arabia and bahrain. there is still too much oil coming from the saudis, and arms sales to them are extremely profitable for the usa - e.g. biggest-ever sale of american arms took place several months ago to the saudis. bahrain also hosts the headquarters of the us 5th fleet.

pro-american saudi arabia and bahrain also provide a buffer to iran, which lies just across the vital straits of hormuz. 20% of world oil supplies pass through this chokepoint.

i agree with others and suspect that this is why the usa is controlling the assault on libya (while pretending not to), and the crackdown on bahrain's revolution, as reported in the wall street journal.

if you want to find out more, here are some websites:- (about saudi pilots being trained in the usa)

Editor's comment: Thank you for your comments on the response by the US to the claimed repression of a supposedly popular uprising in one country (Libya) which is glaringly inconsistent with its response to the bloody repression of another popular uprising against the corrupt autocratic rulers of Bahrain. Unfortunately, we at candobetter have not been unable to give as much covrage as we would like to unfolding world events, the consequences of which very likely will affect us profoundly even in countries as geographically remote from the turmoil as Australia. (One suggestion, though: could you use UPPER Case Letters a bit more in future comments? I tried to fix the lack of uppercase letters in your text, but lost the corrected text and didn't have time to try again.)

Food producers in France have announced that food will go up 15-20% right now due to the rise in cost of oil.
The public need more local control over food production in Australia because exactly the same price rises will occur here (plus the increases due to floods.)
Sheila Newman, population sociologist

Not only in France. Soaring power and food prices are set to increase pressure on interest rates, as the Australian Bureau of Statistics changes the way it calculates inflation.

As reported in The Australian, ABS data reveal that food prices now make up 16.4 per cent of the CPI -- a 1 per cent increase since 2005,

The Canadian food giant McCains foods decided to reduce the farmers pay to $26.50 less per tonne, which means they will receive $273.50 per tonne.

Grower representative Ross Dimond said this was not enough to survive on and many farmers were concerned for the future of the industry.

Independent MP Bob Katter addressed the protest from the back of a ute and said all Australians concerned about food security should get behind the Ballarat growers and boycott the Canadian-owned McCain's.

Rising world food prices threaten democracies in poor countries, causing riots and civil conflict and widening the gap between rich and poor, a study by the International Monetary Fund found. Half the income of an emerging market worker is spent on food and energy. Little is being said about the invisible "elephant in the room" - Population growth!

The world cannot adequately feed 7 billion so how will it feed 37 billion as predicted there will be in 100 years time.

A vote for the Stable Population Party will mean that Australia can continue to export much needed food to the Middle East, rather than consuming it all here because of an economy that demands a 'big Australia'.