You are here

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, 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. For biologists and zoologists, my theory is compatible with Richard Dawkins' work.

Assad: Europe was the main player in creating chaos in Syria-video

Monica Majioni of RAI Italia TV interviews Syrian President Bashar Assad. In the face of a politicized media and deluded self-censorship that undermine the remaining credibility of Italian public TV, it was the Syrian government that broadcast on state TV the interview we present to you on video and in the transcript edited by the Syrian State Press Agency SANA. There is a full transcript of the interview in English, plus the video is set or can be set to English subtitles (as well as the automatic arabic ones) on the youtube version.

Video & transcripts from event: "What is Happening to Julian Assange & Journalism?" (4 Dec 2019 )

Suelette Drefus, Julian Burnside, Kristinn Hrajnsson, and Lizzie O'Shea were the main people in this event. I have transcribed some of Suelette Drefus, Technology Researcher and Author's excellent summary of Julian Assange's contributions to the public internet and free software. She also displayed courage in criticising powerful people on stage. At around 1h 44m into the video she has the courage to criticise corporate media journalist, Peter Grest, for his repetition of opinions used to slur Julian's credentials as a journalist and publisher. Interesting to wonder why Grest was released without explanation after an international outcry from the same western block that is either persecuting Assange or leaving him to rot.

Regime change & overpopulation in Hong Kong. Why is the population so keen to riot?

Poverty, unemployment, homelessness, and overcrowding stalk more and more Hong Kong citizens. The United States is pushing for regime change, but that won't change anything for the better. In this half-hour video about the Hong Kong riots, and more about the US attempts at regime-change there than you will hear elsewhere, Michelle Greenstein gives a rundown on the social problems that have made the Hong Kong poor ready to riot. Although Greenstein talks about wealth inequality and the need for better distribution, she fails to identify what it is about Hong Kong's system that has caused these massive social disparities and housing shortfalls. The Hong Kong inheritance system is probably a major contributor to Hong Kong's wealth disparity and homelessness, however. Hong Kong's system is similar to Australia's and that of most American states. Inherited from Britain, it allows parents to disinherit their children and to leave property to anyone they choose.[1] This permits the alienation of property from families and its aggregation within corporations, other families or individuals, in fewer and fewer hands. The people lose control of the place. It is in this way that property speculation has come to rule over democracy in Hong Kong. The Hong Kong population and property growth lobby has taken over by engineering Hong Kong's population growth, with immigration numbers about three times as high as natural replacement numbers since 2014. A pretext, as in Australia, is that immigrants are needed to combat 'population aging'. We can see that Hong Kong citizens have been trying to control things from their side by having lower and lower birth rates, but the ruling classes have simply overruled them by pushing high immigration, to push up housing prices, despite the homelessness this creates. The rules for immigration are similar to Australia's, especially in the encouragement of foreign students to apply for permanent status.[2] Foreign domestic workers make up 4% of Hong Kong's population! [3]

Information overload delays Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security report

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) is busy finalising its consideration of the Inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press.

The Chair, Mr Andrew Hastie MP, said ‘The Committee has received considerable evidence from submitters and witnesses regarding the media and their ability to operate effectively within Australia’s democratic society. All members are endeavouring to achieve a bipartisan report, which delivers tangible areas for reform and consideration. This will not be possible by the end of November.’

Tony Kevin, "Russia & the West" - Book Launch, Readings - Nov 25, 2019

The Melbourne launch of Tony’s latest book, being held at Readings in Hawthorn Monday, 25 November 2019, is likely to attract an interesting and critical audience. This book looks at the “last two action-packed years” – which is to say “false-flag packed” years, because it’s about the way Australian media and the Australian commentariat has enabled Imperial lies to spread and take hold in the population. The key ones Tony considers are the Syrian chemical weapons stories, the Skripal poisoning hoax, and Ukraine/Crimea. He centers his study around the disinformation operations of the Institute for Statecraft and the way he thinks it is operating in Australia to counter the “Russian point of view”.

Book Review of Ruby Hamad's White Tears Brown Scars, MUP, 2019.

This book aims to talk truth to power, using intersectionalist feminist concepts, within the strange paradigm of the corporate newsmedia [1] and US-NATO foreign policy. Power is identified as whiteness. White women are enjoined to stand with women of colour against male whiteness, which they are charged with propping up for their own benefit.

Roger Waters on UK press failure to cover state crimes towards Assange

Anti-war lyricist and singer, Roger Waters, who is identified world-wide with Pink Floyd, discusses Wikileaks founder Julian Assange’s latest extradition hearing at Westminster Magistrates Court and why it makes him ashamed to be English. The British magistrate is acting like an American puppet, taking advice from the US barrister. He explains why he believes the UK and US are attempting to kill Julian, why the extradition case shouldn’t even be happening and is a mockery of British justice. He talks about the protest that Australian journalist, John Pilger, and he, led recently, before a crowd of a thousand people. No British mainstream media reported it. That is how they control the kind of information people need to know. He compared British head-in-the-sand behaviour with the mass protests in Chile against the neoliberal US-backed President Sebastián Piñera and how the military crackdown is reminiscent of the Pinochet era.

MP Clifford Hayes introduces bill to make VCAT listen to councils

"People have a right to a say in the character of their street, and their neighbourhood. The principle of subsidiarity, of devolving power to the lowest practical level, is important. It is indeed good for people’s mental health if they have a say, and bad for their mental health if they feel powerless. My Bill does two key things – it requires VCAT to follow properly made Council decisions, and it gives Councils, rather than Ministers, the last word on height controls. Hayes says, "At present VCAT is out of control. Its proper role is to ensure that Councils don’t act in an arbitrary or capricious fashion [...]. But VCAT behaves as a Planning Authority in its own right, telling Councils that although the Council wants a height limit of, say, 4 storeys, they think that 6 storeys would be better! Councils should be able to put in place mandatory height controls at a height acceptable to the community. The high rise buildings being approved by Planning Ministers are not in the best interests of residents, overshadowing them and turning Melbourne into a soulless concrete jungle. Communities should have a say in relation to height limits." (MP Clifford Hayes in speech to Protectors of Public Lands Vic. reproduced here.) (Photos by Jill Quirk)

15 November 2019: Julian Assange subject of PEN Sydney annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer

Please consider attending the PEN Sydney annual Day of the Imprisoned Writer event 15/11/19. This year, Quentin Dempster will interview Jennifer Robinson, counsel to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/challenge-what-you-know-whats-really-happening-to-julian-assange-tickets-75281120859" "What’s really happening to Julian Assange? What has Australia done to protect his welfare? And why aren’t we hearing more about the most intriguing and complex threats to liberal democracy of our time?" Here is a link to the November edition of the Sydney PEN magazine on the Day of the Imprisoned Writer. https://pen.org.au

Stealing open land - golf course development

This is a taste of what is going to happen to Melbourne, as engineered by the Planning Department at DELWP, which is largely outsourced to developers. Here is what has become of the old Eastern Golf Club site - now a Metricon development known as Tullamore. We show before and after pictures. There are 3 pictures attached, a bit dark because of the light today. Several trees appear to have died, including the one shown here.

White sharks hang with buddies

Apex marine predators choose whom they hang with, researchers reveal. White sharks form communities, researchers have revealed. Although normally solitary predators, white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) gather in large numbers at certain times of year in order to feast on baby seals.

IPAN calls for volunteers to help with its Remember Vietnam moritorium

This is a call for volunteers to help with organising committees for 50th Anniversary of Vietnam Moratorium Campaign towards the celebration of 50 years on from the Vietnam Moratorium Campaign or offers of memorabilia from that campaign for display.
Please pass this on to your members or friends who might be interested.
To make it national, committees are needed in each state/territory to mirror that historical and successful national political campaign
Contact: bevanlramsden@gmail.com
This is an IPAN supported activity
The Independent and Peaceful Australia Network (IPAN)
Remember Vietnam and Keep Australia out of U.S. wars

PPLVic AGM: Protecting Open Space in 21st Century Melbourne - Speaker Clifford Hayes MP

Rapid population growth has impacted heavily on private and public open space in Melbourne, especially over the last decade. Clifford will discuss some individual case studies and his Private Members' Bill to reintroduce local democracy into Victoria's planning law. Hear him at the Protectors of Public Lands AGM Saturday October 26th, 2019, 2.30pm. Flemington Community Centre, 25 Mt. Alexander Road, Flemington. All welcome!

Oz MPs finally starting to stand on hind legs to help Julian Assange - more needed!

Two Australian MPs - Barnaby Joyce and Andrew Wilkie - are at last trying to do something to get our government to help Julian Assange, who is currently at the mercy of the British establishment, which threatens to hand him over to a secret trial in the United States. See, "Barnaby Joyce says Government should protect Julian Assange from extradition to the US".

Kurds ask Syrian Arab Army to defend them - SAA enters Kurd area first time in years

The US has illegally occupied the north of Syria for some time, using Kurds to fight ISIS. Donald Trump's withdrawal of US troops has permitted Turkey to invade the area. Understandably terrified, the Kurds have approached the Syrian Government for help. The Syrian Government has responded and Kurds have welcomed the Syrian Arab Army into the area for the first time in years. This should reveal to the world that the Syrian Government is trusted by its people - for most Kurds in Syria are Syrian.[1] Did most Kurds in Syria ever really want independence from Syria, or were we looking at a situation were the United States and NATO encouraged the ambitions of a few Kurds, without asking the rest? Russia has asked all foreign troops to leave Syria and has volunteered to leave itself, if the Syrian Government which invited its help, asks it to leave.

Demystifying Syria - Crosstalk discussion on Turkey, US, Kurds and Syria

The discussion in this video opens up new topics on the confusing situation with US 'withdrawal' and Turkey incursion in Northern Syria. Particularly interesting is Marwa Osman's framing of why Turkey would want to move Syrian refugees into Northern Syria. She thinks that Erdogan (Turkey's President) has a problem with all the Syrian refugees living in his country because his people resent the presence of this large number of non-Turkish people. If Erdogan can move these refugees into an area he is trying to clear of Kurds in northern Syria, then he can put the Syrian refugees there. Many of those refugees now have Turkish papers. This would have the further benefit for Erdogan's purposes in that, once Erdogan will have moved so many people there, he will more or less control the area with their presence, since he will be organising their settlement and deployment. Video discussion with Ammar Qaqqaf, Marwa Osman, Mike Raddie and Peter Lavelle.

3 billion birds lost in America - same trends in Australia

This short documentary shows the problems that birds face in the US, but they face the same problems in Australia. The current push by powerful property developers, niched in our government, will remove more habitat for the birds where most of us live. Birds Australia's report, The State of Australia's Birds 2015, showed shorebirds in steep decline, and that our familiar friends, magpies, kookaburras, and willy-wagtails, are now struggling.

SPA Patron Bob Carr interviewed by Michael Bayliss on population impact

'It's not about the source, it's about the numbers, stupid'

Professor Carr was the longest serving Premiere of NSW from 1995 to 2005. He also served as Federal minister for Foreign Affairs from 2012 - 2013.

Bob Carr has been a long time advocate for a sustainable population. In 2000, as Premier of NSW, he stated that Sydney was full, bringing the issue of population into the headlines at a time when domestic population policy was rarely discussed.

While serving as foreign minister, Carr also advocated for a global population policy, including foreign aid for family planning and empowerment of women. During this time, he was approached by SPA to be Patron, a post to which he accepted.

Video: Property off the plan - Residents' rights hijacked in an unregulated industry

This is the second in a series of interviews with Nerrida Pohl about lack of proper regulation of the construction and development industry in Australia. Nerrida talks about the 30 story appartment building in Victoria, where she bought two appartments 'off the plan'. The building is a shared commercial/private one, that is meant to share one plan, but Nerrida has discovered with some amazement that there are actually two different plans. Although the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) ruled, in a dispute between the developer and Stonington Council, that residents would share the building's loading bay with commercial occupants, this right was sold off by a member of the building management for $1.00 per annum peppercorn rent. This has meant that moving vans park at the front entrance, causing traffic problems in a very busy area. The front doors are propped open so that furniture etc can be brought into the building, creating a security risk. Furthermore, the ''Residents Meeting Room' specified in the plan, has been occupied by a real-estate agency. This means that residents have no formal or designated place to meet, communicate, and organise for their own benefit. It is especially hard because many appartment owners dwell overseas and cannot easily be contacted by other owners who, when they ask, are only given overseas mailing addresses, which might be PO boxes or legal firms in distant cities.

Fire, cladding & high-rise in Melbourne Australia - Nerrida Pohl interview

Australia's construction industry is corrupt, but protected by government. This has left building consumers in a terrible situation. A current scandal is that they are being forced to pay billions for builders' mistakes in a situation where no building over 3 stories is insured. This video is of an interview with Nerrida Pohl about the dangers of inflammable cladding on skyscrapers, using her own building as an example. The location affords views of similar problems on surrounding skyscrapers in South Yarra. It also illustrates the irony of having one's view built out, even when one lives in a skyscraper, as massive population growth an deregulation accelerate infilling and raise heights. Nerrida was a speaker at the Victorian Building Action Group AGM this year.

Video: "Lies, spin and secrecy" - How government & the law mistreat Australian building consumers

"People end up with nothing because they really don't believe we have a system as bad as we do." Consumers are unprotected in Australia's building disaster. "You may have a house that's being demolished, but you still have a block of land. If you've got any superannuation or anything in the bank, at least hang on to that." Anne Paten of Victorian Building Action Group (VBAG) talks about how the system that's supposed to help building consumers actually bleeds the victims of the industry even more. People qualify for insurance, but never get the money. They go to VCAT and are sent away with nothing. The results are bankruptcy, divorces, and suicides. Substantial reports and inquiries are removed from the internet. Australians need to realise that the government won't help them; they have to join together and help each other.

Parliament ignored warning about population growth 10 years ago, to our detriment

Tomorrow it will be exactly 10 years since Kelvin Thomson spoke to the Parliament describing increasing population as the underlying cause of the world’s problems. He listed each of them - global warming, food crisis, water shortages, housing affordability, overcrowded cities, traffic congestion, species extinctions, fisheries collapse, increasing prices, waste, terrorism and war - and described the role that population growth was playing in fuelling them.

Bernard Salt and the population growth burden on Victorians and its developer beneficiaries

"Not only is Geelong now effectively subsumed into the greater growth orbit of the Melbourne conurbation, but there are surprise population surges in some of the state’s remoter provincial cities and communities. I am so excited about this.” (Bernard Salt, "Victoria reimagined from basket case beginnings," The Australian 8 August 2019.)

Recovering diabetics run new risk of overdose on old medication dosages

Medical professionals have recently published guides to reducing insulin and other diabetes medications for patients on low carbohydrate diets because many of these patients are suddenly getting better. Their improvement and sometimes remission carries a diminishing need for insulin or oral antihyperglycaemics. If doctors and nurses fail to realise this, their patients risk overdose, with potentially rapidly fatal results - and not just with where insulin is concerned. This means that a new approach to diet for both main types[1] of diabetic - Types 1 and 2 - is making a big difference. In some cases it is effecting complete remission.

Victoria's giant 'legalised building fraud' and the Victorian Building Action Group

A couple of days ago, when I was driving from Melbourne to Brisbane and the only radio I could get was the Jon Faine Show on 774, I heard Jon on the subject of the Dan Andrews Victorian Government's intention to subsidise recladding of unsafely clad buildings in Victoria by the sum of $AUD200m, half of which was to come from taxes on the public and the other half sought from the federal government - but not from the perpetrators themselves. Jon put to a woman he was interviewing that she might give some acknowledgement to the Dan Andrews Government that this was a positive act. I was really impressed by the woman's response, which put Victoria's continuing building fraud and the government's facilitation of it in proportion and Jon Faine in his place at the same time. With interest I scribbled down the name of the organisation she represented and looked it up when I got to Brisbane. It is the Victorian Building Action Group Inc (https://www.vbag.org.au/) and it describes itself as "the only consumer organization in Australia representing the interests of all building consumers." Anne Paten is the President of the Victorian Building Action Group Inc.

Ancestor worship and why we should revive it

Ancestor worship, or the belief that your ancestors look after you and live among you, seems like a good kind of belief to me, when I consider the anonymity and general invisibility of the old and the dead in modern Australian society. Although money can sometimes buy you a big send-off, like the truly grandiose one for a big sports-mogul the other day, it may inspire resentment: "Seems kind of unfair," commented an elderly friend, "When you and I shall be forgotten, absent any fanfare."

Submissions sought: Committee to scrutinise the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press

The Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security (PJCIS) has commenced an inquiry into the impact of the exercise of law enforcement and intelligence powers on the freedom of the press. The inquiry was referred by the Attorney-General, The Hon Christian Porter MP, on 4 July 2019, for the PJCIS to inquire into the Terms of Reference. (Details inside.) This is a reaction to public and press reaction over the raid by the Australian federal police of the home of News Corp Australia journalist Annika Smethurst, to find out how she had come by a leaked plan to allow government spying on Australians. A warrant from an ACT magistrate gave police authority to search the home, computer and mobile phone of the journalist. News Corp Australia called this a "dangerous act of intimidation targeted at public interest reporting." Smethurst had authored an article about heads of defence and home affairs ministries in Australia having talked about "draconian new powers to allow the Australian Signals Directorate to spy on Australian citizens for the first time. Under the mooted plan, spies would be allowed to secretly access emails, bank accounts and text messages with approval from the defence and home affairs ministers." See inside for how you can contribute - by 26 July 2019. Consider how Australian governments have failed to protect Julian Assange in the name of a perceived right to conceal war crimes.

Thinking of buying an apartment in Australia?

Did you know that you cannot insure buildings over three stories high in Australia? On Sunday 16 June apartment owners and renters were locked out of a 122 unit apartment tower called Mascot Towers, in Sydney. Due to serious structural weaknesses, residents were rendered treeless like so many koalas, and with little more assistance. In Melbourne on Sunday 23 June, residents and shop owners in a 237 apartment building known as "Liberty Tower" were told to leave because the flooding had cut power throughout the building and damaged the lift. Apparently the water rose to 1.5m in some parts of the basement.

Was Pontius Pilate right after all? The modern state and Julian Assange

Pontius Pilate, of course, was the judge who condemned Jesus Christ to death, according to the bible. The crime Jesus was punished for was that of leading a religion critical of the values of the Roman state. Modern authorities try to defend their right to have criminal secrets in order to justify pursecuting Assange, who has led a world-wide movement for transparent and just government. If UK or Swedish judges deliver Assange to authorities who then deliver him to the United States, they may claim that they are only doing their duty under the law, just like Judge Pontius Pilate. I am not religious, but I think this is a valuable parable for our time.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - Sheila Newman's blog