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Miscellaneous comments from 25 August 2012

If you have anything you would like to raise, which is likely to be of interest to our site's visitors, which is not addressed by other articles, please add your comments here.

Comments made on previous "Miscellaneous comments" page from 19 July 2012 can be found here.

Comments on this page now closed. "Miscellaneous comments" page from 16 October 2012 can be found here.If you have anything you would like to raise, which is likely to be of interest to our site's visitors, which is not addressed by other articles, please add your comments here.

Comments made on previous "Miscellaneous comments" page from 19 July 2012 can be found here.

Comments on this page now closed. "Miscellaneous comments" page from 16 October 2012 can be found here.


James Price Point, 40km north of Broome on one of the world’s most pristine coastlines, is the proposed site for the largest gas processing plant in the world. If approved, it would open up the floodgates to industrial development on a scale never seen before in northern Australia

The state's Environmental Protection Authority has said the $30 billion dollar gas hub north of Broome can go ahead.

Four of the five board members assessing the proposal were removed because of conflicts of interest.

Board's authority Paul Vogel alone made the recommendation after it became clear the other members of the board were conflicted and had to be removed. It was subsequently found that a majority of people on that committee had a conflict of interest. This judgement seems to indicate that it is not appropriate for the remaining people on that committee who were not conflicted to actually make a decision based on a process that has involved people that were conflicted.

One would expect the environmental impact assessment to be well considered, comprehensive, robust and based on sound science. Unfortunately the EPA’s assessment fell far below these expectations.

If the gas hub does go ahead, it has the potential to be the biggest LNG processing plant in the world. The Greens and The Wilderness Society have labelled the process a "sham" because the EPA decision was made by just one man, Mr Vogel.

The Recent EPA report said the impacts of dredging could extend as far as Gantheaume Point which means that Cable Beach would be under threat.

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert speaks about the 130 million year old dinosaur prints that are being threatened by the development of an LNG hub at James Price Point.

“If the gas hub goes ahead it will wreck tourism in Broome and damage the Kimberley brand. Tourists come here to see unspoilt beauty and industrialisation will tarnish this world class destination.”

Hands off our Country:

It's an anthropocentric flaw to imagine that natural environments, and complex pristine ecosystems, plus the creatures that make their homes in them, can be tapped, bombed, developed, raped, plundered, "managed", captured, "harvested", mined, drilled, cleared, destroyed and resourced for human economic advantage. The indigenous peoples should not have a pristine coast at Woodside and beyond "developed" for the income when housing, health care, infrastructure and jobs should be a normality of what they should have anyway as citizens of Australia - the original owners.

Venezuela’s biggest oil refinery has been shut down following a gas explosion that killed 48 people and injured 86 others. The blaze of Venezuela oil refinery exploded early Saturday, has been a political embarrassment for Chavez, who is running for re-election in October amid opposition charges of neglect at the country's premier refinery. The refinery is located in a residential and commercial complex where workers live with their relatives and poor families who settled in surrounding neighborhoods.

Venezuela is an OPEC member and Latin America's biggest petroleum producer. The country's other five domestic refineries could produce 735,000 barrels of fuel per day. President Hugo Chavez shrugged off suggestions infrastructure could have weakened under his long watch.

Venezuelan officials say they suspect a gas leak caused the blast. However, others suspect a conspiracy against Chavez by the US. The Venezuelan president is claiming a US citizen has been arrested and interrogated on suspicions he is a mercenary involved in a conspiracy against the government. He suggested the man is part of a plot to destabilise the country if he is re-elected. The socialist leader has said the American could be involved in a purported plot to destabilize the country if the opposition loses an Oct. 7 presidential election.

Officials became suspicious when they found a U.S. passport with entrance and exit stamps from countries including Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya, Chavez said.

See also: Officials Meet With American Detained in Venezuela of 16 August 2012, Associated Press (AP), CARACAS, Venezuela at .

In brief:
The question of whether Australia should welcome population growth or avoid it remains unresolved. The issue raises its head in public debate in different guises – from controversies over importing labour to fill vacancies in booming industries like mining, to temporary work visas and refugee quotas, from pressure on infrastructure and services in cities to boosting regional areas.

Pantera Press have published a guide to both sides of this debate in Why vs Why™ Big Australia, being released 22 August 2012. The book presents an accessible and balanced view of both sides of the argument for and against a big Australia aimed at a mainstream audience.

In conjunction with the release, YourView is raising the issue for public debate. Unlike other forums, YourView identifies the collective wisdom - the considered collective view of the participants.

Below, we'd like to hear your view. But first, consider the cases for and against made in the book:
Yes Case

Dr Oliver Hartwich and Jessica Brown
No Case

Mark O’Connor

Please VOTE

Even the title is already tainted with bias, beyond logic!

After some effort, I succeeded in posting[1] to YourView the following adaptation of a previous post on candobetter:

The following is adapted from a post in response to a property developer at :

1. How does the construction of a house or an apartment on any new residential 'development' add a single dollar to net export income? ...
3. In what wealth-producing industries are the residents of the six new suburbs, to be imposed upon Melbourne by the Baillieu government, to be employed?
4. If no wealth-creating industries are to employ the new residents, then how else can they be supported except by (i) adding to Australia's trading deficit or (ii) consuming wealth from other regions of Australia?

The property developer contributor was invited to supply a response to these questions, but has never done so. If anyone on your site can supply answers to these questions, would be happy to publish them. - Ed

We're still awaiting a response from developers or any other proponent of a 'Big Australia' there or here. On that page 63% have opposed a Bigger Australia whilst only 37% have supported it. Were the corporate newsmedia not so full of propaganda for a Big Australia opposition would no doubt be higher.


[1] Clinking on this link ( will only cause your browser to load my comment, in isolation from the article and other comments. To get your browser to load the whole web-page including my comment, you have to click on this link ( However it won't take you to my comment or any other comment, which would be possible if hash tag links were used. To read a particular comment it is often necessary to manually scroll down your web browser window. To not use hash tag links, such as which are used on candobetter and most other forum sites seems an unnecessary limitation. An example of a hash tag link is with the label "above" to be found here. The actual html code for the hash tag link within the page is "<a href="#comment-8758">above</a>" (omit quotes).

Tony Beaver - posted ~ 12.23pm, 2 September

FOR: "A growing, more diverse population opens countless prospects for specialisation and discovery, which lead to more competition and economic growth". Actually, population growth simply means our wealth is diluted between more people. While population growth may, through brute-force, increase our overall GDP, it's at the sacrifice of per capita GDP (or wealth). Since 1991 Australia has shown a stagnation, or decrease, in personal wealth. The most wealthy nations, and the most sustainable in the long term, are those with stable populations - such as in northern Europe. An ageing population is a positive sign or ageing gracefully.

Don't make the same mistake as California - joseph blow - posted ~ 7:32pm, 2 September

I grew up in California in 1970 when there was about 18 million people. Today there is about 38 million. Did the quality of life for the majority of Californian's improved? Absolutely not. Quality housing became less affordable, traffic increased, water rationing became commonplace, and there was fewer open spaces and nature reserves. Why would Australia want to make this same mistake? We are indeed the lucky country with abundant natural resources and a low population density to share those abundant resources which means we are amongst the wealthiest people on the planet and enjoy the highest standard of living.
Overpopulation is a serious global problem. Just go the Beijing and see what the quality of life is like when you cram the population of Australia into one big city. Global warming, shortages of oil, natural resources, water, etc all result from overpopulation. The only winners from a Big Australia are large corporations who sell more products, but the average person loses. Don't make the same mistake as California and overpopulate, that mistake is irreversible.

Population growth is lead in our saddlebags - Katharine Betts - posted ~ 7:32pm, 2 September

This was Doug Cocks' conclusion in his book People Policy 1996. Or, to use Paul Ehrlich's words: "Whatever your cause, it’s a lost cause without population control".

The only people who profit from population growth in Australia are the minority of vested interests, mainly property developers, who make money out of diminishing the quality of life of their fellow Australians. They also fund think tanks to promote their interests and try to buy politicians for the same purpose.

Mark O'Connor's points are all cogent and don't need repeating here. It is not good enough to say that we could squeeze more people in. We probably could. And given the way the vested interests are stacked up, will probably have to. But there is no evidence that it will make the existing population better off, even in the limited terms of GDP per capita.

The Productivity Commission concludes that by 2024-25 high immigration would increase "annual income per capita is about $383 (or about 0.71 per cent)" [p. XXXII] It also says that“Most of the economic benefits associated with an increase in skilled migration accrues to the immigrants themselves. For existing residents, capital owners receive additional income, with owners of capital in those sectors experiencing the largest output gains enjoying the largest gains in capital income. On the other hand, the real average annual incomes of existing resident workers grows more slowly than in the base-case, as additional immigrants place downward pressure on real wages."[p. 154] [Economic Impacts of Migration and Population Growth, 2006]

Calculations of this sort omit all the uncosted diseconomies of scale inflicted on the people living in our cities and the huge infrastructure costs that the taxpayer will have to bear.

Excess non-concessional contributions tax

I received a Notice of assessment – year ended 30 June 2010 this month for Excess non-concessional contributions tax $65,472.35 DR, as a result of implementation of Statement of Advice by Industry Fund Financial Planning, financial year 09/10.

Industry Fund Services ( are reviewing my complaint to determine what they are prepared to do or otherwise about the ATO fine directed against me.

The Australian Taxation Office told me I had to pay the amount owing by due date 3 September 2012.

Senator Mathias-Cormann, Shadow Assistant Treasurer & Shadow Minister for Financial Services & Superannuation office advised me not everyone who receives similar notice of assessment are paying up through appeal.

Two questions at least: Are Industry Fund financial planners mindful of ATO guidelines and / working on behalf of the Australian Taxation Office?

verification of comment

Hi Jordy,

Thank you for verifying. You can post without verifying, however. We will still publish. Editor

Wendy Shirley, Executive Officer of the South Australian Volunteer Fire Brigades Association was interviewed on ABC News Radio just now. She called for the reinstatement of regional volunteer support officers who were removed a year ago. She rightly complained of the burden of paperwork imposed up on volunteer bush fire fighters which is leading to dwindling numbers of people prepared to volunteer. The call to reinstate the federal public servants who once managed volunteer bush firefighters also raises the question of why volunteer firefighters should not also be paid for their work.

That fewer are prepared to volunteer for volunteer firefighting services seems yet another consequence of fewer and fewer people having time for rest, recreation, personal interests or community service.

This is a consequence of the increasing cost of living and the overall complexity of life. The living costs that are constantly going up include principally housing rent or the interest on finance necessary to pay for a housing mortgage. On top of that, population growth, compounded by poor urban design, force many families to buy a second or even a third car where, barely a generation ago, one was more than sufficient. Many hours have to be spent every day by at least one member of each family commuting to and from work, schools, universities, shops and other amenities often in gridlocked freeway traffic.

One way or another more of those who provide services should be rewarded for the services provided. This society's excessive reliance on voluntarism is a symptom of the mean spirit of economic rationalism that was explicitly introduced without any electoral mandate by the neoliberal Federal 'Labor' Treasurer Paul Keating in 1983. Economic neoliberalism has since become the doctrine to which all state and federal governments are expected to adhere by corporations and their newsmedia.

Foreign Minister Bob Carr says Chinese investment in Australia is a good deal for the Australian nation. Treasurer Wayne Swan's approval for the sale of Australia's largest cotton grower, Cubbie Station, to a Chinese-dominated consortium.

"We accept the situation that our biggest customer (China) will, from time-to-time, see it appropriate to own a bit of an Australian business," Senator Carr told Sky News on Sunday.

The Weekly Times

"China can continue to underpin a great deal of prosperity by buying from us, but on the way through, they will want to do a bit more of what they're already doing," he said.

Just because China is a strong export customer of Australia, it gives then no rights to our freehold, our agricultural land and water rights. Carr is confusing short-term financial gain with long term prosperity and national interests. It's a mistake commonly made by politicians, who are only accountable for their times in office.

"That would be a good deal, that will keep them buying from us", he said. It sound very much like that if we want to guarantee that China remains our customer, we must continue to grease their palms by allowing them to buy massive amounts of Australian assets.

Ironically, Bob Carr was a excellent Premier for over 10 years, and rightfully believed that Sydney was "full".

He's also the patron of Sustainable Population Australia. Bob Carr is a "big picture" person, not one for details. He spent on infrastructure, and this caused State debt.

As Premier he hosted the world’s best Olympics in 2000 and achieved the nation’s best school literacy levels. He was made a life member of the Wilderness Society and created 350 new national parks. He also ended duck shooting, and is a patron of Voiceless.

However, this time he is letting his country down. He is undermining Australia as a sophisticated country by assuming that we have to submit to the superpower of China.

The purchase by China would introduce more complexity to the Murray-Darling plan under which water will be demanded from the Lower Balonne. The station was created by amalgamating 12 floodplain properties to give Cubbie a total of 51 water licences. Its huge water storage dams stretch for more than 28 km along the Culgoa River, part of the Murray-Darling system. The water is used to supply 130 km² of irrigated cotton and other crops including wheat, which brings in about $50 million a year.

Either he is blindly following Party policies, in an effort to secure his career, or his judgement now is impaired. Maybe Bob Carr's prime has passed and he is going down the route to conservative, global party politics.

If we are accused of "xenophobia" then rightly so! The fears are quite legitimate considering Australia is the driest continent with limited fertile soils - and our government is one of the most pro-globalization in the world!

Perhaps some of our politicians could be outsourced and replaced by some administrative talent from overseas. It could be cheaper for Australia, and allow incumbents to be performance assessed regularly and their futures based on it.

The import of fresh fruit and vegetables, and other produce in competition with Australian farmers and primary industry, is undermining the jobs and economy of Australian citizens.

According to poll by The Weekly Times, 84% of participants do not agree with the sale of Cubbie Station. The envy of China's economic wealth is so overwhelming that they will grovel to please them, even selling off large chunks of our sovereign land and natural assets. Due to the system of preferences, even voting does nothing to swing from the sameness of the Libs and Labs. Once we become the southern state of China, and literally part of the "Asian Century", then maybe then the land grabs will end.

Dick Smith is right - we should support Australian made. The Australian government is totally committed to globalizing our nation, our land, our production and our assets, so why not put up the job of running our nation, democratically, to international tender?

See also: Could Cubbie Station have remained in Australian hands? on Brisbane ABC Local Radio 612 and add your comment. - Ed

I was nor able to find the opinion poll referred to above, atlhough I don't doubt that it exists or that the overwhelming majority of Australians oppose this sell-off. Barnaby Joyce noted how seriously Treasurer Wayne has attended to his responsibiities as Federal Treasurer in regard to Cubbie Station:

In the last month Wayne Swan has spent more time telling us about his love for Bruce Springsteen than he has explaining the serious decision to sell our nation's biggest farm.

Let's hope that Senator Barnaby Joyce maintains his opposition to the sale and this time fights harder against this sale than he did against the privatisation of Telstra, the sale of which he promised voters in 2004 that he would oppose.

From PressTV, YouTube

Citizens in Canada are seeking to overturn the results of the 2011 Federal Election which provided Stephen Harper's Conservative Party with a much coveted majority in the Canadian Parliament.

The Harper government claims to possess a full democratic mandate. But Evidence has surfaced over the past six months demonstrating that voters from demographics that seldom vote Conservative received fraudulent automated phone messages, also known as 'robocalls', directing them to fictional polling stations.

The Canadian government has repeatedly made the spurious allegation that election fraud takes place in other conutries' elections even though mainstream polls have accurately predicated the announced outcome of those elections. Yet, this could be a case of 'they who doth protest too much'.

The social justice group the "Council of Canadians" is providing financial backing to cover the legal expenses of those members of the electorate who claim they were disenfranchised in the pivotal 2011 Federal Election.

The Council of Canadians and other defenders of Canadian democracy were pleased with the recent ruling of a federal judge who rejected the Conservative Party's motions to obstruct those who want to dispute the legitimacy of the Canadian government's mandate, in court. The judge stated that: "Far from being frivolous or vexatious."

"The applications raise serious issues about the integrity of the democratic process in Canada" and "point to a campaign of activities that would seek to deny eligible voters their right to vote and/or manipulate or interfere with that right being exercised freely"

The judge accurately observed that the evidence of election fraud "could shake public confidence and trust in the electoral process."

Critics observe that the Harper government is one of the most zealous advocates of what it calls 'democracy promotion' in certain countries which it deems undemocratic. Such critics say that before the Canadian government engages in such social engineering abroad that it should ensure that it has a democracy at home.

Gee, we don't need democracy to run Australia, or fraud to elect government. We have the Murdoch and Fairfax Press. They run everything here and tell us what we think. Canada must have a different system.

But seriously - very interesting article/film. Especially the part about telling other countries how to do democracy. Australia is involved in that kind of military hypocrisy too.

German economist Philipp Bagus, author of The Tragedy of the Euro, told CBN News.

"The problem is too high debt, too high deficits. The states are just too big," he explained. "This self-destructive mechanism could have been prevented."

Energy has become a permanent and, perhaps, the most important matter at the latest three G8 Summits. If all the people we will have on earth by 2025 were to have Australia's present per capita oil consumption world oil production would have to be 15 times what it will probably be then.

Impressive figures for solar and wind energy are often cited, but these refer to the best experimental sites and do not take into account the very high storage and transport costs and losses that would be associated with attempting to base current rich world living standards on renewable energy sources. The rising grain prices, food riots, and famine parts of the world have experienced in the past few years are purely an outcome of population growth to worry that at some point further growth will be limited by constrained food supplies.

Our politicians may thus have an incentive NOT to fix the problems, since the problems promote the growth that swells government revenues. They see more economic growth as the solution to debt.

In Europe and the United States, expected GDP growth rates appear to be trending toward expected contraction, rather than growth. This could be evidence of Limits to Growth, of the type described in the 1972 book by that name.

Previously published on .

In Victoria on the local news this morning, I think, a spokesperson for a group with a name like the "Business Council of Victoria" said that double pay for Sundays should be abolished.

This seems to have been quickly hushed up. I can find very little on the web about this specifically. The closest is: Keep Sunday penalty rates, demands Government in the Herald Sun.

That the anti-union, anti-public-service government of Ted Baillieu has gone on record as demanding that Sunday penalty rates be kept has shown how opposed to this measure vested interests have judged the broader community to be.

However, the intention of weekend penalty rates has been largely undermined by the need of many for more money than can be earned in a normal working week. Many are now forced to work longer hours and on weekends, with two or more in many households working in order to make ends meet -- thanks to the "efficiency" brought to the Australian economy by the "reforms" that have been imposed upon Australia by Paul Keating and his neoliberal disciples since 1983.

The comment below followed:

We got a glimpse of advanced “flexible” work environments in Romney’s recent fundraising dinner gaff were he points out that some 40% of US workers were earning so little that they fell below the minimum tax paying threshold. This entitled Romney to call these people hangers on and a tax burden.

That is the end game for free reign of working conditions by employers. I heard the recording of Romney’s talk and he very clearly knew what he was saying, and was happy to use the denigrating the plight of this very large section of the US community just to make political capital with his $50,000 a plate audience.

News - Science - Open access scientific publishing

Harvard University says it can't afford journal publishers' prices

University wants scientists to make their research open access and resign from publications that keep articles behind paywalls.

Scientific articles have become inaccessible to the general public and any scientist not affiliated with a university unless they can afford ridiculous sums of money for journal articles and journal membership. This means that scientific discoveries don't get widely known and favoritism flourishes whereby it is very difficult for new scientists to get useful peer reviews and to have their theories published. Academic publishing has become too precious for its own good. Amazing and cheering that Harvard is apparently leading the way.

Full article on Global Research

Their demonstrations have shaken Quebec in recent months, and on September 20th students and environmentalists won major victories.

At her first news conference as premier, Pauline Marois announced that her Parti Québécois government had cancelled the university tuition fees increase imposed by the Charest Liberal government, and would repeal the repressive provisions of Law 12 (formerly Bill 78)

Charest had imposed in his efforts to smash the province’s massive student strike. Among other things, this will remove the restrictions on public demonstrations and the threat of decertification of student associations.

In addition, Marois has ordered the closing of Gentilly-2, Quebec’s only nuclear reactor, while promising funding to promote economic diversification to offset job losses resulting from the shutdown. And she will proceed with her promise to cancel a $58-million government loan to reopen the Jeffrey Mine, Quebec’s last asbestos mining operation.

End to Shale Gas Exploration

The new Natural Resources minister, Martine Ouellet, followed up by announcing an end to shale gas exploration and development in Quebec. ...

Regional Australia Minister Simon Crean has backed calls by sections of the ethnic business community in South Australia for Labor to support a Big Australia through policy decisions and incentives for immigrants.

Crean crosses PM's vision for Australia

"I believe in a Big Australia," Mr Crean told senior politicians and corporate heavyweight in Adelaide this week.

He's suffering from megalomania, and a "big" syndrome. It's hardly a "vision" but a reality-distortion problem.

At least he has identified the source of the lobby group - ethnic business community and not the mainstream voters. As Regional minister, he obviously is not listening to regional constituents, or the vast majority of Australian voters.

Over the next 30 years the number of over-65-year-olds will double. However, adding more migrants to dilute the ageing will create a Ponzi-like scheme, which will require further influxes of young migrants to compensate for their ageing! It's like selling snake-oil products to delude people that they can buy the elixir of youth.

Australia is already struggling to preserve the Murray Darling Basin, the Great Barrier Reef, and the tide of species extinctions.
The economy is a sub-set of the environment, not the contrary.

The Cornucopia idea is one based on the Horn of plenty, that overflows for human welfare. It's based on the myth that when it comes to human desires, and whims, Nature will be forever bountiful and compliant with our dreams of riches and economic benefits. Other species don't have the same privileges, only humans. Sustainable Population Australia's Dr Coulter said "This is totally untenable in environmental, social and economic terms."

Minister Simon Crean's magnanimous and misdirected grandiose ideas need to be treated with a reality check, and maybe some therapy. He should study the constancy and beauty of Nature, the web of life, and comprehend that the permanence of the successful, most ancient, species on our planet have remained sheltered in long-surviving, untouched and stable habitats. We should be making plans to manage natural resource depletion, not aggravating misanthropic growth!

The vast majority of Australian do not want a "big Australia", something earlier Julia Gillard dismissed when she became Prime Minister, in response to Kevin Rudd's diplomatic blunder. Mr Crean's position puts him at odds with Julia Gillard, who has called for "a sustainable Australia, not a Big Australia". However, we are still heading towards "big Australia", only be stealth and not vocally.

Simon Crean not only is abandoning reason, is is committing political suicide by pushing our nation further towards a "big Australia" and inevitable implosion under the weight of human biomass.

Elephants are being killed for ivory. While elephants have some protection through the United Nations Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), several African nations regularly request that CITES Conference of the Parties allow further sales of ivory from existing stockpiles.
The trade in wildlife body parts is horrific, and decimating animal numbers - hurtling some species towards extinction.
Please sign:


HUNDREDS of millions of new jobs will be needed to keep up with world population growth by 2020, the World Bank says.

Jobs might equal hope, but jobs all depend on natural resources. Creating more farms in Africa is limited by "peak water", "peak soil" and peak just about everything.

Job creation is actually limited by the finite amount of natural resources on the planet to support those jobs. Jobs aren't created in a vacuum.

As populations surge in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa the number of positions will need to increase by 600 million over 2005 levels, the World Bank report said. The problem is not too few jobs; it’s too many people.

Tim Jackson in the UK, Herman Daly in the US, and Serge Latouche in France have argued that growth is not always good for the environment, or for the real health of communities. If all countries decide to maximize their populations and their economies, ice will melt, putting cities under sea level, oil will run out, food prices will rise, wages will fall, and human welfare will be reduced, not increased.

If you care about animals and want to protect them from cruelty,together we will stand side by side against live export on Saturday October 6 in Melbourne, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane, Perth, Canberra and Hobart.

Despite assurances from the Australian Government that cruelty in the live export trade would be addressed, animals continue to be neglected, brutalised, have their throats cut while fully conscious, and recently, were buried alive.

Tragedy after tragedy reveals that animals exported live will always be at risk. And yet, they continue to be sent. This sends the appalling message to the rest of the world that Australia accepts animal cruelty. The animals are depending on us — we must urgently let politicians know that caring Australians will not vote for political parties that support live export. This is your chance to join with others at a family-friendly event to rally for a kinder future for animals.

Hear from Animals Australia investigator Lyn White, leading politicians, and other inspiring speakers
Mass petition signing
Other campaign activities
Placards will be provided, including child-friendly signs

Animals Australia Live Export Rally - get event details for you State

Enough land to grow food for a billion hungry people has been sold off in developing countries over the last 10 years, prompting international aid agency Oxfam to call for a six-month freeze.

Land grab leaves a billion hungry

Oxfam head of economic justice, Kelly Dent, said the world's hungry were most at risk from land grabs.

Land-grabs, following direct and indirect investments in land by large European financial institutions, mean European companies are snatching up land, increasingly in Africa. This comes at the expense of local livelihoods and food sovereignty, in addition to causing knock on environmental devastation through land-use change.

It's been argued that it would lead to food insecurity, hunger, poverty and convert the country from net food exporter to food importer – grave threat signs of which have already become visible.

Foreign investors have bought up more than 100 million hectares of land in poor countries in the last decade in deals which could be contributing to hunger and poverty, campaigners have warned.

The last global food price crisis in 2008 and 2009 saw land deals treble because they were seen as a profitable investment, Oxfam said, and with food prices at around record levels once more, there could be another wave of land grabs.

In Africa the need for land has lead to struggles for state power in vastly overpopulated regions such as the Great Lakes Region and Rwanda and Burundi in particular while globally it is becoming ever more pertinent to national security concerns. Agriculture in Africa is in a very deep crisis, indeed. And we have to realize that four fifth of all farmers live of a small bit of land, on which they are cultivate some food on which they and their families live. They are being deprived by land robbery, by people coming from outside who have nothing to do with the country. These are predatory people who do not have the population/people of the country in their minds and hearts, but they have very different interests - in profits and their own nation's food security.

It is estimated that there will be another billion people added over the next 15 years and yet another billion before mid-century. We have a food crisis, an oil crisis, a water crisis, soil crisis, shrinking economies, a jobs crisis, an immigration crisis and a population crisis. All these problems are harder to solve with a growing population exacerbating diminishing resources, adding to greed, terror and stress.

Clearer signs of overpopulation and Limits to Growth would be hard find!

Ironically, Oxfam refuse to recognise the problem of overpopulation as the cause of climate change- because under-developed countries produce less per capita carbon emissions, and they need more people of working age to care for the elderly!

Population: why it’s a dangerous distraction on climate change (and makes us feel uncomfortable)

The following government website states all of the people and services that make up a community:

There's one rather glaring omission though: men. Apparently even Animals and Pets are important enough to rate a mention, but men as roughly half of the population? No. There's no links for men, no mention of services for men. Nothing. If we're going to keep ignoring half of the population we're going to continue to see more of men "dropping out". It's a sad day indeed when men don't even rate a mention when 'Animals and Pets' do. We're still citizens of this country, even if we're being treated like second class ones!

Anonymous does raise an interesting point on the decline of status for men, that is evident not just in health matters/services from governments , but into the wider society.

Many causes could be attributed - from the decline in productive skills due to transfer of manufacturing overseas to help the needy poor, no longer any sense of community through the immigration swarm and multiculturalism of/for big corporations for consumption demands and economic directions, lack of suitable comradeship as once was held amongst "blokes" of the past, and probably femininism inflicting feelings of uncertainty onto many men.

I do not feel however that "dropping out" offers any answer, as this only adds to increasing the huge number of men who currently sit down for all oblutions.

No, I think pursuit of freedom, identity and heritage could offer a reprieve, perhaps starting with a study of the time respected Magna Carta.

Well, just a thought anyway.

Good News!
The French news France 2 JTof 9 October, report that 11 European countries have agreed to put a tax on financial transactions so the law will go ahead.

No surprise that the major dissenter is the UK.

Tax contemplated will be between 0.01% and 0.1% on every stock market transaction. Purpose to make the markets more responsible. France also would like to use profits to finance European institutions. Germany is against this use of the funds.

This will set the cat among the pidgeons internationally, showing, once again, how democratically corrupt the Anglophone countries are. I predict that not only the UK, but Canada, USA and Australia will all try to hold out against this.

I wonder if the Middle Eastern countries will come on board with Europe. I think that they probably will. Then, where will China stand? Interesting times.

How’s this for excess? Melbournians are being asked to squeeze up and consolidate while this family does the opposite. It highlights the increasing wealth divide, the migration of money to the top few percent. It is disgusting and it is not the Australia I was brought up in.

PETA: Letters Urgently Needed: 104 Rescued Bears Face Eviction
Claire Fryer
Thu, 11 Oct 2012 15:34:36 +1000
'Claire Fryer'

Hi Activists!

Our friends at Animals Asia Foundation need our help! Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Center has been rescuing bears from the cruel bile industry but now is facing a closure of its facilities without warrant. The eviction comes following an aggressive campaign by Tam Dao National Park director Do Dinh Tien claiming that the area is of national defense significance. Mr. Tien’s daughter has investments in Truong Giang Tam Dao Joint Stock Company, a company that has submitted an application for “eco-tourism” and hotel development of the site that the rescue center currently occupies. The eviction would cause the rescue center’s 104 bears to be removed from the facility and the 77 local staff to be without employment. The financial loss to Animals Asia would be upwards of $2 million USD but the tragedy of the loss of a home for these bears and the countless hours of hard work by their staffers, volunteers, and supporters cannot be estimated. Please join PETA in speaking up for Animals Asia Foundation by sending in a letter to the Prime Minister of Vietnam the Honorable Nguyen Tan Dung.

Animals Asia Foundation is asking for our help with letters and petitions. You can view more here.

You can send your letters to the Prime Minister by e-mailing

Public pressure can often be the main impetus for change! To make sure your letter has a good chance of being seen, follow these tips:

· Put “Stop the eviction of Animals Asia’s Vietnam Bear Rescue Centre” in the subject line of e-mails.

· Be brief! Sometimes one short, pithy paragraph is enough—try to stay under 300 words (about half of one typed page). Conclude by asking for a response.

· Be polite and concise. Keep everything relevant to the closure of Animals Asia Vietnam Bear Rescue Center. Never be threatening or insulting.

· Make sure you include your name and address in your letter.

For more tips on writing effective letters, please see PETA U.S.’ letter-writing guide.

The following are talking points that you can rephrase in your letter to get you started:

· Animals Asia Foundation is working hard in Vietnam to help animals that desperately need it. The closure of their bear rescue center is uncalled for and unfair. The words and acts of Mr. Do Dinh Tien are not truthful. Please ask him to hold to the decision that he made with Animals Asia in 2008. This is not a defense issue, it is a greed issue! This land was promised for the rescued bears and they should not have to suffer for someone’s business interests.

· These bears have suffered enough. These bears need the stability and home that they were promised. Animals Asia is helping the country of Vietnam and the world. Any compassionate person would not want to support this forced eviction of Animals Asia.

Thank you in advance for your action for animals! If you have any questions, I can be reached at


For all animals,

Claire Fryer
Campaign Coordinator
PETA Australia

In 1911, just 100 years ago, the human population of the world was around 1.6 billion people. One hundred years later, we reached 7 billion inhabitants. We are on course to reach 8 billion by 2020 and 9 billion by 2050.

Governments need to spend $US80 billion a year to halt extinctions of endangered animals and plants, many times current levels and only half the amount paid to bankers in bonuses last year, a study showed.

Read more: Conservation efforts need to rise 10-fold to succeed, report finds of 12 October 2012 at

For world governments to spend $US80 billion a year to halt extinctions of endangered animals and plants, there needs a dramatic change in direction of business priorities.

Rather than pure altruism, it's an investment. Stanford University's Paul Ehrlich said "people depend upon 'ecosystem services' provided by plants and the other species.... Their support are income, like interest or dividends, flowing from the capital value of nature".

Species are disappearing about 1,000 times faster than is typical of the planet’s history but it isn’t because of geologic or cosmic forces but unsustainable human population growth.

U.N. reports say the world is facing the worst crisis of extinctions since the dinosaurs were wiped out 65 million years ago. Pollution, climate change, land clearance of forests to make way for farms, roads and towns are among threats. The U.N. goals for 2020 include expanding protected areas to 17 per cent of the world's land surface - from 12.7 per cent estimated for 2010 - and to 10 per cent of seas under national control, from 4.0 per cent.

Human population seems to be expanding with self-generated natural force at an exponential rate, a juggernaut chained only by starvation and disease. This suggests that unless something unusual comes along to check this geometric growth, there will soon be "standing room only." By 2145 or 2245 there could be standing room only on Earth. It leaves very little room for biodiversity, a living planet.

An estimated 215 million women in the developing world have an unmet need for contraceptives, meaning they want to avoid or delay a pregnancy but can’t access contraception. Access to family planning is the first step towards healing and re-balancing our planet ecosystems, along with suppressing the tunnel-visioned drive for destructive "economic growth" at all costs.

Comments on this page now closed. "Miscellaneous comments" page from 16 October 2012 can be found here.