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Iraq: Who Won, Who Lost, Who Got Screwed?

This article, by Frosty Wooldridge, is simply the best damn summation of the human costs of the Iraq War I have yet read. IMHO, Wooldridge is the best writer in the business. He has three things going for him. A firm grasp of reality, a command of the facts, and the creativity to write about them---- driven by the rocket fuel of rage and passion. Say no more. Tim Murray

Future shock - planners ride roughshod over citizens in Los Angeles too

It is typical of the English speaking world that governments that pretend to be democratic, use planners to ride roughshod over the rights of citizens. Here is something from Los Angeles: "In the name of updating its zoning code, Los Angeles is on the verge of overriding community plans across the city by carving out "overlay" neighborhoods in which city employees can approve — by decree and without a hearing or Environmental Impact Report — residential and commercial projects of far greater density than now allowed."

Resident planning rights should be strengthened, not watered down - Kelvin Thomson MP, Australia

Federal Labor Member for Wills, Kelvin Thomson, has condemned reports (The Age 29/11/11 ‘Push to cut planning appeals’) that the Victorian Liberal Government is seriously considering proposals to further reduce the rights of residents to object to inappropriate developments in their neighbourhoods. Wills is an electorate in Victoria, Australia, with very high population density.

Marie-Antoinette World Government and European debt

The current economic crisis in Europe can be compared to a couple in a street building a three storey mansion in a street made up of one storey dwellings and then forcing the residents of the one storey dwellings to stop paying their electricity and gas bills to meet the mortgage repayments of the couple who built the three storey mansion. Article by Joe Toscano

Protecting Nature While Ignoring Immigration?

Reflecting upon the events of the past year (2011) in Canada, the travesty of our democracy remains salient. Mother Nature was not allowed on the ballot, and none of the five major parties were prepared to support her cause. None of them---not even the Green Party----were prepared to say that Canada's runaway population was killing biodiversity, paving farmland or raising carbon emissions. Why? Quite simply, the environmental movement had failed to create a large constituency of support for population reduction in Canada. Nothing underscores that failure better than a look at Nature Canada and its campaign to encourage supporters to ask the Harper Consevative government what it thought were penetrating questions about protecting the environment.

We are letting our resources luck turn to dust

Paul Cleary’s book Too Much Luck: The Mining Boom and Australia’s Future, is a timely appraisal of the dramatic economic and social impacts, as well as the political ramifications of the current resource boom.

This review of Paul Cleary's book by Professor Kerry Carrington, Head of School of Justice at Queensland University of Technology was originally published on theconversation.edu.au on 25 November. It is being reprinted here with her kind permission. Professor Carrington asked that this review be republished as widely as possible.

Democracy Is Not Panacea

Whenever democracy breaks out from its shackles, we celebrate the event as if the victory has been won. But no sooner is the confetti swept from the pavement when, it seems, the honeymoon is over, and the movement or politician that was hailed as a saviour becomes the subject of disappointment. We suffer the cold realization that some problems defeat us---or those we have elected to solve them. We come to understand that even if King Canute had been a constitutional monarch who commanded the incoming tide to stop in the name of some democratic assembly, his order would still have been to no avail. There are limits to our power, however we consitute it. Especially when we command nature to yield what it can no longer supply what we have been accustomed to expect.

Proposed Variations on Code of practice for forestry - Call for Submissions

Proposed revisions to the Code of Practice for Forestry in Victoria Australia could adversely impact Victoria's threatened species. As many candobetter.net readers know, the Victorian Auditor General found last year that Victoria has utterly failed in its objectives under the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act (1986) to measure and protect unique species from threat and endangerment. These changes also follow Environment East Gippsland's historic win in court against VicForests last year, where EEG sought protection under this Act for endangered species. With these changes, loggers could seek exemptions from state environment laws protecting endangered species. Victorians (and people all over the world) need to be aware of these proposed changes and to make comments. You can make a submission via this article.

Ignoring Gen Y While the World Sleepwalks to Catastrophe

On Ockham's Razor on ABC Australia, today, 30 October 2011, hundreds of thousands of people would have heard 24 year old Fiona Heinrichs blast the mainstream media's failure to provide a voice for the younger generation and its promotion of of an ideology of unending growth. Fiona also delivered a blistering critique of Bernard Salt's unscientific promotion of population growth and his failure to respond to her challenge to debate him, which was recently the subject of an article on OnLineOpinion. This is the text of the talk.

Tim Flannery and Australia's coal-seam gas and mining industry

The way The Australian writes him up, Tim Flannery, who once wrote so articulately in defense of our land and its ecology and our place in it, now seems reduced to a quasi-apologist for extreme mining technologies. The Australian writes in such an unbalanced way. See also "Fracking Democracy..."

Occupy Melbourne, Sydney ... movements may be real chance for democracy

First published 2011-10-10 10:02:39 +1000. Republished on 21-October 2011 at 11:37: There is a new protest movement for democratic occupation of cities all over the world, demonstrating against the financial system and its insults to most of us. We support the principles the movement espouses and urge others to do so. Days later we have unanswered questions about this movement in Melbourne, which we are hoping to elucidate. Please join in with comments.

Australia protests Gas-Fracking and Water - Brisbane Sunday October 16, 2011

Aussies take action! Lock the gate!" Australians to gather in Brisbane to defend water and land from coal and coal-seam gas fracking, which has already been totally banned in France. (See comments.) On Sunday October 16, 11a.m. Queens Park Cnr George & Elizabeth Sts. Brisbane City. lockthegateqld[AT]gmail.com Facebook: Defend Our Water Qld Tel. 0404 677 781 www.lockthegate.org.au

Radio national continues love affair with commercial growth lobby

Your ABC will be giving yet more air-space to commercial growth lobbyists who will be spruiking at the Wheeler Center tonight. Publicity for the event actually claims that high density living is "great for the environment." In fact, the Australian Conservation Foundation's Consumption Atlas shows that greenhouse gas emissions of those living in high-density areas are greater than for those living in low-density areas. An analysis of the data shows that the average carbon dioxide equivalent emission of the high-density core areas of Australian cities is 27.9 tons per person whereas that for the low-density outer areas is 17.5 tons per person. (Free Event TONIGHT 12 OCT 2011.)

Deaths and Politics in Victorian hospitals

Growth is choking our city, our public transport, our parking lots, and streets and causing more and more "shortages", and rising costs - particularly in hospitals. Does it take a death of someone waiting to get some funding? More democracy in the system would solve a lot of the problems. When workers are too scared to complain vigorously, the patients aren't heard either. Does anyone have a choice in this system? Who is responsible?

The Triangle Wars - New film about locals successfully stopping undemocratic development in Australia

Trailer-link inside. In May 2007 the Port Phillip City Council unveiled plans for a large-scale commercial development on the St Kilda foreshore - a $400 million mega mall that would comprise 180 shops, a hotel, a supermarket, eight cinemas, a gallery and five bars. Local residents were outraged ...A compelling story of democracy in action in a country where this commodity is increasingly rare and precious, for we are being attacked by growth lobby developer Nazis in every local government and state. Support democracy by seeing the film. Watch the trailer... JUST WON BEST OZ DOCUMENTARY!

Screening details Nova, Carlton Daily: 11:25AM, 3:20PM, 7:05PM
The Classic, Elsternwick Mon, Tue, Wed: 12:30PM, 4:30PM, 8:30PM
The Cameo, Belgrave Mon, Tue, Wed: 2:30PM, 6:40PM


Peninsula Cinema, Sorrento Thur, Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon: 9:15PM, Tue: 7:10PM, Wed 9:15PM
Theatre Royal, Castlemaine Thu 20 Oct: 7:30PM, Sat 22 Oct: 12:00PM Sun 23 Oct: 5:00PM, Thu 27 Oct: 9:15PM, Fri 28 Oct: 7:45PM, Sat 29 Oct: 5:30PM, Sun 30 Oct: 5:30PM
State Cinema, Hobart Mon, Tur, Wed: 11:15AM, 5:45PM
Narooma Cinema, Narooma

Developers now appear to have mouthpiece in planning bureaucracy

Participants were shocked recently to hear Ms Prue Digby, Deputy Secretary, Planning and Local Government, Department of Planning and Community Development include in her paper on "housing a growing population" a section on "eliminating the NIMBY culture" at the Informa Australia "Population Australia - 2050 Summit." Article by Julianne Bell.

Democracy increasingly undermined by corporate growth-agendas


With so many contradictory policies coming from our mainstream political parties, it indicates they are in a quandary about retaining "popularity" with voters, being seen to address overarching national and global issues, retaining their power, and at the same time appeasing their powerful corporate supporters and their growth-agendas.

Increase pressure on Julia to downsize Murdoch press in Australia and world

We are republishing this message because we agree that nothing can go ahead as long as the public messaging system is held hostage by a corporate media monopoly. Avaaz organisation says that, "Prime Minister Gillard may finally be about to order an inquiry into Rupert Murdoch's stranglehold on our media, but insiders say she is wobbling under direct pressure from Murdoch's lobbyists. Let’s flood her cabinet members with calls today and give them the public mandate they need to take a strong stand and hold the PM steady in her decision." See also "Concentrated media ownership: a crisis for democracy" Remember, the Murdoch press wants our population to increase and is against protection of the environment and of workers' rights.

Chapman asks Ted Baillieu for Royal Commission into Wonthaggi Desal Plant approval process

If we had direct democracy and referendums in this country, the Wonthaggi Desal would never have got up - but we don't, yet.
Andrew Chapman is leading a fight for water justice for Victorians to find out how on earth the Brumby government got away with this one. The project is currently estimated to cost $5.7b and it is thought that Victorians will be paying $600m/year for it whether or not the water is required. It will also tax Victoria’s electricity supplies. See also: More on Wonthaggi Desal plant and history of Royal Commission movement

GetUp Campaign for Direct Democracy needs your support now!

(Belated) update (30/4/2016). Not long after this article was published, the GetUp site administrator suddenly and without warning deleted this proposal together with the many other posts, all of which enthusiastically supported my proposal, as I recall. Had we been warned at least we could have retrieved copies of the posts that were of interest, before they were deleted. Given this outrageous treatment of a proposal which is clearly consistent with GetUp's purported goal "to build a progressive Australia and bring participation back into our democracy", GetUp cannot be what it claims to be.

To vote on this campaign go to http://tinyurl.com/3nmwwjq . Yesterday, I made a proposal on GetUp that GetUp launch a campaign to have the Australian constitution changed to include provisions for Direct Democracy similar to what is practised in Switzerland. Whilst the response has not yet been overwhelming, I see no reason why a campaign for Direct Democracy now in Australia should not be able to gain sufficient support to force the Government make it law. But to succeed the campaign needs your support. To find out what you can do, please read this article and the previous article, particularly, that article's What You Can Do Section.

You can help bring Direct Democracy to Australia

You can help bring Direct Democracy to Australia. To vote on this campaign go to http://tinyurl.com/3nmwwjq

John Marlowe first wrote an article about Direct Democracy late last year on 17 November 2010, the same day as an excellent episode of Rear Vision about Direct Democracy was first broadcast. Today, I made a suggestion to GetUp that they conduct a campaign for the Australian constitution to be changed to include Direct Democracy as it is currently practised in Switzerland. It is easy for anyone who agrees with the aims of GetUp to join in order to vote for my proposal. What you can do.

August 10th Australians get to have their say at the Democracy Museum - maybe

Take a look at the One Child Policy nonsense at the Australian Democracy Museum site! Today Candobetter.net received a communication from the Australian Museum of Democracy. At first we thought that a bunch of Australian revolutionaries with a sense of humour had contacted us and we immediately went to their website, as they advised us to, to comment. We were disappointed to realize that this is just another face of Australian government propaganda and the Growth Lobby is well-ensconced. The website belongs to the Australian Museum of Democracy, which is owned and financed by taxpayers, but controlled by the government. So, what do you find when you go and make that visit to the website to “have your say” about democracy as encouraged? Update 5 Aug 2011: My comment now published on democracy site and modifications made for the record to this article on that score.

Joe Toscano does the Murdoch Scandal and democracy in general - podcast

The latest Joe Toscano anarchist podcast dissects the reasons why the Murdoch empire needs to be toppled. Great listening and fundamental education. Also wraps up the state of democracy in Australia.

Population wedges

Is it easier to tackle a vast global population problem than it is to save a suburb from overpopulation or a city from population induced water shortages?

Residents demand better from rogue Macedon Ranges Council

On Wednesday night in icy cold Woodend, it was standing room only as 200 - 250 people filled St. Ambrose's Hall for a public meeting on Settlement Strategy organised by Macedon Ranges Shire Council, where the Mayor tells public 'you can't speak, can't ask questions', but an emphatic community message gets through in the end. "This meeting supports low growth, no rezoning and no expansion of the town boundary at Woodend, and expects Council to support and respect the community’s wishes by rejecting the higher growth scenario and re-instating the exhibited low growth scenario for Woodend."

We are now under attack in Tripoli

It is now 1:10 in the afternoon and as the daily life in Tripoli unfolds that includes teachers, staff, and children at school, shopkeepers working in their businesses, street sweepers sweeping the streets, people moving to and fro in the cars, on bicycles, and on foot, Tripoli has thus far since around 11:00 up to now, received at least 29 bombs. Report by Cynthia McKinney

Australian MP Kelvin Thomson's Seven objections to increasing skilled migration in Australia

Australia's population is now rising by a million every three years. It used to grow by only 200,000 a year. The increase has not been driven by natural increase, refugees or family reunions. It has been driven by an increase in skilled migration from 24,000 in 1996 to over 100,000 now. (Kelvin Thomson - Member for Wills electorate, Victoria, Australia)

Serendip Sanctuary: Why do we have to keep fighting our governments for our natural rights?

Approval to rezone the rural land opposite Serendip Sanctuary, Lara, near Geelong, sets a dangerous precedent for open slather development that places the wildlife protected there at risk and flies in the face of democracy. The Sanctuary is internationally recognised for successfully breeding captive species such as Brolga, Musk and Freckled Duck and now the Eastern Barred Bandicoot, on the brink of extinction. Serendip forms an important wildlife corridor between the You Yangs Regional Park and Brisbane National Park through agricultural land and the sprawl of Greater Melbourne as it spreads to meet the regional city of Geelong.

Australian Democracy Needs Reform; China may have something to offer

This article explores why Australians are so frustrated with the lack of deep thinkers and serious policy makers in our political establishment. It asks why politicians only discuss peripheral issues and never seriously address homelessness. It comments on some recent flagrantly anti-democratic political acts, including the way LNP leadership has been hired out to Cambell Newman in Queensland. In the spirit of relocalisation, it offers some insights into local power in China.

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