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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Saturday, 17 May 2008
NSW public energy heist?: Enron 'smartest guys' free 109 min film on Google Video
Mood:  special
Topic: nsw govt

As indicated in this profound film, staff of Enron (a US $65 billion corporation, 7th largest in the USA, which went bankrupt in 24 days in 2002) were regarded as the "best and brightest" in business. This has an eerie ring to it echoing a phrase for those selected for the recent 2020 summit blessed by PM Rudd.

PM Rudd also as it happens has endorsed the public energy sell off plan of the NSW Premier Morris Iemma who is in China as we write presumably to further progress the $15 billion sale  'the best and brightest idea' he can come up with for future governance of NSW! Enjoy (!?) the film. We will.

When you've digested that "magic of the market" and "de-regulation", have a look at this 60 minutes plus BBC doco on Youtube of the history of the public relations industry based on the theories of psychoanalyst Freud. It's a cracker.

And if you are still up for it this chestnut, less than one minute:



Posted by editor at 10:28 PM NZT
Updated: Sunday, 18 May 2008 12:49 AM NZT
Coca Cola Amatil 'not a good corporate citizen': Ian Cohen MP
Mood:  sad
Topic: corporates

Media Release from Ian Cohen MLC                                       

15th May 2008
Greens to Coca Cola: “stop political donations, start container

As Coca Cola Amatil (CCA) emerged from their AGM today, Greens MP Ian
Cohen called on the company to refrain from using their influence to
frustrate community efforts to expand South Australia’s successful
container deposit scheme.
“Coca Cola have donated almost two million dollars to the major
political parties in this country over the last nine years,” said
Upper House Greens MP Ian Cohen.
“What the developer donations scandal has revealed in NSW is that
political donors make donations in order to gain preferential access to
and/or treatment from MPs and Ministers.
“He who pays the piper calls the tune. There should be a moratorium
on all political donations from beverage companies, particularly while a
national review of the viability of a container deposit scheme is
“Voluntary waste management schemes have consistently failed to
achieve targets for recycling and resource recovery.
CCA’s Chairman David Gonski today told the AGM that the company has
‘engaged a sustainability manager to work with our customers and
we’re gathering ideas from many of our people on ways to reduce waste
and maximise resources’.
“Container deposit is a proven system for minimising waste. If Coke
were serious beyond greenwash, they’d be heeding calls supported by
90% of the community to introduce a cash back scheme for bottles and
“Self regulation has maintained status quo where recycling rates of
beverage containers have been stagnant for years. Is it a coincidence
that nine years of donations have coincided with nine years of self
regulation and nine years of chain dragging on waste issues?
“Once the company has embraced container deposit, they might like to
look to their sister company in Germany for guidance on how to set up a
refillable system. The German PET Coca Cola bottle on my desk has been
refilled 20 times – now there’s an idea,” said Mr Cohen.
For more information: Ian Cohen 0409 989 466 or Nic Clyde 0417 742 754

Posted by editor at 8:49 PM NZT
Brazilian environment minister quits, refusing to be policy pimped anymore, meanwhile in NSW ...
Mood:  sharp
Topic: nsw govt


Reuters Marina Silva: departure greeted with dismay

Our comment extracted from a string on crikey.com.au string here:

Tom McLoughlin
Saturday, 17 May 2008 4:10:54 PM
The pimping of the good reputation of Marina Silva, now ex minister for the environment in huge country Brazil, has a parallel in NSW. On Friday the SMH reported ['NSW attacks climate report' Marian Wilkinson, Environment Editor May 16, 2008 ] that Jeff Angel who sat on an 'independent committee' appointed by the govt to assess the public energy sell off plan, and indeed endorsed it 'on condition of no exemptions from the emissions trading scheme', this same Jeff Angel, was brushed aside after doing his PR dance, in a strong submission for the whole of NSW govt to the Garnaut Inquiry. The submission urges exactly those same ETS exemptions. In other words Angel was pimped. But we say he already knew that was his role and purpose. Silva has resigned so she can be her own person again. This "duchessing" is EXACTLY what founder of Total Environment Centre (1972) Milo Dunphy mentored me to avoid. And so it shall be. May he rest in peace. Listen up Jeff you're on notice a long time now.


Posted by editor at 6:13 PM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2008 7:26 PM NZT
Add a new mystery sabotage to list of highly destructive vandalism on minorities
Mood:  not sure
Topic: human rights

The Herald is carrying a front page story today about some 5 cubic metres of concrete sabotaging the toilets to the Hordern Pavillion where the after party for the Gay Mardi Gras was to be held as usual in March 2008.

This follows a spate of attacks earlier this year late January and February (also analysed at that time here on SAM) with some common threads - areas of high ethnic or religious minority concentration, or refugee/immigrant nature. Only this time it is a minority alternative sexuality. Another aspect - the attacks are all highly effective and damaging and involve very serious destruction but as yet no loss of life. From months long closure of a suburban library to partial destrcuction of a religious temple to fire destruction of a chicken shop and substation fire at a shopping mall. Lastly, no one has been caught for these events.

Maybe there is no pattern to these events. We wonder.

Intuitively more than anything we feel there is a pattern behind these attacks suggestive of an evil genius for disruption, misery, corrosion of harmony in diversity. In short fascism.

Past reportage here:

And here:

Friday, 15 February 2008
Another suspicious fire in Broadway retail area?
Mood:  on fire
Topic: local news
And here :
Wednesday, 6 February 2008
Burnt out ... fire has damaged Sydney's oldest Chinese temple.

Burnt out ... fire has damaged Sydney's oldest Chinese temple.
Photo: Andrew Meares

Posted by editor at 4:15 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 May 2008 9:12 PM NZT
Future of Journalism report #2: The 1-9-90 rule, the audience knows more, and other axioms
Mood:  chatty
Topic: big media

Our second installment on an influential conference held early May 2008 at the ABC Ultimo headquarters venue involving various heavy weights in the Big Media sector.

[under construction]

Posted by editor at 2:10 PM NZT
Updated: Saturday, 17 May 2008 2:17 PM NZT
Cool new media base for Fairfax at Pyrmont, or mini Mordor echo of Governor Macquarie Tower?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: big media


This week we took a cycle around the new Fairfax base at 1 Darling Island Pyrmont, just over the water from old digs at Sussex St, Darling Harbour.

We also took quite a few pictures above and below looking for visual metaphors - like the giant ship propellers from yesteryear meaning whatever. It was sunny but we felt a chill all the same perhaps because the sleek dark lines reminded of Governor Macquarie Tower home of the NSW ALP Govt.


We met a senior media figure Bruce Wolpe out front catching a taxi and asked his view on the USA election 'will Barak beat Mr McCain?' "Yes Tom he will.". And was politely told to shove off by front desk security in case we were a foreign copyright stalker of some kind:

We first got interested in the new building when we realised the first stop out of the CBD for a new $12 billion (!) North West Metro by 2015 or so would be ... to Fairfax at Pyrmont. That's one way for the ALP to curry favour with one sector of the Big Media.

Then it got more interesting when rival News Ltd veteran John Lyons was monstered by Federal Police security in a cramping of the freedom of the press. It was always advertised as only a picfac says Labor but Rudd did more than pose for pictures inside the building evidencing media favouritism. As if to smooth over the whole sour grapes the provincial ALP machine took an expensive 1/4 page advert in rival News Ltd broadsheet which they cutely placed right next to the report about their man Lyons getting the shove: p3 9 May 2008 The Australian here;


Posted by editor at 1:59 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 20 May 2008 8:41 PM NZT
MPs Della Bosca, Veitch, Voltz, Koperberg all copping friendly fire in public energy sale plan?
Mood:  down
Topic: nsw govt

There is a disturbing pattern of 'coincidental' PR violence against the careers of those not ideologically committed to a public energy sale within the NSW ALP Parliamentary party.

We've reported on Della Bosca copping heaps over his driving license suspension in these articles 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. He has got some back too here and moderate pieces here and here on SAM too. Seems Della Bosca was trying to mediate a deal on the public energy assets rather than an outright split with the union movement.

Then it turns out Mike Veith MP who also opposes energy privatisation was starting to turn up in Butcher of Bega stories. That's pretty rough.

Lynda Voltz MP has been reduced to tears by somone, reportedly, though energy sale backers say they are comforters not harrassers. Mmm.

And then as far back as 11 Dec 2007 we were sniffing the wind regarding Phil Koperberg getting done over by a mystery leak from within the ALP itself. We don't know if this means he is for or against the sell off but he is from the Left Blue Mountains faction.

Posted by editor at 1:50 PM NZT
Updated: Wednesday, 21 May 2008 9:06 PM NZT
Friday, 16 May 2008
New Matilda blocking our analysis on busy Palestine Israel string?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: independent media

At first we felt angst but now more in sadness and puzzlement than anything else we report our utter failure to make an important (to us anyway) contribution on a string on the vexed issue of Israel Palestine human rights and foreign policy. And this in a week we have read or heard about banning of an exhibition at Leichhardt Council Library:

May 14 2008 Exhibition axed after police visit - National - smh.com.au

and melodrama over concurrent events at NSW Parliament as per Senator Kerry Nettle here (Green Party):

 15 May 2008 Parliament fails to acknowledge Palestinian loss

But on New Matilda with their centre left readership and free speech principles? That's a bit counter intuitive. It's taken a full week to nut out how best to approach this blocked feeling. And of course it's by publishing right here.

The string is

israel/palestine 8 May 2008 

Israel at 60: Where Did We Go Wrong? By Mustafa Qadri

Our first comment was fine along these lines and no problem:

I make the same comment as on crikey.com.au today with the Lowenstein article "I still remember a Palestinian lawyer giving a lecture in the mid 80ies to ANU law school though I don’t remember exactly what was said. I imagine about the need for a rule of law per se. Which bring me to a direct challenge to the loyal supporters of Israel - am I correct to say there is no written constitution for the State of Israel? Happy to be told I am wrong, but my understanding is that if there were it would be necessary to codify a non racial and maybe non religous social contract, or at least delimit rights accruing to such race or religion … transparently, and legally enforceable. (It’s true the UK doesn’t have a written constitution but that seems to be the exception in democratic jurisprudence.) Indeed isn’t this all a rotten trick on democratic western allies when as Lowenstein says "including news about the allocation of building permits in the West Bank to only Jewish settlers". In Australia we have the Racial Discrimination Act. What say you?"

It's a busy string of some 30 comments and we made a second comment in conversation with other contributors:

Which is a bit like saying all English speaking westerners are one monolithic nation. Hardly. Quite incredible really to be so cavalier. Paranoid even, which is the psychology of the abused child State grown to adulthood and recently come into great power.

I wonder Denise do you reflect how haughty that reads with the confidence of nuclear weaponry of both of Israel and USA?

So I take it you concede that Israel is effectively an aparthied state.

The sooner Israel gets a written and honest constitution the better off the whole world will be, just as fences can bring neighbours together for the clarity of both the physical and intangible meaning - yes we live close but we want our privacy and quiet enjoyment too.

There is no agreed fence in that part of the world and this is a recipe for confusion and tit for tat that is a damnable spiral of anger and hate, and yes institutionalised violence of thought and deed. And I tell you the whole world is sick to the stomach with it, and don’t buy half the propaganda that comes out of the loyal diaspora Jewry. Indeed we only need to google the local English speaking Israeli press to get far greater diversity of opinion that what can be ‘properly’ discussed here in Australia.

The truth is there are many beautiful Arabic and Jewish people in that part of the world but the rest of the world are constantly prevented from enjoying that potential. Frankly I’m sick of hearing and reading about. Get your house and your neighbourly relations in order for God sake.

And since we were named in fairly mild response, and felt it important to go on the record about some things, we have tried to add this third one, which is blocked for all time it seems:

I tried to make a [third] comment here earlier but it was blocked .... 3 times. It was to say given the carnage of WW2 in the tens of millions it's pretty easy to see why country boundaries were so plastic in resolving the peace dividend in that shell shocked world. In that context one well understands the creation of Israel and the alternative non Zionist/Diaspora approach too, but not the cruel disenfranchisement of the Palestinians from their homes.

Secondly it must be stated endlessly that Israel with some 200 nuclear weapons will ALWAYS exist from here on in the history of this planet, or until they agree to disarm. This is the point of Mordechai Vanunu - as here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordechai_Vanunu

and lastly this link which I found interesting given vexed functions at NSW Parliament, Leichhardt public library and frankly everywhere these days:

"Cordell Jewish Dating Singles Personals @ JLove"


Over to you NM.

Actually the last bit was flippant but it has a meaning. The editor of New Matilda is Marnie Cordell. Whether this is relevant we just have no idea. Should SAM blog ask her on a date to get the comment on the string? No worries. She is attractive. More attractive than we no doubt. The official NM line is shown in red top right. Which is red for stop one presumes.

There are several other readers who have commented way more than 2 times on this string. Which is exactly why we maintain our own blog micro news website with some 20k readers per month (!) - because there is always the risk someone somewhere who doesn't want you to publish something probitive. Otherwise we love New Matilda, swear, and like it when they provide us with a story too as here.

We may have to return our gratis ticket from New Matilda to their sponsored event at the Sydney Writer's Festival because we obviously were not meant for The Simple Life.

Other views on the actual Israel Palestine question can also be found here in the Sydney press:

13 May 2008 A shared land as one state the way to peace - Opinion - smh.com.au

12 May 2008 Survival despite the odds

14 May 2008 Real nowhere land | The Australian

And one can always count on The Australian for some hyperbole on this subject:

14 May 2008 Roll up for the show trial with the Jews in the dock | The Australian


Postscript #1 20 May 2008

Correspondence with NM's editor says it was merely a web code glitch: She says she let the 3rd omitted post through. But it's not on the string all the same. We will try again. Our suspicion remains that there is something particularly controversial or sensitive about the reference to Israel's nuclear arsenal AND in particular the case of whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. But to who exactly? NM, or someone looking over their shoulder? The secuirty agencies have the capacity to go straight through standard website security, at least as we understand.

As to the referencing of that Israeli nuclear arsenal:

Sent: Tuesday, May 20, 2008 4:11 PM
Subject: still waiting .... Israel nuke arsenal, Federation of American Scientists

"Israel could potentially have produced a few dozen nuclear warheads in the period 1970-1980, and is thought to have produced sufficient fissile material to build 100 to 200 warheads by the mid-1990s. In 1986 descriptions and photographs of Israeli nuclear warheads were published in the London Sunday Times of a purported underground bomb factory at the Dimona nuclear reactor. The photographs were taken by Mordechai Vanunu, a dismissed Israeli nuclear technician. His information led some experts to conclude that Israel had a stockpile of 100 to 200 nuclear devices at that time.

By the late 1990s the U.S. Intelligence Community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 weapons, based on production estimates. The stockpile would certainly include warheads for mobile Jericho-1 and Jericho-2 missiles, as well as bombs for Israeli aircraft, and may include other tactical nuclear weapons of various types. Some published estimates even claimed that Israel might have as many as 400 nuclear weapons by the late 1990s. We believe these numbers are exaggerated, and that Israel's nuclear weapons inventory may include less than 100 nuclear weapons. Stockpiled plutonium could be used to build additional weapons if so decided."



"The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) was founded in 1945 by scientists who had worked on the Manhattan Project to develop the first atomic bombs. These scientists recognized that science had become central to many key public policy questions. They believed that scientists had a unique responsibility to both warn the public and policy leaders of potential dangers from scientific and technical advances and to show how good policy could increase the benefits of new scientific knowledge."

Posted by editor at 10:43 PM NZT
Updated: Tuesday, 3 June 2008 8:30 PM NZT
Sydney press burns opposition leader Nelson after federal budget reply speech
Mood:  on fire
Topic: aust govt


A 5c cut in petrol price will have 'a meaningful reduction in inflation' by reducing cost of transport for all goods? And there we were thinking lower prices meant increased demand which demand feeds back into inflation again?

Yet this is the centrepiece of Dr Nelson's economic credentials. Gross populist rubbish says just about everyone who you might think actually knows about such things.

And the Sydney press have cruelly burned Nelson in their subtle and also blunt way. It's all in these pictures - juxtaposing a terrible case of a victim of an attempted murder by bashing and dousing in petrol. Get it? Nelson's petrol policy pitch associated with petrol as killer of beautiful young Australian womanhood. Ouch. The press can be so cruel.

And if you think this was just a coincidence have another look at the Warren cartoon at top with speech bubble "I'll just make this quick" pictured disappearing through an hour glass. Ouch again.

Never has Dr Nelson looked more like the night watchman in cricket terms.

In the sport of cricket, a nightwatchman  is a lower-order batsman who comes in to bat higher up the order than usual near the end of the day's play. This nightwatchman's job is to maintain most of the strike until the close of play (remaining in overnight, hence the name) and so protect other, more capable batsmen from being out cheaply in what may be a period of tiredness or in poor light. The theory is that losing two top-order batsmen in quick succession would be worse than losing one top-order batsman and a tailender.

A hallmark of such a player (between a leader like John Howard defeated at the last election and another top order choice of leader) can be sticking around too long after the danger period has passed, literally sidelining the real stroke makers. Which according to most coverage is Malcolm Turnbull.



Posted by editor at 9:41 PM NZT
NSW public energy: Spiv ALP sell off plan to China Inc was underway in 2006? Angel does ALP work?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: nsw govt

As Premier Iemma flies off to China today as mentioned here:

 16 May 08 Electricity dissidents face expulsion from party: Iemma

we read Alex Mitchell in crikey.com.au here:

16 May 2008 Iemma tries to crash through electricity privatisation

Which sent us on a flurry of online research of incredible manipulation and manufacture of consent:

Tom McLoughlin
Friday, 16 May 2008 6:34:28 PM
John Garnaut article in Farifax press (get this editorial contrast - Age headline "NSW power play stirs up a giant of global warming", SMH headline "More to gain and less to fear from China power giant ") last Monday pointed out: "Sooner or later some anti-privatisation activist will start doing background checks on China Huaneng Group, which is at the front of the queue to bid for $15 billion in NSW's power assets. They'll see that Sydney might soon be powered by the world's biggest corporate contributor to global warming." Now the Bob Carr/MacBank lobbying trips to China, and Beijing Austchina Technology sponsored trips for politicians are all becoming clearer. Iemma flew out of Sydney today for ... China.
Tom McLoughlin#2
Friday, 16 May 2008 6:47:25 PM
On Oct 24, 2007 Dr John Kaye MP (Greens) said in a media release (online): "In NSW parliament question time yesterday I asked the Treasurer if he had attended a meeting where privatisation of NSW’s electricity assets was discussed with a company owned by the government of the Peoples Republic of China. “Three times the Treasurer refused to rule out having had such meetings.// “Again in his media release this morning, he failed to deny the suggestion that the NSW government has begun power privatisation discussions with a company owned by the Chinese government.// “All he needs to say is ‘no’ and the matter would come to an end."
Tom McLoughlin#3
Friday, 16 May 2008 6:52:33 PM
SMH 23 Jan 2006 in "Like a bull in a China shop" ...."Macquarie Bank's executive director, Warwick Smith, a former federal government minister and former chairman of the Australia China Business Council, says the key to success is "start early and be patient" ...// "Their system is a top-down system. There are 60 million members of the Communist Party. The chairman of the party in Beijing is more important than the mayor of Beijing … So the party has a prominent position in their structure," says Smith.// The former NSW premier Bob Carr has joined the [Macquarie] bank as a consultant and will focus on China. [Warwick] Smith [of Macquarie Bank, ex federal Liberal MP, 2020 Summit Rudd appointee] concedes that being seen to hold domestic political clout has helped Macquarie open Chinese doors.// "It has worked to our advantage, so people in China can better understand what various skills we bring to a problem," he says.

Meanwhile "prominent" environmentalist Jeff Angel is mentioned in this article in Fairfax today as proof positive he was always a figleaf for the sell off agenda, and in effect prostituted to that cause (and not for the the first time):

16 May 2008 NSW attacks climate report

The relevant quotes are here:

".... The NSW submission calls for coal-fired electricity generators, including those about to be privatised in NSW, to get substantial compensation, or receive free permits to emit greenhouse gases, under the scheme, despite Professor Garnaut's strong advice to Mr Rudd to reject this.

The NSW Government's position will be a boost to private electricity generators, like the Chinese owned TRUenergy, that are large emitters of greenhouse gases. These companies may be bidders for NSW's generators when they are privatised." ....


The submission's arguments reflect the strong views of the NSW Treasurer, Michael Costa, a climate change sceptic. However, they are, at times, at odds with public statements by the Premier, Morris Iemma, and his Climate Change Minister, Verity Firth.

Last month a leading environmentalist, Jeff Angel, lent Mr Iemma his support for the electricity privatisation on the basis that the State Government agreed not to lobby for free permits for coal-fired power generators.

The emissions trading scheme is designed to limit the amount of greenhouse gases by setting a cap on what Australia can release.

Professor Garnaut says that when the European trading scheme was initiated, free permits given to power generators were sold for windfall profits. Electricity prices rose regardless and emissions did not fall.

The point about Angel is that he doesn't represent the green movement, only about 700 members of the Total Environment Centre with a long pedigree to be sure back to 1972. Milo Dunphy as founder of TEC never trusted Angel, and nor does this writer advisedly.

Dr John Kaye MP (Green Party) said this about Angel's collaboration with an 'independent' committee for public energy sell off:

Sent: Monday, March 10, 2008 3:15 PM
Subject: [Greens-Media] Environment movement not heard in Unsworth report

Environment movement not heard in Unsworth report
Media Release: 10 March 2008
The Greens are gravely disappointed that Total Environment Centre (TEC) Director Jeff Angel has supported NSW Treasurer Michael Costa's scheme to sell-off the electricity industry.
Greens NSW MP John Kaye said: "It's not surprising that the Premier's hand-selected supporters signed off on the privatisation.
"It is quite shocking that Jeff Angel ignored the arguments of the overwhelming majority of the environment movement.
"The only opposition came from the three union representatives. Their dissenting report captured the key environmental, economic and social arguments against the sell-off.
"Selling off the retailers removes an important ingredient in the move to greater energy efficiency. Public ownership is essential in protecting household energy bills in a time of rising prices.
"The generators are responsible for 37% of the state's greenhouse gas emissions and which ever way it is packaged, handing them over to the private sector is bad news for the climate.
"In return for a handful of recommendations to consider or investigate various environmental options, Mr Angel lent his authority to Treasurer Michael Costa's disastrous scheme.
"Jeff Angel has been prepared to trade off the environmental and social benefits of public ownership for the flimsy chance that some of his suggestions might be adopted.
"Mr Angel has fallen for the beads and blankets trick. On the hope of getting something useful, he has signed on to the sell-off.
"The campaign to protect public ownership and control of the electricity industry will continue regardless of the outcomes of the Unsworth committee," Dr Kaye said.

For more information: John Kaye 0407 195 455

Posted by editor at 9:04 PM NZT
Updated: Friday, 16 May 2008 9:36 PM NZT

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