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sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Wednesday, 19 November 2008
W Bush regime 'looting the treasury for illegal bailout': Naomi Klein, Democracy Now
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: world

The first of two video links below - from YouTube - is not pleasant watching. The interview on Democracy Now! suffers from lack of a willing contary view but even if half of author Naomi Klein's concerns are right, the USA and the world and the Obama presidency are in trouble in this last 2 months of the W Bush presidency. God have mercy.

Here's the link and the interview is long - about 25 minutes or more:

Klein is not a lone voice by any means either as per this story on our ABC here in Australia on the AM show:

"Only a week ago [Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke] announced they wanted to use [the $700B bailout fund] to inject billions of dollars into banks instead of buying bad mortgage backed assets, which was their original pitch.

Democratic members of the House Financial Services Committee are irate about the change of plan.

FEMALE CONGRESS MEMBER: The fact that you Mr Paulson, took it upon yourself to absolutely ignore the authority and the direction that this Congress had given you just amazes me.

It seems to me the second largest bait and switch scheme that history has ever seen, second only to the reasons given us to vote for the invasion of Iraq."

For those who prefer more sunlight and wishful thinking then this is alot more uplifting, finally available on YouTube given the CBS website seemed overloaded for at least a day (apparently they had highest ratings for 9 years). Broadcast last Sunday 17 November USA time:

Some stand out moments of each item: In the first one Naomi Klein's capacity for a relentless narrative regarding corrupt special interest governance - $250B of good money after bad she argues. Klein makes quite a case for 'colonial style looting of the US Treasury by free market robber barons compared with the strict controls achieved by Gordon Brown in the UK. As we said - it's grim.

In the second  Youtube is president elect Obama describing the dump of an apartment the he lived in even as a Senator, and the car he drove as younger man complete with a rusty hole in the floor. The experience of that side of life says so much to this writer about the fitness of the man for the challenge of the job ahead. The dismay in Michelle Obama's voice at her man's circumstances was also apparent. But then she didn't have a Phd anthropologist for a mom.


Postscript 24 Nov 2008: Not really sure but it looks as if we might have broken the traffic counter with this post. At the least our traffic metric from our host server stops at Nov 19, 2008 as per this screenprint taken 24 Nov 2008, five days of zero traffic:



Posted by editor at 6:14 PM EADT
Updated: Monday, 24 November 2008 8:58 AM EADT
Monday, 17 November 2008
Big media short takes
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: aust govt



* Will the Howard Years episode one deal with a story that 4 Corners was too scared to cover - Jabiluka Uranium mine beaten by the traditional owners, national green groups and NT progressives? This was 1996 to 1999 but in particular mid 98. This set the scene for the Shane Stone Country Liberal Party being beaten in the Statehood referendum and then losing the govt to Clair Martin's ALP. But it all started with the Jabiluka blockade in our humble view and we played our part as a legal adviser taking time out from Waverley as Bondi Ward councillor.

* Pre emptive attack on local councils via AFR story about cost savings by amalgamating councils. Be careful what you wish for - like social security local councils are the democratic social fabric of society. Sure after a GFC it's tempting to cut costs but then so is the slippery slide to Mussolini making the trains run on time.

* '400 Bob Jellys are meeting in Canberra'. So funny. As compared with 'the shallow craven 400 Mike Moores' from the Big Media who live and work there week in week out??? And yes we did do our 4 years tour of duty as a local councillor at Waverley as per the plaque on the library in Bondi Junction.

* Fed Govt backups purchase of Toorale with water rights from Tandou, at 250 gigalitres for $34M 'to buy back the floods'.

* The current reportage of a past period of grim contest ALP versus Coalition Greiner-Fahey Govt from 1991-1995 has lacked a bit of context to our way of thinking:

 15 Nov 2008 That one day in September - National - smh.com.au

There was not only the assassination of MP John Newman in Sept 1994. In the highly political role as NSW campaign coordinator for The Wilderness Society we can say it was like hand to hand trench combat with dueling fax machines and talkback via such as newly invented broadcast fax via single coded sheet. To be frank the death of one obscure MP was a side play to power wrestle with the National Party over statewide policy on land use on forest, logging and wilderness, and the 'minor' matter of the Wood Royal Commission into the Police. Then there were the horror bushfires of summer 1993-4 to recover from. All this was in the backdrop of  Greiner effectively sacked by his own side of politics in 1992 after the Metherell Affair was referred to ICAC.

As regards the Newman murder we got to reflecting that regardless of the intent of the accused/convicted Ngo his high status calls up a sense that any particular criminal might have wanted to appease the Big Man with or without his endorsement. As soon as Della Bosca let Ngo in on Newman's shaky preselection such a rumour could have run and run fast even within hours, including to sinister forces wanting Ngo in place regardless. Newman famously campaigned against organised crime and stated to camera such crims 'didn't fear gaol only deportation to the jungles of Vietnam'. The question is whether Ngo or any other was in on it, and who was the actual shooter.

* We commented in Sunday Talkies on the glowing profile of Kathy Ridge as the acceptable face of the green and reconciliation movement who interestingly grew up to some degree in the shadow of Ok Tedi environmental disaster. Good to see Carol Ridgeway-Bisset native title claimant for Stockton Bight based at Nelson Bay in the story. There is no doubt since Senator Kerry Nettle of The Greens crashed in the last Federal Election this state of NSW is missing the alpha female Green MP at federal level. Or any Green MP at NSW federal level. And one reason we suspect for that election loss is the colonisation of Nettle's office by the CFMEU with their coal and woodchippiong record. So regretable. We took a pic of her senate shopfront post federal election with dead pot plants in the window as some kind of metaphor.

Or maybe Ridge is being positioned to replace aging Jeff Angel or indeed shell shocked Ian Cohen MLC?

 * The lack of ethical framework of Tim Blair and perhaps News Corp itself was clear to see with the juxtaposition of a feature about Obama "Living in the line of fire" Sat Daily Telegraph p85 15 Nov 08 while next page Tim Blair ran cartoon (for mental age of reader) graphic for story "Puppy love with a bang" and "Obama is the best gun salesman we've had". Thank God TB's gun totin fans didn't win the USA election.

* Laurie Oakes has a balancer last Saturday ameliorating the favouritism of PM's wife launching his book Power Plays. We thought that was too close for real independence and stand by that. So Laurie leads with gibe against PM while Rudd is out of the country "Don't say anything, Rudd's in the Room" as if to set the scales to sceptical equilibrium again. Noted LO, noted.

* Interesting biofuel story targetting non agricultural land .... maybe ....

15 Nov 2008 Oil from wasteland tree to power Air NZ jet | The Australian 

* Twiggy Forest is now officially not so rich, down $11 billion to $1 billion in personal wealth. So sad. Actually it really might be given his support for 50,000 jobs in the Indigenous population will be mightily affected. That really is sad.

Forrest down to his last billion as freeze sets in | The Australian 14 Nov 2008

* Biggest con job in modern political economic history? The coal industry have received legislative approval to write off future risk of CO2 leakage in the future. That explains the 4 full page adverts so far explaining why they are doing alot to combat climate change ....not. The adverts are in sky blue format or is that Liberal Party blue?

We think the world and Australia will live to regret such a free pass for the coal sector, and Senator Milne (Greens) is right. We think the underground reservoirs will leak as night follows day, probably kills hundreds or more in the process, which is why the Europeans don't like it. Meanwhile the coal sector's main concern is expansion at any democratic cost 

16 Nov 2008 Roozendaal declares war on wealth in state budget | The Australian

as some ten thousands march against warming last weekend:
* China allocates $855 billion in economic stimilus which is big news for suppliers like Australia BUT as far as the GFC goes as David Hale pointed out to Doogue abc RN last Saturday (in due course), China is a $4 trillion economy while the USA is $14 trillion, Europe $8 trillion, Japan $3 or 4 trillion etc. His point being China will help but not resolve the GFC, and they are slowing down too. 


 * To echo the full page adverts about CCS bury it and hope it will go away approach, The Australian (or is that the journalist in this case) is ramping the split in the business community with the Business Council of Australia representing 100 top Australian companies, and Minerals Council of Australia sticking to the 2010 Emissions Trading Scheme timetable and other special interest sectors buy out of the scheme including the odd lead smelter and concrete maker:
13 Nov 2008 Business splits on carbon deadline   DIVISIONS are emerging in the nation's peak business body over the Rudd Government's 2010 deadline for a carbon trading scheme, with...
However to be fair there has been a bit of a tweak and shift in climate related news coverage there at The Australian. Even hard man Matthew Warren has left for the renewable energy industry sunrise sector, and they have a "Green business" framework too now: 


* As if to underline the point about the GFC affecting everything Gittins climbs down from his more strident page 1 attack on the Rees Govt last Wednesday in his bigger but more hidden weekend column. Not in the headline mind you but tucked away last quarter of the article some crucial quotes here: 

But here's the point: state governments aren't national governments and most economists agree that what state governments should do with their budgets during downturns in the economy is different from what national governments should do.

Why? Because we live in a national economy, not six state economies. There are no economic barriers between the states and much economic activity flows over state borders.

State government budgets are heavily affected by the economy's movement through the business cycle, particularly on the revenue side. In a downturn, collections from the goods and services tax and payroll tax will grow less strongly and collections from stamp duty on conveyances of residential and commercial property will dive because far fewer properties change hands.

So state governments' operating budgets - which cover their everyday operations, not their investment in new capital works - deteriorate sharply, with surpluses quickly turning to deficits.

My view is that governments should live with such deficits because to try to correct them by means of spending cuts and tax increases would be "pro-cyclical" - it would make the downturn worse - and possibly counterproductive, in that the negative effect on the economy could leave you with a bigger deficit not a smaller one.

In other words, state governments should allow their budgets' "automatic stabilisers" to work unhindered, thus helping to prop up the economy. (The quid pro quo is that state governments should run large operating surpluses during the good years, with the surplus used to help finance that year's capital works spending.)

I don't think it's good practice for state governments to do what a national government would do: go a step further with discretionary spending and tax cuts to actually stimulate economic activity.

Why not? Because a lot of that stimulus could leak over the border into other states, because state governments have less capacity to borrow than the national government and their budgets have less ability to rebound in the upturn. That's how the Cain government in Victoria got itself into so much bother in the recession of the early 1990s.

The one qualification I'd make is that state governments with infrastructure backlogs should increase their capital works spending during recessions.

Why? Because the time when private sector construction activity has fallen off is the ideal time for the public sector to fill the gap, limiting unemployment in the industry and getting things built when costs are lower and there's little risk of inflating prices.

The NSW mini-budget doesn't involve cutting back capital works spending until 2011 - which is too far into the future to worry about - but it does involve significant spending cuts and tax increases intended to reduce the operating deficit, thus making it pro-cyclical. Why do such a thing? Because the rating agencies have threatened to downgrade the state's AAA credit rating. The whole purpose of the mini-budget was to avert that.

But is it worth paying such a price to retain the top rating? That's a question too few people ask. Watch this space.

The reaction of the Secretary to the Federal Treasury, Ken Henry, is worth noting, however. He said on Wednesday it was important for NSW to retain the top credit rating, while acknowledging that the mini-budget could well have an impact on the macro economy.

However, he said, the Federal Government stood ready with further budgetary stimulus if needed.

In other words, the management of demand and the smoothing of the business cycle was a job for the Feds, not the states (and the Reserve Bank, of course).

So in conclusion, states can validly be asynchronous to federal policy (eg $10B stimulus package), but they shouldn't worry too much about AAA rating from crap rating agencies, and should still go into deficit for infrastructure. So it's a partial climb down. Back last Wednesday after the mini budget Gittins wrote under heading: 12 Nov 2008  Labor sham will make it worse :

There you have it: this mini-budget is about nothing other than doing "whatever it takes" to prevent a downgrading in the state's credit rating. All the rest is either detail or spin. ......

But for the Rees-Iemma-Carr Government there can be no debate. Its reputation as a manager of the state's affairs is already so tattered that to suffer a credit downgrading would be the last nail in its coffin.

Rightly or wrongly, it would be taken as the ultimate, irrefutable proof of the Labor Government's economic incompetence.

Sorry, but Nathan Rees and the union bosses who appointed him just aren't prepared to run that risk to their survival in office.

And if it makes the downturn worse rather than better for the people of NSW, that's just something the people of NSW will have to cop.

At a time when the Federal Government is busy increasing its spending - and rapidly turning a surplus into a deficit - to bolster the economy during the downturn, it may strike you as strange that its state counterpart is doing the opposite: cutting spending and increasing taxes.

You're right, it is strange. Perverse, in fact. Eric Roozendaal says this is a tough budget for tough times. A snappy line, but treasurers haven't believed it made sense since the same mentality helped to prolong the Great Depression.

As you can see these two views 4 days apart don't bear reconciliation. Gittins quotes Ken Henry Treasury Secretary against himself on the AAA, and he notes that NSW shouldn't play the role of economic stimulus. Trouble is correcting ones initial dogma on page 44 is alot different to page 1 4 days earlier. Where is the shame? 


* We took a swing in Sunday Talkies at Paul Kelly aka HMV aka The Professor for this article:

Quoting ex Premier Greiner "You cannot have a proposal that goes from being right to wrong in a fortnight. It means there is no systematic plan for NSW and government departments don't know what they are supposed to be doing."

Excuse me, tell that to Lehman Bros. Merrill Lynch. Fannie Mae. Freddie Mac. Countrywide Financial. Bear Stearns. American Insurance Group. And then there was Enron all those years ago. Or HIH here.

Greiner and Kelly have selective memory when it comes to an ALP nominally Left Govt. If the GFC can knock $40B off federal budget projections than a fortnight can knock off the north west metro and it did knock it off.

Kelly then contradicts NSW roundsman from the same paper Imre Salusinszky 2 weeks back that conceivably Rees could go ahead of Rudd in a deal possible under the NSW Constitution. That is due to flexibility in a clash with any federal election in Feb March 2011 and Rudd technically can wait until April 2008 as well. Imre confirms these theoretical views by phone today while noting everyone expects Rudd to go late 2010. But will he?

In Sunday Talkies we also noted: "Paul Kelly hopelessly flawed article in The Australian yesterday. Airbrushes real NSW political history regarding Greiner years - seeking to buy off Metherell's vote on forest destruction by job sinecure in the EPA, over feisty public servant Neil Shepherd. Carr winning on the green vote - narrowly. Falsely conflating two very different energy sell off proposals 1997 to 2007-8 with a $10 billion disjunct in the assets (no transmission infrastructure in the second). Greiner being a big business lackey in name as well as substance today working for British American Tobacco. Kelly needs a good spanking."

* Someone called "Herman Daly, former senior economist of the World Bank, did the maths years ago" says Leslie Cannold in Sun Herald 9 Nov 2008 at p8 of Extra: "He argues that catastrophic climate change is just one manifestation of our tragic miscalculation. .... The economy is not just killing the planet. It's killing the economy." Quite.

Posted by editor at 9:43 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 17 November 2008 8:49 PM EADT
Sunday, 16 November 2008
Sunday political talkies: Coalition pining over end of Bush Howard era
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt


Author's general introductory note

 This is not a well packaged story. It's a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media. 

For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don't really give you the image content value.


Media backgrounders (and see following post on SAM of 'big media short takes')

* Refer previous two posts on the big press ‘tantrum' after the mini budget last week in NSW perhaps indicating the old media don't realize they don't make or break government's anymore in the age of Get Up etc. There is the 5th estate accountability on their spin and selective editing. True it's still early days but Obama literally leveraged the internet to the US presidency, and young mind Nathan Rees is in the cycle race of his life starting at 29% primary vote polling handicap to win in 2 years. And the alternative media will play a significant role in that now that he has stared down the Daily Telegraph and SMH front page malice. As if in agreement it's a new media future editor David Penberthy to go to new projects in the same stable.

* Speaking of Penberthy, notice this ‘truth or fiction you decide' piece by Joe Hildebrand in yesterday's Terror:

* Tim Blair is replaced in his location by serial reactionary Andrew Bolt spruiking Melbourne. The tactic is to make the Sydney public feel embarrassed or humiliated based on collective pride. But this will likely misfire just as Howard attacked Obama and was told to ‘shut the f*ck up and mind your own business', so Sydney and NSW people will likely be offended by the Daily Telegraph running Bolt with no loyalty or history in NSW to qualify anything he says.  We wonks and insiders know it's the same News Corp but the readers don't - they will see Sydney Daily Telegraph as treacherous giving a platform to  a Melbourne critic.

* News Corp papers are at least an hour or more late Saturday morning. Desperate headline too about blood suckers attacking Rees Govt.

*  Paul Kelly hopelessly flawed article in The Australian yesterday. Airbrushes real NSW political history regarding Greiner years - seeking to buy off Metherell's vote on forest destruction by job sinecure in the EPA, over feisty public servant Neil Shepherd. Carr winning on the green vote - narrowly. Falsely conflating two very different energy sell off proposals 1997 to 2007-8 with a $10 billion disjunct in the assets (no transmission infrastructure in the second). Greiner being a big business lackey in name as well as substance today working for British American Tobacco. Kelly needs a good spanking.

* Mark Scott revealed on ABC conversation hour. If it looks like, sounds like, smells like a lone Liberal Party SAS advance inside the ABC then it probably is. Reveals his days as political staffer with Terry Metherell presumably not for his forest loving ways. Rather his attempt to split and scatter the teacher union stronghold in the education sector for free market ideologue Nick Greiner. The man for a job would have been the thought of the Howard clones.

* SMH runs another natural history puff piece for the new Govt via James Woodford about an island habitat on the NSW South Coast. Their real environment reporter did a web story on the koala habitat logging on the NSW south coast a week ago. As did PM abc. As did ABC TV news. As did JJJ late last week. But not the newsprint at Fairfax this weekend. Instead they do a book review of depressed, maybe neurotic, Woodford entitled Grid Life Crisis. Arts graduate passenger on the backs of 1,500 people arrested trying to stop the Eden woodchipper destroying our south coast.


* Indeed the SMH compounds the conformist conservative careerist view of the environment with a profile of Kathy Ridge, a greenocrat former exec officer of NSW Nature Conservation Council at a time when the state govt became quite disastrous on environmental management. But don't take our word for it - let me quote Ridge herself in email effectively reporting on the failure of her own tenure at the helm:

From our own SAM/ecology action archive: Tarnished credentials of Bob Carr's ALP NSW Govt 1999-2003 written about March 2003, and see links below for more archive of the Carr years:

5. Nature Conservation Council spits the dummy and gobs on Premier Bob Carr!?

Extracts of Kathy Ridge Executive Officer summer newsletter article 2002/2003.

[Intro by Tom McLoughlin of Ecology Action Sydney.

The umbrella group for most big and small green groups in NSW - though not all e.g. Greenpeace, NEFA, ecology action and some others - has laid the boot into Bob Carr's 'green' credibility. The NSW Nature Conservation Council is supposed to be a networking and service provider to the green movement rather than a spokesperson per se but the group is recognised in NSW legislation and has undoubted stature and influence with the community and the public. Often it does act as a small 'g' greens spokesperson.

The NSW NCC is emphatically stating there is something wrong in the state of Denmark. It is a safe bet to say Bob Carr is following former NSW ALP Premier McKell's successful rural electoral strategies to win over redneck votes from the coalition. However, Carr has forgotten one thing - McKell was a Premier for a pre-environmental age of the mid 20th Century, when the word 'ecology' was barely invented, and 'environmental flows' meant the reverse of today i.e. damming the next floodwater, not saving the fish or South Australia's water supply.

But don't take my word for it - read the esteemed Ms Kathy Ridge in her last newsletter for summer 02-03, soon to bail out for a legal career as a judge's associate. A careeer change can do wonders for the vocal chords, they say. Extract follows,]

"Selling out the environment"

"Kathy Ridge [pictured, lead story, page 1 Environment NSW, the quarterly newsletter of the Nature Conservation Council of NSW Summer 2002/3]

"At the time when the landscape of NSW and its dependent regional communities are suffering the worst drought in 100 years, the Carr government has backed away from the very reforms that would have delivered a more robust environment.

"The last two months has [sic] seen the NSW government fail to put in place two of the most important strategic natural resource management frameworks - the Native Vegetation Management Strategy, and the State Water Management Outcomes Plan.

"Both policy frameworks were designed to guide the work of regional natural resource committees, including Catchment Management Boards, Regional Native Vegetation Committees and the Water Management Committees.

"Without clear policy positions being articulated by the government, community based planning has been an utter failure dogged by poor data, insufficient resources and lack of transparency and accountability in committee processes.

"It has also limited the discussion of the value of the outcomes within government. Each of the draft regional vegetation plans are of varying quality with no cohesive statewide direction being discernible. The extensive, not to mention expensive, Water Sharing Plan process is going to deliver less than a 0.5 per cent increase in water for the environment statewide, and very little of that increase is protected as environmental health water.

"Against the backdrop of landscape scale failure to address land clearing and over extraction from our rivers, the ongoing destruction of old growth forests, woodchipping and charcoal threats, loss of valuable public lands to developers and suffocating stacks in our suburbs, Carr could well be advised to not rest on his environmental record.
"It will be a long 'hot' summer, both politically and environmentally speaking."

 More archive here:

9 Mar 2006: Blast from the past, Sid Walker former Executive Officer NSW Nature Conservation Council 1990-1995 on Carr's broken 'ban on woodchipping' promise.

21/3/05...Objective analysis of Carr on the environment, it's not the TEC director? [discusses undue positive reports by SMH/TEC re Carr regime '95-99,'99-03 and Green Party/other ngo balance effect]

Material on this page below focuses mainly on the NSW Govt period of 1999 to 2003.  For the Carr Govt "dodges"  up to 1999 see: 

30/1/99...The REAL Carr govt on forest protection and destruction, prelude to 1999 election


Whether despite KR's stirling efforts under an increasingly brown and spin driven govt, or because of it we remain agnostic. We have real regard for her spouse barrister McAvoy, and she did seem to be getting an independent mojo by the end of the NCC tour. But the point is while saying she doesn't want the PR she is pictured beaming into the camera with chunky jewellery and business suit in place. 

KR we assume has never been arrested for her beliefs and lives a comfortable career and that's about the speed of the SMH commitment to the environment. Tame captured greenies including by flattery in the first instance. We reflected recently how precious privacy really is. Good luck KR you're going to need it after that profile piece. And what a miserable life it must be in the public eye 24/7.


10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am

Press roundup - decline the Rees beat up, run with breaking G20 summit. Sunday mail in Brisbane re vaccine for skin cancer. SunHerald story about ABC Learning chosen.

First guest is Kim Carr - Industry Minister.  Traverse the Rudd Bush dynamic ‘can't take it seriously' says Carr.

Great out take of axe weilder comedy show with Julie Bishop. Very comic and charming and alarming too. Panel really amused on recommencing.

Next segment of show, grab of Ken Henry don't talk ourselves into a recession.

Panel is Alison Carabine 2UE, Brad Norrington News Corp. Get to his portfolio about industry. Structural advantages. Carr is earnest, articulate big bear of a guy, quite persuasive. Sounds steady. His suit seems to fill ¾ of the screen.

AC goes Rees "betrayal" in NSW. Helped by NSW? Presses. This is the business. Get's to it by saying NSW has "special problems" working through it as soon as we can. Or something like that.

Another ripping out take animation of PM Kevin and Wayne Treasurer on the scene of filim "Australia" (speaking of hyperbole). Bombing of the surplus by the GFC says a lot, levering the plot line of bombing of Darwin, a seriously untold story here of WW2. Hundreds killed apparently. Grim.

Australian Industry Group - Heather Ridout without even looking - 60% per cent reduction. Sounding as articulate as ever, but a lot slighter and softer voiced. Has she been ill? [Reminds saw her in Newtown street possibly but looking a lot thinner than I recalled.] Diplomatically declines debate over 1.5 to 2% Coalition.

BN criticism of NSW? 30% of economy reducing, need Federal Govt send in administrator - very careful investment path, stable let alone growth.

AC lack of political leadership, drag down national economy. Why is Victoria doing better than NSW? It's all about management. Ridout relies on USA for precedent of no arbitration in industry - back to the bad old days. Bongiorno intervenes umpire is in our constitution. Free market ideologue leveraging economic downturn to ruthless business power. Inner Ayn Rand showing.

Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.


Riley Diary 7, from 8.30am

 Very good comic traverse of Rudd hyperbolic ‘war' rhetoric on all kinds of topics. Hockey line "war on relevance" is cute and Rudd sidelining the institution of parliament is starting to resonate as real. Rudd needs to show more respect for parliamentary institution as a real politik risk, not just an insider's gripe by Ramsay et al. The 4th estate have got a point. As do Opposition. Don't blatantly avoid parliamentary scrutiny.

Riley off to APEC in Peru this week but cut to LO below during this Q & A.



9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am

LO has Julie Bishop on. It's a balancer for Therese Rein launching his book 2 Fridays ago. His column yesterday was also symbolically rude to the ALP PM though only while Rudd was out of the country.  It's also good value grist about real politik of GFC, fallout of USA election for Howard's People.

Cut's across Q and A in Riley Diary cie la vie.

Missed some of the boiler plate on political economy of the GFC with $21 billion of surplus spent etc. She also retreats  a little on the 2% versus 1.5% growth projections and moderates her approach to ALP Governance - ‘that we will get through this' showing she realizes the problem of blame for talking the economy into a recession as per Henry comments on MTP.

Dives into the "confidential talks" with Bush story but projects her own anxiety over Obama winning, and her side losing. It's a proxy argument, somewhat in denial of changed real politik - for instance refuses to repudiate Howard attack on Obama as friend of Al Qaeda. A disgusting slur. Shows Bishop remains a Howard clone.

LO gives several chances to "repudiate" slur on Obama and she like the nasty Republicans leaves these things hanging out there.

LO presses her hard on this. Combine with MTP grab of  anecdote of the 4 year old axe wielder of sisters swing set  10 Newsweek comedy and that she is happy to reveal her zeal and determination beyond sensible balance, shows that she is indeed something of an extremist. In a telling and cruel blow LO quotes Dennis Shanahan of News Corp hardly a "mad leftie" against her as "damaged political goods" failing to take Swan down. She takes it squarely but it's serious impact on her cred as Julia Gillard floats on through as deputy PM (as per Crabb columns).

Worth consulting the transcript in due course to fill gaps.



Insiders 2: 9- 10am

Headlines, showcasing Fran Kelly on Howard Years. Cross to G20 ie GFC summit fallout.

Refers to Rudd Bush dynamic [is this all a real subtextual balancer in power relations for US ambassador attacking Latham in domestic politics here? That Rudd is an Obama barracker.]

Panel - Fran Kelly. Handshake Bush v Rudd barest of handshakes. Meglo. Mal Farr. The pro observers all agree. But the fact is Obama is pres and it's all about Bush being seriously damaged. The more Bush reacts the more the Obama folks will like him.

Footage of Rudd aggregated stimulus packages of 1 trillion dollars.

Lindsay Tanner - Q of financial sector serving wider economy or other way round. ABC childcare via local councils discussed. Boilerplate about retail and jobs ticking over and public construction hinted at. Diverse approach.Cute reference to arm wrestle or mud wrestle with State Govts after Federal support. Left out Barnett from WA - bad form? Tanner boilerplate doesn't answer.

Have to renege on election promises? Doesn't agree. Tanner says Bush Rudd dynamic is "nonsense" attacks Bishop re slur on Obama. True she was deliberately hardball. Tanner is covering about ‘body language' as Kim Carr was.

BC cross refers to LO interview suggestive he watched it pre 9 am maybe or maybe building on Tanner comment.

Every person segment refers to Barak as Beroc as in berrocca energy lift drink.

Meglo points out deficit under Costello in 2000-01 discreetly. Mal Farr questions loathing of deficit word and won't be marked down if do mention it. Footage of Swan refusing to mention deficit without damaging confidence.

Meglo formula of words "not afraid of deficit to keep the economy growing".


Australian editorial sticks by their story. Good source. Fran Kelly says sure it's false story. Ill judged. Reflects on PM via tone of self aggrandizement. The panel buys in seriously now. Mal Farr from same News Corp stable waxes on it. More realistic person would know it wasn't true. The tone of the story is that a staffer ran a false story and Rudd won't cut them loose.

Rudd footage on Downer refusing to who released a story in 2003. "Unacceptable" .

Paul Kelly late emergence in the show at 9.38 perhaps because of his weasley piece in The Oz yesterday. Voice is a little thick and nasal like a cold, like LO last week, must be going through the gallery? Bangs on about G20.

Kelly says Opp has unhealthy fixation with Ken Henry re mid year forecasts. Opp target officials "never works" should target ministers. Treasury at press club still optimistic. In place most of the Howard period, no question of integrity of independence.

Robb grab not attacking officials, silence critics on every front. Meglo warns Robb be much more careful. Go the govt not the officials. [So is Robb projecting their own period in govt - of cooking up, or at the least anticipating Fran Kelly interview re kids overboard dishonesty courting the One Nation cohort - that rings true].

Nice grab on Rudd using Member for Wentworth not Leader of Opposition. Meglo says one of the best questions in the last 20 years. Cut away to Govt laughing at Rudd would have been good. Rudd amused also.

Showcasing of Howard Years. Daily Telegraph Mal Farr unhappy didn't get a copy of The Howard Years but direct competitors did. Sunday Telegraph did get it. Interesting ABC sanction. Mal sounded aggrieved.

Kelly says loyalty remains to Howard from his then ministers Downer, Reith.

Jim Ballman Cincinnati Inquirer, talking pictures, constructive competition. Likes Obama for being a young mind text and email.

[Howard suffered so long and so deep he wasn't going to give up his achievement to anyone else who hasn't suffered as much. He has set the bar too high really for anyone to aspire for leadership transition. The Liberal Party is deformed by Howard gigantism.]

Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/

Inside Business - 2 at 10am

Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/



Posted by editor at 10:22 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 17 November 2008 10:44 AM EADT
Day 3 and 4 of Sydney press tantrum over energy assets denied?
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: nsw govt

Comment from SAM editor

Fairfax hypocrisy over a sexualised society, and poor sense of news values has infested the Sydney mainstream press this last 4 days. It's mostly a tantrum about big corporate advertisers and political mates not getting their snouts in the trough of a $15 billion energy industry that is publicly owned.

Today it's an embarrassing massage parlour site, wickedly leveraging the unrelated gruesome murder of 2 Chinese alleged sex workers who have nothing to do with the Premier's electorate office, or him.

The Sun Herald front page story is pure political malice by the Fairfax owners, who care little or nothing for their own journalists. Their sexual hypocrisy about objectifying women is pretty (!) obvious in the screen prints we took of the Fairfax website from today and Saturday's archive. Flesh is the word. But not just on the web, burgeoning home of modern porn, but also racy lifestyle pages in the newsprint.

Ironically it's News Corp, equally malicious who decline the sex angle - wisely given the number of brothels near Holt St. Rather yesterday in true schlock tones they take a horror "blood" suckers route. Vampires anyone? There's nothing in it except special interest private health insurers paying their share for the blood bank public service. These are the insurance folks who destroyed public health in the USA.


 Is Premier Rees also a nazi, child molster, AIDS carrier? Stay tuned for day 5 of The Tantrum and no doubt all will be revealed.

We reserve special attention for later this morning to Paul Kelly in The Australian promoting the false history of NSW politics via ex Premier Nick Greiner - a man thrown out of office for corruption later reversed on appeal.  Good lawyers are like that. Greiner now works for British American Tobacco and he's the honest broker? Head shaking stuff really.

One howler in Kelly's piece can be mentioned here already - the 2007 energy sell off proposal did not include the wires and transmission infrastructure - a mere $10 billion dollar difference when compared with the 1997 proposal. But Greiner conflates the two as did Paul Keating in his own opinion piece in Fairfax earlier this year - who also works for big business these days.

Posted by editor at 7:16 AM EADT
Updated: Monday, 17 November 2008 9:24 AM EADT
Friday, 14 November 2008
Day 2 of press tantrum over energy assets sees dummy spit at News Corp
Mood:  a-ok
Topic: nsw govt

Well, it's turning into one of those days again. Pulling the weeds, managing middle age ailments, when the ABC runs a brief line or two at 11 am: The editor of the Sydney Daily Telegraph has resigned. Such a short story yet so significant in context.

Some of that context appears in this google for a start:

You get the drift - Penberthy has been a player in the meat grinder that is NSW politics.  A crucible that reaches red hot temperatures. Other metaphors come to mind - live by and die by the sword.

As the ABC reports below, News Corp's editor has blinked in a power struggle in two respects - political power over who decides govt, and also who decides policy on public energy assets. 

We were always going to do another post on the 'big press tantrum day 1' after our penultimate post: Some things we noticed in the Sydney press today:

* Although both newspapers run negative front page stories they are both fairly thin. One about single deck train purchases (Fairfax), one about a so called "Labor MPs in Budget revolt" (Daily Telegraph).

* But the front of the Herald is mitigated by rebel MP Stewart looking more 'conspiracy fetish' and 'Walter Mitty' by the day. Fair or not. And as every administrative law student knows any judicial review in his favour in the Supreme Court just means a re-run of the process by the same decision maker - Rees, Ronaldson SC or whoever. Stewart's political capital is arguably going backwards faster than the Rees premiership.

* The front of the Tele is mitigated for Rees by the page 4 breakout with a classic Liberal Party newsletter demographic - newsagent from Campbelltown. No lost Labor voter there. Then there is the story above with a shopping list of "must do" and tucked in quietly is sale of $10 billion in public energy assets. Which is the whole point of the campaign against Rees to deliver $10 billion in assets into private corporate hands. It's a free market ideological thing. A fairly bizarre editorial claims this in fact would be to "take on the top end of town on behalf of the little guy". Little guys like investment banks and foreign energy multinationals? That's confusing.

* Nor does Tony Stewart MP get off free in the Telegraph either. This graphic shows his ALP Right amigo and factional prop ex PM Paul Keating is being trashed for not supporting charity while on a lifetime PM's pension. You can't play in the public life of the nation Mr Keating and not pull your weight for charity. Talk about basic politics.


* Then we have Simon Benson in the News Corp tabloid misconceiving Australian history comparing NSW in Premier Jack Lang's time in 1932 with Rees in 2008. Foolish because in those days NSW had the stature and size of a national govt, and the feds were the beggars. Today tax and budgetary roles are reversed along with revenue base. Apples and oranges Simon. Bad history. The irony is that this is Paul Keating's history lesson via ABC radio some years back.

* Peter Hartcher in the Herald conspicuously displays his political economy credentials in the main opinion piece.  As if in riposte to our sledge about big press weak grasp of political economy in their trantrum of yesterday, but likely a coincidence. Patronising as Hartcher is, his piece is quite informative of why the federal Opposition attack on Rudd economic governance is misconceived, as arguably the News Corp tabloid gets it wrong versus the NSW Govt economic governance. Hartcher mentions our Australian good fortune regarding

  • strong company profits
  • low unemployment
  • fat order book
  • $10.4B federal budget stimulus
  • 20% fall in dollar for export sales
  • 30% fall in price of petrol
  • echo of other western countries' stimulus packages
  • RBA dramatic interest rate cuts

Which apparently lends to PM Rudd powering along in the polls. Certainly Rees is not so blessed in NSW but he's in there swinging and it's News Corp who look to have blinked today.

Richard Ackland the Fairfax legal writer adds salt by noting despite the News Corp led Right to Know Coalition not one journalist has applied for tape recordings now possible in any court. And this all round sledge of Big Media morality:

The media has always suppressed things when it suits; it just wants a wider choice of things to suppress.

The spokesman for ARK is News Ltd's corporate affairs and PR man, Greg Baxter, who for seven years held a similar job at the asbestos and building products group James Hardie.

Last month he spent a gruelling time in the witness box during the Australian Securities and Investments Commission civil penalty suit against 10 former executives and directors of the company. Bret Walker, SC, cross-examined him and made him look a bit of a goose. Not a line of this appeared in News Ltd's newspaper The Australian.Who can forget Channel Nine's former boss Eddie McGuire in 2006 rushing to seek suppression of the publication of an affidavit that embarrassed him and other executives?

Then there was the ABC board's decision not to publish Chris Masters's Jonestown and to fight "freedom of information" applications for information about its complaints-handling processes.

And at Fairfax whatever happened to that profile of Wendi Deng?


* Punters on the rail might have noticed something more than the daily press of concern to wonky obsessives: There was a security blitz Tuesday evening on the public rail system. It's reported in part on page 11 of today's Terror. We say a big bunch at Windsor and Blacktown last Tuesday evening. 900 arrests all up says the little report. We think this might be the equivalent of road works in the last 6 months before a local council election (engendering a sense of - finally we get some govt attention around here), only this time it was rail security and a mini budget for the State Govt.

Posted by editor at 11:44 AM EADT
Updated: Friday, 14 November 2008 3:44 PM EADT
Thursday, 13 November 2008
NSW Premier Rees thrashed with wet lettuce via Big Press bullsh*t today?
Mood:  d'oh
Topic: nsw govt

We have some appointments but given the ramp up in both press today in Sydney some preliminary comments are timely:

* You know there's a rat in the stew of Big Media coverage when Piers Akerman of all people accuses the ALP of spin doctoring. Excuse me, that's rich coming from machine operator Akerman there at tabloid News Corp. Akerman thinks balance is a sugar substitute. Talk about hypocrisy.

* The rusted on Liberal Party readers load up a survey of 89% at the News Corp tabloid who want to junk the 4 year terms. An important reform in 1992 that prevented govt be the plaything of Big Media corporations for a start. And so what? Let's see a real poll done independently based on public rejection of energy privatisation and willingness to make sacrifices for that.

* You can't take the ex News Corp tabloid out of the woman: Devine refers to "bankrupt" NSW - fact checker anyone? We saw "bankrupt" bobbing around somewhere else too by some know nothing.

* The give away to the spin machine of the Big Press today with it's fearsome tantrum is the constant reference to failure to privatise the public's energy assets e.g. Telegraph editorial but also Gittins influential column p1 Herald yesterday. Sue Cato chimes in on the 'spin doctors' segment abc radio.

But none of these are man or woman enough to admit that the Global Financial Crisis meant such a sale would have been a disastrous outcome for undervalued assets.

* To top it all off about the whining and carping and cant is that petrol is now heading to $1 a litre. Which will save more money than any tiny increase in congestion charges.

If these capitalist reactionaries in the press don't even know their own political economy why should anyone else take them seriously. Let the tantrum proceed. However be assured, it's both boring and boorish Big Media bullshit.

* The federal budget has lost some $40 billion in projections - what makes people think that the cost of a capuccino per day won't come off their lifestyle as well? Wake up to yourselves.

* A "cheap shot" at Rees is that he doesn't have a car license as if it's a metaphor for lack of understanding or sympathy. But how dumb is this attack? Anyone in a really busy job knows how much work can be done in a car if you are not driving, not least from mental energy saved not watching the road rules. The idea of premier or minister driving themselves is a false economy.

Rees is a dedicated cyclist previously competition level. We are not. But even we were surprised the other day taking only 25 minutes by bike from Marrickville to the CBD. That's quicker than train and car. We took 50 minutes to Bondi on Tuesday last (and back again similar time phew).

Admittedly this was after a year of training up the fitness levels. But we are no spring chicken and it does show how dumb the car really is as a primary mode of transport in Sydney.

Posted by editor at 10:15 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 13 November 2008 4:50 PM EADT
Wednesday, 12 November 2008
Hawkesbury Council vote 12 - 0 to close sandmine impacting Blue Mtns World Heritage
Mood:  special
Topic: legal

Sent: Wednesday, November 12, 2008 11:12 AM

Subject: Hawkesbury CC vote against sandmine impacting world heritage Blue Mts 12 - 0 


Dear supporters of Blue Mtns World Heritage area,
Just a short note to community groups and stakeholders to confirm the result last night at full council meeting. 




This resolution below based on council's own legal advice (discussed in secret session) was passed 13 to zero. 




We spoke for 5 minutes with a 2 minute extension as did local environmentalist Bill Sneddon and Tom Bruce for the sandmine.
Thanks for the letters of support and other help especially the Environmental Defenders Office (various staff over the years and especially current principal Kirsty Ruddock). Also Peter Waite OAM for an offer of support up to $10,000 in legal funding if needed. Also Cr Leigh Williams of the Green Party but also all councillors including the majority Liberal group led by Mayor Bart Bassett, opposition Labor and Independents for supporting the officer's recommendation. 




The public interest has been served in this chapter of a long running issue with this sandmine. Now we await any legal response by the sandminer Birdon Contracting Pty Ltd. 




Of major concern now is the alternatively 11, 17 or 22 ha lake window which reduces Tinda Ck flow by 37 to 54%, the minimal $50K in rehabilitation bond available after 20 years of operation, and especially the very risky silt fines/quicksand only 1 to 4 metres below the water surface. 




Notice part 3 of the recommendation is not about the sandmine which is on lot 2 but rather works that have illegally strayed onto lot 1. There is still no formal plan of how to close the sandmine - expert hydrologist Chris Jewell in his report for HCC says such a plan is needed as best industry practice. The HCC general manager said last night a closure/rehab plan was an operational issue they would need more advice on. 


Yours truly 


Tom McLoughlin, pro bono agent for objector Neville Diamond.
Attachment: Hawkesbury City Council decision item 230 meeting 11 November 2008 at Windsor.







1. The application under S96 to modify Development Consent DA0134/95, Lot 2, DP 628806, No. 6102 Singleton Road, Mellong be refused as, due to non-compliance with Condition 4 of the original consent, the consent has lapsed and Council is unable to consider the application.


2. A Notice of Intention to serve an Order be issued on the operator to cease operations due to there being no current consent for the operation.


3. A survey plan is to be submitted to Council within two months, showing the location of diversion works in relation to the property boundary. Should any works be located outside the property boundary of Lot 2 DP 628806, those works are to be removed immediately and the land rehabilitated to its natural state.






Background to the paper and comments on the report are here:

Previous postings here


Thursday, 30 October 2008
Diamond Diary Part 5: Illegal works on crown land intercepting Tinda Ck headwaters Mood:  blue Topic: legal 




Tuesday, 28 October 2008
Diamond Diary Part 4: Attacking the messenger, not the vandalism Mood:  don't ask, Topic: legal

25 October 2008 Diamond Diary Part 3: Getting to grips with the costs regime in the NSW Land & Environment Court, Mood:  not sure, Topic: legal

Thursday, 23 October 2008 Diamond Diary Part 2: How I went bankrupt 'doing litigation for Dixon Sands' Mood:  accident prone Topic: legal 

Wednesday, 22 October 2008 Diamond Diary Part 1: Amazing career of environmental litigation Mood:  on fire Topic: legal

Tuesday, 21 October 2008 World heritage vandal gets technical win in Land & Environment Court ...for now Mood:  accident prone Topic: legal

16 October 2008 Hawkesbury City Council public duty to protect their World Heritage park in court Friday 9.30am Mood:  blue Topic: legal

Friday, 10 October 2008 Misleading plan and letter by sandminer in threat to Blue Mtns World Heritage Area? Mood:  sharp Topic: legal

6 October 2008 Google Earth reveals illegal drain intercepting Tinda Creek to World Heritage area? Mood:  sharp

Posted by editor at 12:04 PM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 12 November 2008 2:32 PM EADT
Sunday, 9 November 2008
Sunday political talkies: Global wave of Obama grace, recession and aggressive Opposition here?
Mood:  chatty
Topic: aust govt


Author's general introductory note

This is not a well packaged story. It's a contemporaneous traverse of the Sunday television free to air political talkies indicating the agenda of Establishment interests: Better to know ones rivals and allies  in Big Politics and Big Media. 

For actual transcripts and/or video feeds go to the programme web sites quoted including Riley Diary on 7. And note transcripts don't really give you the image content value.

Media backgrounders

* Bush still the president for 2 months until 20 January 2008.

* Saturday Daily Telegraph preaches 10 things to do list to Obama pres elect leaves out "planet in peril" while Sunday Herald carries story that Obama opening press conference spoke about ... climate change. Is this News Corp bias by omission? Curious photo in Fairfax of first presser with Rahm Emmanuel in the prized far right spot taken by "David Katz/Obama for America" indicating not journalist but inhouse slant. It is a compelling photo too.

* One of the top 100 influential people in the USA Reverend Richard Cizik, as rated by Time Magazine is starting a tour in Australia about 'Inaction on climate change .... is an offence against God.' in SunHerald Sydney 9 November 2008 www.smh.com.au - Pastor says eco-friendliness is next to godliness 
Thats nice coming from a Friends of the Earth and ecology action sort of history.
And reminds us of the Assembly of God hall in the logger town of Orbost, only the Assembly of God folks are mostly anti green.

* Lead story Saturday smh, also in Daily Telegraph, raises big big question mark arises over internal ALP pressures in lead up to ALP Govt election Sept 5 1994 in NSW. Reba Meagher says offered John Newman MP's job hours before he was shot as one of two possible seats to become available. Does this suggest internal ALP thuggery for the position to clear away crime fighter Newman and put in a trusty? This was the period of the Wood Royal Commission into police corruption also. Was Newman a high risk of singing? Is it all bogus. Is the killer already in gaol namely Phuong Ngo? We have no idea. We wonder what Steve Symonds ex electorate office staffer to John Newman, now a physiotherapist might have to say about all this.

* By coincidence we well remember Friday Sept 13 1994 as "a black Friday" on ‘wilderness policy protection of the coalition govt'. We infiltrated the State Office Block press conference - as NSW campaign coordinator for The Wilderness Society - by Premier John Fahey, who gulped and now I realize the security tensions at innocent moi slipping through the security lines unchallenged. Paul Mullins at Ch10 said I caused a "royal commission" about how I got in. The truth is I just walked through and they must have thought I was late arrival with the press for the presser by Fahey. We commenced a presser back on veranda of Parliament House half an hour later standing with Kevin Parker Director of The Wilderness Society national office.

* Another ouch story for NSW ALP is ICAC complaint made by high media profile smooth talking copper Dave Darcy about being leaned on by Tony Stewart over policing in Bankstown. Talk of a shouting argument between two suggesting useless aggression in politics. It would be wrong to think Darcy doesn't play a political game too as he did in the Kings Cross command and as community liaison with ngo protest groups. Whether Stewart is exposed the reader should judge for themselves too.

* Obama notes he is "a mutt" like mongrels from the pound - shows he understands his genetic diversity above and beyond his gifted parents i.e hybrid vigour. And the comment shows he is doing the internal personal reflections on ego and id that such a big change in status invariably must involve. Indeed the confusion of rising above either parents and or peers and friends. He is a very bright fellow to address his own psychological balance by transcending the self image inherent in the parental exemplar. The truth is he is sui generis (one of a kind) due to the unusual combination effect of gifted African and European humanity.

* Laurie, Laurie, Laurie - Oakes that is. His book Power Plays is out. It was launched by the PM's wife Therese Rein we notice. This puts her directly in the "power plays" herself and fair game in the political cut and thrust. And sure enough Opposition Leader Turnbull has mentioned she is rude in reportage today. Minister Tanner says it's bad attacking the PM's spouse but that's gross naivety or dis ingenuous (the latter). And Laurie has given Treasurer Swan a free pass for not knowing the projected inflation figures at a presser under the cover of the Obama (aka BHO, and thank heaven for the H) victory, in Saturday's Daily Telegraph. That's wrong, even for our hero of political journalism LO. Ironic that his book should have such a full stop being compromised in his independence. Should we say Laurie is officially moving into semi retirement as feisty indy hero?

Which all calls up LO talking to Deborah Cameron on abc 702 in Sydney on Friday and saying journalist's private lives didn't need as much scrutiny as political leaders. Cameron was suitably sceptical. Mmm. I wonder LO, I wonder. 5th estate blogocracy anyone keeping the 4th estate honest?

In conclusion Oakes had no business challenging Hockey on Sunday News 9 below about Rudd's wife without declaring the book launch last Friday. Or in his column about Swan on Saturday. He's made a serious error of judgment in our view.

* Claire Harvey showing style in Sydney News Corp with cute story about swallows on the way out, and more seriously Australia's first black prime minister. We notice a kind or centrist beating heart in a News Corp reptile.

* Speaking of books. Gough Whitlam, the only Australian PM to ever fight in a war. Nice extract of 1972 pioneering diplomacy with Chinese Premier Zou Enlai. Significant for the highly sophisticated politiking of the leadership of this huge country. Significant because it was this event as entre to Nixon going to China - already in train. Significant because PM Rudd got his inspiration to join the Labor Party here from that media coverage at home. Significant because Rudd now is a Mandarin speaker and PM of Australia ideally placed to act as some kind of intermediary for the West and for "a planet in peril" to quote one BHO, president elect of the USA.

* A general theme amongst conservative commentators (say Piers Akerman, Greg Sheridan, even kind hearted Andrew O'Keefe) is that the national problems for Obama are intractable and solutions are unrealistic. To avoid disapppointment they say don't buy into the "fairytale". We say that's measuring Obama against mediocrity to which they have grown far too accustomed.

"Serial boofhead" aka Cardinal George Pell takes a leaf out of Pauline Hanson's book too in his Sunday News Corp column noting Obama's "Muslim" dad from Kenya, his "fanatical" support for abortion [along with Malcolm Turnbull leader of the Liberal Party in Australia] and "as a young man mixed with some of the wildest from the radical Left, urban terrorists and the Palestinian Liberation Organisation". And just in case you didn't get boofhead's slant on all this "and his financial advisers [like Warren Buffet?] include those who helped provoke the financial meltdown".

Like Akerman Pell doesn't get the need for public housing in that little economic argument. Millions of poor people who need but can't pay home loans still need shelter and just think what a few million rampaging angry folks with no shelter would have done to bank assets and society in the USA long before the GFC came along? Crime, vandalism, mayhem, possibly even revolution.

* Lots of effective weight measurement adverts paid for by the government.

* Helen Clark defeated in NZ general election by former investment banker self made millionaire as market system falls to bits.

* Bali mass murderers get their wish and are made 'martyrs' for the cause by the Indonesian policy of capital punishment. Reprisals are expected to follow says Foreign Minister Stephen Smith. Timing of execution presumably relates in part to the shift in US politics above where the message of extremism will be much harder to sell in Muslim countries for symbolic reasons?

* NSW ALP Govt 'murders' some koala habitat near Bermagui as reported by SMH and ABC national tv news this last week.


10 Meet the Press:  8- 8-30 am

Obama intro footage, missed half of this about "hope".

Shadow finance (?) minister Andrew Robb in news catchup re shooting of 3 Bali bombers. NZ election to conservatives.

Mood for change - incumbency under threat Robb says.

Footage of current USA Ambassador - G20 ‘gaffe' closed matter, not accurate reportage by either.  Says Rudd can't be trusted.

Footage of awesome McCain then Obama speeches. "My former opponent my president ... "What we did today. " Very profound.

Panel of Mal Farr News Corp Daily Telegraph, Phillip Clark 2GB.

Footage leads in with climate renewable energy issues. Mal Farr notes heavy weight climate change agenda. Supports cap and trade scheme. Robb tap dances. Goes back to need for global consensus, what Obama can deliver. Notes USA going into recession. Congress voted both sides against the scheme. Says Govt here worried about ministers under threat from Greens [Albanese, Tanner].

Clarke top question which side you on denial or believe re climate?  - Robb says not climate sceptic, but Rudd sceptic. Says motives not appropriate. Best tackle from position of economic strength. Agree with Rupert Murdoch - have to give planet the benefit of the doubt. Get on with the job, do in a way that doesn't export jobs or emissions. Says more so in China and India. [interesting twist on rhetoric but sounds too cute.]

Footage of Wayne Swan - tough decisions. Where will you go? Rail public transport etc or ports highways.  ..... Agrees city congestion is major drag on economy.


Out take - footage lame joke animation about Kevin Rudd name dropping stakes.

Last 1/3 time guest - Claire Martin re-appears on the public stage as head of ACOSS

Meet The Press - Watch Political Video Online - Channel TEN.


Riley Diary 7, from 8.30am

 Roundup of Obama victory. Lots of dancing in Japan and Kenya.

Wayne Swan used victory as "cover" for bad economic news. Obama One like Obi Won Kinobi in Star Wars. Holograms in US coverage and

Footage of McCain doing the Howard shushing with the outstretched hands.

Great Tina Fey real Sarah Pallin footage.

Cut back to Swan 8 minute search for inflation figures.  Lots of Yes we cans and stunned black kid watching on at history and hope.

Q&A at end about reality and disappointment likely? 2010 before any change in economic improvement.


9 Sunday newshour Laurie Oakes interview 8.40 am

 Joe Hockey juxtapose with F Troop DVD big promo adverts. Really really really funny. Likely to be better than anything Joe has to say.

Clash with Riley Diary likely to happen anytime. 9 carries Peter Hughes survivor. "I guess it will another day for me. Q. People mass murder sends a message, is a supporter.

Missed first 10 minutes noting Bali mass murderer executions and new NZ PM "with a touch of the Turnbulls" as a self made millionaire.  LO has a touch of the head colds.

Hockey sews seeds of doubt in govt capacity to look after economy [which in turn drags down the economy and confidence at a premium in the political cycle? Overly negative? Wouldn't it be better to say doing okay, but they could be better. Faint praise would be more effective tactics of the Opposition?]

Going to war not consulting the generals. Hockey stuck in trench warfare mode.

Oakes notes tone "sounds ugly". Heroic magic pudding promises. Hockey goes to town in attacking aggressively the govt. Where are they going to get the money [all but said the sky is falling in].  Says govt's "error of judgement". Break key election promises? We warned of dark clouds on the horizon.

Govt doesn't understand what it is doing. Ford, GM and Chrysler needing $20B injection in US. Merging or existing in future, Toyata ructions too. Says hold back. Don't bail out individual business, rather protect industry, didn't bailout Ansett and in hindsight was the right decision.

Right decision to keep ABC Learning open until Christmas. Agrees with Turnbull on that.

Why did Turnbull drag Rein into "it" about being "rude". Hock disagrees defends Turnbull not attacking Rudd's wife. Story is page 2 News Corp Sunday Telegraph. [See above postscript added re LO conflict of interest with Rein launching his book the Friday before.]



Insiders 2: 9- 10am

Lead in with Bali mass murderers excuted last night. NZ Labour PM Helen Clarke loses the general election. 47 year old. Overseas investment banker. Only in politics for 6 years.

New administration in Washington. Obama victory. Wrap on annual deficit of 730 billion in US and total deficit of 1,400 billion or 1.4 trillion. In Australia 5.4 billion surplus despite rhetoric of Rudd tough ugly hard future.

[Obama opening presser will be important to watch via YouTube or Google Video.]

Stephen Smith says credible intel on terror attacks, take advice on travel to Indonesia. Australia has generally opposed capital punishment. Urge countries against capital punishment.

Travel to Bali. School leavers soon. Read the advisory. November 2002. Reconsider the need to travel. True many Australians will so contemplate. Urge travel industry maximum flexibility. [This is a big issue for Australians.] Abu Bakir Bashir calls on murderers to be treated as martyrs. Smith says his views treated with contempt. Don't want extremism, respect and regard for peoples faith. Interfaith dialogue. No room for intolerance and extremism.

Views on NZ election. Welcome etc.

G20 ‘gaffe' story about Rudd spinning Bush alleged ignorance. Smith says it was wrong story. Doesn't know who generated the story. Barry Cassidy stands on his digs about journo accuracy.


Every person segment with restaurant 3 30 somethings.

Panel newspapers Karen Middleton sbs, Dennis Atkin News Corp Brisbane, Tim Blair News Corp Sydney re NZ election. Throw away ignorant sledge on Green Party in NZ by Blair.

Like Riley they run the Wayne Swan minutes delay finding inflation figures.

Funny use of Mike Wran SA PM, "yes we can".

Dennis Atkin deconstructs Swan presser, got it in real time, not briefed to ask the real questions.

Paul Kelly soliloquy. Swan mid year forecast - $40B down, should prepare people for budget deficit. .75 interest rate cut by RBA very aggressive to keep economy stable.

Govt has to rework its agenda and political strategy. States are in the firing line. 2 big trends. Falling polling and in revenues thus no tool to reverse. Big question over COAG with

Turnbull and Keating in social debate last Friday night with footage of that.  Journos impressed by Turnbull confidence.

Talking pics - Warren and Jason Chatfield who does a nice Democrat elephant and donkey.

BC howeler that the largest thing Obama has run is a senate office. Well that sort of ignores the longest running campaign in world history, with a $1 billion in donations budget, having defeated the highly competitive Hillary Clinton.

[If that's not forged the heat in of electoral battle then nothing is. Such an unrealistic and foolish comment echoing professional Clown Tim Blair as to be shocking. It may be BC is biting off more than he can chew with a new digital tv channel show 6 till 9 or so with Virginnia Trioli. BC is highly professional and yet remember what happened to over worked Andrew Olle doing morning abc 702 breakfast and then backing up with 7.30 report that night. He died of a stroke after an undiagnosed brain tumour. Ambition is a corrosive drug I would say.]

Home page is http://www.abc.net.au/insiders/

Inside Business - 2 at 10am

US ex Clinton adviser Gene Ludwig on how to "fix" the USA economy.

Refer http://www.abc.net.au/insidebusiness/

Picture: Obama confronts race and unity 18 March 2008, hard to find on Youtube but we found it here on MSNBC


Posted by editor at 10:23 AM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 9 November 2008 9:22 PM EADT
Saturday, 8 November 2008
Forest terpenes help make rain and natural global dimming: science report
Mood:  cool
Topic: globalWarming

Terpenes! The role of terpenes adds to our knowledge of how forests cycle water naturally. The role of forests up until now has been summarised here in this diagram (terpenes not indicated)

Now we need to add into the diagram that forests naturally produce a natural haze of tiny particles called terpenes, which seed rainfall of correct droplet size. Correct in the sense that they create normal clouds and drive the natural monsoonal and rainfall patterns in predictable fashion for agriculture and human society.

Till now we have mainly been concerned with the impact of logging on this water cycle as follows;

Now we can say logging also removes terpenes from the rainfall cycle.

This compares with industrial particulates which is known to also form droplets and changed landscape scale rainfall patterns including failed monsoonal rains in North Africa: 

Four Corners - 21/03/2005: Global Dimming

These particles are also blamed for global dimming of some 10% of sunlight from reaching the earth's surface. That's incredible.

Notice this string of email in several parts about the role of terpens and the complexity of the inter relationship with global dimming, natural and unnatural.


Scientists discover cloud-thickening chemicals in trees that could ... 31 Oct 2008
Scientists discover cloud-thickening chemicals in trees that could offer a new weapon in the fight against global warming

    * David Adam, environment correspondent
    * guardian.co.uk,
    * Friday October 31 2008 16.46 GMT
    * Article history

Trees could be more important to the Earth's climate than previously thought, according to a new study that reveals forests help to block out the sun.

Scientists in the UK and Germany have discovered that trees release a chemical that thicke ns clouds above them, which reflects more sunlight and so cools the Earth. The research suggests that chopping down forests could accelerate global warming more than was thought, and that protecting existing trees could be one of the best ways to tackle the problem.

Dominick Spracklen, of the Institute for Climate and Atmospheric Science at Leeds University, said: "We think this could have quite a significant effect.
You can think of forests as climate air conditioners."

The scientists looked at chemicals called terpenes that are released from boreal forests across northern regions such as Canada, Scandinavia and Russia. The chemicals give pine forests their distinctive smell, but their function has puzzled experts for years. Some believe the trees release them to communicate, while others say they could offer protection from air pollution.

The team found the terpenes react in the air to f orm tiny particles called aerosols. The particles help turn water vapour in the atmosphere into clouds.

Spracklen said the team's computer models showed that the pine particles doubled the thickness of clouds some 1,000m above the forests, and would reflect an extra 5% sunlight back into space.

He said: "It might not sound a lot, but that is quite a strong cooling effect. The climate is such a finely balanced system that we think this effect is large enough to reduce temperatures over quite large areas. It gives us another reason to preserve forests."

The research, which will be published in a special edition of the Royal Society journal Philosophical Transactions A, is the first to quantify the cooling effect of the released chemicals. The scientists say the findings "must be included in climate models in order to make realistic predictions".

Because trees release more t erpenes in warmer weather, the discovery suggests that forests could act as a negative feedback on climate, to dampen future temperature rise. The team looked at forests of mainly pine and spruce trees, but Spracklen said other trees also produce terpenes so the cooling effect should be found in other regions, including tropical rainforests.


Sent: Sunday, November 02, 2008 6:23 PM
Subject: Re: [chipstop] Chemical released by trees can help cool planet, scientists find

At 05:40 PM 2/11/2008, you wrote:

I know that weensy particles called nuclei are needed for moisture to form around and make clouds and rain. Basic weather dynamics. Those can come from dust or from the minuscule particles forests send up when they do their evapotranspiration thing. Not sure how different this is to the chemicals they are talking about below. But it's great to see it reinforcing of the role forests play in rain making. An old farmers saying was something like ' The rain follows the trees '. Australia's euc forests also give off such a haze, especially in warm weather.  


I did a quick search and found that terpenes are definitely present in eucalypt leaves, too. Although most of the scientific discussion seems to be related to the digestibility of leaves by marsupials and to the eucalypt's characteristic of retarding growth of young plants close to them, I don't see why we shouldn't extend the European conclusion to our forests too.


Sent: Monday, November 03, 2008 8:01 AM
Subject: [chipstop] complexity of unnatural global dimming Re: [chipstop] Chemical released by trees can help cool planet, scientists find

Just a little brief on the incredible complexity in this area. If you google 4 Corners and global dimming you will get their show in about 2005 about how since 1950 or so about 10% less sunlight is reaching the earth. That's big.
How so - well it looks like its industrial particulate pollution over that time. Similar effect of cloud formation too.
But the clouds formed this way are slight different sized droplets which cause a change in rainfall pattern they say. Resulted in famine in Africa from failed monsoonals due to European particulates etc.
Soooo ....what's that got to do with terpens - well there has been a measurable plateaux in temperature rise in the last 2 years apparently.
My firm belief is that this correlates with Chinese and Indian huge economic expansion .... namely particulate pollution. Which in turn has carried it's component of global dimming over the world.
I know the particulate pollution from China is huge and impacts neighbour Korea etc. Then there are the Indonesian peat forest fires every summer.
In short global warming forcings have the foot on the accelerator of temperature increase. Pollution has the foot on the brake as well. Terpens sound like a natural enhancement of the braking effect.
Notice too the increase in pollution derived dimming has major implications for lung diseases and changed landscape scale rainfall patterns.
Yours truly, Tom
Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2008 12:22 PM
Subject: [chipstop] Chemical released by trees can help cool planet, scientists find

From a scientist on the topic ...

Yes, it is correct but only part of a much more complex story (ref NSF Newsl. 2006-2007).

Similar to the di-methyl sulphide produced by marine algae, many forests release significant quantities (100s of mt/an) of volatile terpenes and pinenes that oxidise and coagulate in the air to produce aerosol micro-nuclei responsible for forming persistent humid hazes. We can see them as the natural blue haze of our 'Blue Mountains' or the smokey haze of the Smokey Mts in the US.

In addition to these natural haze micro-nuclei, humans have also been releasing vast equivalent quantities of smog, smoke and particulate micro-nuclei into the air adding to these humid haze levels over lagre areas eg the Asian brown haze over India to China.

These haze water micro-droplets absorb incoming solar radiation and thus result in the well documented global dimming (of up to 15%) and cooler surface temperatures. However because they increase humidities these persistent hazes also decrease pan evaporation levels (by some 10%). This plus the inability of the small haze micro-droplets to coalesce into the larger drops needed to form rain has resulted in part of the systemic decline in rainfall over affected areas such as southern Australia or Asia where the brown haze is associated with a 30% decrease in monsoonal rainfall.

While dimming the solar intensity at the earth's surface, the absorption of heat by the increased levels of persistent haze micro-droplets is also responsible for much of the warming of the lower atmosphere. In fact the hazes have a double warming effect absorbing short wave solar radiation while in the liquid phase and absorbing long wave re-radiated infra red heat from the earth's surface while in the water vapour phase, the earth's dominant natural greenhouse effect. Hence managing these hazes is critical if we are to cool regions and the planet in time to avoid the otherwise dangerous climate meltdown.


Meanwhile we in SE Australia at Eden NSW allow 1 million tonnes of trees to be woodchipped per year including this one recorded a few weeks ago (via Goongerah East Gippsland over the border in Victoria):

Posted by editor at 7:56 AM EADT
Updated: Saturday, 8 November 2008 8:43 AM EADT
Friday, 7 November 2008
Minister Tebbutt slicing NSW south coast forest to get '89 conservation reserves'
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: ecology

Harriet Swift a qualified journalist and local land holder from Bega writes:

Sent: Tuesday, November 04, 2008 9:40 AM
Subject: [chipstop] Bermi tomorrow

Hi greenies
Just to confirm, .....tomorrow at the Bermagui logging compartment .... Meet at the bus shelter on the corner of Wallaga Lake Road and the Cobargo road  by 8.30am.
The koalas need you there with your placard!
This animal was seen and photographed less than a year ago almost directly over the road from Box Flat Rd, where logging started last Monday. See
NSW Primary Industry minister may think there are no koalas around, but this critter looks a lot like one to me.
See you tomorrow?


Indeed the spin doctoring of the NSW government continues so as to avoid the gravity of the picture above.

We will try to explain to those of good faith how we understand the public's natural forest estate: At 20% land cover 200 years ago it was  like two loaves of bread in an already sparsely forested wide brown land continent.

Now come forward 220 years and we only have one loaf left, or 10% land cover and most of that is trashed and disrupted as well. 

Picture: One loaf of bread left today symbolising the 10% of forest cover we have, which is down 50% on the 20% landcover we had in 1788.

And Environment Minister Tebbutt was on abc tv news in Sydney last night arguing that 89 conservation reserves were already in place on the NSW South Coast. What does this really mean?

No need to worry about logging of koala habitat down there as per reports of the ABC tv and Sydney Morning Herald here?:

1. www.smh.com.au - Last koala habitats get the chop  Date: October 28 2008. Ben Cubby Environment Reporter.

2. PM - Protestors push for preservation of native forests 6 Nov 2008 Reporter: Jayne Margetts

MARK COLVIN: With a fresh round of logging starting in NSW, conservationists are calling on the State Government to stop cutting down native forests.

Logging has just begun on an area of land at Bermagui on the state's south coast.

Protestors have been out in force arguing that all native forests should be preserved as carbon sinks, and as valuable habitats for animals.

Jayne Margetts reports.

(Sound of chain saw)

JAYNE MARGETTS: Another swathe of Australia's native forest is getting the chop.

This time it's a 180 hectare area of land in between two national parks at Bermagui. John Hibberd from the Conservation Alliance wants it and other areas like it to be preserved as carbon sinks.

JOHN HIBBERD: All native forests are really important for carbon sinks. As they get older more and more carbon is stored in them and we believe that if native forest logging stopped in Australia a massive saving in carbon emissions could be made at the stroke of a pen.

I'm not talking about carbon emissions straining and something in 10 to 15 years time, right now the Federal and State Governments across Australia could massively reduce the carbon emissions of this country.

JAYNE MARGETTS: Environmentalists and local residents have begun a campaign to protect the forest.

ENVIRONMENTALISTS: Save our forests!

JAYNE MARGETTS: Protestors say the forest is a valuable habitat for animals, especially the severely depleted koala population. But so far their calls have fallen on deaf ears.

POLICE OFFICER: Your arguments, your discussions about koalas are irrelevant to me.

JAYNE MARGETTS: The police have been blocking them from entering the logging site.

POLICE OFFICER 2: All you people right now are currently within the exclusion zone

PROTESTER: Remove the loggers then.

POLICE OFFICER 2: If you don't leave the exclusion zone you'll be arrested. Okay? You've got 2 minutes.

JAYNE MARGETTS: One woman who swore at a police officer was carted off to the station.

FEMALE PROTESTOR: I wanna be arrested!

JAYNE MARGETTS: Environmentalist Prue Acton says the forest is only just recovering from the last logging operation 20 years ago.

PRUE ACTON: The spotty gums are only just coming back, when they're starting to have their full carbon and their full size and their full beauty and the understorey is coming and the animals are returning and the soil is stabilising. What are we doing instead? We're just going to chop them down.

JAYNE MARGETTS: Research from the Australian National University is adding weight to the campaign. A study has found that eucalypt forests hold three times the amount of carbon than was previously thought.

And there are economic arguments too.

Dr Judith Adjani, an economist from the ANU say the logging of native forests is unnecessary.

JUDITH ADJANI: We can substitute for, easily substitute for all of our native forests chip exports using our hardwood plantation resources. If we want to not log native forests we can do that because we have enough plantations both hardwood and softwood to meet virtually all of our wood needs.

JAYNE MARGETTS: The protestors are hoping to get their message through to the state government.

John Hibberd again.
JOHN HIBBERD: We're asking the State Government to immediately intervene in this matter. We want them to stop the logging not only in this Bermagui corridor forest but also in the forest to the South where the logging is intended to move next year and where the koalas are actually living and breeding at the moment.

And we also want them to scrap the Regional Forest Agreement. That agreement was made 10 years ago. It's now out of date. The world has moved on.

JAYNE MARGETTS: But The NSW Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt says large areas of forest are already protected under legislation and there's no plan for a review.

CARMEL TEBBUTT: There were very important conservation gains that came out of the Regional Forest Agreements. 300,000 hectares of national parks and reserves added for example in that Eden area as a result of the Regional Forest Agreements. Now it is simply not possible to go back and unpick those agreements, without placing at risk those important conservation gains.

MARK COLVIN: NSW Environment Minister Carmel Tebbutt ending that report by Jayne Margetts.


The trouble for Minister Tebbutt and all of us is that Australia never had much forest to begin with. Since 1788 via agriculture and now especially mechanised woodchipping we have already lost fully 50% of our forest.

Of the 10% forested land cover left on the fringes of the continent today barely 1/10 of that is mature forest with hollow bearing trees. You could think of it as the chewy crusts at the end of the loaf of bread. Most of this 10% forest land cover remaining is being sliced up. Some is divided into reserves and the rest is allocated to high intensity logging by private companies. The bigger the reserves the bigger the thrashing for anything outside the reserves including koala habitat. 

The mature type of forest with nesting hollows in trunk and branches is essential to protect wildlife from going extinct locally and nationally. But it is also the type of forest industry most want to log - usually for higher volumes of chips, and usually good rainfall areas desirable for conversion to defacto plantation by high rotation logging.

Forest destruction is one of several reasons why Australia has the worst mammal extinction records in the world.


Minister Tebbutt is actually green lighting more slicing and dicing of the last loaf of bread on the table.

(Our bread board and table is made of wood too, but in our case it was recycled from a council throwout. Experts tell us we can provide most if not all our timber needs from existing plantations).

Ms Tebbutt can say there's 89 conservation reserves in SE NSW already but it's all one national forest really being cut into smaller and smaller pieces with roughly half given to the private profiteers. Like the one loaf of bread which can be sliced into 19 then cut again into 38, 76 and finally 144 pieces these symbolise the large number of new fragmentated reserves. 

It's a politician's word game really: The longer the list of reserves the better it sounds but this ignores the context of a mostly treeless Australia. NSW for instance is 80 million hectares in size and most of it has no forest. So much for political sophistry.

And the smaller forest areas are easily degraded and local populations of wildlife slip into extinction - in this case the favourite koalas on the NSW South Coast at Bermigui. This is for real. It is happening now. On our watch. Not 100 years ago.

The real issue is not 89 reserves, rather

- the amount of national forest cover,

- the species and forest types, scarcity of categories,

- the level of maturity of forest type,

- green carbon storage regarding climate change, and 

- rate of logging, which is still extremely high and mostly for woodchips to Eden (1 million tonnes a year, some of the best forest in the world).

Given this national, and global, context industry and tame pollies always try to bring the focus down to the local and regional level to imply a large resource is being shared between conservation and industry. Indeed that's why the egregious Regional Forest Agreement rhetoric was invented - to destory the notion of a scarce national forest estate. That's very deceptive by industry and government. It's public property being vandalised for private gain. In Europe they hardly have one forest. Same with Asia.

It's a shame the police on the NSW South Coast don't realise they are being manipulated to help destroy their own environmental future: Notice Harriet from Chipstop in this report also

Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2008 6:47 PM
Subject: [chipstop] police antics at Bermagui logging

Hi chipstoppers
Police antics at Bermagui continue to be extraordinarily heavy handed. Here are some examples:

1. Yesterday we conducted a walk along the edge of the prohibited zone towards the logging and were met by huge numbers of police . It was largely uneventful - a couple of people got PINs (Sam got a PIN and stint in the paddy wagon for taking the piss out of Inspector Jason Edmonds) but most people complied when told by police to leave. Not much choice, given their numbers.  The event was all very fluffy and staged but was probably OK TV footage. However, the funny thing was, once the main crowd left and just a few enthusiasts remained, the police became even more attentive. We were practically surrounded. Police drove by constantly in 4WDs leaning out their windows video-ing us. Others lurked in the bush behind us. One suspects they may have been expecting some more concrete action from the hard core, but they didn't get it. Eventually they gave up and went back to their post at the water tank.

2. Another instance occurred that morning when a small group started making a large sign in the sand on the beach, hoping that the ABC helicopter would see it as they left. The police turned up and told them to leave; making a sandcastle sign on the beach is apparently now illegal.
This was all quite remarkable, but today's action took the cake.

3. Two nights ago somebody wrote in very large neat white letters on the bermagui road at the approach to the logging compartment words like: flora, fauna, CO2 sinks, forests, life. It was very expertly done and must have taken hours! Today, the Bega Valley Shire Council Jetpatcher spent 2 hours spraying tar over the painted words. There was nothing wrong with the road; it did not need any repairs. The police told the council to do it because it was an "urgent and serious traffic hazard."

This gets more and more silly. I know of one example of offensive large graffiti on a road in Bega  200 meters from the Police Station that is probably a greater traffic hazard given its sexual content. That has been there for six months without a visit from the Jetpatcher.

Stay tuned for more. I am a great believer in never picking a fight with the police; our argument is not with them and they always have the last word,. However, this behaviour is exceptional. I guess they have to do something to justify their absurdly large presence there.


Between 2,500 and 3,000 trees from SE NSW and East Gippsland are cut down every working day to supply the Eden chipmill
CHIPSTOP campaign against woodchipping the SE forests, 02-64923134, PO Box 797 Bega NSW 2550 Australia, http://www.chipstop.forests.org.au
CHIPSTOP on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0vJuZya1X00

This all reminds of the over eager APEC police September 2007 some of whom were exposed for failing to wear their name tags. The implication being they were willing to bend the law for a bit of extra judicial biffo against peaceful protesters.

Meanwhile we notice James Woodford has censored this logging of public forest koala habitat off his so called Real Dirt blog here. Even when it's in his local region.

Rather he's authored a story about how the State govt is wisely marshalling the Shoalhaven water resources which is run on page 4 of the Sydney Morning Herald. Too bad koalas don't like to swim eh James?

Woodford, only seems to run government endorsed stories these days. When it comes to water it helps that his spouse - after working PR for State Forests as the logging agency - then worked for the Southern Water Catchment Authority all on the government drip. So is it news or spin?

Posted by editor at 1:28 PM EADT
Updated: Sunday, 9 November 2008 11:12 AM EADT

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