« February 2010 »
1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Entries by Topic
All topics  «
about editor
aust govt
big media
contact us
donations to SAM
election nsw 2007
election Oz 2007
free SAM content
human rights
independent media
local news
nsw govt
nuke threats
publish a story
zero waste
Blog Tools
Edit your Blog
Build a Blog
RSS Feed
View Profile
official indymedia
ecology action Australia
ecology action
Advertise on SAM
details for advertisers
You are not logged in. Log in

sydney alternative media - non-profit community independent trustworthy
Thursday, 4 February 2010
South Coast forest being smashed daily
Mood:  don't ask
Topic: nsw govt

South Coast Area Logging Compartments Current

February 2010 report from South East Forest Rescue.

South Brooman 56, 63, 65

Yadboro 418

Currowan 501

Buckenbowra 544

Wandera 585

Currambene 1042

Tallaganda 2433 & 2434, 2439

Bodalla 3013

Dampier 3123, 3231

That makes thirteen active areas destroying forest habitat daily.

South Brooman is being logged heavily at present on the pretence that when they logged it last time

about six years ago the marking up wasn't done correctly and missed out on a lot of area down by the

gullies etc. into the rainforest and there was only wattle regeneration happening in the areas they done

last time anyway so…what you see on the ground is "adaptive management" at an exasperating level of

dysfunction. Interestingly compartment 65 had a sudden change of logging style; originally the

harvesting was said to be a 'single tree selection' operation

[Forest stands of mixed age cover 100% of the net planned area (249ha) and will be harvested under a

single tree selection (STS) regime with the objective of removing approx 50% of mature trees and defective trees

containing a sawlog, while minimising damage to young regenerating stems, and creating canopy openings where

appropriate for regeneration.]

but when questioning the logging contractor Mr Condie last Sunday he told us that they amended that

and changed to an AGS style operation. Austalian Group Selection is predicted to feature prominently

in native forest logging to come

[AGS medium intensity canopy openings must not be greater than 0.39ha and the total area of canopy

openings must not exceed 22.5% of the net harvestable area within the AGS medium intensity tract.]

inside each AGS canopy opening (which vary in their size and do get rather large) is clear fall logging,

all trees removed, lots of ground disturbance and scant remaining habitat.

Both Yadboro and Currowan forest are situated between the Clyde River and the escarpment to the

west; Currowan 501 has had neglible logging, and Yadboro 418 also only lightly logged historically.

Buckenbowra is west of Mogo and was nominated to be declared wilderness, yet tragically more

roading continues in compartment 544.

Wandera 585 can be seen kicking up dust from the highway just north of Moruya.

Currambene 1042 is way north up by the St Georges Basin. Coastal forest being scientifically thinned

for various Forests NSW research projects

The total combined green mill recovery based on volume was 48.3%.

This forest research said that about half of the logs become actual product ie. rough sawn green boards.

Tallaganda compartments are either old growth or minimally disturbed along the Great Dividing Range

west of Braidwood, Shoalhaven River drains to the east, Murray-Darling River Basin to the west.

Bodalla 3013 is out along Mitchells Ridge Road north of Narooma, more overcutting in coastal forests.

In Dampier 3231 there is original forest being destroyed. Compartment 3123 has been logged but a

very long time ago.

Future Plans

More roading in Buckenboura 543 after 544. Wandera 584 next after 585. Macdonald 1101 and 1104

beginning any day now. This forest is north of Milton has scant records of previous logging events.

Currowan big time in April with five compartments slated to start; 486 is virtual old growth, 487 was

last cut in 1984. Compartments 227 228 and 230 have only been selected for mining timbers with much

original forest still intact along the Clyde River.

Bodalla 3063 next, then Gulaga compartment 3047 in April , then with compartment 3023 in May.

Four Dampier compartments waiting in the wings 3127, 3102, 3162 & 3163.

All information for this report obtained from publicly available from government sources.

Posted by editor at 10:44 AM EADT
US Supreme Court 'aberrant endorsement of big money politics': PBS
Mood:  blue
Topic: corporates


Sent: Wednesday, February 03, 2010 5:46 PM
Subject: for legal eagles -Bill Moyer's brilliant interview / discussion on implications of THE most radical US Supreme court decision of all time.

I've highlighted in various colours the really essential 'interesting' and unprecedented legal points raised in this three-way discussion re. the recent US Supreme court decision on funding elections.
I really like the concluding remark:

...there are so many signs of people being hungry for involvement in politics. And I think, the odds are against it. But that there's a really substantial chance that a combination of this and what's happening in the financial sector are really going to lead to a populist revival like we haven't seen for 100 years. But it's going to require left working with right. It's not going to happen if it's just a left wing response, and it's not going to happen if it's just the tea parties.



January 29, 2010

BILL MOYERS: Welcome to the JOURNAL.

When the five conservatives on the Supreme Court decided last week that money is speech and corporations have the same rights to spend as much of it buying elections as you do, you could hear the champagne corks popping over at Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, and Exxon Mobil.

But when the late night talk shows heard the news, they didn't break out the bubbly; they broke out in laughter. At THE DAILY SHOW WITH JON STEWART, correspondent John Oliver made fun of the very notion of corporations as an oppressed minority.

JOHN OLIVER: What a day! With this historic ruling, the last bastion of discrimination in this country has come toppling down. For too long, Jon, corporations have suffered under the yoke of laws, stripped of the basic freedom and dignity guaranteed by our founders [...] For the first time in history, corporations can walk with heads held high, having left their mark on American democracy.

BILL MOYERS: But seriously, folks, is this the end of democracy as we know it? Can it get any worse? My first guests say this is no laughing matter.

Monica Youn directs the money in politics project at New York University's Brennan Center for Justice. She's litigated campaign finance and election law issues in federal courts throughout the country.

Zephyr Teachout, is a faculty member at Fordham University's School of Law, who at this moment is also a Visiting Assistant Professor at Harvard University's Kennedy School. During the presidential campaign of Howard Dean in 2004, she was director of his online organizing, which as you know revolutionized political networking and fundraising.

Welcome to you both.


MONICA YOUN; Thank you.

BILL MOYERS: Now, comedians can be funny and journalists can be facetious, but in very plain language, who won the Supreme Court decision?

MONICA YOUN; Well, corporations clearly won this decision. I mean, essentially, what the court does is it awards monopoly power over the First Amendment to corporations. You can think about the last couple of elections as, you know, the slow rise of the grassroots. And as a result, the political parties, for the first time, had an incentive to start reaching out to small donors, to start cultivating grassroots organizing networks. And you saw what happened in the last election. Now, what the Supreme Court has done here is really a power play. It takes power away from the grassroots, and it puts it squarely back in the hands of corporate special interests.

It threatens to make these grassroots networks irrelevant. To say, you know, it's no longer going to be worthwhile for, you know, parties to look for fundraising opportunities, $20, $100, even $2,400 at a time, if they can just have multimillion dollar support directly from corporate treasuries.

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: This decision, at base, is about power. And that's why people are responding. That's why people from left and right are responding. This decision means that when you walk past a sign that says Goldman Sachs or Ford, that, what that represents has the same rights that you do to speak about politics, to spend as much money as you want on a political campaign. They are basically equal, and treated as equal entities, even though you're the citizen. That's why there's a really deep grassroots response, is there's a sense that power, political power, is being taken away from the citizen, which is really a core idea of this country.

BILL MOYERS: By permitting corporations to use their own, the money from their own treasuries to advocate for or against a candidate? So, that diminishes the power of the individual?

MONICA YOUN; Well, what the Supreme Court has said by equating money with speech, what the Supreme Court has said is that elections aren't really about votes anymore. What elections are now going to be about is money and who has the most money. And an individual citizen saying, "I can't possibly compete with Wal-Mart, with Exxon Mobil, with Goldman Sachs," is just going to say, "Why should I even bother? My voices will never, my voice will never be heard. My elected official is not going to listen to me. I should just stay home."

BILL MOYERS: But if I understand the decision, it doesn't enable the chairman of Exxon Mobil, or the chairman of GE to write a check to Zephyr Teachout, who's running for Congress from Vermont. It says she can spend as much money as they want to, in the, right up to the election. Right? Advocating that you be elected or defeated?

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: Yeah. Or, what happens more likely is candidates getting threatened and encouraged. It's a much subtler form of corruption. Where your mind shifts to say, "Well, do I really want to take on that financial transaction tax if I know that Goldman Sachs is going to do an ad campaign?"

MONICA YOUN; And I think that the threat is going to be even more of an important weapon than direct, you know, "Vote for so and so who we like."

BILL MOYERS: How do you mean?

MONICA YOUN; I think there's going to be a threat of corporate funded attack ads against elected officials who dare to stand up to corporate interests. Corporations have basically been handed a weapon. And when you walk into a negotiation, and you know that one person is armed and is able to use a weapon against you, they don't have to take out that weapon. They don't have to even brandish it. You know that they have it. And every elected official who goes up against an agenda on regulatory reform, on climate change, on health care, will know that the corporation who, you know, he or she is opposing, can fund a, you know, a $100 million ad campaign to take him or her out.

BILL MOYERS: But I mean, our elections are already saturated with money and the outcomes of money before this Supreme Court decision. And I still am trying to understand what is going to be different-


BILL MOYERS: -from this decision.

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: Okay. Let's say you work for Goldman Sachs. You mentioned Goldman and I like talking about Goldman, because they're the smartest political party I know in the country.

BILL MOYERS: Goldman Sachs?


BILL MOYERS: "Mr. Sachs", right.

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: No, they're very effective, politically, as a company, in their lobbying and in their ability to influence people's thoughts about -- directly.


ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: So, up until now there have been a series of laws that have restrained Goldman's direct political involvement. And they have a political team, but for the most part, they don't have a team that is looking at the country, trying to figure out which races to get involved in early. Now, what this decision does is say, "We give you the sanction, we actually encourage you as an important, vibrant part of our society to engage." Now, that may be a difference of degree, but differences of degree are everything in politics.

MONICA YOUN; It used to be that when corporations got involved in elections, they would do so kind of skulking around by subterfuge. And what this decision does is it says the Supreme Court of the United States says that you, a corporation, have a First Amendment right to buy as much influence as you can afford. You go out there and get them.

BILL MOYERS: But, you know, some people would say, "That's all right. This is a free market society. America's all about free markets. What's wrong with that? That is a basic American value."

MONICA YOUN; The marketplace of ideas doesn't give any one, any corporation or any individual the constitutional right to buy an election. I mean, the First Amendment is an important part of our Constitution, but so is the idea that this is a democracy. This is -- no matter this is a society based on the idea of one person, one vote. And our elections should not be marketplaces. They should be about voters. They should be about helping the electorate make an informed decision. And the electorate is not going to be able to make an informed decision if all they can see on the air, if all they can, you know, hear on the radio are, you know, attack ads funded by hidden corporate agendas.

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: I would say that it's -- we're a society of freedom and markets. And political freedom is so important. Political freedom means the freedom to speak and say what you as an individual citizen believe, the freedom to vote. And it means having some power in your society. And then we have this extraordinary system of markets. But it's very dangerous when the two mix. It's not just that it's bad for politics, it's also bad for markets. If you have Ford more focused on spending millions of dollars on trying to influence a congressional race, instead of making the best environmentally efficient car, we all lose. It moves towards a society where markets and freedom are confused, instead of both sort of separate values.

BILL MOYERS: But the court was talking about a very limited matter. The First Amendment, and whether or not it permits speech. What's important is the First Amendment forbids the government from interfering with speech. And that applies to anybody who speaks.

MONICA YOUN; But the problem with that is when you are talking about money being equivalent to speech. And corporations being equivalent to people. It's as if you're saying, "Okay, I'm going to put an ordinary person in a boxing ring against a Sherman tank and that's a fair fight. May the best fighter win." You're talking about artificial constructs that were built to accumulate money. That's the purpose of a corporation. There's nothing wrong with that. As long as that economic inequality does not directly translate into political equality. There's a reason our Constitution was set up the way it was. And there's a reason that you can't buy an election. Because we didn't intend for those who have the most money just to be able to get everything in the system the way they want it, every time.

BILL MOYERS: So, did the Supreme Court declare, in effect, that a corporation is a person, like the three of us, endowed by the Creator with certain inalienable rights? Is that what it was saying, in effect?

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: I don't recommend-- on the most part you should stay away from legal opinions, if you can avoid them. But I encourage people to read this opinion because there's some really weird sections. Where Justice Kennedy says "Government cannot stop people from speaking. And anyone who it stops," I'm not quoting exactly, but there's pronoun switches that put "who" and "those" and "they" switching people and corporations in and out. And it seems like, you know, if you almost read it as a literary text, he does have this respect for these legal creations as individuals whose political interests we ought respect.

MONICA YOUN; And there's a very strange alternative reality aspect to the decision. It's like you're reading a work of science fiction. At one point Justice Kennedy says, "Government has muffled the voices of corporations." And-

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: No, no. It's worse. He says, "muffled the most," and then he quotes from Scalia, "the sort of best advocates for the most important interests in our economy."

MONICA YOUN; And so, the idea being that we don't know what Exxon Mobil thinks about climate change. We don't know what Goldman Sachs thinks about financial regulation, because those corporations have somehow been unable to make their viewpoint known on the Hill.

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: But this is not just a First Amendment question, as you suggested. This is a question of what kind of society do we want to live in? How do we want it to work when a group of people call their representative? Does she answer the phone? Whose phone call is she taking?

MONICA YOUN; And in a system, you know, the preamble to the Constitution is all about "We the People." And it sets up a vision of representative self government. One in which the citizen is the sovereign and the citizen rules. And was "We the People" meant to include corporations, this artificial legal entity? I mean, should corporations now be able to vote? Should they be able to hold office?

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: And there's this beautiful passage in Stevens' dissent, where you can feel his -- he wrote one of the longest dissents in recent history. And you can feel his -- I think very heartfelt anxiety as he's confused. "What is this thing we are giving these rights?" And these are not small rights. These are rare in human history that you have a right like the right to speak freely, politically. We had, you know, we're dealing with in the sophist way in giving it to a corporate form. It's very strange.

BILL MOYERS: Giving it to a corporate form, as I understand the decision, which enables it on the night before an election, if it wants to, it may not want to, but if a corporation wants to, to run a series of ads saying, "Don't vote for candidate Teachout or candidate Youn, right?" And that's a right, as I understand it, that corporations have not had.

MONICA YOUN; So, yeah, that's correct.

BILL MOYERS: To run an ad a night before the election, saying vote for this candidate or against that candidate.

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: Okay, see, imagine a Senate race in a few years. And, efforts to break up the banks got into a higher pitch. And a candidate recognizing that people in her state are very supportive of this effort to break up the banks. But the polls are close. So, she comes out with a strong statement saying, "I want a per se cap on how big a bank can be. In the billions, okay?" That night, there can be ad hominem attacks funded by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley on her, directly paid, that cover the airwaves. Now, not only can that happen, but she knows that can happen. How likely is she to take on one of the most important economic questions that we have right now. Is how to structure our financial industry. When she knows the financial industry is already spending $400 billion -- $400 million in a year on lobbying?

BILL MOYERS: Well, proponents of this ruling point out that unions are also freed up by the decision. Have they created a level playing field here between the corporations and the unions?

MONICA YOUN; Well, the short answer to that is that if you compare unions' available funds versus corporation's available funds, we're not talking about a real fight here. But I think the more important fight is why should the only people whose viewpoints count in this, be large organizations with money? Whether that be the unions or the corporations? Why shouldn't ideas be dealt with on their merits? And why shouldn't ideas be dealt with by the number of votes they can command, as opposed to the amount of dollars they can spend?

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: I also want to go back to something you said earlier about sort of we all know, what was it? The threat of money-

BILL MOYERS: Implied threat that if you do something I don't like, I'm going to, and I have a lot of money, I'm going to make you pay for it in the next election.

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: So what I want to say is not only do we all know it, but this is actually fundamental to our Constitution. Our founders knew it. Hamilton knew it. Madison knew it. And they talk about the importance of keeping the temptations and threats of money outside of politics. They weren't naive. And we're not naive. We don't have a vision of money entirely outside of politics. But it's not just that it's common sense. It's a common sense that's embedded in our best traditions. This idea that we should try to create structures that avoid those, that experience of threat and temptation on the part of our politicians.

BILL MOYERS: The decision seems at odds with some of the very positions taken by some of the people who wrote it. I mean, for example, we've heard a lot from conservatives about "judicial activism." That is, judges, liberal judges, Earl Warren and others, actually making decisions that usurp the power of the legislature. So, let me play you an excerpt from Roberts' nomination hearings, when he is talking about judicial activism.

JOHN ROBERTS: Judges and justices are servants of the law, not the other way around...Judges have to have the humility to recognize that they operate within a system of precedent, shaped by other judges equally striving to live up to the judicial oath...I do think that it is a jolt to the legal system when you overrule a precedent...it is not enough that you may think the prior decision was wrongly decided...the role of the judge is limited; that judge is to decide the cases before them; they're not to legislate; they're not to execute the laws."

BILL MOYERS: Is that what he was doing last week?

MONICA YOUN; Absolutely not. This started out as a case about a very narrow issue. It's, is this 90 minute infomercial attacking Hillary Clinton, is this a corporate campaign ad or is it not a corporate campaign ad? And what the court did is they said, "Well, you know, we could rule on that question, but instead let's talk about this entire topic of whether corporate spending in elections should be limited."

BILL MOYERS: In other words, that question was not in the case, that the judges reached out and brought to the court.

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: It was not only not in the case, but the parties stipulated that they wouldn't have to deal with these questions. And the judges reached out. The justices reached out and decided to make this statement of their view of corporate independent expenditures.

MONICA YOUN; And this is so disturbing, because one reason that, in that clip, the chief justice is paying, you know, homage to the idea of judicial modesty is people recognize that in this system judges are given a great deal of power. Judges can not only say, "Oh, what you did, Congress, was wrong. But forever more, you are barred from doing anything like that again. That option is completely off the table now." But the way that's limited in our constitutional system is that judges are only supposed to decide the particular case in front of them. They're not going to -- they're not supposed to say, "Oh, we don't like that particular area of the law. Let's just go out and change that, just because we have the five votes to do so." And I can think of very little more scary for our democracy than a five, you know, justice majority that finds itself unconstrained by precedent. That finds itself unconstrained by the case before it. And feels like it can just go out there and pursue its own agenda.

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: This case did overrule established precedent. It dealt with an issue which could have been dealt with on several different minor grounds. Much, much narrower grounds. And this -- these laws against corporate expenditures came after massive public response to what they perceived to be corruption in the system. Passed by Congress with enormous amounts of support. And there are times when justices should get involved. And say, "No, no, no. There is a minority here that is not being protected. There are interests that the public isn't hearing." But here the justices were not reaching out to protect an unheard minority, but rather to protect one of the loudest voices we already have in our politics.

BILL MOYERS: Well, John Oliver said it's an oppressed minority. Corporations are an oppressed minority, right? But what now? What do you think can be done to counter, if one wants to counter, the -- this decision?

MONICA YOUN; You know, I have faith that this decision is a constitutional aberration. And I feel like the shock that this decision has resulted in across the left and the right will hopefully show the court that they have taken things too far. That the results of their logic is no longer democracy, which is rule of the people, but which is plutocracy, rule of the wealthy.

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: I think that ten years ago ordinary citizens felt really left out of politics. And we saw that start to change. We saw in the last election, on both sides, we saw people -- you know, feeling like they gave $100, they went out there, they knocked on doors, they got people to the polls, and that mattered. And that was the focus of the election. That was what mattered in an election. And I think what we're going to start to see, maybe not immediately, but certainly down the road if this trend is not changed, is that's going to stop mattering anymore. That's not going to be important. What's going to be important is corporate spending.

ZEPHYR TEACHOUT: I'm more hopeful than you are, despite my despondent initial response. I think there are so many signs of people being hungry for involvement in politics. And I think, the odds are against it. But that there's a really substantial chance that a combination of this and what's happening in the financial sector are really going to lead to a populist revival like we haven't seen for 100 years. But it's going to require left working with right. It's not going to happen if it's just a left wing response, and it's not going to happen if it's just the tea parties.

BILL MOYERS: Monica Youn and Zephyr Teachout, thank you very much for joining me on The JOURNAL.

MONICA YOUN; Thank you.

Posted by editor at 10:34 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 February 2010 10:41 AM EADT
Woohoo, SAM pulls 30K hits for silly season month of January
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: independent media

More background here on SAM stats over our trajectory from inception 3rd January 2007, in frustration at official Sydney Indy Media going offline in the lead up to the NSW state election:



Posted by editor at 9:35 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 February 2010 9:45 AM EADT
Pray tell Penberthy how MySchool reveals bad apple teacher?
Mood:  incredulous
Topic: big media

Picture: This screenshot in 2005 suggests David Penberthy's posture as honest broker on MySchool issues is a bit strained.



We wrote recently of 'foolish' big media and big politics parading their non sequiturs on the value or not of the new My School website. We used the example of a 135 million strong yet frivolous Youtube posting to prove high web hit rate is not probative of serious content. The specific Youtube 'Charlie bit my finger' was indeed cute and a celebration of humanity but entirely frivolous.

News Corp golden web-ster  David Penberthy who runs Punch (or is that Punchy?) was paraded in two page press feature yesterday in the Sydney Daily Telegraph print version, with a sledge on the teacher unions: In short the union is just protecting dud teachers is the claim.

Worth unpacking this assertion to show how poor Penberthy's arithmetic must be.

How can a single school average over say a 1000 student school show which teacher is dodgy? The proposition is a non starter - because it's 'a school' appraisal not an individual teacher assessment. Indeed it's not even a school assessment, it's a student assessment in all their diversity and systemic disadvantages.

A global number for all students in a school to measure a single teacher? Mmm. So much for the 3Rs and basic mathematics.

All Penberthy is parading is the ideology of his anti union News Corp employer.

Posted by editor at 9:31 AM EADT
Updated: Thursday, 4 February 2010 1:01 PM EADT
Wednesday, 3 February 2010
TWS green group growing pains a sign of success rather than 'turmoil'?
Mood:  quizzical
Topic: aust govt


It seems The Wilderness Society here in Australia has a high class problem.

Their membership via online and street recruitment programme is not 45,000 as per recent press reportage but a whopping 70,000 according to a chat with a street rep yesterday. That's a high class problem, reminiscent in another context of the business restructuring and growing pains of Flight Centre business, which if we recall our Media Monitors reader analyst days, was going from a bus tour business to a major travel company in every shopping centre back in the 70ies and 80ies (?).

A 'save TWS' internal rhetoric with meeting in a town hall in Melbourne later this month seems to be more about who gets to serve the soup so to speak in terms of the Little Red Hen fable. One recalls the fable - where all the work is done by the Little Red Hen (including great stress and burnout?) to make the soup, and then every other barnyard animal wants to help manage the soup afterwards.

I bet the straggly mob of red neck Peter Spencer supporters outside federal parliament yesterday would like a 70,000 strong membership base - only in this case to help save the Kimberley, Cape York, Tas and other forests in Australia, including redgum forests in NSW.

Posted by editor at 7:39 AM EADT
Updated: Wednesday, 3 February 2010 8:47 AM EADT
Monday, 1 February 2010
Eastern Suburbs Greens ramp up Tamarama gully issue
Mood:  loud
Topic: ecology


Rally to save Tamarama Gully

Guest speaker: Jack Mundey, Green bans leader

What: Rally to protect and expand Tamarama Gully
Pre event photo opportunity: Lee Rhiannon, Jack Mundey and Greens
Waverley Councillors at the gully

The Greens are organising a public rally to send a message to Waverley
Council to:
· Protect and expand Tamarama Gully
· Restore the creek and waterfall
· Increase public access
· Rehabilitate the Indigenous heritage

The Greens Waverley councillors have been working to have Council
purchase 362 and 364 Birrell St and incorporate the land into the park
and to have the Birrell St 'road' in the Gully closed.  This will help
save the waterfall and the Gully's unique Indigenous history.

Greens NSW MP and local resident Lee Rhiannon said, "The Tamarama gully
has been called the Cinderella of the Eastern Suburbs beaches *
nestled between the far more well-groomed Bondi and Bronte beaches.

"The time is ripe for this Gully, with its rich and complex heritage,
to be restored and returned to public hands.

"The government, working with Waverley Council, has a unique
opportunity to reverse the sins of the past which have been imposed on
this once magical gully.

Greens Councillor Prue Cancian said, "The community and the Greens are
urging Council to purchase the properties to help return this iconic
gully to local residents.

"We have a real opportunity now to gift Tamarama a deeper reputation
than 'Glamarama'.

"The Waverley area is already short on public open space, but
development in the gully threatens to rob more of this from local

Posted by editor at 12:11 PM EADT
Famous final legal victory against Gunns so called defamation case
Mood:  special
Topic: legal

One wonders if the misdirected defamation case allegedly a cynical SLAPP - strategic law suit against public participation - is also a cause for ethical complaints against lawyers for Gunns?

A statement we received recently by Adam Burling, originally of NSW (Wollongong if memory serves), then Tasmania, and known to have worked in Senator Bob Brown's office in The Greens party


Friday, 29 January 2010

Gunns20 defendants victorious – Gunns to pay $155,000

“This is a humiliating defeat for Gunns Ltd. The result is a victory not only for me but also for free speech and the Tasmanian forest campaign,” said Adam Burling, Defendant #1

“The Gunns20 case has come to an abrupt and embarrassing end for Gunns just days before trial.  Tasmanian logging giant, Gunns Ltd, has agreed to our demands and dropped the case against defendants, paying us $155,088.00,” said Adam Burling

“After 5 years of litigation based on lies, I have been vindicated today. This billion dollar logging company has been forced to dump their multi-million dollar case against a small environment centre and three individuals. This is an absolute and complete win for us,” said Mr Burling

Together with this settlement Gunns have paid defendants over $1.3 million in settlements and costs awards. At Gunns 2009 AGM it was revealed Gunns’ costs were $2.8million.


Posted by editor at 11:39 AM EADT
Blockade 'in rainforest' near Ulladulla NSW south coast today
Mood:  energetic
Topic: ecology

News over the intertubes of a protest action today about NSW Govt forest destruction with these pictures:



          2010 - the Year of Biodiversity Destruction

Conservationists have stopped logging today in Compartment 63 of South
Brooman State Forest, between Ulladulla and Batemans Bay and are calling
on the NSW Premier to halt logging.  The conservationists state Forests
NSW are logging rainforest in the compartment and destroying threatened
species habitat.  The conservationists have tied three machines to a tree
sit forty metres above the ground.

An assurance was given to the community with the signing of the Regional
Forest Agreements that Forests NSW would ensure damage to threatened
species habitat is mitigated, yet the evidence of habitat destruction in
Compartment 62 and 63, that were earmarked for protection by the
community, clearly shows the law is not being implemented.  Spotted-tailed
Quolls are escaping to nearby private properties as their habitat is being
destroyed, which is particularly alarming as Forests NSW pre-logging fauna
surveys failed to identify these animals as being present in the area.

"Forests NSW are breaching native forest management strategies and
wilfully ignoring their own legislated regulations," said Lisa Stone from
South East Forest Rescue.  "This action draws attention to the fact that
human induced climate change is the greatest threat to life on earth

Today's deadline to the Copenhagen Accord saw nations come forward with
their final emissions reduction targets.  Australia has confirmed its
submission of a mere five per cent cut of 2000 emission levels by 2020.
The failure of the Rudd government to deliver any meaningful protection to
Australian native forests, by refusing to submit a specific target, let
alone a higher target, means they are committing a self-defeating

The International Panel on Climate Change has identified that around 50%
of the total mitigation potential of greenhouse gas emissions could be
reached by limiting emissions from deforestation.  Given the amount of
emissions calculated it would seem that one way Australia could easily
limit it's GHGs is by ending native forest logging.

"The protection of our native forests is of urgent national and
international importance in times of global climate chaos," said Tony
Whan, also from South East Forest Rescue. "Forests NSW have admitted they
are rorting the Regional Forest Agreements in the latest Standing
Committees 'Return of the Ark ' Report, by saying the 20-year wood supply
commitments to industry are framed so 'long-term (i.e. 100-200 years)
sustainable yield is not exceeded', which means they are logging a hundred
or two hundred years worth of trees in twenty years, and yet the public is
told time and again that this is sustainable."

The governmental practice of decrying developing countries' illegal
logging while sanctioning illegal logging in Australia has not gone
unnoticed by the rest of the world.  Australia is only now, slowly, coming
in from the cold.  After eleven years of ridicule from international
quarters the government has the chance to gain international respect if
the right decisions are made.

The US submitted their own goal to the Accord, pledging to cut emissions
"in the range of 17 per cent" of 2005 levels, with plans to reach a 30 per
cent cut by 2025.

"We are sending a clear message to the NSW and Federal Governments that
they must fulfil their international obligations on climate change by
protecting their remaining carbon sinks," said Ms Stone.  "Forests NSW
have fudged the books when it comes to reporting their greenhouse gas
emissions.  We call on the State and Federal Governments to prove that
political will is not extinct and put an end to native forest logging, for
us and our children's future."

For more info please ring Lisa or Tony on 0428 640 271.

Posted by editor at 11:16 AM EADT
Big Media, big pollie foolish My School non sequiturs abound
Mood:  lazy
Topic: aust govt


Glenn Milne and others laud the fact the My School website has received 9 million hits as if that proves anything. A giant non sequitur. What was that about the bigger the lie, the easier to sell?

Almost certainly a big proportion of viewers of the My School site are ex students looking at how their old school comes out, not least to see if they have been defamed?

Certainly the big media/press notion that high circulation is by definition in the public interest or sound policy is a classic non sequitur.

One only need mention false nude pictures of a candidate in the last Qld state election to know high sales does not make for valid information. Or cars slowing to look at a car wreck. Or high rating YouTubes: Look at the multi million popular postings. Some of it wonderful. Much of it junk and or deliberately frivolous like the 135 million monster above. And frivolous is a word PM Rudd might be careful about given all the accusations of shallow talk.

And PM Rudd is gambling My School is not junk by calling for an expansion of the site. Or maybe that is to fix the junk before the audience twig?

Posted by editor at 11:09 AM EADT
Coalition still 'poisoning the creek' in Cape York to shift big agri to the North?
Mood:  sharp
Topic: aust govt

Tony Abbott, now opposition leader served in a government with former Deputy PM Tim Fischer.

Fischer famously promised bucketloads of native title extinguishment in 1996 and 1997 after the High Court of Australia Wik Case decision in favour of tradional owners. The HCA being our highest precedent court. The Fischer plan was to breach the Racial Discrimination Act which the Howard Govt did.

Fischer's sticht was about country grace and pastoral courtesy. Two minute Tim was his nickname for brief visits to numerous places in his big electorate around Narrandera in rural and regional NSW. He famously hailed from a property at "Boree Ck". He even leveraged a diplomatic post to the Vatican under the current Rudd Govt.

Here is a map from Google Earth showing proximity of Boree Ck to Narrandera:


But the same Google service doesn't provide a location of the nearby Poisoned Waterhole Ck we noticed the first time on a road trip years ago. Interestingly it sends the searcher to the local Narrandera council, perhaps to guard the stories? But here is a photograph from the Roads & Traffic Authority:  


And they claim the name refers to dingo pests being poisoned in 1880 [bold added]:

The encroachment of Europeans onto Wiradjuri land brought conflict and between 1839 and 1841 a series of incidents along 100 kilometres of the Murrumbidgee centring on Narrandera became known as the "Wiradjuri wars". Aborigines took cattle and speared stockmen in retaliation for atrocities committed by settlers and loss of traditional fishing grounds and significant sites. Many of the Wiradjuri peoples were killed at Hulong in 1840 and at Murdering Island in 1841. Whilst it has been speculated that Poisoned Waterholes Creek's name stems from the poisoning of Aborigines by settlers, it seems that the majority of the Narrungdera were broken by the Murdering Island massacre. According to Gammage, a more likely explanation for the name is that it was associated with the poisoning of dingos, which became troublesome around the creek in the 1880s, forced into the area by closer settlement. (Regional Histories, 1996, p. 132; Gammage, 1986, p. 238)

at http://www.rta.nsw.gov.au/cgi-bin/index.cgi?action=heritage.show&id=4309617

That's the first time we've heard Aboriginal people in effect called pest species dingoes because that's not the story from the Wiradjuri/Narrungdera (bold added):



Fragments of a heritage

On the peaceful Murrumbidgee near Narrandera there are two places with names hinting at a bloody past. One is poisoned Waterholes Creek and the other is Massacre Island.

The traditions of these places are recorded in the Murrumbidgee volume of Wiradjuri Places. In 1995 Ossie Ingram recalled an account given to him by an old man in the 1930s of what had happened there a century before.

Near Buckingbong homestead several groups of Aboriginal families used to camp. The station owner poured drums of poison into a big waterhole called Green Swamp and many people died. Other families heard about this and cleared out to a place called Duck Bend. They camped on the island but a boundary rider spotted smoke from the kangaroo grass there and reported it to the boss. The station boss got the men together and they rode to the bend of the river where the island was, and they shot the whole group except for one man.

The one survivor got a reed into his mouth and used it to breathe while he swam down the river with it. He bypassed all the places that he knew and finally collapsed at Benerembah station. The station owner’s daughter cared for him until he recovered, fell in love with him and married him.

Too romantic to be believed? Strange things happened on the frontiers of settlement. Neville Lyons of Narrandera gives another version of the same tale about Poisoned Waterholes Creek. No contemporary record has come to light, but the Aboriginal oral tradition is very strong. In western NSW the 1830s was a period of frontier violence and Aboriginal resistance called “The Wiradjuri War”.

Wiradjuri Places consists of three volumes which describe in vivid detail the surviving fragments of the Aboriginal heritage of the three great river basins of the area: Murrumbidgee, the Lachlan and the Macquarie.

Dr Kabaila uses his skills to research and record the Aboriginal heritage of the vast Wiradjuri language region which includes much of inland central NSW. Personal recollections are contributed by a large number of members of the Aboriginal community. Emeritus Professor Isabel McBryde is the technical referee for the work.

I was born in the centre of Wiradjuri country at Orange, and I have lived much of my life in the area. Yet these books record an Australian history, an Australian culture, that I scarcely knew existed. The author presents us with the published record of a massive fieldwork study in what was the forgotten history of Australia. Every known Aboriginal settlement in the area has been mapped and recorded, artefacts sketched, oral traditions preserved, and photographs identified.

These books record a dark period in the Aboriginal history of NSW. Yet the record will be of inestimable value to future generations. "

at A.C.T. based website of Indigenous history here http://members.pcug.org.au/~amandak/belconnen.htm

So what has this all got to do with Cape York conservation of world heritage quality nature in the hands of the traditional owners there in the far north a long way from NSW? Well there was a 1996 Cape York land use agreement negotiated and promised $40M implementation funds with the great Rick Farley as mediator. An election promise broken by the Howard/Fischer/Abbott government, along with their bucket loads of extinguishment agenda.

Now as the Murray Darling big agri sector slowly dies it appears industry are determined to get into Cape York unspoilt rivers, and Kimberley on the WA side. The rival Queensland Govt (under the ALP)  in 2003 onwards moved to prevent a Howard Govt developer agenda in world heritage quality unprotected ares with their Wild Rivers legislation. Some Aboriginal leaders have been outraged by this cramping of their developer aspirations too by the State Govt. Just last Friday an NT Aboriginal leader offered support in the press saying  words to the effect of

'if the traditional owners want to cut down all the trees why shouldn't they given what the Europeans have done in the past?'

But this extreme position reveals the false choice being offered.

Fischer, Howard and Abbott could not have put it more clearly. They are still poisoning the rivers and creeks metaphorically speaking in Cape York when they could have chosen to support a world heritage and economic development negotiated agreement. But the Coalition national politicians prefered politicking and conflict because it serves their redneck agenda in the broader national debate. How shameful.

Many lives would have been saved and jobs created if that original negotiated agreement in 1996, reported here on SAM late last week, had been implemented. Green groups, Cattleman's Union together. 14 years later we are in an angry stalemate with accusations flying in all directions, not least politican Tony Abbott and his mates. A modern version of pure poison.


Perhaps Tim Fischer might consider taking confesssion there in the Vatican?

Posted by editor at 10:16 AM EADT

Newer | Latest | Older