Archive for March, 2014


edited by George Brandis

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Greens believe Western Australians deserve to know what their political leaders are proposing in the face of falling iron ore prices and job losses in the construction industry.

The Greens Energy2029 plan forecasts up to 26,000 construction jobs in a mature renewable energy market. Senator Scott Ludlam said continued investment in the renewable energy sector would secure thousands of jobs, at risk if the Renewable Energy Target were to be wound back…

“We can also create jobs in the timber and manufacturing industries by developing a pre-fabricated housing sector here in WA. We have the plantation timber, we have the need with 45,800 people on housing waiting lists, and we can take advantage of new innovations in modular housing.

“The Greens will support small business by reducing the tax rate, and we will continue to fight for the rollout of an end-to-end fibre to the premise broadband network that will underpin our strong services sector.”

“I would be delighted to debate these issues with other candidates in this by-election,” Senator Ludlam said.

:::: click on through to Senator Ludlam’s homepage ::::

 

As Australia’s ‘Mendacious Morrison’, (aka Abbott Junta ‘reichsfuhrer of refugees’), refuses to comment on Guardian reports that his Department for Immigration offered repatriation to two Syrian asylum seekers on Manus Island, despite one saying he faced “certain death” if returned, UK’s Channel 4 News are reporting on the increased use of ‘barrel bombs’ against Syrian civilian populations, still trapped in the war torn country…

“….Channel 4 News cannot show some of the video footage, which often includes severed limbs and mutilated corpses, because it is too distressing to watch. However, the footage we can show speaks to the mass destruction of lives and neighbourhoods that is taking place.

The barrel bomb is just that, a barrel filled with TNT and shrapnel. When it explodes the shrapnel sprays around the blast zone killing anyone in its path.

helicopter-carrying-barrel-bombs

But the horrific simplicity of this weapon should not lead you to underestimate its devastating power. Barrel bombs typically carry between 1,000kg and 1,500kg. On impact, within a 250m radius, everything is destroyed – buildings are flattened, cars are torched, civilians die.

The barrels are so large the air roars as they plummet to earth – the briefest of warnings before mayhem hits.

And in 2014 their use has dramatically escalated…”

Current estimates are that a total of between 5,000 and 6,000 barrel bombs have been dropped during Syria’s civil war, killing at least 20,000 people.

1,600 of these deaths have taken place in Aleppo in the last month alone…Mendacious Morrison – take note!!!

艺术界 LEAP 25

LEAP25

 

艺术界 LEAP 25

Historically, the number of artists who left their homeland is too great to count: the Flemish Rubens and French Poussin in Italy; the Dutch Mondrian and Spanish Picasso in France; the French Duchamp and German Beckmann in the States; the Chinese artist exodus of the 1920s and 30s…the list goes on. Beyond being attracted to the great art capitals of world, artists have left their home countries to escape war and political persecution, as well as for personal reasons. This issue attempts to trace the footsteps of Chinese artists abroad over the last thirty years, starting with Berlin and then making our way to Paris and New York. Our explorations look at their creative journeys in terms of both cultural immersion and cultural conflict, and at how the concepts of homeland, separation, struggle, and limitation impacted the formation of artistic language. Barbara Pollack reviews the American perception of Chinese contemporary art; Zheng Shengtian discusses the roles Chinese artist émigrés have played in North America over the last several decades; Yu Hsiao Hwei does the same for their compatriots in France; and Chaos Y. Chen offers a glimpse into their lives in Berlin. Finally, we take a look at the artist Li Mu, who after years of avoiding the small village that is his hometown, returned to undertake a rather curious project…

click cover above for 艺术界 LEAP 25

With the venal bully, Dick Cheney, back in the news, here’s a timeless quote that somewhat nails the son of a…

“…half the world is ruled by secret police forces…The desire for pure power seems to be much more dominant than the desire for wealth…it is no more natural, in the sense of being biologically necessary, than drunkenness or gambling. And if it has reached new levels of lunacy in our own age, as I think it has, then the question becomes: what is the special quality in modern life that makes a major human motive out of the impulse to bully others?”

George Orwell, Tribune, 1946

The violent bashing of asylum seekers which has resulted in the death of a young Iranian man has totally changed the world’s perceptions of the Australian Government’s treatment of refugees and embarrassed decent Australians.

The Abbott Government has no alternative to shutting its third world torture camps for refugees. The policy of making an example of and  terrifying refugees, to deter would be asylum seekers  from  travelling  to Australia to seek asylum, has collapsed under the weight of lies, secrecy and violence.

The conservative Coalition Government and the previous Labor government have based the legitimacy of their refugee program on the camps on Nauru and on Manus Island being a safe haven for asylum seekers while they wait for orderly processing.

In reality the camps are a hell on earth for refugees seeking asylum. The people sent to the camps are immediately demoralized by being told that because they have traveled by boat they will be disqualified from getting asylum in Australia. The camps are designed to be a harsh place to live and totally unsuitable for asylum seekers who are unwell and for women and children.

Initially the Minister tried to blame the victims of violence by saying they had absconded from the safety of the prison camp, but despite the strict secrecy surrounding the camp the true story has emerged that people with weapons came into the camp and bashed and shot refugees and stole their belongings.

Whatever spin the immigration Minister uses to rationalize his psychological and physical punishment of refugees and his denial of responsibility , he cannot get past the fact that under international rules he is ultimately responsible for the safety and well being of refugees he has detained, even if he has shipped  them to another country.

Minister Morrison has failed in his duty, he cannot protect the people under his care while they are under another country’s jurisdiction. He should be stood down and his unsafe refugee program should be closed down immediately.

lmd314

Current issue: March 2014

… Europe, Ukraine, the next chapter; the new populist far rightTurkey, Gulen reveals himself; post-Gezi writers speak out; market in natural disasters; secrecy in the name of US safetyMexico’s left out in the cold; who pays for Amazon clean-upSahara, spoils of war; pay the world’s workersspam, from Monty Python to global crime… and more

As Ukraine teeters on a knife edge between self determination and further Russian incursion, the UN Security Council assembles for crisis talks…here @ the interpretOr, we’re having another look at perspectives from Reporters Without Borders and Amnesty International on the Putin regime… Reporters Without Borders...

…in the face of the Russian public’s calls for respect and democracy, the government has responded with repression. A spate of draconian laws has been adopted in record time. Legislation regulating human rights NGOs and unauthorized demonstrations was toughened, while defamation was reintroduced into the criminal code after being decriminalized in November 2011. In the name of “protecting minors,” a federal agency has been told to compile a blacklist of “pernicious” websites that can be blocked without reference to the courts and without any possibility of defence. And the Duma is not stopping there. Plans are under way to vastly extend the scope of what is regarded as “high treason” and “state secrets.” Tools for circumventing online censorshipare to be banned. And “offending the feelings of believers” is to be penalized drastically. The desire to control is as plain as ever. OFFICIAL VERSION “The media’s active and responsible attitude and a truly independent and courageous journalism are more than ever desired and indispensible for Russia.” (Address to the Union of Journalists, April 2013) REALITY Whether indispensible or not, independent journalism is a risky activity in Russia. No fewer than 29 journalists have been murdered in direct connection with their work since Putin became president. Physical attacks and murders occur with regularity and are encouraged by the impunity enjoyed by their perpetrators. After a particularly intense wave of violence from 2008 to 2010, Putin and Dmitry Medvedev both gave personal undertakings to combat impunity. With no effect. Mikhail Beketov, who suffered lasting injuries in a November 2008 attack, died in April 2013 without seeing his assailants brought to justice. The identity of those who ordered the murders of Anna Politkovskaya and Khadzhimurad Kamalov, and the attack on Oleg Kashin, is still unknown. Read in Russian / Читать по-русски

Amnesty International …

Vladimir Putin’s return as President, following widely criticized elections, led to a surge in popular protest and demands for greater civil and political freedoms, particularly around his inauguration in May. The result was increased restrictions. Protests were frequently banned and disrupted. New laws were adopted, often without public consultation and in the face of widespread criticism, which introduced harsh administrative and criminal penalties that could be used to target legitimate protest and political and civil society activities, and to restrict foreign funding for civic activism. The Russian Federation responded belligerently to international criticism of its human rights record. A law on travel and other sanctions on officials allegedly responsible for the death of lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in custody in 2009 was passed in the USA and proposed in several other countries. The Russian authorities retaliated with reciprocal sanctions and by banning the adoption of Russian children by US citizens and prohibiting Russian NGOs from receiving funding from the USA. Russia continued to enjoy economic growth, although this slowed with falling oil prices, the global economic downturn and the lack of structural reforms at home. Public protest decreased by the end of 2012, but so did public support for the political leadership, according to opinion polls…

full report @ Amnesty International

In These Times

Newsletter 1 March 2014
Low-income people of color stand to lose the most from the erosion of net neutrality. By Jay Cassano and Michael Brooks Keystone by the Bay Labor and environmental groups clash in Maryland over fracking. By Rebecca Burns Citizens of Nowhere Thousands of Haitian-Dominicans were stripped of Dominican citizenship. Where’s the U.S. outrage? By Achy Obejas Jersey Hustle The South Jersey political corruption depicted in American Hustle still persists, in a new form. By Bhaskar Sunkara Stamp of Disapproval Activists and union workers fight to stop the U.S. Postal Service from shedding buildings and jobs. By Theo Anderson For Once, Workers Win Over Walmart Walmart has signed onto a contract that guarantees Floridian tomato pickers fair treatment. By Alex Wolff China’s Green Movement Environmentalists cut through the smog of state repression. By Michelle Chen Anti-Fracking Fight Heats Up in Maryland Baltimore’s march against the proposed Cove Point project was the largest environmental protest in the city’s history. By Bruce Vail Free Contraception Is in Danger Again A Supreme Court case may prioritize employers’ religious freedoms over women’s health. By Ruth Rosen COMMENTARY The Billionaires’ Scheme to Destroy Democracy The 1% are advocating a campaign for a one-dollar-one-vote plutocracy. By Leo Gerard The Real Welfare Queens A new report shows corporations like Koch Industries have gotten billions in government subsidies. By David Sirota WORKING IN THESE TIMES After Chokwe Lumumba’s Death, Mississippi Auto Workers Mourn a Union Ally The late Jackson, Miss. mayor was an outspoken advocate for unions and workers rights in a fiercely right-wing state. By David Moberg THE PRISON COMPLEX New York’s Curbs on Solitary Confinement Could Signal National Sea Change The agreement makes New York the largest prison system in the country to prohibit solitary confinement of minors. By Alex Wolff
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