Archive for July, 2015


The coal industry’s misleading attempts to brand itself as a poverty fighter continue to unravel, with a new report from Oxfam demonstrating that renewable energy is the easiest, cheapest, and most effective method to give people life-changing energy access. The Powering Up Against Poverty report shows that given its heavy health and climate impacts, coal is an ill-conceived solution to bring power to one billion people around the world and, as 84 per cent of the energy poor live in rural areas, the cost of extending electricity grids to those rural areas is prohibitively expensive. Oxfam has also warned the Australian Government – which has been aggressively parroting coal industry rhetoric – that it is time to end its love affair with coal, as it’s risking not only the global climate, but its economic and political future, given the growing emphasis on renewable energy in China, India, Africa and major economies like the US.

Renewables are the best and only choice to address energy poverty in the developing world. Oxfam notes that four out of five people without electricity live in rural areas that are often not connected to a centralised energy grid. Renewable energy solutions offer them a much more affordable, practical and healthy solution than coal. Coal’s so-called ability to lift them out of poverty is a PR exercise, as the health, climate, and economic consequences that come with coal do far more harm than good. Fossil fuels cost society US$105-$122 per tonne of carbon dioxide – two to nine times their total revenue – according to a University of Cambridge study. Companies like Peabody Energy have a net negative economic contribution to society and, as this becomes clearer, it is little wonder why the transition to clean, renewable energy is picking up steam faster than many imagined.

Climate change is hitting poor communities first and hardest, and coal is the biggest single contribution to climate change.Addressing climate change and reducing poverty go hand in hand. From an energy access point of view, renewables offer the cheapest, fastest, and healthiest way to increase energy access, which is why the world is shifting from fossil fuels to renewable energy faster than most had predicted. With its heavy environmental, health and economic impacts, coal is a major threat in the fight against hunger and poverty.

Coal is not “good for humanity”, and it’s not even good for coal companies. The changing energy landscape globally has seen coal giant Peabody Energy’s stock price sink like a stone. The company has lost just over a billion US dollars in three months, making it one of the world’s most high-profile examples of the ongoing death of fossil fuels. It may think that it can save its skin by rebranding itself as a poverty fighter but, as Oxfam notes: coal companies make heavy indirect contributions to climate change and the floods, drought, cyclones and changes to food patterns it brings. They also contribute directly through air pollution problems and displacement of communities as coal mines force them off their land, leaving them with poor access to food and water and struggling to make a living. Simply put, coal companies have no moral argument for poverty alleviation.

::: more @ The Tree :::


Adam Goodes is a proud Adnyamathanha man. He celebrates his Indigenous culture and calls out racism when he sees it.

We stand with him.


Reporters Without Borders is celebrating its 30th birthday...

“These 30 years of struggle could not have been pursued without the community that supports us. We invite you to see how we have defended a cause for 30 years…”


Right now we are getting constant requests for help from journalists in danger in Burundi, reporters in Syria under attack from both the dictatorship and barbarity, and Saudi bloggers who are jailed without any kind of trial. The needs are enormous and your support is necessary.’

To mark the 800th year of Magna Carta, the Australian Human Rights Commission has released an animation, interactive infographic and teachers resource on the story of our freedom.

Transcript is at

Animation produced by The Explainers.

The 4 millionth refugee flees Syria

On a sweltering day in early July, UNHCR staff at a dusty crossing point on the Turkish border registered the four millionth refugee of the Syrian war. The tragic milestone confirms Syria as the single biggest refugee crisis in a generation, one that has left thousands of families living in desperate poverty with no end to the war in sight.

Read more

15 Year of Australia for UNHCR


::: simply click pic above for 46 page pdf from

Asylum Seeker Resource Centre (Oz) :::






We know what politicians from the U.S. to Israel think about the Iran nuclear deal. How about asking some opponents of Iran’s regime?


The rebels in Greece are waging a patient guerrilla war against financial occupation.

How to make Americans accept that their country was built and sustained on white supremacist plunder? Write like Ta-Nehisi Coates.


How can we turn up the heat on Washington?


A collective in Saugerties, New York, is trying to live by the teachings of 19th century Russian anarchist Pyotr Kropotkin.
For the past two years, the Crown Heights Tenant Union of Brooklyn has used collective bargaining strategies to win victories around rent control and tenant protection laws.


Before homes are even rebuilt in the ruins of the Gaza Strip, another war looms.


Thanks to relentless student pressure, more than a year of rallies, protests and sit-ins proved too much to ignore.


Corporate tax loopholes have been very effective at draining at least a billion dollars a year out of public funds and redirecting them into idle private profits.


Underneath the Laughs, ‘Trainwreck’ Is Just Another Regressive Rom Com

For all its wit and unabashed vulgarity, Amy Schumer’s film follows a tired formula.


Trump is not the only presidential hopeful willing to make utterly mind-boggling statements.


Did ICE Violate Its Own Deportation Guidelinesin Arresting Chicago-Area Unionized Meatpackers?

ICE apprehended immigrant workers after they went on strike, even though the agency has rules against interfering in workplaces that are in the midst of labor disputes.



Conflict between New Englanders and the region’s indigenous inhabitants runs deep into history.


“To move beyond the fossil fuel era is a matter of conscience, a matter of faith and indeed, a matter of our continued existence.”

Archbishop Desmond Tutu.







The Political Genius of Bernie Sanders’ Socialism

Bernie’s socialism isn’t a “charade.” It’s a provocation-and a brilliant one, at that.


To the Troika, the election of Syriza, the referendum vote and the basic principles of democracy are meaningless.

The message being sent by the U.S. government is that when frightened women and children come to America seeking sanctuary, we will imprison them.

Dr. Willie Parker is bracing for a week of potentially violent protests in his hometown of Birmingham.



History will view drone warfare as the Obama administration’s signature approach to military engagement.



Which campaign matters more: Bernie Sanders’ or Jill Stein’s?


America’s most dangerous nonprofit has a stranglehold on public policy.


Our Neo-Confederacy

The flag may be wiped from state grounds and license plates, but its ideals live on in the GOP agenda.


Activists who wanted Elizabeth Warren to run for president took a poll and decided to endorse Bernie. Should other progressive organizations do the same?


The Confederate general and KKK “grand wizard” was one of the most vile white supremacists in American history.

In a 5-4 decision, the court ruled that power companies can pump large levels of mercury and other toxins into the air.

A coalition of farmers and vintners, doctors and lawyers, clean energy companies and reluctant do-it-yourself activists are fighting for the future of the Finger Lakes region.

Despite the fact that retailers and political figures are calling for its removal, history might be too prominent for the extinction of the Confederate flag.

After Greece cuts a quarter of its budget, WaPo asks if it’s willing to ‘trim spending.’



Faced With I-9 Immigration Raid During Negotiations, Chicago Meatpacking Workers Walked Off the Job

Over 100 workers go on strike to protect their jobs.



The ill effects of partially hydrogenated oils are clear enough for the FDA that they will be removed from the food supply within three years.


Irving K. Barber Learning Centre Lecture presented by the Vancouver Institute. Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Naomi Klein is the author of the critically acclaimed #1 international bestsellers, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism and No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies which have each been translated into more than 30 languages. She is a contributing editor for Harper’s Magazine, a reporter for Rolling Stone, and a syndicated columnist for The Nation and The Guardian.
Naomi Klein is a member of the board of directors for, a global grassroots movement to solve the climate crisis. Her new book is This Changes Everything: Capitalism vs. The Climate (September, 2014). This lecture is co-sponsored by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, and Green College.

V.S. Ramachandran, PhD is looking to solve life’s big questions by taking a different path. In studying the oddities and anomalies of the brain he hopes to illuminate the mysteries of normal brain function. A pioneer in the study of phantom limbs, Ramanchandran joins William Mobley, MD, PhD to discuss his fascinating career and his scientific process.




Elaine Chambers, a proud Kuku Yalangi/Koa Aboriginal woman from Brisbane, is this year’s winner of the prestigious National NAIDOC Poster Competition. Artists entering the competition were asked to submit an artwork which represented their interpretation of this year’s NAIDOC theme – We all Stand on Sacred Ground: Learn, Respect and Celebrate.

Ms Chambers’ artwork features four sets of feet standing on sacred ground. The most prominent set of feet are that of her father, Charlie Chambers Snr, who Ms Chambers says “hands down information to us about the sacred grounds we stand on”.

National NAIDOC Committee Co-Chair, Anne Martin, said “to me the depiction of the feet represents our families and communities standing together, strong and united on Country”.

Co-Chairs Anne Martin and Benjamin Mitchell congratulate Ms Chambers on her winning entry and thank all the talented artists who submitted their artwork in this year’s competition. “We really appreciate the work that the artists have put into their pieces.” Mr Mitchell said.

What is NAIDOC Week?

NAIDOC Week celebrates the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. NAIDOC is celebrated not only in Indigenous communities but by Australians from all walks of life. The week is a great opportunity to participate in a range of activities and to support your local Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander community.

What does NAIDOC stand for?

NAIDOC originally stood for ‘National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee’. This committee was once responsible for organising national activities during NAIDOC Week and its acronym has since become the name of the week itself.

What is the history of NAIDOC Week?

Download and print the NAIDOC History Timeline (PDF version).

::: more @ :::


For many shy people, online social networking sites have an obvious appeal – a way to socialise without the unpredictable immediacy of a face-to-face encounter. However, a new study finds that people who are socially anxious betray their awkwardness on Facebook, much as they do in the offline world. The researchers Aaron Weidman and Cheri Levinson said their findings could hint at ways for socially anxious people to conceal their nervousness and attract more online friends…

::: just click above to access piece in full @BPS Research Blog, (British Psychological Society) :::

Believe it or not, violence has been in decline for long stretches of time, and we may be living in the most peaceful era in our species existence. Harvard psychology professor Steven Pinker presents the data supporting this surprising conclusion, and explains the trends by showing how changing historical circumstances have engaged different components of human nature.

Series: “UC Berkeley Graduate Council Lectures”

UCTV: recorded on 02/04/2014.



Current issue: July 2015

Greece and the EU, what next? Russia re-enters the Balkans; Ukraine, inflating old fears of Russia doesn’t help; Mali, rebuilding a nation;South Africa, betrayal of a dream; radical Islam,Christianity of the poor; football, who pays for top clubs? the new Panama scandal; hooked on the Net…:

::: simply click cover to access :::

Sobriety, not austerity — Philippe Descamps

The UN’s Paris climate change conference in November doesn’t hold out much promise. Since the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, fossil fuel consumption has gone on growing. The Green Climate Fund launched by the UN in 2011 has attracted only €10bn to date. In 2013 subsidies for fuels responsible for greenhouse gases totalled €400bn worldwide — four times the amount allocated to renewable energy sources.

Any international agreement will fail to keep global warming within 2ºC if governments insist on (…)

Translated by Charles Goulden

The 14 Defining Characteristics Of Fascism

Free Inquiry
Spring 2003 

Dr. Lawrence Britt has examined the fascist regimes of Hitler (Germany), Mussolini (Italy), Franco (Spain), Suharto (Indonesia) and several Latin American regimes. Britt found 14 defining characteristics common to each:

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism – Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia. Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights – Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of “need.” The people tend to look the other way or even approve of torture, summary executions, assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause – The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived common threat or foe: racial , ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc.

4. Supremacy of the Military – Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding, and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized.

5. Rampant Sexism – The governments of fascist nations tend to be almost exclusively male-dominated. Under fascist regimes, traditional gender roles are made more rigid. Divorce, abortion and homosexuality are suppressed and the state is represented as the ultimate guardian of the family institution.

6. Controlled Mass Media – Sometimes to media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by government regulation, or sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in war time, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security – Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined – Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the government’s policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected – The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power, creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed – Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated entirely, or are severely suppressed.

11. Disdain for Intellectuals and the Arts – Fascist nations tend to promote and tolerate open hostility to higher education, and academia. It is not uncommon for professors and other academics to be censored or even arrested. Free expression in the arts and letters is openly attacked.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment – Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing to overlook police abuses and even forego civil liberties in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption – Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to government positions and use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections – Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against or even assassination of opposition candidates, use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and manipulation of the media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

They Thought They Were Free

 By Milton Mayer

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