Saturday, March 28, 2015

Aboriginal people vs Adani and coal

In what is shaping up to be a major test case for Aboriginal native title laws, the Aboriginal people have rejected completely Adani going ahead with the mega coal mines it wants to build in Queensland.
We, the Wangan and Jagalingou people, are the TRADITIONAL OWNERS of the land in Queensland’s Galilee Basin. Coal company Adani wants to use our ancestral lands for their Carmichael coal mine.

We do hereby firmly REJECT a Land Use Agreement with Adani for the Carmichael mine on our traditional lands.

We DO NOT consent to the Carmichael mine on our ancestral lands.

We DO NOT accept Adani’s “offers” to sign away our land and our rights and interests in it. We will not take their “shut up” money.

We will PROTECT and DEFEND our Country and our connection to it.

We call on Adani to IMMEDIATELY WITHDRAW from this damaging project on our land. sign petition here  

Friday, March 27, 2015

Could Julian Assange soon be freed?

He's now been locked up in one way or another for 4 years, longer than any penalty that may be given for the alleged crimes he's been accused of. Sweden has steadfastly refused to guarantee that he won't be extradited to the US if he goes to Sweden to face the accusations. He's still not been charged with anything, although the US has put together a few trumped up crimes, like espionage. Yes, espionage. How the hell can the US charge him with that when he's not a US citizen and has no allegance to the US whatsoever. 

Anyway, Sweden has finally agreed to come and question him about the allegations of sexual misconduct in London where he is now. Perhaps then this whole bullshit chapter can be closed.


CSG sees National Party being ditched in Northern NSW

It's certainly looking like the Lieberals are, overall, home and hosed in the New South Wales election tomorrow, however the Nationals are in quite a bit of bother in the north. It's one main issue up there, coal seam gas, and the desire by farmers and locals not to see it come to the state as it has in Queensland. Suddenly the Nationals are looking vulnerable in seats where they have a 20% margin:
On Saturday, Shearman, still a farmer at 78, won’t be encouraging voters to stick with the Nationals. He is too old-fashioned to disclose how he will vote himself, but he believes the Greens will get most support in Lismore, held by the Nationals by a normally impenetrable margin of 24.3%. One issue has shaken Shearman’s entire political outlook and is defining this election in large swaths of country NSW: the fight to stop coal seam gas. 

Before Shearman resigned as president at Lismore, he and Nola drove to Chinchilla in Queensland to look at its CSG operation. He decided that gas wells and water treatment ponds and endless trucks and dust didn’t suit the lush green hills of Lismore, with its small farms and bad roads. He came home and reported what he had seen to the Nationals, but says the party didn’t want to listen. 

“I’m very much against CSG. I don’t want them invading our land and transforming our land whatsoever. I went to see the local member, spoke at meetings, but all he would do is change the subject.” Nola, also a Nationals member for more than 40 years, adds: “We’ve got to stop it from coming here, once it’s here it’s here.” 


A recent poll says that, despite its 24.6% margin on paper, it could fall to Labor with Green preferences on this issue – even though there are no known CSG reserves in Ballina and only a small slice of the electorate is covered by an exploration licence. Nearby Lismore and Tweed, both held by the Nationals with margins of more than 20%, are also vulnerable to Labor and Green challenges and do have exploration licences over big chunks of them. 

Spooner hands out his literature at a local farmers market at the town of Bangalow, beautifully green and hip. He compares the intensity of the mood to the battle to save Tasmania’s Franklin dam in the early 1980s. “This election is a referendum on CSG on the north coast.” more 

Goebbels - Shaun Micallef

The colonel Klink lookalike is priceless!


Mean tweets to Sarah Hanson-Young, part 2 :)

Salesforce CEO abandons Indiana over religious discrimination

Well it's started. Now tech companies are pissed off with Indiana's new religious discrimination laws, with CEO Marc Benioff of global cloud computing company Salesforce severing all ties with the state:
Since 2007, ExactTarget has hosted its most important customer event, called Connections, in Indianapolis. Last year it drew 10,000 people and about $8 million in spending to Indianapolis. Salesforce announced it would move the event to New York in September. Benioff says there are other events that will be canceled as well. “We can’t bring our customers or our employees into a situation where they might be discriminated against,” he said. “We have a large number of employees and customers who would be impacted dramatically by this legislation. … I’m really just advocating on their behalf.” 

Canceling events may be just the start. Benioff didn’t say what other actions he might take to protest the law and to try to get it reversed. But he said he hopes that other tech CEOs who have operations in Indiana will follow his lead. 

“Gov. Pence says he wants to bring the tech industry to Indiana and to increase the number of tech-related jobs in his state, but he doesn’t seem to understand that a significant portion of the tech industry is gay,” Benioff said. “This is one of the most important industries in the country and he has been advocating for us to expand and invest in Indiana, but you can’t say that and then say you’re going to legalize discrimination like this. The tech industry is not going to support this kind of legislation and is going to react against it.” more  
No tech companies? Sounds like a perfect fit for Indiana at the moment as they've gone backwards in time. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

TPP investment chapter leaked! - Wikileaks

This is big news. Finally the nitty gritty of the TPP is leaked to all via Wikileaks. Dunno what the fallout will be over this, but I imagine a few red faces. This comment from Wikileaks.
The TPP Investment Chapter, published today, is dated 20 January 2015. The document is classified and supposed to be kept secret for four years after the entry into force of the TPP agreement or, if no agreement is reached, for four years from the close of the negotiations. 

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor said: "The TPP has developed in secret an unaccountable supranational court for multinationals to sue states. This system is a challenge to parliamentary and judicial sovereignty. Similar tribunals have already been shown to chill the adoption of sane environmental protection, public health and public transport policies." 

Current TPP negotiation member states are the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei. The TPP is the largest economic treaty in history, including countries that represent more than 40 per cent of the world´s GDP. 

The Investment Chapter highlights the intent of the TPP negotiating parties, led by the United States, to increase the power of global corporations by creating a supra-national court, or tribunal, where foreign firms can "sue" states and obtain taxpayer compensation for "expected future profits". These investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) tribunals are designed to overrule the national court systems. ISDS tribunals introduce a mechanism by which multinational corporations can force governments to pay compensation if the tribunal states that a country's laws or policies affect the company's claimed future profits. In return, states hope that multinationals will invest more. Similar mechanisms have already been used. For example, US tobacco company Phillip Morris used one such tribunal to sue Australia (June 2011 – ongoing) for mandating plain packaging of tobacco products on public health grounds; and by the oil giant Chevron against Ecuador in an attempt to evade a multi-billion-dollar compensation ruling for polluting the environment. The threat of future lawsuits chilled environmental and other legislation in Canada after it was sued by pesticide companies in 2008/9. ISDS tribunals are often held in secret, have no appeal mechanism, do not subordinate themselves to human rights laws or the public interest, and have few means by which other affected parties can make representations. 

The TPP negotiations have been ongoing in secrecy for five years and are now in their final stages. In the United States the Obama administration plans to "fast-track" the treaty through Congress without the ability of elected officials to discuss or vote on individual measures. This has met growing opposition as a result of increased public scrutiny following WikiLeaks' earlier releases of documents from the negotiations. more

Abbott lies his head off in parliament

Isn't there some law about misleading parliament? This is such an outrageous bald faced lie, surely he's broken some rule?


Anti-gay hate mail to senator Leyonhjelm - Canberra

More love from the christians.......

Leyonhjelm the other day introduced a marriage equality bill in the senate. 

3 conventions threaten to cancel over discrimination law - Indianapolis

Obviously this anti-gay law hasn't been thought through. The governor of Indiana looks set to sign a new discrimination bill into law shortly that would give religious zealots the right to refuse service to gays. So far three conventions planned for Indianapolis have threatened to cancel if the law goes ahead. One of them, ironically, is a christian group.
In Indianapolis, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) sent a letter to Pence on Wednesday threatening to cancel its 2017 convention in Indy if he signs the measure into law. 

"Our perspective is that hate and bigotry wrapped in religious freedom is still hate and bigotry," Todd Adams, the associate general minister and vice president of the Indianapolis-based denomination, told The Indianapolis Star. 

Adams said the Disciples of Christ would instead seek a host city that is "hospitable and welcome to all of our attendees." 

The Disciples of Christ has held its annual convention in Indianapolis three times since 1989. Adams expected about 8,000 to attend in 2017. VisitIndy estimated the economic impact at $5.9 million. 

The church is one of three conventions to threaten to leave Indy. Gen Con, the city's largest annual convention with 56,000 attendees and a $50 million annual economic impact, also sent a letter to Pence threatening to leave if he signs the bill. 

Chris Gahl, spokesman for VisitIndy, said the organizers of an annual music event also have threatened to leave if Pence signs the legislation. Gahl declined to disclose the name, saying the organizers haven't gone public yet. 

VisitIndy joined major employers such as Salesforce Marketing Group, Eli Lilly and Co and the Indy Chamber in opposition to the legislation. 

Other conventions have concerns, including Indianapolis-based Kiwanis International. The organization will draw 10,000 people to celebrate its 100th anniversary at a convention this June in Indianapolis. 

"We have received inquiries from members asking if any of our international guests (of varying religions) might be denied service in Indianapolis. This is attention our city does not need," said Kiwanis International Executive Director Stan D. Soderstrom. more
And why wouldn't you? What if business owners don't agree with serving Muslims? Where does it end? 


George Takei has weighed in calling for a boycott of Indiana:
The Governor of Indiana has indicated that he will sign SB101—a law that allows businesses to discriminate against customers based on the proprietors’ religious beliefs. This bill is strikingly similar to one proposed—and vetoed due to public outcry—in Arizona. Such laws harken back to a time where our society was divided, and people of color were banned from white establishments. That is not our nation any longer, and those are not our values. 

To the governor and to the legislators in Indiana who support this backward-looking and divisive bill, I say to you this: If it goes into effect, Indiana will be marked as a state where certain people are not welcome, and so we will not visit. We will not spend. And we will not attend events, including GenCon, the world’s largest gaming convention, held in Indianapolis each year. Many fans here are gamers, Governor Pence, and we will demand the convention move out of your state. 

Fans, friends and especially you gamers, let Governor Pence know how you feel about this bill. Give him a call: 317-232-4567.  

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The TPP - why should the US write the rules?

Non-Discrimination laws destroying US morality - christian Pat Robertson

Here's christian Pat Robertson (fuck I wish he'd just retire) justifying discrimination because of religious beliefs. 

Does he not realise his religion also justified this?


"Sodomite Suppression Act" - California

More love from the christians. This one has been put up in California and it looks like nothing can be done for it to stop it moving forward, although it's unlikely to reach the voting stage by California voters.

Seriously, WTF is going on in the blokes head who put the bill together? 

Read the whole thing here

Will "Religious Freedom" Bills Backfire on Christians?

I can't for the life of me understand how so called "religious freedom" can be used as a justification for discrimination. What about the church of satan then? Or any other religious belief that goes against christianity. Is it OK for those people to refuse service to people because they're christians?


Henry Rollins on homophobia

I never thought about it but maybe he's right. Gay hate is a major form of fundraising in conservative churches.