typing is not activism….

environ mentalism, fresh articles, interviews & checkitouts from Sydney.

Archive for December 2008

BBC round-up of Middle East war coverage

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Fuck you Israel. You’re not even trying now. How long until a senior minister wheels out another guilt trip about World War II, or has that already happened? The whole line about people who don’t want to see Palestinians flattened and crushed and murdered in their homes and cities being somehow anti-Zionist… What the f%$& is that? But the Israeli:Palestinian ratio seems to be about the same as the American:Arab ratio. For example, September 11 2001, 3000 dead Americans. The response? So far, about 5000 more dead Americans and 750 000 dead Arabs. By that ratio, 1 American is worth about 100 Arabs. 3 dead Israelis from bottle rocket ‘attacks’ in the last twelve months – response: 300+ dead Palestinians. Israeli:Palestinian ratio, again, about 100:1. Of course, when you throw in the wounded, it kind of screws up the average.

Check out the new Israeli Mastercard ad:

Buying a Big Mac in Haifa so that you can chow down while listening to the body count on the radio? 28 shekels.
Useless piece of shit no-range, no-direction Kessem missile that has almost no chance of hitting anyone or anything? 1500 shekels.
Landing guided missiles, cluster bombs and artillery shells on the families of children who throw rocks? Fucking priceless!

Oh yeah…. BBC coverage of Israel v. Mostly Unarmed Civillians.

And great to see that over 200 people hit the streets of Sydney less than 48 hours into the latest slaughter to protest against Israel’s illegal and ongoing war against Palestinians.

be sure to click on the pic for that story, and in the latest from Gaza, where there are now at least 1400 wounded, the BBC reports that

A Palestinian doctor in Gaza told the BBC nearly all the casualties he had seen overnight and on Monday had been civilians.

He said the hospital where he worked had converted ordinary rooms into intensive care units to cope with the number of wounded and that essential medical supplies were running out.

Way to go, Israel. That is so awesome of you. Nobody’s going to turn to terrorism or suicide bombing when you launch such a visionary peace initiative as this.

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December 30, 2008 at 2:03 am

Even more reasons to love Bjork

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And if you don’t already love Bjork, you need to shut the f$%k up and go listen to your Lady Gaga bull$#!t.

According to this article from the New York Times, Bjork is launching an Icelandic venture capital fund, with about $1 million already invested as seed capital. The fund will invest in promising new environmental technologies as a response to both climate change and the financial crisis which has more or less completely inhaled Iceland’s banking system and economy.

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December 24, 2008 at 11:52 am

Best Wall Street Image Ever

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December 22, 2008 at 4:59 pm

Sea Shepherd catch whalers in Australian Antarctic waters.

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Sea Shepherd have just reported their first encounter of the “season”, locating a Japanese harpoon boat inside Australian waters off Antarctica. Obviously, some people will take the notion of ‘Australian waters’ off Antarctica to task. The economic exclusion zones off Antarctica are recognized by a relatively small number of nations, but they are also well established and well known to Japan, whose whaling fleet has been deemed to have a legal case to answer in Australia for killing whales there previously.

Will Peter Garrett break into his holidays (which began in November 2007) to register his official concern with the Japanese government, or, more strongly still, will he ask them to order their government-sponsored whaling fleet to stop breaking Australian law? Or, even strongerer (!? yeah, sure) will he go with the plan that he announced when he was simply trying to win votes and send Australian naval vessels to intercept returning whaling vessels and board them for the purpose of documenting evidence of their illegal whaling activities.

Time will tell, but don’t hold your breath. At most, it’s likely that he will aim to deliver 5% of a rebuff by 2020, with the possibility of demanding 15% of an apology if whales can be heard dying from marginal electorates.

From Sea Shepherd

Captain Paul Watson
The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society ship Steve Irwin now has the entire Japanese whaling fleet on the run.

At 2345 G.M.T. the Steve Irwin intercepted the Japanese harpoon vessel Yusshin Maru #2 inside the Australian Antarctic Economic Exclusion Zone at 64°26 South and 132° 40’ East.

The encounter took place in dense fog and in dangerous ice conditions. The Steve Irwin launched a Delta boat with a crew to attack the Yusshin Maru #2 with rotten butter bombs. Unfortunately the wind increased to fifty knots with blizzard conditions. Captain Paul Watson called the small boat crew back for safety reasons when they were halfway to their target some three miles away.

The Yusshin Maru #2 then headed due North to lead the Steve Irwin away from the whaling fleet. The decoy did not work. The Steve Irwin is now in pursuit of the whaling fleet.

They have ceased whaling operations and they are now running from the Sea Shepherd crew.

The Yusshin Maru #2 was the same vessel that the Steve Irwin crew boarded in January 2007. This year the crew observed that the Yusshin Maru #2 has set up large netting to be run along the side of the ship to prevent boarding parties from going over the side. When the whalers realized that the Steve Irwin was onto them, they immediately ran on deck to deploy the netting.

“It looks like Whale Wars, season #2 is officially underway.” Said Captain Paul Watson. “We’ve got them on the run. They are not in the Ross Sea where they said they would be. They are in Australian waters. The Sea Shepherd Conservation Society is officially calling on Australian Environment Minister Peter Garrett and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith to order the Japanese fleet to comply with the orders of the Australian Federal Court and to cease and desist from killing to whales in Australian waters.”

Captain Paul Watson
Master – The Steve Irwin
Master – The Farley Mowat
Founder and President of the
Sea Shepherd Conservation Society.
http://www.Seashepherd.org

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December 20, 2008 at 6:37 pm

Wayne Swan spreads the green b.s. thickly

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Of course it’s not just Wayne. Kevin Rudd will have disciplined all of his ministers to sing from the same hymn sheet, and it’s a shame that Labor lacks the spine needed to produce, let alone tolerate, vocally dissenting backbenchers. They might listen to arguments made within the party, because the only other people they are listening to are utter knobs like Heather Ridout, Peter Hendy, and anybody with a mining company or aluminium smelter.

Mr Swan said the minimum 5 per cent target announced on Monday “struck the right balance”, adding that it would equate to a 34 per cent reduction in per capita emissions by 2020.

“If we were to achieve a 15 per cent reduction in that timeframe, that would be a 41 per cent reduction in per capita terms,” Mr Swan told ABC Radio on Tuesday.

So this is the T-r-e-a-s-u-r-e-r using m-a-t-h. Scarey, huh? The federal government is very happy with this particular set of numbers because it makes the absence of commitment somehow sound like firm action. But think about it – 5% equals a 34% reduction, yet 15% only equals a 41% reduction.

Somebody’s been taking lessons in logic from Julie Bishop.

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December 16, 2008 at 12:46 pm

Climate Doom is already here.

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Massive extinctions warned about by academics over the last decade seem set to start within the next. Updated science since the diplomatically framed IPCC reports of this year and last indicate that the planet has already begun processes that are almost too grand to halt, let alone reverse.

The escalating scale of human emissions could not have come at a worse time, as scientists have discovered that the Earth’s forests and oceans could be losing their ability to soak up carbon pollution. Most climate projections assume that about half of all carbon emissions are reabsorbed in these natural sinks.

Computer models predict that this effect will weaken as the world warms, and a string of recent studies suggests this is happening already.

The Southern Ocean’s ability to absorb carbon dioxide has weakened by about 15% a decade since 1981, while in the North Atlantic, scientists at the University of East Anglia also found a dramatic decline in the CO2 sink between the mid-1990s and mid-2000s.

A separate study published this year showed the ability of forests to soak up anthropogenic carbon dioxide – that caused by human activity – was weakening, because the changing length of the seasons alters the time when trees switch from being a sink of carbon to a source.

Soils could also be giving up their carbon stores: evidence emerged in 2005 that a vast expanse of western Siberia was undergoing an unprecedented thaw.

The region, the largest frozen peat bog in the world, had begun to melt for the first time since it formed 11,000 years ago. Scientists believe the bog could begin to release billions of tonnes of methane locked up in the soils, a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide. The World Meteorological Organisation recently reported the largest annual rise of methane levels in the atmosphere for a decade.

Which means you can take your 5% carbon reduction and your 2 degrees of manageable warming and stick them up your arse. We’re headed to a place that will make Children of Men look like comedy.

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December 16, 2008 at 2:15 am

Yet again, Australia sabotages climate negotiations

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It is now almost impossible to believe that the first official act of the Rudd Labor Government was to sign Kyoto. Barely a year after that act, now reduced to almost empty symbolism, Kevin Rudd and his climate change and environment ministers – Penny Wong and Peter Garrett – must own responsibility for a complete surrender on Australia’s  carbon reduction. Against all economic, scientific, and even best  political advice, Australia has announced a target of 5% carbon emission reductions by 2020, with the possibility of aiming for 15% reductions if other nations work harder.

aahh DeAnima, youve done it again.

aahh DeAnima, you've done it again.

With this 5% target, Australia has very deliberately given a gift to cloistered anti-action interests the world over. Up until 2007, the argument by opponents of climate action was that to move without commitments from China, India and America would be unproductive and disadvantageous. Now, forced into action globally, major corporations and lobby groups will certainly resist credible targets of 20% or more by pointing to Australia.

Professor Ross Garnaut has consistently described climate change as one of the most diabolical policy problems possible. Australia, however, even after clear warnings about disappearance of water sources, destruction of the Great Barrier Reef, and economic impacts on crops and ecosystems has just created a similarly diabolical problem for the world. We have not just waved a white flag on massive biodiversity loss and global suffering. We have ensured that those who think nothing of worsening the situation will be well-armed at post-Kyoto negotiations in Copenhagen next year.

The only reason to create the possibility of a 15% target barely makes any sense. It does mean that the Rudd Government can aim to come through the financial crisis and their first election as incumbents before doing something that will upset corporate lobbyists. Unfortunately, the world doesn’t have that long. The major climate talks ate the end of next year will certainly be distorted by this inept move. And to think that any developed economy will try to move toward a 25% target in order to get Australia to aim for far less than that is simply narcissistic.

Disgusted. And angry. And ashamed. The most energy-resource rich nation on Earth has just thrown the planet in the ‘too hard’ basket.

News of the announcement here. Rudd’s immediate comments here.

Amazingly, business groups are already complaining that the target is too high!!!

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Peter Anderson says reducing emissions by 5 per cent will be difficult for the business community when it is also dealing with a financial crisis.

“There are transition costs involved, there is a need for investment in technology and all of that involves costs, particularly at a time when the focus of the business community is on trying to get through the storm that we have around us,” he said.

These greedy sociopathic pigs don’t grasp the fact that chemistry and ecology don’t stop because their Christmas bonus is a bit light. To think, the Rudd Government has copped out on climate change to keep people like this happy is to wonder when democracy became the tool of the few rather than the servant of the many.

A real bloody disgrace.

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December 15, 2008 at 12:47 pm

Greenpeace screws donors and whales… again

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Just read the latest open letter to Americans from Capt. Paul Watson of Sea Shepherd. As the Shepherds head into the Southern Oceans to once again parry with the Japanese Whaling Fleet, guess who’s not helping.

From ,a href=”http://www.counterpunch.org/watson12122008.html”>this article:

But with all the talk about risks and dangers and all the talk of violence between whale defenders and whale killers, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are not talking about risk when it comes to the whales.

With the whales we are talking certainty of death. Unless we intervene, 935 Piked (Minke) and 50 Fin whales will die an agonizing death. We may not be able to save them all but we can save as many as we can with the resources we have available to us. If Greenpeace had agreed to work in cooperation with us, with two ships we could have the opportunity to shut down the killers 100%. But Greenpeace despite raising millions of dollars to send a ship down to the Southern Oceans has taken their cue from Peter Garrett and like Garrett they have reneged on their promises. Garrett gets to remain in office despite the disappointment of the voters who elected him to defend the whales and Greenpeace, well, Greenpeace gets to keep the money.

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December 15, 2008 at 2:57 am

Arundhati Roy defines Mumbai

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This is copied from The Guardian, Roy’s piece is entitled Mumbai was not our 9/11. It’s 5000 words of essential reading, so grab coffee/yerba/chai and strap in. All that follows is a powerful op ed from one of the world’s most valuable living writers.

Mumbai was not our 9/11

by Arundhati Roy

We’ve forfeited the rights to our own tragedies. As the carnage in Mumbai raged on, day after horrible day, our 24-hour news channels informed us that we were watching “India’s 9/11”. Like actors in a Bollywood rip-off of an old Hollywood film, we’re expected to play our parts and say our lines, even though we know it’s all been said and done before.

As tension in the region builds, US Senator John McCain has warned Pakistan that if it didn’t act fast to arrest the “Bad Guys” he had personal information that India would launch air strikes on “terrorist camps” in Pakistan and that Washington could do nothing because Mumbai was India’s 9/11.

But November isn’t September, 2008 isn’t 2001, Pakistan isn’t Afghanistan and India isn’t America. So perhaps we should reclaim our tragedy and pick through the debris with our own brains and our own broken hearts so that we can arrive at our own conclusions.

It’s odd how in the last week of November thousands of people in Kashmir supervised by thousands of Indian troops lined up to cast their vote, while the richest quarters of India’s richest city ended up looking like war-torn Kupwara – one of Kashmir’s most ravaged districts.

The Mumbai attacks are only the most recent of a spate of terrorist attacks on Indian towns and cities this year. Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Delhi, Guwahati, Jaipur and Malegaon have all seen serial bomb blasts in which hundreds of ordinary people have been killed and wounded. If the police are right about the people they have arrested as suspects, both Hindu and Muslim, all Indian nationals, it obviously indicates that something’s going very badly wrong in this country. Read the rest of this entry »

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December 13, 2008 at 12:08 pm

Jesse Jackson Jr named Governor of Illinois…

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…by an r_tarded Australian paper in the Murdoch Empire. Seems like somebody at the Melbourne Herald Sun can’t handle their cut and paste. Or maybe they just assumed that because Jesse Jackson Jr is the black guy in the photo, he MUST be the villain in the story. Like his father, JJ Jr. has taken the active step of getting ahead of the news cycle, holding a press conference to identify himself as Candidate 5, before major media could get all hot and sweaty about unconfirmed possibilities.

But the bad guy in the story is Major Douchebag, Illinois’ actual Governor, Governor Rod Blagojevich (pronounced STOO-PID-BAH-STID). With the power to nominate a successor to the recently vacated Senate seat held by P-E Barack Obama, Blagojevich made a massive fuss about how few people were prepared to pay more than $US500 000 for their own piece of the democratic dream.

Great bit of insight early on at The Washington Monthly, where a roundup of coverage trying to link Obama to the scandal because the dickhead at its centre happens to be occurring in the same state where he until recently lived, “Republicans can try to link him to the scandal. Have they succeeded? Are there actual substantive connections between Obama and the wrongdoing? Because if there aren’t, that’s the story: Republicans smearing Obama by falsely suggesting he is tied to the wrongdoing.”

Of course the best bit of the whole story – again, picked up by Ken Silverstein et al at Harpers and ignored by lame-ass Australian corporate copywriters – are the ultra-sweary transcripts of Blagojedick’s demands for bigger and bigger bribes, as reported in the Chicago coverage of the whole mess.

>> Blagojevich said that consultants (believed to be on the call at that time) are telling him that he has to “suck it up” for two years and do nothing and give this “motherfucker [the President-elect] his
senator. Fuck him. For nothing? Fuck him.”

the Chicago coverage also offers a lengthy but clarifying wrap of the story so far.

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December 12, 2008 at 3:00 am

Good Riddance: SMH Editor Alan Oakley Hands Over the Race-baiting Ignorance Flogging Boob-soaked Flesh Wand of Destiny.

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Alan Oakley

Former SMH Editor

STILL A TOTAL KNOB

Of course it’s not all good news. The Zionist douchebag did step down yesterday – whatever that means is yet to be clear – but has apparently been offered an important strategic position at Fairfax. That probably means he’ll be getting paid six figures to Photoshop well-oiled breasts on to dead Arabs and equally dead polar bears.

As always, the Herald’s own article about the departure of one of Fairfax’s own is a vapid piece of sh*t which quite literally functions as nothing more than a press release. How quality of the paper is it that today another executive, David Kirk, has been dumped, so they sent an intern round to his back fence to take this photo.

What a shame he wasn’t pissing on a tree or rolling drunk and morbid in his own vomit at the time. Still, they have at least managed to make him appear mildly depressed, even though he’s actually just busy sending a text message.

The Australian’s article about Oakley’s departure from the Simply Moaning Hairball at least makes clear why he felt it necessary to turn the paper into a piece of glamorous mindless populist piece of turd largely written at a fourth grade reading and analysis level. Seems his lateral elevation was all about Sunday papers – tits, car ads, and Michael Jackson stories, basically.

Anyway – good riddance. If the Herald hadn’t formerly been a very worthwhile newspaper, and if it wasn’t still holding a stable of very good writers and journalists, then there would be no reason for frustration with the wad of 90% trans-fats that it has become in the last two+ years under Oakley and the completely visionless board of Fairfax.

One might hope that Oakley’s departure will open the door for a dramatic improvement of the ailing newspaper culture at the Sydney Morning Herald and Farifax’s other outposts, but based on their sustained form there is little reason for that hope.

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December 5, 2008 at 1:34 pm