11 June 2017

BON - PETER BONSALL-BOONE - AND THE AIDS CRISIS - IGNORED BY ACON AND THE MEDIA!

Many pieces of media have written eulogies and obituary items on the death of Peter Bonsall-Boone - Bon to all and sundry - talking about his activism and things he was involved in during his long activist life - he died on 19 MAY 2017 aged 78.

I have not yet come across one, not even the AIDS Council of New South Wales - ACON - who have mentioned Bon's involvement with Community Support Network and the AIDS crisis of the 1980s and 1990s.





Community Support Network circa 1990

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"Bon did something about AIDS today"

- Bon walked the dog, then cooked a meal for Stewart. Stewart can't do all the things he was strong enough to do before. Stewart has AIDS. Bon visits Stewart as a volunteer of the Community Support Network. CSN volunteers learn many skills at our FREE course which enable them to assist a person living with AIDS to live with dignity and choices in their life.
It doesn't take much to do something about AIDS: ring today to find out about one of our information sessions.



Bon was involved with the training of volunteers who did the training course allowing people to care for people living with, and dying from HIV/AIDS.

Over the years Bon not only looked after people who were very ill, but often those who had been abandoned by friends and family because they were gay/lesbian and or had AIDS.

These were terrible years and they exacted a heavy toll on those who were carers - and cared!!! - and left many traumatised and in a worn-out emotional state.

Bon, who did so much, and cared so much, was not immune to the ravages of these times and abused his health many times, leaving him susceptible to all sorts of health problems, which no doubt created problems for him as he aged.

09 June 2017

ALDI WILL LOSE SUPPORT IN AUSTRALIA BECAUSE OF ITS ANTI-UNION ACTIVITIES



Retail giant Aldi faces claims of wage theft and breaking the law

When Nichole McLaughlin asks her partner Paul Joyner what time he will be home from work, he often cannot answer.

With no finish time on his roster, Mr Joyner - a permanent part-time worker, not a casual - does not know what time he will leave work at Aldi's Stapylton distribution centre.

Paul Joyner said Aldi's work arrangements causes disruption to family life: "The school pick-up time would be the ...

Paul Joyner said Aldi's work arrangements causes disruption to family life: "The school pick-up time would be the hardest thing." Photo: Bradley Kanaris
 
The father-of-three also said he had worked for free for the retail giant to pay off "negative hours" accumulated because he was not given enough shifts to complete the hours he is contracted to work.
"I was at minus-78, and now I work extra to pay back those hours," Mr Joyner said. "And I don't get paid."
His claim is "categorically rejected" by Aldi, which said in a statement: "The enterprise agreement provides for an averaging arrangement of hours and employees receive payment for every hour worked."

Mr Joyner, who used to coach his son's soccer team, said the uncertainty caused disruption to his family life. He said it also made it difficult to make commitments such as taking his children to sporting events and leisure activities.

"The school pick-up time would be the hardest thing," Mr Joyner said. "We get it drummed into us 'You don't have a finish time'."

This lack of certainty created other worries for workers with children, he said. "Childcare's until 6 o'clock and then you start paying $2 every minute. So 10 minutes – there's 20 bucks. You do that a couple of times a week and it soon adds up."

Aldi is celebrating its one year anniversary this year. 
Aldi is celebrating its one year anniversary this year.
  Tim Gunstone, an organiser for the National Union of Workers, said Aldi's "peculiar employment arrangements" were stressful for workers.

"Workers are sent home early when it suits Aldi, but when the work is busier, or poorly planned by management, workers are told they have to stay at work until everything is finished," Mr Gunstone said.

"The lack of any finish time on rosters makes it impossible for workers to refuse the overtime they are being required to do."

Mr Gunstone said the NUW believed Aldi's employment practices were against the law because permanent part-time workers should be provided with the hours described in their employment contract in each pay period.
When a worker is required to work without pay to work off "negative hours" this is in effect wage theft.
Tim Gunstone, an organiser for the National Union of Workers.
"The second is that Aldi are requiring employees to work without payment when they are "paying off" the negative hours," he said. "The third is that permanent workers must be provided with a start and a finish time for their rostered shifts."

Mr Gunstone added: "When a worker is required to work without pay to work off "negative hours" this is in effect wage theft."

However, an Aldi spokeswoman said: "The suggestion that employees work unpaid overtime is categorically rejected."

She said workers received payment for their "contract hours" even if they do not work the required amount of time.

"They are then rostered to work additional hours above their contract in subsequent fortnights, to complete the hours for which they have already been paid," she said. "The Fair Work Commission has examined and approved this work arrangement as being lawful and suitable."

But the NUW is vowing to renew the fight and lodge a dispute with the Fair Work Commission if Mr Joyner's concerns cannot be resolved with Aldi.

"We would expect that such a dispute would be resolved by arbitration, and expect that a Commissioner would find that Paul was owed money for every hour he worked without payment while 'paying off negative hours'," Mr Gunstone said. "This could create a substantial underpayment affecting thousands of Aldi workers."

Associate Professor Angela Knox, from the University of Sydney Business School, questioned whether the arrangement was "good practice"
.
"There is a difference between a practice being legal and it being good, especially for workers," she said.

"This type of practice has been used in large chain hotels for over a decade but there are more 'checks and balances' in place, normally."

But Associate Professor Knox said caps were usually imposed to prevent workers accruing a debt as large as 78 hours.

She questioned whether Aldi's workers understood the ramifications of the provision, which created large "negative hours" balances.

"The specific details that would explain how the system operates are not outlined, hence managerial prerogative is maximised," she said.

​Aldi's spokeswoman said salaries were above market rates, while staff turnover was low: "Our working conditions are also considered to be some of the best in the industry, with independent employee satisfaction surveys returning consistently high scores."

​Mr Gunstone said he had spoken to more than 100 Aldi workers who had concerns about the company's practices but "they felt they had no choice but to accept it".

He said Aldi also tried to prevent its workers engaging with the union - a claim contested by the company.

"Aldi routinely place managers in lunchrooms when union organisers visit sites – for the explicit purpose of monitoring the unions engagements with workers," he said. "At Paul's workplace managers have repeatedly interrupted organiser conversations with employees."

Mr Joyner, who is a union delegate, said many of his colleagues shared his concerns about Aldi's work practices but feared the consequences of speaking out.

"They'd like to say stuff too but they're scared," he said.

With the impending arrival of retailers such as Amazon, Mr Gunstone said the conditions for warehouse workers were at risk.

"Aldi's work practices are one example of the ways in which these jobs are increasingly becoming insecure, and how many major retailers are increasingly involved in a race to the bottom when it comes to job security and casualisation," he said.

"Amazon – which is setting up in Australia – are known for their low wages and anti-union attitude."
Larissa Andelman, a barrister who practices in industrial law, said the Australian labour market had a very high level of casualisation, and the line between casual and permanent employment was often blurred.

"However the rise of 'zero hour' contracts in England has caused a significant financial hardship to those affected and there has been political and legal action to limit and cease these kind of arrangements," she said.

"It would be most unfortunate if these kind of arrangements were found lawful in Australia as they impact adversely on the most low paid and marginalised workers who are often young people and women."

08 June 2017

A '47 MILLION DEVELOPMENT' IS ABOUT TO FORCE TWO ELDERLY MEN OUT OF THEIR RETIREMENT VILLAGE. SIGN THE PETITION



  
7 JUNE 2017
A '$47 million development' is about to force two elderly men out of their retirement village. Sign the petition to keep Richard and Stephen in their community: 

Stop Richard and Stephen from becoming homeless!


Retirement Village Residents Association
ASQUITH NSW, Australia
                                              The Castle Mk II
This is a script that appears to be similar to The Castle movie. However at this moment, it is more of a tragedy than a comedy. Unfortunately there is nothing “that is going straight to the pool room,” in this tragedy.
It is taking place at the Parkview Village in Waitara, where the residents were informed in mid 2014 that the village would be demolished by the owner, Vasey Housing Association, and replaced by a $47m 12 story building containing 117 units. This was the start of a drive to get all residents to vacate the buildings. They were successful in that there are only two residents left, Richard Best and Stephen Baume. 
At a Tribunal on the 9 June, Mr David Elkins the CEO of Vasey, has engaged one of Australia’s largest law firms to terminate the lifetime resident contract and evict Richard and Stephen, who will then be homeless.
Richard and Stephen are the only two souls left in the village that housed 55 residents. There was a lot of pressure on the residents to leave, which included bullying by way of a threat. At a budget meeting in late 2015, the residents were informed that due to the closure of the village, there would be an increase of $500 per quarter in their charges for residents remaining in the village. The oldest person to leave was a 92 year old lady; a terrible age to be forced to leave her home, friends, doctors and other support systems she had relied on for years.
Richard and Stephen are in their seventies and have lived there for 7 and 10 years respectively. They had been told that they had lifelong leases and could stay there until they died!
Have they been too demanding in their negotiations, which have caused this impasse? All they are asking for is like accommodation, but it must be in close proximity to where they are staying. They chose this village because it was ideally suited for their needs. Richard grew up and lived in this area for most of his life. There are extensive medical facilities close at hand with a variety of specialist doctors in the fields of oncology, cardiology which are needed. They have been using these services for years and would not like to change any of this, at this stage of their lives.
They do not want to change homes but if they have to, it is essential that they do not change their local environment and support systems. Walking around this deserted village without knowing if or when this matter will be resolved is extremely stressful and is potentially damaging to the health of a senior citizen. The anxiety caused has manifested itself in changes to their normal sleep patterns.
Richard and Stephen have been engaged for almost a year in fighting their cause, mostly on their own. However, as a result of the Tribunal proceedings to evict them, the RVRA (Retirement Village Residents Association) has started this petition on their behalf. Peter Hill, Hill & Co Lawyers, the RVRA honorary solicitor has agreed to defend these disadvantaged residents in this case, on a pro bono basis.
This is a very worthy cause, which we hope you will support by voting for this petition. 
Your one vote could easily turn to three, if you share this with two friends. Please do so; it makes an enormous difference to how soon we will be able to present the petition to the CEO of the Vasey Housing Association.
Thank you for your support!
For more information, come to our website: RVRA- www.rvra.com.au

07 June 2017

THE IMPROBABLE RISE OF JEREMY CORBYN


The improbable rise of Jeremy Corbyn


In late 2015 I had just arrived in London on sabbatical and was staying in a scruffy part of the city's north – full of cultural diversity and social disadvantage. On the first morning, as I emerged from my basement flat in search of the Sunday papers, a woman came towards me brandishing a greeting card and pen.

"Would you like to sign?" she asked. Just up the road was the strangely incongruous sight of a group of photographers pointing lenses at a modest '60s maisonette. "It's a congratulatory card," she explained, "from his neighbours to Jeremy. He's won."

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn greeting supporters on the final week of the election campaign.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn greeting supporters on the final week of the election campaign. Photo: Getty Images
 
And then it dawned on me. I was lodging just along from the newly elected leader of the British Labour Party: Jeremy Corbyn. I signed the card, explaining I was only a temporary neighbour, but was overjoyed at his victory.

Corbyn's rise is a most improbable political story. A complete outsider more at home marching with the comrades than debating in the Commons, he fought against apartheid, welfare cuts, privatisation and successive Gulf wars. He was on the progressive side of every major vote in his long parliamentary career.

In this week's election Corbyn is pledging to create a million new jobs and to scrap zero-hours contracts. 

 In this week's election Corbyn is pledging to create a million new jobs and to scrap zero-hours contracts. Photo: Getty Images

 The grim technocrats who ran Labour for a generation despised him or, at best, saw him as a sort of harmless beatnik curio. In the era of spin, a man who bought his clothes from the co-op supermarket and spent weekends tending cabbages on his allotment was never going to be taken seriously as a politician.

He made it onto the ballot paper only because a few MPs with no intention of voting for him signed his nomination form. They wanted to broaden the debate, but Corbyn's candidature prompted thousands of supporters to join the party. Under a system where the votes of ordinary members carry considerable weight, he won by a large margin.


Corbyn took up the job as leader of the opposition with the support of only a handful of the MPs who sat behind him. Most were convinced he was unelectable: the complete opposite of the polished, poll-driven sound-bite savvy politicians they believed themselves to be. But these disgruntled parliamentarians sat on their hands for a year until a challenge could be mounted.

Then a second ballot produced another emphatic Corbyn victory despite the fact Labour MPs had lined up to deliver withering public denunciations of a sort that would have sent most of us under the doona, sobbing. He responded to these attacks with an almost saintly forbearance.

Corbyn's equanimity comes from a sense that his constituency is beyond Westminster; that it is possible to cut through the white noise of public life – and the bilious scorn of the tabloids – by speaking directly to working people in the old-fashioned language of redistribution and social democracy. When radical MP Tony Benn retired from parliament in 2001, he declared he now intended "to devote more time to politics". Corbyn too, sees politics as a vocation, not a career.
Like Bernie Sanders he has thrived on the campaign trail, delivering passionate stump speeches to adoring crowds, with plenty of spontaneity, warmth and popular engagement. Theresa May, by contrast, appears wooden, remote and scripted.

The media paint Corbyn as a hard left ideologue, but Labour's manifesto simply revives the Keynesian tax-and-spend politics of social democracy, an approach Tony Blair jettisoned in favour of neo-liberalism. There is nothing frightening or outrageous in promising more resources for public health, transport and education. The nearly 30-point opinion poll lead the Tories enjoyed early in the campaign has narrowed to just a few points in the lead up to polling day.

But to win the election Labour must court the sort of voters who preferred Trump to Clinton last year. Those from the rustbelt towns are suspicious of the inner urban cultural elite members, which are well represented among Corbyn's constituents in Islington. As Simon Kuper wrote in the Financial Times the poor and disenfranchised don't believe those who "talk equality while living privilege".

Although Corbyn has been described as looking more like a geography teacher than a leader of the working class, he nevertheless has the common touch. When asked whether he would move into Downing Street if he became Prime Minister, he said, "I did not become leader of the Labour party to get a new house. There are going to be pressures. Security issues, no doubt. But I like where I live.

My neighbours like me being there as well, most of the time." I can vouch for that.

George Morgan is associate professor in the Institute of Culture and Society and the School of Humanities and Communication Arts at Western Sydney University.

29 May 2017

WE KNOW WHAT INSPIRED THE MANCHESTER ATTACK, WE JUST WON'T ADMIT IT


We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It


In the wake of the massacre in Manchester, people rightly warn against blaming the entire Muslim community in Britain and the world. Certainly one of the aims of those who carry out such atrocities is to provoke the communal punishment of all Muslims, thereby alienating a portion of them who will then become open to recruitment by Isis and al-Qaeda clones.

This approach of not blaming Muslims in general but targeting “radicalisation” or simply “evil” may appear sensible and moderate, but in practice it makes the motivation of the killers in Manchester or the Bataclan theatre in Paris in 2015 appear vaguer and less identifiable than it really is. Such generalities have the unfortunate effect of preventing people pointing an accusing finger at the variant of Islam which certainly is responsible for preparing the soil for the beliefs and actions likely to have inspired the suicide bomber Salman Abedi.

The ultimate inspiration for such people is Wahhabism, the puritanical, fanatical and regressive type of Islam dominant in Saudi Arabia, whose ideology is close to that of al-Qaeda and Isis. This is an exclusive creed, intolerant of all who disagree with it such as secular liberals, members of other Muslim communities such as the Shia or women resisting their chattel-like status.

What has been termed Salafi jihadism, the core beliefs of Isis and al-Qaeda, developed out of Wahhabism, and has carried out its prejudices to what it sees as a logical and violent conclusion. Shia and Yazidis were not just heretics in the eyes of this movement, which was a sort of Islamic Khmer Rouge, but sub-humans who should be massacred or enslaved. Any woman who transgressed against repressive social mores should be savagely punished. Faith should be demonstrated by a public death of the believer, slaughtering the unbelievers, be they the 86 Shia children being evacuated by bus from their homes in Syria on 15 April or the butchery of young fans at a pop concert in Manchester on Monday night.

The real causes of “radicalisation” have long been known, but the government, the BBC and others seldom if ever refer to it because they do not want to offend the Saudis or be accused of anti-Islamic bias. It is much easier to say, piously but quite inaccurately, that Isis and al-Qaeda and their murderous foot soldiers “have nothing to do with Islam”. This has been the track record of US and UK governments since 9/11. They will look in any direction except Saudi Arabia when seeking the causes of terrorism. President Trump has been justly denounced and derided in the US for last Sunday accusing Iran and, in effect, the Shia community of responsibility for the wave of terrorism that has engulfed the region when it ultimately emanates from one small but immensely influential Sunni sect. One of the great cultural changes in the world over the last 50 years is the way in which Wahhabism, once an isolated splinter group, has become an increasingly dominant influence over mainstream Sunni Islam, thanks to Saudi financial support.

A further sign of the Salafi-jihadi impact is the choice of targets: the attacks on the Bataclan theatre in Paris in 2015, a gay night club in Florida in 2016 and the Manchester Arena this week have one thing in common. They were all frequented by young people enjoying entertainment and a lifestyle which made them an Isis or al-Qaeda target. But these are also events where the mixing of men and women or the very presence of gay people is denounced by puritan Wahhabis and Salafi jihadis alike. They both live in a cultural environment in which the demonisation of such people and activities is the norm, though their response may differ.

The culpability of Western governments for terrorist attacks on their own citizens is glaring but is seldom even referred to. Leaders want to have a political and commercial alliance with Saudi Arabia and the Gulf oil states. They have never held them to account for supporting a repressive and sectarian ideology which is likely to have inspired Salman Abedi. Details of his motivation may be lacking, but the target of his attack and the method of his death is classic al-Qaeda and Isis in its mode of operating.

The reason these two demonic organisations were able to survive and expand despite the billions – perhaps trillions – of dollars spent on “the war on terror” after 9/11 is that those responsible for stopping them deliberately missed the target and have gone on doing so. After 9/11, President Bush portrayed Iraq not Saudi Arabia as the enemy; in a re-run of history President Trump is ludicrously accusing Iran of being the source of most terrorism in the Middle East. This is the real 9/11 conspiracy, beloved of crackpots worldwide, but there is nothing secret about the deliberate blindness of British and American governments to the source of the beliefs that has inspired the massacres of which Manchester is only the latest – and certainly not the last – horrible example.
Patrick Cockburn is the author of  The Rise of Islamic State: ISIS and the New Sunni Revolution.

28 May 2017

ANTHONY FOSTER DIED ON 26 MAY 2017 - AND WE ARE ALL DEVASTATED!



Article by Chrissie Foster in the Australian on Friday 7 April 2017

RIGHT TO THE VERY END, THE CHURCH WASN’T LISTENING

Final royal commission hearings revealed the ugly truth of indifference to victims

It is difficult to stop crying.

A child sexual abuse expert from the U.S. Bruce Perry, simply picked a random example. He spoke via video link to the Royal Commission into institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse; he was one of 36 experts in the field who gave evidence last week at the final week of the hearing titled case study 57, Nature, Cause and Impact of Child Sexual Abuse. Perry’s example was of ‘a little five-year-old child and somebody is raping you’ and he talked of what it does to the young mind.

They were painful words to hear because that is what happened to our little five-year-old Emma and, not long after, to our six-year-old Katie. To hear what their infant minds had to deal with was crushing – a dreadful add-on to the vision of rape by the priest, which already haunts us.

It was like a knife to the heart.

The priest was Kevin O’Donnell, he was 66 years older than Emma, he was our parish priest, with access to the primary school and its 300 children where I, as a Catholic, sent our girls. He went to prison in 1995 for 14 months for sexually assaulting children (rape charges were dropped in a plea bargain). I believe that from 1958 until he was arrested, he sexually assaulted at least 100 children.

Memories haunted our girls. Emma took her life aged 26 after a traumatic teenage and young adult life filled with despair, self-harming and drug addiction. Katie began binge drinking and was hit by a car while drunk. She spent 12 months in hospital and now, 18 years later, still receives 24-hour care, as she always will. Childhood sexual abuse was the cause and self-destructive behaviour was the impact.

Four weeks before came Case Study 50, titled Catholic Church in Australia, a three-week hearing during which Australia’s archbishop gave disturbing testimony.

In his evidence, on three occasions Hobart Archbishop Julian Porteous said the reason they did not act to stop child sexual abuse was because “nobody understood the seriousness of the effects of sexual abuse on children”. This common, if absurd, excuse has been used by the hierarchy, both here and overseas, since 1994. In using it, they admit knowing about the crimes. And not stopping them. Crimes that attracted the death penalty until 1961.

Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge stated: “I have no right to go to a priest, who is not an employee of mine, and say, “Excuse me, are you in a sexual relationship?” What if that “sexual relationship” was with a child?

When, on a panel of five archbishops, one described the forced, often violent, rape of thousands of children as “misbehaving”, not one of them said a word. God almighty, what is wrong with these sanctimonious men of religion? What do they need to make them understand? Another $450 million royal commission?

I once handed my most precious treasure, my three children, to the Catholic Church for their primary school education and at that school was the pedophile O’Donnell. The archbishop of Melbourne, Frank Little, knew about O’Donnell’s crimes by then. Evidence before the royal commission has told us that in 1986, the year before Emma started school, Little received a letter from a nun informing him that O’Donnell had sexually assaulted a boy over several years.

We have lost count of how many victims have taken their lives.

Little did nothing – an act of criminal neglect.

This was not the only time Little put his priests before the safety of Catholic children. In 1978 a magistrate and a barrister approached him about a boy in their parish who had been sexually assaulted by priest Bill Baker. The archbishop yelled at the two men to leave his office. But he acted: days later he transferred Baker to another parish, where his crimes were not known. As adults, some of his victims went to police. Baker was jailed for a few of his crimes and then lived on a generous church pension.

Further royal commission evidence shows the Catholic hierarchy was told in 1958 that O’Donnell was raping children. They did nothing and he raped others freely for another 34 years until retiring with an honorary title from the church.

Can today’s archbishops be trusted with the safety and lives of your children?

We don’t have to look far for the answer.

Last year some parents in Melbourne tried to remove from their parish a priest after newspapers reported that the church had made a $75,000 payout to a victim of his sexual abuse. The royal commission has established that the maximum of $75,000 is only awarded in the very worst cases. Tellingly, the church sided with the priest, who
denied the abuse, against the parents. Eventually he was transferred. His new parishioners complained. He was moved again. His present location is unknown.

We have lost count of how many victims of priests have taken their lives. Of course, the crimes devastate parents and grandparents of victims, siblings, spouses and children of victims, and loving friends. Emma’s closest friend Lu, took her own life five months after Emma.

Where were the church hierarchy representatives at this final royal commission hearing? There was much they stood to learn about the damage their colleagues had done to the 4445 victims in their care. They might have better understood those blighted lives, perhaps even developed some empathy for them. But no. They stayed away. All of them.

They didn’t care then and they don’t care now.

My husband, Anthony, and I have attended 108 days of royal commission hearings and seen many other days of evidence via webcast. We are grateful to the royal commission for seeking truth and justice about these crimes. Without it, victims would still be fighting a losing battle against a powerful and once influential institution.

The royal commission will release its findings on December 15 but these will go nowhere unless politicians act on them. We hope they vote for the safety and protection of voiceless, innocent children and not cave in to the untrustworthy churches and their manipulative lawyers and lobbyists.

Implementing the recommendations will help make Australia the safest country in the world for children.

Who doesn’t want that?


Chrissie Foster is the author of Hell on the Way to Heaven with Paul Kennedy.


Anthony Foster died on Friday 26 May 2017 when he was taken off life support.

The following is probably the last tweet he made – a few weeks ago:

Anthony Foster @Anthony Foster_.Apr 6

“RIGHT TO THE VERY END, THE CHURCH WASN’T LISTENING” By Chrissie in today’s Australian tinyurl.com/zrqspx7#caRoyalComm @australian


It was almost prescient! But very tragic for everybody.


OBITUARY FOR ANTHONY FOSTER

17 May 2017

ABC - ABSOLUTE BLOODY CRAP!

The Australian Broadcasting Corporation under its new leadership is a disgrace and deserves censure in every way for so much rubbish it is producing on television and radio, so much so that it is difficult to know where to begin.

The easiest way of dealing with those matters of most concern to me is to number each item which is to be commented on.

1) ABC TV News has now become a stroboscope which for those of us who get affected by stroboscopic effects is disastrous to watch. Michelle Guthrie seems to think that jazzing everything up will bring in an audience of 15 to 50 year olds. I wish her luck.

2) Keys to Music - what has Graham Abbott done to deserve being given a graveyard shift for his programme, now having been moved from midday on Sundays - a marvellous time for such an interesting and informative and entertaining programme - to 7pm on Monday nights - in time for the infamous ABC TV news. How crass is that!!!

3) Don't get me started on ABC Classic FM - my name is Mannie De Saxe and I am no longer listening to ABC Classic FM!!!

We are told - now that Overnight has had presenters returned at midnight after ridiculously removing them to save sixpence! - that programmes are being presented by some of our favourite presenters! Yes??? try finding the names of presenters for overnight on any ABC Classic FM online site and see how lucky you don't get!

4) Listen to the numerous non-stop promos for ABC Classic FM programmes and try and hear what the person is saying over the accompanying music - or is it the person is trying to speak through the music and not the other way round. 

5) We keep being told about the ABC's left wing bias and all we get is right wing reactionary rubbish which has become unwatchable, and unlistenable to, and decide where the bias is coming from. 

6)Ms Michelle Guthrie, who will be paid $900,000 a year to steer the ABC as its first female managing director, received a traditional welcome by the conservative flank of the Liberal Party, with dumped minister Eric Abetz​ urging the new boss to "stop the lefty love-in". 

14 May 2017

NORWAY'S LARGEST TRADE UNION FEDERATION ENDORSES FULL BOYCOTT OF ISRAEL TO ADVANCE PALESTINIAN HUMAN RIGHTS



Norway’s largest trade union federation endorses full boycott of Israel to advance Palestinian human rights 

From Mondoweiss 12 May 2017



 
Members of BDS Norwary (BDS Norge) protest weapons sales to Israel in Oslo, 2016. (Photo: BDS Norway).

 
Today, the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO), representing close to one million workers, endorsed a full boycott of Israel to achieve Palestinian rights under international law. LO is the largest and most influential umbrella organization of labor unions in Norway.

Commenting on this significant BDS victory in Norway, Riya Hassan, the Europe Campaigns Coordinator with the Palestinian BDS National Committee, said:

The Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) salutes the Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) for endorsing a full “international economic, cultural and academic boycott of Israel” as a necessary means to achieve Palestinian fundamental rights, including the right of return for the refugees and equality for Palestinian citizens of Israel.

By courageously heeding the Palestinian BDS Call, issued by an absolute majority in Palestinian civil society in 2005, LO joins some of the world’s most important trade union federations, including South Africa’s COSATU, Brazil’s CUT, Quebec’s CSN and the IrishICTU, in calling for meaningful BDS pressure on the corporations and institutions that have enabled decades of Israeli occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid.

The BNC hopes to closely coordinate with Norwegian partners within LO, particularlyFagforbundet, to translate this new policy into effective measures of accountability at the academic, cultural and economic levels to uphold human rights and international law. We also call on LO to apply pressure on the Norwegian government to end all its military ties with Israel’s regime of oppression and to divest its sovereign fund from all companies that are complicit in Israel’s occupation and illegal settlement enterprise.


About Palestinian BDS National Committee
The Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) is the largest coalition in Palestinian civil society. It leads and supports the global Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. For more information, visit www.bdsmovement.net/BNC.

Other posts by Palestinian BDS National Committee.

- See more at: http://mondoweiss.net/2017/05/federation-endorses-palestinian/?utm_source=Mondoweiss+List&utm_campaign=780c8716ce-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_b86bace129-780c8716ce-316844969&mc_cid=780c8716ce&mc_eid=9cb4f973c1#sthash.hW9gBLOo.dpuf

12 May 2017

SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY - NO SANCTUARY FOR PALESTINIAN SCHOLARSHIP


No Sanctuary for Palestinian Scholarship



Edward Said mural. Lead Artists: Fayeq Oweis & Susan Greene
Battleground San Francisco State University

At a March 2017 conference of the National Association of Ethnic Studies held at San Francisco State University (SFSU), President Leslie Wong boasted about the University’s role as a sanctuary campus. He referenced  SFSU’s proud history of engaged  social justice scholarship going back to the 1968 Third World strike by students which established the first Ethnic Studies College  in the country.

To Terry Collins, an alumnus of SFSU who was a member of the Black Student Union that started the Third World strike, and is the current Board President of KPOO community radio, Wong’s words rang hollow.  “We fought for a radical vision of what ethnic studies should mean,” Collins told me.

  “Last spring students had to protest and even hunger strike just to keep Ethnic Studies alive after it was threatened with major cuts.  They won a few crumbs but so much more is needed.  And Palestinian faculty, students and programs have been under constant attack! Where’s the sanctuary for them at SF State?”

Collins, an adamant supporter of Palestine since the sixties, was referring to a series of incidents over the past year at SFSU that have targeted the General Union of Palestinian Students (GUPS) ,Professor Rabab Abdulhadi, and the Arab and Muslim Ethnicities and Diasporas (AMED) program which she founded.  Most recently, racist, Islamophobic posters were plastered  across campus on May 3rd and to date there has been no public denunciation of this hate speech by President Wong.

  While such attacks are not unique to SFSU, they have been escalating at a campus which has been a battleground for social justice struggles of many types, including Palestine, over decades.
In April 2016, the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, was invited to speak at SF State.  A coalition of SFSU student groups, led by GUPS, protested against his talk citing Barkat’s extreme policies of expulsion and violence against Palestinian residents, including home demolitions, evictions, lock downs and collective punishment of entire neighborhoods in East Jerusalem. The day after the peaceful protest, which succeeded in interrupting Barkat’s speech, President Wong ordered a full investigation of the protest, reportedly after a telephone conversation with Rabbi Marvin Hier of the Simon Wiesenthal Center who urged this course of action.  Hier referenced the successful prosecution of the Irvine 11, students who had interrupted the speech of Israeli ambassador Michael Oren in 2010 and were convicted of conspiracy to disrupt a public meeting in 2011.

Over the course of the next five months, GUPS members and other students, primarily women, were not only subject to an intensive, disruptive official investigation but were also targeted by death and rape threats, and a vicious online campaign by  Canary Mission seeking to derail their academic careers.  The University investigation exonerated the students on most of the charges in September 2016, but the students’ lives had been turned upside down.  None of the threats or harassment by pro-Zionist groups were ever addressed by the University.   In their statement responding to the report, GUPs pointed out the degree to which their education, lives and safety had been compromised in the name of protecting pro-Israel free speech. “Not only were we subjected to this hate monger [Barkat], but we were investigated for months and publicly smeared as violent and anti-Semitic.”

Shortly after the report exonerating the students was released, another front of assault was opened against Palestinian scholarship at SFSU.   An online petition was launched by the Middle East Forum (MEF), an Islamophobic, pro-Israel group led by Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz, calling on President Wong  to terminate a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU )with An-Najah University in Nablus in the Palestinian West Bank.  The MOU was established in 2014, initiated by Dr. Abdulhadi ,with the stated purpose of encouraging exchange and partnership between the two universities and with the AMED Studies program. The petition accused An-Najah of “incitement to violence, anti-Semitism and the glorification of terrorism.”  The vilification of An-Najah, which is consistently ranked as a leading academic institution in the Arab world, was accompanied by a specific attack on Dr. Abdulhadi who was condemned for initiating the MOU and for her “record as an anti-Israel activist.” Some of the examples given included her role as a founding member of the US Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel and her service as faculty advisor for GUPS.

The catalyst for this attack was a conference, Freedom Behind Bars, held at An-Najah in March 2016. This author attended the conference as part of the Prisoner, Labor and Academic Solidarity delegation to Palestine convened by Dr. Abulhadi.  To the delegation, the conference  was an exciting model of what international academic exchange between activist scholars should be.  To the MEF authors of the anti-An-Najah petition, the conference was a threatening example of the powerful potential of unfiltered exposure to Palestinian scholarship taking place in occupied Palestine.

Our delegation immediately issued an open letter in response to the petition, calling on President Wong  to uphold the importance and validity of the MOU with An-Najah, to reject the defamation of Dr. Abdulhadi and to expand institutional support for the AMED program.  Wong’s office issued a lukewarm response, endorsing all of the University’s exchange programs without specifically upholding the one with An-Najah.    As our open letter was rapidly gaining signatures by students and faculty at SFSU and around the country, an even more egregious act of hate speech occurred on the SFSU campus as well as at UC Berkeley and UCLA.

On the morning of October 14, 2016, students arrived at SFSU to find numerous posters with racist caricature portraits plastered all over campus, defaming Professor Abdulhadi  and Palestinian student leaders by name and labeling them “Jew Haters” and “terrorists.” The posters were signed by the Horowitz Freedom Center, a virulently anti-left and Islamophobic organization. Students immediately went across campus tearing the posters down while University administration did nothing for hours.  President Wong finally issued a statement calling the posters “bullying tactics” but did not even mention that the Horowitz Freedom Center was responsible for them or label them a hate crime.

In response to these posters, numerous articles, statements, and petitions were issued by a wide variety of media and organizations including Palestine Legal, Arab Resource and Organizing Center, UAW Local 2865, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network,  Jewish News and the Jewish Studies Department at SFSU.  They called on Wong to pursue an investigation of the posters as a hate crime and to defend GUPS, AMED, Dr. Abdulhadi and the Arab and Muslim community at SFSU. To date none of this has happened.

As Terry Collins points out, the incidents of the past year are just an intensification of long time problems  facing the AMED program and the Palestinian and Arab communities at SF State.  Dr. Abdulhadi was recruited to SFSU in 2007 from the University of Michigan, Dearborn.  Her recruitment was part of the implementation of the recommendations of a campus/community Task Force that was formed at SFSU in order to address a backlash against Palestinian and Arab students in the post 9-11 era.  According to Dr. Abdulhadi, she accepted the position at SFSU in order to create a program whose explicit purpose was the production of knowledge for social justice. Given the history of social justice engagement at SFSU, the large Arab and Palestinian population in the Bay Area, and the progressive political climate in the region, she believed that it would be an ideal place for her to develop this type of program.   In her recruitment contract she was promised two additional faculty positions for the program as well as administrative support.  However, none of these contractual obligations have ever been met.

A year after Dr. Abdulhadi was recruited in 2008, the Department of Jewish studies at SF State received a gift of $3.75 million from the Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund to create an endowed chair in Israel studies, which SF State boasted put it “at the forefront of an emerging new academic field.”  Since then Israel studies has continued to grow, while the AMED program has never expanded beyond Dr. Abdulhadi.  Recently Dr. Abdulhadi was told by President Wong that due to budget constraints, the only way that the two promised faculty positions could be added would be if the program itself could bring in large gifts or grants.

The problems confronting the AMED program have developed in the context of nationwide attacks on Palestinian scholarship including employment termination, disciplinary actions, suspension of student groups and cancellation of course sections.  As the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement has gathered momentum on college campuses across the U.S., the Israeli government and its allies have prioritized the targeting of all scholarship and activity that includes an anti-Zionist, anti-colonial, pro-Palestinian perspective.  Meanwhile, in the same period as online harassment and academic investigations were occurring at SFSU, students at An-Najah and other Palestinian universities have been subject to a mounting wave of raids and arrests. Since it is illegal for Palestinian students to organize protests on campuses, and campus political organizations are banned, there is a constant pretext for the Israeli military occupation to arrest students arbitrarily.  The increasing criminalization of speech and activism about Palestine on U.S. campuses represents a move in the same direction.

Yet despite the election of Trump, the acceleration of openly Islamophobic  policies, and the appointment of ultra-Zionist David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel , the colonial reality of Palestine is breaking through the American wall of denial in unprecedented ways.  On April 16, 2017 the New York Times published a searing op-ed by Marwan Barghouti, a Palestinian leader and political prisoner, indicting the Israeli colonial prison system and announcing a hunger strike by over 1,500 Palestinian prisoners which has continued into May.  A week later, Omar Barghouti,  a co-founder and leader of the BDS movement,  accepted the Gandhi Peace Award at Yale University after an international outcry pressured Israel to reverse a travel ban it had imposed on him.  And on April 27th, the Washington Post published an interview with Palestinian parliamentarian and former political prisoner Khalida Jarrar in which she explains her support for the prisoner hunger strike and highlights the particularly cruel conditions to which Palestinian women prisoners are subjected.
Not surprisingly at the same time, the backlash has been escalating at San Francisco State.  In the beginning of April, Cinnamon Stillwell, the West Coast representative of Campus Watch and a graduate of SF State, accelerated the call to revoke the MOU between An-Najah and SFSU by denouncing the inclusion of former prisoners in the U.S. delegation that participated in the An-Najah conference.  And Nir Barkat, intensified the pressure on President Wong when he canceled a speaking engagement  at SFSU  claiming that SFSU hadn’t  sufficiently publicized the event  and therefore was continuing its “marginalization and demonization of the Jewish state. “

On May 3, students once again found dozens of anti-Palestinian posters plastered around campus, vilifying Palestinian feminist leader Rasmea Odeh,  Students for Justice in Palestine and a Jewish Voice for Peace.  In an urgent message to Wong, GUPS responded clearly, ““Once again SFSU administration has failed to protect us and provide a safe work and study environment for students, faculty and staff.   Claims of being a sanctuary campus must be evidenced in deeds not in words. This applies equally to Muslims, Arabs and Palestinians as it applies to everybody else.”  Their email included numerous pictures of the racist posters before they were taken down.    In a Kafkaesque response, Wong responded the next day with an email claiming that he couldn’t do anything because the campus police “were unable to find any of the posters.”  He encouraged students to call the police and campus counseling if they felt unsafe.

2017 marks the tenth anniversary of the Edward Said mural which was created at SF State in a collaborative effort between students, artists and community members to honor this preeminent Palestinian scholar.  Like everything related to Palestine at SFSU, the mural has been the subject of ongoing bitter controversy, fanned by outside Zionist organizations.  The SFSU administration cites the mural as a symbol of its commitment to “healthy debate,” and “respectful solutions.”  To Terry Collins, the battle at SF State has never been about healthy debate or free speech.  “They’re trying to make an example of the students, GUPS, the AMED program because they’re standing up for Palestine’s freedom, just like the BSU stood up for Black freedom back in 1968,” Terry stresses. “It’s up to those of us in the community to have their backs!”
Diana Block is the author of a novel, Clandestine Occupations – An Imaginary History (PM Press, 2015) and a memoir, Arm the Spirit – A Woman’s Journey Underground and Back (AK Press, 2009).  She is an active member of the California Coalition for Women Prisoners  and the anti-prison coalition CURB. She is a member of the editorial collective of The Fire Inside newsletter and she writes periodically for various online journals.
 
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90 years old, political gay activist, hosting two web sites, one personal: http://www.red-jos.net one shared with my partner, 94-year-old Ken Lovett: http://www.josken.net and also this blog. The blog now has an alphabetical index: http://www.red-jos.net/alpha3.htm

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