RSPCA Accredited Free Range Pork IS NOT Free Range [#geekgirl]
To those of you that think buying RSPCA Accredited Free Range Pork means you’re not supporting intensive factory farms, think again. The Humane Choice website tells us that: “A video exposing the ‘indoor/outdoor combination’ conditions at an RSPCA accredited farm recently highlighted the fact the we need to clarify the differences in production systems and that the footage in this video is of bred free range (or indoor/outdoor combination) and is NOT free range.
The RSPCA Standard does not address free range production. They describe indoor, indoor/outdoor combination and outdoor. All systems allow very high stocking densities for the pigs with very limited outdoor area where applicable.”
No More Free Range Eggs in Queensland [#geekgirl]
[From Eco Voice] “The Queensland government has quietly brought about changes to state regulations that will now ensure the end of true free range egg production in Queensland. The recent change to regulations of free range eggs, lifting the number of hens allowed per hectare from 1,500 to 10,000.
The Queensland government has bowed to the pressure of the corporate giants and sold out Queensland family farms, the egg buying consumer and condemned hens to a life of factory farming misery.
Up until now, Queensland was applauded for their regulations that stipulated only 1,500 hens per hectare for free range farms. Queensland egg producers actually had an advantage over the other states that allowed higher stocking densities for free range hens. South Australia has just followed suit and developed a free range labelling system for producers, stocking hens at 1,500 or less per hectare. Given the public outrage over the industrialisation of free range egg production and the current position on this issue by the ACCC, we are appalled that the Queensland government has made this move.
The Queensland government has made a mockery of the Model Code of Practice and is effectively allowing the supermarket giants to act as regulators for the industry. There is no science and no social conscience behind the decision to destroy the Queensland free range egg industry.”
Tony Abbott’s Trust Scorecard = 0 [#geekgirl] [#nosurprise]
MOST GOVERNMENTS fail to keep some commitments. Soon after their elections to office in 2007 and 2008 respectively, Australia’s PM Kevin Rudd and US President Barack Obama were confronted with the global financial crisis. Many pledges had to be set aside.
In 2010, Australia’s PM Julia Gillard and her British counterpart David Cameron found themselves leading minority governments in hung parliaments. Both were obliged to shelve key undertakings.
The Abbott Government, however, has no excuse for the multiplicity of post-election u-turns, broken promises and hypocrisies. The list is rapidly becoming longer than for any Western government in memory.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) = Nationally Sanctioned Corporate Monopoly [#geekgirl]
As the above video outlines, the hyper-secret Free Trade Agreement being currently brokered by the Trans-Pacific Partnership has nothing to do with Free Trade and is, in actuality, the inverse of it. The 12 countries involved in the TPP (which include Australia, Brunei-Darussalam, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States, and Vietnam) are currently secretly negotiating to allow:
- Drug Companies to increase prices and extend the term of their patents (thereby increasing dramatically the time before generic versions of the patented pharmaceuticals can hit the market)
- Restrictions on buying local goods and services, with individual countries being denied the ability to implement systems that mandate support of locally based product(s)
- Making Genetically Modified Organism (GMO) labelling illegal
- Weakening of environmental regulations
- Severe restrictions on digital copying and electronic transfers, with significant interference with the basic functioning of the Internet
- Radical enforcement of a system that would make SOPA look weak by comparison
- Added secrecy to corporate and government alliances, including a deliberate lack of transparency regarding institutionalised information
- A substantial negative impact regarding the regulation of Financial Services
- The ruling out of Capital Controls
- Dampening of national law implementation in favour of Partnership rulings (as Yves Smith says: “The language in [the TPP Agreement]…goes something along the lines of ‘All signatories are required to make their laws and regulations conform to the standard of this agreement.’ They are literally required to make their nation-based laws subordinate to the laws of these agreements [with] liberalised capital flows and minimal restrictions…One of the things to extends…is the [idea of] special panels that companies can go to to get matters adjudicated if they believe that regulations have led them to lose profit. And it’s not even necessarily that they’ve currently lost profit, but it’s that they have potentially lost profit.“)
- The isolation of China
- Stigmatisation and removal of worker’s rights, labour agreements and employment protections/support (superannuation, pensions, retirement ages etc).
So if, like us, you’re preddy much shocked and appalled by the TPP and want to stop it dead in its tracks, watch the video below and take appropriate action.
!?!? [Or, Monsanto = Pure Evil] [#geekgirl]
[From an article published by Upriser here]: “Indiana farmer must pay Monsanto $84,000 for planting second-hand seeds from crops Monsanto hold patents on. That’s right. If you plant soybeans from a soybeans you bought at a grocery store, there’s a good chance you’ll be infringing one of Monsanto’s patents – just like the Indiana farmer did – because Monsanto has a patent on over 80% of all soybeans in existence.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday in favor of biotech giant Monsanto, ordering Indiana farmer Vernon Hugh Bowman, 76, to pay Monsanto more than $84,000 for patent infringement for using second generation Monsanto seeds purchased second hand—a ruling which will have broad implications for the ownership of ‘life’ and farmers’ rights in the future.
The sources of the seeds Bowman purchased were mixed and were not labeled. However, some were patented Monsanto seeds. Now this 75 year old man has to pay Monsanto a small fortune for just doing what farmers have been doing for thousands of years – planting seeds from last years crops.”
“What Greg Hunt *didn’t* say about the carbon price and emissions…” [#geekgirl]
[From Abc news]: “Greg Hunt says emissions went up under the carbon price from 560 to 637 million tonnes. Did they?”
[Turns out they didn't. In a separate article the Abc reports: "New federal Environment Minister Greg Hunt says that under the carbon price emissions have actually increased. And in an interview with Lateline last week he quoted figures to back up the claim.
"The strange thing about the carbon tax was that emissions went up, not down, from 560 to 637 million tonnes," Mr Hunt said.
A spokesman for the minister said the numbers came from a 2012 report by the Climate Change Department. That report does contain the 637 million tonnes figure, but not in the context Mr Hunt used in the Lateline interview. The report says that under Labor's carbon pricing scheme emissions are likely to be 637 million tonnes in 2020.
It's a projection that takes the carbon price into account and predicts where our emissions will be in seven years time with a market-based carbon pricing method in place. The same report also finds that without the carbon price, emissions would be 8 per cent higher in 2020.
Mr Hunt has used modelling predicting an outcome in seven years' time to say the carbon price as it stands today is not effective. The figures are projections, not fact, and cannot be used to make a point about emissions rising over the 15 months the carbon price has been on the books....The most recent official data on emissions from the Climate Change Department is for December 2012, which covers the first six months of the carbon price.
At the end of 2012, total annual carbon emissions stood at 552 million tonnes, around the same as at the end of 2011."]
Australian Companies to Get Protection from Activists
[From The Australian] ‘CONSERVATION groups seeking boycotts of products linked to alleged poor environmental practices may soon be liable for prosecution under consumer law.
The move, which could severely hamper market-based campaigns by groups such as Markets for Change and GetUp!, is to be pursued by the Abbott government.
Parliamentary secretary for agriculture Richard Colbeck told The Australian the move would prevent green groups from holding companies to ransom in their markets.
“We’ll be looking at the way some of the environmental groups work because we are very concerned about some of the activities they conduct in the markets,” Senator Colbeck said. “They have exemptions for secondary boycott activities under the Consumer and Competition Act. We are going to have a complete review of the act.
“And one of the things I’d be looking at would be to bring a level playing field back so that environment groups are required to comply with the same requirements as business and industry.”The move has strong backing within the Liberal and Nationals parties, as well as among sections of the ALP, concerned about groups targeting the customers of timber and agricultural products in campaigns against old-growth logging and live-animal exports.”
“Abbott refuses to explain public service chief sackings” [#geekgirl]
So Abbott starts sacking whomever he likes, with no reasons needed or offered. And if you thought WorkChoices was bad – imagine what he’s going to allow your boss to do to you now, eh?
[Via ABC News]: “Prime Minister Tony Abbott has refused to explain why he sacked three top bureaucrats, saying that he respects the “integrity” of the public service.
Yesterday, Mr Abbott announced that the secretaries of three departments had had their contracts terminated and that Treasury Secretary Martin Parkinson would step down next year.
The Labor Party has roundly criticised the sackings as “ruthless” and motivated by a political agenda.
But the Prime Minister has emphasised how much he respects the public service.
“I’m not going to get into the whys and wherefores of individual decisions,” he said.”
“Former Abu Ghraib Prisoners Ordered to Pay Contractor $14,000 After Losing Torture Suit” [#geekgirl]
[From Democracy Now] "A federal judge has ordered four Iraqis who were imprisoned at Abu Ghraib to pay nearly $14,000 in legal fees to the military contractor they unsuccessfully sued for their torture. In June, a federal judge dismissed a case brought by the former prisoners against CACI International which accused the company’s employees of directing their torture. One plaintiff said he was caged, beaten, threatened with dogs and given electric shocks. In dismissing the lawsuit, the judge did not directly address CACI’s role in the abuse, instead citing a recent Supreme Court decision restricting lawsuits against corporations for abuses on foreign soil. CACI then sued the former prisoners for legal fees, and a judge has ruled in the company’s favor. Lawyers for the Iraqis say they plan to appeal the lawsuit’s dismissal."
“Coalition policies will result in a significant redistribution of wealth upwards rather than downwards…” [#geekgirl]
[From an article by Nicholas Reece]
“Consider the following Coalition policies:
■ Lower the tax-free threshold from $18,200 to $6000. This will drag more than one million low-income earners back into the tax system. It will also increase the taxes for 6 million Australians earning less than $80,000.
■ Abolish the low-income superannuation contribution. This will reimpose a 15 per cent tax on superannuation contributions for people earning less than $37,000.
■ Abolish the proposed 15 per cent tax on income from superannuation above $100,000 a year. The combined effect of these two superannuation changes is that 16,000 high-income earners with superannuation savings in excess of $2 million will get a tax cut while 3.6 million workers earning less than $37,000 will pay more than $4 billion extra in tax on their super over the next four years.
■ Abolish the means test on the private health insurance rebate. This will deliver a $2.4 billion tax cut over three years for individuals earning more than $84,001 a year, or couples earning more than $168,001. People on lower incomes will receive no benefit.
■ Introduce a paid parental leave scheme that replaces a mother’s salary up to $150,000. To put it crudely, this means a low-income mum gets about $600 per week while a high-income mum gets close to $3000.
■ Abolish the means-tested Schoolkids Bonus that benefits 1.3 million families by providing up to $410 for each primary school child and up to $820 for each high school child.
These policies will result in low- and middle-income earners paying billions of dollars more in tax while those on higher incomes receive billions in tax cuts and new benefits. Rather than take from the rich and give to the poor, the Coalition policies are a case of take from the poor and give to the rich. And this remains the case even taking into account the flow-on effects of the abolition of the carbon price and the funding of the Coalition’s paid maternity leave through a tax on big companies.”