Write On: Letters to the editor

If Obama were genuine…

Top scientists and economists tell us that carbon trading (ETS — emissions trading schemes) proposals are dangerous, fraudulent ponzi schemes and that genuine, non-manipulatable, equitable carbon taxes are urgently required to help stop planet-threatening carbon burning.

Increasingly impacted by climate change, 16 million people die avoidably each year from deprivation (including 9.5 million infants), but estimates from Dr James Lovelock indicate that about 10 billion people will die this century due to unaddressed global warming.

Excess deaths (avoidable deaths) associated with the Bush (now Obama) wars and occupations between 1990 and 2009 now total 9-11 million.

Of course, if Obama were genuine he would insist on carbon taxes rather than ETS fraud; he would stop all wars, all occupations and the Iraqi genocide and Afghan genocide; and would insist that US-funded apartheid Israel cease the illegal, war criminal abuse of Occupied Palestinians in what the Catholic church describes as the Gaza concentration camp — but of course pro-Zionist, pro-war, pro-coal, Establishment-beholden Obama simply won't.

Dr Gideon PolyaMacleod, Victoria [Abridged.]

Criticism of Israel is not anti-Semitic

I have never downplayed or distorted the evil that happened to Jews and other people in the Second World War and I share the empathetic sentiments expressed by many people for the Jewish people's pain and torment.

However, many people blur the distinction between criticisms of Israel and that of Jews. The guilt people feel about past atrocities should not stop them from seeing and standing up for what is just and right in the present day.

While I am not anti-Jewish or anti-Semitic, I am intensely critical of Israel. I firmly believe that the establishment of the state of Israel has not only been a massive disaster for the Palestinian people, but for Jews as well.

I feel great distress when otherwise good and moral people make no condemnation of Israel's dispossession and displacement of the Palestinians, nor express any disapproval of the brutal occupation and oppression of the Palestinians.

People should not allow their rightful sympathy towards the Jewish people to close the eyes to the immoral actions of Israel. Indeed it is hypocritical to ignore and turned a blind eye to the suffering inflicted on another persecuted people because of the past misery of Jews.

Steven KatsinerisHurstbridge, Victoria [Abridged.]

Petrol price war

Australian Competition and Consumer Commission petrol commissioner Joe Dimasi states that the 40c-a-litre discount dockets offered by Coles and Safeway to motorists equals better competition and prices for motorists.

Mr Dimasi claims there is no evidence of anti-competitive behaviour or price-fixing behind the "price war".

There is significant evidence, however, that the domination of petrol markets by duopolies (oligopolies), such as Coles and Safeway, reduces competition in the marketplace by forcing independent operators out of business.

Independent operators are unable to cross-subsidise their margins or sustain temporary price reductions, especially when they are forced to pay artificially high wholesale prices for petrol.

History provides us with evidence of this, Mr Dimasi. ACCC commissioners may do well to recall that the father of classical economics, Adam Smith, believed that competitive markets only exist in the abstract world.

In the real world, the economy is driven by price-fixers: not competition! To paraphrase Adam Smith: "people of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to rise prices."

John GlazebrookVictorian Taxi Drivers AssociationEndeavour Hills, Victoria

Garrett is exactly what he once despised

Environment minister Peter Garrett has copped deserved criticism for approving a new uranium mine in South Australia.

As a musician with Midnight Oil, and as the former head of the Australian Conversation Council, he gave much of his life to campaigning against uranium mining, environmental destruction and war.

As an ALP minister he's clearly traded his principles for a parliamentary career and become the very kind of person he once despised. Boosting uranium, environmental vandalism and war are essential criteria of the job description for ALP federal cabinet members.

His hypocrisy is certainly staggering, but the problems with this uranium mine are even more astounding.

The government has approved the use of the in-situ leaching mining process – whereby sulphuric acid is simply pumped underground to extract uranium. The process is so damaging it is banned in many places around the world, including the US.

The company, owned by a billionaire military hardware dealer, is not even required to clean up the radioactive waste it leaves behind.

Radioactive leaks will almost certainly contaminate groundwater for thousands of years.

But for the government, the nuclear industry and now Garrett himself, none of this matters. For them, "nothing's as precious as a hole in the ground".

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