The Right and Polite Discourse


Political  discourse has always been robust in Australia.

We are proud of our free speech and ability to call an idiot politician a nong.

That “free Speech” has taken a right turn for the worse and now, in most countries in the world, what is happening in Australia would attract the attention of the security forces.  Although they all seem to be looking only at Left-Wing activities.

Not at the words appearing in print, on our TV’s and coming out of our radios.

Words which call for the death of, or physical harm to, our elected leaders.

In most countries, that is considered terrorism or incitement to terrorism. Somehow, it is all just good fun in Australia. Robust has taken on a new meaning.

Wendy Harmer has collected a list of ten insults and threats to our current Australian Prime Minister. Written like that they seem almost innocuous.

Here is another collection and this time the anger and hatred jumps out at you!

Can we please get back to calling our leaders “nongs”? It would be so much easier on our national blood pressure.

Journalists, Pollsters and the Focus Groups


Fill the pages with paragraphs, fill the screen with images.

Do it now and do it again tomorrow. Say and show the same thing if you must but do it with different words, do it with different pictures.

Create a story from Press Releases, create a scandal from whispered rumours. No time to reflect, no time to look for balance.

Just do your job and frenetically do it again tomorrow and tomorrow and the day after.

One sentence paragraphs decrease the number of words needed for a column. Use only the froth because the substance may bore.

Thank goodness for the polls every fortnight. Easy stories and a lot of interpretation which can be stretched out for a whole week.

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The Polls which are conducted by the true faceless men of our society. Using questions skewed to produce the answers which are needed. Using theoretical demographics but never a person. An individual.

Forcing individuals into predetermined paths when people are never that simple.

This is what you think because I asked a question. The question was carefully chosen so that others can turn what you want and think into the answer they want you to want and think.

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While in the hidden back rooms of the major political parties burnt out journalists and ambitious interns are focussing their thoughts not on the next election but on the next poll.

They have forgotten, or never knew, the long road between elections and have been infected with the virus of NOW!

The Other Party has a new policy which has gained a couple of polling points. It is successful so let’s copy it. NOW

So it doesn’t gel with the philosophy of our members. So what? We have to gain a couple points in the next poll. What do you mean? The good of the WHAT?

Look! A tree. And another tree. And yet another. So many trees.

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All the while the individuals who made up the Parties are voting with their feet.

Unable to see a difference between the two coalitions. Beginning to believe a poll has a genuine meaning and effect.

Forgetting, in the overflowing sewer-pipe of “News”, that there is only one true and effective poll.

Not being allowed the time to think of the forest between now and 2013.

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Whew, that’s another column finished. I wonder if the boss will let it through with all those very short paras. And the little pics. And I did cut out the bit about talented writers prostituting their talent. ABBA in the background doesn’t help. I had to take out “They are Rich Man’s whores” THREE times! I should be OK with the Lawyers.

Still all of that is done now. Off to the pub! Gotta listen out for what everyone else is writing tomorrow.

Oh wait! I’m not a journalist. I’m a blogger.

That’s right. I only have to write when I have something to say.

Read and Discuss


I found this snippet of a conversation somewhere on the intertoobz.It is an interesting take on Democracy as we know it in the West and on Human Government in general.

The country is largely led around, owned and manipulated by a surprisingly (in proportion) small group of people that sit at the top of the largest Corporations and have almost total immunity to anything beneath them.

They utilise tools such as Religion, the Two Party System and price control to manipulate the masses of humans that feed them and without which they would not survive.

Think predator-prey model, and they have a long way to go before they become threatened by lack of “food”.

Soylent Green *is* the people, it’s just that we aren’t invited to the meal…

Top 10 Internet Filter Lies in Australia


Lie #10: An ISP filter is the best option out there.

Calls to provide parents with tools to control their children’s access to the internet are well founded and practical. An optional, computer level filter would be far more efficient and cost effective without handing over unnecessary power to a government body. And this is the plan that Australians actually want. GetUp’s Galaxy phone poll found that 86% of Australians think that parents, not the Government or Internet Service Providers, should have the primary responsibility for protecting children online.

from an article by by Eliza Cussen on “The Punch”, an online discussion forum.

There are the ten big lies which our Government are telling us.Of course it will not help to simply cast your vote for the Conservatives. They would not dare to alienate the “Church Vote” by dropping the filter.

It will only filter “RC” content.” But watch how quickly a filter will quickly remove sites about “Bypassing the AU Internet Filter”.

Top 10 Internet Filter Lies in Australia


Lie #9: The filter would be impenetrable.

No matter how smart filtering technology may be, there is always someone smarter. The current model of filter has already been cracked. In fact, there’s a good chance your children can show you how. What’s more, organisations around the world are already developing ways to get around the filters of oppressive regimes. One that’s doing a particularly good job in helping Iranians get around their Government filter is Access Now (hyperlink:http://www.accessnow.org/), founded with the support of organisation’s like Avaaz.org, MoveOn and Australian organisation GetUp.org.au).

from an article by by Eliza Cussen on “The Punch”, an online discussion forum.

Top 10 Internet Filter Lies in Australia


Lie #8: If you’re anti mandatory filtering you’re pro child porn.

Conroy, through his argument in parliament and in the media, has constructed a universe where those who question mandatory filtering are, by extension, in support of child pornography. Surely he wouldn’t accuse people within his own party of being pro child porn. Would he?

from an article by by Eliza Cussen on “The Punch”, an online discussion forum.

Top 10 Internet Filter Lies in Australia


Lie #7: The filter will not make the internet more expensive.

The filter itself is pricey. The Government has set aside $44m for the scheme for four years. In 2004 a government report said “given the limited benefits of an ISP-level filtering system, the costs of a mandated requirement to filter do not appear justified.”  The same Government report estimated that a filter of this kind would cost $45m to establish (the equivalent to putting over 300 AFP officers on the online beat) and $33m each year there after. Because much of the burden of maintaining the filter may fall to ISPs it isn’t unfeasible to imagine the costs being passed on to consumers.

from an article by by Eliza Cussen on “The Punch”, an online discussion forum.

Top 10 Internet Filter Lies in Australia


Lie #6: The ISP filter is similar to ones in other Western democracies.

Senator Conroy made this claim and then later admitted that in fact no Western democracy has a mandatory ISP level filter designed like Australia’s. Surely we don’t want to join countries like Iran, China and Saudi Arabia with their harsh and ineffective censorship approach.

from an article by by Eliza Cussen on “The Punch”, an online discussion forum.

Top 10 Internet Filter Lies in Australia


Lie #5: This plan is no different to what is already done with books and films.

OK, so that’s a little bit true. But that’s the problem. We don’t use books and films to communicate one to one or store our family photos. A mandatory filter would give the government permission to scrutinise a space which is both public and private in a way current censorship laws could never allow. The mass concerns of the hundred thousand plus Australians who’ve taken action on this issue are beginning to be heard with the Government appearing to cave in on whether Government officials or classification board members review websites that find themselves on the list. But here’s the point – while with movies we can keep an eye on the classification board and what they are blocking, there’s no way to know which sites will be on the blacklist under the Government’s current proposal. Informing the public of which url’s are on the list may have its own problems. Clearly then, censoring the internet just can’t work (and we’re only half way through our list).

from an article by by Eliza Cussen on “The Punch”, an online discussion forum.

Top 10 Internet Filter Lies in Australia


Lie #4: The filter has been proven in Government trials.

Testing and scaling are two very different things when it comes to filtering mass amounts of content. On top of this Stephen Conroy’s test criteria appear to only have been formulated after the test began. With that kind of logic we should be glad Conroy isn’t designing the national curriculum.

from an article by by Eliza Cussen on “The Punch”, an online discussion forum.

Top 10 Internet Filter Lies in Australia


Lie #3: Conroy’s filter will stop your kids viewing harmful stuff online.

The filter is designed to block material which is defined Refused Classification by the classification review board. This means that the ISP filter won’t help you protect your child from viewing things that you might prefer they don’t see—- only parental control can do that. It’s a bit like hiring a really expensive babysitter who lets your six-year-old watch whatever they want. On the internet you simply can’t outsource parenting.

from an article by by Eliza Cussen on “The Punch”, an online discussion forum.

Top 10 Internet Filter Lies in Australia


Lie # 2: The filter won’t slow connection speeds.

The filter is not equipped to process large bandwidth sites such as YouTube or ABC iView. Google, owner of YouTube, has said that filtering such volume sites is not technologically possible, without an extremely serious impact on internet access speeds. Why? Imagine a tub of yoghurt. In this tub there are a few billion bacteria- almost all of which are good for you. But just one of those germs is believed to be salmonella. In order to get rid of the bad one but keep the billions of good ones, every single germ has to be checked for nastiness. And meanwhile you’re still waiting for your smoothie. No wonder this kind of a filtering won’t work.

from an article by by Eliza Cussen on “The Punch”, an online discussion forum.

Top 10 Internet Filter Lies in Australia


Australia will soon be subject to the same kind of internet filter as China, Iran and North Korea.

It is being done under the guise of “Protecting the Kiddies from Internet Porn.” Something parents should be doing, not a Government which has not been accredited as being “Kid Safe”.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be publishing a Government lie, most days, from an article by by Eliza Cussen on “The Punch”, an online discussion forum.

Lie 1;   The filter will help in the fight against child pornography.

I wish this were true. But it isn’t. Even child protection group, Save The Children, has come out exposing Conroy’s plan as unworkable and the wrong way to protect children online. The filter will not (and Stephen Conroy admits this) work for the areas where unwanted material actually lives, namely: peer-to-peer networking, instant messaging, torrents, direct emails and chat rooms.

A little local politics


Here in Western Australia we have just exercised our democratic right to vote on two issues.

carlesFirstly, who will be the representative for the electorate of Fremantle, Perth’s Port city.

The good news is that a Green’s candidate has got up and stolen the seat from the Labor Party who have held it for 85 years. Congratulations,  Adele Carles.

Secondly whether or not we, in the Western Third of the Continent, should have daylight Saving.

The bad news is that the Neanderthals in this state outnumber thinking people and we will now be three hours behind the action instead of just two. Thank you to everyone who is too lazy to change from sundials to more modern timekeeping devices. It would be easy to believe that we have been taken over by that other bastion of Luddite thought, Queensland, eh?

sundial

I Live In A Free Country


Or so my Government keeps saying.

A free and open society.

So why does one of the Amnesty International programmes, Irrepressible Info.com show the following map?

censormap

Just a small quote from the the information on Australian ISP Filters.

“For offensive content hosted outside of Australia, the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) itself determines whether content is prohibited and notifies a list of certified Web-filter manufacturers to include the prohibited sites in their filters. To obtain certification, these certified “Family Friendly Filters” must agree to keep lists of prohibited sites confidential.”

Yep, I am feeling freer by the minute! I am free from knowing what I am unable to see on the internet.

How does your country rate?

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