Cheeseburger Gothic

Dr Matthew Rimmer and The Trans Pacific Partnership

Posted February 4, 2014 into Politics by John Birmingham

I've been meaning to blog about this for a while now, but it's not really Blunty material, and the issues are dense and complicated. A lot of the criticism of the TPP is shrouded in anti-American stupidity, but some of the fiercest critics come from the US where the TPP is seen as a way of entrenching big business interests over those of Main St.

For me, the problem is solved by Dr Matthew Rimmer, who has kindly allowed me to reblog this piece from The Conversation.

A mercurial treaty: the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the United States

By Matthew Rimmer, Australian National University

According to the United States Trade Representative (USTR), Ron Kirk, the Trans-Pacific Partnership is “an ambitious, next-generation, Asia-Pacific trade agreement that reflects U.S. priorities and values”.

The negotiating partners for the treaty include a selection of countries from the Pacific Rim: Australia, New Zealand, Brunei Darussalam, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Chile and Peru. There has been much discussion about whether Canada, Mexico, and Japan will join the agreement. And USTR Ron Kirk has observed that the treaty has open architecture to accommodate new members.

Although the draft text remains largely secret, the outline indicates that the agreement is wide-ranging, covering some 20 areas, including competition, customs, e-commerce, intellectual property, investment, industrial relations, and trade.

According to the USTR, the treaty is intended to be a “living agreement” that can be updated to “address trade issues that emerge in the future as well as new issues that arise with the expansion of the agreement to include new countries.” The danger is it could instead be a mercurial treaty, which could be rapidly revised and updated by the parties.

Even within the United States, there are tensions between the Obama administration and the Congress over the Trans-Pacific Partnership - particularly in respect of the impact of the treaty upon open government, intellectual property, the digital economy, and public health. There has been a furore this week about the leak of the investment chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

<h2>Undermining open government</h2>

There has been widespread concern about the lack of transparency, due process, public participation, and good governance surrounding the Trans-Pacific Partnership in the United States.

A Democrat senator, Ron Wyden, has introduced a bill calling for all members of Congress, together with staff who have proper security clearance, to be given access to “documents, including classified materials, relating to negotiations for a trade agreement to which the United States may be a party and policies advanced by the Trade Representative in such negotiations.”

<figure><figure> </figure></figure>

His aim: “Put simply, this legislation would ensure that the representatives elected by the American people are afforded the same level of influence over our nation’s policies as the paid representatives of PhRMA, Halliburton and the Motion Picture Association.”

Meanwhile, a group of law professors have issued a statement to note concern and disappointment over the secrecy surrounding the IP chapter of the agreement. They’ve asked for increased participation for the sake for legitimacy and fairness, “­if the goal is to create balanced law that stands the test of modern democratic theories and practices of public transparency, accountability and input.”

The USTR has dismissed such allegations regarding the lack of transparency and public participation. But civil society groups have pressed their point, interrupting the Dallas talks with political theatre. The Yes Men infiltrated the Dallas meeting, and awarded Ron Kirk with a “Corporate Power Tool” in a fake ceremony:

<figre></figre>

<figure> </figure>

<h2>Copyright law, the digital economy and cloud computing</h2>

There’s also concern that the intellectual property chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership represents a similar threat to civil liberties, innovation, and the digital economy as those posed by bills such as Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA).

Republican Californian representative, Darrell Issa, has established a website called Keep the Web Open. He has posted a leaked version of a 2011 Intellectual Property Chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and called for public comment and criticism of the proposed text.

<figure><figure> </figure></figure>

But for his part, USTR Ron Kirk has maintained the agreement “reflects the incentives and stable framework that can nurture a healthy digital environment in the Asia-Pacific region.” He has argued that the treaty provides safe harbours for cloud computing. However, his purported “safeguards” in respect of copyright law and the digital environment remain somewhat hazy and vague.

Congressmen Issa and Wyden have instead called for the creation of a substantive Citizens' Digital Bill of Rights. The draft calls for an open internet; a free flow of knowledge; and the protection of civil liberties, free speech and privacy.

<h2>Patent law and access to essential medicines</h2>

There have also been concerns that the Trans-Pacific Partnership unduly favours brand-name pharmaceutical drug companies. Senior Democrat Congressman Henry Waxman - a co-author of the Hatch-Waxman Act - has spoken out over the impact of the patent provisions in the treaty on public health.

<figure><figure> </figure></figure>

Waxman has observed that the United States Congress negotiated safeguards for public health in trade agreements with the Republican Bush Administration and complained that the Democrat Obama Administration hasn’t included such measures in the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Waxman has noted that the agreement would mean poor countries would wait longer for access to generic drugs than patients in the United States and that it would allow large pharmaceutical companies to increase their profits in developing nations. He has suggested that the agreement needs to be rewritten to ensure “a reasonable mix of incentives for innovators that do not pose unnecessary barriers to poor patients seeking access to low cost generic medicines.”

But the USTR has taken a hard line on intellectual property and access to essential medicines. It is genuinely shocking that the Obama administration should adopt such a stance on global health. Perhaps the Democrats have forgotten the public backlash against presidential candidate Al Gore’s controversial stance on patent law and medicines in 1999.

<h2>Trade mark law and tobacco control</h2>

When, Australian Attorney-General Nicola Roxon visited Washington DC, extolling the virtues of the plain packaging of tobacco products, earlier this year, Waxman raised concerns about the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership on tobacco control measures.

Waxman stressed, “Australia, a Trans-Pacific Partnership partner, has similarly faced challenges in the World Trade Organization to its tobacco control initiative that will require more visible health warnings and so-called plain packaging on tobacco products.”

In light of recent trade challenges to U.S. and Australian tobacco control laws, Waxman emphasized, “In my view, it is essential to safeguard countries' sovereign authority to take the most appropriate and most feasible action to protect the health of their citizens.” He insisted that the Trans-Pacific Partnership must respect the principles and objectives of the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control.

Surprisingly, USTR Ron Kirk has equivocated on the issue of safeguards on tobacco control in the Trans-Pacific Partnership, as can be seen in this video:

<figure><figure> </figure></figure>

And there has been unease in Australia about whether the integrity of its plain packaging regime will be protected.

<h2>Investment</h2>

On the 13th June 2012, the investment chapter of the TPP was leaked to the US civil society group, Public Citizen. The investment chapter provides substantive legal protections for investors and investments of each partner in the other countries of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

The treaty establishes an “investor-state” dispute resolution settlement under which companies could seek compensation where there are breaches of their rights under the Trans-Pacific Partnership. There are particular concerns about how such a regime would apply to public health, labour, and the environment. Australia has refused to submit to such a regime in the Trans-Pacific Partnership thus far.

Investment clauses are widely used in disputes between companies and governments with previous spats over energy and against the Australian government over tobacco control.

With the leak of the investment chapter, the Obama administration stands accused of breaking its 2008 campaign promises on trade policy.

The leaked investment chapter has created a wider international controversy. The chapter appears to confirm fears that the treaty enhances corporate rights at the expense of public goods and services - such as the intellectual commons; affordable access to medicines and public health; and the protection of the environment.

Dr Matthew Rimmer is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow, working on Intellectual Property and Climate Change. He is an associate professor at the ANU College of Law, an associate director of the Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture (ACIPA), and a director of the Australian Digital Alliance. Dr Matthew Rimmer receives funding as an Australian Research Council Future Fellow working on "Intellectual Property and Climate Change: Inventing Clean Technologies" and a chief investigator in an Australian Research Council Discovery Project, “Promoting Plant Innovation in Australia”.

The Conversation

This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

16 Responses to ‘Dr Matthew Rimmer and The Trans Pacific Partnership ’

Blarkon mutters...

Posted February 4, 2014

It's fascinating to me that in an age where a lot of dodgy legislation can get past - where rights are rolled back, where spying on everyday conversations becomes legitimized, where wars are started on flimsy pretexts, and carcinogens are spilled into drinking water that it was the legislation blocking people profiting from IP theft that got people riled up enough to spam congress with phone calls and email.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted February 4, 2014

Thats as good a brief round up of examples of what should concern any citizen of Australia about what is in this treaty. The desire to conceal the document should send alarm bells ringing through out any democrcy that relies on an informed, particpating electorate.

I realise it is not the sort of sexy news that gets splashed across front pages, or provides exciting visuals and so don't get as much coverage as it should. I struggle to read these pieces and then struggle more with what to do about it.

Its as if the government doesn't think the population can be trusted with this information. I sometime think Bertolt Brecht said it best

"Some party hack decreed that the people
had lost the government's confidence
and could only regain it with redoubled effort.
If that is the case, would it not be be simpler,
If the government simply dissolved the people
And elected another?"

FormerlyKnownAsSimon asserts...

Posted February 5, 2014

Completely agree with your assessment Barnesm. It's one of those topics that seem a bit too big to affect you on an individual level and completely out of a comfort zone to do anything about. I also struggle with these type of things as well - that is what the boffins are probably counting on to get this through without much hassle.

Ashamed to say i haven't really thought about free trade agreements in the past and had to do some reading around benefits and detrimental effects and try to inform myself. I'm a bit skeptical that when $$ and big business is involved that they do this for the benefit of the overall good and have anything but their own interests at heart.

When you involve countries with such a wide variety of GDP and economic advancement it only leads you to assume companies in the more affluent countries will take advantage of cheap labour and then pour their product back into the other participating countries without any tariffs that previously applied. You can only assume that local industries will collapse trying to compete with this. Am i walking down the beaten path of an old prejudice here? Is it too simple? It's a bloody complicated subject.

And like you say - the biggest alarm bell is the secrecy around the deal. If it is being kept secret then that only means that one/some of the players in the game are going to get hurt once the ball is in play. Who is going to lose? We'll only find out once it is too late to complain about it.

"Hey, what are you guys doing?"

"nothing"

"Really, it looks like something"

"Nah it's nothing. Don't worry about it. You want to come and play? . . . . . . . . ."

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damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 4, 2014

After several attempts to "post nothing", giving up for now.

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Lobes asserts...

Posted February 5, 2014

I just came down to remark that their names are "Rimmer" and "Kirk" hehheh

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Rhino puts forth...

Posted February 5, 2014

All your bases belong to us.

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted February 5, 2014

Yeah but all your Bacon is belong to us...

mmmm

Rhino mutters...

Posted February 6, 2014

Oh, spare me. You couldn't handle our bacon.I once watched one of you visiting faux-englishmen try to lift a slice of our bacon once and his vegemite spine gave way. Poor bastard died, not from his severed spine, but because he could not withstand the AWSMNSS of making contact with real Murican meat. At least he gained some insight as to what it would be like to be a real man before he expired.

He should have stuck with his Canadian cousin's attempt at bacon ... which is what we call ham. Possesses the essence of bacon but won't overwhelm your once-removed English sensibilities.A simpler meat for a simpler people.

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 6, 2014

Mr. Rhino. Sir. Please don't gore me, but you obviously don't know your elbow from your hind quarters. I have conducted exhaustive sampling of all the smoked & cured porky products I could from All around the world. I have come to the conclusion that USAnians build the best rocket-ships, hottest centrefolds & biggest Action Heroes. However you can't make smallgoods to save yourselves. Your bacon is brittle, frail, feeble, flimsy, microtome-thin, excessively salty, the smoke flavour is from a can, not from smoke, the Pork is factory farmed and almost tasteless. In a truly free & open market your bacon afficionados would be filing for immigration the moment they got a look, let alone a taste, of any of our craftsmen made butchery products.

Your worship/ honour/ eminance I call Professor Boylan to the stand.

"State Your full name for the record please."

"Paul Danger Boylan."

"Your occupation please?"

"International Man of Mystery."

"Professor Boylan, I'd like to take you back to your most recent visit to Australia. Can you describe the bacon you were served there? The Hand-Cured by a traditional country family butcher, thick-sliced, BBQ'd over a real wood fire, bacon?

*Drools*

Say NO to the FTA and keep our Bacon ours!

damian puts forth...

Posted February 6, 2014

I always thought that the stuff the Americans call bacon was the bit that we cut off and throw to the crows - in other words, the rind. I did learn since that it actually comes from another part of the pig, though that does still sound like a cut of offal to me.

On a related note, there are still places near Brisbane where one can find bacon chops.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2014

In all honesty, Rhino, the bacon Bob refers to was fucking great. But it was cooked outside on a wood fired stove (by Bob himself) and I think that contributed to its excellence (the wood fired stove, not Bob's cooking efforts, which were prefunctory).

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted February 6, 2014

Bacon chops? Bacon chops to be had in Brisbane? And no one told me?

Lulu swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted February 6, 2014

NBlob: "I have conducted exhaustive sampling of all the smoked & cured porky products I could from All around the world"

I'd like to put in a word for the pork product experts of Central Europe, particularly Germany & Poland. Example: Black Forest ham ... *** drool**

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted February 6, 2014

Yes Lulu, those continentals do some fine porky products. If given the choice, I'd take an Iberian Ham (Jamon ) over Black Forrest, I think it is about the brining.

Some of the Fat southern German sausages are worlds best. IMHO.

But for the perspective of a true expert I'd defer to our Abe. Someone shine the banger-symbol searchlight on the low scudding clouds.

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Jarrod mumbles...

Posted February 10, 2014

I find the concern about the investor-state dispute clause somewhat baffling. I would have thought that most people would support a mechanism that prevents the government from taking your stuff without paying proper compensation. After all that is all that investor-state dispute clauses do.

Example, Argentina, French company invests billion in the argentine oil industry, Argentine government nationalises it without compensation. Does anyone really think that is OK.

The whole plain tobaccos thing is a sideshow. The argument being run is that the tobacco companies invested lots of money in thier brands in Australia, and plain tobacco legislation destroyed those brands without compensation. I think it is probably likely to fail. After all legal restrictions are perfectly acceptable to limit the sale of dangerous products and this is probably going to fall into that category.

Personally I were going to invest in some of the countries covered by the TPP I would want to know that if the government decided to take my stuff I had some way of getting compensation other than the domestic courts of that country.

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Respond to 'Dr Matthew Rimmer and The Trans Pacific Partnership '

Yes, I wrote the foreword to Corey Bernardi's book. What of it?

Posted January 12, 2014 into Politics by John Birmingham

18 Responses to ‘Yes, I wrote the foreword to Corey Bernardi's book. What of it?’

Jack puts forth...

Posted January 12, 2014

Good one and yes he is a Dick Head.

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Harry has opinions thus...

Posted January 12, 2014

I often wonder how many people actually ask themselves why they believe what they believe. You obviously have an opinion about Bernardi, but how did you come to that conclusion?

For a journalist, truth should be your exclusive aim in forming your beliefs. Are there not serious consequences when we develop false beliefs about reality? Blaise Pascal wrote the primary reason we struggle is the result of false beliefs.

Your article reminds me of the Bernie Madoff scandal where people placed excessive trust in what people tell us. Or as President Reagan said: Trust but verify. You provided neither

w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted January 12, 2014

I don't even think John Birmingham actually wrote the foreward!

But, Bernardi does seem a hard fellow to take seriously all the time. When he chose a Senate Estimates hearing to argue his defence of lingerie football, I figured he was one of those religious chaps who seems curiously preoccupied with all matters sexual.

Bernie has opinions thus...

Posted January 12, 2014

Big problem with your little rant Harry, Birmo is NOT a journo, now go and write that 100 times on the blackboard.

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted January 12, 2014

Yes Harry,

If only we had more of this analysis-

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_lu5_5Od7WY

Some traditions are worth retaining.

Halwes mutters...

Posted January 12, 2014

Define reality

Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted January 12, 2014

Halwes,

I believe Richard Feynman defined mass as that which, when you stump your toe, causes a signal, hence existence.

I define reality as that which gives me the Shits.

So much reality...

Anthony puts forth...

Posted January 12, 2014

rHarry,

I have actually met the Senator, in fact I spent several hours sitting opposite him at a dinner one night. I think JB has atually gone quite easy on him.

He's actually quite personable has has a certain sleazy charm. His beliefs are also extraordinarily weird. "Smoking is actually, on balance, good for you" or similar was one line I remember.

I do know when I got back to the hotel I was staying at I felt so grubby after listening to him I was compelled to shower.

Brian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted January 12, 2014

From what I've seen of the senator . . .yes. . .the cognitive dissonance is surprising. It's the concluding statements that snap you out of the trance. It goes a,b and c and ends up in another alphabet.

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted January 13, 2014

Harry I think in this case you mean truthiness should be your exclusive aim in forming your beliefs.

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Brian mutters...

Posted January 12, 2014


What of it ?
This is one of the most honest essays I've read in a while. It was a paid piece . . .and from that all the rest follows.
I have opined elsewhere that the senator has done a wonderful service for conservatives everywhere! He has, at once made the rest of us seem wonderful, reasonable and progressive paladins. Hell damnation . . .he's made Havock seem like a Chardonnay, cappuccino swilling, tree hugging love child of Bob Brown and . . .forgive me, my imagination failed.
I'm disappointed with the senator in that his Catholic education was incomplete. If only he had had a full Christian Brothers exposure . . .his statements may have been a bit better balanced.(sigh)

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damian has opinions thus...

Posted January 12, 2014

There are times in life when I find I simply have no patience for the Bernadis of the world and when the only response I imagine vaguely fitting is really quite extreme violence. But I see these as darker times and such imagination a sign of weakness, while the position of strength is the one able to entertain the richness of life's tapestry, to make one's argument cheerfully and consistently and to take confidence (but never smugness) from the correctness of one's perspective at least relatives to the likes of these. It doesn't help that bloke has the face he does, of course.

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Dino not to be confused with puts forth...

Posted January 12, 2014

What of it?!

Oh my man "What of it"?

You souless piece of detritus a seagull wouldn't look twice at!

That's what!

Couldn't you do an article for Mamma Mia, or one of those free journalistc magazines?

Why JB Why?

OMFG.

There's no hope for you now MR Journalist!

"Love for Sale"

Dino not to be confused with mutters...

Posted January 12, 2014

Well I went to a free journalistic magazine.

Do you know that Gaviscon have a 'DoubleStrength" Liquid now?

I don't know what Gaviscon is(It was in a girly magazine(not that sort you peverts)) but I am really glad I am a man and don't have to use the new double strength stuff!

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insomniac mumbles...

Posted January 13, 2014

I like it how they always use a pic of him with a crazed look in his eyes, frothing spittle at the mouth, munting away, but that's probably all they have to work with.

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted January 13, 2014

"They drove a dump truck full of money up to my house! I'm not made of stone" - Krusty the Clown

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Chaz puts forth...

Posted January 13, 2014

was very dissapointed SMH didn't allow any comments.

Sheenan came out swinging (no pun intended) for Bernardi, can't belive how many people belive the crap Bernardi comes out with (look at some of the comments).

This just goes to proves that education is wasted on some people

insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted January 13, 2014

Case in point as to education being wasted. CanDo thinks he can get up an hour later if daylight savings is introduced (5:45 AM instead of 4:45 AM), and he's for it. I don't know if that's better or worse than the DST opponent's ridiculous arguments.

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Respond to 'Yes, I wrote the foreword to Corey Bernardi's book. What of it?'

Wanking into the fax machine

Posted December 6, 2013 into Politics by John Birmingham

I have a confession to make. I used to read The Australian. A lot. But I don't do that anymore. I done been cured of my wicked ways. If I had to put a definitive terminator on the day I stopped reading The Oz, I guess I'd go for the moment they powered up the pay wall. Previous to that I'd drop in for research purposes, mostly for Blunty, a couple of times a week. But like an alcoholic, shuffling past the entrance to a bar, just to prove that he can, just to prove that he's a better man now, I sometimes… I sometimes… I... Oh God, Iread it because… because I wanted to.

The Managing Editor informs the newsroom

of the day's editorial line

Don't you judge me!

I only read it for the good articles, damn you, the ones by mega-George and Matt Price, may he rest in peace, and a couple of the cricket writers, and Amanda Meade's media column. But nothing else, that was it, honest. If I read a Greg Sheridan op-ed I only did so to critique it to within an inch of its life. Oh, and they had Doonesbury too. Matt died young, and mega-George left, Amanda left, so many of the best voices left that the screeching of the trolls seemed to be all that remained.

If I'm honest, I stopped reading for anything other than work purposes long before the pay wall. The vicious derp was too great. The inability of the paper's editors to separate reporting from opinion, indeed their daily efforts to frame their deranged opinions as though it was reporting, became too much. It's not just a question of bias. All media is biased. It was the way that the naturally conservative bias of The Australian sickened and twisted into a stunted, toxic homunculus of reportage and rage. It didnt matter in the end how much quality copy they might source from their overseas partners. The septic mess they served up domestically was just too rank and odourous to be borne.

That's why I enjoyed this blog by Ben Jenkins so much. It is every bit a vicious and unfair as any of the shrieking, crack-fueled machete attacks for which the paper has become known. Perhaps even more so. But it's also funnier, much funnier.

It's funnier because it's truthier.

I would run the whole thing here if I could, but that would be wrong. Hit up the link and read it in its full glory. But allow me to steal just a couple of my favorite pars. That's what we do now in journalism. We're all about the stealing:

Today, The Australian published the journalistic equivalent of a clenched fist being shaken at skateboard. You can read it here. It’s got no byline, which is fitting because you get the sense that this article was brought into being not by a single author but by several, who all stood in a circle and wanked into a fax machine. The editorial reads like something drunkenly written on a napkin up the back of the Walkleys while glaring across the room at Latika Bourke.

It’s petty, it’s indignant, it’s self-righteous and it’s angry. It’s also got a kind of haunting and beautiful fragility to it. Like an old man with his bathrobe tangled in a bush.

26 Responses to ‘Wanking into the fax machine’

HAVOCK21 ducks in to say...

Posted December 6, 2013

I best go an read, seeing as that after looking at my e/mails of a morning, the NEXT thing I do is power up the OZTRALIN I pay for it and have a peekaboo through the rather gifted and balanced reporting!

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Barnesm mutters...

Posted December 6, 2013

I wish that when I used to read the Australia I got that much enjoyment out of it as I did from reading Ben Jenkins take on the paper.

"Go cry into your accolades and circulation figures, pinkos!" magic.

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BigWillieStyle would have you know...

Posted December 6, 2013

"['The Australian' is] our nation’s answer to a question I’m reasonably sure no one asked"

Got to that bit and guffawed with such intensity that yesterday's breakfast was regurgitated through my nose.

OK, OK, I get it - the Murdochracy is on an anti-ABC thing at the moment. What they consistently fail to mention is what they want the ABC to look like. ABC presenters are paid too much! OK, how much should they be paid? The ABC is biased! Got any stats to back that up? The ABC Charter should be changed! How should the new charter look?

They're just howling at the moon. Toned Abs knows the public won't stand for the ABC being privatised...he and his Murdoch overlords are just trying to bully Aunty into toeing their line. Won't work, and he knows it. He has to pass the day somehow, I guess.

Lulu ducks in to say...

Posted December 6, 2013

BWS, I'm thinking it might be a case of that old "repeat a lie often enough & people will believe it" thing.

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Brian reckons...

Posted December 6, 2013

Interesting that this comes out as an anti ABC whispering campaign comes out.

Im still flossing my brain. I mean WTF, Auntie is unfairly denying Newscorp and Symes their fair share of on line audiences?

Im guessing that most of the right wing nuts were too stingy to follow the Deathstar behind its pay wall, and someone doesn't like them being exposed to the free to online pinkos.

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w from brisbane has opinions thus...

Posted December 6, 2013

To repeat JB's repetition
"It’s also got a kind of haunting and beautiful fragility to it. Like an old man with his bathrobe tangled in a bush."

"Like an old man..." That is the best simile I have read in quite some time.

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Jimbo reckons...

Posted December 6, 2013

I think I will be stealing "wanking into the fax machine"

Seems like a perfect description of IT consulting

Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted December 6, 2013

Hey! I've done some IT consulting and not one fax machine was, erm, soiled. There was this Exchange server once though . . .

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted December 6, 2013

As JB said, there is nothing wrong with a newpaper having a bias. We would have had a lot less publishing without a viewpoint wanting to be expressed.
I too used to read The Australian quite avidly. Like many, gave up a few years ago. It's persona changed from thoughtful, mature and concerned to bad-tempered, neurotic and spiteful.

But still, when The Australian, and particularly Paul Kelly, self-bastes that it is the uniquely unbiased vioice in the body politic, I do like to recall John Hewson's anecdote.

"By way of background, I recall when I became leader of the opposition that I visited most of the major newspaper editors to introduce myself and to outline policy intentions.

I most vividly remember an early meeting with Paul Kelly, then editor of The Australian. Kelly stated quite emphatically that The Oz had a specific policy agenda, and if I said the right things, consistent with that agenda, I would "get a run". If I erred, I could expect to get a drubbing."

Dr Mark Hayes reckons...

Posted December 6, 2013

The Blog Engine ripped out all my Hot Links in my Comment! Damn It! There were lots, and really useful ones too :(

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Dr Mark Hayes swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 6, 2013

I closely read Andrew Bolt's piece in The Courier-Mail for Wednesday, December 4, 2013, and, for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what he was on about. Maybe, my far more scholarly friend, Ethical Martini, has better ideas. What I'd like to see is some seriously reliable, robust, peer-reviewed, reputable journal published research into ABC bias (though Mr Bolt selectively mentions some fairly recent work on journalist's political leanings from the University of the Sunshine Coast which, when you actually read the original study, doesn't show the ABC is a writhing nest of greenies and lefties. The article itself is here if you can access it.) I'm looking for Mr Bolt's strong teleology (what do they really want the ABC to do?) ~ Aside from disappear, or get Off Line, or be severely restricted to one radio outlet, one TV outlet, like TV NZ, or be wholly privatized (Point 50 on the IPA's Wish List) (see also the last major par in my Ethical Martini comment). Does Mr Bolt want what's called False Balance i.e., every time The Science Show runs an item about some aspect of evolutionary science or anthropogenic global warming, or vaccination, in the interests of balance, they must also run an item of the same length on the same show or the next show featuring an intelligent design proponent or anthropogenic global warming sceptic or a vaccination critic? Should the ABC be legally required to apply its rigorous election reporting rules, applied once an election has been formally called, to all areas of its output ~ So much of this or that genre of music, based on album or iTunes track or artist sales, on JJJ, ABC Jazz, or Classic FM; What to do if you can't find a strong intelligent design proponent to "balance" your World Today story on new human evolution DNA research, or the intelligent design proponent is just awful radio or TV 'talent' (Believe me, trying to meet the ABC's election reporting guidelines when a party's playing mind games by hiding, only allowing one main spokesperson on the media and their phone never works, or the spokesperson has a serious sneech problem, is a First Class Pain!). All I'm really doing is trying to 'force' Mr Bolt, et.al., out to the practical and logical conclusions or ends (telos) of their arguments about the ABC. But then again, because they're actually post-modernist neo-liberal conservatives, they're as slippery with their arguments as the raging leftie post-modernists they supposedly loathe and argue have taken over the ABC. (Re-reading The Times Will Suit Them to get quickly back up to speed on post-modernist neo-liberal conservatism; Boucher & Sharpe almost nailed them. Almost...)

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted December 6, 2013

The problem with the public broadcaster is that it is chock full of people who believe in public broadcasting. For shame!
The sooner the public broadcaster is run and staffed by people who don't believe in public broadcasting, the better it will be for everyone!

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted December 6, 2013

Nicely put, eloquent and makes a subtle point without vindictive bile and hyperbole. Can't be Andrew Bolt

damian puts forth...

Posted December 7, 2013

Logical consequence of the "

damian puts forth...

Posted December 7, 2013

Logical consequence of the "everything is an opinion" brainfart. It is a remarkabe kind of relativism, so shamelessly self-serving and so apparently addicted to preventing knowledge.

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Barnesm reckons...

Posted December 6, 2013

The stuff about the ABC's "left wing bias" always makes me think about the Melbourne comedian Rod Quantock

"the ABC couldn't balance the right wing bias in this country's media if it were run by Marx and Lenin"

damian asserts...

Posted December 7, 2013

Yes, struck by the same thought often.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted December 6, 2013

Ah, those strange Straylians.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Frip mutters...

Posted December 6, 2013

Is still get the Weekend Australian delivered. It's cheaper than cat litter and has the ability to soak up even the runniest shit.

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Rob has opinions thus...

Posted December 6, 2013

I stopped reading the Oz and switched to the Brisbane times when they put up the paywall. I used to read the weekend one for the arts coverage. But I havent bought a paper for years (literally 4 years). But I havent paid for a subsciption for anything either online. But I do shop ebay. I reckon i should get a free sub to the washington post for that.

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Darth Greybeard is gonna tell you...

Posted December 6, 2013

Talking to older relatives and acquaintances who get all their news - and most of their opinions - from the Oz & Courier Mail is disturbing. I suspect that like Fox News, those papers actually make you less informed that someone who reads no paper at all. Those people (all old) seem to live in a different world to the rest of us. They literally never hear of the scandals and blunders and genuinely believe that Tones is doing a fantastic job. Scary. I told one he should check his pension eligibilty because of the changes to exemption rules coming up in 2015 (without any mention of politics). He just glared at me. Won't happen apparently, Tones wouldn't do that! I give up.

Barnesm is gonna tell you...

Posted December 6, 2013

"those papers actually make you less informed that someone who reads no paper at all" this may be a manifestation of the Dunning–Kruger effect.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted December 7, 2013

I came across the Dunning–Kruger a while back; it explains so many things.

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BigWillieStyle swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted December 6, 2013

They still have fax machines?

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Lulu mutters...

Posted December 6, 2013

From the blog, quoting The Australian: “Triple-J alumni have wrested cultural and editorial control”

I wonder if this is a dig at Steve Cannane? Maybe he was insufficiently obsequious to Judith Sloan or somebody on one of their appearances on The Drum.

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Apology and Appeasement

Posted November 25, 2013 into Politics by John Birmingham

Scored the cover of the Spectator this week. The fourth time I've written about the DSD/ASD spying imbroglio. It's gone on long enough to attract attention overseas, although I suspect China's unilateral declaration of a military air zone over the Senkaku/Diaoyu islands might steal some attention from the international crisis buffs this week.

Anyway, it kicks off thusly:

Who knew that when Tony Abbott promised to focus Australia’s attention away from Geneva and on to Jakarta he actually meant the satellite dishes and microwave antennae of the Australian Signals Directorate? Or that having praised the departing former PM Kevin Rudd for his apology to the Stolen Generation, that Abbott would so soon be digging his heels in, refusing to say sorry with a shell-backed obstinacy that would have done his mentor John Howard proud?

Whole bit is here.

16 Responses to ‘Apology and Appeasement’

JG mutters...

Posted November 25, 2013

Congrats, JB. Great essay. Respect.

JG.

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Lobes would have you know...

Posted November 25, 2013

I regularly read the UK Spectator and quite enjoy it. Taki, Charles Moore, Jeremy Clarke, Rod Liddle... all some of my favourite columnists. However the Australian Specatator totally confuses me. It really seems to be edited by total fuckwits with their heads completely up their arses.

Nevertheless I still occasionally read it and despite preparing my low expecatations theres always at least 20-30% arseholery within its pages. I can only assume the editor is either as big an ignorant fuckwit as he appears to be or hes merely a spineless motherfucker who just likes being assfucked by his agenda pushing overlords. A brand like the Spectator really can do better.

/rant

I did enjoy JBs short essay though. A pretty even tempered analysis of why spying occurs and what to do about it when the cats out of the bag.

Brother PorkChop mumbles...

Posted November 25, 2013

So Lobes, you don't like the local version? Is that what you're saying? Enjoyed the rant!!

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w from brisbane would have you know...

Posted November 25, 2013

The happiness of the recumbent cyclist is possibly due to their freedom from the very unpleasant genito-urinary symptoms that torment many upright cyclists.


w from brisbane mumbles...

Posted November 25, 2013

Oops. That was supposed to be on the Spartacast thread.

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Surtac swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 25, 2013

Nice piece, JB. Some sane analysis at last.

What's the betting on how long Toned Abs can hold out before 'assuming the position'?

HAVOCK21 puts forth...

Posted November 25, 2013

aND THATS WHY THEY SHOULD BE TAPPED AND FKN CAPPED, FKN MONEY LAUNDERING CROOKEED AS FKN RETARDS. aBBOT SHOULD CALL THE FAT PROICK OUT FOR A PUNCH ON!...AOR A RUN ON..EITHER WAY, THE NARROW MINED TOOL WILL LOOSE!...

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Halwes asserts...

Posted November 25, 2013

Good one John. Now you've got them all after you. Do you have no concept of " he who fights and runs away, lives to fight another day "?. To be honest you were probably on both countries' " enemy of the state" list anyway I suppose. Have you applied for a visa to enter Indonesia lately? Can I look after your car while you and Schappelle cosy up for a few years? The real crime, which both govts hope we never find out the truth about, is the genocide happening right now in West Papua.

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HAVOCK21 ducks in to say...

Posted November 25, 2013

fk'erm fk'em and double fk'em the small half witted fkn retards!.

Take back the 500 million in fkn aid, stop training their retarded fkn mil and sink the fkn boats the moment they cross the line. Its quite simply one more reason why we need to replace the F111's with the..as the pentagon suggests, B1 BONE fkn bombers and when required, remind Jakarta, they are money taking corrupt as fkn arseholse who we can bomb back pased their current status of fkn stone age if and whne we well fkn please!

FKRS..I'd do'em over from orbit any fkn day of the week and twice on fkn sundays just to make fkn sure the tool headed flag fkn burning arsehats dont fkn do it again!

As for an apology..WELL THEY CAN SURLY POSITIVELYY FKN GET FKN FKD!!! IN MY BOOK!. I'd send him a letter written in animal fkn blood saying BITE ME!

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HAVOCK21 asserts...

Posted November 25, 2013

OH...fkn interesting article as well! who was the coc- cwing retard at the helm at the time...botaa bot did the right thing..! fk'em, lettem eat fkn cake!

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Abe Frellman reckons...

Posted November 27, 2013

The IDR is coming under pressure this week and the Indo government tried to raise funds in USDs on Tuesday, but only raised about a quarter of what they wanted. Something tells me the attitude adjustment might not be too far away, particularly as the RI government is notorious for disliking the IMF's 'strings'.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted November 28, 2013

Apparently no one comments at the Spectator. Blunty has spoiled me.

Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted November 28, 2013

Paul, dear Paul,

Blunty is an illusion.

Like Aspartame.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted November 29, 2013

Damn you, Dino, for denying me a bright and comforting illusion.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted November 29, 2013

All illusions pass.

Well, with enough castor oil.

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Steve swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 28, 2013

Abbott should have told SBY to GFY.

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Spy scandal. What spy scandal?

Posted November 9, 2013 into Politics by John Birmingham

My bit in the Herald this morning.

I am shocked, shocked I tell you, to discover that our nefarious spy agencies have been spying on some guys. Some of these guys are likewise understandably and volubly shocked and outraged to discover they have been spied upon by our spies. The second most shocked and outraged of all, are all the guys who’ve been spying on our spies while our spies where spying on their guys. But the most shocked of everyone who has been shocked and appalled by all of these shenanigans is the delightfully naive Greens leader Christine Milne.

“We’re up to our neck in it!” she gasped last week, when learning, apparently for the first time that (1) spies were a thing, (2) we had a heap o’ them, and (3) they were spying on people!

(Next week, Senator Milne discovers that the army is not just a branch of the rural fire service. Pratfalls and hilarity, guaranteed.)

“They do what now? Omigod! Who gave them all those guns?”

Rest of it's here.

4 Responses to ‘Spy scandal. What spy scandal?’

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted November 9, 2013

A glance over the comments suggests that you managed to attract a matching pair of history trolls, knowing each others buttons and essentially having their own conversation.

John Birmingham has opinions thus...

Posted November 9, 2013

Awesome

damian puts forth...

Posted November 9, 2013

Seems that way

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Anthony mumbles...

Posted November 10, 2013

I did like the line over there...

Will the member for Lothlorien please resume her seat

Although I seem to remember Tolkein's elves as agressive buggers.

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Spy scandal? Pfft

Posted November 8, 2013 into Politics by John Birmingham

I wrote a column for the Herald yesterday (published tomorrow in News Review) about the collateral damage to Aust-Indonesia relations from the NSA fallout. For US burgers, your gubbermint is not the only one which has been poking around in other countries' unmentionables. Under the Echelon or Five Eyes arangement, Australia takes responsibility for collecting SIGINT throughout SE Asia on behalf of the NSA, GCHQ and so on.

Move along, Marty. Nothing to see here.

Every SE Asian government knows this, and puts up with it because until now there's been nothing they could do about it. Not technologically, and really not even politically. Everyone spies in ther own special way.

Meantime, I really liked this entry at the Lowy Institute's Interpreter blog, pondering six reasons why Jakarta might have decided to lose its shit over something about which it was perfectly well informed long ago.

I tend towards thinking the upcoming election over there might have something to do with it – and wouldn't it be a delicious irony to see Toned Abs undone by somebodyelse's dumb arse nationalist rhetoric in the mad scramble for votes? But even more compelling was the idea that the Indon FM, Marty Natalegawa, is just bringing a bit of old school softening up to the field in the first ten minutes of play.

That's such a simple explanation it seems to be what's left when you slash through all the speculation with Occam's Razor.

Natelagawa, who studied in Australia, has probably watched the odd State of Origin game. He knows the first 10 minutes of the match are known as the “softening up period” – a stanza of ferocious physicality in which each side tries to cow the opposition into a disadvantageous state of mind. Right now, there's a new government in Canberra, and neighbouring governments are likely to be keen to test its mettle. The odd diplomatic jab can give a better sense of what can be expected from a new government than years of polite cocktail discussions.

10 Responses to ‘Spy scandal? Pfft’

insomniac has opinions thus...

Posted November 8, 2013

isn't it already starting with Indo refusing to assist with a return of "illegals"

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Therbs mumbles...

Posted November 8, 2013

Great SOO analogy JB. Maybe our FM should be using the Brick With Eyes in the early biffo stages.

I liked the "Its not cricket" line he used. Obviously he knows we're now shite at cricket as well as negotiating stuff about brown people in boats. Death Stare Bishop will either be treated with the respect due her position or seen as some sort of crazy-eyed death stare woman who should be at home rustling up some gado gado for the wayang kulit festival.

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BigWillieStyle ducks in to say...

Posted November 8, 2013

Reading the Saturday SMH is something to which I look forward every week. I tend to wake up at about midday, then spend the afternoon going through every supplement (even Domain, FFS), while drinking several cups of coffee and eating breakfast, brunch, lunch and afternoon tea. I shall save my protein smoothie for your article.

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yankeedog puts forth...

Posted November 8, 2013

Every nation that can afford it spies on every other nation-even friends and allies. I rather thought everybody knew that by now.

Yeah, Canada. We're watching you. (and from behind the wall: "We're, like, watching you too, eh? Hosers.")

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted November 8, 2013

Everyone's watching Canada, YD. Just in case something happens.

Dino not to be confused with asserts...

Posted November 8, 2013

It was "The Last Wave" or "Black Rain" for foriegners...

damian has opinions thus...

Posted November 9, 2013

It's like the Simpson's episode with the Yakuza where Homer talks about the little guy who hasn't done anything yet, but when he does something you can bet it'll be really cool. We're watching Canada like that little guy.

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Dino not to be confused with would have you know...

Posted November 8, 2013

Didja ever read the book that came out around 1979?

"The Wave"

Aussie book. Can't remember the author?!

They made a film with Richard Chamberlain in it.

Seems to have disappeared.

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tqft asserts...

Posted November 9, 2013

I think the real issue isn't so much what has happened in the past but what will happen in the future.

Now the subject is out in the open and widely discussed it can't be ignored like "in the good old days".

Commercial negotiations.

Treaty talking (there was an article in the afr the other day about how some treaty the usa wants to get up is being stymied by countries wanting data sovereignty provisions which the treaty tries to breakdown).

Oh dear things might have to be done transparently and/or in public so that no embarassing leaks appear.

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Spanner puts forth...

Posted November 9, 2013

*sob* I read the comments over at the SMH. The partisan stupidity it burns.

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