Cheeseburger Gothic

Journalism = Terrorism

Posted August 20, 2013 into Politics by John Birmingham

I missed the brouhaha in the UK over the hamfisted detention and interrogation of David Miranda, the partner of Guardian reporter, Glenn Greenwald who's made much of the running on the Edward Snowden story.

Long story short, the UK government used laws designed to trap and hold terror suspects at border crossings to put a bag on Miranda - not even a journalist, just the partner of a journalist - threatening him with jail if they didn't 'get their stuff back'.

This goonish rum-thugggery and the smashing of Guardian laptops and hard drives would be a dark satire on the modern surveillance state if it wasn't so serious. Most of the west, especially the anglosphere has introduced wide ranging anti-terror laws since 9/11 which have proven themselves to be very attractive legal instruments when faced with uncomfortable public debates about the limits of that same national security state.

The Guardian's editor has written a slightly uneven piece here, which provides a basic rundown. (You can skip the first three pars, they're irrelevant and kind of confusing). The conclusions are dark.

The state that is building such a formidable apparatus of surveillance will do its best to prevent journalists from reporting on it. Most journalists can see that. But I wonder how many have truly understood the absolute threat to journalism implicit in the idea of total surveillance, when or if it comes – and, increasingly, it looks like "when".

41 Responses to ‘Journalism = Terrorism’

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 20, 2013

Par 3, Line 2 "surveillance state if it so serious"

surveillance state if it Weren't so serious ?

Sorry, Pedants of the world & all that. Look forward to reading the linked story tonight.

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Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 20, 2013

If you want to keep something safe, you don't store it on a computer. I'm no computer expert but I understand that basic fact.

More to the point, maybe it would not be an entirely bad thing if Journalism had to step back from technology to rely upon typewriters and couriers.

Thing is, while I understand the function of the Fourth Estate, I think like many I've grown more than a bit disgusted with the sanctimonius, self righteous, "We are the Patron Saints of Democracy," attitude which is often expressed by some reporters, to include the one Journalism Instructor I had as an undergrad before I decided that was enough of that. As an historian, I find their role as writing the first draft of history to be nearly useless. Most historians regard any given newspaper article with a heavy dose of salt lick.

So I suppose I should be upset that something awful happened to this guy. That said, I can't help but think that the Editor of the Guardian brought it on himself. He pretty much said, in so many words, "Fuck you, I'm going to publish whatever I want in 'Murica where you can't touch me. BTW, our Ace Reporter lives in Brazil." I don't damn him for planning on that action or thinking on it.

I damn him for being a fucking idiot with the security forces and actually TELLING THEM what he was planning on doing.

Anyway, I have a hard time seeing these people as heroes, especially from a publication that takes advantage of the First Amendment to shit all over my home country on a regular basis. Maybe they need to tend to their own home first.

Caveat: Yes, yes, yes, concerned about the Super Surveillance State I am. However, it still takes human analysts to process all of that data and so much of it is basic, mindless kitten teh cute photos and bad memes on facebook. Static and distraction. If I were running the NSA, I wouldn't suck all of the data I could grab, I'd be a lot more surgical and targeted with my approach.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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monkeymind reckons...

Posted August 20, 2013

Doubleplusgood.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted August 20, 2013

Orwell warned us about everything that matters most.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted August 20, 2013

Make sense you lunatic.

Orwell Oh taught me nothing. It reinforced a prior learnt misery associated with being hungry after 8 PM on a Wednesday evening in nowheresville.

Orwell Cambrigdeshire? Even less than that. Since 1150 AD a series of glum parsons have drownded any spark out of anyone in the district at the St Andrew's font.

1,166 funless bastards in Orwell NY have even less to impart. You'd think being "Dry" would teach you some new perspective or something. Nope, just the same cold, rainy kind of nothing that you'll find anywhere in that area. One guy was pretty funny, but only in comparison to his fellow citizens and I think he had some kind of cognitive impairment, so every chuckle was laced with guilt.

Orwell Pa is best not discussed in polite company.

The laborers of Orwell Vermont seems to have sruck rich veins of boring when digging the historical fortifications. They piled up great mounds, berms, ha has and ramparts of boring, then hunkered down behind them.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted August 21, 2013

So many Orwells, so little time before the knock on the door in the night.

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Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted August 20, 2013

But Murph at its heart this story was about how an the anti-terrorism law was used to detain the partner of a journalist and inspect their private records. I am not sure I understand your arguement of "how the editor of the guardian brought it on himself" as I thought they detained the partner of a guardian columnist.

This was not about protecting anyone, or preventing a terrorist attack. It is hard to consider this as anything other than a vindicitve and punative act on the part of a government employee.

If the use of this power is shown to have been appropriate in this case then I can only beleive this is a bad law since it would mean anyone may be detained without reason.

"If you want to keep something safe, you don't store it on a computer" I would have thought given the massive processing power of a computer it would be easier to keep something safe on it rather than writing it down on a piece of paper or typing it out on a type writer documents which could be taken during his detention much more easily than accessing his harddrive. Surely modern technology improves our ability to protect our information with quantum encryption, public keys, cloud storage, veiled speech data and Palimpsest partitioning.

As you alluded to there is alot of data out there and even with the best software the NSA develops the competing desires to keep information confidential will also lead to developing tools to prevent their finding this information.

Murphy asserts...

Posted August 21, 2013

Barnes, they detained the reporter's partner for these reasons.

1. To show that you can go ahead and report outside of the UK. When you reenter the UK there will be sanction.

2. The man aided and abetted in the distribution of classified material. My country isn't exactly forgiving about such things either. Last time I checked, that was illegal. It was illegal prior to 9-11 as well.

I have to admit, and this is why I never pursued becoming a journalist myself, I do not understand this near mastrubatory, messanic glee with which your standard issue reporter goes after stories like this. They are the first to bitch and whine if there is an intelligence failure which leads to the killing of three thousand plus people. And intelligence failure brought on part in parcel due to a kneejerk reaction which crippled intelligence services in the post-Vietnam Era, particularly here in the United States. Then they are the first to bitch and moan that the intelligence services are too invasive.

Too hot, too cold, just right? Which of the three is it? And can anyone even agree on what just right is? Some nutters would have us disband the intelligence services completely while others would drive us off into the draconian state of 1984.

As per technology, and here I can speak with some authority due to my time in the Signal Corps, the most secure form of communication is one person walking right up to another and verbally telling them what they memorized, making them memorize it in turn. That is right below hand carrying messages by armed courier.

The moment you encode it and try to transmit it, rest assured that someone else will crack that code, eventually, if they are determined enough to do so.

I used to hear all the time in Korea about how our signal hopping radios couldn't be hacked by the enemy. Too sophisticated, the codes were too good, blah, blah, blah. It was a boring day at Sergeant's Time so I stuck my hand up and asked a question.

"What if an OPFOR team neutralized the crew of a SEN rig equipped with a Sincgars radio? What then?"

I would point out, given the rather pathetic performance of the Signal pukes I was stationed with in Korea, it would not have been a difficult task. Once you have a SEN rig that is already synced to the network with a radio, you can begin to tap into the comms of the entire division.

Anyway, anything can be hacked.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Barnesm would have you know...

Posted August 21, 2013

"The man aided and abetted in the distribution of classified material. My country isn't exactly forgiving about such things either. Last time I checked, that was illegal. It was illegal prior to 9-11 as well"

To be fair your country also enshrined the principle of innocent until proven guilty, a reluctance to allow search and seizure without probable cause and an distrust of federal government almost enshrined in your DNA.

I do not think that Mr Miranda (and its a bizarre case of nominative determinism that he was denied access to lawyer until the lat hour when he could be detained) was held because he met the provisions of schedule 7 of the UKs Terrorism Act, I think this was a case of a government demonstrating it could threaten you if you did something it didn't like.

If I understand your post you believe this is a reasonable action on the part of an employee acting on behalf of the government. I think this the crux of where we differ as I do not. The law should apply to both its citizens and the legal apparatus of government to act within those laws. I do not believe on this occasion the government acted within those provisions, and just as someone who breaks a law can expect a sanction, I hope that the government when it breaks the law should also expect a sanction.

But this difference in opinion between us is not a bad thing but the heart of a modern, pluralist society with a government of elected representatives. Its citizens debate, argue and then convince those who represent us to enact laws. yes i realise neither of us are citizens of the UK but I am sure the same arguements are being raised by UK citizens.

These powers that were used to detain Mr Miranda unless they are being used for the specified purpose of determining whether the detained person fills the definition of “terrorist” under section 40(1)(b) then the power to detain and question cannot be lawfully used.

And if that is not the purpose, then the power to search for property to assist in determining whether a person is a terrorist is not triggered, and this in turn means that the power to retain any property for evidence in criminal proceedings is also not triggered.

In other words, schedule 7 cannot be used as a fishing expedition for property.

I understand your frustration with what seems like flipflopping on the issue of security and I take your point about an individual passing the information directly being the most secure. Its just that you can not convey the level of information about our world that way any more. The DNA sequence for a modified H1N1 virus that caused such alarm recently, the climate modeling specification that formed the basis for the IPCC, the photos of conditions inside Apple factories in Asia, the evidence needed to prove NSA monitoring of international cable and satellite data all require a storage system better than that offered by shaving a slaves head, tattooing a map on it and then letting his hair grow out.

The problem for governments is the the same sort of people that are good at building these technologies include a many that favour 'lefty' attitudes of freedom of information, open access distrubuted networks. The same difficulties apply to both citizen, journalist and government the challange of course is that the government usually has more to hide. The question as citizens is how much should the government be allowed to hide from its citizens and who decides.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted August 21, 2013

The other aspect of this is a misunderstanding of the different prerogatives, privileges and responsibilities and constraints pertaining to individual citizens and the state. In liberal pluralist societies individuals are free to do whatsoever they chose unless specifically constrained by law, lawfully enacted. The state has no privileges or powers beyond those ceded to it by the citizens. The liberal democratic state cannot just stop you at the airport and fuck your shit up because they want to 'send a message'. (Altho the TSA tries hard, as I understand). The state cand do only what we allow it to do. And in the case of the Echelon network, bcause this is a bout a lot more than just the NSA, the signatory states to that arrangement have been operating well beyond the scope of the laws enacted to allow them to surveil potential terror threats and even further beyond the knowledge of the citizens who elected representatives to pass those laws, and whose taxes pay for the very agencies which have been surveiling and, in Miranda's case, harrassing them.

pi reckons...

Posted August 22, 2013

> 2. The man aided and abetted in the distribution of classified material.

Holding classified material is now terrorism? Wow. Just wow. By that reckoning, it wouldn't take too much to realise that every journalist, at some point or another, has engaged in a terrorist act.

Murphy is gonna tell you...

Posted August 22, 2013

Don't put words in my mouth. I stated that it is illegal.

John mentions that we the People give the State power. An old, noble political idea and one I spend a fair bit of time talking about in my classroom, especially pertaining to revolutions and the like.

Yeah . . . but is that reality these days? I ask that question because I don't think it is reality anymore. I think the State has grown beyond the means of ordinary citizens to get a grip on it. Like governing entities of past eras, they have grown too powerful, too vast, too wealthy and are controlled by a select few.

So, one could pontificate on a valid idea and wish that the world operated that way or one could realize that the landscape has changed.

The Editor at The Guardian thinks the rules haven't changed. I called him an idiot because they most certainly have changed.

Don't believe me?

See if anyone is really talking about this in two years. See if there is some mass movement, protests, riots or even a revolution which sweeps all of this away. See if anything, really, at the end of the day, changes.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the Revolution is at hand and perhaps it will be televised even.

But I doubt it.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Murphy mutters...

Posted August 22, 2013

Don't put words in my mouth. I stated that it is illegal.

John mentions that we the People give the State power. An old, noble political idea and one I spend a fair bit of time talking about in my classroom, especially pertaining to revolutions and the like.

Yeah . . . but is that reality these days? I ask that question because I don't think it is reality anymore. I think the State has grown beyond the means of ordinary citizens to get a grip on it. Like governing entities of past eras, they have grown too powerful, too vast, too wealthy and are controlled by a select few.

So, one could pontificate on a valid idea and wish that the world operated that way or one could realize that the landscape has changed.

The Editor at The Guardian thinks the rules haven't changed. I called him an idiot because they most certainly have changed.

Don't believe me?

See if anyone is really talking about this in two years. See if there is some mass movement, protests, riots or even a revolution which sweeps all of this away. See if anything, really, at the end of the day, changes.

Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe the Revolution is at hand and perhaps it will be televised even.

But I doubt it.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

pi is gonna tell you...

Posted August 22, 2013

> Don't put words in my mouth. I stated that it is illegal.

I'm not putting words in your mouth. That statement, right there, is the issue.

'it' MIGHT be illegal. But until someone actually gets CHARGED with something, what it is, is someone saying something, and nothing more. Even stating that it is illegal, without proving it, is slander. Writing it down is libel.

Ya see, that's what courts are for. That's what judges are for. That's what the law is for. That's what probable cause is for. Without probable cause, you don't get to just blanket say "that's illegal, I can do what I want.". You have to have a premise of an illegal act (as in, specifically), apply the statutes of the law to determine whether there is 'probable cause' that would necessitate the need to investigate that act, and THEN you have the right, under the law, to detain a person in connection with the that act that they've been accused of, and that was the subject of the probable cause. If you've done all of that, and find other things that they're guilty of, after you've satisfied all of these prior requirements, bonza.

But 'the act' that Monsieur Miranda was accused of was 'terrorism'. Not theft. Not owning stolen property. He wasn't even technically on UK soil, and so what constitutes 'ownership' would even be in question.

No words in the mouth there Murph. The detainment was flat-out illegal, and of a far worse nature than anything that he was actually guilty of, because he's certainly never going to be convicted of 'terrorism'.

Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted August 22, 2013

Is the document classified?

Yes.

Did the asshole knowingly take classified information and aid and abet in the distribution of said information?

Yes.

If a court finds thus, then he broke the fucking law and he ought to be lining the inside of a jailcell.

If I distributed the code book for any given day when I was in the Army to the local media rest assured my chain of command would toss me in jail and I'd be courts martialed.

The guy knew the risks. He took his chances and now he's been caught.

Frankly, I say prosecute him for what he is. A criminal.

Not, let me be clear, a terrorist.

pi at large has opinions thus...

Posted August 23, 2013
> If a court finds thus,

Did a court find thus?

No.

Barnesm asserts...

Posted August 23, 2013

The major arguements being enunciated in this discusion seem to have been captured in Quinn Norton's piece 'Bradley (sic) Manning and the two Americas' over at Medium.

An excerpt

To one side, Manning’s release of classified material into the public purview is a declaration of the people’s right to know, and an angry comment on how the world is run behind closed doors. To the other, it represents a force threatening to undermine the system that holds America together.

If you see America as a place within borders, a bureaucratic and imperial government that acts on behalf of its 350 million people, if you see America as its edifices, its mandarins, the careful and massive institutions that have built our cities and vast physical culture, the harsh treatment of Manning for defying that institution makes sense, even if it was, at times, brutal.

But if you see America as an idea, and a revolutionary one in its day, that not only could a person decide her fate but that the body of people could act together as a great leader might lead?—?and that this is a better way to be?—?Manning didn’t betray that America.

The second America doesn’t have that name anymore. It morphed and grew just as the first, promulgated for a moment from the east side of the mid-North American continent, but going on to become a sense of democracy, the rights of man. It merged with the other spirits born of the Enlightenment and became the force behind science, technology, free speech, and populist will.

Then the ideas of self-determination and the freedom to know blossomed as they never had before in the dying days of the 20th century. The second America became a strange and amorphous transnational creature. It became networked.

an interesting read.

Also I realise that she should be addressed as Chelsea Manning but sine that was the title of the peice I left it unchanged.

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DiddyWrote reckons...

Posted August 20, 2013

It's rather telling isn't it, that with under three weeks till polling day, neither the LNP or Labor have any interest in discussing if it is in Australia's best interest to allow the United States to eavesdrop on just about everybody in the country.

That Telstra has signed a secret agreement with the US State department agreeing that it will break any existing or future Australian privacy laws that run counter to US needs to access information about it's Australian customers is outrageous.

US law supersedes Australian law. Discuss.

pi asserts...

Posted August 22, 2013

It is only since this whole thing has broken that I have installed TrueCrypt and am using it now for file-storage. I turfed microsoft about a year ago for linux, and am now

This is not that idle a concern. I actually work on a site identified as a terrorist target, and I've worked on some of the largest construction projects in the world. The things I talk about, and the things I know, in the wrong hands, would actually be quite dangerous.

The question is... are these people doing anything that would lead you to believe that you should be blindly trusting them? The capacity for blackmail with someone knowing everything you've ever conversed about is scary.

It's a long long process to start plugging these gaps, but I started a year ago, and I'll continue to plug them until there aren't any more. And I'll be teaching my kids how to do this as well.

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted August 20, 2013

Perhaps this is a response to Blunty but disinterest in the election may be the result of the priority given to discussion of refugee politics over anythng that would involve any form of detailed analysis.

We exist on the internet which by it's nature is borderless. Even the Guardian editor arrogantly points out he will undertake reporting in whatever juristriction gives them the maximum freedom. Why would we expect corporations and governments to do any different?

Unfortunately what we need is start working on global harmonisation of privacy and IP laws(now there's a mammoth task.)

pi has opinions thus...

Posted August 22, 2013

I'm not going to wait for that harmonization. I'll use tools that don't require trusting people that have proven themselves not worthy of trust.

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MickH mumbles...

Posted August 20, 2013

off topic I know but my fav question asked to Bolt via twitter:

"How does it feel to be a nut and a bolt at the same time?"

ROFLMAO! I laughed till I snorted

insomniac reckons...

Posted August 21, 2013

the best in my opinion was the one asking if he had ever thought about being a journalist

SZF ducks in to say...

Posted August 21, 2013

Personally, I liked "Do you agree that Abdul Alhazred's 'Necronomicon' is the most dangerous book ever written?"

Lulu asserts...

Posted August 21, 2013

I liked the random nonsensical ones - "Why do birds suddenly appear?" etc

Surtac mumbles...

Posted August 21, 2013

The necronomicon one was my favourite too. :)

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robW would have you know...

Posted August 21, 2013

Professor Boylan, I am curious whether 'legally' a 'spouse' is a private person--as in someone who is not subject to public scrutiny? Can the wife of an ambassador be detained and questioned? Can the spouse of a business person be detained? Or is it only a person suspected of terrorism or trafficing in porn? In the US could we/would we detain the spouse of a suspected drug lord from Thailand if her flight had a layover in Los Angeles on the way to Mexico City?

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 21, 2013

You ask an important question worthy of a serious, bullshit-free answer:

Q: Can the wife of an ambassador be detained and questioned? Can the spouse of a business person be detained?

A: Yes. It can happen. It has happened. It will happen.

Q: Can the wife of an ambassador be legally detained and questioned? Can the spouse of a business person be legally detained?

A: Prior to the fall of the World Trade Center, the answer would have been "no." But since then the limits on the reach of law enforcement have eroded to the point where, even if there are laws checking the abuse of police power, those laws are being ignored. For example, there is no doubt whatsoever that the domestic spying the NSA is doing is illegal, violating more laws than I have time to even contemplate. But the cold, hard truth is that it isn’t going to stop. The legislature won’t stop them and neither will the courts. And they know it – from the Texas State Trooper who stopped three black women driving in a car, said he smelled marijuana and then performed a “cavity search” then and there (see, http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/08/05/lawyers-illegal-body-cavity-searches-of-women-standard-policy-at-texas-traffic-stops/) to the NSA agents reading your email and listening to your phone calls – they know there will be no consequence for abusing their authority.

Q: In the US could we/would we detain the spouse of a suspected drug lord from Thailand if her flight had a layover in Los Angeles on the way to Mexico City?

A: Yes. But it doesn't have to be the wife of a suspected drug lord. Look past the legal. Think politcal. It can be the wife or son or uncle of someone who is publicly critical of the United States or who does something - legally - that we don't like.

I think it is important to point out that we can also push our friends to do it for us. That is what our British cousins just did holding the life partner of a journalist for 9 hours and confiscating all his electronics even though there was and is no legitimate law enforcement/terrorism prevention reason to do so. They did it because someone here told them to do it.

Murphy asserts...

Posted August 21, 2013

Boylan told me about the body cavity search during our breakfast a couple of weeks back. For those that are worried that I have no outrage left, I was fairly well outraged about that incident and one other he related to me concerning law enforcement.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted August 21, 2013

I really need to work on developing supplemental topics for light conversation.

Murphy asserts...

Posted August 22, 2013

We covered lighter topics when Cindy got the hoodies for the unseasonably cold morning walk in Davis. :)

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan asserts...

Posted August 21, 2013

I am getting sick and tired of being Captain Bring Down.

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted August 21, 2013

maybe if you did it wearing tights and a cape you'd feel better

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 21, 2013

No, not really. The tights itch and the cape is totally gay.

Not that there is anything wrong with that.

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Lulu would have you know...

Posted August 21, 2013
I thought you were Major Bring Down, not Captain?

Dino not to be confused with mumbles...

Posted August 21, 2013

Whoa guys!

Let me know when Happy Hour is.

I'll come back then.

Ya big bunch a'downers!

On a serious note I hate it when the signet shuts your internet signal.

Do they do it then snigger?

Dino not to be confused with is gonna tell you...

Posted August 21, 2013

I hope they don't snigger so much they wet their pants.

It would be funny if they did that!

Now I'm sniggering...

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pi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 22, 2013

What it means to be a suspect.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/style-blog/wp/2013/08/21/fbi-suspected-william-vollmann-was-the-unabomber/

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Respond to 'Journalism = Terrorism'

Sports Day and the election

Posted August 15, 2013 into Politics by John Birmingham

Yesterday was Thomas's school sports day. They hold this every year on Brisbane's holiday for the EKKA. (A sort of city based state fair, for my O/S readers. A bizarre anachronism in the 21st century, but a popular holiday). It's a helluva long day, held at the school playing fields which are provincially located many, many miles from the campus, out at Runcorn, about half an hour down the freeway to the coast.

I use it as an opportunity to get my step count up on FitBit. Did 27 000 yesterday. Go me. I was also listening out for conversations about the elction, because I have a long feature to write about Rudd and I was curious as to how he was travelling with the punters. Last year, for instance, everywhere I went through the day, I heard people bagging Campbell Newman. He'd just slashed thousands of public service jobs and hundreds of programs, many of which were also important to provate contractors.

Yesterday?

Nothing. Not a sausage. (Not beyond the bbq area anyway).

I walked around that crowd of about 4000 people for six hours and didn't once hear mention made of the election. Not Rudd, not Abbott, not the parties, the campaign, the coverage, the gaffes. Nada.

It was quite a contrast with my twitter feed, which is all, ahem, a-twitter with daily outrage and rolling derpery. And of course the media can think of nothing else on their front pages. Nor should they. It's our job.

But I got the distinct impression yesterday that in the world of real things, most people just don't care.

48 Responses to ‘Sports Day and the election’

monkeymind has opinions thus...

Posted August 15, 2013

I think many don't care. We have had two decades of good economic times. Most people are ok and so what flavour of poly sits in the big chair does not trouble many.

When the good times end then the debate will heat up a bit.

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MickH mutters...

Posted August 15, 2013

What I get is people just don't trust abbott and think he will do a Newman but on a much larger scale.

There was an air of palpable relief when Rudd ousted Julia at the water cooler at work.

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Rob is gonna tell you...

Posted August 15, 2013

I'm struggling to even pretend to care.

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JBtoo mumbles...

Posted August 15, 2013

I care a lot. But when the choice is between derp and derpier...

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 15, 2013

Provate contractors?

I know you've sworn off, but farcebook is an eye opener. The AntiAbbot forces conjur at least one hyperbolic hate-vent daily.

There is a very odd dynamic at play, I call it TodayTonightism by which (it would seem) only the most exclamatory and declarative are Favourited and passed through various timelines.

Also intersting is having a diverse range of FarceBook friends, who favourite 180 degree opposing views.

I chuckled @ the suppository of all wisdom line

w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted August 15, 2013

That reminds me of an old joke.

"Doctor, doctor! Do you know you have a suppository behind your ear?"

"Oh, no! Some bum's got my biro!"

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Abe Frellman asserts...

Posted August 15, 2013

Caught Gruen last night and allowed myself to be convinced that the phoney war is about to end and both parties are about to launch into the negative ads. This is likely to prove insufferable.

And watching the news and 730 tonight I came to the conclusion that it's just sliding further and further away from Rudd. I keep telling myself that this is not all bad as long as Turnbull stays on the front bench. And then there is the impact on my wallet, as I'm short Queanbeyan property and it's about to get a lot cheaper.

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Blake puts forth...

Posted August 15, 2013

I read about half a paragraph of a serious political article in the MX on the train on the way home - i thought i was interested but i really wasn't.

The problem with Abbott is not just a Cambell esque cull but Cambell round II that comes when there's a nice friendly coalition government - maybe it needs to happen but it's unlikely to make my life easier.

The problem with all the apathy and the fresh but not fresh enough Rudd is that we're well on track to another hung parliment, i don't think there enough ill sentiment left to give Abbott the massive landslide he was promised a few months ago but Rudd needs to keep pulling rabbits out of his hat right up till election day to have a real chance at staying in.

My problem with Rudd is the lack of creativity and compassion on the Asylum seekers issue.

School on a public holiday? I wouldn't vote for that.

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Barnesm asserts...

Posted August 16, 2013

Its not that I don't care, I do its important. The Australian population is facing really significant issues in the coming years and decades. Its just there is very little separating the two major parties. If i may quote Bart Simpson "The little, stupid differences are nothing next to the big, stupid similarities" this was certainly reinforced when they both said they wouldn't work with minor parites to form a minority government. I can see some slight differences which will dispose me marginally to one or the other but its hardly enough to want to give either the 'mandate' that will no doubt be claimed.

A plague on both their houses, unfortuantelty that means a plague on me as well.

zeniph mumbles...

Posted August 16, 2013

That Bart Simpson quote is sooo good at summing up this election - thanks

Both parties refusing to form a minority gov – I get it but it's stuuupid just too stuuupid. Negotiation and compromise is the how governments should and have to operate (unless they also control the senate I guess) – but there’s no heroic story in saying we all sat around and came up with a workable solution. There’s no fearless leader image in that. Instead it’s all "I am the fearless party leader, I crushed the opponents and their feeble policies…"

Jayanthi's Atomic Cat has opinions thus...

Posted August 22, 2013
If they're opposed to working with the minor parties, are they perhaps preparing to woo the independents again? 'Cause, you know, my mama said you can't hurry love...

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nhamilton@iinet.net.au swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 16, 2013

When did Mr Rabbit become Tony?

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Bunyip ducks in to say...

Posted August 16, 2013

Just saw a promo on ABC Brokefist, which highlighted a similar walk around an Under 18's sporting event. Except it was NSW, and I think RL. Maybe you're giving people ideas for stories, JB.

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Moko would have you know...

Posted August 16, 2013

I think most do care on a certain level. But I also think most are fairly comfortable with Rudd and the entire vibe has changed since he got the job back. Most people I know feel he has the best intentions for the country and the only ones that had a problem with him in the past were the ones he worked with and the ones with the money.

There's something fundamentally fake ... or offset ... or there's a weird vibe with Abbott. He is undiplomatic and his 'handlers' have to keep him in check. Which is fucking strange when you're talking about a potential PM. Rudd fits the PM shirt. Abbott doesn't.

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Quokka ducks in to say...

Posted August 16, 2013

The gruens were hilarious the other night. Do watch it on iView if you missed it.

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dewpoint has opinions thus...

Posted August 16, 2013

I'm struggling to remain interested, there just doesn't seem to be much to be interested in. Each seem to be trying to counter each others policies and neither seem to have any grand view for the future.

Both Rudd and Abbott are really irritating. I can't find anything at all to like about Abbott, Moko seems to be spot on with the 'weird vibe' Abbott has. And Rudd seems to be starting to panic, his confidence/arrogance starting to fragment as he desperately pulls more rushed and unthought through policies out of his hat.

oh for an inspirational leader

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pitpat asserts...

Posted August 16, 2013

Like most above I have a certain ennui about this election. But in it's defence I would much prefer to be bored to death then shot to death e.g. Egypt, Syria, and the rest of the Arab Spring

Jayanthi's Atomic Cat mutters...

Posted August 22, 2013
Well said, pitpat.

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SZF reckons...

Posted August 16, 2013

Three of us at work have a wager going on this election. My $10 says LNP by 10+ seats, another has LNP by <10 seats, and our third is on an ALP victory.

So, yeah, I'm interested in this election.

I could use the $10.

Lulu puts forth...

Posted August 16, 2013

Can I put down $10 for a hung parliament? It would be entertaining just to see what happens, given that both leaders have sworn they will not negotiate with minor parties.

insomniac ducks in to say...

Posted August 16, 2013

to be fair Rudd only ruled out formal deals with minor parties, not minority gummint itself

monkeymind asserts...

Posted August 16, 2013

I think we would be into core vs non-core promises at that point.

Jayanthi's Atomic Cat mumbles...

Posted August 22, 2013
I'm with Lulu. My bet is more hung than last time. Or was that the state elections....we seem to have had a lotta swinging parliaments, so to speak, in the last few years.

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Surtac mumbles...

Posted August 16, 2013

I was sick of the whole thing about two says after the date was set. And I'm ignoring it completely outside what's in my Twitter feed.

What has disgusted me about both major parties is the way they've both dived to the bottom of the sewer to be seen to be the 'toughest' on asylum seeker issues.

It's quite surprisingly quiet here in the workplace too. The election is not a subject that's getting any traction around the coffee machine.

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted August 16, 2013

Its been a three year campaign of "No!". Everyone's sick of it except Abbott, Rudd and Murdoch's subbies who get to draw cock pictures on the front page.

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JG asserts...

Posted August 16, 2013

I care about the Federal Election to the extent that I don't like any of the parties, and definitely neither Liberal or Labor. Suppose there's the Greens, but they're weak as flat lemonade. Stuck between a rock and a hard place

Could very well be a hung parliament. I don't see a positive outcome this election.

Abe Frellman ducks in to say...

Posted August 16, 2013

I don't think it will be that close. A hard rain is gonna fall.

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Abe Frellman is gonna tell you...

Posted August 16, 2013

Just saw Malcolm Fraser on the news. He should form a party with El Bulli... The Malcolm Party.

Jess and Lisa O could write the jingle and sing it on the ad. JB could do the "written and authorised by Simon Bedak" (gotta pay the bills)...Rudd's popularity in Qld collapses as a result.

Malcolm then organises a merger with the Veronicas and the Malcolms... The LMNOP. Veronicas back catalog royalty trail is securitised David Bowie style by LMNOP. Proceeds are donated to a fund set up to make reparations to Australian South Sea Islander descendents.

By pointing out his awesomeness to his colleagues they agree to make Malcolm PM.

*Am prepared to wager a tenner against this occurring.

Written and Authorised by Simon Bedak is gonna tell you...

Posted August 18, 2013

These last two comments were spoken by Abe Frellman, John Birmingham, Maggie Taberer, Rhonda from the AAMI advert and Lucy Turnbull. Written and authorised by Simon Bedak, The Malcolm Party, Red Hill, ACT.

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Abe Frellman asserts...

Posted August 16, 2013

** as in: a merger between the LNP, the Veronicas and the Malcolms.

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ShaneAlpha is gonna tell you...

Posted August 16, 2013

I'm waiting for Clive Palmer to promise a Dinosaur in everyone's front yard, that would sew up my vote.

I'm at the very least expecting a T-Rex on the grassy roof of parliment.

And perhaps a line of ex-prime ministers. the majestic Hawke and it's magnificent plumage, the somber Keating, sitting on it's branch waiting for something to die, the Howard the possible hobbit missing link, a Fraser pants puddled around the ankles, and, of course, the mighty Whitlam, endlessly droning "Well may we say..."

Jayanthi's Atomic Cat mutters...

Posted August 22, 2013
LOL Shane, now that is Oz's recent political history in a nutshell. I ways knew something (else) bothered me about Howard. Gold!

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MordWa ducks in to say...

Posted August 16, 2013

The real problem with Mr Rabbit is he just doesn't seem to know what he wants to do. When most power hungry megalomaniacs eventually rise to the top, you assume there's a secret list of all the craziest policies they were never comfortable admitting out loud to having (but tucked away in the back pocket). With Tone, I swear there's just nothing there - he honestly doesn't seem to have the faintest idea what he really wants to achieve.

Abe Frellman asserts...

Posted August 16, 2013

He wants to achieve victory for the LNP. So that Malcolm can be PM.

Rob would have you know...

Posted August 18, 2013

Rather ironically they would consider Tony Abbot a socialist in America. What with paid parental leave, tax payer funded hospitals and health care, state education, you know Labor makes all these promises with a parade of pseudo left nonsense sprinkled on top , but it is labor who are already sacking Public servants and skewing the budget. They are obnoxious to work for and pathetic ant making real decisions.... but if you dare speak you get branded a facsist. so fuck em and the horse they rode in on,

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Quokka would have you know...

Posted August 17, 2013

What pains me is that there is simply nobody worth voting for.

I would really, really like to vote greens as I'd support a lot of the policy that they say that they stand for.

The trouble is, that in my electorate a vote for the Greens is just a vote for the NIMBYs. I will never forget the big guns from the Greens turning up to campaign hard against the construction of the bus/cycle/pedestrian bridge from Dutton Park to the University of Qld St Lucia campus. That bridge has had an amazing impact on the lives of many as it's made access to UQ so much more accessable to people in the eastern suburbs via the south-east busway.

I'm still completely boggled as to WTF they were on about, trying to block that. There's been other, smaller, similary NIMBY camaigns that they've jumped on the bandwagon about but that one...wow. I really don't get it.

Abe Frellman mumbles...

Posted August 17, 2013

Maybe it was a copyright thing.... Green Bridge and all that. (Personally I would've thought they could have used the free advertising).

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NBlob reckons...

Posted August 17, 2013
I propose a UGC rumour.

The Coalition's Green Army policy is actually CONSCRIPTION!
Involuntary service by means of blackmailed dole payments.
The kicker is in a 2nd term GA go from painting rocks white, to shock-troops for Pope Pell's Anti-Caliphate forces.

#NewCrusade

Abe Frellman swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 17, 2013

Lolz.

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JG is gonna tell you...

Posted August 21, 2013

Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott are speaking in my Brisbane suburb right now. #IDontCare

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Jayanthi's Atomic Cat mumbles...

Posted August 22, 2013
And it's not just the OS folk who are EKKA ignorant. I'm in Adelaide and my Brissie teammates had to help me get my head around giving one city a holiday and not the rest of the state. Now THAT should be an election issue.

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JG has opinions thus...

Posted August 22, 2013

Every Australian state and territory has its own public holiday, AtCat. Queensland has its show holiday (EKKA hol).

Went again this year but only lasted two hours. Should have gone when I wasn't tired at the end of the day. Couldn't stand the crowds and the noise, but I loved the annual EKKA strawberry sundae. :)

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Jayanthi's Atomic Cat is gonna tell you...

Posted August 22, 2013
Joanna am i right in understanding...But EKKA is only brissie right? The gold coasters were still at work. Is there any other state where only one bit of it gets the holiday?

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Jayanthi's Atomic Cat ducks in to say...

Posted August 22, 2013
Ah, thanks W. Now i get it. Interesting approach! I guess it stops everyone getting plastered all at once, hey. A good policy to prevent public hospital emergency department public holiday overload, which thank God is not my problem anymore. <grin>

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Jayanthi's Atomic Cat puts forth...

Posted August 22, 2013
Ah, thanks W. Now i get it. Interesting approach! I guess it stops everyone getting plastered all at once, hey. A good policy to prevent public hospital emergency department public holiday overload, which thank God is not my problem anymore. <grin>

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NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted August 25, 2013

(FKN AWSM) to the power of gold+

Finest A1 Quality satire.

1st dog on the moon this morning on Sunday Extra, Radio National.

"Nuclear powered stupid"

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted August 25, 2013

http://mpegmedia.abc.net.au/rn/podcast/2013/08/sra_20130825_0955.mp3

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Respond to 'Sports Day and the election'

Hard drinkin' thinkin'

Posted August 7, 2013 into Politics by John Birmingham

I signed up for a fun gig with Fairfax for the duration of the election, doing one of these videos a week.

The first was a challenge, as such things always are, while I figured, or didnt figure out, how to do it all with just my iPhone. There were some real problems with flares as the sun came out from behind fast moving clouds, and then disappeared, and then came out and so on. But it turns out there's an app for that, of course.

And I'm thinking of looking a clip on mic and or maybe a little directional unit if the Apple Store in Sydney should have such a thing.

27 Responses to ‘Hard drinkin' thinkin'’

Blarkon ducks in to say...

Posted August 7, 2013

That's certainly the *shiniest* leather jacket I've ever seen. I've always thought that leather jackets should look a little worn rather than ... polished. Then again, given that I know less about fashion than I do feminist critiques of marxist ideology, I bow to your superior sartorial sensibilities.

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BigWillieStyle has opinions thus...

Posted August 7, 2013

Sorry John, I spent the first half of the video squinting at that bottle of beer on the right of screen, trying to work out whether it's apple-infused or pear-infused, and the second half nodding off.

Some suggestions for future vids;

1. Do it fireside chat-style...a dressing gown or smoking jacket, a comfy deep-seated chair, a tumbler of malt whiskey, and a pipe

2. Have a weekly Peter Dowling Award. Any candidate who sends an ill-thought-out text/sext, has a meltdown (like David Bradbury), or shows a complete inability to speak beyond Party-endorsed five-word slogans (Jaymes Diaz, come on down) wins a fabulous trophy of a bronzed penis in a glass of red wine

Lulu swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 7, 2013

+10 to both suggestions.

Lobes puts forth...

Posted August 7, 2013

Thats not beer, thats Rekordelig, a Swedish cider. Looks like the berry infused version. Not a bad drink and quite trendy at the moment. But if you like that JB you must try Kopparberg, Swdish pear cider. Its like drinking Angels piss.

Also what odds where the bookies giving for a hung parliament?

BigWillieStyle reckons...

Posted August 7, 2013

Swedish cider.

* pauses *

I see.

Not something I know a great deal about. Thank you Lobes.

Lobes mutters...

Posted August 7, 2013

yeah tastes great and is mega popular everywher right now.

as a bonus its gluten free so good for low carb diets

damian ducks in to say...

Posted August 7, 2013

I dunno, I find most Rekordelig variants pretty undrinkably sweet. I seem to recall a couple are okay. They must have been pretty damn okay, because I don't remember...

Lobes asserts...

Posted August 7, 2013

Yeah rekorderlig is a bit meh. I usually drink magners or kopparberg. Both are seriously good.

John Birmingham is gonna tell you...

Posted August 7, 2013

I can't even remember how or why it came into my possession.

she_jedi mumbles...

Posted August 8, 2013

That was the strawberry and lime cider by Rekorderlig. They do a winter cider of apple, cinnamon and vanilla which is divine. They've just brought out a passionfruit cider which is a tiny bit tart and not so sweet as some of their berry ones.

Not that I drink these giant girly drinks on a regular basis or anything.

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Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted August 7, 2013

Was that off the cuff or scripted? Did you win the bet on the fight way back? And, more importantly, if you did win, what did you buy?

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted August 7, 2013

Cuffed, but from dot points. I won. I bought beer and meat.

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Blarkon mutters...

Posted August 7, 2013

http://www.theage.com.au/business/something-off-about-election-bets-20130807-2remi.html (suggesting that the odds are bogus because the bookies aren't actually taking real bets)

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dewpoint puts forth...

Posted August 7, 2013

Well I'll be..... Channel Blunty....Awesome

loved the booze'nbooks backdrop, you will need to stock up on the whiskey, Blunty must have Whiskey, lots, especially the single malt stuff and please bring the Campari to the fore, that bold silky crimson number would neve

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dewpoint is gonna tell you...

Posted August 7, 2013

Oops anyway Campari never hides behind tainted green bottles.

and you did look good on camera, the leather was perhaps a tiny bit shiny but no, not polished no no noooo

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John Birmingham asserts...

Posted August 7, 2013

I haz scuffier leather. But that is my grown up jacket.

damian mutters...

Posted August 7, 2013

Shirley you mean growned up. Or even groaned up.

HAVOCK21 mumbles...

Posted August 7, 2013

JB/Grown up Jacket......= OXY M anybody?

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan reckons...

Posted August 7, 2013

I thought that was totally cool. And the set was first rate.

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HAVOCK21 would have you know...

Posted August 7, 2013

CIDER!...hand back that fkn jacket!

BigWillieStyle mumbles...

Posted August 8, 2013

And his testicles.

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Dino not to be confused with reckons...

Posted August 7, 2013

Fascinating JB,

The Decor is to die for.

Why do I feel a sense of 'Stuart Wagstaff' casual authority blended with keen commentary.

How much would you charge to wear a cravat and hold a cigarette holder?

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JG puts forth...

Posted August 7, 2013

Nice one, JB. You're a bit like Clive James, only younger.

I've seen that jacket before. You wear black leather jackets a lot.

JG

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w from brisbane ducks in to say...

Posted August 8, 2013

"Under democracy one party always devotes its chief energies to trying to prove that the other party is unfit to rule - and both commonly succeed, and are right." --H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)

I loved the bottle of Bundy. I can't wait until next week. I'm going to be checking the level in that bottle to check how many rumbos you've had.

It was a good chat. Gambling, boxing. It was a Runyonesque. I love that stuff.

"The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that's the way to bet." Damon Runyon (1880-1946)

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Darth Greybeard has opinions thus...

Posted August 8, 2013

Forget the booze, I liked the Ned Stark figure. Think Geek?

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted August 8, 2013

The Beard wins for being the first to spot ol Ned.

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GhostSwirv ducks in to say...

Posted August 10, 2013

JB I think Mike Secombe has been talking to your bookie mates, and there's only one word to describe your black leather jacket, 'shiny'.

http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/why-the-prime-minister-is-asking-for-your-lunch-money/672/

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Respond to 'Hard drinkin' thinkin''

The PLA navy's blue water plans

Posted August 1, 2013 into Politics by John Birmingham

Raoul Heinrichs, once upon a time a believer in the fairytale that China was investing billions in a modern war fighting fleet for status reasons, has had a rethink.

Where Canberra has gambled on the more-or-less permanent military superiority of our American ally, Beijing has, with its incipient fleet, placed a sizeable wager on the exact opposite outcome. Both can't be right.

The whole piece is available here, and worth a look for those interested in such things.

28 Responses to ‘The PLA navy's blue water plans’

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted August 1, 2013

Good stuff.

"Finally, China is making another bet: that the smaller countries in the region, including Australia, will neither independently acquire the A2AD capabilities necessary to offset the threat posed by the Chinese fleet before it becomes operational, nor form a sufficiently cohesive group that could aggregate its military resources to do so."

China may also be betting against a resurgent USA.

The first global power to control the seas isn't going to give up any of that control easily.

Australia - with no national interest in alienating either the US or the Chinese - doesn't seem relevant to this part of the Great Game.

Dave W reckons...

Posted August 1, 2013
As much as it kills me to say it, Aus can't really stop a bunch of illiterate indo fishermen from venturing into our territorial waters. So I agree with PNB, is this a game that we can play in or afford to play in?

w from brisbane is gonna tell you...

Posted August 1, 2013

Which is why, as a start, 2500 U.S. marines will be based in Darwin by 2017, supported by U.S. fighter jets.

Blarkon mumbles...

Posted August 1, 2013

Nah, that's just so they can fly drones around the NT and launch hellfires at people in Toyotas.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted August 2, 2013

NT is a hotbed for terrorists, and terrorists seem to prefer Toyotas.

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted August 2, 2013

Toyota Prius is an anagram of 'You Patriots', which I find highly suspicious.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted August 2, 2013

Only terrorist would notice that. Sort of like a secret Mason handshake.

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HAVOCK21 reckons...

Posted August 1, 2013

Well FK ME! HEY!. this muppet JUST fkn worked out what a fkn lot of us have realised for fkn years. THEY AINT DOING IT FOR FUCKING SHOW! thats for fkn sure. And let me gues...this fkn retard advises people right!.....take him out back and shoot the fkn muppet. Its dicks like this that make people get fkn shot for no good fkn reason because they think DIPLOMACY is the fkn be all and end all and NOBAY has ambitions especially the fkn BASTARD FKN CHINSES MILITARY FKRS!

We Need NUKE subs. SSN's, its a safe and very simple and effective additional layer!

wqe need a NUKE aircraft carrier too and land based strategic fkn bombers as well and then FK THE fkn MUPPETS UP!..if they get frisky!

Brother PorkChop mutters...

Posted August 2, 2013

Now Mr Havock, my real name is Geng Huichang. Look it up imperialist running dog and yankee bitch lackey. When the peoples revolution begins in PR Australia, you are first up against the wall. You and all your so called Mmmmmmmmuppets.

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Blarkon would have you know...

Posted August 1, 2013

Need to deploy Havock in Floaties to the Taiwan straight. The yellow ones from Clarke Rubber. Not that Big W shit.

HAVOCK21 is gonna tell you...

Posted August 1, 2013

Be like. FKN OLYMPUS HAS FKN FALLEN, sept osts guna be the JADE FKN PALACE FKN PUSSIES!

Jayanthi's Atomic Cat is gonna tell you...

Posted August 3, 2013
I like that. A one-word Defence system. Havock. Not-so-silent and deadly. Would drive the Intel analysts nuts trying to work out what the 'acronym' is.

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yankeedog mumbles...

Posted August 1, 2013

But does Australia have the manpower and resources to staff a big navy to counter? You've, what, 25 million people down there?

Moko has opinions thus...

Posted August 2, 2013

We have lots of radio controlled subs with rubber noses. We drive them into the side of the enemy supercarriers to make this incessant bloody 'tap tap tap' noise. It drives them mad. Especially at around the six month mark they tend to give up and go home for sleep. Very clever, actually.

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Murphy puts forth...

Posted August 2, 2013

Umm. . . why would China go to war with Australia?

To invade and take your resources? Can't they just buy them now? Isn't their money what you are using to build those two LHDs and your new AWDs, the Hobart Class? Aren't you going to use that money to buy F-35s as well?

Personally, if you are going to spend money on F-35s, I'd be getting the F-35B model, especially if you are converting a bit of the Australian Army to act as your de facto USMC type formation.

Also, China isn't the only one in the midst of a naval arms build up.

The South Korean Navy has a fairly well developed blue water capability which is augmented by two Dokdo Class helicopter carriers which are capable of operating F-35Bs themselves.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dokdo-class_amphibious_assault_ship

The Japanese Maritime Self Defense Force has the largest Navy of the region and is also developing the capability to sustain combat operations other than defense in a blue water sense. They have fielded their own helicopter destroyers (really helicopter carriers), also capable of operating F-35Bs and a larger follow on design is in the works along with a movement in the government to remove most post-World War II Pacifist restrictions on the military.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hy%C5%ABga-class_helicopter_destroyer

Finally, while there are dire predictions about sequestration leading to the mothballing of up to three Nimitz Class Carriers, one has to wonder if that will lead to a net loss in capability with the advent of carrier capable UCAVs which could be deployed in larger numbers aboard newer advanced carriers such as the U.S.S. Gerald R. Ford, the first of the Ford Class, with electromagnetic catapults as opposed to steam or FAE style cats.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_class_carrier

The U.S. still holds the lead in drone development, force projection and naval experience. China, on the other hand, has to build up to that capability while dealing with other wary neighbors who are also upgunning their Navies to compensate.

Still, if Australia really wants a true carrier of their own, they could always talk to the Brits about HMS Prince of Wales.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches




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Indy is gonna tell you...

Posted August 2, 2013

Agree with Murph re F-35Bs embarked in the LHDs.

Article well spotted and posted, JB. Ta muchly. The closing phrase "....for those interested in such things" says many things, and all of them salient, all of them right, alas.

Ho hum.

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NBlob mumbles...

Posted August 2, 2013

"lacking a launch-catapult that would extend the range and payload of its aircraft?"

Please explain?

Monkeymind is gonna tell you...

Posted August 2, 2013

A launch catapult is an assisted take off system. Rather than relying on just the power of the planes engines, the plane is pulled along the deck. This alows the plane to take off with much larger fuel and weapon loads than if it was relying only on its engine thrust.

See:

Aircraft_catapult

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted August 2, 2013

That can be somewhat compensated for by inflight refueling as I understand it.

Still, cats are better overall.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

NBlob is gonna tell you...

Posted August 2, 2013

Thankyou MM, I understand that. I was wondering why the Chinese Aircraft Carrier's catapault was out of action?

@ Murph.

Inflight refuelling of aircraft has increased effective range (Of aircraft configured for IFR) to approaching global, but, consider the whys: "Kinetic" warmaking, can now be done very accurately by cruise missile & with extreme patience by UAV drone.

By my understanding the limits are payload size (MOAB needs a B52) & a pilots "reactivity" in devloping situations Eg; targets of opportunity, IFF etc, in which UAV systems are now almost as goood as a traditional manned CAP.

In intel gathering, there is little that a manned aircraft can do faster, better, cheaper or more than UAV &/or Satelite.

In Vietnam there was a squadron of tiny single man light aircraft that served as target scouts for arty & fast movers off carriers. Fox Bat, fruit bat? something like that. Their particular speciality was tree tops @ 80 knots, eyeballing targets and calling adjustments to fire missions. I wonder how long it will be before arty crews have their own UAVs performing a similar role.

NBlob reckons...

Posted August 2, 2013

& what the very fack is the photo? The new tender for HV Cad ?

w from brisbane mutters...

Posted August 2, 2013

That would be a Houbei class Missile Boat firing a YJ-83 SSM.

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Surtac is gonna tell you...

Posted August 2, 2013

Thanks for the link, John. I've just 'wasted' an hour of work time following up interesting stuff based on that article. :)

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Chaz ducks in to say...

Posted August 2, 2013

The PLA is rigidly controled by the CCP and their facist ideology.

as the yanks have found out hvaing shiny new toys and actually being able to utilise them in an effective manner are two diffrent things.

Yes the PRC is a threat but at this moment in time it is not a direct threat. Give a few more years of environmental damage, declining native food production & and increasingly modernised militaries in the hands of its neighbours, plus the demands of of an increasing selfish middle class and rumbling peasant class then you'll find that the PRC is ready to go to war.

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Moko would have you know...

Posted August 2, 2013

Or we could all take a viagra and stand nude on the coast line covered in blue body paint singing a selection of wiggles tunes when they turn up. That should scare em off.

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Murphy mutters...

Posted August 7, 2013

In another development, Japan launched their largest post World War II warship to date.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Izumo-class_helicopter_destroyer

That gives them three helicopter carriers, ahem, destroyers. It would not be that difficult I suspect to modify them for V-22 or F-35B operations should the need arise.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

w from brisbane reckons...

Posted August 7, 2013

Murph. Did you notice that, amongst other tunes, the band played 'Anchors aweigh' at the launch?

It reckon some Chinese might find that an interesting choice.

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HAVOCK21 mutters...

Posted August 7, 2013
I'd much rather be shooting PLAN Marines in their tin cans on the water than when they get ashore. Mind you, projecting power away from home and being able to force your way ashore are two very diffeernt capabilities. One they do not have. Area denial...yes, amphib...against a weaker fkn NON SHOOTING BACK type target..yes.


Other than that. the PLAN is still a limited area denial BROWN fkn water NAVY at BEST. And if some fkn starts on about Space based or CARRIER KILLIN fkn MISSILES DONg fkn feng swai fkn shit ballistic units, that AINT FKNM BEEN TEST I'll PERSONALLLLLLLLLLLLY CAP THEIR FKN SKANY CARCASSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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Respond to 'The PLA navy's blue water plans'

Look, lots of refugees read The Australian

Posted July 22, 2013 into Politics by John Birmingham

Dateline, Indonesia.

There was consternation this morning amongst refugees drifting into the many water front cafes dotting the shoreline of this idyllic refuge when bad news arrived with their latte and croissants.

“Have you seen The Australian this morning?" asked one voice over the rattle of bone china and the sizzle of eggs and bacon.

“Never touch it,” another replied in a distinctive Kurdish accent. “I’m Fairfax man. My father was a Fairfax reader, and his father before him. Until they had their daily dose of Gittins and Ramsay they simply could not set off into the foothills to herd the goats though mountain passes above our little village where it always rained and nobody ever had enough to eat.”

But no matter where these starving, illiterate refugees chose to read their news over banana and blueberry pancakes, washed down with lashings of genuine French vanilla tea, the news was bad.

All of the weekend papers, express couriered to the charming little refugee settlement, carried large, full page advertisements warning the would-be asylum seekers that if the vast sums of money they had saved while being tortured and occasionally beheaded by the Taliban, or the Iranian government, or you know, whatevs, were spent on passage by boat, they would be sent to Papua New Guinea and probably eaten.

“Oh dear,” said a Tamil gentleman whose village had been destroyed by Sri Lankan air strikes. “I had so been looking forward to that long, hazardous voyage and high chance of drowning or being dashed to pieces on the rocks of Christmas Island. It’s why I chose to go by boat and not just fly in which would have been much more comfortable now I think about it.”

He folded his copy of The Sydney Morning Herald and wandered off to see if anyone knew of rumours the Australian Government was also no longer handing out cheques for eighty thousand dollars on arrival and a guarantee of full time employment as soon as a local worker could be displaced from their job.

There were mutterings amongst the émigrés about the reaction to the news in Australia, but wiser counsel cautioned against expecting any support from that quarter.

“The government has obviously spent a very great deal of money advertising this new regime in every paper in the land,” said a withered old Hazari man whose eyes had been put out for reading to his daughters, “and then even more money airlifting all the millions of copies here so that we might be informed of this policy change. It’s quite likely nobody in Australia even knows of it this. After all, the information is of no concern to them.”

68 Responses to ‘Look, lots of refugees read The Australian’

Barnesm mumbles...

Posted July 22, 2013

Look it's not to deter those refugees (sorry illegal immigrants) it’s obviously meant for those who fly in on visas and then overstay. All those European and New Zealand backpackers will be rounded up and shipped off to PNG.

Lulu would have you know...

Posted July 22, 2013

No no, you've got it wrong - the problem isn't with people who come by plane but with the *boat* arrivals. So obviously all those wealthy people on cruise ships will be sent to PNG.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted July 22, 2013

I wish I could argue we, as Australians, are better than this PNB.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 22, 2013

It comforts me not at all that you cannot.

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beeso would have you know...

Posted July 22, 2013

I'd vote for a PM that sent press gangs down bondi beach, checking visas and sending them off to PNG

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted July 22, 2013

How bad can PNG be? I mean, come on. Really. Tropical climate. Low cost of living. Colorful cargo cults. Although it has the highest incidence of HIV and AIDS in the Pacific region, cannibalism is rapidly improving. Not a bad place to end up.

pi mumbles...

Posted July 22, 2013

I've lived in PNG. It is only place in the world I will never set foot in again.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted July 23, 2013

Have you ever been to Billings, Montana?

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insomniac is gonna tell you...

Posted July 22, 2013

Oh you'll all want to go to PNG, not just us Aussie-job stealin' and Aussie-women defilin' Kiwis, if the Coalition win the election

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Brian mumbles...

Posted July 22, 2013

It's ugly, no doubt about it. What's going to be uglier are the right wing nuts saying 'Its not going to work, and we need a better plan'. Not that they'd be saying that to win votes in an upcoming election . . . .of course not. Nor have a bipartisan plan either.

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Murphy ducks in to say...

Posted July 22, 2013

You could tweak this a bit replacing Kurds with Mexicans and setting the locale just south of the Rio Grande, below the Grand Wall of Democracy (translate: fiasco) some of the nuttier, nativist types of my country like to take pride in.

Hell, everyone is an immigrant/migrant/boat/tunnel person at some point or another in Australia and the Americas.

Sad, really. Like Latinos are really taking jobs away from meth cooking, honest, tatted white guys in Harry Truman's old stomping grounds.

Bah.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2013

George Lopez observed that, if a Mexican took your job, then you had a really shitty job to begin with.

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Blarkon reckons...

Posted July 22, 2013

While it appears most Australians support a refugee program, a plurality seem not to support intake of asylum seekers (otherwise the issue wouldn't be as electorally potent). If the electorate, government, and opposition was as racist as some would claim, surely they'd move to withdraw the country from the appropriate UN conventions (because if the electorate, government, and opposition were all that racist, who would care if Australia was a party to those conventions or not?).

w from brisbane puts forth...

Posted July 22, 2013

There is an annual study done by one of the universities. I haven't been able to track down the link.
Covers a variety of social and political issues in Australia.

As I recall, the results have been fairly consistent. Something like 70% of Australians support Australia having a large refugee intake.
When asked about what countries the program should favour, the overwhelming response is none, and that it is rather a silly question.
But very consistently, across the supporters of all political parties, about 70% are not supportive of a 'boat people' asylum seekers intake

Miss Maudy would have you know...

Posted July 22, 2013

Is this the report you are looking for?

w from brisbane would have you know...

Posted July 22, 2013

Brilliant, Miss Maudy! That is exactly the study I was looking for.
Though it was the 2012 version I heard about, accessible from this page.

http://arts.monash.edu/mapping-population/

The stuff I was trying to recall is also on this related Asylum seeker fact sheet, below.

75% are positive to asylum seekers who arrive after being assessed overseas.
But, to the question of the best policy for dealing with asylum seekers arriving by boat, only 23% said they should be allowed to apply for permanent residency.

The Fact Sheet
http://www.arts.monash.edu.au/mapping-population/asylum-seekers.php

Blarkon mutters...

Posted July 22, 2013

I think the notion of "consent" (however ephemeral) has a lot to do with acceptance of immigration policy.

For example: A refugee who arrives in Australia from a camp in Sudan or from somewhere else has in some way "been invited".

I suspect that the 70% that agree with the policy of accepting refugees see accepting as part of an ethical obligation. Where we see 70% opposed to asylum seekers arriving by boat (where we assume that 40% who feel ethically obligated to take in refugees reject the acceptance of asylum seekers) may in part be a reflection of the "uninvited" nature of asylum seekers.

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Therbs puts forth...

Posted July 22, 2013

Loved the Queensland Govt MP who became all alarmist about the asylum seekers then getting on boats from PNG to cross the Torres Strait. Tony Burke apologised that there was nothing he could do about the geography of PNG.

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JBtoo asserts...

Posted July 22, 2013

And listen to Triple M too (it's on at the office - nothing I can do - except maybe complain on human rights grounds. It qualifies as torture).

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Anthony swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 22, 2013

On the positive side, PNG is going to get some pretty good skilled immigrants out of this.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2013

Yes! Always look at the bright side of life!!

(All joking aside, that is a fairly good point with potentially important geopolitical implications, albeit a generation or two from now.)

Anthony would have you know...

Posted July 23, 2013

I was aso only partly joking. I have a close friend who spent a considerable time in PNG in a very senior position on secondment from Canberra. It will be interesting to hear his views on this subject.

JBtoo reckons...

Posted July 23, 2013

And they'll soon be a world power in cricket

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

Posted July 22, 2013

Beautiful JB,

Remember the Eighties.

The Silver Budgie (Oxford drinkin' champion who promised no child will live in poverty in dis country) workin' with the French clock collector (who only wore Italian suits cause the Aussie ones were shit)?

Pushed dem Liberals so far to the Right they could only get half a bum cheek on the seat?

Yeah the Labor tactic of being so right wing the Liberals look so wet der nipples are showing.

Onya Labor.(Waves Flag)

Dats da solution.

Dats why Aussies died in Afghanistan.

Send de reffos to PNG.

Nice Australian mines dey can work in der.

Ok Tedi?

Or is dat OK Teddy?

Take the bloody teddy bears cause dey could have WMD from Iraq in dem.

Remember WMD's.

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AllyOops puts forth...

Posted July 22, 2013

Mmm just a thought but perhaps if the 70percent of us wjho support a large refugee intake could well swing a little more come election time .......

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ShaneAlpha ducks in to say...

Posted July 22, 2013

We need a nice welcoming gate at the new camp with a inspiring slogan.

Perhaps Arbeit Macht Frei.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23, 2013

"Es Könnte Immer Schlimmer Sein" would be more approriate.

Lulu would have you know...

Posted July 23, 2013

"Aber nichts viel schlimmer".

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted July 23, 2013

Kennen sie Billings, Montana?

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Stevo 73 swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 22, 2013

Hmmmm so sad. The Labor party has surpassed the Libs for crazy ideas about boaties......

There is an argument that if we have dropped large amounts of ordinance on a country, and following this the people of that country run (or float) to our home we are morally obliged to take them in.

And then there is the second verse of that anthem thingy (the verse that most Strayuns do not know)

Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We'll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who've come across the seas
We've boundless plains to share;

Oops, perhaps it is time to change those two lines, oh the embarrassment!

pi asserts...

Posted July 23, 2013

> Hmmmm so sad. The Labor party has surpassed the Libs for crazy ideas about boaties......

No they haven't.

Stevo 73 mumbles...

Posted July 23, 2013

You think?

Let's put them all in another developing country with its own set of social problems and a distinct lack of infrastructure,.... yeah that will work.

Vs lets tug the sinking boats back to point of origin.... yeah that will work.

So which is more nuts? I cannot tell.

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Lobes asserts...

Posted July 22, 2013

Everything about this is farcical.

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NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 22, 2013

A Straw Man, never intended to survive the coming High Court challenges, just the coming election. The only positive that will come out of it is the fine people of Manis Island will get about 1/8ths of a new facility at the expense of the Aussie taxpayer.

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pi swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 23, 2013

This is the price that must be paid to keep abbott (stop the boats!) out of the lodge. Sadly, there are too many bogans in australia such that the dog-whistling delivers us these types of policies.

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damian reckons...

Posted July 23, 2013

I have wondered a bit at the calculation behind this. KRudd and his advisors would have come up with this knowing that it would outrage a lot of people. But the people it outrages, if they had been planning to vote Labor before, will most likely now give their first preference to the Greens or some other minor party or independent to the left of Labor. These people are unlikely to give their second preferences to the Libs, Nats or LNP (whether they follow party advice or not). So they do not count as a complete loss - even if it leads to a minority government the 3rd largest block in parliament is still likely to be be Greens and they are unlikely to support an Abbott minority government, although they will be almost as reluctant to support a Rudd one after this and will be difficult to get on side for legislation that runs counter to their principles.

However Rudd appears to be counting on winning a fair bit of support to the right with this move. So people who might vote for the Katter or Palmer parties might give their second preferences to Labor. And if a handful of seats go to those parties, they may well be prevailed upon to vote with a minority Labor government on legislation that the Greens disagree with.

In other words, while he knows that on balance this doesn't necessarily gain votes for Labor, it certainly takes votes from the tories. It might win him the election solidly enough for Labor to govern in its own right, but if it leads to a minority government it will make the kingmakers people who would rather gnaw out their own livers without anasthetic than to give Tony Abbott the keys to the Lodge.

I fear my interpretation here, although cynical, isn't quite cynical enough to be realistic. Any improvements?

pitpat puts forth...

Posted July 23, 2013

I agree Damian, and would add that it is all about the western Sydney seats. Even if he loses it will hard to oust him now that caucus has commited to a super majority for a spill motion. For all the words this is all about Kevin

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted July 23, 2013

Damian: idealism tempered with cynicism is a powerful thing. There is no strength inherent in the truth. None whatsoever. Conviction isn't enough to challenge those who enrich themselves through human suffereing.

Barnesm asserts...

Posted July 23, 2013

The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity - W.B Yeast

damian has opinions thus...

Posted July 23, 2013

Wouldn't W.B.Yeast be more suited to the baking thread?

The interesting thing about 'The Second Coming' is that it is sort of in the middle between early Yeats and the older Yeats. The points to remember about the early Yeats are:

  • Obsession with Maude Gonne
  • Mystical celtic stuff
  • Theosophy
  • Obsession with Maude Gonne's daughter.
  • Association but lack of involvement with the more volatile kind of Irish Nationalism

It was the latter point and the first world war that led to 'The Second Coming'. Older Yeats got a bit more measured. We seem to tend to think of the rise of Nazism and that line in particular referring to it, but in all honesty it first appeared in print way too early to have that in mind much, and it is much more a sort of continuation of the despair and horror at the actions of the truly committed leading on from the Easter uprising and taking all the rest in. The worst, who are full of passionate intensity, are the Kiplings, the (more personally painful and poignant) the MacBrides.

The collection 'Meditations in time of Civil War' from about 10 years later is pretty good reading for a pensive evening. 'Leda and the Swan' is later too. The downside the later Yeats is that it lacks the fire and fervour of the early Yeats, but that is also the upside.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted July 24, 2013

Either bringing up a somewhat detailed discussion of Yeats at this moment and in the context of this discussion is hillarious or there is something amiss, mate.

I prefer hillarious for obvious reasons.

However...

My personal favorite Yeats poem is Leda not just for its elegance but also because whenever I read it I cannot help but identify with the swan. I suspect it is a "Greek thing."

And I adore the fact that the mysticism that inspired Yeats was based on events and incidences his wife fabricated. My cultural ancestors were utterly wrong when they argued that only what is true can be beautiful.

damian would have you know...

Posted July 24, 2013

To be fair Paul, only some of them argued that.

damian puts forth...

Posted July 24, 2013

To be fair Paul, only some of them argued that.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan ducks in to say...

Posted July 25, 2013

I don't care if it isn't true. I want to believe it.

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 25, 2013

How very Mulderesque of you.

damian swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 27, 2013

Oh yeah, and something like this:

Thirty days hath November,

March, July and December.

The point is that poetry, even mnemonics that have the ring of truth can lie, and lie barefacedly (the more barefaced the better actually, which is why you can only trust a man with a beard). Beauty might be Truth and Truth might be Beauty, but when we say that we are really talking about "truth*". But I guess as Colbert says, the truthiness shall set you free.

*Might not actually be true.

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Blarkon mutters...

Posted July 23, 2013

Australian elections are won by capturing the center - and as the figures above show, while the majority of Australians have positive feelings about offshore assessed refugees, the majority of Australians have negative feelings about asylum seekers.

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Anthony is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23, 2013

I would imagine that any refugee who reads The Australian regularly would be welcomed with open arms by the Opposition parties as a potential supporter...

By the way, did you know that one of the more endangered birds on Christmas Island is Abbott's Booby?

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Blarkon puts forth...

Posted July 23, 2013

@theage: Hardline asylum seeker policy lifts Rudd in latest poll http://t.co/ULVI6c0NRs via @theage

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted July 23, 2013

Oh FFS!

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23, 2013

So the folks who chat here are as alone in Australia as I am here in the US.

Barnesm ducks in to say...

Posted July 23, 2013

I am begining to get that feeling

Blarkon mutters...

Posted July 23, 2013

No, I suspect that the difference is that in the US you'll see similar figures re "refugees" versus "asylum seekers who arrive via boat specifically". Australians in general are fine with the first group but not with the second.

damian is gonna tell you...

Posted July 23, 2013

No-one is truly alone, except perhaps Major Tom.

But we are born alone (even twins!) and we die alone. We are deeply social beings, but the edges of existence are profoundly personal.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan mutters...

Posted July 24, 2013

Blarkon and Damian - I used "alone" to mean that idiots are running the show and, despite shouting out into the void that is the internet there isn't much I can do to change things.

NBlob would have you know...

Posted July 24, 2013

OI! I resemble that remark Boylan. Shouting into the Void is one of my hobbies. Are you inferring that it makes no real, substantial, long lasting affect on the opinions of movers &/or shakers?

NBlob swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 24, 2013

Damn you and your fancy lawyer talk

Lulu is gonna tell you...

Posted July 24, 2013

NoBlob - it makes no real, substantial, long lasting effect when compared with clicking 'like' on Facebook. According to the kids these days, that's where the *real* activism is.

NBlob has opinions thus...

Posted July 24, 2013

Arise, ye workers from your slumber,
Arise, ye prisoners of want.
For reason in revolt now thunders,
and at last ends the age of cant!
Away with all your superstitions,
Servile masses, arise, arise!
We'll change henceforth the old tradition,
And spurn the dust to win the prize!
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
A Facebook Like,
Unites the human race.
So comrades, come rally,
And the last fight let us face.
A Facebook Like,
Unites the human race.

Barnesm swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted July 24, 2013

Got to love a bit of Percy Bysshe Shelley and that telling resolute line

Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number,
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you-
Ye are many — they are few"

damian ducks in to say...

Posted July 24, 2013

Again, no-one shouting into the void is truly alone. There are so many of us standing here at the edge of the void, shouting, arguing and in many cases simply reciting poetry into the void.

damian asserts...

Posted July 24, 2013

Again, no-one shouting into the void is truly alone. There are so many of us standing here at the edge of the void, shouting, arguing and in many cases simply reciting poetry into the void.

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted July 25, 2013

There are voids and then there are voids. This void we are currently shouting into is filled with convivial fellowship of spirit and mind. For fuck sake, we shout poetry into this void and are capable of using poetry to make an argument. Which is why I visit here. I would rather be alone in this void than alone in the void that nudges my back, which, believe me, is far emptier than this particular void that we here are currently shouting into. I prefer a rarified void to a banal one. And this only intensifies my angst and despair.

Don’t get me wrong: I came to adulthood in the 1980’s; I dig angst and despair.

NBlob ducks in to say...

Posted July 25, 2013

"I dig angst and despair." Messers Smith, Gallup, O'Donnel & Cooper of The Cure, Morrisey & the depression fiends of Joy Division would be so proud.

As for your predeliction for rarified void, apparantly there is void being imported from Fiji and the hills of Suranam to satisfy this .

Paul_Nicholas_Boylan puts forth...

Posted July 25, 2013

"Smith, Gallup, O'Donnel & Cooper of The Cure, Morrisey & the depression fiends of Joy Division"

Wankers, all.

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Fiona asserts...

Posted July 23, 2013

Thanks JB. Grim. Very grim. Makes the Fraser years look like halcyon days.

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Prescient much? (Updated)

Posted June 10, 2013 into Politics by John Birmingham

The Guardian (US) has revealed it's source on Treadstone, er, sorry, the NSA mass surveillance program. Edward Snowdon. A contractor. I feel sorry for this kid. He seems a lot smarter and more level headed than Bradley Manning. Smart enough to know what's about to happen to him.

The Guardian's profile paints a picture of a classic 'high ideals' whistle blower. The most dangerous kind, because they can't be bought off or compromised.

In a note accompanying the first set of documents he provided, he wrote: "I understand that I will be made to suffer for my actions," but "I will be satisfied if the federation of secret law, unequal pardon and irresistible executive powers that rule the world that I love are revealed even for an instant."

Despite his determination to be publicly unveiled, he repeatedly insisted that he wants to avoid the media spotlight. "I don't want public attention because I don't want the story to be about me. I want it to be about what the US government is doing."

He does not fear the consequences of going public, he said, only that doing so will distract attention from the issues raised by his disclosures. "I know the media likes to personalise political debates, and I know the government will demonise me."

NSA's Utah Data Centre

And...

I'm guessing almost nobody will watch this. But I'm putting it up anyway. A speech by Russ Feingold, the only guy to vote against the Patriot Act, warning about exactly the sort of industrial scale mass surveillance that seems to have been the raison detre of PRISM.

The relevent bit is at 1.44

If ever there was a prophet unheeded in his own land.

27 Responses to ‘Prescient much? (Updated)’

w from brisbane reckons...

Posted June 10, 2013

Well done him. Of course, Feingold pointed out that the Act meant that surveillance could automatically extend to anybody that a suspect had contact with. If fact, they have just extended surveillance to everybody.

I heard an internet expert being interviewed a while back. He said, for him, the most surprising change wrought by the WWW was the loss of concern for privacy. In the early days, loss of privacy was a strongly felt concern of most people. This was expected. Now, people just don't seem to care. This was very unexpected.

John Birmingham would have you know...

Posted June 10, 2013

I think the reason for that is the very smrt way the big IT companies have magicked away the idea of privacy replacing it with 'data', which seems a much fairer trade for all the lovely free things they give us.

Not that they're really 'free' of course. We pay for them with our data.

Blarkon mumbles...

Posted June 10, 2013

"In 1999, Scott McNealy, the chief executive of Sun Microsystems, summed up the valley’s attitude toward personal data in what became a defining comment of the dot-com boom. “You have zero privacy,” he said. “Get over it.”"

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/10/technology/data-driven-tech-industry-is-shaken-by-online-privacy-fears.html?pagewanted=2&smid=tw-nytimes&partner=rss&emc=rss

It's all about certain people in Silicon Valley being able to scoop your private data for their own profit, but being pissed when the government does it. What the fuck did they think would happen?

If you build a fucking panopticon, of course it's going to be used for evil.

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

Posted June 10, 2013

I am typing this comment in a haphazard way and zig zagging to minimise the chance of a 'hit'.

It is possible to confuse the supercomputers running algorithms and temporarily 'freeze' an executive 'order' by telling a joke-ie

"Nobody anywhere is reading this sentence"

Privacy on the interwebz?

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Murphy mutters...

Posted June 10, 2013

Privacy? Lord, the Federal Government has access already to my DA-201 (Army file), my VA Medical Records (to include a detailed treatment history), my student loans which would invariably inform them of what I studied, where, when and with who. They've also got my Dad's DA-201, his VA Medical Records, etc, etc, etc plus his claims info, plus Mom's claim's info and to top all of that off, the Feds and the State have a fairly thick, detailed file on my schizophrenic younger brother.

So . . . what am I getting upset about again? The Government is listening in on comms/data traffic? Meh.

Want me to be upset? Tell me the Government is doing that to specifically target the political opponents of the party in power. Then I'll see about getting upset.

Frankly, if I was the NSA, I'd let this guy go. I'd brush him off, say he is a nutjob and quietly keep doing whatever I was doing. The Guardian profile on him already does most of that work for them.

And anyone who hops on the Internet with any expectation of privacy probably needs to seriously have their head examined. If I don't want people to know about it, I don't put it on here. Ever. Period. Otherwise, I accept the risk.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

John Birmingham asserts...

Posted June 10, 2013

I think, Muprh, that the problem here isn't just capability. It's capability and intent. Congress delivered the mass surveillance capability, and the NSA used it. Beyond that capability and the intent to use it in specific cases, lies the possible capability and intent to use it exactly as you imagined. To crush dissent, rather than to defend against violent foreign enemies.

Beynd the borders of the US, where the NSA is supposed to operate, the information sharing arrangements of Echelon, the real Echelon, open up the capability of extending industrial scale surveillance into allied countries. The first reports of Britain's GCHQ outsourcing domestic mass surveilance to the NSA have already surfaced.

In a sense, yes, why would people be worried about the Government tracking them, when they have already ceded their privacy to corporations which have no interests other than their own to guide them? But then corporations dont maintain a monopoly on the use of coercion.

This might all be a bit overblown. But for now, it looks very very bad.

Murphy swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 10, 2013

Two reasons why I'm not worried that I'm going to wake up living in a North Korea like state.

1. Technology is falible.

It is vulnerable to countermeasures, breakdowns and to its own evolutionary process. Someone will devise something which neutralizes Prism, a system which is probably riddled with vulnerabilities, quirks, flaws and problems.

2. Tyrants make mistakes.

The trend, at least since the Enlightenment, is that sooner or later, tyrants fall. Information overload brings them down. The weight of their own draconian measures undermine them. The cost of the system becomes prohibitive if not self destructive.

No one thought the Soviets would be gone circa 2013 and yet they are nowhere to be found save holdouts like North Korea and Cuba. If one wants to be a pessimist then one could look at a recent BBC article on the fact that foreign currency tends to dominate most transactions in North Korea, whether the government there likes it or not.

The other thing is, great, you have a massive rock candy mountain of raw data. You could feed it into computers and it will sort some of it but I guarantee you that it will still take human eyeballs and brains to sort it all out into something useable.

Anyway, no less than President John Adams, try to silence his political opposition with the Alien and Sedition Acts during his administration. Thomas Jefferson and his Democratic-Republicans eventually used State power to bring him to heel.

So this shit is nothing new. It'll still be vulnerable to the same things which have brought other such systems down.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Blarkon asserts...

Posted June 10, 2013

If you've read any of the histories of the FBI/NSA/CIA you'll know that they have a big history of going way past whatever Congressional limits have been put in place.

One might also point out that a certain information sucking search engine pulled out of China when they figured out that a good number of employees were actually in the employ of state apparatus. Assuming that their Mountain View operation isn't similarly riddled is at best ... pretty fucking naive.

Murphy asserts...

Posted June 10, 2013

As I mentioned in my previous post, the government trampling on the Constitution is nothing new. Adams pretty well stomped all over it during his Presidency.

I'm concerned but I can't help but think that the thing is probably a Mickey Mouse Piece of Shit that cost too much, breaks down frequently and rarely provides anything of real value which is actionable.

And even if it did provide something of value, which was actionable, that a President would actually act on, we'd probably fuck the op up in the process. UBL's recent termination not withstanding.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Blarkon swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 10, 2013

Yup - the one redeeming bit of the history of the CIA black ops and the KGB black ops was how often they fucked stuff up completely through dumb arse mistakes.

We like to read about hyper-competent agents and see them in movies, but in reality it's more like Mr Bean. All this info gets collected, but it's only used for petty shit like blackmail. Hover was doing that all the time. Even petty shit can have political results.

In the long run, no one is going to go to jail for spying too much on the citizens of their own country..

John Birmingham ducks in to say...

Posted June 10, 2013

Daniel Ellsberg made a great point today in The Guardian: "Obviously, the United States is not now a police state. But given the extent of this invasion of people's privacy, we do have the full electronic and legislative infrastructure of such a state."

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Legless ducks in to say...

Posted June 10, 2013

Edward Snowdon. The poor, brave, bastard. He's proper fucked. It now just depends on who gets to him first. China would love to get thier hands on him - he'd be a priceless asset for them. Ditto Russia, any terrorist organisation, the UK - we're no slouches at dirty tricks and Hong Kong is still our patch and, obviously, the USA. For them, it's almost worth taking any risk to make sure that others can't have him. Kill or kidnap him and take the political heat.

I just can't see a good end to this.

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Rhino mumbles...

Posted June 10, 2013

Just posted this on FB ... on purpose:

How is it that people are not marching on Wash DC with torches, pitch forks, vats of hot oil and bags of feathers? Clean out the congress and white house. Term limits for congress now!

I have no expectation of privacy when I cast missives out into the ether. But, hell, a president was taken down 40 years ago for bugging one office ... that doesn't touch the NSA and IRS shenanigans.

John Birmingham mumbles...

Posted June 10, 2013

What an interesting point about Nixon. He went down, initially, for the break in. But yeah, the proto fascist surveillane state HST imagined him to have created was nothing compared to the reality of PRISM et al.

Murphy asserts...

Posted June 10, 2013

Nixon couldn't point to two smoking craters in NYC, one in a Pennsylvania field or another in the side of the Pentagon. And it was patently obvious that he was deliberately targeting his political opponents.

Personally, I'm more upset about the IRS scandal than I am about this. At least there is evidence that political groups were systematically targetted by the IRS.

The question is, on whose authority?

Anyway, I'm more worried about the tax man than I am about some computer program which probably doesn't work as well as the press says it does.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Rhino reckons...

Posted June 11, 2013

Murph - I'm 100% in agreement with you on the IRS scandal.

However, all of these things are of a sort and constitute a pattern that is very disconcerting in the whole.

Murphy would have you know...

Posted June 11, 2013

Yes, but if you look at the overall trend in American History, tracing back to the Adams Administration, you find this sort of thing happening over and over again.

You also find that it is frequently rolled back, then augmented, then rolled back again.

Thing is, I don't have much use for dickheads like Snowden. At 28 years old he gets to make a unilateral decision on National Security? I mean, I look at that guy and I wouldn't trust him to fix my iPhone let alone make a decision about anything security related.

The other thing is that I don't know that I want to have a society where we encourage and heroify people like this. Top Secret Security clearance gives you access to something you find objectionable? Well, fuck that. Just send it to the media, become a hero, have people fawn all over you and try to protect you from the government.

I might add that sooner or later the security agencies will probably develop a psychological profile which identifies which people are prone to leak. I figure once they do, they'll tighten the screws even further on this sort of behavior.

Respects,

Murph

On the Outer Marches

Rhino ducks in to say...

Posted June 11, 2013

Murph ... I hear you - I'm all about the pendulum swinging back and forth and generally preach it whenever someone's head catches on fire when discussing politics. However, what what I find to be more worrisome, in this instance, is that I think that we are at a crucial tipping poiint:

1. There is very little discernible difference between republicans and democrats in congress from a fiscal policy perspective. And, yes, I know, China isn't going to come in and foreclose on the Smithsonian any time soon and that the econonmy is wayyyy too complex for anyone, even the guys in charge of predicting stuff, to understand. I am more concerned about the impact on our culture.

2. The technology and bureaucratic infrastructure exists that would provide for a very effective police state, whereas, in the past the ability of the government to meddle in the lives of the majority of middle america just wasn't there.

3. The 51% have fully realized that they can vote themselves the largesse of the treasury and there are those in power that are more than willing to pander to that crowd.

I could go on but that is a taste.

Dogs, children and government will always try to get away with as much as they can when the adults are not looking.

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Blarkon mutters...

Posted June 10, 2013

Nixon was an amateur compared to Hoover.

The recent FBI history by Wiener (who did the fucking awesome Legacy of Ashes on the CIA) will scare the bejezzus out of you http://www.amazon.com/Enemies-History-FBI-Tim-Weiner/dp/0812979230/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1370841323&sr=8-2&keywords=legacy+of+ashes

The first thing that Nixon did when Hoover died was to try to get the massive trove of blackmail files that Hoover had collected. Presidents and congress fucking feared this guy.

When it comes to the three later agencies - they'll do it if someone can convince themselves that it is in "the nation's interest". Congress is considered a joke and certainly doesn't have the stomach to take on the intelligence agencies.

Power corrupts - and these agencies have had an insane amount of power for a very long time.

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tqft is gonna tell you...

Posted June 10, 2013

Having worked in government & had a security clearance, I am well aware of the existence of a file on me.

As well I probably crossed the line in 2003 and drew a little TLA attention to myself. I was looking for some info and wanted some help. Fascinating answers. Worthwhile.

Most seemed to be worried about now. I am more concerned about what this will look like in 10 years.

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Barnesm has opinions thus...

Posted June 10, 2013

Surely he will be protected under Whistleblower legislation

Brarahahahahahahahahahah

sorry couldn't finish that sentence with a straight face.

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AuntyLou mutters...

Posted June 10, 2013

I may be missing something (nothing new there) but JB why would almost nobody watch the Feingold speech? A friend in the states sent me a transcript of it around that time. I remember thinking that maybe that dude would change the direction of the Patriot Act when "right thinking" types joined in - yeah I know. It at least helped me believe that the whole of the US hadn't gone bat-shit insane.

John Birmingham swirls their brandy and claims...

Posted June 10, 2013

I exaggerate. But not by much.

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TeamAmerica would have you know...

Posted June 11, 2013

Rhino-"How is it that people are not marching on Wash DC with torches, pitch forks, vats of hot oil and bags of feathers? Clean out the congress and white house. Term limits for congress now!"

Actually, they did, and the media demonized them and the IRS harassed them. At 2:45, a former member of Andy Warhol's progressive rock group, 'The Velvet Undeground,' expresses her opinion:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HEt-IaRbcVY

http://www.stereogum.com/550602/moe-tucker-explains-tea-party-affiliation/top-stories/

Rhino mutters...

Posted June 11, 2013

Good stuff, right there.

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Paul_Nicholas_Boylan would have you know...

Posted June 11, 2013

A dark madness. An ironic horror story. Surely the Second Coming is at hand.

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w from brisbane reckons...

Posted June 11, 2013

The IRS 'scandal' in the US will prove to be a load of hooey.
Just IRS workers doing their job.

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