Friday, January 06, 2012

It's the new year, so roll on the nattering Mogul nabob love of negativity ...

(Above: damn you Norman Rockwell, celebrating dibber dobber socialists).

There's never any shortage of silliness in the world, at least not so long as Fox News is on hand, wearing ideological blinkers worthy of a nervous and paranoid horse.

Fox recently celebrated the arrival of the new year with the alarming news that the Girl Scouts in the United States were conspiring to promote a clear liberal ideology (Fox News Claims Girl Scouts Conspiring to Promote 'Liberal Ideology').

And before that came the news that SpongeBob Square Pants was a rabid environmentalist greenie pushing a global warming agenda (Fox News Hosts Criticize SpongeBob and Department of Education over 'Global Warming Agenda').

Yep, that one made the Media Matters' list of Fox and Friends 10 Stupidest Moments of 2011 at number seven. (The winner, at number one, was a proposal to up screening for terrorists by asking penetrating questions, like "Listen, are you really here to go to Lubbock, Texas, to learn something, or are you here for jihad?" The pond has been to Lubbock Texas and learned something which is that if you stand out in the wind in an ice storm, your ears fall off).

And every day brings fresh joy, and there are of course intrepid souls who keep track of Fox's more demented moments on a daily basis (Fox News Blames 'Left-Wing Blog Politico' for Weak GOP Field).

But apart from the irony and the humour involved, is there any reason to pay attention to the politically correct thought police?

Take Piers 'Akker Dakker' Akerman - go on take him, take him far, take him wide, take him hard and fling him in the blackberry bush - and his almost daily ranting, and in particular take a look at NBN fails its own test.

In it, you'll find the antipodean version of Fox News, all blinkered and bullshit, faithfully recycling the thoughts of dear leader Dr No, and delivering up a fine bout of nattering negativity:

The NBN is the most expensive piece of infrastructure ever committed to by the nation and is on track to be the greatest ever economic disaster any government has ever created.

You get the picture at once - Dr No good, the Not Bloody Necessary broadband roll out a disaster, with huge discrepancies and a massive failure to deliver, and a monumental rip-off, and a bashing of Kevin Rudd, and Gillard and Bill Shorten (who could, it has to be said, do with routine bashing), and various hysterical chicken little bits of calumny and innuendo:

The creation of the NBN Co was itself a demonstration of Labor’s lack of administrative skills and ineptitude with no background checks conducted on the men who have been handed a blank cheque drawn on the taxpayers of the nation.

Now if you will, and for a little contrast and quiet insight, take a look at a more reasoned response to this incoherent NBN 'roid rage, which can be found in The five NBN misconceptions of Tony Abbott.

Sure, it's a geek piece for geeks, but sometimes you just need to have a little geekiness to induce a blissful sense of reality.

Here - thanks to author Renai LeMay - is point two in her deconstruction of Tony Abbott and the never bloody necessary Piers Akerman:

2. “Vast amounts of money spent. $50 billion plus, and going up all the time, to give us something that most people don’t want, don’t need and don’t want to pay more for.”

In actual fact, the Coalition’s own telecommunications policy aims to provide Australians with very much the same outcomes that Labor’s NBN policy does; the two policies simply vary in the ways that they seek to achieve this aim.

The debate over the need for higher speeds has virtually disappeared over the past six months, and it has become common for Shadow Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull to highlight how fibre to the node and HFC cable technology (as opposed to the fibre to the home rollout of the NBN) can provide similar speeds to the NBN — higher than 50Mbps and even up to 80Mbps and beyond. By releasing such a policy, the Coalition is directly suggesting that Australia does need higher broadband speeds than we currently have access to, in contrast to Abbott’s statement. It’s just that the Coalition doesn’t want to spend the same amount of money as Labor on this kind of scheme.

In addition, there is ample evidence that Australians do want higher broadband speeds and consider telecommunications infrastructure important. A Liberal Party report handed down by former Howard minister Peter Reith in July to the Federal Executive of the Liberal Party, for example, found that a failure to adequately respond to Labor’s NBN policy was a key reason for losing valuable votes in the 2010 Federal Election, especially in the sensitive Tasmanian electorate, which is receiving the network before the rest of the nation. Abbott received that report and surely read it.

The other four points show a similar desire for logic and reasonableness, nobbling Abbott's Mogul nabob taste for negativity, and what follows in the comments section is a reasonable set of debating points by readers, since it's entirely possible not to be entirely convinced by the NBN - by its roll out methodology or its pricing, and by Stephen Conroy - without the 'pigs may fly' rhetoric of Akker Dakker foaming and fulminating at the mouth.

And that's before we get into even bigger questions, like why does the Labor party always punish its own electorates in favour of electorates that will never vote for them in a month of Sundays? What is the point of the agrarian socialist madness and nation building that has seen the NBN run past outposts in the deep south and the far north and the centre, and yet Camperdown whistles in the wind? Take note Albo, the natives are restless ...

Oh okay, that's narrow sectional interests, but Akker Dakker and Barnaby Joyce and Tony Abbott routinely assure the pond that narrowness and sectionalism is the wave of the future.

But leaving the NBN - and its arrival at Camperdown before Dr No is elected - aside, the deeper question is this.

Why on earth would anyone read Akker Dakker for insight and understanding about anything?

The answer has to be that there is a lot of ideological zealots in the world, and amazingly in the Akker Dakker comments section, the zealots come out to play, showing exactly the same incoherent misunderstanding of current Liberal party policy as does Tony Abbott. Three hundred and twenty comments or thereabouts, and most with the wit and insight of an incandescent light bulb where the metal filament has fused.

The current Liberal party policy recognises the desirability of fast connection broadband in the home, because there are some who have already begun to get a glimmer of understanding how the internet has already changed many aspects of the media (music, movies, books, magazines, newspapers), and has now begun to impact on retail and troglodytes like Gerry Harvey.

And indeed what fun it was to read that Harvey has set up a GST free retail venture in Ireland (Harvey Norman peddles GST-free computer games) which will no doubt go down in due course as yet another folly by a man who simply refuses to get it.

That led to a little set-to with Wayne Swan in It's not Christmas unless Gerry Harvey's whingeing.

And how is it possible to guess that Harvey is a troglodyte? Well here's his response to the Productivity Commission report on applying GST to sales below a thousand dollars:

Mr Harvey said the commission's report was a waste of time and that he hadn't bothered to read it.

He said that when the commission's staff interviewed him as part of the consultation process, he got the impression they had "a pre-determined point of view".

Hadn't bothered.

That's right up there with Tony Abbott failing to read, understand or note current Liberal party broadband policies, including the desire to continue expansion of the NBN network, if not by FTTH then by the cheaper, albeit costlier in the long run, FTTN method.

This would coincidentally not solve the problems of Camperdown, since the Telstra copper network in the inner areas of Sydney is comprehensively stuffed.

Which brings the pond back to the broader point.

Instead of the Murdoch press, and its commentariat, acting as a simple echo chamber for Tony Abbott on the matter of the NBN and NBN denialism, when will they begin to demand from the coalition detailed costings and a detailed vision regarding the functionality, efficiency and future-proofing of the coalition's current incoherent national broadband scheme?

When will they begin to acknowledge that broadband is already fast enough to stuff up and extinguish newspapers in the conventional sense, and the moment real broadband arrives, it'll be farewell printing presses? Has their luddite hostility anything to do with the way they must wearily change and adapt to the future?

Well to quote Akker Dakker, pigs may fly, but if you want to avoid clowns wearing eye patches to obscure vision in the left eye, the pond's advice is to avoid the Murdoch media, and take a look at some of the niche publications out there on the full to overflowing, but still slow to the home, intertubes ...

(Below: can we have a copy please, but why are there so many pages, when surely one would do? As found at ZDNet).

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