Tuesday, June 17, 2014

In which the pond discovers the intertubes is full of Oz hackery and the IPA ...

(Above: who is that shadowy figure with the big ears? More Rowe here)

The pond frequently has difficulty with understatement ... especially when hyperbolic prose is needed.

What's the flaw in this otherwise quite reasonable and rational opening par?

I have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair has finally gone mad. He wrote an essay published last week that struck me as unhinged in its refusal to face facts. In discussing the disaster of modern Iraq he made assertions that are so jaw-droppingly and breathtakingly at variance with reality that he surely needs professional psychiatric help.

Yes, of course.

At the very least that opening sentence should have read:

I have come to the conclusion that Tony Blair has finally gone completely barking mad, but on the evidence it might well be said that he's been totally barking mad for many a long year.

As for the rest you can read Boris Johnson scribbling Tony Blair is mad to deny Iraq was a tragic error at your leisure, because the pond is just so over Tony Blair ...

What else?

Well there's Graham Burke recycling myths and legends in End internet piracy and bring Google to heel:

A couple of years ago my friend Kim Williams asked attendees at a movie convention to imagine a world without their 10 most cherished films, books or pieces of music. It is a confronting and sobering exercise – all of us know our lives would be much poorer without our favourite works of art. 
Williams went on to point out that without effective copyright protection, and the ability of creative people all around the world to enforce their rights, many of the movies, television series and books that Australians love would simply not have been produced.

Some of the pond's favourite works of art were produced in the nineteenth century - at a time when the United States and its publishers were piracy central, and much art derived from private patrons and occasional government sponsorship ...

It's a sobering and confronting exercise to realise how stupid Kim Williams sounds when he displays such a resounding lack of awareness of times past, and Burke - who via the Roadshow Warners alliance - is responsible for such a welter of movie crap that no self-respecting pirate would worry about - does the same when he plays the nationalist patriot card, the first refuge of the corporate monolith scoundrel.

You see, most of the films he cites owe their existence to government money and without government money or tax breaks or other incentives, much of Australia's movie and television product would not be produced. Even an honourable exception like Mad Max got an offer from Film Victoria but wisely turned it down.

And one of the biggest brakes on the domestic industry has been the behaviour of Australian distibutors, mere grasping arms of the Hollywood majors.

You won't read any of this in Burke's piece nor will you read headlines like End stupid columns, and bring Roadshow and Rupert Murdoch to heel ...

The oligopolists will fight to the death to maintain their right to bleed mug punters at their leisure, while pointing to heavily government subsidised activities - think your local composer, your local orchestra or opera company, or anyone who has received Australia Council largesse ...

And in the usual way, Burke is in the business of scare and fear mongering with this sort of nonsense:

5. Suggesting that if you block a site another one will just pop up so therefore it is pointless is the same as saying don’t arrest a drug dealer because another one will probably emerge. Google would know that children who go to pirated sites are entering a seriously sleazy and bad neighbourhood. These sites are big business and advertising models that almost totally promote pornography, gambling and scams.

Actually the last time the pond visited such a site - and it was quite recent - the site was featuring advertising for a major Australian bank - ANZ - and just to make sure, the pond went back today and saw the ad at the top of the page was for Domino's Pizza, followed by an ad for asics.

Now there's a fair argument that Domino's is an international global conspiracy to plump up the citizenry for the cannibal Martians who will arrive shortly - why else would anyone sell speciality chicken pizzas - but there's a secondary argument, which applies to piracy as much as it does to drugs. If you say something demonstrably stupid and false, young people - who've tried the drug or visited the pirate site - will come to think you're scribbling nonsense ...

The industry has always got this wrong, demonising its customers as petty thieves, derelicts and villains, rather than working out how to sell their product, and instead at every step, attempted to thwart online delivery - an activity still front and centre of Murdoch la la land, pay television and the whole damned desire to tilt the playing field away from net neutrality (and if you missed John Oliver's epic rant, you can see it here - it had hit 3.7 million views and climbing the last time the pond visited this morning - and if you missed Oliver's follow up, you can see it here, and watch the best the tragic head of the FCC can do, which is to say that he's not a dingo).

The pond realises just how much of a threat the internet poses to comfortable business models - herd the sheep into the theatres, delay the release on disc to make sure the sheep head off for the soda and popcorn crap plucking, and then get around to streaming all in good time - though the model now creaks and groans so much that eventually you get to read stories like 'Piracy window' for movie downloads reduced ...

Well instead of sectional interests pleading that the age of entitlement continue and be protected by government action, it's about time the industry turned from leaners to lifters, and stopped trotting out Australian government subsidised artists and art as excuses for ongoing Hollywood major rapaciousness.... because government action didn't stop piracy in the days of LPs being taped and VHS tapes being copied and discs being ripped and it's not going to stop it now ... no matter how much Burke wishes for a nanny state ...

Ah yes, the nanny state.

Well we all know what that means. Yes, it's just a short step and a jump from Burke blaming Google and the internet for all his business woes, to the Caterists furiously scribbling Virtual lynch mobs run wild (behind the paywall because you have to pay through the nose to be led by the nose in Oz la la land).

Why did the pond find the Caterist rant so delicious and ironic?

Well talk of virtual liars run wild on the intertubes, because the pond has just come off watching Media Watch the night before, making a few obvious points about Christian Kerr and his story on plain paper packaging, dressed up inter alia as a rant about the nanny state.

You can see it here, in Up in Smoke.

The pond had  noted that Dame Groan had also waded into the debate, with Claims plain packaging works go up in smoke, but was merely thankful it was behind the paywall so that punters could spend their cash on a packet of killer fags instead.

Sure they might die a horrible death, but think of the alternative, reading Dame Groan attempting a feeble response to the Kouk's The Australian's claim on tobacco goes up in smoke.

But it did remind the pond how much of everything that turns up in the lizard Oz now owes its life to the IPA and its shadowy sponsors, though few would doubt that big tobacco is one of them.

It's the only explanation as to why do the reptiles do their best to help out a business designed to entrap and then kill its customers, often in slow and gruesome ways ...

By a curious irony and coincidence, another story highlighted just how much we now have a government run for and by the IPA and its shadowy sponsors:

If you read Fears for renewables grows, you'll find, inter alia, this:

Holmes a Court said Warburton asked “didn’t we feel foolish basing a whole business model on government largesse”. The “government largesse” being referred to was the renewable energy target (RET) that was first introduced by the Howard government, has enjoyed bipartisan support ever since and has attracted about $18bn in investment.

And behind Warburton's remark, you'll find a submission by the IPA:

...the Institute of Public Affairs (IPA) thinktank – which has long lobbied against the RET – has used a submission to the Warburton review to argue for its abolition, dismissing concerns that abolishing the RET would constitute “sovereign risk”. Like Warburton, the IPA suggests businesses should not have based investments on government “favours”.

Meanwhile, the world goes to hell in a handbasket,

But in all the confusion and chaos, the pond almost completely forgot about the Caterists, which it has to be said, is terribly easy to do.

It seems it's all the fault of the internet lynch mob that a Canadian made this ill-advised remark:

“I certainly have no sympathy for child molesters, but I do have some grave doubts about putting people in jail because of their taste in pictures. 
 “It is a real issue of personal liberty to what extent we put people in jail for doing something in which they do not harm another person.”

Which is an immensely stupid thing to say, since it's perfectly obvious that someone must have done harm to a child to put them in an image which a punter happens to be consume for their personal viewing pleasure.

It seems pointing out this sort of stupidity is now a thought crime of a nanny state kind.

Now it might be that the Canadian laws in question are problematic - the pond has never had a problem with Lolita or Bill Henson - but that's not what the in question Canadian said.

Instead he blathered on about freedom and personal liberty in the context of child porn. He might just as well have mentioned the nanny state taking away personal freedom and liberties.

Of course in attempting to defend the indefensible, the Caterist tries to have it both ways:

Perhaps this reflects our heightened revulsion at crimes against children and an enlightened awareness that the pornographic representation of a minor is never a victimless crime. 
 On the other hand, it could be a kneejerk reactionary response to a moral crusade about which the government wants to be seen to be “doing something”. Either way, there should be room for discussion, unless we are content to surrender public policy decisions to the irascible, tweeting rabble.

Uh huh:

...the pornographic representation of a minor is never a victimless crime. 

Quick, quick, that's a kneejerk reaction by nanny staters intent on moral crusades.

But here's the thing.

The real irascible rabble these days consists of irate Murdochians, day in day out waging a war against all and sundry, concocting stories in favour of big tobacco, and fellow travelling with the IPA as it goes about the business of climate denialism, while publishing endless libertarian alarmist diatribes about crusading nanny staters, which usually involve collateral attempts to blame the intertubes and twitter and social media for everything that's wrong in the world...

... though when you boil it down, the main crime the internet seems to have committed is to muck up the business plans of Roadshow and News Corp ...

And what's worse, all this nonsense is now peddled on the internet, and as the Media Watch story showed, ends up with those other megaphones, the media in the UK.

How silly does it get?

Well it's  really silly, especially when you read comments like this by someone on the internet responding to a piece published on the internet by the Caterists:

I think we are getting to a point where we can no longer have rational debate or discussion because of the autonomy of the internet and the ability it allows for people to be enraged over everything and express themselves in extreme ways to people they will never face.

What, like a journalist for Murdoch eavesdropping on a phone conversation? Or printing propaganda for the IPA? Or explaining how big tobacco is hard done by? Or joining the luddites in celebrating coal, coal, coal ...

How silly and post-modern ironic and IPA can it get?

Don't ask. It's a never ending parade of follies on the full to overflowing intertubes.

Yes, there's Gary Johns attempting to defend the indefensible, in 'Top gun' barristers do not own judicial appointments, inside the paywall because you have to pay for the pleasure of the indefensible defending the indefensible.

Yep, Johns is also an IPA man (oh if only he'd been around to scribble 'Top gun' cops do not own cop appointments, instead of the pond being confronted with headlines like Joh Bjelke-Petersen conspired to appoint corrupt Terry Lewis as Queensland police commissioner, forced video at end of link).

How silly does Johns get?

Senior barristers should fight hard behind closed doors, but remain silent after the whistle has blown full time. 
The Bar Association did not get its top gun, but it does not own the appointment. 

Yes, yes, it might all be a tad unsightly and unseemly, wot wot, but hey, never mind, the whistle has blown, the deal is done, and nudge nudge, wink wink, say no more ...

Uh huh. Tell that to Essendon ...

It's days like these that the pond comes to understand the inmates have been put in charge of the asylum ... or at least the IPA and The Australian ...

(Below: and speaking of Twitter, it turns out that First Dog has discovered it's full of interesting verifiable facts. More First Dog here).

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