Anonymous political comment illegal in Tasmania
Wednesday February 24th 2010, 3:44 pm

Seems that anonymous political comment is illegal in Tassie. Just as ill informed and unenforcible as Atkinson’s identically stupid law in SA.

What interest have government got in any political commenter’s identity, beyond retribution? If government don’t like a particular point of view, they can rebut. The answer to speech you don’t agree with is more speech, not repression through a chilling effect.

Anonymous political comment not just legal but a constitutionally protected form of speech in the USA (see Talley v California, 1960). Why is it any different in Australia’s liberal democracy?

When will Australian politicians FINALLY get a grip on the idea that control of internet content is beyond them?

You in Tassie? Want to discuss political matters anonymously? Feel free to post here on mgk.

-weez



How anti-vaccinators think
Sunday February 21st 2010, 5:24 pm

From ‘Health Danger’ Mike Adams’ website:

Well in character for anti-vax nutters to suggest machinegunning children. Considering all the harm and preventable deaths of children caused by attention seeking anti-vaccination liars, it’s no surprise. The ‘NaturalNews is opposed to violence’ disclaimer is as hollow as Adams’ conscience.

But then again, Adams never met a conspiracy theory he didn’t like.

Thanks for the insight, Mikey.

-weez



Mackillop cannonised
Thursday February 18th 2010, 9:43 pm

Any bets on the distance? I’d say about 300 metres. Nothing like a wimple to cut air resistance, unless you’re Sally Field.

How about bets on the increase in donations to the poverty-stricken Catholic church from Australians, who will soon have a home-team player in the saint marketing game? I mean, this dead chick cures cancer with old shreds of her clothing. That’s gotta be worth something, doesn’t it?

Sister Maria Casey opined:

Mary MacKillop was always confident that whatever happens, happens for the best.

Like getting cancer.

-weez



Hungrybeast: 80% of Australians want mandatory internet censorship? REALLY?
Thursday February 11th 2010, 1:58 pm

ABC’s HungryBeast commissioned McNair to poll 1000 Australians by telephone on whether they want mandatory internet censorship. Despite previous informal polling on December 15 2009 by the Sydney Morning Herald indicating 96% opposition to mandatory censorship…

…the HB/McNair poll indicated 80% in favour of mandatory censorship.

Oh?

What could possibly account for this major backflip?

Or was there a backflip?

The ABC ran an online poll after the HungryBeast episode aired… and despite a poorly publicised poll, conducted late in the evening, got this result:

There was no public opinion backflip- HungryBeast simply made the mistake of crafting the polling questions based on Conroy’s muddled description of Refused Classification.

RC is NOT just child porn, nor is it only ‘illegal’ material, but Conroy would like you to believe it is. Conroy has repeatedly characterised RC as “the worst of the worst,” failing to mention that a fair chunk of RC is simply the politically inexpedient. If Conroy succeeds in fooling the public about what RC is- and so far he has been successful- he’ll get compliance or at least apathy from the public at large as regards implementing mandatory internet censorship.

The definition of RC is so poorly understood by the general public that any HungryBeast/McNair survey question that used the term ‘Refused Classification’ (like this one) can safely be dismissed as invalid. HungryBeast themselves fell victim to one of the biggest furphys about the censorship scheme (the opening gag in the HB bit was about one fellow going home for his midday wank)- that it’s about porn. Ordinary X rated porn will not be filtered.

Naturally, if a survey asks ‘Would you be in favour of mandatory filtering of child pornography’, you’re going to get 100% in favor of filtering. I’m actually a bit shocked that Hungrybeast/McNair only got 80% in favour of censorship, given the public’s poor understanding of all the materials RC covers.

RC is SO broad that even Google, which kowtowed to China’s demands for censoring search results, won’t comply with Conroy’s demand to remove RC videos from YouTube. Conroy even lied in a recent interview and claimed Google WOULD comply and that YouTube were somehow masters of ‘deep packet inspection’ when they do not use it at all.

It’s incredibly hypocritical of Conroy to moan out of one side of his mouth that anti-censorship advocates compare his plan to repressive filtering regimes in China and Thailand, but out of the other side to proclaim “[Google] have experience in blocking material in other countries at the behest of Governments, including China, Thailand and a number of other countries.” Can’t have it both ways, Senator.

Now, HungryBeast, if you want to really be enlightened- do another survey- and ask people what they think RC covers.

-weez



No, you can’t
Tuesday February 09th 2010, 7:19 pm

Tony Abbott can mouth ‘Yes we can‘ until he vomits blue bile but it won’t make him into Barack Obama.

When Tony says it, my brain surreptitiously finishes his sentence:

Yes we can…

…tell women they’re just luverly with an inimitable smirk

impose my religion on women looking for abortion services

…keep control of RU486 away from the TGA because Jesus says it’s nayyyyysty

manufacture indignation at the drop of a hat

…be baldfaced hypocrites

Senator, you’re no Barack Obama. Stop embarrassing yourself.

-weez



iiNet wins ‘piracy’ case
Thursday February 04th 2010, 2:04 pm

yaaaarrrrrrrrh me heartiesWell, duh.

The police can’t fine Toyota when I double park, either.

AFACT was clutching at straws- and Justice Cowdroy made sure they know it by forcing them to pay iiNet’s costs.

Senator Conjob judged the outcome of the case just about as well as he’s judged mandatory internet censorship.

Conroy at the ATUG Awards, where, astonishingly, he was awarded the ‘Communicator of the Year‘ medal:

“I saw iiNet’s defence in court under oath … they have no idea if their customers are downloading illegally music or movies,” he said today at the Commsday summit in Sydney. “Stunning defence, stunning defence,” he continued in what appeared to be a sarcastic comment.

“I thought a defence in terms of ‘we had no idea’ … belongs in a Yes Minister episode.”

Shadow Communications Minister Nick Minchin, speaking afterwards, said he believed Conroy’s jibe was outrageous and only served to get back at iiNet for its exit from the government’s ISP filtering trial. “I have to say his handling of his promise [the National Broadband Network] is much more typical of what you would see on Yes Minister,” Minchin said.

[...]

“The capacity to ignore what the customers are doing and claim no responsibility is being tested in court right now,” [Conroy] said. “It could be a ground-breaking case.”

Ground-breaking indeed. Just not the ground Reichsminister Conroy wanted broken.

ISPs shouldn’t be forced to police copyright infringements, any more than they should be forced to police the content Australians view on the ‘net.

-weez



Anonymous political comment criminalised in South Australia
Tuesday February 02nd 2010, 5:10 am

Sieg heil!I detest frivolous use the ‘fascist’ label. Most of the time, it’s flopped out by people who don’t have any idea of what it means and thus apply it to anyone with whom they merely disagree, not just to people who act in a dictatorial or autocratic manner.

Here’s how Webster’s defines the word:

Main Entry: fas┬Ěcism
Pronunciation: \fa-shi-zm also fa-si-\
Function: noun
Etymology: Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces
Date: 1921

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control

Unwarranted use of the term dilutes its meaning for the times when it is a completely reasonable, justifiable and accurate descriptor of a politician, like South Australia’s Labor Party Attorney General Michael Atkinson, not to mention the SA Liberal opposition who supported this uninformed- and unenforcible- rubbish:

Labor gags internet debate

Article from: The Advertiser
MICHAEL MCGUIRE

February 02, 2010 12:01am

SOUTH Australia has become one of the few states in the world to censor the internet.

The new law, which came into force on January 6, requires internet bloggers, and anyone making a comment on next month’s state election, to publish their real name and postcode when commenting on the poll.

The law will affect anyone posting a comment on an election story on The Advertiser’s AdelaideNow website, as well as other news sites such as The Punch, the ABC’s The Drum and Fairfax newspapers’ National Times site.

It also appears to apply to election comment made on social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

The law, which was pushed through last year as part of a raft of amendments to the Electoral Act and supported by the Liberal Party, also requires media organisations to keep a person’s real name and full address on file for six months, and they face fines of $5000 if they do not hand over this information to the Electoral Commissioner.

The Right to Know Coalition, made up of Australia’s major media outlets including News Limited, publisher of The Advertiser, has called the new laws “draconian”.

“This is one of the most troubling erosions of the right to free speech in Australia for many years,” Right to Know spokeswoman Creina Chapman said.

BEAT THE CENSOR: Have your say now. Normal moderation rules apply – until the writs for the March 20 election are issued. [Ed.- Note with amusement the anonymous comments placed by dolts who support this stupidity. Irony much?]

THE ADVERTISER EDTIORIAL: CENSORING FREE SPEECH IN THE SECRET STATE

“It is a fundamental principle of our democracy that voters are able to express personal views about the competing claims of political candidates without the fear that they might end up on a hit list held by a government whose policies they may have opposed.

“Isn’t the whole point of public debate that it is public and that Australians, including South Australians, are smart enough to read or listen to the views of others and make up their own minds?”

Ms Chapman also pointed out that newspaper blogs such as AdelaideNow were moderated and publishers and broadcasters took responsibility for the material they published.

Attorney-General Michael Atkinson denied that the new law was an attack on free speech.

“The AdelaideNow website is not just a sewer of criminal defamation, it is a sewer of identity theft and fraud,” Mr Atkinson said.

“There is no impinging on freedom of speech, people are free to say what they wish as themselves, not as somebody else.”

Mr Atkinson also said he expected The Advertiser to target him for sponsoring the law. “I am also certain that Advertiser Newspapers and News Limited will punish me personally, viciously for being the attorney-general responsible for this law,” he said.

“You will publish false stories about me, invent things about me to punish me.” [Ed.- there's no need. Your own accurate quotations damn you pretty effectively]

The Advertiser’s editor, Melvin Mansell, said: “Clearly this is censorship being implemented by a government facing an election.

“The effect of that is that many South Australians are going to be robbed of their right of freedom of speech during this election campaign.

“The sad part is that this widespread suppression is supported by the Opposition.

“Neither of these parties are representing the people for whom they have been elected to govern.”

While Tasmania has similar provisions, it is believed the SA law is the most heavy-handed in Australia.

The SA law also differs from federal legislation, which preserves the right of internet users to blog under a pseudonym.

The new legislation could also apply to talkback radio.

The law will apply as soon as the writs for the March 20 election are issued. The writs for the election can be issued any time between now and 25 days before the election. The law will then lapse at 6pm on polling day.

Mt Atkinson said there was no intention to broaden the law to take it beyond the period of elections.

Similar laws have been in use in South Korea for some time and China also introduced a similar requirement last year.

Opposition justice spokeswoman Vickie Chapman said yesterday while the Liberal Party had supported the amendment to the Electoral Act, she believed it would be too broad to implement if it included Facebook and Twitter and said Mr Atkinson should introduce a regulation to limit its scope.

“It is clearly not the intention of what we understood that to be,” she said.

Australian Council for Civil Liberties president Terry O’Gorman predicted the new laws would have a “chilling” effect on free speech and said South Australia was building a reputation as a secretive state.

“Freedom of speech is generally not high on the agenda for (the South Australian Government) in any given 12-month period.”

John Quiggin, a long-time blogger and Research Fellow in Economics and Political Science at the University of Queensland, doubted whether the laws were enforceable.

“They can pass as draconian law as they like, but without the capacity to impose their own internet censorship it’s going to be a dead lemon,” he said.

“Anyone who wants to can set up an anonymous blog.”

“It will be totally ineffectual with someone who sets up a WordPress blog post in the US under a false name and publish whatever they want.”

Atkinson has demonstrated a profound misunderstanding of the internet, hasn’t he?

When government criminalises speech to vainly attempt to protect itself from criticism, or worse, to try to win an election, they’ve waaaay overstepped the mark.

Well, you know what? Fuck Godwin. Michael Atkinson is a FASCIST, as is anyone else who supported this profoundly anti-democratic legislation.

Do you live in South Australia? Please, comment anonymously on mgk about these ratbags all you want- and vote for any non-ALP or Liberal candidates.

Note to South Australia Government: mgk is published via a webhosting service in the USA, for a damn good reason- and that is, in the main, to be out of reach of government censorship of political speech in Australia. I absolutely will not cooperate in release of any information about anonymous commenters. I will not just ignore, but will actively defy any demand to comply with this stupid law. Come and get me, if you think you can.

Australia needs a constitutional Bill of Rights- RIGHT NOW.

-weez