And that means, ladies, that if you bring any children into the world you are in fact bringing them into the world on behalf of the state, and as you lie exhausted and drained and drenched in sweat by the effort of childbirth, and as the hours of labour and the straining of both your body and your entire vocabulary of swearwords is swept away by new maternal feelings as you see and hear and touch for the first time that being you have created within yourself, the state would very much like you to fucking remember whose kid it really is and how they’re to be brought up. So tits out for the sprogs, girls, because breast is best and the state’s drones want to ensure you don’t have any other option.
A CONTROVERSIAL call to make infant formula available only on prescription to boost breastfeeding rates has merit, the Australian Breastfeeding Association says.
A Melbourne expert argues that infant formula should be available only on prescription to boost breast feeding rates.
Doctors say a push to restrict infant formula could create difficult hurdles for young mums.
But association spokeswoman Kate Mortensen said RMIT University expert Jennifer James’ proposal had merit and should definitely be seriously looked at.
Ms Mortensen also backed Dr James’ proposed ban on infant formula manufacturers marketing their products to the public.
Yes, this is still bottle milk formula we’re talking about, not tobacco.
“We support more support for mothers in general because most mothers do want to breastfeed, and they’re able to with better support and better information,” [Kate Mortenson] said.
It sounds like she’s nicked half the supports for that Delhi footbridge. Look, Kate, our species is about 200,000 years old and our ape-man antecedents go back maybe twenty times that, and in those thousands of years we’ve managed get along without any need of support for support in support of breast feeding. We’re good at the whole sex and child rearing thing, including breast feeding infants. We’re so good at breeding and raising children that we managed to rebuild the population from possibly as low as a couple of thousand individuals 70,000 odd years ago to its current 7 billion despite war, famine and disease wiping out uncountable millions of us in the meantime. Individuals may not be, which in the past meant they’d be unsuccessful at raising children and in the present means they’ll buy formula, but as a species we’re bloody good at rearing replacement humans not only without supportive types supporting supportive efforts of support but, for much of that time, without a even a language with which to offer any bloody support. Christ, my cat managed, and in her case six million years of evolution has produced a creature that, while capable of surprising affection, is also so daft that she’ll walk over the food in the near side of the dish to see if the stuff on the other side tastes better. Thick as two Planck length planks, I’m telling you. But despite being dense enough to bend light she still managed to feed a litter of kittens without some bossy tortoiseshell earth mother cat offering support for support of support to support her. In a supportive way.
I’ve got no problem with Kate Mortenson or Dr Jennifer James or anyone else thinking that breast is better. Hell, I’m prepared to believe it probably is better since we’ve evolved for it and it for us, whereas drinking cow juice and formula is a very recent move. And I have no problem with that information being put out there and I have no problem with trying to remove social barriers that might discourage breast feeding. Obviously in an ideal world everyone would just be able to look at breasts very functionally and mothers could simply feed whenever and wherever they needed to without anyone being bothered, but the world is not ideal and breasts do have a sexual significance. Sorry, sisters, but they do, and denying it is not dealing with it. And so prudes will complain about the dreaded breast while most of us men will either try to sneak a peek or look in absolutely every direction but the breast feeding mother unless forced to, and even then we’ll try to look at a point at least twenty feet above her head. Yes, I am one of those, and yes, I realise that while it’s a lot less embarrassing for her than staring straight at them and going, ‘Phwoar’ it’s still going to make the poor girl feel self concious. It’s often embarrassing for the mum and for men around her doing their best to respect both her privacy and her right to do one of the most natural things she ever will. We all know it shouldn’t be, but it is. A very brave girl might go to extremes and bare her breasts with the announcement that the gents have a few minutes to admire the view after which she’s going to feed her child, thank you very much, and she’d deserve nothing less than a twenty minute standing ovation for it. Others would be mortified at the thought and choose – the operative word, for the benefit of Jen and Kate – choose a more private environment. Probably the majority these days take the middle ground of lifting tee shirts or undoing some buttons and ignoring the extra attention drawn by what is really a pretty modest amount of skin being exposed, and there are even products available to help with that. Not surprisingly the breast zealots (is ‘brealots’ a word?) disapprove of them.
Nursing covers – the postnatal clothing accessory designed to allow mothers to breastfeed “discreetly” – are becoming an increasingly common sight as mothers cover up for fear of accidentally flashing a bare breast or midriff in public.
Mothers and breastfeeding experts are firmly divided over whether they are a wonderful idea or a step back to the Dark Ages.
Firmly in the “pro” camp is Murrumbeena mother Rebecca Azzopardi, who says her Peek a Boob cover allows her to feed six-month-old daughter Maya in situations where she might otherwise feel too self-conscious.
“I’m not ashamed of breastfeeding, but [the cover] is something that comes in handy when I’m out in public by myself, or even when I’m in a group with some male friends or around people that I think might feel uncomfortable,” she says.
“For example, I used it at the doctor’s surgery the other day. I had to feed her in front of quite a few older men and I thought they would probably be a bit embarrassed to see me breastfeeding. It comes in handy for those times when you’re not sure how people are going to react.”
Fair enough. She wants to breast feed and has chosen – Kate, Jennifer – chosen to buy a product that means she’s comfortable doing it in places where otherwise she’d rather not. Sorry the world’s not perfect yet but in the meantime isn’t something that gets more women who want to breast feed actually doing it a good thing? Apparently not.
Oh, gosh, what a surprise.
Jennifer James, a senior lecturer in breastfeeding at RMIT and a lactation consultant for 28 years, believes breastfeeding covers only reinforce the idea that nursing women should cover up.
“It’s time that women stood up and said, ‘Sorry, don’t like it? Then look away’,” she says.
As I said, it takes a brave girl. Or possibly just one more intent on making the point than feeding the baby.
“It also sends an incredibly negative message to the baby.”
What, more negative than, ‘Sorry about lunch, kid, but your mother’s tits are political now’?
Breastfeeding is meant to be a very interactive thing. When they are awake and feeding they are learning, so if you cover them up with a tent, the baby loses that contact with the world.
Oh, come on. What about the millions and millions of us who were born at a time when mothers had to leave the room? Did we all lose that contact with the world, and if so did we miss out? Or did it all take place at an age where we couldn’t even focus on the world, which we would entirely forget within five or six years, and actually had few desires anyway beyond mum, milk, cuddles and not being in our own shit for too much of the day? I’ll credit the Australian Breastfeeding Association spokesbrealot – not Kate this time – with being a bit more practical.
Australian Breastfeeding Association spokeswoman Karen Ingram says there are arguments for and against the cover-up range.
“We need to be really clear that women don’t need to cover themselves while they are breastfeeding and by law they are allowed to breastfeed anywhere, any time, whether they have a cover over their baby or not,” she says. “But for some mums it does help. Whatever assists the mum to breastfeed her baby should be accepted.”
Quite. It’s simply a matter of choice, and if the brealots are right that most mothers want to breast feed – and again I suspect they are – then given half a chance those mothers are likely to make that choice of their own volition. Ideally there’d be boobs on every street corner (and not a car crash to be heard) as women exercise their right to breast feed anywhere, but in this less than perfect world some women would rather minimise the exposure of their breasts.
But the ultimate sin against the sacred boob is that other women don’t do it at all and buy formula milk instead. There are lots of different reasons why but again it boils down to a personal choice, the most offensive c-word in the vocabulary of the righteous. Choice is bad when the wrong choice might be chosen, so what Dr James and her ABA pal Kate want to do is to make breast feeding the only approved choice – approved by them and, since they want the law to remove the option of formula for any woman whose nipples aren’t sufficiently wrecked to convince a doctor to write a ‘scrip’, approved ultimately by the state itself.
So let’s just imagine a scenario where this actually comes about and let’s imagine what the results will be when, for whatever reasons – and the actual reason is none of our business – some women want to bottle feed their babies. ‘Breast is best’ is already orthodoxy and there’s an element who’ll judge and criticise mothers who’ve chosen bottle, which must make them feel really good about themselves if they’ve tried to breast feed and given up with cracked nipples or just didn’t produce enough. So let’s imagine that formula milk is basically off limits to anyone who is feeding a baby and who isn’t in fact a man. How many will feel judged and looked on as failures, inadequate mothers, by society and by their peers and by the medical profession itself because the orthodoxy of breast is best is even stronger than now? How many of them will go to the doctor to ask for the government permission slip to buy formula milk, and how many will be too embarrassed and ashamed to? How many will be bullied and cajoled or shamed into carrying on as best they can despite pain and discomfort, or a possibly underfed baby? How many of them will actually have to beg milk, breast or formula, on the QT from their most trusted friends or relatives? And how long will it be before a black market supplies that which Dr Jennifer James and Kate Mortenson want to have put beyond the casual reach of mothers, and the nourishment of a significant minority of babies becomes reliant on the activity of criminals?
Ridiculous? Impossible? Not at all. Why wouldn’t there be when there’s already a black market in breast milk?
A BLACK market in breast milk has developed in Australia as families desperate to feed their babies the natural elixir are being charged up to $1000 a litre on the internet.
A thousand bucks? ‘Elixir’ had better be right. That’s… that’s… that’s more than petrol for God’s sake. Does it come in a 24ct gold bottle? Was it expressed by Scarlett Johansson? It’s MILK, not cocaine.
One mother contacted the Gold Coast based Mother’s Milk Bank to ask what the real “going rate” was for breast milk after online sharks demanded the extortionate amount when she placed a web advert seeking human milk.
Mother’s Milk Bank director Marea Ryan told her that the not-for-profit bank sold milk for $50 for 1.2 litres.
“I think it is increasing more and more as people become a lot more aware of the benefits of breastfeeding,” Ms Ryan said.
Or as they’re increasingly made to feel like lousy parents if they’re buying formula.
“It is very dangerous because in an unregulated fashion there are no checks and balances, the milk would not have been tested for viruses and bacteria,” Dr James said.
Well, yeah, obviously, but … hang on, Dr who?
“Women are being put in this insidious position because of a lack of breast milk banks nationally.”
Which will be the same as if government controls the supply of formula. But what did you say your name was again?
“They have no option but to look outside the system.”
Exactly what I’ve said will happen if women have no free choice between breast and formula. In fact it sounds like you’ll not only create a black market but you’ll boost an existing one. And sorry, but I’m sure you said your name was Dr James, am I right?
RMIT (Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology) lactation expert Dr Jennifer James said she was aware of the growing unregulated black market.
It is you! Bloody hell, Jen, you may know more than I will ever care to about lactation but how the hell can the likelihood of a formula black market escape you when you’ve got the evidence of a breast milk black market in front of your face? It’s demand and supply – what the fuck did you expect was going to happen when you inflate that demand by nagging about breast milk all the bloody time?
The risky practice has increased with the advent of the internet where women advertise their milk for sale.
[sarcasm]No? I’m in shock.[/sarcasm] And her solution?*
Dr James said there should be breast milk banks in all major hospitals but blamed inconsistent legislation for making them difficult to set up.
“In some states it is classified as a food while in others it is human tissue or bodily fluids,” she said. “The milk bank at the Royal Prince Alfred in Sydney had to close down because it was classified as bodily fluid. We need nationally consistent guidelines.”
Ah, yes, of course. The answer is central government. The answer is always central government, especially when it comes to raising future generations of the taxpayers that are essential to governments’ own survival.
Quite often I blog with a slight element of despair because someone has suggested giving government even more power to intrude and micromanage lives, and rather than howling them down vast numbers of people begin to nod and mumble that yes, it would be just super if the government would monitor and rule on the minutiae of their existence, and yours and mine and everyone else’s too because the government have to do it for/to everybody. Happily, stepping between mums and their children looks to be one step too far (my emphasis).
Avondale Heights mum Christine Rookas said it should be a mother’s choice whether to breast feed or not.
“I would be very frightened and afraid to think that formula will be prescribed,” Ms Rookas said.
“I think there’s already a paranoia for mothers. They feel guilty enough about using formula milk.”
… other mums who commented on the heraldsun.com.au were scathing about Dr James’s suggestion.
“What do these people know about every person’s situation?,” Dee said in a post at 12.57am this morning.
“Unless you are in a situation such as my family, please don’t speak for us. Don’t push your ideas on us if you haven’t walk in our shoes. These are personal decision that is made (sic) by each individual.“
They are woman, Jennifer, hear them roar: ‘Piss off and leave us alone’. You would force mothers into breast feeding despite the fact that many would choose to do so anyway, even if many of them would rather keep their breasts covered up instead of partaking in the open display of maternalism that you advocate. Surely it’s best if mums can find whatever level of exposure or screening they as individuals are comfortable with and then carry on with the job of getting milk down babies’ throats, which I thought was the whole idea. But if you get government to intervene, if you get it literally to lay down the law on how babies must be fed and to force mothers, who by nature overwhelmingly want the best they can do for their children anyway, to breast feed regardless of whether they’re comfortable, then once again government takes away a little bit of our ownership of ourselves. Parents may still conceive their children and mothers may still give birth to them, but the state, which already demands so much control over a child’s upbringing and education and yes, diet too, will also control how they are fed from birth. With that level of needless interference over both of them how much could a new mother honestly say that her child, and even her breasts and milk, are hers and not the governments?
I’m sure your intentions are the best, Dr James, but the road to hell is paved with many more like them.
* That is the process which will solve the issue, not her personal solution. That’d be yucky and not what I want to think of when I’m about to get a milky cup of tea.
Many years ago I bought a car. In fact it was my first car, and I was moderately pleased with myself because it was fairly cheap. However, it was also a Fiat and nearly everyone I knew told me that Fiats had a reputation for being a bit useless. ‘If it starts first time it’ll never make it all the way to where you’re going,’ they said. ‘It stands for Fix It Again Tomorrow,’ they said. ‘Don’t for Christ’s sake buy that bloody Fiat,’ they said. And although many journeys were completed without it breaking down, proving that there was a lot of hyperbole in what I’d been told, it was nonetheless true that these were broken up by periods of absolute rage and misery because the fucking thing was off the road for some reason or other. Even when it was working it seemed there was always something that needed to be fixed, even if it was more an annoyance than an actual hindrance. There were probably good Fiats around (I had a decent Fiat years later) but this one was a dog.
It wasn’t as bad as I’d been told it would be but I had been warned it’d be a dog and it was. And who’s to blame? Who was responsible for inflicting the bastard thing on me? Who should have paid the price for my misfortune? Only one name comes up, a certain Mr A Exile. I chose to ignore advice and buy a car with a poor reputation just because it was a cheap set of wheels, and neglected to consider that the everything between those cheap wheels might be more demanding and less stable than Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction.
|Oil pressure light.|
And I did indeed pay the price, literally and figuratively, for not listening to advice. Caveat emptor, as the Romans said, meaning ‘you bought it, tough shit’. Nobody made me do it and I did so knowing that others had advised me against it. There is nothing to be done in this situations but accept it and move on, though bizarrely some don’t see it that way.
Labour have failed in an eleventh-hour attempt to get compensation for people who bought ID cards as MPs approved legislation to scrap them.
It had to be Labour, didn’t it? The party with absolutely no concept of people being responsible for their own decisions.
Shadow ministers wanted people who own cards to be refunded, saying they had bought them in “good faith”.
Like I did with that car? Look, sometimes you just have to accept that you’ve made a bad decision. It’s part of being human and imperfect, and when all it’s really cost you is thirty quid and some face I’d suggest you’ve got the benefit of an important life lesson for a bargain price. Refunds? Pah!
Labour’s Denis MacShane, a cardholder himself, said his money was effectively being “confiscated” and said if someone’s house had been taken by the state, that would get recompense.
Demonstrating that Labour also has little grasp of what happens when you buy something. In return for getting something you want or think you need you give your money away. It is not confiscated, and since governments and politicians in general and socialists in particular are experts at confiscating money I find it very disappointing that Denis McShane is unable to tell the difference. You still have your card, Denis. What you are unhappy about is that it has become worthless and without any useful function, even though many felt they always were and it was never a secret that the ID card scheme would be scrapped if Labour lost the election. The value of pointless government shit may go down as well as up.
… SNP MP Pete Wishart said it was “tough luck” on card owners as they had made an informed choice to buy one.
“We have to be absolutely and abundantly clear with this – ID cards are exclusively and solely a New Labour creation,” he said. “All other parties in this House made it absolutely clear that we would have nothing whatsoever to do with them.”
Ministers say cardholders were aware they would be invalidated with a change of government.
Quite. But if McShane wants to press the point maybe it would be worth conceding that perhaps both parties should settle up.
Rejecting calls for compensation, Immigration Minister Damian Green said the scheme had cost £292m but fewer than 15,000 cards had been issued – equivalent to £20,000 per card.
“This is by any standards a scandalous waste of money which lies squarely at the door of ministers in the previous government,” he said.
“We don’t see why the taxpayer should have to pay out yet again.”
No, but here’s a thought. Denis McShane and nearly 15,000 other pricks who wanted ID cards got them in the face of all the opposition and in the knowledge that their future wasn’t assured, and they got the rest of the country to bloody pay for it all. Compensation, Denis? Sure, but first let’s discuss the 19,970 quid difference between the cost of the card you wanted and what it cost the rest of the country. Alternatively you could just grow up, accept the fact that you made a poor buying decision that is your responsibility and your’s alone, and shut the fuck up.
H/T Looking For A Voice.
This morning I noticed that this year old story in The Australian on the ‘soft totalitarianism’ of modern Britain, which has had a permanent link on my sidebar for ages, is suddenly the 8th most read article. How come, wonders I. Could it be that the news of Gordon Brown’s ‘bigot’ gaff and the talk of the TV debates has generated a renewed interest in what’s going on in the old country among British expats and Aussies of British descent? That was certainly my first thought, but then I over at Leg-iron’s blog I noticed that his blogging on the Australian federal government’s plan to de-brand tobacco packaging had attracted this comment.
It’s a shame there aren’t more writers like this bloke in both countries: Thought police muscle up in Britain
Since it made the most read list during the night while most here would have been asleep I’m now wondering if Leg-iron, his smoky drinky blog and readership, and an anonymous commenter gave it a boost, especially as two hours later it’s no longer on the list. I’ll never know but I hope so, because I still feel that it’s an article everyone in Britain should read before they put an X on a bit of paper this coming Thursday. There might well be nobody on most people’s ballot papers who wants to do something about it but that’s not going to change unless many moree become aware of the creeping influence of the real life Thought Police and are prepared to shout:
Just over five months ago I blogged that as a result of the Lisbon Constitreaty coming into force I now call Australia home.
Why? Because for all practical purposes the country in which I was born no longer exists and Australia is all I am left with. I was born English and British in the same sense than someone can be born a Londoner or a Lancastrian, or for that matter Norman or Bavarian or Tuscan, but England and the UK no longer exist because the Czechs have dropped their opposition to the EU Constitreaty:
Vaclav Klaus, the only European Union leader who has still not signed the document, said he could not wait for a British general election next year which could lead to a Tory government and a possible referendum to bury the Treaty.
Mr Klaus said: “The train carrying the treaty is going so fast and it’s so far that it can’t be stopped or returned, no matter how much some of us would want that.”
Oh fuck it.
And that’s desperately sad not just because in the back of my mind the UK was always there to return to if Australia didn’t work out for me, but because millions of people who want to think of themselves as British, to say nothing of those French, Germans, Spanish, Italians etc. who feel love and pride and patriotism towards their respective countries, can just fucking forget it from now on. It may not look it yet but Britain is dead.
So the choice is made for me. Home is here in Oz by my own decision to move here, but it could have been the UK once again in the future. Not now though. I can never go to that home again because it’s not really there anymore. It is an ex-country.
Once or twice before then I’d blogged on some outrageous Orwellian move on the part of Her Majesty’s Repulsive Bunch of Self Serving, Nest Feathering, Deceitful Cunts and said that it made me want to go no closer than Calais, but as a result of the EU’s ever closer integration we now have a good reason to steer clear of the whole fucking continent.
MILLIONS of Britons face being snooped on by a new European intelligence agency which has been handed frightening powers to pry into our lives.
Europol can access personal information on anyone – including their political opinions and sexual preferences – if it suspects, rightly or wrongly, that they may be involved in any “preparatory act” which could lead to criminal activity.
It is understood the agency will concentrate on anyone thought “xenophobic” or likely to commit a crime involving the environment, computers or motor vehicles.
This could include covert monitoring of people who deny the existence of climate change or speak out on controversial issues.
This is genuinely worrying and goes further than my most tinfoil hatted dreams. Sean Gabb of the Libertarian Alliance, at whose blog I picked this up, says:
“It doesn’t surprise me that Europol has been handed these rather frightening powers,… We now live in a pan-European state so it was to be expected that it would have a federal police force with powers over us….There is a real danger that opposition to EU policies could make an individual liable to arrest…. For example, if Brussels adopts a hard-line stance on climate change, it’s conceivable that someone who broadcasts their scepticism of climate change may be accused of committing an environmental crime because they have undermined the EU’s efforts to save mankind.”
The Angry Exile says, ‘Fuck Calais, it’s somewhere in southern Norway now, possibly Switzerland if Mrs Exile wants chocolate.’
As with all these things the worry is not so much a government of today which is granting itself these powers with a kind of ‘just in case’ attitude, but the unknown governments of the future who may decide to abuse these powers for their own benefit. But even before that there is a worry for the here and now: ‘mission creep’ as the machinery of state, the various little cogs and wheels with their quotas of toothbrush moustached cunts in high-viz jackets whose empty lives are made more full by exercising these powers over the little people, will take it upon itself to use these powers more and more and for a wider range of situations than was ever envisaged.
And what have the 300+ million people in Europe got to protect them from this? The European Commission, the European Parliament, and the national parliaments that have already ceded power to the above, that’s what.
They’re fucked, aren’t they? Welcome to Stasiland, Istanbul to the Atlantic Coast.
Officers will be allowed to intercept any suspicious mail anywhere in the country and open it before it is delivered, under plans being drawn up by the Government to amend the Postal Services Act.
The measure is billed as a bid to crack down on tobacco smuggling. However, a HM Revenue and Customs spokesman said the powers could be applied much more widely.
Currently, Royal Mail staff have a legal right to intercept suspicious letters and parcels in mail centres and sorting offices and pass them to HM Revenue and Customs.
Tax inspectors must then notify the addressee and agree a mutually acceptable time to open the letter or parcel, before deciding whether to take any enforcement acdtion.
However the Government is now proposing to remove the legal requirement which will now allow inspectors to open suspicious post without asking permission first.
Like Guthrum at the LPUK blog I’m confident that they won’t abuse the privilege for, oooooh, it’d have to be minutes at the very least.
Google does plenty that’s attracted criticism and to be honest some of it is probably merited. However on this they deserve a standing ovation.
Google says it will not “voluntarily” comply with the [Australian] government’s request that it censor YouTube videos in accordance with broad “refused classification” (RC) content rules.
Go Google! You tell ’em… but by the way, who was asking you to, as if I couldn’t guess?
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy…
Oh, surprise surfuckingprise. Senator Stephen bloody Conroy again. Regular readers (if I have any) may recognise this as a name that crops up in my rantings on a semi regular basis. I’d link to a few of them but it’s got to the point now where I think the bastard deserves his own tag – Censortor Conroy (believe me, I was sorely tempted to use ‘Senator Cuntboy’). Anyway, I digress.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy referred to Google’s censorship on behalf of the Chinese and Thai governments in making his case for the company to impose censorship locally.
Can you believe this fuckwit? Look you vile, authoritarian, smear of excrement, do you really want to use China as Australia’s role model? It’s a country where non-violent crimes such as tax evasion or official fraud can get you executed* and, if such stories are to be believed, having shot you in the head for whatever it was you may have done the state sends your family an invoice for the bullet. It’s a country where you, Stephen, would find life difficult – as a practicing Catholic you would be unable to occupy your current job since they’d expect you to be an atheist, and helping to slot your mates into nice jobs might be on the list of things that would get you slotted as well. It’s a country where the idea of being able to criticise the government freely and without fear of retribution is a distant fantasy. Of course, for all I know that last one might sort of appeal to you. On top of everything else the argument that Google did it for China is weakened by Google’s recent threat to clear off and leave China to it, even if censorship isn’t the exact reason behind it.
Google warns this would lead to the removal of many politically controversial, but harmless, YouTube clips.
University of Sydney associate professor Bjorn Landfeldt, one of Australia’s top communications experts, said that to comply with Conroy’s request Google “would have to install a filter along the lines of what they actually have in China”.
Which is pretty much what Conroy has been planning to inflict on Australian ISPs for a while now.
In an interview with the ABC’s Hungry Beast, which aired last night, Conroy said applying ISP filters to high-traffic sites such as YouTube would slow down the internet, “so we’re currently in discussions with Google about … how we can work this through”.
You can’t and you know it. You can only make the internet slower and more expensive for everyone in Australia.
“What we’re saying is, well in Australia, these are our laws and we’d like you to apply our laws,” Conroy said.
You high and mighty prick. They’re not an Australian company and the content which you claim breaks our laws – and incidentally you’ve got a cheek saying that without having even tried to prosecute anyone for it – might not have broken any local laws where it was loaded. Why the fuck should they be interested in our laws? Try to understand how the internet works, will you. You cannot control it any more than you can control the thoughts of the billions of individuals around the world with internet access – for all practical purposes the two are the same thing. What good are our laws, though the reality is they are more your laws imposed on the rest of us, if they’re fucking unenforceable? You might as well pass a law banning the emailing of dirty jokes not just in Australia but anywhere.
Fortunately Google aren’t playing ball.
“YouTube has clear policies about what content is not allowed, for example hate speech and pornography, and we enforce these, but we can’t give any assurances that we would voluntarily remove all Refused Classification content from YouTube,” [Google Australia’s head of policy, Iarla Flynn] said.
“The scope of RC is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information. RC includes the grey realms of material instructing in any crime from [painting] graffiti to politically controversial crimes such as euthanasia, and exposing these topics to public debate is vital for democracy.”
Slightly disappointing that Flynn didn’t simply ask why enforcing this particular area of the law was the duty of a private company rather than the various services and agencies for which the Aussie taxpayers have already paid. Again it suggests the law is unenforceable and prompts the question of what the fuck was the point in us all being forced to fucking pay for it.
Asked for further comment, a Google Australia spokeswoman said that, while the company “won’t comply voluntarily with the broad scope of all RC content”, it would comply with the relevant laws in countries it operates in.
However, if Conroy includes new YouTube regulations in his internet filtering legislation, it is not clear if these would apply to Google since YouTube is hosted overseas.
“They [Google] don’t control the access in Australia – all their equipment that would do this is hosted overseas … and I would find it very hard to believe that the Australian government can in any way force an American company to follow Australian law in America,” Landfeldt said.
“Quite frankly it would really not be workable … every country in the world would come to Google and say this is what you need to do for our country. You would not be able to run the kind of services that Google provides if that would be the case.”
Frankly you could have stopped with the point that Australia can’t enforce its laws outside its borders.
This week the Computer Research and Education Association (CORE) put out a statement on behalf of all Australasian computer science lecturers and professors opposing the government’s internet filtering policy.
They said the filters would only block a fraction of the unwanted material available on the internet, be inapplicable to many of the current methods of online content distribution and create a false sense of security for parents.
CORE said the blacklist could be used by current and future governments to restrict freedom of speech, while those determined to get around the filters and access nasty content could do so with ease.
In fairness to Senator Conrod (lots of noise and energy spent going up and down and round and round) I believe he honestly thinks this idea of his is in everyone’s best interests and does not intend that it should be used to restrict freedom of speech. He’s a fully paid up member of the god squad and I’m sure it’s just morally iffy stuff he has a problem with. But I in turn have a problem with that since I’m strongly opposed to government at any level acting as any kind of moral authority. If you want morality lessons don’t go to the fucking government, go to church (synagogue, temple, mosque, whatever). Or better yet, sit down and nut it out for yourselves instead of being someone else’s brain slave. As night follows day when governments begin imposing the morality of government ministers on their citizens freedoms are lost and liberty suffers, which is why it’s one of the vast and increasing number of things that they absolutely must not be allowed to do.
Conroy might not want to restrict my freedom of speech as such, but if I want to make a YouTube video on topics like abortion or euthanasia and assisted suicide then he might do it anyway. Worse, far worse, once the legal framework is in place his successors will have the legal ability and the fucking precedent to really fuck us up.
It’s got to stop.
* Not being Chinese must be a huge relief to certain British MPs and Lords.
As I said yesterday it might well be bullshit, and since the refutation by BAA rests on the pretty easy to verify point that the scanners don’t have any means to store or print images I’m inclined to believe them. However, with mobile phone cameras being so ubiquitous (someone told me a few years ago that technically the best selling camera manufacturer in the world at the time was Nokia) I can’t see the lack of printing or recording facilities on the scanner equipment itself being much of a hurdle to overcome. Presumably there are other policies and procedures that are there to prevent someone whipping out their mobile and grabbing a few pics of what’s on the screen but ultimately it comes down to telling the staff not to do it and trusting that they don’t. Sure, you could make them leave their phones in lockers or something but you’d need to search them to be sure they haven’t smuggled in one you don’t know about. Even if you did that a determined individual could probably get around it. I’ve seen spy cameras convincingly disguised as pens for less than this example, and preventing something that size from being smuggled in would require a more thorough search of both individual staff and the items they bring in with them. We’d move from asking who watches the watchers to wondering who searches those who search us.
Of course all this misses the point completely. I don’t want to belabour the point I made yesterday but the overwhelming majority of flyers are just people with a need or desire to be somewhere else more quickly than other forms of transport can manage. As the Israelis have shown it’s not necessary to scan everyone. As German TV has shown it’s not always effective. And it’s self evident from wandering around an airport terminal and looking at all the people staring at their third hour on the receiving end of suspicion and distrust that it’s not fucking desirable.*
Stop fucking about and treating us as if we are all a threat – and worse, subjecting everyone to the same indignities as the tiny number of people you think might actually be terrorists so as to appear sensitive to racial and cultural issues – and start trying to identify the tiny number of fucknuts who really are dangerous. It’s worth re-iterating how good at this the Israelis have become and how, despite all our security theatre, the religious nutters still seem to prefer playing their games with American and western carriers to El Al. You shouldn’t need to be a fucking security expert to take a punt at what that means.
* People might say they support it when selected to take part in a survey and asked carefully worded questions, even when they’ve flown before and already know what a miserable fucking experience it’s become. But I doubt many of them saw it that way when they’ve finally got to board their flight after hours of checks and scans and questions, and I wonder how many of them know that the Israeli model is an alternative.
Two non surprises over airport security recently. First is that the new body scanners are going to be inflicted on us here in Australia as well as the rest of the free-for-a-given-value-of-‘free’ world that is governed by knee jerk politics and poll obsessed fuckwits. Second, the first claims of abuse of the system and the copying and circulation of images have already emerged.
Now maybe this is bullshit and it’s just a bit of self publicity on the part of Shah Rukh Khan, and to be fair it is being denied by BAA. But on the other hand any staff that did do what’s been claimed are hardly likely to have circulated it round the whole company. Even if they had done so in my tin foil hat moments I might well be prepared to believe that they might have been taken aside somewhere and told that it was all very embarrassing for the company and the government, and that their ongoing employment would therefore be tied closely to their continuing silence on the matter.
As I said not so long ago, far from helping win the fight against religious headcases all this security theatre is handing them a major fucking victory.
… why is the UK even bothering to carry on fighting in the ‘Stan? Why, when the chickenshits in charge have already let terrorists score so many victories? Attacked supposedly for our decadent, western, freedom loving ways the whole fucking west responds by restricting the freedom of its citizens. Thanks to knowing which buttons to press a few headjobs have ensured that getting on a plane is now a colossal pain in the arse and that you can’t take a photograph without attracting the attention of some overbearing, gum chewing, busybody, bullying cocksocket who makes Constable Savage look reasonable.
What the fuck happened over the last ten years? When did we become such softcocks? When did we let other people decide for us whether it’s safe to go somewhere? Why do so many of us roll over so meekly and allow our fucking governments – the cunts that are supposed to be elected to make sure what we say gets done (yes, ahahahahahahahahaha, I know, ahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha) – to hand the win to religious nutters because there might be yet another one prepared to set his underpants on fire?
The bottom line is that by changing our lives so much for the terrorist threat we lose and they win.
And I still stand by that now. This is a step backwards for freedom and therefore a massive own goal. At this point I’d be inclined to say harden the fuck up, but as I discovered via Obo not long after I wrote those words it’s not even fucking necessary. If the Israelis don’t have to put up with all this shit and three hours of fucking security checks at the airport – yes, the Israelis DON’T go through all this* – then there’s no plausible reason why the rest of us should have to either.
“Israelis, unlike Canadians and Americans, don’t take s— from anybody. When the security agency in Israel (the ISA) started to tighten security and we had to wait in line for – not for hours – but 30 or 40 minutes, all hell broke loose here. We said, `We’re not going to do this. You’re going to find a way that will take care of security without touching the efficiency of the airport.'”
And they did. Without reiterating it all (read the links for details of how Israel does things at Ben Gurion International) they don’t put travellers through the purgatory experience we do but they don’t feel like they sacrificed security – if anything they’d probably argue the exact reverse. In the USA, UK, parts of Europe and now Australia our governments have taken the approach of buying very expensive pieces of equipment that they make lots of claims about but that potentially can be defeated by a number of techniques, and in any case have already been shown to miss things that they are supposed to pick up.
Still, as long as the companies that make the fucking things are coining it in, eh?
But what really fucks me off is the number or people who are completely missing the point. It’s not that someone gets to see your cock or your tits, or in some cases both.
The real outrage is that the default position of governments, airport operators and security staff throughout nominally free societies – most especially the Home of the Unfree and the land of the Slave, whose collective overreaction to what Europeans had been putting up with for decades I suspect is behind much of this – is to assume that each and every passenger is a terrorist. Remember that next time you fly. It was bad enough in the days when you were thought of as Self Loading Freight wanting a fortnight in Benidorm. Now, just by the act of buying a plane ticket, we are automatically suspected of being Suicidal Looney Fruitcake after an eternity in Paradise.
* Until they arrive in Europe, Australia or the United States, obviously.
Blogging will be light – those lamb chops won’t barbecue themselves, you know. In the meantime I hope a few people may take a look through some of the EFA links on the pop up when the blog loads, and if you’re here in Oz and have a website or blog yourself maybe you’ll join in the Great Australian Internet Blackout for the rest of the week. For everyone else please do look into it – it’ll give you an idea of what you’re probably going to be in for in the not too distant future.
Looks like the mass photo gathering in Trafalgar Square organised by photographernotaterrorist.org, and I’m sure attended by at least one, if not more, of the regular reads on my blogroll*, has been fairly successful in that the tanks didn’t roll in Tianamen style and everyone ended up being dragged away to waiting hosepipes. More importantly that they seem to have got a decent turnout.
A couple of interesting points though: around 0:32 there’s mention of some booing because a uniformed goon tried to stop people taking photos of the National Gallery, and roughly 0:50 it’s said that there were a few plastic plods about but they left everyone alone. This suggests that the way to go about taking photos in the UK these days is to have 3,000 friends with you (or if you’re a pro an unfeasibly large number of photographic assistants), and that’s not really much to shout about. The media coverage is also a bit disappointing. Naturally there’d be stuff in the professional and hobbyist photo publications but the mainstream media have let the side down a bit, with only the Grauniad and the Beeb devoting much space to it in the UK. The Telegraph cover it well (that’s their author in the audio clip) but it was only in their blog section, which presumably means it’s not in the print version at all. The Fail gave it a couple of paragraphs but online at least it looks like column filler stuff. Other than that right now (Sunday lunchtime for me) it seems to be non-UK news sources, and that is odd. Surely the MSM must be at least as big a target for S44 abuse as all the amateur photographers,
terrorists tourists and freelance pros who’ve been getting hassled. Why the fuck aren’t they banging the drum about this?
I have a feeling that more protests might be necessary for this to get the coverage it really deserves.
UPDATE: Rather more at G.O.T.
* For very obvious reasons it was never on the cards that I was going to go, which is a bit of a shame as I used to live only an hour or so by train from London. But needless to say if the same thing happened here I’d be on the way to Canberra – I’ve been tempted to buy a new camera for a while now.