A Chorus of Logical Discontent

Clive Hamilton stirred an orchestra of disdain this week at Crikey with an amazing flakey rant, bragging about his fathering of Conroy’s proposed net censorship bastard. Such a polyphony of fallacious sour notes is peculiar from a Professor of Ethics with University maths training who regrets not studying philosophy, as Jon Seymour reveals in the foot of his superb dissection of Clive’s fuzzy thinking – and it shows.

Again in contrast, many of the comments following Clive’s disastrous diatribe, Colin Jacob from the EFA’s excellent article and Stilgherrian’s wittily scathing remonstrations, display cogent, honest reasoning.

For a very readable overview of the Australian net censorship issue, Raena Lea-Shannon’s piece “Conroy’s Web” is highly recommended. In the UK, Conroy is shamed as well, with the Guardian publishing a feature on Australia’s past and present antipodean obsessions with censorship.

And last but by no means least, Matthew Thompson over at ABC Unleashed makes the Fringe’s annoyance with the shallow populist prudery and technological blinkerdom of Rudd and team seem positively milquetoast.

Is debate between moral absolutism and moral relativism a red herring when the primary criticism of Conroy’s scheming is its technical unfeasibility? or should we watch carefully regardless, since as Oz moves toward a republic, tussles between cognitivists, noncognitivists and other philosophical camps will be germane to the formation (or not) of an Australian Bill of Rights.

NB To follow up – current HREOC Discussion paper and Louis Brandeis’ famous judgment.

Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears. . . . Those who won our independence by revolution were not cowards. They did not fear political change. They did not exalt order at the cost of liberty. To courageous, self-reliant men, with confidence in the power of free and fearless reasoning applied through the processes of popular government, no danger flowing from speech can be deemed clear and present, unless the incidence of the evil apprehended is so imminent that it may befall before there is opportunity for full discussion. If there be time to expose through discussion the falsehood and fallacies, to avert the evil by the processes of education, the remedy to be applied is more speech, not enforced silence.


Clive Hamilton responds ( http://is.gd/8Drp ) to Jon Seymour’s article on STotC ( http://is.gd/8xz8 ) #nocleanfeed


Glenn Milne weighs into the debate, examining some of the unintended consequences of existing net filters.

Jon Seymour has now rejoindered to Hamilton’s response to him, aptly pointing out the false dichotomy presented in Clive’s ‘argument’ and maintaining “unless Clive admits he made a mistake and that his dichotomy was actually false, the charge of intellectual dishonesty still stands”.

Mark Newton comments on the impact of filters on net speeds.

Somebody Think of the Children notes that Logipik, a php image filter, interprets pictures of Conroy as porn.

More comment on the unworkability and undesirability of Conroy’s net filters from internet security expert, James Turner.


Senator Nick Minchin encapsulates the current debate on net censorship (Fringe can’t believe she’s commending a Lib for principled common sense – are they returning to their ‘liberal’ origins?):

“The Opposition firmly believes that adult supervision, supported by optional user-end filters, effective law enforcement and education should be front and centre of any efforts to keep children safe online,” he said.

“In relation to criminal conduct online, our nation’s law enforcement bodies must be adequately resourced to monitor and investigate unlawful activity.

“There is no technical substitute for appropriate adult supervision when it comes to keeping our children safe online and most parents and teachers take that responsibility very seriously and any suggestions to the contrary are patronising and offensive,” Senator Minchin said.

“Labor’s plan to implement a mandatory Internet filter at ISP level has been roundly attacked with valid concerns raised about its likely effectiveness, the adverse impact it would have on Internet speeds and performance and also the precise nature of the content the Government plans to filter.

“The Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has further fuelled concerns with his talk of filtering not only illegal content, but also unwanted and inappropriate content. This policy proposal is also causing Australia embarrassment internationally, with comparisons to the world’s most repressive regimes,” Senator Minchin said.

“The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” – John Gilmore


Chris Berg from the Institute of Public Affairs points out the obvious:

There is a certain element of Australian political culture that sees censorship and banning as the panacea to almost every social and policy question. But wowserism dressed up in concerned rhetoric about the sanctity of childhood is still wowserism.


Even children’s welfare groups see the filter is deeply flawed.

Ugly words, ugly responses

Olmert TorahAs we predicted, Israel’s recent aggression against the blockaded and deprived people of Gaza and threats of escalated collective punishment have been logically followed as in the past by more radicalisation, with a murderous attack by an unidentified gunman within a religious school in Jerusalem.

Merkaz HaRav yeshiva is described by one comment in Haaretz as ‘a heart of religious Zionism’, in other words, a bastion of the land thieving settler movement.

“This attack … came in reaction to the crimes of the Israeli occupation and the massacres against civilians in the Gaza Strip,” said Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas spokesman.

The gunman is reported as being a Palestinian living in East Jerusalem, and his actual identity is still unclear.

8 students were slaughtered, making the results of Israel’s aggression against the neighbours it ethnically cleansed 60 years ago consistent with the existing death ratio. A comparative 10 Palestinians are slaughtered due to the illegal occupation, blockades and oppression by the Zionist enterprise for every 1 Israeli.

And so the cycle of violence, orchestrated and cheerled by those who benefit and glory in it the most – religious zealots, rightwing fanatics, power-mad politicians and of course the shills of the weapons industry – continues.

Meanwhile, Israel is condemned for its 40 years of occupation and oppression by aid groups –

GAZA is experiencing “a humanitarian implosion” and life for its embattled citizens is at its worst since the beginning of Israeli occupation in 1967, a coalition of British human rights groups and charities said yesterday.
Poverty and unemployment are rising, hospitals are suffering power cuts for 12 hours a day and the water and sewage systems are close to collapse, according to a report by groups including Amnesty International, Care International UK, Oxfam and Save the Children UK.

It called on the UK government and the European Union to urgently redress this by pressuring Israel to lift its blockade on the impoverished coastal enclave and talk to Hamas.

The UK groups’ report on Gaza said the severity of the humanitarian situation had “increased exponentially since Israel imposed extreme restrictions on the movement of people and goods in response to the Hamas takeover (last June] and to indiscriminate rocket attacks against Israel”.

It added: “The Gaza economy is no longer on the brink of collapse; it has collapsed.”

During the past six months, the majority of private businesses in Gaza have shut down and 95 per cent of its industrial operations have been suspended due to an Israeli ban on imported raw materials and the blockage of exports. The report said poverty and unemployment had deepened dramatically and that 1.1 million people out of a population of 1.5 million were dependent on food aid.

Israeli restrictions had also hit patients in need of medical treatment unavailable in Gaza. Israel granted only 64 per cent of applications for care outside Gaza in December, compared with 89.3 per cent in January 2007.

An Israeli spokesman for Olmert effused in support of ongoing collective punishment of Palestinians, whilst taking the opportunity to delegitimise the democratically elected Hamas government yet again.

“In Gaza, a hostile regime took power that is shooting rockets into Israel on a daily basis. You don’t have to have normal economic relations with a country that is shooting at you.”

It doesn’t appear to occur to these arrogant monsters that Israel, possessing the 5th most powerful military in the world, continuously commits war crimes which have been declared war crimes internationally for very good reason, as they inevitably cause terrible repercussions to be visited upon their perpetrators, irregardless of whether Israel wishes to lay the blame, as it always does, on its victims rather than taking responsibility for its own criminal, deliberately chosen policies.

There is no happiness for him who oppresses and persecutes; no, there can be no repose for him. For the sighs of the unfortunate cry for vengeance to heaven. – Johann Pestalozzi

When a shoah is not a holocaust

The Zionist media strongarmers rush to insist on retractions by the media whom they claim misinterpreted Israhelli Deputy Defence Minister Vilnai’s use of the term ‘shoah’ in his repulsive collective bullying threat against the beleaguered Palestinian people. Guardian editor Alan Rushbridger apologises profusely for using the word holocaust as a translation – still, the Palestinian people and the world have heard Vilnai’s allusion, intended or not, loud and clear.

Will apologies now gush from multiple newspaper editors to Iranian leader Ahmadinejad for their definite misinterpretation of his speech where they and the Zionist propaganda machine claimed he said Israhell would be ‘wiped off the map’ when he actually said the Zionist regime would be metaphorically ‘wiped from the page of history’? Yeah, right, sure they will.

Wikipedia, flawed though it may be at times, has this to say:

Shoah is the Hebrew term meaning “disaster” or “conflagration”. With addition of “Ha” (meaning ‘The’ In Hebrew) – Ha Shoah is commonly used to refer to the Holocaust.

A quick google for ‘shoah’ finds the common result in English at least is the Holocaust, whereas HaShoah appears to be associated with Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Palestinian boyThe Paligate plot thickens with this Vanity Fair report where the US is revealed to have secretly conspired to give arms to Fatah strongman villain Dahlan in order to provoke a civil war to remove the democratically elected Hamas government. The elections, perpetrated at too short notice for Fatah to win, were encouraged by the US. Folowing the Hamas electoral win, the US wailed and gnashed teeth in consternation:

“Everyone blamed everyone else,” says an official with the Department of Defense. “We sat there in the Pentagon and said, ˜Who the fuck recommended this?””


Some analysts argued that Hamas had a substantial moderate wing that could be strengthened if America coaxed it into the peace process. Notable Israelis such as Ephraim Halevy, the former head of the Mossad intelligence agency shared this view. But if America paused to consider giving Hamas the benefit of the doubt, the moment was “milliseconds long,” says a senior State Department official. “The administration spoke with one voice: ˜We have to squeeze these guys. With Hamas’s election victory, the freedom agenda was dead.”

One would think after numerous utter failures and countless lives lost through cossetting of a lengthy list of previous dictators/strongmen, including Saddam, the Stupids would have learnt by now. In the current debacle according to the report, the US UN ex-representative John Bolton blames Miss Prim, Condisleezer, clumsily seeking to make her mark on history and demonstrating she has not learnt from it.