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Apr 27, 2010

Open thread April 27-30

It's the open thread, freshly baked for another week. One of the funniest things I've read in a long time is the saga surrounding


It’s the open thread, freshly baked for another week.

One of the funniest things I’ve read in a long time is the saga surrounding Gizmodo’s purchase of a lost iPhone prototype. The latest chapter has seen police seize the computers of Gizmodo editor Jason Chen, which has unleashed a new sideshow about whether or not it’s legal to seize a journalist’s property. According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation

“There are both federal and state laws here in California that protect reporters and journalists from search and seizure for their news gathering activities.

Which the Macalope snarkily summed up;

Shorter EFF: buying stolen merchandise is fine as long as you write a story about it.

If you were a journo exempt from search and seizure laws what would be writing about? I think I would suddenly become a prolific motorcycle reviewer.



85 thoughts on “Open thread April 27-30

  1. confessions

    He could well be a liar – I don’t know him so can’t say. But you are clutching at straws trying to make Rudd out to have lied about doing something about climate change when his government has fought tooth and nail to get their legislative agenda through parliament, only to be stymied by the *real* denialists on the cross-benches.

  2. Upyasmum

    Ok. So he’s a liar and he doesn’t believe we’re in any imminent danger from greenhouse gas emissions. Finally, a denialist wing-nut we can both dislike.

  3. confessions

    I’m pleased you are having second thoughts about trashing Poss and Antony Green’s analyses wrt election timing. Esp after the touch up you got the last time you did. But you seem to think Rudd won’t have a DD election, which seems strange given Antony Green claims one can be called up until 16 October 2010. Rudd certainly has the triggers for one in any case.

    What your saying is that Rudd is a coward because he won’t call an election now. But he’d be mad to have an early DD election because it would shorten his second term by a year AND won’t deliver an ETS any sooner than 2012 in any case. An election now therefore won’t result in ‘acting immediately’, as the link and the setting out of dates by Poss makes clear.

    Did you read the post, and Green’s electoral timing posts?

  4. Upyasmum

    Confessions @ 80,

    Thanks for the link. Haven’t I been put in my box!

    But, as Possum correctly and eloquently points out, I’m a vacuous tosh so I tend to come back for stoopid seconds.

    Here I go. Wish me luck.

    Apparently, the future of humanity and the planet we live on depends on action on climate change (in the form of an ETS) with not a minute to spare. I would think, and I need to remind you that I am a vacuous tosh from somewhere between Broome and Cockle Creek, that with all that on the line you’d be able to pull your socks up to get it all happening in seventy five percent of the time that it took to introduce the entire GST. After all, think of the children.

    Maybe you could point the kids to the linked piece when they’re asking why their planet is so rooted. “We could have fixed it, but, you know, we would have been working to some pretty tight deadlines so we shelved it. Just check out what Possum said. Anyway, you might want to roll those pants up a fraction.”

    I always feel uncomfortable questioning Possum, because he keeps it all very real, always, but I notice he didn’t address what lies behind door number two – the one where Rudd says we’re all doomed if we don’t act immediately. I believe I labelled that door “Melodramatic Liar”.

    But I don’t think that’s the case. I just don’t think Rudd’s got the wontons to call a DD or the leadership abilities required to drive change.

    Coward label remains.

  5. GavinM

    Hi Rob,

    Yes I was in the Congo (3 tours there), and Rwanda (twice, once when France intervened unilaterally and then later with the UN), and yes I’ve seen a fair bit that I wished I hadn’t — some images I will never forget.

    I haven’t read that book, but I’ll see if I can find a copy somewhere, thank you for the recommendation.


    For the record — I’m pro-choice and don’t support the new law in the US in any way, however, to compare a country, in which one or two states introduce a law that requires women to undertake a compulsory ultrasound — (incidentally I believe this Bill hasn’t actually been passed into law as yet) – with a country that stones them to death for “immoral” behaviour and sentences them to imprisonment and lashes for “immodesty” is unbelievably stupid — even by your standards.

    Perhaps you could ask the women here how they would feel about being stoned to death or publicly hung for being raped or being jailed and whipped for dressing inappropriately or for having a suntan, then you can ask them how they feel about Iran being given a voice on what their rights should be.

    This has nothing to do with Left or Right – not that I identify as either, for the UN to allow Iran to hold a position on a council for womens’ rights is the height of hypocrisy, and to appoint that same country to said council through a secret political deal rather than by putting it to a vote is a disgrace and is another clear example of the corruption and lack of integrity that has permeated the UN.

  6. Upyasmum

    Confessions @ 77, I expect my politicians to lie about the extent of an upcoming tax break, etc., not that the world is about to end.

    But then again, I don’t actually think he’s a melodramatic liar as much as a bog-standard coward. Rudd has been stared down on about half a dozen occasions so far in his prime ministership and blinked every time.

    Maybe he’ll hold firm on this difficult tax on miners though. That’ll be a tough line to hold – we’re skimming from the super-profits of billionaire multi-national companies to give to working Australians. Oooooo, the tough calls! And directly after taking a hardline with cigarette companies. Which one of Australia’s beloved institutions will he be tackling next?

  7. DesBenkt

    GavinM @ 70, Fair enough, but I think it’d be throwing the baby out with the bathwater to do away with the UN considering the role of it’s ancillary agencies.

  8. confessions

    [The point is that Rudd is a melodramatic liar and/or a coward. ]

    Rudd is a politician, just like any other. That he would attempt to make political mileage out of a policy issue seems to genuinely surprise you. Unless of course you’re going for a bit of melodrama yourself.

  9. DeanL

    BTW – you can pick a denialist a mile off because they’re always the one’s creating their own idiotic strawman outcomes – which they then mock for their own amusement. (non)-Intellectual masturbation.

  10. surlysimon

    No Rudd will be remembered as the man who was stymied, Abbott and co will be remembered as those who condemned the planet. If you think AGW is baloney then fine, you are entitled to be wrong, but don’t try and tell me what I think. And who is the coward and liar, who changed their tune on the ETS first? was it Abbott? Turbull or Rudd.

    “Some really do have a twisted idea of relativity.” yes you do don’t you, the Iranians make no bones about what they believe, yet the US is supposed to be a developed country which is a signatory to all the UN conventions, so whose worse. And ask the women here how they would feel about a vaginal ultrasound being perform pretty much against their will?
    I love the way you and the right want to right off the UN as useless when it suits you then it’s all this outrage because a country you don’t like is elected to a committee. Talk about trying for a storm in a tea cup. I have always said the Right is in a demarcation dispute with the fundamentalists of islam, same rightwing views, different book (same prophet appears in both though).

  11. DeanL

    @ 71

    You can see now that the conservatives are gearing up to re-write history, as they always do, by blaming Rudd for not doing something about AGW when the sh*t hits the fan. Which it will do. In fact, as it already is – despite the idiotic denialist claims to the contrary by Upyasmum who has conflated Rudd not doing anything to there not being a problem. Typical illogic.

  12. mondo rock

    Gavin’s analysis above is spot on. Appointing Iran to the UN Commission for women’s rights is an utter farce that simply shows how corrupted the UN has been.

  13. RobJ

    [Having served as a UN peacekeeper in various places at different times over a period of 15 years I can assure you that my disdain for it runs a little deeper than just this one event.]

    Fair call GavinM, my boss was serving as a UN peacekeepr in Rwanda, it seems to me that to successfully keep/force peace the UNs RoEs need to be beefed up…. I can imagine you’ve witnessed some nasty shit – powerless to act even though you would’ve been equiped to act..

    BTW – I think i noticed that you wrote that you were in the Congo, I don’t know too much about that (except that there’s a civil war that has killed 100 000s of thousands. I want to ask if you’ve read ‘Operation Certain Death’ a description of Operation Barras – the UK v the West Side Boys.. I can recommend it if you haven’t, shit title but good book. Then again you might not be into reading about that sort of stuff having experienced it first hand.

  14. Upyasmum

    Surly @ 66,

    As much as I hate being dismissive of a fellow conservative, I don’t care. Have an ETS, don’t have an ETS. It’s not really the point. The point is that Rudd is a melodramatic liar and/or a coward.

    Let’s say the scientists were bang on and that atmospheric carbon reaches catastrophic levels – we leave our children a dying planet with the drowning polar bears, confused space chimps and the little girls outrunning tidal waves, etc. Rudd will be remembered as the PM that was too weak to act when it was needed most.

    Me thinks this global warming thing might be baloney. So does Rudd. So do you.

  15. GavinM

    They are on a council that consists of 10 nations Rob — If you take a look at the link in #62 it gives some idea of how much voice and what influence they will have.

    As for a replacement for the UN, I’m not sure, maybe rather than disbanding it, an expanded NATO type organisation could take on some of the UN’s current roles and the UN could concentrate on human rights and health issues ? Trouble is of course getting countries to fund and support another large international body.

    Not an easy question to answer on short notice 😛

    Hello DesBenkt

    I’m not decrying the UN on one action — I’m criticising it for this latest action, which unfortuneately is just one more to add to a long and ever increasing list.

    Having served as a UN peacekeeper in various places at different times over a period of 15 years I can assure you that my disdain for it runs a little deeper than just this one event.

    And any organisation that does deals behind closed doors that see countries like Iran on a womens rights committee is not respectable. That is playing politics at the expense of extremely vulnerable people and now this is done, Iran will be able to hide even worse abuses against women in that country.

    “now when Iran offers one of it’s sillier opionions it will be to a commitee that is unlikely to let them get away with it.”

    Yes Surly, because of course we all see how quickly the various UN bodies jump down the throats of other despotic regimes whose leaders make silly statements and whose actions are even worse.

    I’m yet to see any on this committee or in any other UN body say anything about this week’s statement from Iran that women with suntans or who look like “shop mannequins” will be arrested (presumably that means women wearing make-up), and that women cause earthquakes through their immorality, have you ?

    “For what it’s worth I don’t see much differrence between the Iranian attitude to women and the US right wing view.”

    I don’t suppose you would see much difference, but I don’t see anyone in your article advocating stoning or lashes for women undergoing abortions. Some really do have a twisted idea of relativity.

  16. dam buster of Preston


    Mr Blunden said he was concerned with Mr Guthrie making no attempt to correct the mistake.

    “Integrity is everything and we never deceived readers like that before,” he wrote to Mr Guthrie in an email.

    What a farce. HWT are now saying the Hun inflated circulation numbers. Interesting the quote states ‘never deceived readers like that before’. Of course they have deceived readers in any number of any other ways.

  17. surlysimon

    Ok now we have confirmation that Iran is on the CSW but it gives rise to a suggestion, surely it’s the right thing, now when Iran offers one of it’s sillier opionions it will be to a commitee that is unlikely to let them get away with it.
    For what it’s worth I don’t see much differrence between the Iranian attitude to women and the US right wing view.

  18. RobJ

    Oh yeah – UNHCR and the others DesBenkt listed makes the UN worth having around.

    Gavin, what would you suggest as an alternative?

  19. surlysimon

    “Just for you, since you obviously think Fox misreport everything: ”
    Unlike Fox viewers who think that every (EVERY) other news source misreports everything.

    And that second link sugests Iran is trying to get a place on the CSW, now where’s the problem in that? Yes it shows the Iranians have a bit of a reality disconnect but unless the UN gives them such a place I can’t see any problem, I mean if we believe in democracy I can’t see why iran shouldn’t put their name forward, doesn’t mean they’ll get it. Bit of a straw man methinks. I note the use of the word “likely” which denotes something that might be but isn’t. Come back when it is not while it’s Likely.

    Such much faux Outrage, how has Rudd abandoned the ETS, he has simply delayed it to a date that Howard (and Abbott) thought was reasonable? As for the silly notion of calling a DD, oh how you would have railed against the ALP wasting public money on a DD. This is politics and it’s being driven by a bunch of “Pre Copurnican Obfuscators” who went to the last election with an ETS as policy (2013 introduction date) and then decided to have a tantrum, like I say there are only one lot of grownups round here.

  20. DesBenkt

    GavinM, of course the UN is a respectable organisation. Your view decrying the UN because of one action is not very well thought out in my opinion. The UNDP, UNESCO, WHO, Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS, ICAO, UNHCR among many many other agencies are parts of the UN that deserve respect and frankly, much of the work they do is integral to the world functioning as it does.

  21. RobJ

    [As I said, the UN has lost all semblance of respectability.]

    Well there’s still UNICEF

    [Precisely Rob, thats the problem]

    You’re right though, it is pretty useless in it’s current form after all Israel can get away with anything because it has the support (veto) of the US.

    Then there’s the regulation of the small arms trade, vetoed by the US who happen to believe that any citizen anywhere has the right to bear arms…… Except Baghdad!

    But yeah it’s fucked that nations like Iran get to sit on committees such as women’s or human rights. I haven’t read the Fox article, do Iran get to dictate the UN’s stance on these issues or do they just get to voice their (fucked) opinion? Ya know, freedom of speech and all that.

  22. GavinM

    “Gavin, the UN is as good as it’s members.. ”

    Precisely Rob, thats the problem.

    However, this appointment didn’t even go to a vote — it was decided in secret behind closed doors…From the link below:

    “…Iran is likely to ascend to the CSW because it agreed to pull out of running for the Human Rights Council in exchange for securing an uncontested seat for the CSW.”

    As I said, the UN has lost all semblance of respectability.

    And Surly,

    Just for you, since you obviously think Fox misreport everything:


  23. confessions

    mondo: I partially agree – nothing would give me greater satisfaction than seeing the government returned having campaigned on its ETS, trumping the denialist movement. But I’m not sure that climate change won’t come up in the election campaign. If the ETS/price on GHGEs will be delayed until 2012, it’s still within the government’s second term so I can’t see how the government can avoid it.

  24. confessions

    [Who is reporting it confessions?]

    I saw an ABC online article yesterday. Can’t find it today however, but LP have a thread about it.


  25. Upyasmum

    Surly, What you’re saying is that immediate action on climate change is less important than any other issues to be discussed in parliament. Which, if true, makes Kevin Rudd a liar. He said, and I’ll repeat it again, that this is “the greatest moral challenge of our time” and something that required immediate action. He’s now walked away from it.

    If it is true, which many here have steadfastly agreed with, then he’s a coward.

    A DD would force a joint sitting of parliament and he would be able to push it through. It is the exact reason that our system has the facility of the DD – to allow the government of the day the ability to take specific policy to the people. This should be a textbook DD trigger.

    I must add, I love the “any sensible person” retort because it puts you squarely in the Bolt/Conservative camp. That is, there’s not enough proof to rush this massive change through, there are more important issues to focus on. Welcome aboard. It’s always nice to have a new chum on deck.

  26. GavinM

    Surly — the facts of the story re the appointment of Iran and the statements being made in recent days about women suntanning etc are true..the link is irrelevant.

    Grow up.

  27. mondo rock

    Confessions, matthew and Surly – I think Upya is sort of right about Rudd and the ETS.

    Certainly there’s no point trying to push it through parliament again, but that’s not really the issue. We have an election coming up and it is valid to ask why Rudd is not going to put the ETS front and centre as part of his election platform. If it was such a big deal, and if it was as important as he says he believes it is, then surely he would be presenting it to the Australian people as a central policy plank in the upcoming election.

    The fact that he’s effectively dropped it, and will likely not campaign on it at all, proves that he doesn’t think it will be a vote winner. I tend to agree with him in that conclusion – Copenfloppen (love that term BTW) has pretty much killed the ETS movement for the forseeable future.

  28. surlysimon

    If you want any sane person to take you seriously don’t link to FoxNews, given the choice I think most sane people would trust the UN over Fox

  29. mondo rock

    Sorry Quantize – spelled your name wrong in the last post!!

  30. mondo rock

    The only regrettable thing with Gordon Brown is that he was forced to apologize to a bigot

    Quantzine – now that’s an interesting proposition. I too would prefer a bit more honesty and backbone from our politicians and I wonder how the public would have reacted if he’d just stuck to his guns and said “Yep – I called her a bigot, because she is a bigot”.

    Instead he delivered an abject, grovelling and clearly dishonest apology where he pretended that the problem was simply that he had misunderstood her. I doubt that he won any measure of respect back through that action.

    Wouldn’t it have been refreshing if he’d simply said “I stand by what I said, now fuck off.”

  31. RobJ

    [they’re taking our jobs away…blah blah]

    Heh – Did you ever see the S.Park episode, about the people from the future – LMAO, S.Park is soooooo good at taking the piss out of bigots… I doubt the bigots would get it though.

    Gavin, the UN is as good as it’s members.. 😉

  32. twobob

    The greens were on a hiding to nothing with the ETS.
    The ALP scheme was bastardised from the start with payments to polluters and free pollution permits. Then the coalition re jigged it so that even more went to polluters.
    And the Greens were not capable of passing it anyway.
    They came out and said that no ETS was better than this ETS.
    And their preferred targets are science based targets, humanity looses when they are not met not the Greens.
    The planet cant be bought off – doing something that is not enough will still lead to a climate disaster. Voting in a scheme that did not do enough would have seen the Greens remembered as the proponents of a failed scheme. Long term this would have damaged their political aspirations. We can but hope for a situation where the Greens hold the balance of power in the senate and the government negotiates with them for a carbon reduction scheme that actually works.
    Humanity is the one with the rope – and the wealthy are directing us on how to loop it. It really is the best example of how democracy and the interest of people as a whole are not served by the governments of the world.

  33. surlysimon

    what a croc, to try and say it is incumbent on a government to pursue a course of action when the Opposition are a bunch of Obstructionists (how many bills have they rejected?) is hypocracy of the highest order. Under Turnbull the Coalition were acting like grown ups, amending and debating, under Abbott they have become the party of NO and act like three year olds.
    Any sensible person would recognise there is little point in wasting the time of both Houses when it is clear Abbott and co will oppose anything Rudd proposes. Any sensible person would respect Mr Rudd for not wasting the Parliament’s time and getting on with other just as urgent business, but not the three year olds.

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