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Jun 29, 2012

Weekend talk thread June 29

This is it, the very last Pure Poison open thread. I think that we've said everything that we wanted to about Pure



77 thoughts on “Weekend talk thread June 29

  1. alfred venison

    Angra, i’ve heard that about hitler, too; a case of “know your enemy”? and the music of richard wagner has never sounded better to me than as accompaniment to that “world globe dance”.

  2. SHV

    Re: Huawei, always take what you hear from our media with a grain of salt.

    A bit like wikipedia, I usually include a quick wikileaks search before taking anything from the media too seriously:

    [Huang concluded the discussion by asking why western media
    continued to portray Huawei as being closely associated with China’s
    government and military. He described the company’s ongoing efforts
    to counter western misperceptions by increasing transparency with the
    media, customers and the public, as well as more direct interaction
    with western governments, citing the ICAF visit as an example. The
    Huawei executives said they would continue these efforts and invited
    additional opportunities to expand dialogue.]


    “ICAF” is U.S. National Defense University’s Industrial College of the Armed
    Forces and this cable is about a tour of a Huawei factory for ICAF students.

    A search of the cables for ‘Huawei’ returns 125 cables.

  3. Angra

    MoC – you are right. Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged” is unreadable, egotistic, ranting and overtly partisan nonsense.

    I bet no one who claims it is brilliant has ever read it right through.

    She is not a ‘philosopher’ or ‘intellectual’ but merely a political polemicist, like one A. Bolt. All wind and piss but nothing substantial.

    She’s even worse than Nietzsche – who was one of her main inspirations. And you know what he was (although much misunderestimated in my opinion).

  4. Jacques de Molay

    Not content with expanding welfare quarantining across the country this Labor government are now expanding the intervention further into the NT for the next 10 years:

    [Indigenous and human rights groups have condemned the Senate’s rushed passing of new laws extending the intervention in remote Northern Territory areas.

    It has been nearly five years since John Howard brought in the original policy.

    Today’s passing of the Stronger Futures laws mean the current measures will mostly continue for another 10 years.

    The laws, which replaces the Federal Government’s intervention powers in the NT, allow continued welfare quarantining and alcohol management in Indigenous communities.

    Amnesty International Australia says the law puts Australia’s human rights record to shame.]


    Can the ALP actually continue to sink any lower?

  5. Angra

    In case the younger Pips are wondering, the music from Babe is the last movement of Saint Seans 3rd Symphony (a probably unwarranted but inescapable dig).

    In the films Nigel Westlake does a great job of adapting this to the story.

    Another reason for Aussies to be proud of the film music our country has created,.. (Along with Malcolm Williamson, David Bridie etc.)

    Here’s a creditable performance.


  6. John Reidy

    I agree MWH@43, re framing in the mainstream media. Chomsky -another 20C ‘philosopher’ covered this topic in ‘Manufacturing Consent’, which talked about if you can frame an argument you have it won before it even begins.
    Also in critical thinking, (Texas Repubs) above, I remember for the first 2 weeks of yr 11 modern history we studied 2 texts which appeared to be on completely different events, I think the Malaya Emergency from the 50s, one referred to terrorists, the other ‘freedom fighters’.

  7. Brett Coster

    The Great Dictator is used to great effect in Iron Sky (Nazis! From the Moon!).

    Young teacher Renate shows her group of lunar Hitlerjugend Chaplin’s “greatest movie, the 10 minute short The Great Dictator” – that is, the globe dance.

    Later, when finally in New York, writing speeches for the Republican president (not Sarah Palin, just a bespectacled woman who has stuffed bears, wolves and caribou in her White House office), she enters a theatre showing The Great Dictator.

    Pause, then title shows “125 minutes later” as she emerges from the theatre a different, er Nazi.

  8. Matthew of Canberra

    Howard,B. @64

    I think that argument could be applied to pretty much all industrial espionage … and yet it still happens.

    The interest to china in our NBN need not be about leaving tricks and traps in the equipment, but also in knowing who’s using it, for what, the sort of equipment that’s being used, how much is being paid for it, who ELSE knows that information, knowing the architecture of it, what sorts of disaster recovery is in place, what sort of access the government has, what sorts of agreements there are with other governments, what sorts of facilities are being connected and where their traffic is going, that sort of thing. I very much doubt that huawei would directly try to do anything untoward. But I very much expect that the chinese government would be keen to ensure that certain people get to work on the project. Much as (I imagine) our allies would do as well. Heck – can you imagine the interest from canberra (and washington) if (say) internode suddenly got a big contract in tehran? I think it’d be much the same.

    I’ve met people who’ve expressed half-joking concern about israeli equipment, too. I also don’t think we (as a country) particularly trust some of our other near-ish neighours.

    Improv classes? What the?!??!

  9. Matthew of Canberra

    Flamin’ heck. That’s twice now.


    Mr Palmer does not support offshore processing, and says the current system puts asylum seekers in a difficult position.

    He says even though many asylum seekers can afford plane fares, they are not allowed to fly so they turn to the riskier alternative of trying to reach Australia by boat.

  10. Angra

    alfred venison – apparently Hitler saw The Geat Dictator twice – sumuggled to him via the secret service, although it was banned.

    I especially recommend the ‘world globe dance’ routine which is Chaplin at his whimsical best.

    You can see whole thing on Youtuibe. Don’t judge the final speech until you’ve seen it all.

  11. Matthew of Canberra

    Re: Rand, and speaking from the position of judging her more by her followers and what they say than what she’s said or written (although I have seen some interviews). I guess I _should_ read Atlas, but it sounds so #%@!ing tedious.

    The “objectivism” thing sounds like Yet Another Metaphysics. It’s not the sort of thing that pops my cork so I don’t really have anything to say about it.

    What I’ve been told about “Atlas Shrugs” makes me just roll my eyes. Yes, it could be a good story, but it sounds (based on the very positive statements made by those who’ve read it and think it’s the best thing ever) like a great big persecution fantasy for people who think the world should be looking up to them, personally, a great deal more than it does. And the hook seems to be that they can actually pretend that it’s happening.

    We know what happens when natural incentives are obstructed, when self-interest becomes corrupted, when initiative goes unrewarded (or punished). We didn’t need rand to tell us that – the history of the soviet union (and the work of its dissident writers) does a very good job of explaining that already. What she does though (it seems) it to create a bradbury-esque picture of that happening in the united states, where ripe minds were waiting to be told they they were the precious, unrecognised good guys in a battle against people who want to take their stuff. And everyone who reads it seems to be left with the thought that it’s already happening. Which is basically a load of crap. Anyone who is able to convince themselves that the kochs or the googlers or steve jobs (or gina or clive or rupert) are having their rewards taken away by an overbearing state is deluded. Yes, I guess we could conceivably start doing something that stupid, but we’re not going to – seriously, it would require a military take-over just to get the hands of the wealthy and influential off the levers of power long enough. And it’s literally insane to imagine that we already are doing it.

    I could cook up a similar sort of story about the state doing awful things to people for some reason or another and the terrible results of that. Pick your own favorite interest group and give it a shot – I’d suggest that every angry teenage loner’s already done so, in their head. But that doesn’t mean it has any bearing on reality.

    The great irony is that Ayn herself was basically in line to inherit her wealth from her parents, until the bolshies took it all.

  12. Howard,B.


    [..and I like my little huawei wireless dongle a lot , but when so many national security agencies express concern about a specific company, maybe we should take notice?]

    Somewhere in a nondescript building somewhere in Beijing, two Chinese intelligence officials, trying to glean the secrets of Funnelback and the rest of the Canberra IT industry, are reading the the latest data sent covertly back from Matty’s Hua Wei dongle:

    “Any thing interesting, comrade Wang?”

    “Nah, comrade Ming, just a bunch a stuff about stray cats, improv classes and some heavy frequenting of some blog called Pure Poison.”

    “No one can possibly be that boring, comrade Wang, it must be some sort of front. Keep at it.”

    But seriously, I think Malcolm Turnbull summed up this Hua Wei paranoia best: Hua Wei depends a lot on foreign business and any revelation its products and services were a front for the activities of, or working directly with, the Chinese intelligence services would result in not only in the end of Hua Wei as an international company, but also a pall would descend over all Chinese businesses operating overseas. This would be catastrophic for Chinese interests.

    It would be such a high-risk, once-only move that would only be employed if China was planning some end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it conflict. And China is in no shape for that.

  13. SonofMogh

    I’d like to thank everyone here for hours of entertainment, the work day will drag even longer without you all.
    Dave and Jeremy, thanks for trawling thru all the crap and exposing it here in such an entertaining fashion.

    batlh Daqawlu’taH

  14. jules

    Well I’ve said goodbye but cos Rand is being discussed I had to come back.

    I have a friend in RL, a humungous American, ex Special Forces (hand to hand combat instructor I think) and Professional Wrestler (tho not that famous WWF fanboys might know of him) in his 50s who still thinks the greatest book ever written is Atlas Shrugged. So dendy’s comment

    [It didnt take much of adulthood to purge AR out of me though. I’ve come to think of AR as something people grow out of, like acne.]

    made me laugh. This bloke is a really nice guy tho, and considerate, I met him when he joined my volunteer fire brigade. He does heaps of things for other people but still claims to be a Republican and Rand fan. Despite the fact that he doesn’t act like one.

    Anyway i may have already posted it, but if not here’s a comparison between Atlas Shrugged and Illuminatus, which someone reckons are the best two books for understanding the 20th century. (MoC may disagree)

    On the Authors:

    (RA Wilson Illuminatus)
    [It is seemingly impossible to find anyone who knew the author who has a bad word to say about him.]


    the books:


    [Considers an individual’s belief that their personal philosophy is the only true philosophy to be the cause of all the confusion, misery and problems in the world.]


    [Considers the author’s personal philosophy to be the only true philosophy.]

    The rest of it is kind of funny too, especially if you’ve read both books.


    And for anyone that missed it earlier and is interested here’s the discussion board for people who want to keep on with what PP started;


    Cheers big ears and thanks again guys.

  15. Dave Gaukroger

    Sancho, I’d rather not elaborate on the specifics of the discussion. Crikey gave us their reason and offered any assistance that we required if we wanted to take Pure Poison elsewhere, Jeremy and I decided that it was time to move on. I don’t have any any further insight to the decision about Pure Poison, much less anyone else’s blog.

  16. Jack Sparraaggghhh

    Here’s a Fairfax fail, from Michael Gordon in a column headlined “Indonesia seems part of a solution”:

    The Indonesian MPs also expressed concern that people smuggling syndicates in that country were now so big that they were moving into other areas of organised crime. Washer’s take-out was that any real and lasting solution had to involve faster processing and resettling of refugees transiting through the Indonesian archipelago.

    This of course, was not among the three options considered and rejected over more than 48 hours of heartfelt but, too often, predictable debate in both houses of Parliament this week – Julia Gillard’s Malaysian people-swap, Tony Abbott’s return to the Pacific Solution, and the Greens’ opposition to offshore processing.

    Thus, the Greens’ entire contribution to the parliamentary process this week is reduced to “opposition to offshore processing.”

    Compare Paul Kelly in the Oz:

    On Thursday Milne put forward a series of proposals — taking the refugee and humanitarian intake to 20,000, boosting support for the UN High Commission for Refugees by $10 million and new Australia-Indonesia talks on regional co-operation. Morrison told the Greens he would accept them all, but their differences over offshore processing made any agreement impossible.

    In other words, what the Greens were proposing pretty much coincides with what those Indonesian MPs were talking about.

    So, kudos to News £td — albeit qualified, because Kelly is so hung up on the stunted political dimensions of the ‘debate’ that he failed to extend the narrative.

    Anyway, Gordon shouldn’t feel too badly, because Andy missed it too — at least, he doesn’t seem to want to pass it on to his readers:

    Kelly warns that the Liberals may have locked themselves into a policy stand which elevates a commitment to theoretical rights above the practical reality of people dead…

    Thus, Andy seems to disagree with Abbott’s apparent Here-I-Stand position on the supremacy of humanitarian protections for boat people. (And it is only apparent — cf. Abbott’s push-back policy.)

    And fails to note that his preferred alternative government supported proposals put forward by the Greens, whom Andy has written off as “nuts”.

    Perhaps it’s fortunate Andy didn’t lay that one on his readers. There’s only so much hell-in-a-handbasket the habitually aggrieved can possibly handle in one spoonful.

  17. Brizben

    Well done Jeremy and Dave for putting on the Pure Poison blog. A big cheerio to all the other commentators and see you around the blogs.

  18. Matthew of Canberra

    Yeah, no kidding


    “Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband Malcolm Turnbull told IT Pro firmly this week: “No, the Coalition will not cancel or roll back the NBN. The NBN will continue to roll out but we will do so in a cost-effective manner in particular in built-up areas.”

    Where “cost-effective” means … watch this space. I expect it’ll lean towards wireless (which won’t work very well) and FTTH in marginal seats.

    A friend mentioned a few weeks back that the NBN techs were in his street checking out the ducting in prep for a rollout. He’s hoping they get to his house before the next election 🙂

    Stay tuned for a similar revelation about the carbon tax if the libs win the next one. I firmly believe that they won’t “repeal” or “roll it back”. They’re more likely to just accelerate the move to trading, with enough permits to make sure the price isn’t too high. Just my opinion.

  19. Matthew of Canberra

    Angra @52

    I think it’s probably actually a declaration that the comments aren’t being moderated, so NEWS shouldn’t be held responsible for the contents. It’s probably true. I think he does probably need those tips.

    If that’s true, however, folks here should be able to pop over and give him a piece of their mind, knowing that their comments would be published unedited. If not, then it’s being moderated 😉

    At least it’s the best chance of a comment being published. I’m going to decline the opportunity.

  20. alfred venison

    “You can see why it got up Ayn Rand’s nose”. yes indeed, though, to be fair, not all contemporary conservatives disliked chaplin: famous, self-described “monarchist, conservative, and anglo-catholic” poet t.s.eliot asked for, and received, an autographed photo portrait of chaplin which he had prominently hung by the desk in his study. among conservatives, t. s. eliot was a charlie chaplin fan boy.

  21. Matthew of Canberra

    And then clive palmer goes and says something I agree with …


    Not that I think he’d get anywhere trying to sell his plan to the ALP either. And not that I necessarily assume that his motives are for the greater good.

    The allegation about santoro offering to lobby for the ABC is downright creepy. I won’t say what I think that looks like. It should be said that he’s denied it, so perhaps he would agree.

    Hearing downer lobbying for huawei (a chinese telecoms manufacturer with an astonishing number of security concerns) to be allowed to bid for NBN contracts … an NBN, it should be said, that the liberal party opposes being built at all … also caused me to frown a bit. Yes, there is a risk of being anti-chinese for its own sake (although I don’t think we can really accuse the ALP of that), and I like my little huawei wireless dongle a lot[1] , but when so many national security agencies express concern about a specific company, maybe we should take notice?

    [1] It’s brilliant – much cheaper than shelling out for built-in 3g for a tablet – I use this for my xoom AND my ipad (at the same time, if I want), and I’ve loaned it to friends so they can take their laptops on interstate trips. I’ve had it a couple of years, and I only pay when I need it – I just pop down to the carrier I bought it from and get a pre-paid sim on whatever the best deal is at the time. Otherwise it sits in the cupboard and costs me nothing. Every home should have one.

  22. dendy

    I’ve already said goodbye and thanks, but I’ve got to say my bit about Ayn Rand.

    I read Rand as a teenager and immediately became an enthusiast. That was more than three decades ago now. I recently saw the quote that described the teenage me to a tee:

    “There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old’s life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs.”

    It didnt take much of adulthood to purge AR out of me though. I’ve come to think of AR as something people grow out of, like acne. The world just isnt as simple as she seemed to think. The experience was positive for me though. It helped me understand how attractive absolutist philosophies could be and how tempting it was to twist messy reality to something so much neater. I don’t think it’s at all coincidental that many Rightwing luminaries like Christopher Pearson and Keith Windschuttle were Marxists in their youth. They’ve just exchanged one absolutist ideology for another.

    The other quotes I like about AR are that AR is “Nietzsche repackaged for the Chamber of Commerce crowd” and “what’s good in (AR’s writing) is not original and what’s original is not good”.

    I’ve wanted to share those quotes for a long time so thanks for mentioning her.

    But enough of mad old Alisa and her silly ideas…

    This time it really is goodbye and good luck and a final thanks to Jeremy and Dave for what had become compulsory reading for anyone interested in the dire state of the Australian media.

  23. Angra

    Chaplin truly was a genius. Perhaps his film the Great Dictator is his masterpiece, to which Sacha Baron-Cohens ‘The Dictator’ is something of a tribute, but nowhere near matches the Chaplin original.

    In fact his final speech is one of the great moments in film and just about sums up my views on politics and human rights – and I suggest the views of many commentetors on PP.

    Enjoy. You can see why it got up Ayn Rand’s nose.


  24. Angra

    The cuts bite, or is Andrew just having a dig at his employers?


  25. Angra

    Those who maybe sympathetic to Libertarianism and the ideas of Ayn Rand would do well to temember that she was such a believer in ‘free speech’ that she gave favourable testimony to The House Committee on Un-American Activities which led to the ostracisim and destruction of the careers of many great artists and Hollywood notables.

    Eventually, more than 300 artists—including directors, radio commentators, actors and particularly screenwriters—were boycotted by the studios, including Charlie Chaplin.

    So ‘free speech’ for me = no speech for those with whom I disagree?

    Again, sounds familiar to observers of the News faith.

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