During lunch this afternoon I listened to the podcast of Julian Burnside (he’s a “top human rights barrister”!) and Gerry Simpson (professor of international law at the London School of Economics) talk about war crimes and international law at the Melbourne Writers’ Festival. You can watch/listen online via to the ABC Fora TV site, which I totally recommend you do because I can’t be bothered writing out all the interesting discussion about the history of international law and victors’ justice and such.
However, I wanted to post a link to this article from Harper’s (the awesome American one, not the snooty Australian Bazzar one) if we might soon see a Ticket to The Hague for Dick Cheney? Most amusing was the reference to the report that the PBS network
found that it had no network space for [the documentary] Torturing Democracy until January 20, 2009—the day the Bush Administration decamps from Washington.
I wish our dollar wasn’t so shit so that I could subscribe to Harper’s and read this month’s cover story ‘JUSTICE AFTER BUSH: Prosecuting an Outlaw Administration’, but I’ll have to wait til Borders gets that issue in in June 😛
I am now very wary of lobby-groups and political parties etc which put “Family” in their name. Because it is usually code for “Tory Bible-Bashing Wanker”.
When I saw that an op-ed proclaiming the net filter as “a great tool to help parents in their difficult vigil” against the Mean Nasty Ninternet was written by a researcher with the Australian Family Association, I snapped over to Google quick-smart.
Their Wikipedia entry probably requires a “neutrality warning” or whatnot, but it totes justified my prejudgment (and I also felt comforted knowing that the AFA probably hearts prejudgment, too!):
According to its stated objectives, the AFA aims “to cultivate within society an appreciation that the integrity and wellbeing of the family is essential to the stability, morale, security and prosperity of the Australian nation”.
In other words, the AFA comprises a bunch of ignorant wowsers, killjoys, and prurient perverts who really ought to keep their pathetic narrow-mindedness to themselves. The cloak of respectability called “family values” is made of transparent fabric, and barely conceals the stench of hypocrisy. (emphasis added)
But, aside from that amusing description, an old news story in the Google results drew my eye, too.
Apparently, Teh AFA once thought that “a ban on smacking children is going too far” and believed:
… to introduce laws which mean the Government has a role to play in deciding who and who isn’t a good parent, we think that’s going too far.
Um. I’m sorry. WHAT?!
So…………… firstly: those laws about, like, taking kids away from abusive parents and stuff goes “too far”? Because isn’t it the whole point of those that the government goes, “dude, you are a horrible, bogan parent — Step. Away. From the bebbeh”?
Welp. Might as well give them back their crack-pipes with their kiddies, no? Good idea, team. That’s a GREAT way to ensure the “stability, morale, security and prosperity of the Australian nation”.
And, secondly: but NOW they think the government should totally step in and decide that all parents (and, oh yeah, everyone else in the fricking country) totes have to have a filter even if they might prefer another method for educating their kids, like, you know, talking to them and stuff?
Urgh. How do morons manage to gather themselves into “Associations”? We seriously need a vetting agency to stop Idiot Collectives putting out media releases.
The pro-filter article, on how “claims of mandatory ‘censorship’ have been unfair and misleading”, totally misses the point of logic in several ways, and this is my fave:
Should we dismiss the effectiveness of the filters due to the fact that they are not perfect? Most would realise that an automated filtering system will never be 100 per cent accurate. However, having almost 90 per cent of unwanted material blocked is certainly a lot better than none.
Uhhh. Don’t be fooled by the apparently reasonable point. Read between the patronising bullshit and look at what they’re saying.
I don’t think we’re complaining about the 10% of nudie pics that are going to get through, love. We’re complaining about the ridiculous and preposterous proposition about this being an “attempt at making the internet safer for Australians”.
For God’s sake (you “Family” peeps usually like God, don’t you? Cool, so you won’t mind me appealing to his Infinite Reason and Wisdom, right? Awesome), get out of our wombs, our bedrooms and our effing computers.
For more deets on the technical issues with the author’s arguments, see the comments, and for more on the net filter proposal itself, see: http://www.nocleanfeed.com/learn.html (which actually includes like, facts and sources and stuff. Gasp).
Oh bless. Not many things get the Aussie partisans as worked up as what gets done uni students’ time and money.
In the Red corner: those latte-drinking pinko student unionists, who (allegedly) skip class to sit around in the Guild offices finger-painting painting giant calico banners for the next protest march — forests? Gay marriage? Nuclear energy? Whatever the lame cause, those lefties scumbags will use student funds to politicise it. Oh the horror.
In the Blue corner: those latte-drinking ponyclub Student Liberals, who (allegedly) skip class to work in blue-ribbon electorate offices and assault constituents, or scheme to dupe innocent electors with illegal fake how-to-vote material [See: Pandagate. Oh kids. Those were the days!!] and would rather die than have daddy’s $250 used to pay for a studying mother’s childcare subsidy. I mean. Jeez. Don’t they get Centrelink for that?
Now, having been at a tertiary institution in which the embryo of student activism was well and truly aborted long before that baby could start kicking and screaming (you guys! I am hil-EFFING-larious!!), I never got to witness or be involved in the fun first hand. But I have a little bit of experience when it comes to some of the ideas being tossed around in the current proposal on the student-services-funding merry-go-round:
From July next year, universities will be able to charge students a compulsory $250 fee to run student services like health, childcare and sports clubs.
…”This is a contribution which goes to universities, not to any individual student union, and it is entirely at the discretion of universities,” Mr Rudd said. [ABC News]
UWA’s Guild Prez Nick Barron “says he hopes some of the money will go to the unions”:
“There isn’t really any guarantee in the information that’s been released so far that this money will necessarily reach student organisations which is something we would have liked to have seen,” he said.
“But we’d hope that individual universities would acknowledge that the best service providers are student organisations run by students who are on the ground and have the best contact with the people who these services will ultimately be provided to.” [ABC News]
He better be hoping and praying really hard, though. I heard young Nick being interviewed on jjj’s Hack this afternoon, and when presenter Kate O’Toole asked him what would happen if the university itself had control over student services like student papers, I wanted to pick up the phone and tell them all about dear, darling Quasi. RIP, little guy.
Barron made some great points about how it should be the student organisation that deal with the cash, but I just felt he didn’t have the fear in him. Probably because their student paper has never been told that funding will be withdrawn if they try to publish any sort of criticism of university policy or any sort or anything students might actually give a shit about (that’s a small category; students are generally apathetic buggers, aren’t they?)
From my humble experience, when you take the money to the administration side of the equation, you get the same power structure that might’ve been seen between the Deputy Principal and high school prefects. Fun times.
No hat, no play, children. And don’t forget your permission slips.