Tag Archives: news.com.au

When they are merely numbers

What if lives are not set in souls, but in numbers, simple numbers? That is the setting we see ourselves in today. A special shout out to Karl Stefanovic who rightfully backed the police and launched a scathing attack on their “timid” critics. Although I would rephrase from ‘timid critics‘ and merely categorise them as ‘fear mongering scaredy cats with a lack of knowledge‘, yet that would be merely my personal choice in the freedom of classification.

Karl is correct in a few ways, yet to see that. We need to look at the other side. My training comes from NATO and I mastered several weapons, to give you a specific setting here, which with the Remington Model 700 is really simple. The drift on 300 meters is optionally no more than 1.1936″ in a nominal setting, so if I aim for the head the brain is gone, if I aim for the chest the damage is worse as that person will not be instantly dead, but they will feel the pinch of a .308 slug and at that point, most Kevlar is useless. You see at 300 Yds the bullet impacts with 1950 lbs on roughly a square inch, in an oversimplified example a 1000 Kg hammer hits a square inch of your chest at a speed of 671 metres per second, good luck getting past that feeling! The Kevlar might slow it down but the impact will be enough to turn ribs to shrapnel and cleave its way through your chest, if the bullet gets through, it will still be mostly slim and nail shaped, leaving the recipient with plenty of optionally fatal damage. A Kevlar vest (if the person has one) might stop a pistol 9mm, even a .357, but with a .308 or .338 rifle, nope, that person becomes a write off. This is how a soldier thinks, it is them/him or me/us, we do not want to die for our country we merely make the other one die for their country/cause.

The police is a different slice of cake. They are trying to protect people from harm of self and/or protect them from harm by others. The police are there as protection for civilians, innocent or not. They have a duty to arrest and Karl is right in backing the police. The News from News.com.au is giving us “They do it sometimes with the public hating them. But they’re the first you call when you need them and they were the first to respond. I salute them this morning“, he is correct! The news also gives us: “The call comes in response to a deadly attack in Melbourne’s Bourke Street on Friday by Hassan Khalif Shire Ali — a Muslim refugee from Somalia. Ali crashed his car full of gas cylinders before stabbing three people, killing prominent Italian restaurateur Sisto Malaspina“, and at this point, the question from me is ‘At what stage was the police to assume that this was a terrorist?‘ You see ‘his car full of gas cylinders‘ was after the fact, yet when did the police know exactly what was going on? The police had a direct need to incapacitate to a degree, not to kill. It is that plain and simple! Their job is to evangelise and support the law, not enforce it through violence, even as that will be essential at that point. So the call ‘Shoot him, shoot him’ might come from outsiders, yet to shoot is not an easy task for them. Let’s not forget that the public has been willing to lynch a policeman using his firearm in the past, so the police is utterly willing to leave shooting as a final resort (and so for the most they should), or until there is a clear and present danger to others and even then it will be shoot to incapacitate, which with a Glock is a little harder then you think.

When we see Nine News (at https://www.9news.com.au/2018/11/11/19/18/bourke-street-terror-attack-family-say-hassan-khalif-shire-ali-was-mentally-ill), we see: “The family of the man responsible for Friday’s attack on Bourke Street insist he was not a terrorist but a mentally ill man “crying for help”“. This is optionally true and it also gives rise to the police and the caution used. They might have noticed symptoms that clearly called for caution and refrain from lethal force. Let’s not forget that the entire Martin Place event was a clear case of mental illness, so there is a precedent in all this. It merely makes the entire event sadder on more than one level. It will undoubtedly give false feelings of guilt to the police officer who discharged the lethal shot, it will give feelings of guilt to all the police and carers on the sidelines, and they should not feel guilt in any way. This man, no matter how we slice it has taken three lives, it comes with consequences.

We might even overreact when we see: “Islamic State claimed the attack but today Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said there was no confirmed link to the terror group.” Yet the truth is that until people like ASIO give clear evidence that this was the case, we are merely getting an emotional push from a terrorist organisation seeking the limelight in any way they can, it will merely complicate matters in the short term and leave us with a bitter feeling in the long run. Yet we also see that Nine News is optionally wrong. As we see: “The terrorist has been named as 30-year-old Somali-born Hassan Khalif Shire Ali“, this is optionally wrong if any clear evidence of mental health is shown to be true. There is a call in the News.com.au article (at https://www.news.com.au/news/national/security-expert-says-were-feeding-the-beasts-of-terror-with-shoottokill-policy/news-story/59f2162b3427c2e2f5d0a3e6fe1babd1) with ‘Australia is “feeding the beasts” of terror and failing to prevent future attacks‘, in this Dr Allan Orr could be correct. there is no issue labeling the right person a lone wolf, or a terrorist, yet how was it done, what was planned and what was set in an emotional stage. It is order versus chaos. In addition is the man merely a terrorist because he is Muslim? Is he not merely a murderer at this point? These what I would call intentional misclassifications are also a larger problem, the media loves it to use the terrorist tag in all the wrong places and even as it is too soon to clearly determine this, we see that a police officer was used deadly force against an alleged murderer, alleged because intent needs to be shown in court, were these three people intended victims, or where they there and the man would be clearly guilty of manslaughter. In any case the police officer would be absolved of any guilt, especially if he/she had tried to resolve the issue in a non-lethal way.

There will be a political debate that is already raging on, yet the stage is larger than merely “I’ve been very open about the cancellation of visas, the numbers have ramped up, because there are some people who should not go on to become Australian citizens,” the setting of this might not be incorrect, yet when we know that ‘Permanent residency may be revoked at the discretion of the responsible Minister, for example in cases of criminal misconduct‘, if that is correct, then why would there be a political debate? It would be merely enforcing what is stated in policy, is it not?

It gets to be even more complicated when we see: “Ali was known to federal police and had his passport cancelled in 2015 amid fears the Somali-born man would travel to Syria“, the question becomes who was he going to support? Assad, Assad opposition, perhaps the direction does not matter, yet the direction does incline towards extremism, as such it cannot be ignored. It is an issue as we see that there are more sides to all this. The fact that no action was taken (apart from removing the passport) might have sufficed to some degree, his active interest to go to Syria was never explained (needed or not), if there would have been an assessment, even a mere interview and conversation on the consequence of doing that as a non-citizen might have optionally resolved the issue to some degree (highly speculative on my side). Even a limited monitoring on media and activities might have dampened the danger (or not). If these are all acts of a mental health issue, then the entire terrorist issue falls in the water and other activities might not have helped, but the knowledge of where this person was might have optionally aided the police in a few ways, and is that not important too? To give the members of the police every inch that they can use to resolve without being force to employ deadly force? It might not have been an option here, but the lack of indicators (as presently known) seems a little too staggering at present giving us the handle that not only was Karl Stefanovic correct, the officers subjected to this ordeal might be due a commendation or two (or three).

The last part is also the biggest issue. when we see both “Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he backs religious freedoms but has also called on Islamic leaders to call out the attack“, and “Those remarks that have in turn been labelled divisive by Muslim groups who say their community is not to blame for the actions of an individual and fear it could stoke Islamophobia“. It is the partial failure of Prime Minister Scott Morrison that his call, outside if the mental health scope was plain wrong. He can make that assessment after we know enough that mental health was not the stage here, and that part is still largely in question. You see, to require any religious group to lash out at mental health issues is the larger wrong and that is not seen here. Should I be wrong and the mental health part fails, then we have another issue, yet at present there has been no clear evidence to set that and whilst we accept: “Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton said there was no confirmed link to the terror group“, yet this is very specific, was there any other data making any extremist link likely? I get the impression that this is not the case, giving us a much larger overreaction, just like the Martin Place incident of 2014.

From my point of view, we have become Muslim polarised to a much too large extent. Consider that every religion has its mental health cases. Consider (the Times, Oct 2017) ‘Mental patient murdered neighbour hours after hospital discharged him‘, also we have ‘How 18 psychiatric patients freed by one NHS Trust ALL went on to kill‘ (Daily Mail, Jan 2018), 19 people said to have killed someone, but not terrorists as they were allegedly not Muslim. Two filters of classification in a group of people that would have been a dangerous stage in any foundation, so we need to be extra careful who gets the ‘terrorist label’ as the impact is a lot larger and the negation that actual terrorists are could also endanger a lot more lives in the future.

The victims and perpetrators might merely be numbers, yet when the numbers are wrongly stacked, the people who are forced to act might wrongly do so making matters worse for everyone around and that needs to be clearly stated, as well as the fact that Karl Stefanovic made the right call in this case and that should be recognised on a national level as well.



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We are merely Tools

This is not a nice piece; this is not even a kind piece. It is a piece on reality, a reality that most people embrace. Yes, you, my readers and even more those who do not read this blog, they are all part on the setting of tools. In this case a tool named Jamal Khashoggi, a person who ended up being more useful after life then whilst he was still alive.

If we were to ask anyone on October 1st and before: ‘Do you know Jamal Khashoggi?‘ The response in 99.6% would have been a clear No! Even among the Washington Post readers, many will not have known him. Yet now, the numbers are reversed 0.4% will not know him, a number that is actually a lot lower lower than the world percentage of dyslexic people on the internet. So as a tool he has been useful.

Even now, when looking at the last few days of news we see:

  • Findings point to Jamal Khashoggi’s ‘body parts being melted’ in acid – News.com.au
  • Jamal Khashoggi killing: Turkish President claims ‘highest level of Saudi government’ behind murder – Nine.com.au
  • Who ordered the murder of Jamal Khashoggi? – Al Jazeera
  • One month after Jamal Khashoggi’s killing, these key questions remain unanswered – Washington Post
  • Khashoggi’s fiancée vows ‘there’ll be no cover up’ as claims emerge his body was ‘dissolved’ – SBS News
  • Khashoggi murder: Turkish leader blames Saudi state directly – BBC

And an overwhelming amount of articles are laced with ‘inside sources‘ and people like Yasin Aktay stating: “he believes it was dissolved in acid after being cut up“, yet these articles and the statements are absent of evidence, absent of clear documented and collected evidence giving rise to the quote made, merely people hiding behind ‘inside sources’ and ‘innuendo’, Nine News and others add a picture of the smiling Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whilst there is no evidence of any kind that he was involved. So again we see “A Turkish official said he believes after Khashoggi was killed while in the consulate to pick up marriage documents, his body was dissolved in acid or other chemicals“, whilst three weeks ago, the Turkish government claimed to have audio tapes with evidence that he was cut up into pieces. So which version is true and why is the Turkish government not giving out all the evidence to show that they have it? Because the Turkish government does not really care, does it?

We see: “Turkey’s close ties to Saudi Arabia“, yet no one gives light to the fact that Turkey is for the most merely a puppet for Iran (my personal view in all this), that part is left out of the equation, the fact that Iran is in a proxy war with Saudi Arabia could pop up and that diminishes the use of this tool called Jamal Khashoggi.

Even as Nine News does give us at the very end: “Netanyahu said at a news conference that Iran is a bigger threat than Saudi Arabia and those who want to punish the Middle East kingdom need to bear that in mind. “A way must be found to achieve both goals, because I think that the larger problem is Iran,” said the Israeli leader, who attended a meeting of the prime ministers of Bulgaria, Greece and Romania and the president of Serbia at a Black Sea resort.”“. I believe that the statement at the end is pro forma only. All the networks want to use the emotional barrage of Jamal Khashoggi as much as they can. Most of the articles are absent of critical questions that for now, for the most have never been answered. The failing here is actually larger when you consider that for the most the failing is even increasing. Yes, that is actually possible at present, even a month after the event.

It is now Monday morning and the news that we see next was already out but I decided to let it simmer.

The headline giving us: Gates Foundation ends $5 Million Pledge Partnership with Saudi Crown Prince’s Charity over Khashoggi Killing. So in all this, Bill Gates walks away from business, now that is his right and his purse would not even feel the impact of those 5 million, but in all is this a wise thing? I mean when we look at it, the man (Gates) optionally deserves the death penalty for what he made his users go through. The Daily Mail claim “Microsoft claims Windows 10 deletion bug is FIXED but won’t release it” should have long lasting repercussions should it not? One life versus the long-time torture of millions, how does that relate? Or perhaps the report from last week: ‘Another Windows 10 bug lets UWP apps have access to all your files‘. So as it comes down to standards Bill Gates really does not have the best track record does he?

No one denies that something went bad and there are government officials involved, but who, or whom? We have yet to be presented with any evidence. The known factor that Turkey is appeasing Iran is left out of the media for 99%, the issue that the Saudi Consul general left for Saudi Arabia and no one is asking questions there is also a factor. I am not proclaiming that this man is guilty of anything. Yet there were two versions; one of them the media informing us that he ‘fled’, the other one is the Turkish President, giving us in regards to Mohammed Al-Otaibi: “a phone call he had with King Salman Bin Abdulaziz a few days after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was killed inside his country’s consulate in Istanbul. “The Consul is not efficient and I have told King Salman of this” and he is suddenly relieved from his position. The issue is that he media is not giving us anything, they are making it worse. The less than a dozen true journalistic sources are overwhelmingly repeating things like they are all copy/pasting Reuters and other vanilla sources.

The final straw in all this is actually his fiancée, who I will give a pass in all this. Yet the Independent gives us the headline ‘Khashoggi murder: Trump administration ‘devoid of moral foundation’, killed journalist’s fiance says‘ and the quote: “‘Some in Washington are hoping this matter will be forgotten with simple delaying tactics,’ Hatice Cengiz writes“. Both are optional truths, they are emotional ones and she might be the only person allowed to do that (apart from some co-workers at the Washington Post perhaps). There needs to be no moral foundation in America, the man is a Saudi Citizen. The second part in all this is that the optional crime was never done on American soil, or within American territory. This gives us that America is not even a factor here apart from the fact that Jamal Khashoggi worked for an American company. So do millions of others and I do not see that government speak out for them, or there neglected rights, do we? Why do we care about this journalist?

Several sources give us that 14,000 people died in armed conflict in Yemen, in addition over 50,000 died of disease and famine, where is your outrage against Iran and Hezbollah there? I agree that Saudi Arabia is part of it, yet that coalition was there on request of the duly elected government, the Houthi rebels have received ‘assistance’ from a terrorist organisation and a terrorist supporting nation and the lack of outrage here is disgusting!

And even as we see America taking charge, the news we saw hours ago (Source: GulfNews) when they gave us the quote: “Iran enters a challenging new phase in its economic activity and international relations, with the imposition of a series of tough sanctions on the regime for its failure to fully satisfy Washington and its allies over the intentions of its nuclear programme. But the sanctions too are being imposed on the Tehran regime that continues to flout international norms by arming, aiding and abetting the militias and armed groups from the Bab Al Mandab to the Mediterranean who further its sectarian and seditious agenda“. I cannot vouch for Gulf News merely because I do not know them that well, yet the absence is other news cycles to a much larger case makes it a worry. In addition, we saw the inclusion of Bab Al Mandab. The point becomes is this merely Yemen, or is there more to the story that involves an (extremely unconfirmed) setting of Moulhoule, Djibouti. And if that is so, one of the most prominent targets there is Oilibya, are they at risk? It is also a stage for moving both towards Eritrea and Somalia. Eritrea is less likely between the two, but a terrorist with options is never a good thing. We also see UAE tycoon Al-Habtoor stating that Hezbollah needs to be a prominent target. He voiced it as: ‘Hezbollah needs to be eliminated‘, which might be actually a little too diplomatic, but the story is clear there are two players in all this, who have been waving the Khashoggi flag, yet no one is really asking questions, questions that matter, are they?

There is more to this, there is a side that I have mentioned several times before, and here we see it clearly in ‘print’. The quote: “Frankly, I am worried! ‘America First’ is a slogan that inspires patriotism. Every nation has to put the interests of its people first. That is normal. However, actions taken by this administration under that slogan are alienating America’s friends. No country is an island by itself. We share one planet. We are all responsible for finding solutions to common threats. We need to be partners in the decision-making.” I am not against nationalism; it is a statement of pride (for the most). In France there is Marine Le Pen and there is no doubt, she cares about France and France alone, it is not a bad thing. The Trump administration is doing the same in the US, the problem is that in the EU, those commissionaires are mostly in it for themselves, and their cause. That is how I personally see it. Not some nationalistic pride, but the cohesion of continuing something that profits them and not the European civilians as a larger whole, that is one of the stages and it is an important one. You see the press in Europe has been going soft on Turkey, on Iran and on Hezbollah and that is impacting all other avenues. Yet they have slammed Saudi Arabia at every turn and a lot of it through innuendo and ‘unnamed sources’.

And in part Al-Habtoor is right, the problem is that Iran gets to continue to play their game through proxy and the payoff for Hezbollah is nice as it gets missiles to fire into Israel giving a rise of escalations is several places. Taking Hezbollah out of the equation makes sense on several levels. The world is a better place without Hezbollah and in addition as Iran cannot continue to act in proxy they must either enter a full-fledged war or back down and hope that Turkey will do their bidding. It is my personal believe that Turkey is not willing to get the limelight there either, not in that way.

The press is massively void of those elements that have been proven on several levels by a few sources, so tell me how weird is that?

Even now, in the last hour we see the Australian, the Business Times (41 minutes ago) and Haaretz (32 minutes ago), so in this Jamal Khashoggi is still a media bankable currency. Yet those sources have remained quiet on the Hezbollah activities in the last 24 hours, so you tell me on how Jamal Khashoggi has not been devaluated to a mere media tool, all having their own goal, yet I personally believe that the critical truth is not on their mind at this point, that story was old the day after he passed away.

And there are still people confused on why we stopped trusting the bulk of online news and the media as a larger whole. I believe that to a much larger degree we can no longer see the difference between fake news and the overwhelming amount media (and their) presentations that also print a newspaper.


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Tuesday Evening Quarterback

Well, good afternoon to today’s match, playing on infield, with a home advantage is Australia’s very own Honourable BS, leader of the Labor party. In the outfield is his ego.

Let the game begin! So, when you read the article ‘Labor promises to keep medication cheaper at cost of $3.6bn over 10 years’ (at http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/may/22/election-2016-labor-promises-medication-cheaper-cost-over-10-years), we see an emotionally charged article that is about…. Yes, what is it about?

The by-line reads: “Bill Shorten pledges to axe 2014 budget cut to pharmaceutical benefits scheme, which has been booked as saving $1.3bn but is blocked by the Senate“, so we seem to get all huffy and puffy regarding pharmaceutical schemes and we seem to be all about stopping big Business, but the Senate will not hear about it. Yet, is that actually true?

You see, the quote “Patients will pay less for taxpayer-subsidised medication if federal Labor wins the election, but the move will cost $3.6bn over a decade” gives us some of the goods, it boils down to the next government spending another 3.6 billion. You see the Government is in debt, in debt for almost 750 billion and that move will add to that debt. We got into that debt as Labor decided to all these nice and seemingly mighty things and then left a massive invoice with the liberals. Perhaps we should take a look at the spin doctoring Bill Shorten did in February 2014 (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-02-10/shorten-says-car-manufacturing-shutdown-was-not-inevitable/5250834). Or consider in equal measure the fact that we see Julia Gillard smiling in a car in the Adelaide plant, whilst the people read on how GM Holden received well over 2 billion in subsidies. The response by GM Holden executive Matt Hobbs is “the subsidies underwrite tens of billions of dollars in local investment“, this sounds interesting as the timeline is off. The Hobbs statement came in April 2013 (at http://www.abc.net.au/news/2013-04-02/holden-reveals-billions-in-subsidies/4604558), now consider the January 2015 news (at http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/motoring/holden-shutdown-general-motors-international-boss-stefan-jacoby-says-australia-is-better-without-car-manufacturing/news-story/af4de2d0090baa6c2a0ce24aa0e28729), 20 months later. So how was 2 billion pushed back into Australia? It gets even worse when we consider Toyota. You see, the Honourable BS is forgetting the timeline. Billions in subsidies under labor and miraculously 3 weeks after the elections the parties pull out. I remember watching Bill Shorten, boasting and stating whilst there was a really silent Kim Carr in the background. If we were to investigate the total amount of subsidies here and how much came back, will that equation be a positive one for the Australian people? Me thinks not!

This now equates to the current game being played. You see, even though the guilt of all issues should be shared (between Liberals and Labor, as both parties were around with them subsidies), the issue is that whilst Labor was in ‘attendance’ of government, they did nothing, absolutely nothing to secure cheaper medication. The first step was to stop the TPP, that paper (a document to some, a farce to others) is giving too much power to pharmaceuticals and is a first stopper for the evolution and continuation of generic medication. That part is not in view. At least that small island South East of here (New Zealand) had several people pushing back asking the hard questions. In that regard team Gillard-Rudd did too little and they did not think beyond their governing time here in parliament. If Bill Shorten really wanted cheaper medication the TPP would not be here and we would be trying to hold serious talks with India and UK to unite in a healthcare solution with the aim to provide for affordable medication.

That has not been the case and Bill Shorten knows this, making the article even more of a farce than it already was. This all aligns when we see the article (at http://www.theguardian.com/australia-news/2016/may/19/labor-to-end-freeze-on-medicare-rebates-with-122bn-funding-pledge) and we consider the quote “It is Labor’s biggest announcement of the election so far, and will cost $2.4bn over the next four years, and $12.2bn over the decade“, you see, I am siding with the medical side as much as possible. I believe that doctors, especially junior doctors have a raw deal, but making promises with funds you do not have is why we got into the mess we are in in the first place. It is essential for voters to realise that Labor does not have these funds and when it blows back we will be in even deeper waters. So as we realise that the Shorten-sighted approach to governing is giving away 6 billion (over 10 years) on these two elements alone, the clear dangers are that labor is soon to make the Australian people the bitch of the banks, as they want the interest owed. This is why Labor is too dangerous to be allowed to govern.

You see, when we look at the budgets and balances, Labor has no solution at all, they will blow the total debt, possibly even surpassing a trillion dollars. Now to get back to the other side in all this and that is seen when we look at the Medical Journal of Australia (at https://www.mja.com.au/journal/2015/202/6/costs-australian-taxpayers-pharmaceutical-monopolies-and-proposals-extend-them), an article from 2015. ‘Costs to Australian taxpayers of pharmaceutical monopolies and proposals to extend them in the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement‘,

The following summary points matter:

– Intellectual property (IP) protections proposed by the United States for the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPPA) have sparked widespread alarm about the potential negative impact on access to affordable medicines.
– Three of the greatest concerns for Australia in the recent draft include provisions that would further entrench secondary patenting and evergreening.
– Pharmaceutical monopoly protections already cost Australian taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars each year (2013).
– Provisions still being considered for the TPPA would further entrench and extend costly monopolies, with serious implications for the budget bottom line and the sustainability of the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

So not only were these elements known for some time, previous labor did almost nothing to stop this from becoming a reality (the liberals are in this, as I see it, equally guilty).

So Bill Shorten is even worse than a Monday morning quarterback. After the match is done, after the results are in, he is trying to talk you into a new match, leaving you with more debt and an even smaller piece of life to work with, all whilst being pushed into servitude to those holding the Australian debt markers.

The part that I do not get is that Bill should know better, when we get another politician hiding behind forecasters stating that next year will be better, then those politicians need to be held criminally liable if that upturn does not happen. It is time for politicians to be held accountable to the massive overspending as I see it. I reckon it is the only option left to prevent us to leave the next three generations with debts that we were unable to pay off, especially when they hide behind healthcare claims that were never realistic to begin with.

That’s just my view on the situation!

Before you decide to vote labor, ask your MP how Labor expects to pay for the total of 12 billion in changes over the next 10 years, which makes it 1.2 billion a year. Consider that total taxation collected in 2015 was $445B, you think that this would be enough, but now also consider that the total debt is 168% of the collected taxation, other services will still need to be paid, so if the debt goes down by $20B (which would be an amazing achievement), it will still take a little over 20 years to pay for our debt. Now consider, should labor be squandering this level of tax money, knowing that it will only make our lives harder down the track?

I am merely asking, because in my humble opinion, when a clear answer is not given, when the answer becomes, ‘It is really complex, even for me, but we have a solution ready!‘; at that time, do not walk away from that politician, you should run away! By the way, as a Liberal, running away from the coalition when they cannot answer these questions is equally essential. We need to focus on making Australia great. Also realise that neither side have successfully made any strong improvements regarding taxation loopholes. So, it might be very valid to read that ‘Politicians ‘double-dipping’ on property claims aren’t breaking rules – Cormann‘, yet in that regard, when tax loopholes are not set and at the same time, these politicians are spending money on ‘solutions’ that will not work and in even greater measure will land Australia in deeper debt down the line, those politicians are the ones you need to take distance from and fast, so as I personally see this, Bill Shorten should have known better!


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The real issue here!

Last night, just as I was about to break my own record in snoring, a message appeared on my screen. As I tend to be more curious then is good for me, I took a look. It was the article at http://advanced-television.com/2014/06/16/australian-media-chief-lambasts-google-over-movie-piracy/.

So this morning, as the dream of being with a ginger haired girl with a passion for playing Diablo 3 fades away, I decided to have a go at this article (we must keep a priority for interesting dreams first).

The title itself is interesting ‘Australian media chief lambasts Google over movie piracy‘, being honest here, using the word ‘criticising‘ instead of ‘lambasts‘ would have made the article every bit as ‘strong’ but would have implied less posturing, because that is what seems to be happening here.

The quote “Our Attorney-General George Brandis is attempting to reform our copyright law. Meanwhile Google, one of the multi-national companies attempting to avoid paying tax here, is lobbying in Canberra to stop this, by putting forward the following six fundamentally misconceived arguments” is also interesting, for reasons I will return to later.

The six points are given and the points made are to some regards highly hilarious. In point one we see: ‘piracy legislation would have little effect‘ and ‘they would no more illegally download than go into a department store and steal a book or a DVD‘. Is it really? Then why is Game of thrones the most pirated series in internet history? People can buy the series on DVD and Blu-Ray. Google’s point seems to be made by the comment ‘It may be the most pirated show, but it can break sales records too!‘ which was in a Yahoo article. Forbes gives us another part of this equation (at http://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2014/04/15/game-of-thrones-sets-piracy-world-record-but-does-hbo-care/). The episode in question was downloaded 1.5 million times (a number that will be important soon). What we can say for certain is that according to figures almost 200,000 copies of series three were sold in week one, breaking records for well over a decade in place. So, almost 20% end up buying the discs (implying 80% will not).

I think that the Google argument has been seriously debunked at this point.

The second point is about legislation being for big business. Not only is this incorrect as the response showed, more important, legislation would oppose big business as will be shown soon enough and it would also hurt Google. This is closely followed with statement three where we see a reference to impeding ‘new’ business models. Actually it is impeding a very old model, but I will get to that. The response using the quote from Steve Jobs ’from the earliest days at Apple, I realised that we thrived when we created intellectual property. If people copied or stole our software we’d be out of business‘ is indeed true, yet, the one part no one answers (only implies) is in regards to the application of the Intellectual Property.

The fourth issue is a strong one and as I see it both are dancing around the issue here. It is not as Google suggested ‘an availability and pricing problem’, but the reference towards the music industry is also not correct as I see it. For a long time it had been about ‘availability and pricing‘ as Google correctly stated, but more important it had been for a long time around overheads. The gaming industry in Australia is proof of that. In Australia we pay on average 60%-100% more than in the US and in return we also get a lot less for it. How often do we see games that truly offer exclusive options that are NOT available in the US? That list is a very long one for most of the NON-US nations and it used to be the same for music in non-US nations. So it was often not about pricing, but about a lack of global fairness in pricing.

Issue 5 is made by both sides; it is so moreover for the reasons we will see soon enough. It is not because of the hypocritical ‘US view’ that opposes certain issues and views we see too often and not because of, and I quote ‘advertising models that almost totally promote pornography, gambling and scams‘. It is however because these markets represent billions in dollars of revenue, and many of these places will pay their taxes as (and if) applicable. One does not bite the hand that feeds the IRS ever!

The last one is the bomb as they say it. The mention of ‘Google says the proposed three strikes policy is too Draconian‘. Is that really so? We should all take a look at the Google approach of people getting banned on AdSense. I can tell you now, there was no strike two (or three for that matter), the quote I read “I’m really disappointed on Google support on this matter, there are no email addresses or real people to talk to” shows an approach even more Draconian then their view of Draconian as one might say. There could be valid reasons on some banning, but the issues I saw were not in that direction and in this instance Google is preaching a ‘pot calling the kettle black approach’.

So six issues of fun and frolic, but where is this going to?

In my view both are dancing around the options. It is my view that Attorney-General George Brandis had put his hand in a Hornet’s nest to say the least and now he is dancing with other people in some version of musical chairs. The powers behind all this do not want the change that some legally want. It is my view that Graham Burke, Co-Chairman and Co-CEO of Australian media group Village Roadshow does know what is actually going on, but he is not willing to say it out loud, even though he is representing those artists and people behind the entertainment industry. I had raised similar issues before. I did so on January 3rd 2014 in my article ‘FACT on piracy?‘ In my view going after certain groups was just plain stupid, for obvious reasons, yet there is another side to all this. You see, the Attorney-General realised that the consequences if pursued would be dire indeed. Even though Mr Burke does not want to hear this argument (for obvious reasons), but the people in charge do not care that The Castle, Red Dog and Muriel’s Wedding were downloaded 50,000 or even 100,000 times. Even if 10% would buy it (that is a strong if here), it amounts to $50K or even at the most $250K, which would be a decent part for the artists as they are entitled to part of this. You see, the Hornet’s nest is the consequence for companies like Telstra, Vodafone, iiNet and Optus. It is that part no one wants to touch. Australia has roughly a little over 80% online. If we use the numbers of the Australian Bureau of Statistics, then we are looking at a little over 12 million connections. Should we accept the statements at http://www.news.com.au/technology/third-of-australians-admits-they-download-movies-illegally/story-e6frfro0-1225786870239, which now seem to imply that 4 million people download movies illegally. If this is stopped then these 4 million people would decrease their broadband plan, by $40 and up to $80 a month. This is the real number! These Telco’s would now collectively miss out on $160,000,000 to $320,000,000 EVERY MONTH! If managers at some of these telco’s are rated on their value, how long until they are out on the street when they end up having to tell their stakeholders the following: “the good news: movie piracy is no more, the bad news: you miss out on a quarter of a billion in revenue every month from now on!
It should be quite the show and I will sell tickets and popcorn when it happens.

This is at the centre of it all. From my point of view Mr Burke knows it, Mr Brandis knows it and Google, who has every profit with large broadband usage, knows it too. I think it is time for this sanctimonious posturing to stop. The internet is bandwidth and the more we need, the more we get charged. It is the cost of doing business and morality falters where profit takes a centre seat. Google has a vested interest in all this. If we look at http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2013/12/12/googles-youtube-ad-revenues-may-hit-5-6-billion-in-2013/, we see that Google is set at the centre of a large web of connections. If Google’s value is partially dependent on bandwidth usage (as it has been implied often enough), then laws that could cut down massively on usage are definitely not in Google’s best interest. Australia, is less likely any more than a blip on the global radar (which makes the current efforts shown by Google interesting as well). Yet, if Australian laws are successful, it could start a change in other common law nations and that would scare Google a lot.

So, we see the players, but in my view, the real issues are for now hidden from view by all players, because the loss for the collected companies in Australia is too large to contemplate and they do tell certain people what is not acceptable, those getting told tend to listen to the few that can destroy their future.



Filed under Finance, Law, Media, Politics