Australia and China – Internet Firewalls

What will China and Australia share?  An internet firewall that will block things the “government” doesn’t want the citizens to see:

“AUSTRALIA will join China in implementing mandatory censoring of the internet under plans put forward by the Federal Government.”

(link)

“The revelations emerge as US tech giants Google, Microsoft and Yahoo, and a coalition of human rights and other groups unveiled a code of conduct aimed at safeguarding online freedom of speech and privacy.”

“The government has declared it will not let internet users opt out of the proposed national internet filter.”

This conforms to the usual way rights are lost in a “slippery slope” effect. (Here is an article on how gun rights were lost in the United Kingdom that outlines the general model for losing rights: (link).) In particular, when technology changes the way a traditional right can be exercised, as with the Internet now or with the introduction of revolvers in the United Kingdom, it’s thrown into doubt as the new possibilities are examined in the light of the worst and most inflammatory possible abuses – mass shootings with deadly multi-shot revolvers, child porn, whatever. Unless you have a zealous and belligerent lobby objecting to even “reasonable” infringements of the right in the light of new technology and making it taboo to support abridgments of the rights, the tendency is for those who enjoy the right to prove they are reasonable people (not “gun nuts”, not addicted to child pornography and so on) by agreeing to reasonable restrictions. These grow and grow and grow, and once you have conceded that there is no fundamental, absolute principle at stake on your side, it is very hard to resist them.

Not the Time To Open a Japanese Toy Store

Demography is Destiny and Japan is going to pretty much disappear if trends don’t change:

The number of children has declined for 27 consecutive years, a government report said over the weekend. Japan now has fewer children who are 14 or younger than at any time since 1908.

The proportion of children in the population fell to an all-time low of 13.5 percent. That number has been falling for 34 straight years and is the lowest among 31 major countries, according to the report. In the United States, children account for about 20 percent of the population.

Which pretty much means that Japan has decided no longer to exist:

Population shrinkage began three years ago and is gathering pace. Within 50 years, the population, now 127 million, will fall by a third, the government projects. Within a century, two-thirds of the population will be gone.

Remember when the country we feared taking over everything was Japan?  It wasn’t that long ago.  Everybody figured that we would all end up working for the Japanese, drive only Japanese cars, and they would own all the real estate in the US.  If you haven’t read the novel Neuromancer by William Gibson (1984) I’d highly recommend it, but the whole premise of the novel is that Japan won the corporate wars.  (Just as an aside, this is a wonderful science fiction novel credited with creating the whole cyberpunk genre so its definitely worth the time to read).

Instead Japan has pretty much decided that it won’t exist any more.  Do you think China is going to sit around and let all that nice Island real-estate just sit idle?

Red Dawn 2 – Attack of the Toys

\"Hey round-eye! Bang Bang! We kick your butt with finger gun!\"

Harvey over at IMAO has his finger on the pulse of the latest Hollywood idea:

United Artists has announced that they are currently filming a sequel to the war movie classic Red Dawn, which will be released in 2009, on the 25th anniversary of the original.

The new movie will be based on several true stories, none of which are connected in real life. In “Red Dawn 2: Beaten By Toys”, a brigade of Chinese Communists will – under the guise of carrying an Olympic torch – rampage through America, conquering city after city with no resistance using only objects which have been banned in American school systems. For example:

* A real WWII grenade with no explosive charge or detonator.

* A butter knife.

* Overly sugared Kool-Aid mix.

* A beeper.

* A Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.

* A squirt gun.

* A pen with the Glock logo.

* Jolt Gum.

* Nails.

* Non-alcoholic jello shots.

* Mouthwash.

* A drawing of a gun.

* A Sharpie marker.

* A ham sandwich.

* Snowballs.

* An emergency roadside kit.

* Midol.

* A pointed finger combined with the word “bam”.

UA publicist Dennis Rice is enthusiastic about the upcoming release. “First, we’re thrilled that we can bring the sort of ‘ripped from the headlines’ relevance that America expects from its movies. Second, it’s a well-deserved fart in the face to the greatest nation on earth, and it’s sort of our way of thanking America for letting us make a living by biting the hand that feeds us.”

Europe to Tibet – You Are on Your Own

Norway:

The Norwegian government claims it has directed criticism against China after Chinese authorities put down protests in Tibet over the weekend, but says it doubts a boycott of the Olympics would have any positive effect.

Johansen stressed, however, that there are some “positive” things happening in China in the area of human rights. He therefore has little faith that attempts to isolate China or boycott the upcoming Olympics would do much good.

Italy:

Speaking for the Italian government, Italian Foreign Undersecretary Gianni Vernetti told Chinese Ambassador Sun Yuxi that China should avoid using force against demonstrators and should uphold human rights including freedom of expression.

Speaking on Italian radio, Italian Foreign Minister Massimo D’Alema rejected calls to boycott the Olympics.

He said the Beijing Games were ”an unrepeatable opportunity” to put pressure on China to allow dissidents to voice their grievances.

EU:

The speaker of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Poettering, suggested that European Union leaders should boycott the Olympic opening ceremony.

*Ed – oooh – won’t that strike fear into the hearts of the leaders of a country that has no problem with driving tanks over its own citizens.  An opening ceremony boycott!

France:

France’s Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says the European Union should consider boycotting the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics if violence continues in Tibet.

He insisted that France had no plans to boycott the entire Olympic Games, saying that would not be “just.”

Halt!  Or I will say Halt! again.