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Josh Frydenberg Seems Confused But He’s Not The Only One!

When I saw a brief headline saying that Josh Frydenberg was calling for a roadmap from Dan Andrews, I thought, Josh obviously has trouble using that tricky GPS because anything that came after the 1980s is a problem for him. Then I read the article and I realised that he was actually wanting to know the plan for bringing Melbourne out of Stage-4 lockdown.

Mr Andrews rather pathetically suggested that it would all depend on future events which is not something that the Liberals ever do. They always have a plan even if it isn’t exactly clear what it is. And they can tell us about the future. I mean, who could forget Scott Morrison’s: “We’ve brought the Budget back into surplus next year!” They even have the coffee mugs to prove that it happened. Unfortunately, there was no Budget delivered in the May so the predicted surplus didn’t happen but that – like everything else – wasn’t their fault.

Dan Andrews has been upsetting quite a lot of people recently… although it’s mainly Liberals who are frustrated that some people are failing to blame him for not being in total control when he should be, because it’s only when he assumes control that they can call him “Dictator Dan” which is their best nickname for a Labor leader since “Electricity Bill”. Someone I know has accused Dan Andrews of a) trying to spread a vicious lie that COVID-19 is more deadly than your average cold, and b) completely incompetent because he let the various spread killing thousands… I’ve read somewhere that the mark of an intelligent person is the capacity to hold two ideas simultaneously so I’ve decided that said person is in the Einstein category.

However, 2020 has produced a number of people who seem similarly blessed. For example, just a few weeks ago, Sam Newman was suggesting that he might run for Lord Mayor of Melbourne on a platform of stopping the lawlessness and anarchy that this city has been witnessing. However, just recently he was calling for 250,000 people to ignore the lockdown and congregate in the city to protest the silly restrictions placed on Melburnians. It has since been discovered that Sam has donated his brain to science sometime in 2019 because he personally hadn’t found a use for it and very much doubted that he’d be using it at any time in the future.

Still, Sam was an ex-sportsman who recently lost his long time job as a resident idiot on “The Footy Show”, so it’s only reasonable that he should consider taking on the only other job where being an idiot is an advantage: politics.

And, while on the subject, isn’t it good that Tony Abbott is going on welfare in Britain. I mean he always said that the best form of welfare is a job and it looks like they’re going to give him one that suits his talents down to the ground. He’s going to be negotiating agreements and he has a lot of good form on that. Remember how successfully he negotiated with Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeschott, or his success at getting legislation through the Senate, or even convincing his back-bench to keep him as leader. Yes, it seems it’s one of those schemes to give a person a job just to keep them busy because there’s no way they’d get it on merit.

It’s been a confusing week all round, but the one thing that’s really got me confused is the suggestion that the MSM wants to be paid for Google or Facebook “using” their stories. I’m going to ignore Facebook for a second because it’s a bit more complicated but the basic point remains.

  1. Google started as a search engine which was just that. It made no money. It just gave you a way of finding things you wanted.
  2. Google became a capitalist and started doing things so that it could make money by getting people to pay it to advantage them in searches.
  3. Historically, media companies didn’t use the internet, but like everything if you’re not on the internet you don’t exist. (If anyone argues with that, I will make the obvious point that they are on the internet!)
  4. Some media companies put up their news content for free; others have a paywall.
  5. Because news is available on the internet, advertising revenues are down for traditional news outlets.
  6. The media now want Google to pay them because Google is sending people to media companies’ websites without giving them any money for sending people to the media companies’ websites.

Now there are a lot of implications and there are a number of things that need to be ironed out, like how do we keep investigative journalists going if there’s no money in it, however, when you boil it all down, it’s media companies’ business model that’s collapsed. The idea of making Google pay for sending people to the website is so contrary to the original concept of a search engine that you can only see it if you look it in principle. Consider these and explain the difference:

  1. Imagine that I run a chain of cinemas and business is down. I decide that film critics should pay me for reviewing any film in my chain.
  2. My clothing brand has its name on the T-shirts it sells. Business is down so I decide that people exhibiting my brands logo on the shirts should have to pay a fee every time they wear it.
  3. A judge on “Masterchef” recommended people eat at my restaurant. I want payment if he ever mentions it by name again.

In all these cases, you can see that the “get stuffed” element is likely to be very strong. Where does it leave me if nobody mentions me again?

Similarly, if Google simply changes its algorithm so that no Australian media company pops up when people do a search, what’s Rupert’s next step?

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Dear Mr Murdoch

By Bob Rafto.

Dear Mr Murdoch

Life’s good for an old fella it seems and may you live long to enjoy it. However, there is a growing chorus of voices who would prefer that you don’t.

What I wish to write to you about is my disgust towards your attitude that Australia is a mere entry in a balance sheet: one where paltry tax is paid but where your yields and power are great. One where you are able to squeeze $882 million from a Murdoch friendly government. One where you can be seen in the likes of Google, Apple and Microsoft (to name a few) and collectively benefit from the ‘legitimate’ evasion of what denies Australia an alleged $10Billion in taxes.

murdoch taxThe Australian tax system has been designed with its current rates to generate sufficient tax revenue to help meet Australia’s many needs. Yet you, Mr Murdoch, are our country’s greatest risk as you endeavor to avoid paying your share of this tax. This all adds up to not only derailing our economy but denying services to any number of Australians.

So in effect, as the society becomes less affluent it will impact on demand for goods and services and undoubtedly it will impact on your own profits, as it will on any corporation with business in Australia. It’s commonsense. On the other hand, if you paid your taxes you are helping to build the economy which in no doubt will increase the profits of your goods and services, yet you choose to be a corporate leaner on 23 million Aussies.

Australia is the country that catapulted you to become one of the richest and influential persons of your time and your thanks to this great country is to rip off its citizens with a behaviour that I compare to that of a common corporate thief.

I believe there was once an admiration of your achievements by the Australian public, however this sentiment has been changing rapidly over the past few years and the sentiment emerging is now one of hate.

In simple words, Mr Murdoch, you are a burden on the tax system. In my eyes you are stealing from us.

Keep this in mind, Mr Murdoch, if you and the others keep on taking and taking there will be a point when there will be nothing left to take.

Yours in contempt

Bob Rafto

 

Move over Rupert – Google now calls the shots

Rupert Murdoch was once asked: “of all the things in your business empire, what gives you the most pleasure?” Murdoch instantly replied: “being involved with the editor of a paper in a day-to-day campaign…trying to influence people”.

I don’t think many on the Left side of politics would argue with that.

His attacks on the Labor Government in Australia during the 2013 election campaign and the Labour Opposition in Great Britain demonstrate this.

Heavyweights in the independent media harbour the ambition that one day they too will have to power to influence election outcomes, however they are resigned to the likely scenario that it could take at least a decade for the alternative media to have the numbers to wield such power.

Now they have an unlikely ally.

Internet giant Google.

Business Insider reports that in the United States ‘Google will have a massive influence on the 2016 presidential race’ by deciding ‘which results pop up when people enter a search term’. Hm, that’s interesting. But how?

Google’s ‘search engine manipulation effect’ (SEME) allows Google to ‘take a diverse group of undecided voters, let them research the candidates on a Google-esque search engine, then tally their votes — never mentioning that the search was rigged, giving top link placement to stories supporting a selected candidate’.

‘Essentially it comes down to Google’s ability to decide which results pop up when people enter a search term’. Researchers, they write, expected this bias would sway voters, but ‘they were shocked by just how much: Some voters became 20 percent more likely to support the favored candidate’.

So to put it simply, Google can have ‘extraordinary power over how voters cast their ballots’.

Looking at the United States again (where the research is being carried out), by making a minor tweek to its algorithms only negative or positive stories about Donald Trump will dominate the returns from a Google search.

Matt Southern from the Search Engine Journal writes that:

If Google’s search algorithm started to surface more positive results than negative for a candidate, searchers could end up having a more positive opinion of that candidate.

This kind of influence could sway election results given that most presidential elections are won by small margins.

Is this dangerous? Possibly, but no more dangerous than the control and influence that Murdoch holds.

But would Google ever do it?

Maybe. Imagine this: Al Gore had considered entering the 2016 presidential race. Did you know he was once an adviser at Google?

One of Al Gore’s first moves upon leaving office was to take a job at Google as an adviser. Al Gore took this job a full three years before the company went public in 2004, and it is rumored that Gore received stock options that were valued at as much as $40 million.

If Gore had decided to run, I’m sure someone at Google could have tweeked the algorithm to his advantage.

And we would have never known.

By the way, did I mention that Rupert Murdoch hates Google?

 

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