Click on Flag or Select Language to Translate

ArabicChinese (Simplified)DutchEnglishFrenchGermanHindiIndonesianItalianJapanesePortugueseRussianSpanishTurkishUrduBengaliNepali


Waltzing Australia


Saturday, December 29, 2012

47. BBC Weilds Its Power

The BBC now have an "updated" image for those attempting to logon to Thorn Tree.

One has to question the validity of the BBC's reason for shutting down one of the most popular and longest running travel forums. Was it done because there were posts that did not meet Lonely Planet standards, or merely to save their own skin? Considering the flak they received over their handling of the Jimmy Savile 'situation', one has to wonder. Back in October this year, An inquiry began into BBC culture over the Jimmy Savile scandal. A BBC poll has suggested its reputation as a trusted organisation has been damaged amid the scandal.

When asked why no action had been taken against the DJ and TV presenter (BBC's Jimmy Savile) for almost 50 years, the police commissioner said people had relied too much on Savile's reputation, and his word that he had "done nothing."

A celebrity who was a serial rapist and molester operated at the BBC for years, was revered, and knighted. After he died, the BBC bungled its own efforts to investigate and expose him.

Here is a Transcript from NPR's Philip Reeves report from an investigation into the scandal.

From the Huffington Post "Lonely Planet Thorn Tree Closed: Travel Forum Shut Down After BBC Discovers 'Inappropriate Languages And Themes' "

Inappropriate languages? Inappropriate themes? What on earth is an "inappropriate theme"? A discussion that someone doesn't like? Maybe a few someones from the BBC? There will always be opinions that some disagree with, but is this a reason for closing it from the public? Is the BBC following China's lead - is there now The Great Firewall of London where monitoring and censorship is the order of the day?

Thorn Tree
The Thorn Tree is the online travel forum of Lonely Planet, with several different "Branches". There are the Destination branches, South East Asia which comprises several countries, the Thailand branch, North East Asia (also comprising several countries). The Australia, New Zealand and Antarctica branch, European branches, the Americas etc.

In addition to the Destination Branches, there are others. For example, The Cooking and Food branch, known as GS (Get Stuffed), the Women's branch - WT (Women Travellers), Language and Grammar, called SiT (Speaking in Tongues).

There is also that den of iniquity called YC - Your Choice. While there are threads on YC that are presentable, there are many that are befitting a sewer - known colloquially as "poo" threads. Had this branch been cleaned up a long time ago, it would have been far better, sifting though them is akin to searching for a needle in a haystack!

Their Politics branch closed several years ago and the Sports branch was shutdown earlier this year. It was in the past a good place to discuss sport but alas, was taken over be certain types posting their smutty thoughts. They in turn have gone over the YC.

It is my understanding that the BBC have been running scared ever since the Jimmy Savile scandal broke and they have received a lot of flak over it, so what do they do? Shut down the whole Thorn Tree forum. This of course has made news and has attracted discussions on various internet sites which puts them (BBC) in an ever worse light, whereas had they just closed the YC branch, it wouldn't have attracted much more than a battered eyelid.

Why is it taking them so long to re-open the Thorn Tree? Perhaps they don't want to spoil their brandy and cigars and are just running ramrod over things like has been done in the past by the chinless wonders of the aristocracy.

All I can say is thank God I'm an Aussie!

Friday, December 28, 2012

46. The BBC and The Night(s) Before Christmas

(An ode to the BBC by yours truly)

T’was a few nights before Christmas and at BBC
They’d just settled down for a nice cup of tea.

With bone china cups, they chatted so nicely,
Their pinkies raised slightly and oh so politely.

When all of a sudden there arose such a clatter
They blinked and they wondered what on earth was the matter

The Head Mod rushed in, red-faced with alarm
The boss said I say old chap do remain calm.

He took a few breaths and then said the Mod
There’s a salacious email from that nasty old sod!

He’s made accusations, oh what shall we do?
Since that big Savile row we really are in the poo!

If we don’t “fix” this it might cause a confaddle
We’ll be up you know what creek without a paddle.

So the suits put their heads together as one
And wondered and thought about what could be done.

Out comes the brandy and port and cigars
For this called for deep thinking to save one’s Khyber Pass.

Now Thread posts! now Spam posts! Now Edit and Fixit!
On Data! on Branches! on Flag and Delete-it!

Christmas was nigh, there was snow and much ice
And visions of Christmas Pud danced passed their eyes.

A decision was made that’s called passing the buck
To close down the Thorn Tree and with any luck

They could go home for Christmas with no-one the wiser
And just shrug it off with a can of Budweiser.

45. BBC Shuts Down Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree Forum

Disgruntled user banned several times for trolling?

Lonely Planet's popular online travel forum, Thorn Tree, has been temporarily shut down by owner BBC, reportedly after the discovery of paedophilia-related posts.

A source said that BBC executives, still smarting from the Jimmy Savile scandal, went into "panic attack mode" after a disgruntled user alerted them to swearing and posts that discussed topics related to paedophilia

The site has not officially revealed why it was necessary to close the entire forum without warning except that "a number of posts" did not conform with the site's "standards". A message on the Thorn Tree page said the forum was closed "temporarily" so the site could apply "necessary editorial and technical updates".

The founder of Lonely Planet, Tony Wheeler, who no longer owns the publisher but contributes to it, told Fairfax that he was amazed the forum was still offline four days after the shutdown and criticised the BBC for not offering a more detailed explanation.

The Thorn Tree is around 16 years old, making it the oldest travel community on the web. It has become a staple for avid travellers looking for tips, advice and a connection with other globetrotters.

A source with links to Lonely Planet management said the decision to shut the forum was "all about Jimmy Savile".

The source said a disgruntled user, who had been banned several times for trolling and harassment, emailed BBC executives asking if they were aware that Thorn Tree was full of porn and swearing.

"They discovered that if you looked for terms like 'paedophile' or 'child prostitution', you got Thorn Tree hits," the source said.

"The hits are mostly discussions of current events or pointless stuff that would have been moderated, like 'Barney the dinosaur is a big purple paedophile'. However, someone found a thread about 'what's the age of consent in Mexico?' That really set them off.

"They went into full, freak out, panic attack mode."

The source said other posts the BBC executives found objectionable were related to child prostitution in Thailand.

Long-time Thorn Tree users are distressed that they got no warning of the shutdown and didn't have a chance to say goodbye. It is not clear when the site will be back online.

In the past, some have labelled Thorn Tree "scorntree" after experiences with abusive trolls on the site.

Lonely Planet was started in Melbourne by Maureen and Tony Wheeler in 1972. The pair sold a 75 per cent stake to BBC Worldwide in 2007 and the final 25 per cent in February 2011.

Tony Wheeler told Fairfax he received a phone call on December 22 to say they might have to shut down Thorn Tree and within the next 24 hours it was taken offline. He said he was "amazed" it hadn't been re-opened yet and he was still trying to find out the reason why it was shut down.

"There are always some areas which are live wires - Israel and Palestine for example - and if you don't keep a constant eye on them it can quickly go haywire," he said.

"I'm sure the BBC at the moment are extremely sensitive to anything questionable going out which could account for the current shutdown. Why it hasn't been sorted after 4 days I have no idea."

Wheeler said he was "not particularly surprised" at reports the forum was shut down due to objectionable content and criticised the BBC for not explaining why it took the forum offline beyond a "bland" statement. "OK it's Christmas but that's hardly an excuse," he said.

Several hours after this story was published BBC Worldwide spokesman Philip Fleming said BBC had found no evidence of discussions concerning paedophilia on Thorn Tree "but we have discovered instances of inappropriate language and themes".

"Until we are confident that all these rogue posts can be identified and deleted, we feel we have no option but to temporarily close the site as a precautionary measure," Fleming said.

Source: BBC Shuts Down Thorn Tree

Stay tuned for further updates.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

44. Derryn Hinch - His Response

From 3AW, Derryn Hinch, 28 August 2012 - 4:13 PM

Well, there’s a song called ‘What a Difference a Day Makes’. And boy is it true in my case today.

I walked out of this studio after yesterday’s program and felt pretty good about things. And why not? We’d had a touch of nostalgia by playing some of my broadcast from 43 years ago when I reported from Cape Kennedy as Apollo 11 blasted off for the moon.

And then yesterday I scored an exclusive interview with Buzz Aldrin who had walked on the moon with Neil Armstrong, and we reminisced about that trail-blazing astronaut who died suddenly at the weekend.

As far as radio programs go it was pretty good.

But I was then called into a meeting with the station’s General Manager, Shane Healy and Program Director Clark Forbes and – I can’t be much of an investigative reporter – because they sacked me and I didn’t see it coming.

In their managerial parlance and before the real spin kicked in, they said they were not renewing my contract next year.

READ: Statement from 3AW Management on the decision to not renew Derryn Hinch’s contract

It was all very civil. I asked why and was told ‘we’re taking the station in a different direction’. I pointed out that my Drive program was rating No. 1 in Melbourne and so the only different direction they could take it was down.

I didn’t get a real explanation for why I was being terminated, and still haven’t. I thought that was owed to me and – even more importantly – to you, the listeners.

Healy was going on Mitchell’s program to explain but then declined. And, a short time ago, turned down an invitation to come on this program.

One senior executive did say that they planned to ‘push the boundaries’. Jeez, if you pushed the boundaries any further than I have on radio and television, you’d fall off the edge. I have been to jail for causes, been fined, done community service, and done five months under house arrest for causes. And I think AW probably got tired of my causes. One exec did tell me when I came back here he hoped I wouldn’t ‘go on and on about the paedophile thing’, as if there’s a quota on stories when you are talking about protecting children.

In his press release, Shane Healy said 3AW could not afford to stand still in the midst of the ‘immense challenges of the digital revolution’ and the station must position itself to take advantage of the exciting possibilities opening up in the digital world and changing audience expectations.’

That’s funny. I’m probably the most accomplished person in social media of anybody at 3AW. I started the first internet site called Hinchwebradio twelve years ago, have more than 30,000 followers on Twitter, and my own HumanHeadline website, so that can’t be it. But I’m not going to plead my case. I don’t beg. I said during an earlier sacking on television, you can’t legislate against stupidity. And this is stupid.

Your tweets, emails and on-air reactions have been amazing and I thank you. You have followed me through a lot of ups and downs –professional, personal and physical over the years, especially the last year.

What intrigues me, in Mr Healy’s absence, is the quote about ‘changing audience expectations’. I thought your expectations included a host who tried to tell the truth, championed your causes, challenged politicians and even challenged my bosses when I thought they were wrong.

[In fairness, I should point out that this dismissal has nothing to do with my comments last week about Steve Vizard. I’ve discovered this decision was made months ago.]

It’s funny you know, radio and televisions stations have hired me for who I am and what I say. Then, they fire me for who I am and what I say.

But let’s put this into perspective. A lot of people have lost their jobs lately, my sackings just happen very publicly.

Last night having a subdued dinner with my wife Chanel, my visiting sister Barbara and brother-in-law, Les Swanson, and Shannon Reid, my stalwart producer, I told them to keep one thing in mind.

A year ago I didn’t think I’d even be alive for 12 months down the track to even get fired.

At management’s request, this is my last day on air for a while. I’ll be back late next month to fulfil my contract. I’ll do it to the best of my ability, you wouldn’t expect anything less of me and I wouldn’t accept anything less.

So let’s use the corny signature line… ‘That’s life’ and let’s get on with it.

FOOTNOTE: I said I mustn’t be much of an investigative reporter because I didn’t see it coming, I was blindsided. Should not have been, in retrospect. Earlier this year, without even telling me, management cancelled our annual 3AW Variety Bike-a-thon. Guess that’s part of the ‘change of direction’, even though we’ve given away 10,000 bikes to needy kids over the Christmases. I protested and it will be on next month on the Drive program, only.

That lack of respect should have told me something. Also I heard that my able fill-in, Tom Elliott, had been overheard telling someone at Channel Ten several months ago that ‘this is Hinch’s last year’ and he was replacing me.

I dismissed it as the wishful thinking of an ambitious young man. I was wrong. The decision to sack me was made in June.

Final point: A former director of 3AW’s owners [not former radio chief Graham Mott] told me today that he had always believed 3AW could never be destroyed from the outside; Any destruction would come from within.

Maybe he was right. As I said: You can’t legislate against stupidity.

The man who is the replacement
Above: Tom Elliott

I am shocked and saddened and yes angry to hear of Derryn's sacking.
I can see no good coming from the Healy decision but what can we expect from one who sprouts such rigmarole as, "3AW, Melbourne's most successful radio station of the modern era, must position itself to take advantage of the exciting possibilities opening up in the digital world and changing audience expectations"?

Healy is bringing a once proud radio station down through his and others bombastic stupidity. How he ever reached the position he has is quite beyond my understanding. I have heard Elliott before when he was a fill-in and always switched off because I think he's pathetic and terribly, terribly boring - I didn't like listening to him before or the way he "ran" the program when he was on in the past filling in and I won't be listening him this time around. Derryn's absence will create a big void in my weekly afternoons - I finish work at 4.00PM and always enjoyed listening to him on the way home, then I'd race inside and switch on the radio.

While I don't always agree with Derryn's views, I admire his stand and the way he stood up for the underdog and kept pounding away where lesser mortals would have thrown in the towel.
Not only do I not understand Healy & Co, now I hear today is Hinch's last programme. What - they don't have the decency to even let him continue until the end of the year? What are they afraid of? Too many people ringing 3AW with support which makes them look bad? As my youngest son would say, "What a bunch of wankers!"

Is this 3AW's Healygate?

Shame, shame, shame.

43. 3AW Sacks Derryn Hinch

From 3AW Radio, 27 August 2012 - 6:44 PM.

3AW has decided not to renew the contract of drive-time presenter Derryn Hinch.

Derryn's one-year contract was set to expire at the end of this year.

The drive host was told of the decision not to renew his contract at a meeting with station management when he came off air Monday night (27 August).

The Man they sacked
Above: Derryn Hinch after being told of his sacking

While Derryn will not reappear behind the drive microphone after December, 3AW hopes to explore other opportunities with the respected broadcaster to enable him to remain in the Fairfax Radio fold.

The station expects to make an announcement on Derryn's replacement in the next few days.

3AW general manager Shane Healy paid tribute to Derryn's "fantastic" contribution to the station over the past 10 years.

"Derryn has been part of the fabric of Melbourne's No.1 radio station for many years and we are immensely proud and grateful for his efforts over this time," Mr Healy said.

"However, like all branches of the media it is impossible to stand still in a world of ever-accelerating change, " he said.

"Radio has withstood the immense challenges of the digital revolution much better than any other traditional media but we, like print and television, cannot afford to stand still.

"3AW, Melbourne's most successful radio station of the modern era, must position itself to take advantage of the exciting possibilities opening up in the digital world and changing audience expectations."

The man who did the sacking
Above: Shane Healy

Mr Healy said he hoped Derryn would consider the options that could be available to enable him to still play a role in broadcasting at Fairfax Radio.

It is unclear whether Derryn will return to the microphone this week. The drive presenter was due to take two weeks' holiday from next week.

Derryn has had two stints at 3AW. He established his broadcasting reputation on the station in the 1980s before he leaving for television current affairs.

In the past 10 years 3AW has stood behind the broadcaster through a series of controversies. Only last Friday 3AW gave the broadcaster the day off to fight in court a charge of failure to vote.

"Life will not be the same without Derryn around but we believe listeners will react more than favorably to the changes we have in mind," Mr Healy said.

What a complete stuff-up - SNAFU

Thursday, May 10, 2012

42. Revenge and Violence

Remember child killer Robert Farquharson, the bloke who murdered his three children? Well he's back in the news again wanting yet another trial, this time for a jury to shorten his sentence!

The Verdict
In October 2007, the jury found Robert Farquharson guilty of murdering his three sons, that on Fathers' Day 2005, he deliberately drove his car into a dam and killed his three boys to punish his ex-wife, Cindy Gambino. Jai, who was 10, Tyler, who was seven, and Bailey, who was just two years old drowned, but not Farquharson - he swam away. He was sentenced to three terms of life imprisonment without parole. Farquharson announced his attention to appeal his convictions.

Appeal, bail & retrial
On 17 December 2009, Farquharson's conviction was overturned by the three appeal judges. They were critical of the trial judge, the prosecution and the evidence of key prosecution witness Greg King.

On 4 May 2010, the re-trial began before Justice Lex Lasry. On 22 July, the second jury again found him guilty of murder. He was sentenced on October 15, 2010 to life with a 33 year minimum.

Another Appeal?!
In another bid to reduce his sentence, he wants a jury to decide if he was negligent in driving his three sons to their deaths and drowning them.

According to the latest, his barrister Peter Morrissey, will initially argue that Farquharson should be acquitted for the murder of his three sons and freed and that a charge of manslaughter should have been left for jurors to consider.
Manslaughter carries a maximum penalty of 25 years' gaol.

Above: The murdered boys - Jai, 10, Bailey, 2 and Tyler, 7.

A justice group fronted by Lindy Chamberlain-Creighton and US boxer Rubin "Hurricane" Carter is preparing to battle to free triple child killer Robert Farquharson.

A new arm of JusticeWA, which fights to free convicted criminals it believes could be innocent, is setting up in Victoria and plans to give Farquharson's case top priority.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

41. ANZAC Day

One of the most amazing stories is that of the first Christmas of WWI. On the the eve of Christmas 1914. John McCutcheon's ballad, Christmas in the trenches depicts the moods of the soldiers, on both sides of the front lines, during the first Christmas of World War I. It was hailed as the "Amazing Truce" where German and British soldiers took a respite from the War. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, in his history of 1914, called the Christmas truce "An amazing spectacle, one human episode amid all the atrocities which have stained the memory of war".

His phrase, indeed, sums up the attraction of the truce; it is the human dimension which means that this relatively obscure event in the fifth month of a fifty two month war is still remembered and will continue to catch the imagination. In a century in which our conception of war has been on the Exocet, the Cruise Missile and the Neutron Bomb, the fact that in 1914 some thousands of the fighting men of the belligerent nations met and shook hands between their trenches strikes a powerful and appealing note. It is perhaps the best and most heartening Christmas story of modern times.

A young German voice was heard singing "Stille Nacht" and it floated over No Man's Land. Then an English voice sent back "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen", and soon the night was filled with voices of men, some of them as young as 16 or 17. Over the stretch of land which separated both sides appeared a white flag as a young German soldier held it high and slowly approached. And from the British side came a soldier who walked forward to meet him. Then the others followed.

These men met on a battlefield as friends and equals. They shared cigarettes, some chocolate and a rare camaraderie, they looked at photos of sweethearts, mothers and loved ones. They sang Christmas carols together. They even played a game of football. And for a short time, they were ordinary people meeting in friendship.

But time does not stand still, and as the first rays of morning light came and the sun peeked its faint pale rays, they shook hands for the last time. And went back to the business of war.


They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old;
Age shall not weary them, nor the years comtemn,
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We shall remember them.
"And when he gets to heaven,
To St. Peter he will tell,
Another soldier reporting, sir -
I've served my time in hell."

Saturday, March 17, 2012

40. St. Patrick's Day

Lá Fhéile Pádraig Sona Daoibh

Well now, today is March the 17th - Saint Patrick's Day and as there are many Australians with an Irish background, here's a bit of Irish humour.

Above: Paddy's Irish Bar
(Photo take in Kalgoorlie)

Why did the Irishman wear 2 condoms? " To be sure, to be sure "

Paddy and Murphy are on a cruise ship.
Paddy says "It's awfully quiet on deck tonight".
Murphy says "Everyone will be watching the band".
Paddy says "There isn't a band playing tonight".
Murphy says "I definitely heard some fellow say "A band on ship"!

Paddy Murphy arrived at Tullamarine airport and wandered about the terminal with tears streaming down his cheeks. An old Aussie bloke asked him if he was homesick.
"No", replied the Irishman. "It's worse, I have I've lost all me luggage"
"That's terrible, how did that happen?"
"The cork fell out of me bottle" Said Paddy

"How far is it to the next village?" asked the American tourist. "It's about seven miles," guessed the farmer. "But it's only five if you run"

Into a Belfast pub comes Paddy Murphy, looking like he'd just been run over by a train. His arm is in a sling, his nose is broken, his face is cut and bruised and he's walking with a limp.
"What happened to you?" asks Sean, the bartender. "Jamie O'Conner and me had a fight," says Paddy.
"That little shit, O'Conner," says Sean, "He couldn't do that to you, he must have had something in his hand."
"That he did," says Paddy, "a shovel is what he had, and a terrible lickin' he gave me with it."
"Well," says Sean, "you should have defended yourself, didn't you have something in your hand?"
"That I did," said Paddy. "Mrs. O'Conner's breast, and a thing of beauty it was, but useless in a fight."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

39. Australia Day 2012

Australia Day
Today is Australia Day - our national day and a public holiday.
I am proud to be an Australian, I love my country. It is where I was born and there is a great deal of good and beauty here.
I love the endless red dust of the desert, the changing landscapes, the smell of the bush and the tall towering gums that fill the nostrils and delight the senses.

I love the informality of sitting under a blazing sun in the outback and just being one with the land, the kaleidoscope of a million stars under a cloudless sky in
Central Australia, hearing a lone didgerdoo emitting it's wistful sound.
But most of all, I feel an affinity with this land we call Australia.

Scenes from around Australia
These are some of my travel photos which I have put together as a collage. (Click on the photo to enlarge)

Above: Agnes and I
Taken on Yellow Water Billabong, Kakadu.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

38. Business Software Alliance supports SOPA

Do large giants like Microsoft and Apple support the SOPA bill? Chicago-based writer Alex Wilhelm believes so. I came across an article written by Mr. Wilhelm in which he said "After writing a rather lengthy and somewhat firey post on the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) yesterday, I realized this morning that I didn’t know Microsoft’s position on the matter. As I edit our Microsoft channel, I immediately sent off a query to the company concerning the Act."

"To my surprise it took some time to hear back, and when I did get word the response was ‘no comment.’ Obviously intrigued, I dug into the issue. As it turns out, ‘no comment’ is Microsoft’s official position on SOPA. The company has made no noise at all on the issue, other than what I would wager is a rather conspicuous silence.

But Microsoft did support the pre-SOPA Protect IP Act, something that SOPA did draw on heavily for its roots. To quote the official page on the House website: “The Stop Online Piracy Act (H.R. 3261) builds on the Pro IP Act of 2008 and the Senate’s Protect IP Act introduced earlier this year.” So we have Microsoft supporting the intellectual ancestor of SOPA, but that’s certainly not enough to say that the company supports SOPA outright.

We can, however, show that it does. And somewhat disingenuously, if I may. You see, Microsoft is a major player in the Business Software Alliance, along with Apple and 27 other companies. And the BSA supports SOPA. This is from a recent BSA bulletin:

The Business Software Alliance today commended House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) for introducing the “Stop Online Piracy Act” (H.R. 3261) to curb the growing rash of software piracy and other forms of intellectual property theft that are being perpetrated by illicit websites.

Mr. Wilhelm then goes on to say Microsoft is using a front group to throw its support behind SOPA, (while publicly saying and doing nothing) - in other words, pretending in the face of the public but all the time doing/thinking the opposite.

He then lists every member of the BSA. SOURCE - TNW Insider

37. Murdoch owning all of Australia's media?

A Frightening Thought

It would be extremely dangerous to allow media monopolies who would then have the power to
abuse their power, keep the truth from the public, lie, with-hold vital information and reporting
and publicise biased opinions. This is not freedom. This is not democracy.

This is not what Australia needs or wants. Our country then would be on a par with
communist countries who control the daily lives of their people.

Did Aussie Diggers fight for this? To see their country go backwards over one hundred years? To go back to an earlier age when there was no freedom of speech, to live in a world where if you speak out against the government or elected leaders you face the terror of being thrown in gaol? To be subjected to brain-washing?

Because this is what a media monopoly would have - the power to control our very lives, to tell us what to think, to tell us what they want us to know, to keep the truth from us.

A Dreadful Reality
Free reign to control every last newspaper, TV and radio station in Australia --Rupert Murdoch’s fantasy could become a frightening reality

unless we stand in his way right now.

A government review is recommending we eliminate ownership limits -- exactly what Murdoch asked for. But we have two weeks to flood the review with objections to their plan during the public comment period before they finalise the report. Unless thousands of us speak out, the recommendations could go forward unchallenged.

Nobody -- especially not Rupert Murdoch -- should be allowed to own all of our media. Let’s wake up the review with our call -- and prevent the Murdoch Mafia from growing even larger. INFORMATION HERE.

36. Wikipedia Black-Out Because of the USA

Today, I couldn't find info on Wikipedia, (English Wikipedia) - the page is BLACKED OUT

Why? I'll tell you why - As a protest because the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet.
First, they wanted Julian Assange's head on a platter,
They want to control Wikipedia! (SOPA and PIPA)

What are SOPA and PIPA?
"SOPA and PIPA represent two bills in the United States House of Representatives and the United States Senate respectively. SOPA is short for the "Stop Online Piracy Act," and PIPA is an acronym for the "Protect IP Act." ("IP" stands for "intellectual property.")"

Read about SOPA and PIPA

SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) known as House Bill 3261 was introduced in the House of Representatives on October 26, 2011 and if made law, "would expand the ability of U.S. law enforcement and copyright holders to fight online trafficking in copyrighted intellectual property and counterfeit goods."
"To promote prosperity, creativity, entrepreneurship, and innovation by combating the theft of U.S. property, and for other purposes." —H.R. 3261

IN the link above it also states "it will threaten whistle-blowing and other free speech actions" (Like Julian Assange?)

PIPA "The PROTECT IP Act (Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011 or PIPA), also known as Senate Bill 968 or S. 968, is a proposed law with the stated goal of giving the US government and copyright holders additional tools to curb access to "rogue websites dedicated to infringing or counterfeit goods", especially those registered outside the U.S."

"The bill defines infringement as distribution of illegal copies, counterfeit goods, or anti-digital rights management technology. Infringement exists if "facts or circumstances suggest [the site] is used, primarily as a means for engaging in, enabling, or facilitating the activities described."

So does this mean no more YouTube?
Russia and China one could (maybe) understand, but the US? Aren't they supposed to be the land of the free? What is the USofA trying to do? Isn't this what they have always done - stuck their nose in other peoples and other countries business? They have too many fingers in too many pies, hey America, wake up! I'm not an American, I don't live in America and I certainly do not want to be ruled by your so called laws.

Now .... according to This site Obama has said he won't support either bill (SOPA or PIPA) as is but ....

And get this SOPA and PIPA are bills originally drafted by two Democratic leaders to appease the Hollywood sponsors to allow them the ability to bring copyright infringed websites to their knees should they or a commenter violate any far reaching scope of current copyright laws. It’s so broad, that if a commenter links to a copyrighted video on You Tube, production companies and Hollywood Film companies have the right to have the website shut down and have it’s advertisers withhold their earnings.

And the USofA calls itself the "land of the Free" huh, pull the other one. America a democracy? More like an elected dictatorship. They're too big for their damn boots and need taking down a peg or do.
America, keep your hands to yourself.
A quote from Scrooge seems appropriate here Bah! Humbug!