Monday, March 02, 2015

In which our very own Bernie plans his very own Gettysburg Address, or perhaps just a spectacular set of back flips ...

(Above: Rowe with a lovely portrait of the king resting after his labors, attendants waiting, watchful and eager to be helpful, and more lovely Rowe here).

The pond is vigilant but hopeful.

The signs are good.

You see, the pond don't know where it - or the professional latte sipping chattering classes - would be if this day the grim reaper came calling on Tony Abbott after a dose of salmon mousse, or perhaps just another day of epic bungling and foot in mouth disease ...

There are many wider scandals afoot in the world. Think of the state of Russia, think of the mess in the middle east, think of still calling the middle east 'the middle', as if somehow things were still relative to a British view of the world ...

None of it matters, not up against the fate of the sleeping king.

The reptiles at the lizard Oz are wildly excited.

It seems there's signs of life, and a series of epic policy backflips will result in a new world, a new era, a transformation as exciting as Michael Bay doing another Transformers' movie.

Yes, there's hope. Sure he might have poisoned policies, sure he might have been profoundly inept, dropping mercury in ears, murdering his party's standing, but things are on the move. He's reformed, changed. He's done his time.

Already the news about the intergenerational report is sounding tremendously good. Somehow we're now to be optimistic. Everything's ship shape. The last very successful budget put the ship of state back on the road, and certainly didn't leave it at sea.

The disasters have been fixed, there's a positive side to aging, everything is looking tremendously peachy keen and fine ...

And so we enter the era of the high class backflip ...

Of course there are still snarks and doubters, saucy fear mongers of the Fairfax kind, strutting out and about this Monday mourning:

Weekend at Bernie's? Isn't that a comedy about a corpse?

As for Paul Sheehan's piece, notice how they're treating the commentariat these days?

Do you know what's thirteen of the funniest things a meerkat's ever done, and who's that other man with PM potential?

Well the pond's not going to stand for any of that nonsense.

Here's a spoiler.

The mystery man in Paul "the magic water man" Sheehan's world is ... drum roll please maestro .... Scott Morrison ...

Inter alia the pumping up of Morrison, not a new phenomenon, and astonishingly presented as a fresh insight by Sheehan, included this sort of wondrous stuff:

Morrison is the son of a policeman. He attended Sydney Boys' High, is not wealthy and thus not a class-war target for Labor. He is also free of wishful thinking and waffle about the internal threat presented by Islamic extremism.

Uh huh. Not a word about Scott Morrison attending a barking mad fundamentalist "speaking in tongues" Christian church ...

Very few have paid attention to this - you can read stories like Scott Morrison at Shirelive in locales like The Monthly - but the professional chattering classes have run dead on it.

Here's the rub. Unless Morrison is an astonishing hypocrite, he actually believes all this stuff:

Yes, there it is, the gift of speaking in tongues ...

No wonder he takes a firm view of those heretical Islamics. He's fundamentally as barking mad as they are ...

Though an ability to speak in tongues certainly comes in handy in politics ...

Or so Sheehan thinks:

Events are also breaking Morrison's way. He has established a reputation as an excellent administrator. He is already shaking up the giant Social Security portfolio after just two months on the job. He is a forceful performer in Parliament. He delivered the most difficult election promise of the Coalition, amid a blizzard of abuse and lawfare. 
Crucially, Morrison can shape and deliver a complex narrative in simple terms. On big policy changes, he can take the electorate with him in explaining the need for reform.

Yes, you just need to speak in tongues, and blather a lot ... and a simple mind like Sheehan can suddenly understand things ...

But enough of Sheehan, since his main aim in the piece is to urge against any action being taken against Abbott - with jibber jabber about collective hysteria - and since only a few minutes in his company brings grim reminders of what a first class fool he is, as he confesses that in January he was hailing Turnbull as the coming man, and now that's conventional wisdom, he feels the need to jump ahead of the pack yet again ... not understanding that all his jibber jabber is just more of the drip drop that keeps the destabilisation of Abbott running on a daily basis ...

Meanwhile, it was Peter Hartcher's job to explain the Fairfax poll figures in a way that kept the leadership speculation on the boil.

Wouldn't want to let a change in the polls stop the endless speculation and so Hartcher sets forth on his task with vim and vigour and movie metaphors in PM Tony Abbott's 'positive' poll shows he's a dead man walking (with bonus forced video):

The claim that Abbott might be able to recover also overlooks the big historical finding of today's poll. 
On 10 positive leader attributes, the poll finds Abbott's ratings are "all negative, all at historical lows," reports Elgood. 
Worse yet, Abbott rates lower on eight of the 10 than all four of his immediate predecessors. 
When he moved a censure motion against Julia Gillard in 2011, Abbott said: "We have a Prime Minister who is both incompetent and utterly untrustworthy." 
Today's poll shows that Australia finds Abbott to be less competent and just as untrustworthy. 
By his own criteria, Abbott is a worse prime minister than Gillard. "It's hard to see his way back on these numbers," concludes Elgood. 
The evidence of the poll is that Abbott's is the prime ministership from the Weekend at Bernie's. 
The people propping up his prime ministership may be proclaiming it alive and well, but today's poll results show that the electorate knows otherwise.

Worse than Julia? Not Julia Gillard!

Hallelujah, let the leadership stories continue apace ...

And so in a very kindly move this morning the AFR let Laura Tingle out from behind the paywall to keep the ferment fermenting.

Yes, Voter views of Tony Abbott's views are devastating is more of the same, and look how anxious he looks about it in the accompanying snap:

Oh the cruelty as that infernal woman gets another run:

The question is: what is driving voters' views of the leaders? One view prevalent in Parliament House last week was that voters may have already been taking a leadership change into account – resulting in better party figures. Another argument is that, while they don't like Tony Abbott, the prospect of a change of government or a change of leader still alarms them. 
Whatever the truth of any of these arguments, the Fairfax/Ipsos poll drives home the extent to which Tony Abbott's dominant position over Malcolm Turnbull among Coalition voters has faded in recent months – from a 17-point lead to just an eight-point lead. 
This reflects the party-room dilemma: Turnbull's support base has grown. But it is not clear it has grown enough to assure him of a persuasive party-room leadership vote and a subsequently united party. 
Yet among voters more generally, Tony Abbott is now the third most preferred Liberal leader, with Turnbull's stocks with voters even higher than they were previously and Abbott's deputy Julie Bishop now also eclipsing the Prime Minister as preferred leader. 
Malcolm Turnbull's standing with voters on the key questions of grasp on economic policy and competence is close to twice that of the Prime Minister. 
The fact that Mr Abbott now even trails Julia Gillard on questions of competence, economic policy, trustworthiness, and strong leadership – all issues on which he relentlessly challenged her credentials – must be particularly galling and show just how much trouble he is in.

Why are they all harping about Julia Gillard?

What's it all mean?

Is Tony Abbott now considered some kind of girlie man? Or even worse, a girlie who couldn't compete with a real girlie?

These are gender-bending questions which only confuse the pond. No wonder Abbott's looking so anxious, what with that big red emergency button just behind him waiting to be pressed ...

And so to the reptiles of Oz, and David Crowe, and the signs of life and hope:

Thank the long absent lord for that.

It seems that the pond can keep hoping for that visionary day when Tony Abbott will win a Nobel Prize, or perhaps devise an equivalent to the Gettysburg Address, or perhaps just embark on a spectacular set of pathetic back flips designed to save his miserable skin ...

And jolly Joe, who couldn't sell a used car in style, will set it all going by explaining that a new optimism has gripped him to the bottom of his mendacious soul ... and everything is in control as the intergenerational report rumbles into view ...

And to think some cruel people wanted to snatch these pleasures away from the pond, and the professionally paid chardonnay swilling conservative commentariat ...

Time for a celebratory cartoon from Alan Moir, and one from old timer Petty, and remember the Fairfax cartoonists are available as a collective here.

Just ask yourself where would these cartoonists be without Tony Abbott? Sullen, bitter, resentful, perhaps unemployed ...

Instead thanks to our Bernie down under, their days are filled with smiles, laughter and joy ....

Sunday, March 01, 2015

Oh Tamworth, Tamworth, what a heartbreak town ... redux ...

Oh Tamworth, Tamworth, it's not still going on, is it?

There's more at the Northern 'Tamworth gets' Daily Weirder by the minute, here.

Mrs Sollars said while it may seem like a trivial issue to some, for Dylan, who is living with Asperger’s, it was anything but. 

Say what? They're persecuting a kid with Asperger's for wanting to wear a bow tie, in the school colours?

 “We don’t feel Dylan wearing a bow tie is stopping him or any other student,” Mrs Sollars said. “He chooses to wear it rather than a traditional tie and he’s worn it for six months. 
 “It would be a massive change for him to have to take it off – it would be quite traumatic.” 
She said many other students at the school had minor alterations to the uniform. 
While under the school’s rules Dylan cannot be suspended for a uniform breach, he has been told he can be suspended for “disobedience relating to the uniform”. 
 NSW education minister Adrian Piccoli said it would not be appropriate for him to intervene. “Uniform decisions are made by the principal, in consultation with the PandC,” Mr Piccoli said. “It’s not appropriate for the minister to start intervening.” 
In a Northern Daily Leader online poll, 52.67 per cent (247 votes) readers said students should not be suspended for wearing incorrect school uniform, while 47.33 per cent (222 votes) said they should.

Say what? The town's got that many mindless, mind-numbing dullard conformists in its midst?

So inflexible they can't even find it in their hearts to allow a snappy dresser to indulge in a little snappy dressing?

What if he wanted to wear spats in honour of Jimmy Cagney?

How about braces, in the school colours, in honour of his great grandfather? What if it was in honour of a snappy dresser who went to Gallipoli and also wore a bow tie?

What about a nice Akubra made from rabbit pelt?

What's happened to the great countryside?

Yes the pond had a great uncle who always wore a bow tie. He was mocked for it by his lumpenproletariat relatives but he liked a little style ... and he was, in passing, hard as nails, and able to deal with rascals ...

How did this come to pass, oh you heartbreak town ... ?

What's that you say?

Barnaby Joyce is your federal member, and Adrian Piccoli speaks for the state government?

Say no more. All is understood, if not forgiven ...

In which, it being Sunday, the pond broods about Tony Abbott, leadership, disposable serviettes, litanies, and Kyrie Eleisons ... with a bonus Mass for the departing ...

The reptiles just can't help themselves.

This day it's the Sunday Terror which slipped in a front page story on the impending leadership spill.

By the time it hit the digital pages later in the day it had lost its EXCLUSIVE tag ... if anyone except a barking mad reptile lover thought it was EXCLUSIVE news that Julie Bishop might throw her hat into the ring (and thanks to that correspondent who updated the pond on the betting on the show ponies currently on parade, ready for an SP plunge).

What was more fun was to see all the keening and the wailing, the mourning and the crying, the sackcloth and ashes that littered the pages of the Terror, as their tabloid commentariat dropped the plot and the bundle.

Actually ... Miranda the Devine clearly suffers from the same delusion as Tony Abbott, who somehow thinks that the gift of the Premiership comes directly from the people rather than the party room ... actually .... sweet 'hang a greenie from the nearest lamp post' Devine ... could we just pause to note that it won't be "we" who'll be tossing out Tony, though if the pond had the chance to pay, 'we'd' pay a handsome price.

The "we" will be the Liberal party room ... and you can't hang that "we" on the pond ...

And what is it with toasters? At least they do a decent job until they cark it. The pond pays no attention to cricket, but surely there was an omen in Abbott watching Michael Clarke return, and the Australians went down like toast falling to the ground on the buttered side ... talk about a loser watching losers ...

Yes, it turns out that the only way to enjoy the Terror toons is to laugh at the headlines, and once again Akker Dakker came to the party:

Knifing Tony is only going to hurt us all? Keeping a bumbling angry macho bullying boofhead in office is in the national interest? And we're all going to feel the pain of his passing? As if the pond mourns the loss of Billy McMahon or Chairman Rudd?

It's impossible to imagine writing that sort of kool aid gibberish unless you happened to have the skills of the brothers Grimm, and were interested in political fairy tales ...

And then there was Claire Harvey:

What's she got against disposable serviettes?

The pond's had a damn sight more useful service out of its disposable serviettes, and a lot more sense, especially when you consider the serviettes never proposed a medical co-payment, not to bring the budget down, but to piss it against the wall helping fund medical research which would no doubt have been a boondoggle for political mates.

And then a year after all sorts of carry on, to head off to New Zealand and hint that maybe the co-payment idea was dead, not as a policy back-flip to match many other epic back-flips, but just as a way of saving the good old personal bacon.

Why the pond's had a lot more intelligent discussions with disposable serviettes, and it's reached scintillating, Wittgensteinian heights with a paper cup, than it's ever had listening to the macho man strut his three word slogans ...

Was the nation better off without Billy McMahon and Sonia of the split dress?

Damn right, but we can expect a lot more of this hysterical moaning and weeping in the days ahead, as their crusader lad eventually mopes off into the sunset.

Here's hoping he's got enough disposable serviettes to tend the bleeding from all the cuts and open wounds ...

Damn useful things, those serviettes ... and you can mop up all the political horseshit and the chunderings of the barking mad reptiles to boot ...

But why all the tears which seem to suggest that tissues are also more useful than a bully boy PM?

Well in the same rag Samantha Maiden gives a hint:

Uh oh. Now how's that going to go down?

There's the darling of the eastern suburbs going out with a man who attends a "speaking in tongues" fundamentalist church ...

As for the future?

Well the Fairfaxians have that at the top of the digital page:

What's interesting about Tony Wright's story Party room appears to have already decided Tony Abbott's fate is the way the recitals in it have taken on an almost ritual religious air.

It's what Catholics call a litany, and it will be well known to Abbott. You can Greg Hunt it here:

The frequent repetition of the Kyrie was probably the original form of the Litany, and was in use in Asia and in Rome at a very early date. The Council of Vaison in 529 passed the decree: "Let that beautiful custom of all the provinces of the East and of Italy be kept up, viz., that of singing with great effect and compunction the 'Kyrie Eleison' at Mass, Matins, and Vespers, because so sweet and pleasing a chant, even though continued day and night without interruption, could never produce disgust or weariness".

Of course it's not the same Litany for Abbott. No Kyrie Eleison of the kind you find in Haydn's Nelson Mass.

No rather it's now a long list, a frequent repetition, of crimes, omissions, failings, foibles and fuck ups:

...the problems swirling around Abbott have become so numerous the arguments for retaining him - principally, that he brought the Coalition back to government after six years, slaying the Labor administration in the doing of it - no longer balance the ledger for most of his colleagues. 
South Australian Liberal MPs are appalled at the government's failure to offer a clear future for Adelaide's naval shipyards; moderates are taken aback by the ferocity of the attack on Human Rights Commission president Gillian Triggs; a leaked letter from the party's treasurer, Phil Higginson, accused the party of allowing a conflict of interest because federal director Brian Loughnane was married to Abbott's chief of staff, Peta Credlin. 
Even more seriously, Higginson caused alarm among big donors to the Liberal Party when he declared he had been unable to get adequate information about the party's funds from Loughnane. Abbott didn't help himself when, having faced down the party room revolt that threatened to spill the leadership, he promised no retribution - and then sacked his chief whip, party elder Philip Ruddock. Much of the steam has even gone out of Abbott's best last plea - that the Coalition could not allow itself to replay the fatal leadership chaos of the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years. 
But now, the mere words "changing leaders" cause Labor MPs to fall about laughing, and Abbott's ranks can do nothing but stare into space. 
"Tony said the people elected him and it's only the people who should decide whether he stays," a NSW backbencher told Fairfax. "But it was the party room that elected him as leader. It will be the party room that decides." 
Only the when and how remain elusive.

Which explains all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth this meditative Sunday as the reptiles begin to adjust to a new reality, and we await the arrival of the next paper serviette ...

The added delight? The more that the Liberal party delays the slaughter, the more stories that will flow, the more speculation will flood the press, the more the government will be rendered impotent and policy stricken. And everyone will be laughing at every further foible and fuck-up ...

There's nothing like a degutted, riven Abbott in the morning to set the pond's nostrils a-quivering with pleasure ... unless it's the sight of tormented reptiles ... dropping inane stupidities like Miranda the Devine with this one:

The first question voters will ask is why? What has ­Abbott done wrong that such a drastic step is required? 
All we really have is Prince Philip’s gong.

The silly goose. She hasn't learned her litany ... and instead delivers this sort of tripe:

His innate humility and self-restraint mean he doesn’t blow his trumpet enough. 
Equally, his stubborn loyalty to his besieged treasurer and chief of staff seems suicidal.

Ah, so there were other things to add to the Devine litany. Now for more fairy floss:

But as he stoically endures attacks from friend and foe, and fights valiantly for ­redemption, a grudging appreciation of his strength of character may emerge. 

A political leader unwilling to dump loyal liabilities to save himself is frustratingly unpragmatic, but uncommonly admirable. 
So, if Abbott’s colleagues allow him to survive to the next election, he will have achieved a miraculous resetting of politics, back from cynicism to virtue.

Calling Brothers Grimm, is that the hotline for Brothers Grimm central?

What about the portly Akker Dakker who clearly shows a taste for corpulence-inducing pleasures?

Well the preening, portly, portentous fat owl of the remove is worth a screen grab:

Oh one time self-confessed drug user and physician, is this talk of a case of wine and a little more food a tad too personally?

There's plenty more Akker Dakker, but the pond can't do spoilers all the time.

Naturally he resorts to the first resort of the scoundrel, which is patriotism, national security, Islamic terror, and all the rest of the flag-flying that Abbott and other armchair generals routinely deploy, while cutting the pay of those who actually have to go out and risk getting their heads shot off:

Abbott wants to make the nation safe from the terrorists who use such terms as cloaks and shields to protect them from scrutiny. 
He admires those who ­enlist in the armed services or work in national security.

So what about the pay?

No, just more blather:

His critics prefer phony ­docudramas that make the ­security services look foolish. They claim that flying the national flag is racist. 
He thinks it has served the nation well in times of war and peace and is a reminder of the sacrifices made by men and women of past generations so that we and our children and grandchildren can enjoy freedoms envied by others in a ­nation that is admired by all except those who are filled with ­­self-hate or bent on the destruction of civilisation. 

So what about the pay? No, just more blather:

When Abbott recalls the citizenship pledge to commit to “Australia and its people; whose democratic beliefs I share; whose rights and liberties I respect; and whose laws I will uphold and obey” and says “this has to mean something,” his enemies fall over laughing. They have more in common with the 50 or so Islamic associations and more than 40 prominent Muslims, including most of the usual well-known activists and legal-aid recipients who signed a declaration claiming the Abbott government demonises Muslims in Australia, their organisations and their leaders.

Wrong time for that litany, fat owl of the remove.

The nation needs security, both physical and economic. It needs certainty. 

The bed-­wetting whiners agitating for change can offer little but shrill denunciations, petulant complaints and recourse to the ­failed Labor practice of political assassination.

Uh huh. Well you'd get more certainty and security using a disposable paper serviette to wipe the patriotic spittle and the hysteria from your lips ... and you could mop up the bed-wetting at the same time, because it seems that the Liberal party is full of it ...

Which brings us to the last treat of the day ... Claire Harvey, having dreams of tanks rumbling down Anzac parade at the demise of chairman Rudd, and talking of paper cups and disposable serviettes.

But what do you know? Claire has her own litany, and it's quite long. An excerpt:

On the surface, the rebelling Liberals — and Abbott’s critics — say they’re fuming about the decision to knight Prince Philip, or the mishandling of the Gillian Triggs affair. They say it’s all about the way chief-of-staff Peta Credlin runs things: she speaks sharply to senior parliamentarians, vetoes staff selections, forces advisers to live in Canberra, overrides ministers’ views.
What rubbish. All those are completely irrelevant to this government’s problems.
The real problem is policy — and they just can’t admit it to themselves. When backbenchers go home to their electorates, they are getting smashed by constituents, but it’s not about knighthoods — it’s about $100,000 university degrees, about $5 GP charges, about debt taxes.
This government has scared the voters who endorsed its promises to be a “safe pair of hands, the adults back in charge, no surprises” team.
How? By attempting to introduce revolutionary change in major policy areas without warning. Their greatest error, in my view, has been to woefully underestimate Australians’ dual attachments to Medicare and to the prospect of affordable education for their kids.
 It doesn’t matter how often the government has tried to ­reassure voters that pensioners and kids will be exempt from a Medicare “value signal”; ordinary Australians aren’t stupid and they regard universal healthcare as a right. 
They know a tax when they see it, and they know it might be $5 this year, but it’ll be $45 by the time the kids finish primary school. 
Similarly, they hear about enormous university fees and they don’t think about wealthy families who can certainly ­afford to pay more, they think about the prospect their own kids will be crippled by debt. 
But plenty of conservatives cannot admit this reality to themselves, so they have to find other reasons for their ­demise. Credlin rationing of the office teabags, or whatever. It’s a lesson for managers everywhere: You only get away with being a disciplinarian if the whole team is winning... 
In some ways, they were too successful for their own political good: the boats stopped, the carbon price went and the mining tax never eventuated. Then they just stopped talking about all that and decided to find other ideological battlegrounds like, ooh, Medicare. And university fees. 
It was the Young Liberal platform writ large, and it was way too surprising for voters who just wanted Canberra to go away for a while and let them get back to the footy. 
Ready for those tanks? 

Well maybe not the tanks Claire, but what a fine litany, and a disposable serviette will do for the time being.

Big Mal will make a nice one, he's already disposed of the NBN, or perhaps Julie Bishop ... so piquant to see a woman dispose of a sitting PM, eh?

But enough of litanies. While the pond has been compiling this treasure of fish and chips wrappings, it's been listening to Haydn's Nelson Mass.

It's on offer at YouTube, and the pond offers it as a litany, not just to Lord Nelson, but to the man who presided over pay cuts to the armed forces while telling the military how much he loved them.

It runs thirty eight and a half minutes, but hey, it might just come in handy for Tony Abbott in the next few weeks ... it starts, you see, with a Kyrie eleison ... or lord have mercy ...

Well the long absent lord might have mercy, but what about the Liberal party room? Who giveth and taketh away ...  and have their own litany ...

Knock yourself out with the Haydn, Bolter baby and the rest of the Murdoch reptiles, and remember disposable serviettes will remove any traces of that Grange from your lips ... (and by the way the clip below flows into a serving of Haydn's The Creation, or it did for the pond, though the sound is unfortunately distorted and needs to be played at a lower level).

In which the pond indulges in more of a Sunday rant than a meditation ...

It was a story that was almost inevitable, given Cardinal Pell's capacity to alienate (just ask the Catholics of Melbourne):

It's not that surprising, because everyone knows that, in addition to being one of the world's top notch climate scientists, Pell loves a good frock:

So sure, thousands on religious robes at a tailor is entirely to be expected.

But $6,650 on kitchen fittings and a handsomely paid personal assistant?

It's a reminder of how dumb Pell is.

Naturally his dumbness attracts dumbness in kind, from the world's greatest climate scientist:

But here's the thing.

When Francis went to Rome and sent Republicans and Tea Partiers and no doubt in due course the Bolter squealing about his socialist ways and his assaults on the capitalist system and the throwaway culture of globalisation - there's more on that in the Fairfax story here - he had the good sense to stay clean, and to lead a lifestyle that kept him from this kind of attack by many of his enemies:

Despite Francis' decision to move into humble dwellings at the Vatican, Cardinal Pell has spent more than $5100 a month to rent an office and apartment at an upmarket address where he spent nearly $87,000 on furniture, according to the allegations. 

Uh huh.

The new leaks about Cardinal Pell's spending were widely suspected to be the work of Vatican prelates unhappy about his incursions on their authority, and recalled the Vatileaks scandal, in which letters revealing the inner workings of the Holy See were leaked by the butler of Francis' predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI.

Well of course, but you'd have to be as dumb as a Pellest not to have seen how Pell's concupiscence towards frocks and other lovely expensive things might set him up for negative publicity ...

By the way, don't you just love the concept of concupiscence, which can be Greg Hunted here:

Concupiscence (from the Latin: con-, with + cupi, cupid - desire + -escere - suffix denoting beginning of a process or state) is an ardent, usually sensual, longing. In Catholic theology, concupiscence has the name "Fomes peccati", as the selfish human desire for an object, person, or experience. For Christians, concupiscence is what they understand as the orientation, inclination or innate tendency of human beings to long for fleshly appetites, often associated with a desire to do things which are proscribed.

Naturally the Bolter would see nothing wrong with this. He has a hearty appetite for great red wine, trips to Europe, so he can deplore it, while also enjoying costly trips to the opera ...

What's funny is when these princelings, of papacy or the press, pretend that they're in the game for the good of humanity ...

Meanwhile, a reader was kind enough to draw attention to the sort of water favoured by Chairman Rupert ...

Lordy, lordy, there it is, it's planet-saving bottled water ... but just in case anyone thinks that Rupert Murdoch has gone soft, they should always revert to his babbling tweets:

Now there's one of the world's greatest climate scientists at work, up there with the Pellists and the Bolter ....

No wonder the planet's being fucked by the day ...

Which brings the pond to a proud boast.

Wandering past a green-t-shirted bearded young loon handing out Islamic literature outside the Newtown post office, the pond showed the greatest restraint by not remarking "shouldn't you be out at a beheading, or perhaps wrecking a museum and destroying priceless antiquities somewhere"?

Yes, the pond knows it's unfair, knows it's possible to be a moderate Muslim, knows it puts the pond in the company of the Bolter, but these street ratbags are the outposts of fundamentalism, funded most likely by people who somewhere down the chain tap into the Wahhabist outreach of all that's wrong with America's alleged ally, Saudi Arabia.

The next thing you know, a decent atheist blogger can be hacked to death in the street (Graudian the story here).

Well fuck the Pellists and the Murdochians, but also fuck the wild-eyed Islamics.

Still, it does give the pond a chance to link to Mark Lilla's piece in the NYRB, France on Fire, which luckily is outside the paywall at the moment.

Kepel notes that while older immigrants overwhelmingly practice a pacific Islam and see no contradiction with French citizenship, more and more of their children have been affected by the fundamentalist currents flowing from the Middle East. Different groups—some strictly Salafist, some associated with the Muslim Brotherhood—compete for control of local associations and actively recruit younger members, to the consternation of the more integrated and shrinking establishment. The charismatic preachers—called “older brothers”—who attract young boys and men are largely trained in Saudi Arabia, Syria, or Iraq and have never lived outside a Muslim country. A great number do not speak French. Their followers—though born in France and French-speaking—are much more observant and separatist than their parents are and have much more extreme views on issues like sexuality (particularly homosexuality), female purity, and Jews and Israel. They and the older brothers can be seen policing certain neighborhoods, singling out girls and women whose dress they find inappropriate. 

It is in this setting that recent French debates over laicity in the schools must be seen. The positions are highly polarized. Integrationists see an increasingly fundamentalist Islam as a threat to the French model and think that the schools should actively resist it by teaching secular values; classic republicans think that the state must keep religion completely out of the schools but should not interfere with private beliefs; and multiculturalists think that Islam is simply being stigmatized, that social exclusion is mainly to blame, and that differences of all sorts should be represented and celebrated in schools. 
The three assassins who massacred innocents were seen not only as fanatics, like the hundreds of French people who, over the past year, have made their way to the battlefields of Iraq and Syria. They were seen as products of a collapsed educational establishment that either failed to integrate and secularize them, failed to make them citizens, or failed to respect them, depending on one’s general outlook. The posthumous support the killers received from young people in quartiers across France was taken by everyone as confirmation of what they already thought. 
Each of these views has problems, but it is the multiculturalist one that seems the least in touch with social and political reality today. Not because the French don’t need to learn to accommodate more differences, but because it refuses to recognize the very disturbing developments in the Islamic world today (which are anything but accommodating to differences) and how they have already affected French life. The current mantra, which President Hollande felt obliged to repeat, is that Islamic terrorism has “nothing to do with Islam” and that the most important thing is not to “make an amalgam” of all Muslims. (The Socialist mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, went even further, declaring the terrorists to be “without faith”—in other words, infidels.) But this attitude only reinforces an institutional and intellectual omertà that makes it difficult even to discuss what is really going on in the schools. 
The evidence has been there for anyone who cared to look for it, in books like those of Kepel and the growing literature of memoirs written by former teachers in the quartiers who gave up because they could not control their classes or enforce the principle of laicity. In 2004, for example, the Chirac government received a report it had commissioned on the presence of religious “signs and belonging” in the schools, which was promptly buried because its results were so disturbing. This Obin Report was based on on-site visits government inspectors made to over sixty middle and high schools across France, concentrating on disfavored quartiers. 
The extent to which life in many of them had been, to employ Kepel’s term, “halalized” shocked them. The report recounts stories of girls being under constant surveillance by self-appointed older brothers who mete out corporal punishment with fists and belts if they deem modesty to have been violated. Wearing skirts or dresses is impossible in many places, also for female teachers. There is an obsession with purity, as students and their parents demand separate swimming hours or refuse to let their children go on school trips where the sexes might mix. If they do go, some refuse to enter cathedrals or churches. 
There are fathers who won’t shake hands with female teachers, or let their wives speak alone to male teachers. There are cases of children refusing to sing, or dance, or learn an instrument, or draw a face, or use a mathematical symbol that resembles a cross. The question of dress and social mixing has led to the abandonment of gym classes in many places. Children also feel emboldened to refuse to read authors or books that they find religiously unacceptable: Rousseau, Molière, Madame Bovary. Certain subjects are taboo: evolution, sex ed, the Shoah. As one father told a teacher, “I forbid you to mention Jesus to my son.” 
In general the report conveys a sense of enormous religious pressure in certain places. During Ramadan, the more “pious” students harass less observant Muslims, and scared kids have been found eating food on the sly in the bathrooms. One child attempted suicide due to the harassment. The situation of Jewish students is far worse and a great number have transferred to private schools (though also because they, too, have become more observant). In 1996 a principal in Lyons had to arrange the departure of the last two Jewish students in his school because he could not assure their safety. As the report says, “there is a stupefying and cruel reality: in France, Jewish children, and Jewish children alone, cannot be educated in all of our schools.”

What a mess.

What a religious mess.

And what has been the response to religious pressure in Australia? Why it's been to fund more and more religion in schools, and not just chaplains, bad enough that that is, but schools of a fundamentalist persuasion, be they Christian, Islamic or Scientological ...

There's no escaping the ineffable stupidity of true believers ... which makes for interesting reading about Norway, with Hugh Eakin's Norway: The Two Faces of Extremism, also currently outside the NRYB paywall.

Well the pond has always refused to show, promote or in any way comment on the beheadings, given that the barking mad fundamentalists are only aping the ways of their Saudi Arabian fundamentalist masters. But it seems right to note some state sanctioned murder of the cruellest kind:

Gruesome footage circulating on social media shows Saudi authorities publicly beheading a woman in the holy city of Mecca earlier this week. The execution is the tenth to be carried out in country in the last two weeks; setting 2015 up to be even more bloody than last year, when 87 people were punitively killed by the state. 
Rare video of Monday's killing shows the woman, a Burmese resident named as Lalia Bint Abdul Muttablib Basim, screaming while being dragged along the street. Four police officers then hold the woman down before a sword-wielding man slices her head off, using three blows to complete the act. In the chilling recording, Bashim, who was found guilty in a Saudi Sharia court of sexually abusing and murdering her seven-year-old step-daughter, is heard protesting her innocence until the very end. "I did not kill. I did not kill," she screams repeatedly. 
Filming of executions is normally strictly prohibited by Saudi authorities raising speculation that a security official may have covertly videoed the killing. In a statement released on their official website, the Saudi Ministry of Interior said that the brutally delivered death penalty was warranted due to the "enormity of the crime," and was carried out to "restore security" and "realize justice." (here).

There's America's ally showing how to do it ...

And if you Greg Hunt it, you can find out more about "chop chop" square here ...

And if the pond draws the line at showing even state sanctioned brutal murder, surely destruction of icons is another matter.

In the grand tradition of ineffable religious idiots, so strut the Islamics ...

Well that's meditating this Sunday.

It's impossible to work out what's worse. Barking mad religious fundamentalists fucking Iraq and Syria, barking mad Saudia Arabia using oil money to spread fundamentalist Wahhabism around the world, cruel dictator Putin fucking over his enemies in Russia while expanding into the Ukraine, barking mad corrupt Malaysia using the courts to proscribe political enemies, or barking mad Pellists, Bolters and Chairman Rupert imagining they're climate scientists ... even as the Chairman sips on conscience-salving bottled water shipped around the world in the globalist way the Pope rails at, and the world is steadily more fucked ...

Oh okay, maybe it's not so hard ... enough with the EOG ... maybe all that's needed is that old curse, honi soit qui mal y pense ...

Saturday, February 28, 2015

In which some of the reptiles keep on with leadership speculation and help to continue the chaos in Canberra, bless their long thin reptilian cotton socks ...

Fact. Some politicians and their minders are routinely stupid ... and their stupidity hurts sometimes ...

Not content with fucking up the inner west of Sydney, Mike Baird and minders lately revealed themselves as pirates, thieves, stealers of copyright, purloiners, pilferers, seemingly unaware of the way music companies use algorithms to patrol YouTube for breaches.

And for what? To steal maudlin out of date music to try to humanise just another political doofus intent on turning Sydney into a giant LA car park. (If you missed the yarn, the ABC has the story and the clip here, and don't you worry about the copyright).

If he'd been a film producer, Baird would have been one of those clowns caught out by Happy Birthday still being under copyright.

Usually this sort of folly is reserved for Republicans in the United States, bleating about the rights of Hollywood studios while doing what everybody under thirty does, which is misuse intellectual property rights, and then with a smirk and a wave of the hand, expect forgiveness ... while instituting three strike rules.

Okay Mike Baird. Take a leave of absence for a year from the intertubes for your crime, get your ISP to ban your access, and see how you like it ...

But enough of parochial follies, and a lightweight dumbo.

Let's get back to the big league dumbos and the delightful sight of a PM assuring anyone who will listen that he has the full support of his colleagues, when even those totally uninterested in politics would be aware he didn't have the support of 39 of them a couple of weeks ago when they voted for an empty chair over Abbott ...

So how is it playing out in today's Murdoch rags?

Well  lately there's occasionally been one that dares breach the silence, and this time it's the Currish Snail:

And then there are the others, which adopt a familiar stance:

The pond knows this style well.

It's called the three monkeys school of journalism.

Back in the day when it was Gillard or Rudd being put down, there were photoshops galore,  and endless slavering, slobbering front pages and hysterical editorials.


Of course the Currish Snail's EXCLUSIVE column by Laurie Oakes is no such thing, illustrating only the way that the word has become debased by the Murdochians. In the story here, you can see it credited to the HUN. Look, there it is:

It's one of the reasons that the Murdoch empire is shown as a monolithic octopus or hive with hive mind, and parochial tentacles:

Oakes doesn't have that much to say, mainly brooding about how the Liberals might time the execution of Abbott to help the doofus Baird, though he does deliver a nice blow to the enormous stupidity of jolly Joe, who realises as the world's worst treasurer, he'd be the first to go after Abbott:

And again there is debate over whether the party is entitled to remove a sitting prime minister. Morrison and Bishop on Friday quoted the view that Howard used to espouse — that the leadership is always a gift of the party room. 
Treasurer Joe Hockey, who will sink or swim with Abbott, claimed: “It’s the Australian people who have the right to remove a prime minister — not anyone else.” 
Hockey’s attitude was not always so black and white, however. In 2007 he was one of those who called on Howard to stand down rather than lead the Coalition to that year’s election.

Ah yes, the rats in the sewer with short memories but a desperate longing for cheese.

Of course there's an alternative approach, one looking for hope in the pit of despair, one seeing the glint of sunlight at the edges of cloud, one looking for survival and a glorious future.

Guess which gaggle of reptiles hares down off down that track?

Oh it's a glorious thing to see, the reptiles in revivalist preacher Elmer Gantry mode ...

And as you'd expect there are the usual suspects doing their best to sound like Burt Lancaster:

But wait, there's more. Someone's dragged Kein Andrews out of the closet, dusted off the mothballs and dragged him into the sunlight, though it has to be said he's looking mouldy and absurd, and the smell of the napthalene lingers:

But honour the man. It takes considerable strength of will to offer up that sort of gibberish about the circus in Canberra with a straight face.

Why any ordinary comedian would be cracking up and ruining the joke, but not Kevin Andrews. The pond knows it's quoting itself, but the comparison's always irresistible:

Reading this day's runes, it seems that Chris Mitchell has instructed the reptiles to draw back from the cliff, to avoid the apocalypse, and stay the execution.

Somehow, magically, ineluctably, a government which made a mess of its first budget, has indulged in silly culture wars of a boofhead bullying kind and otherwise scored an abundance of own goals, is now going to transform itself through a policy recovery plan, and the next budget just around the corner, with the 2014 budget still a complete mess.

As if jolly Joe isn't jolly, and Abbott hasn't always been a bullying thug and attack dog.

It's up there with a belief in Santa Claus, the tooth fairy and the impending arrival of the Easter Bunny.

Does Andrews have anything useful to say? Well yes if you read between the lines and the usual blather about there being some 500 "high skill" jobs in Australia for the lifetime of the project.

That's 500 for an expenditure of some $50 billion (it's already well on its way to the $60 billion the pond predicted, and we've now hastily upped it to a total cost of $80 billion).

But here's the crunch talk:

Uh huh. The mug who sold his vote to Tony Abbott to keep the subs in South Australia must slowly be working out he's a mug ... better get ready for a few more sushi restaurants in Adelaide. That'll do wonders for the train wreck which sees its festival facilities run down. Oh no, can't even stage a festival ...

There's a lot more from Andrews of course - you know what it's like when a bore stops you on the way to a wedding and starts pointing a finger and jabbering about the evils of Labor as a way of distracting you from the circus parade that's happening right now, especially when it's a prolix wretch like Andrews, who knows that a tedious droning is a sure way to produce boredom, and then hopefully a stupefied silence ...

How stupid does he manage to sound? How's this for a closer?

Labor’s “valley of death” could be felt for years to come and, once again, it is up to a Coalition government to fix Labor’s disaster. 
I make this solemn pledge: this government will not leave Australia undefended. 
Kevin Andrews is the Defence Minister.

A solemn pledge? What a prat.

Surely he should have signed off this way:

Kevin Andrews is the Defence Minister, and for relaxation at night, he's a master of stand up comedy in various dives around Canberra.

Meanwhile, for all the upbeat nature of the splash for Dennis "the bouffant one" Shanahan's short story, the actual text is a little more gloomy:

How's that for a last line?

Better a full blown Titanic style catastrophe and a slow and agonising death than a swift clean blow with an ice pick, of the kind Stalin gave to Trotsky ...

The poor reptiles, driven by fear and panic, don't seem to understand that the more they talk about the leadership, the more they - a substantial slab of the media - contribute to a sense of continuing chaos.

And for that continuing sense of chaos, you don't have to look to the Fairfaxians.

You just have to read the faithful scribbler transcribing the deepest thoughts of Chris Mitchell in today's Oz editorial.

Talk about wondrous. So Abbott's the best to lead the Coalition to the next election, but thus far, he's been something of a disaster. So the junior woodchucks should get back to reading Carl Barks in question time. But do go on:

So Abbott is deluded, and acts in a delusional way, and the way forward is to call in Artie to sort things out?

So how should we play the last half, coach?

Oh right. Don't bung on a do until the doofus Mike Baird gets in, and then give Abbott the flick.

Thanks, Mr Mitchell ...

Yep, that media de-stabilisation is doing Abbott down, and the funniest thing is that the reptiles at the Oz are at the heart of it. They can't help themselves. Pleading that a doofus be given more time so a pirate doofus can win in the polls.

Well, whatever the train wreck, however big the Titanic, it still sells papers and draws clicks ...

Naturally the reptiles try to dissemble. They bury rival stories like this one that bobbed up in business:

Well you won't find that sort of treason in the reptile front page, but it turned up on the front page of The Age, under the header Business turns on Tony Abbott as cabinet urged to act (with bonus forced video):

And just like the reptiles, there were other stories discussing the impending demise, like Michael Gordon's Is this Abbott's end? which began with an explanation of why the reptiles are clutching at straws if they think the bully boy is going to settle down and suddenly turn into a statesmanlike figure;

The warning came from within, just as Coalition senators were embarking on their attempted character assassination of Gillian Triggs in a Senate committee room on Tuesday. On the other side of Parliament House, government MPs had gathered for their weekly meeting and one of the least experienced in their ranks, Craig Laundy, rose to address the Prime Minister. 
Laundy won a seat in western Sydney at the 2013 election that had been a Labor stronghold since its inception. A second-generation publican, his few contributions at joint party room meetings have revealed a plain-speaking, common-sense politician whose values are firmly embedded in moderate middle Australia. 
On Tuesday, he articulated his deep unease about the government's response to the report on children in immigration detention prepared by the Human Rights Commission, led by Professor Triggs. Reminding his colleagues that Triggs was in the building, he argued that "shooting the messenger" was a strategy flawed on political and moral grounds and warned that, if Tony Abbott persisted with it, the government would be the story at the end of the day for all the wrong reasons. Far better to focus on the children, he suggested, argue that the Coalition has dramatically reduced their numbers in detention and resolve that such damage on such a grand scale will never be repeated. 
Laundy was wrong on one score. The Prime Minister's belligerent attitude to Triggs and his looseness with the facts guaranteed that this was the story for the entire week – one that became a lightning rod for those who want to end Abbott's reign sooner rather than later, maybe as soon as next week. 
For four days, Abbott welcomed all Opposition questions on the government's ham-fisted attempt to secure Trigg's resignation by offering her another job. In the process, he was complicit in turning the spotlight away from his own attempts to demonstrate good government internally and externally. 
For four days, the Prime Minister maintained Triggs had lost the confidence of the Australian people; accused her of conspiring with ministers in the former Labor government to delay the inquiry to embarrass the Coalition (a charge repeated by others, but at odds with the facts); and challenged Triggs' competence and judgment. 
All the while, he denied point blank that Triggs had been asked to resign and offered an inducement to go – and dismissed the whole issue as "Canberra insider nonsense". 
When Julie Bishop gave the same response, and then fuelled scuttlebutt that 69-year-old Triggs had come up with the idea of resigning if she was offered another job, the Foreign Minister plunged herself deep into the same bucket of mud and, as a consequence, complicated the intense leadership debate within the Liberal Party.

And so on. There's a lot more and it's an excellent review of the (entirely unnecessary) latest folly.

All the pond could think was "frog and scorpion".

And where were the reptiles on that one? Adding to the folly, demonising Triggs and publishing Chris Kenny's attack dog assault on the woman. Helping send the leadership speculation into the stratosphere, while poor old Chris Laundy failed to introduce a note of sanity. He can see where things are heading in the west of Sydney ...

But let the reptiles cling to their hopes and delusions. Frankly the pond wouldn't know where it would be without them and Abbott ... especially with the schadenfreude of big Mal ''dream of Queen Victoria's copper" Turnbull and zinger Bill hovering on the horizon ...

Luckily, as always there's David Pope available to lighten the mood, as the Liberal and Labor parties combine to facilitate the way to and the mechanisms for a police state (and more Pope here). That portrait of zinger Bill is cruel, but fair, and just what is that plug connected to the copper wire doing?

Well played Mr Pope. Human rights and privacy clogging up the disc space? Just take a tip from Mike Baird and steal some music ... and you can use that to fill up the room you've created ...

Friday, February 27, 2015

Time to go ... before the EOG hits ...

The news you won't read in the Murdochian la la reptile land of the lizard Oz.

This in the emerald city:

And this from the socialists by the muddy Yarra:
Let's not forget the fun of the video death stare:

Well you know how to google all those stories.

Meanwhile, back at the Death Star, where the death stare is highly fashionable, it's the same old same old:

Well there's one way to end speculation and end the self-interest of the jackals gathering around the lonely man limping and bleeding in the unloved desert.

Bring it on.

But you'll notice this Friday Abbott didn't have the courage to bring it on. Maybe he's counted the numbers ...

Strange, you'd think the bully had it in him to take on the world, strutting about like some cowpoke from the old west. So that's what riding horses or bikes can do to you.

The pond is indebted to a reader drawing attention to this excellent sequence of photos by Alex Hellinghausen:

And here's Alex himself, in front of a portrait of macho man - he also won a Yooralla Media award for his photos of Australia's paralympians but looking at these, he takes the pond's prize for Abbott snapping.

And finally, the pond is indebted to a commenter for this wondrous set of remarks by Margo Kingston in relation to the dog man canine consorter:

By golly, and some claim the pond says what it thinks.

And guess what, the frenzy is going to keep on getting better by the day.

That's what you cop when a strident belligerent bully throws the kitchen sink at anyone standing in the way of his survival ... and the apparatchiks in Murdoch la la land keep on facilitating him ...

Now let's see how the dog man canine consorter and the other Murdochians answer that headline:

Ludicrous? Well dog man canine consorter? Where are your sources now? Where's the fierce rebuttal? When will you call Triggs a liar in print?

Come on, the lawyers need the work.

Ah well, the pond is standing for good government to finally get going next Monday ... without all this sublime hoo hah and comical fuss.

Don't hold your breath ... it could be fatal ... almost as bad as that death stare ...

Now for all those who enjoyed the concept of EOG, aka early onset grumpiness, here's a clip from Portlandia explaining it.

The pond suspects that Tony Abbott is going to be gripped by the disease shortly: