Monday, September 22, 2014

The Optus The

Everyone knows the joke right, it's an oldie but a goodie. Sideshow Bob is just showing Bart the German for "The Bart The".

Which is why the pond cheerfully sends out a greeting, Die Optus Die, Die Malcolm Turnbull Die, Die HFC Die.

So there was the pond cheerfully working away, filling up the already full to overflowing intertubes with useless data, when suddenly everything dies. Nada, zip, nihil, nothing. Not a flicker of life, not a a spark, nary a node ...

Yes, the pond saves regularly, but not every nanosecond, so stuff was lost. Consternation, confusion, chaos.

What could have happened.

The technical service people didn't know. Re-start the modem, walk around in a circle chanting "the intertubes is all knowing", pray to the great digital bytes in the sky, and maybe the magic link would be restored.

But what was the point? The phone had also dropped out - yes Virginia there is a land line ...

In the end, the pond was able to get to read this:

Did that stick in the craw or what?

Planned outage? Scheduled an outage

Only in Optus's lunch time.

They didn't even bother telling their own technical services people, let alone their customers.

Bruce put it well: dancing in the fucking dark.

The pond understands that Singapore has quite good broadband services.

Why doesn't big Mal fuck off to live there, and while he's at it, why doesn't he take Optus and the HFC and the shitty copper wires outside the pond that makes ADSL but a dream or a nightmare, with him.

Die Optus Die
Die Big Mal Die
Die HFC Die

In which one per cent of one per cent can trash the Fairfax brand ...

(Above: and source more Tom Tomorrow via the links here).

So there was the pond waking up to the depressing sounds of RN's Rear Vision and a repeat of Iraq - whatever happened to mission accomplished?

The unnerving tale of ideology, stupidity, folly and mistakes was informed by Ned Parker, Feisal Istrabadi - who participated in the construction of a failed constitution - and Hugh Sykes, who made a prediction about the world not seeing nothing yet, just as that 'nothing yet' now unfolds ...

And what do you know? Immediately after that came a sound bite of John Howard saying he was embarrassed about the matter of WMD.

Tens of thousands dead and a country in more misery and chaos and death and destruction than that managed by a brutal, vicious dictator, and he's embarrassed?

In the same sound bite, Howard drew a specious distinction between the intelligence being made up and erroneous, assuring any who cared to listen that it was erroneous rather than made up.

Well that's a whole lot of useful - an erroneous fuck up of enormous proportions rather than a made up fuck up ...

Howard turned up on the Seven network to explain how he was 'embarrassed' rather than ashamed and mortified at his criminal deeds, and that's how it seems to go in Australian politics ...

And what do you know? Immediately after Howard came Abbott, explaining how he wasn't targeting a community, or a religion or what people wear or suchlike things, but was instead targeting criminals, which is a specious nonsense, since everyone knows he's targeting Muslims and if you wear clothes or otherwise have a Middle Eastern appearance, you will be routinely targeted at airports and such like places, and elsewhere and certainly if Jacqui Lambie and Pauline Hanson are in the room, and the likely result of all the paranoia and fear will be the disempowerment of moderates and the encouraging of rabid fundamentalists ...

And then came the perfect visual metaphor for Abbott's government:

And then what do you know?

Up popped Julia Gillard to admit that appointing Bob Carr, dragging him out of his comfortable retirement, might have been a mistake.

Uh huh. You'd have thought Gillard might have worked out what NSW voters already knew, that appointing Carr Premier of the state was a profound mistake, and we, with stuffed infrastructure, and the Labor party, in corrupt disarray ever since, knew long ago ...

There are consequences for policy failures, but the joy for Australian politicians is that they just write a confessional tome or two, hit the talk and media circuit, and sometimes sound a little contrite, apparently based on the notion that contrition produces forgiveness, and forgives produces book sales ... and what's a little embarrassment compared to keeping books away from the remainders section ...

Well the pond wouldn't spit on the war criminal Howard if he was on fire, and the pond reserves much the same attitude for all the commentariat who fell into line and encouraged the war crimes and the devastation of a country, while right here, right now, in this country, the pigs have begun to fortify their Animal Farm and make sure no stray animals can get into their fortress of power ...

All this before getting out of bed, and contemplating Paul Sheehan's It only takes one drop to swell the tide of terrorism.

Don't ya just love the illustration?

Is there any better example, any better evocation of the distilled perfumed essence of fear-mongering? A drop behind the ears, and the scent will last a week or a year or a decade ...

Was it only last week that Sheehan was getting hysterical about the new torture laws and looking to David Leyonhjelm for help, and before that celebrating Helen Dale joining Leyonhjelm to fight the good anti-torture anti-fear-mongering fight?

Well that was last week, and the fickle Sheehan - who has the consistency and strength of a mindless blob of jelly - was back on song, pounding on the drums of fear and paranoia, doing his very best to create panic and alarm.

Part of it is because Sheehan is an inherently lazy member of the commentariat. He got lots of easy yards and verbal sludge and hysteria and fear by recounting the story of the Washington snipers:

The point is, it only takes a handful of people, or a single determined gunman, to strike terror into a city, even a city as loaded with security as Washington. It takes only a small cadre of killers to move an entire nation to fear.

Uh huh:

The point is, it only takes a handful of reptiles at the lizard Oz, doing the bidding of their master, or a single determined columnist at Fairfax, to strike terror into a city, even a city as loaded with security as Canberra. It takes only a small cadre of scribblers to move an entire nation to fear.

On and on Sheehan banged, breaking every known rule of rational discourse - the Communists wresting control of Russia, the Nazis taking over Germany, Mao Tse Tung doing it in China, the Khmer Rouge, the Shining Path, and so on, and so Godwin's Law forth ...


One per cent of any population, if armed and willing to kill its fellow citizens, can take control of any society because most people are not killers.

Yep, it seems Australia is so fragile and inherently weak, that a few determined Islamics could bring it to its knees and the next thing you know we'd be part of the caliphate. You know, like Russia or Germany or China or Peru or Cambodia or all over the world.

We're doomed, we're doomed.

How simple minded, how mind numbingly reductionist is Sheehan?

Now it is Islamists who have replaced Communists and Fascists and Maoists as the practitioners of the one per cent principle, leveraging murder for political control. But the emergence of the psychopathic Islamic State is not some sudden pivot. It is a ratcheting up of the intensity that has been coming to a boil in the Middle East ever since the Iranian revolution in 1979. That was the point when Islamic fundamentalists took control of a large nation state. The massacres began immediately, and Iran began to ferment the Sunni-Shiite schism. 

Uh huh. You'll search long and hard to find Sheehan mentioning Saudi Arabia or their cultivation of fundamentalist Wahhabism around the world, or the Bush family making out like bandits in their dealings with the Wahhabists.

Instead you'll get a child-like distortion of history, along with child-like dollops of fear-mongering and paranoia:

Twenty-five years later, that schism has become a bloodbath. The one per cent factor is working with a vengeance. Muslims are killing Muslims on a large scale in Syria and Iraq, and on a lesser scale in Libya, Afghanistan, Egypt, Yemen, Pakistan and Gaza. Muslim fundamentalists are killing non-believers in Nigeria, Chad and elsewhere, with outbreaks of violence in Europe. 

Uh huh. So what's the point and intent of Sheehan's scribbling?

Well it's to absolve the west of having anything to do with anything. It's all the fault of brutal Islamics doing brutal things, and the innocent west have had nothing to do with it:

Over the past 50 years, Muslims have been killed by other Muslims in enormous numbers as colonialism gave way to nation states. In 1971, more than a million Muslims were killed by Muslims in East Pakistan alone (now Bangladesh). More brutal civil wars followed in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and elsewhere. The Syrian civil war has seen about 200,000 killed. Iraq has broken apart along the Sunni-Shiite divide. The cumulative death toll is measured in the millions.

Sssh, don't mention the British in the sub-continent.

And who broke up Iraq and on what basis and just how did the west fuck up the country? Why that's merely an embarrassing aside.

Let's face it, there's no point dumping on John Howard or John Bush, not when you can dump on the Islamics:

The Muslim world has about 1.5 billion adherents. If just one tenth of one per cent interpret the Koran as a command to perform unforgiving jihad, then 150,000 people will engage in violent war. That is what we are seeing. One per cent of one per cent.

Uh huh:

The world still has quite a number of journalists and opinion writers. If just one tenth of one per cent interpret their job as a command to perform unforgiving paranoid scribbling, then the quickly reducing number of people who can produce sensible journalism at Fairfax will soon be out of work. That is what we are seeing. One per cent of one per cent, a raving ratbag like Sheehan making a mockery of the Fairfax brand as it goes about the business of click bait trolling ...

By golly those joy of food and office lunch theft stories look tempting. At least when juxtaposed with an hysteric ...

But do go on:

It is a statistic we must not forget. Those who engage in terror seek to cast a much larger shadow than their real numbers. We are not at war. We are not confronting a monolith. We are seeing the one per cent of one per cent at work. In Australia, in the past few days, we have rolled up a dozen sub-bogans invoking "jihad" to obtain notoriety. 

Say what? All that talk of Maoists and the Bader-Meinhof gang and Nazis and the Bolsheviks and all the rest, and suddenly we're reduced to talk about a dozen sub-bogans in search of notoriety?

Well in Australia in the past few days we have rolled out a few shrieking parrots of the barking mad Paul Sheehan kind, always desperate for a place in the sun, and notoriety has hard liners, but buggered if the pond will provide one cent towards the platforms that offer these ratbags their sub-bogan place in the sun ...

Meanwhile, there is a real war about to go down, involving climate change. And where was Sheehan when that began to roll out?

Why off with Lord Haw-Haw, otherwise known as Lord Monckton ...

Ten anti-anti-commandments and Lord Monckton's verbal bombs.

The end result of all Sheehan's fruitful endeavours to trash the Fairfax brand over the years?

Well no doubt will in due course he will have reduced the opportunities for alternative views of the world:

Sorry Leunig you left out a meal.

The full triple Paul roasted chicken little terror alert with a side serve of Nazi salad and Bolshevik beans, Bader-Meinhof lentils, along with tasty wedgies of Washington snipers and a light drizzle of Mao. (More Leunig here).

Sunday, September 21, 2014

So many terrors, or is that competing stupidities ...

So this is where wall to wall shrieking headlines and hate media will get you ...

When reading We are the ones being terrorised, Muslims say, it's obvious that the Murdoch hate media has succeeded, along with the Abbott government, in elevating the level of hate and hysteria, and that abuse of the other is now the norm:

The Australian National Imams Council expressed anger that one of its most senior members, an assistant to the Grand Mufti of Australia Dr Ibrahim Abu Mohamed, was pulled up at Sydney airport on Thursday on the way to the Haj, a religious pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia. 
The Imam, who met Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Attorney-General George Brandis recently, was stopped at the boarding gate, stripped of his mobile phone and iPad and kept in a room for two hours without explanation, the general manager of ANIC Samir Bennegadi said.

Then there's the petty spiteful stuff, vandalism and abuse.

As a secularist materialist, it always hurts the pond to see goods vandalised - that's why watching Citizen Kane smashing up his wife's room is so horrendous. It's a bit like watching the minions of Murdoch and the Islamists smash up the joint ...

Now the pond also has to acknowledge the splendid efforts of that prime doofus and dumbbell imitator, Jacqui Lambie, who has doubled down in her first offensive posting:

Senator Lambie said Malalai Kakar "would have been the first to agree with my call to ban the burka". 

Say what? How does Lambie know what Malalai Kakar would think?

 "Far from desecrating her memory, my Facebook post honours her and the deadly struggle against brutal thugs and extremists," she wrote.

Say what? That's verging on the delusional. That's like saying British First welcomes its Islamic bros ...

"As a police officer she would have known how easy it was to conceal weapons or bombs capable of killing large numbers of innocents under a burka. 
"She would have known how much safer it would be in public if the burka was banned." 
Senator Lambie labelled the ABC story "a disgusting, unprofessional beat up – which will embolden and put a smile on the faces of the sharia extremists". 
"I hope the ABC and the photographer now put as much energy into attacking the extremists and their disgusting and appalling behaviours - as they have into a soft political target." (at the ABC, here)

What a silly, silly person. Fuckwit is way too affectionate a term.

Not a clue, and Lambie's reward? An interview on The Insiders this very Sunday morning ...

As the pond's American friends might say, that's a pretty unique effort, blaming the ABC and cajoling a dead woman into fellow travelling with Lambie and far right ratbags in defacing an image, then turning up on the ABC to have another bite of the publicity hound cherry.

But, as the pond's American friends would say, Lambie isn't totally unique in her efforts.

The angry Sydney Anglicans have also been continuing their campaign, and it bore mainstream media fruit recently:

Yes, Fairfax finally got around to the Jensenists, in Anglican dean blames Islam for rise of Islamic State.

Of course the angry Sydney Anglicans have had to stand by the Jensenists, and never mind that angry Sydney Anglicans share the same fundamentalist attitude towards gays and women as fundie Islamics (get your complimentary woman here, and see what a fine complementarian she can be).

You see they still have the Jensenists on the front page of the web site, along with a pitch to "multiethnics", whoever or whatever they might be:

The angry Anglicans posted The Truth Behind ISIL on 12th September, and whacked it up on his own site, the heart of angry Jensenism, here. And they think the message - that Islam is false - is so important it's still on the front page this meditative Sunday.

What's always sublime is the way crazy fundamentalists can see clearly the crazy fundamentalists around them, but have trouble with the mote in their own eye.

How does Jensen know Islam is false? Well because at its centre is a crazed prophet who thought he had, courtesy voices in his head, a direct line to god ... and She was always going on about things ...

Yes, but at the centre of Christianity is a crazed prophet who claimed a direct link to god ... and She's still in the ear of the Jensenists, but because She sounds too much like a woman, they maintain the fiction that She's an angry Patriarch not averse to genocide and with a conviction that Adam and Eve is the way modern relationships should work, ribs and all that...

That's the problem in a nutshell, isn't it? Both Jesus and Mohammad are long gone, and not a peep out of them for many a century, but plenty of bigoted noise and chaos from their followers ...

At the least, the position should be agnostic:

What elevates one set of crazed beliefs above another set? It's not that there's any scientific proof, for all the Catholics go on about saints, and evangelicals launch yet another search for Noah's Ark and turn up Rusty ...

It's easier with a younger cult like Scientology, where the head cultist, L. Ron Hubbard was around in the same lifetime. It's easy enough to pick that as a shakedown fraudulent Ponzi pyramid scheme which appeals to actors with very little brain (sorry Tom Cruise lovers, but there's got to be some payback for Edge of Tomorrow, and Qantas, we promise not to mention Battlefield Earth).

But the sources of other cultists are long gone, and there's a deep suspicion that those voices angry Anglicans and crazed Islamic fundies hear in their heads are actually their own ...

Meanwhile, long suffering secularists have to put up with all the consequent and subsequent ratbaggery ...

And it's not just the angry Anglicans who've joined in the fray.

The new Archbishop Pell has adopted a conciliatory tone since his appointment - he's always noting how his home suburb is Lakemba - but he nonetheless managed to find himself beneath this reptile headline in the lizard Oz not so long ago:

Yep there he was in Bishops unite against 'demonic' Islamists calling for a "prayer crusade" - good luck with that - what if the crazy Islamic fundamentalists have a better imaginary tooth fairy and Santa Claus all rolled into one.

Fisher was getting agitated about the fate of Christians and never mind that ISIL is running an extraordinary vicioius, criminal campaign that persecutes all sorts of people (have a read of Iraq: The Outlaw State in the NYRB to celebrate what a fine result Team deputy sheriff Howard and Team Bush produced).

Fisher was all "won't someone think of the Christians" while the pond was all "won't someone think of humanity" and how will we ever get rid of these troublesome, meddlesome priests, who now have their own transubstantiation lover running things in Canberra. Yes, a genuine cannibal and Christ muncher and slurper in charge of the show ...

Ah well, there's no harm if the pond joins in, sounding the alarm about dangerous cults like the Fisherites and the Jensenists, though it has to be said that "Fisherists" doesn't have quite the ring to it as the lost down under days of the Pellists:

Eek, that's enough violent, viciously pornographic images for a meditative Sunday.

Wait, here's an even more alarming and dangerous group of cultists:

Ah well, while on the subject of Facebook memes doing the rounds, this one came back from an old site called Friends of Irony, though shorn of its original brand:

Uh huh. And the pond has been saving up this one for all those who chivvy the pond for the errors, typos and egregious grammatical and spelling errors routinely featured on this site, courtesy of its New Zealand subs - take pity on the NZ subs, who need the money for their remedial vowel shift accent training - they voted for John Key and are now deeply afraid they're going to end up in a diary servicing the needs of the Chinese market ...

Ah well, it's funnier than watching Jacqui Lambie on The Insiders ... or watching the Fisherites and Jensenists jump through their delusional hoops in company with other cultists ...

And now a visual impression of the Murdochians wrecking the joint - beware the ad before the scene starts - and that's more than enough for this meditative Sunday:

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Watch out for that ladder, and as for the chairs ... be very afraid ...

(Above: and more Pope here).

The pond refuses to live in fear.

Not when there's Jed Perl's The Cult of Jeff Koons to be read in the NYRB. Quick, it's outside the paywall at the moment, and it triumphantly concludes with a reference to Kool-Aid:

That Koons will be Koons is his own business. That he has had his way with the art world is everybody’s business. No wonder the people in the galleries at the Whitney look a little dazed. The Koons cult has triumphed. For his next project Koons should consider manufacturing a ten-foot-high polychromed aluminum Kool-Aid container. It could come right after Play-Doh in the “Celebration” series.

Take that Koons.

And then there's Eugenia Williamson's PBS Self-Destructs And what it means for viewers like you (inside the Harper's paywall).

Williamson uses the fuss around David Koch as a starting point, but it's hard not to think of the ABC:

Why would a man like David Koch, who has invested hundreds of millions of dollars in weakening the federal government, expend a nickel on behalf of PBS - an entity viewed by many in his party as synonymous with liberal propaganda and government waste? And why would a publicly funded institution let him in the door, let alone risk its reputation to defend him from his critics?
The answer: conservatives have refined their tactics ...

Remember that next time you see all the Murdoch kool-aid drinkers strutting their stuff on the ABC, an institution they purport to want abolished or privatised ...

And then there's the peculiar matter of Essendon and James Hird, which produced The Graudian's Essendon verdict: judge exposes the club's weak and frivolous case:

The club needs to do what it should have done weeks ago: stop dodging and answer the notices they’ve been issued. But looking at Essendon’s track record, Little will probably appeal to the International Criminal Court, Hird will have his contracted extended to 2034 while being crowned Prince of Moonee Ponds, and the playing group will chant in wide-eyed unison, “No one can give more than one hundred percent. By definition that is the most anyone can give.” 
The board may have wasted everyone’s time, the public’s patience, the club’s money and the court’s resources, but accountability is a scant resource in this administration.

Indeed. There's a hint there of kool-aid in that Moonee Ponds chanting ...

Now the pond knows very little about the AFL and cares even less, but the how and the why of Essendon is a complete Melbourne mystery to the pond. So they cheated, so they got caught, and still they can't bring themselves to wonder where sport might have landed when it comes to injecting professionals with substances of uncertain provenance and effect, as if being a professional meant you were also a guinea pig? And then hie off to the courts to talk about illegality?

This is the sporting world that's supposed to be at the heart of the Ozstralian way of life? Is there a day pass or a ticket to another exhibition?

But okay, the pond will bite on the fear thing, which is currently doing the rounds. The hysteria in the slavering, slobbering pit bull Murdoch press is palpable:

Cage them?

It was of course the monstrous stupidity of Abu Ghraib that helped kick this can of worms along in the first place ...

So where does all this hysteria get us?

Well it brings out the bears with very little brain, like Cory Bernardi and Jacqui Lambie. Like bullies everywhere, they love the fear and a kick to the head ...

Now Bernardi's capacity for infinite dickheadedness is already well known, and Tony Abbott had once again to walk away from him and his fear mongering, but Lambie is doing well for a novice.

Lambie posted this image, at least if the ABC is to be believed in Ban the burka photo shared by PUP senator Jacqui Lambie:

Now the pond thought it must have been a spoof site, but there it was, here, and sure enough there's a link to Britain First's Facebook page, here, which defines itself as "a patriotic political party and street defence organisation" open to "patriots like you!", which is code for barking mad extreme far right party not too far from fascism. 

Go on, do a Greg Hunt at Britain First, and contemplate this bunch of feral ratbags ...

So now we know where Lambie goes in her spare time and it isn't to drink Kool Aid with Jeff Koons or the Koching up of PBS. She drinks her kool-aid with the far right ...

And this is the source photo:

Here's the text: Malalai Kakar, the first woman to graduate from the Kandahar Police Academy. She was a Lieutenant Colonel and head of the city's department for crimes against women. In September 2008, she was assassinated by the Taliban. When working in the field she was always armed with a gun beneath her burqa.

Is there any upside at all to Lambie's stupidity?

Well yes, because you can head off and catch the 34 pictures Canadian photographer Lana Slezic assembled for her exhibition, Forsaken: Afghan women

There's some tasty snaps in the show, and this morning the ABC's AM did the right thing and asked Slezic how she felt about her work being misrepresented in such a grotesque way  - since in anybody's world, you'd think someone assassinated by the Taliban would be held up as one of the good guys, rather than an image of fear ... (that interview will no doubt turn up on AM when the cardigan wearers get around to it, here).

Now the pond's no fan of the burqa, but then the pond is no lover of tattoos, nor does the pond care for the AFL, pies, kool-aid or Holdens ... (turns out you can still hear that sort of tripe talk on the ABC) ... but does have a soft spot for lamingtons and Vegemite.

The idea is that there's some degree of personal choice without fear, or the next thing you know, everybody is dressed in a Mao suit.

Which is why this kind of futtock hand-wringing column is so irritating:

The Murdoch press (most notably the tabloids) isn't interested in the multicultural compact. 

The Murdoch press is interested in fear (and the Fairfax tabloids, always destined to become tabloid when they adopted the format, are peddling the same kool-aid, with headlines like Terror raids: The rising fear in Sydney's suburbs).

That's why this sort of column is a good indicator of the real attitudes in Murdoch la la land:

Yes if you're well meaning, you must be some sort of soft-hearted lamington or sponge ...

How weird does it get? Pretty weird. Today the reptiles imported, at vast expense, Frank Furedi to opine on the problems facing Australia:

Yep there he is, at the bottom, with the gold bar of shame, but what do you get when you evade the paywall to read Youth rebellion that embraces authority?

Why you get blank incomprehension, or perhaps comedy. Take these pars:

In contrast to the rebellion of Western youth that of the jihadist subculture explicitly celebrates authority and laments its absence. It even exhibits powerful authoritarian tendencies. Indeed, one of the recurring themes of the jihadist critique of the West is that this is a society that lacks authoritative cultural values and institutions and therefore cannot give meaning to human experience.
In my conversations with young radical Muslims I have been struck by their caustic remarks regarding the absence of moral clarity and authority in their host society. From their perspective Western societies are typically immoral to the point that they cannot even uphold the institution of the family. As far as they are concerned Western societies lack an authority that can give its people direction and meaning.

Now let's give them a Murdochian makeover:

In contrast to the rebellion of slacker, hipster, greenie, dole-bludging, toke smoking surfie Western youth, that of the conservative Murdochian Young Liberal Roman subculture explicitly celebrates authority and laments its absence. It even exhibits powerful authoritarian tendencies. Indeed, one of the recurring themes of the Murdochian critique of the West is that this is a society that lacks authoritative cultural values and institutions and therefore cannot give meaning to human experience, at least until everybody gets on board with the reptiles at the lizard Oz.
In my conversations with young radical Anglican and Roman conservatives, I have been struck by their caustic remarks regarding the absence of moral clarity and authority in their host society. From their perspective Western societies are typically immoral to the point that they cannot even uphold the institution of the family, what with its welfare-bludging, matriarchy-celebrating ways and its love of gay marriage and teh gays and all that stuff. 

As far as they are concerned Western societies lack an authority that can give its people direction and meaning, and what's needed is decent Christian fundamentalism of the Faux noise kind, with a sprinkling of patricarchy and foreign wars to keep up the spirit of colonial adventure, while maintaining the home fires of fear ...

Or some such thing. You see, at no point does Furedi worry about the role fanatical fundamentalist religion might play in all this - instead it's idealism, and it's just sociological alienation and estrangement and rebellious youth and Marlon Brando on a jihad motorbike, and the solution is silly:

... unless Western society can actively engage in a battle for hearts and minds it will continue to provide a terrain for the flourishing of a zealous and destructive subculture.

But here's the thing Frank. Fuck Murdoch and all the other religious fundies, be they Pell or angry Sydney Anglicans, and buggered if the pond is going to do a Baden Powell and join the Boy Scouts and Girl Guides ...

What dumb fuck conservatives fail to understand is that 'live and let live' means ... 'live and let live'. Join with Cory Bernardi and Jacqui Lambie in a battle for hearts and minds? Oh just kill the pond now ...

What's that? You have some kool-aid handy?

Happily the reptiles provide another example today, as prattling Polonius aka Gerard "desiccated coconut" Henderson gives unto the world Commentators need terror guides for dummies (inside the paywall because apparently there are fools who pay for the pleasure of Hendo's company).

After the usual hair splitting display of awesome pedantry on sundry matters (well we know what happens when pedants go wrong), Hendo decides he'll take out Bernard Keane at Crikey, and never mind any collateral damage.

Keane's been on a bit of a streak of late, as in Terror raids a media spectacle, but it's war that puts us in danger, (inside the paywall), in which he dared to make the point that there had been much fuss, but few results, and that foreign adventures might actually pose a threat.

But then much further back on 4th September - pedants must scour the press for sinners - Keane dared to scribble The real threat of terrorism to Australians, by the numbers. (may be paywall affected).

Keane offered up this whimsical chart:

Yes and right at the moment, the pond is organising a campaign to give ASIO more money to deal with the dangerous threat of chairs, ladders and most especially beds.

But the one thing you can guarantee with Polonius, is a complete and thorough absence of any sign of a sense of humour:

Public terrorist attacks, such as the murder of Rigby or the alleged conspiracy to murder in Sydney, this week are designed to strike fear into democratic societies by disrupting the way of life of individuals, organisations and governments alike. 
No one spends much time worrying that they may be killed as a result of falling from a ladder. Such a scenario does not stop individuals going about their lives, nor does it interrupt normal business. A lone-wolf attack, however, is enough to close down a city. This was the case with last year’s Boston Marathon bombings engaged by the Tsarnaev brothers, which effectively closed down a major American city for days. If a terrorist were able to obtain access to a dirty nuclear device, they could close down a city for a long time. 
 Perhaps there is reason to write such a publication as Terrorist ­Attacks for Dummies and send a copy to Crikey.

Nobody worries about falling off a ladder? Give that man a ladder at once. Or maybe Greg Norman can give him a hand, explaining how to use a chain saw ..

Actually somebody should write a publication, Fear Mongering About Terrorist Attacks for Dummies and sent it to Hendo, and let's see how he copes the next time the entire Sydney CBD is shut down by a car accident. Or the rail network goes off the rails thanks to a platform jumper landing in front of a train ...

Yep, it's the business of the chattering elites to encourage the fear of the other and of the unknown and have everyone cowering and voting for the only ones who can help, and never mind that the said elites led the country into a war that has resonated for over a decade, on the basis of monstrous lies and bungling incompetence - but you won't discover Hendo tackling Keane on that point. So much easier to blather about ladders and the way that terror shuts down cities and it's fear, fear, fear for Australia ... which is good hearty healthy fear, completely unlike the fear mongering indulged in by climate scientists, which is mot unhealthy ...

If it's all the same to Hendo, the pond will maintain its fear of ladders, chairs and beds ...

What's that you say, you have some kool-aid and it will calm the pond down and we'll learn to love Jeff Koons and beds?

Oh and then came the bad news, which reminded the pond of this prescient bit in Robert Louis Stevenson's Kidnapped ...

This was the first time I heard the name of that Alex Salmond, who was afterwards so famous at the time of his referendum hanging.
But I took little heed at the moment, for all my mind was occupied with the generosity of these poor Highlanders.
"I call it noble," I cried. "I'm a Whig, or little better; but I call it noble." "Ay" said he, "ye're a Whig, but ye're a gentleman; and that's what does it. Now, if ye were one of the cursed race of Camerons, ye would gnash your teeth to hear tell of it. If ye were the Black Fox..."
And at that name, his teeth shut together, and he ceased speaking. I have seen many a grim face, but never a grimmer than Alan's when he had named the Black Fox.
"And who is the Black Fox?" I asked, daunted, but still curious. "Who is he?" cried Alan. "Well, and I'll tell you that. When the men of the clans were broken at Culloden, and the good cause went down, and the horses rode over the fetlocks in the best blood of the north, Salmond had to flee like a poor deer upon the mountains—he and his lady and his bairns.
A sair job we had of it before we got him shipped; and while he still lay in the heather, the English rogues, that couldnae come at his life, were striking at his rights. They stripped him of his powers; they stripped him of his lands; they stripped him of his leadership; they plucked the weapons from the hands of his clansmen, that had borne arms for thirty centuries; ay, and the very clothes off their backs—so that it's now a sin to wear a tartan plaid, and a man may be cast into a gaol if he has but a kilt about his legs.
One thing they couldnae kill. That was the love the clansmen bore their chief. These guineas are the proof of it. And now, in there steps a man, a Cameron, a black-hearted, black-headed David of Westminister——"
"Is that him you call the Black Fox?" said I. "Will ye bring me his brush?" cries Alan, fiercely. "Ay, that's the man. In he steps, and gets papers from Queen Elizabeth, to be so-called Queens's factor on the lands of Balmoral and Scotland...

Nair mind Robbie, there's always Samoa ... (and the real Kidnapped at Project Gutenberg here).

(Below: more Leunig and Moir here)

Friday, September 19, 2014

And so to the daily vendre des canard à moitié ...

Setting aside the current hysteria about Islamic fundies, the pond was astonished to discover, courtesy of Crikey, that Pravda by the harbour and Pravda by the Yarra had in fact and in reality transformed themselves into Pravda by the harbour and the river.

Now the pond could have found out simply by buying the tree killer edition, but that's an investigative journalist step too far ...

Simpler to click on:

Now Some propaganda with your morning paper? is behind the Crikey paywall.

Amongst the stories: "We want peace in Ukraine", written by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

At heart it seems it's a simple commercial arrangement, of the kind that exists between prostitutes and johns.

Now the pond doesn't mean to demean sex workers - any entrepreneurial way anyone wants to make a living is fine by the pond - but it was around this point in the story that the pond choked on its afternoon cordial:

Asked this morning whether he believed the inclusion of the supplement impacted the credibility of his paper, Goodsir said he didn’t. “And if I thought I did, I wouldn’t be allowing it to appear in the paper.” 
 “We’ve taken a very robust line in our news and opinion pages on the actions of the Russian government … We’re distributing a publication produced by Russian organisations about Russia, that in no way affects or influences the editorial independence of The Age or the Sydney Morning Herald. And I think our readers know that, and the publication is adequately labeled so that the reader is in no doubt as to the distinction of this advertising supplement."

This is roughly equivalent to said sex worker saying sure I did a trick, but I reserved the right elsewhere to say that the John was a lousy fuck with a small dick, for all that he roamed around bare-chested on horseback.

There were a number of indignant Crikey readers who spluttered and carried on about the story, amongst them conspiracy theorists in the matter of MH17 - it was Ukraine wot did it, and presumably Ukraine which organised the takeover of Crimea and the presence of Russian soldiers on its soil ...

Who'd have guessed that Crikey's readership was now full of paranoid conspiracy theorists?

 Paul was an early example out of the gate:

Are you suggesting we should not have access to the Russian version of events, only those that the “West” wants us to have? 
If so why are people criticizing Russia for having no press freedom, when that is what appears to be advocated in this article? Pretty pathetic effort if I am correct.

Which, if the pond might re-interpret, and keep that hooker metaphor going, is roughly equivalent to saying what's wrong with taking money for a fuck? Isn't that what freedom's all about?

Well pardon the pond if the pond flips it a little, but how would the conspiracy theorists feel if the Australian government took out a sixteen page supplement explaining its various policies, victories and triumphs.

Oh okay, there's no need for that, the Australian government has hookers who give it away for free:

But let's flip it another way.

How about a sixteen page supplement from the Indian government explaining and justifying coal, and explaining how the jury was still out on climate science?

Perhaps we could get a full page effort from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, full of tasty insights like this:

“Climate change? Is this terminology correct? The reality is this that in our family, some people are old … They say this time the weather is colder. And, people’s ability to bear cold becomes less,” he said. 
“We should also ask is this climate change or have we changed. We have battled against nature. That is why we should live with nature rather than battle it,” he said. (here, with handy links, including one to John Oliver on India - like bran, John Oliver is an essential part of any daily diet).

It could be a joint supplement - Australia, China, Canada and denialist in chief Tony Abbott ...

The pond could go on with other examples - sixteen pages from the United States explaining the virtues of its imperium, sixteen pages from Saudi Arabia explaining the joys of rabid Wahhabist fundamentalism, sixteen pages from China denouncing agitators and provocateurs and remembering the good old days of Tiananmen Square when soldiers fought the good fight against destabilising, insolent, decadent students ...

Presumably in each case, in another section of the rag, the Fairfaxians could explain how all these thoughts were the limp dick efforts of pathetic fucks, while keeping hold of the loose change.

The point of course is that propaganda is propaganda and it demeans the Fairfaxians for taking the cash in the paw, and not worrying too much about the source of the cash.

This is not to demand that the Fairfaxians join the economic boycott rolled out regarding Ukraine, and toe the line of western governments, but cash for comment is always a bad look, especially when government propaganda is dressed up as a "commercial arrangement" and an "advertising supplement".

The Fairfaxians will look pretty silly when it comes to Putin turning up to the G20, having sold their integrity for a mess of pottage (or should that be potash?)

The bottom line for the Fairfax "arrangement" is that any government should be able to splash the cash to gain positive coverage with copy designed to imitate real journalism.

And look, the pond didn't have to break Godwin's Law and wonder how it would have been in the old days with Fairfax accepting copy from Goebbels explaining how it wanted peace with the Jews ...

Never mind, it's just that it's suspiciously like - to really run that hooker metaphor into the ground - that old joke about "haggling about the price" (plenty on that at Quote Investigator).

Well now we know what the Fairfaxians are - decent solid sex workers - and we're just argue about the price and the sort of content they'll allow to turn up in a "commercial arrangement" and "an advertising supplement" ...

So is it worth it? Will it be worth it when the Fairfaxians run the next supplement?

What it does establish is that it's desperate times for sex workers. They'll turn any old trick to stay in the game ... no matter how pathetic or sordid or grasping it might make them seem.

But the pond is reminded of the taint that surrounded Quadrant as it became more widely known that it was a creation of the CIA.

There was an irony in that too:

Even as they continued to shell out the money, the CIA paymasters remained unhappy with the Quadrant’s refusal to court left-liberal intellectuals. The whole point of the covert operation was subtlety; to win over the left-leaning intellectuals to the American position, not further alienate them. The fierce prosecution of the US position in Vietnam was disturbing to both Josselson and Hunt. Like many in the CIA, they were appalled by the US engagement in Vietnam and wished to keep the Congress for Cultural Freedom clear of this political minefield. A difference of opinion between the Paris office and the Krygier about Vietnam was a complication in getting the funding to establish a South East Asian Institute. The greater complication was an exposé in the New York Times in April 1966 which pinpointed a funding link between the CIA and the Congress for Cultural Freedom. 

After a series of exposes and repudiations of the CIA connection, in 1967 McAuley published a careful response in Quadrant admitting the funding from the CIA was ‘deplorable’, but no more than ‘a well-intentioned blunder’. His defence that he had been an unwitting recipient of CIA largesse has been restated by the new editor of Quadrant and by its previous editors. Yet how was McAuley so unaware when Clem Christesen knew the money came from the CIA as far back as 1956? How was it that the editor of Quadrant had shown so little curiosity as to the source of money being so liberally handed out? A quick perusal of McAuley’s editorials give the flavour of the invective he would employ should the editor of a left-wing magazine discover he had ‘unwittingly’ been receiving 40% of his income from the KGB.

Indeed, indeed, and there's much more by Cassandra Pybus on the matter, here under the header CIA as Culture Vultures. What a fun stroll down the memory lane of other "commercial arrangements" ...

Well now the Fairfaxians are taking Russian money, and it may as well have come from the KGB, since the state of affairs in Russia in terms of Putin's control of media is truly dire.

But then the pond happens to accept the pinko pervert cardigan wearing socialist ABC's reporting on these events, as recently outlined by Mary Gearin in Vladimir Putin accused of using Soviet-style propaganda strategy to control Russian media:

Rain TV's problems started in January with a debate broadcast on the 70th anniversary of the lifting of the siege of Leningrad. 
The question: should Leningrad have been surrendered to save millions of lives? 
The siege of Leningrad is a cornerstone of Soviet victory in World War II and in today's Russia there is no room for unpatriotic mistakes. Mikhail Zygar works for TV Rain in Russia Photo: TV Rain producer Mikhail Zygar says powerful figures want the station silenced. 
The broadcast caused outrage and the channel was condemned by politicians. Despite an apology from TV Rain, major cable and satellite TV operators began to pull the plug. 
The station's audience fell from 20 million to just 2 million, as broadcasters abandoned the channel. "The owners of all those companies, operators, told us privately that that's not their wish," Mr Zygar said. "They were asked to do it by phone call, by someone from the Kremlin." 
TV Rain was once a fresh, and popular, voice in the Russian media. But powerful figures wanted it silenced.

And so on.

Next week, Fairfax explains how Gallipoli should have been avoided and thousands of dinkum Aussie lives saved.

Meanwhile, the Fairfax sex workers go about their other business, and depending on your viewpoint, it's just honest toil, or truly desperate and pathetic ...

So does it matter if we have a media that's supine, ready to do a roll in the hay with any government with a bit of cash in its paw?

Well yes, because the next thing you know, you end up with the likes of Greg "bromance" Sheridan, ready to use the current fuss to press for a full scale war.

There's Greg Sheridan galloping wildly on a horse towards mission creep, beard blowing in the breeze, the pectoral muscles on the bronzed chest glowing in the Anzac sun ...

You can get around the paywall to read Stopping local extremists needs action in Syria as well as Iraq if you like, but the pond can assure you, it's not worth the effort, unless you like a dose of alarm and panic with your porritch:

Abbott made a mistake this week when distinguishing Syria from Iraq. Although the distinctions are abundant, Abbott nonetheless drew the contrast between Iraq, where the government has invited Australia in, and Syria “where we don’t even recognise the government”. In fact we do recognise the Syrian government. The Australian ambassador to Egypt is accredited in Syria, where we have non-resident diplomatic relations, but for obvious reasons has been physically unable to present his credentials. 

Nonetheless, Syria and Iraq are obviously very different situations. 
But the threat comes from ­Islamic State commanding territory, whether in Syria or Iraq, and promulgating its terrorist message internationally, establishing global networks of supporters, attracting foreign fighters, blooding them and training them and sending them home. 
All this it can do from a base of big territory in Syria as much as in Iraq. And if our mission is humanitarian, then the humanitarian situation in Syria is more compelling than the situation in Iraq.

A humanitarian mission? Bombing the shit out of people is a humanitarian mission? War is a humanitarian mission?

Organise the crusades as you wish, but at least call a war a war, and what Sheridan is proposing is taking the war into Syria ...

And so it goes ...

Does it get any worse? Well the pond was appalled to see that Cory Bernardi was campaigning to ensure that nuns never revert to their penguin gear on Australian streets.

Oops, sorry, the pond got that wrong. Different religion. But there's a reliably stupid man ...

Memo to Cardinal Pell's new man. This shroud of oppression and penguin flag of fundamentalism is not right in Aust,

Up against this can of worms and canards, this daily vendre des canard à moitié by governments and their lickspittle, forelock tugging servile servants in the media, it's hard to maintain a smile, but Pope as usual does his best (and more Pope here, one of the few reasons that the pond thinks Fairfax still has some use, apart from a place for the tree killer Russian supplement in the outdoor dunny we still have in the backyard, should anyone offer a copy to the pond for free, which is actually valuing the supplement at much more than its worth):

What's that you say?

The pond has ducked the major issues of the day. Not true, there are plenty of canards here, this just breaking:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Mission creep, or is that a creepy mission, or is that a creepy bunch of creeps on a mission ...

(Above: and more Rowe here)

In the end, the cowardly pond didn't have the heart or the courage required to carry out the threat and watch a Warner/Roadshow download.

There's bravery and then there's stupidity, so instead the pond began the long trudge with Ken Burns through the Roosevelts (puff piece at NY Times, A Family's Rough Ride Through an American Era).

The style was a tad too familiar - tinkling music, Peter Coyote's beguiling voice - and the pond wasn't convinced by the narrative device of mingling three disparate stories of the beginnings of Theodore, Franklin and Eleanor, but at least it didn't have appalling re-enactments, in the ersatz style that passes for documentary film-making in Australia these days, flung together by wannabe drama directors with a tin ear and no budget.

Yep, there were real photographs of the real people in the real period, and for a moment the pond was in another era of absurd politicians - and lordy lordy the war mongering and neuroses of Theodore were on full view, along with the gaudy, vulgar gear ...

For a moment, the pond forgot about the bizarre world of down under politics, which sometimes makes Theodore seem like a modest and unassuming chap.

For example, what sort of stupidity would see talk of ministers and KPIs get out into the public domain, only for Tony Abbott to announce that they all deserved As or A+. (Tony Abbott gives top marks to ministers, saying all deserve As or A pluses).

That's so infinitely stupid and self-serving that even the flashy aggrandising Theodore would be rolling in his grave, and naturally it quickly brought out the wags:

You can sit the test here (forced video attached, natch) but it's as silly as Abbott, because sometimes all three answers are equally correct - for example, Abbott's communication skills involve the excellent use of three word slogans, as skilled as a sulphur crested cockatoo, but it's also true that the language is Orwellian and that silence would be preferable, yet you can only tick one box. How unfair is that?

If you want to do a cabinet re-shuffle - and surely the only way to enter a new year is for assorted stooges to be given new pratfalls and other bits of circus business - then just do it, don't announce a stern set of assessments, which involves nothing more than self-congratulatory elephant stamps. You get those by going on Phillip Adams' show and saying what he wants to hear, when he's not interrupting and speaking over you and reminiscing how he invented the Australian film industry...

Speaking of Theodore and his Cuban adventure and his willingness to put himself at risk because of a Freudian perception of his father's failure to fight on the Union side in the Civil War, what to make of the blundering PM trying to work out what the aim of the Iraq adventure might be?

The reptiles at the Oz trotted out Dr David Kilcullen to deliver sundry warnings:

“Anyone betting on a low casualty rate is extraordinarily optimistic,” he said. “You are going to have aircraft shot down, you may have people captured and killed, this (is a) Western fantasy that you can start a war and go in a war and it will be relatively casualty-free.” (here, inside the paywall with irritating popup because the reptiles are desperate)

Of course Kilcullen's approaching the battle with a warrior mentality, on the Theodore principle that casualties are ennobling and grand and an indication the imperialist adventure was meaningful, but he raises questions for which Abbott has no answer:

Dr Kilcullen said the question of how to deal with Islamic State in Syria must also be confronted. 
“If you roll ISIL back to the Syrian border, do you keep going on into Syria, effectively invading Syria?” he said. “Yet if you don’t you are just allowing ISIL to regroup beyond the border.”

Indeed, and it has to be said that Theodore's adventure in Cuba produced an unhappy result in the end, with a Communist dictatorship further down the track ...

It seems that the difficulties are dawning on the thickest of the thick, even that resolute knob polisher Greg "bromance" Sheridan:

The quivering jellyfish has suddenly got a case of the wobbles and the nervous nellies:

Only a bear with an infinitely small brain could scribble that sentence: "Nonetheless the deployment is well justified and has been well handled so far".

What? Flying off, to leave the blacks to go about their business in peace, and turning up to farewell the troops, has been well handled so far?

What an infinite goose, what a pea brain.

Now if you're an infinite masochist, you might, like the pond, evade the paywall, and read the rest of Sheridan's forelock-tugging, genuflecting pandering, and read Tony Abbott's justified intervention in Iraq could yet hurt him politically.

But only if you want to read a man as confused about the mission as Abbott himself. You see, the pea brain starts out by saying that Abbott will earn strong support, and then spends much of his piece explaining all the dangers Abbott's strategies face.

There's only one upside, and that's the most peculiar notion that Abbott is wedging Mr. Invisible.

The real danger isn't to Abbott, if you believe Sheridan, but to Bill Shorten, not for sounding like a yes man, but in case he decides to do a Mark Latham. But Mr. Invisible has kept his head down, and the rest is at Abbott's door.

It turns out Sheridan's Shorten move was a feint, a kind of Maginot Line flourish, because for the rest of the piece, Sheridan spent his time in a state of high anxiety about Syria:

The other way this can hurt Abbott politically is if it becomes a drawn-out operation that does not notably improve conditions for Iraqis and Syrians. 
Given the intractable nature of all Middle East conflicts, and the profound sectarian hatred between Sunnis and Shi’ites across the region, this is a real possibility. 
The greatest danger is not Iraq but Syria. Shorten, herding the restless members of his tribe uncomfortable equally with military action and with supporting Abbott, has so far, reasonably enough, limited his bipartisan consent to actions we may take in Iraq, not Syria. 
Abbott has refused to rule out any action in Syria but says his government is not contemplating it at the moment. 
The broad task in Iraq is going to be awesomely difficult. But Iraq is a mere stroll in the park compared with Syria. And worst of all, it’s hard to see how we succeed in Iraq without succeeding in Syria.

Suddenly the token gesture looks fraught with danger for the forelock tugger. A combat mission that's not a combat mission, boots on the ground that aren't boots on the ground. How can that be?

Sheridan trawls his way through Afghanistan (with the Taliban heading off to Pakistan for a rest), and Vietnam (with Cambodia as a refuge), before casting a jaundiced eye on Syria:

The main military force we feel we can support on the ground, the Free Syrian Army, is small and weak. The three big forces are the Syrian army, the Islamic State and the al-Qa’ida franchise al-Nusra Front. Almost anything we do to hurt the Islamic State will help the Syrian government or al-Nusra. Yet if we don’t change things in Syria we cannot prevail in Iraq long-term. 
 A few weeks ago I asked Indonesia’s President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono how he felt about Australian actions in Iraq. At that point we had flown only relief missions to help prevent the slaughter of Yazidis. A wise statesman, SBY said he supported those actions. 
What about longer-term Western military efforts in Iraq, I asked him. That was much more difficult, he said, because it was so easy to portray such actions as being directed against Muslims generally. Normally in military affairs, once you act, it’s best to be very decisive. But the danger is not that we will do too little to fix Iraq and Syria, but too much, creating a crippling dependency. We need to do just enough to avert catastrophe and empower the local actors, who must ultimately sort out a compromise for themselves. 
That’s one tough assignment.

It seems it's an even tougher assignment for Sheridan to make coherent sense of the mission, for which there is no end date, nor any clear marker to indicate when the mission might end, so all Sheridan can do is end up wringing his hands and fluttering with anxiety about the fate of his bromance buddy.

Let's ignore for the moment Sheridan big noting himself with SBY, who is now a lame duck president serving out his time - Jokowi will be sworn in on 20th October and it will then be a new game, as noted by Hamish McDonald here.

Sherian mentioning SBY raises a question Sheridan resolutely refuses to ask, though it's hinted at.

Anyone with the remotest interest in Indonesia will know that it is predominantly Sunni, and worse for years Saudi Arabia promoted and funded its form of Wahhabist fundamentalism in the country - see Jane Perlez in The New York Times back in 2003 scribbling Saudis Quietly Promote Strict Islam in Indonesia:

The Saudi money has come in two forms, Indonesian and Western officials said: above-board funds for religious and educational purposes, and quietly disbursed funds for militant Islamic groups. The Saudi money has had a profound effect on extremist groups, allowing some to keep going and inspiring others to start recruiting, the officials said.

Yep, one of Australia's alleged allies has been helping fund death cultists in our northern neighbour, and Sheridan might coo about SBY, but if things get sticky in Iraq, especially in Sunni areas, things will likely get sticky for Australians closer to home.

Now the pond doesn't care too much about which splitter believes what - they're all barking mad fundies feuding over an invisible tooth fairy so far as the pond's concerned - but the truth is, you can't sort out religious fundamentalists by bombing them to hell. Just ask the loons who believe in transubstantiation ...

Meanwhile, Abbott has ventured into a half-baked, half-arsed crusade with Obama, with a very uncertain set of allies, and bugger all indication of how the Arab states will take part, or what role they might perform, which given Saudi Arabia's role in fomenting Sunni fundamentalism is not much of a surprise.

No wonder even the boot lickers have begun to wonder about the taste of the Kiwi polish.

What else?

Well the pond would like to place on record the increasingly bizarre scribbling of Paul Sheehan.

Just when you think it couldn't get weirder - could anything top those glorious magic water days? - it seems Sheehan has gone into a deep bromance with libertarianism in general and in particular with one Senator David Leyonhjelm.

In the piece, George Brandis' new anti-terror law allows ASIO to torture, Sheehan allows himself bouts of heresy:

As Senator David Leyonhjelm, of the Liberal Democratic Party, told me: "These provisions are shameful. As a nation we should be better than this. Australia is engaged in a fight against barbarism, but that does not justify becoming barbarians ourselves." 
Senator Brandis has proven as adept at selling the government's law-and-order messages as Treasurer Joe Hockey has been at crafting and selling a tough federal budget.

Sheehan then explains what a futtock Brandis has been, with a number of examples, before ending with a rousing libertarian call to rise up against Nanny Bandis and the trampling of fundamental rights.

Well the pond is a broad church, and the barking mad Swiss clock chimes the correct time twice a day and Sheehan seals the deal by showing a picture of a man so smug that to contemplate it for more than a nanosecond is cruel and unusual torture:

This is a man worthy of an A or an A+? When even the magic water man thinks he's a total futtock? Thank the long absent lord the pond isn't studying in a school run by headmaster Abbott in ancient Christian Brothers style ...

Oh wait ...

Finally, is there a more irritating man than Malcolm Turnbull?

There he was this morning on ABC radio, yammering about how community television should head off to the intertubes, a move which will see the death of community television, while blathering on about how the intertubes has been around for yonks, and never mind that he has done his very best to destroy the potential of effective streaming on his second best hand me down ramshackle construction, which will require upgrading even as it rolls out, that's if it's to be up to the job of streaming shitty Warner/Roadshow films, as opposed to doing interesting new kinds of interactivity ...

And meanwhile, the government is busy constructing plans for filters and punishment for ISPs, and helping out Burkey and Roadshow and the rest of the filthy rich Hollywood oligopolists, and fuck it, tonight is the night the pond will download a Warners/Roadshow movie and watch it.

What's that you say? There's another Ken Burns episode to hand? Oh well, better a dull history lesson than watching fucking Malcolm Turnbull turning a wrecking ball on the intertubes ... as if the pond hasn't already learned the key lesson from history, that those who remember the past are likely to make exactly the same bloody mess of the present ...

Take it away Mr Pope and more excellent Popery, frequently without transubstantiation, here:

Speaking of D and M, and farewell to all that and time well served, a faux Stratton's tweet has been doing the Facebook rounds. Lolz, and more faux Stratton tweets here.

Jacobs Creek? He should be so lucky ...

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Give those men a KPI ... or in lieu, a green carnation ...

Damn you, northern neighbours, not the moo cows.

Haven't you heard Asians are totally inept when it comes to moo cows? 

Naturally the chattering classes were wildly indignant:

Funny old cow. What a sensa huma ... and what a stunning first page EXCLUSIVE for the reptiles this very day.

Anything else going on with China? Anything happening?

Nope, nothing, nada

But stay, how's plan B for coal working out?

Plan B? No need for a plan B, it's coal, coal, coal for Australia. The coal reich will last a thousand years ... just like the last one:

Hang on, hang on, not more Godwin's Law breaches. Isn't there a better way to plan for a holiday than put cash in the swear jar?

Okay, how about this?

Oh dear, who'd have guessed it, who'd have planned for it, though the last time the pond was in Shanghai and returned, nostrils, throat and lungs feeling like a cement tip, it did seem like the command economy might have to command some changes to the level of pollution in the air. Especially as the middle class began to travel and smell the (relatively) sweet air available elsewhere, Morwell not being especially high on the travel itinerary ...

Well you won't find much in the reptiles' rags about the story - instead you have to head off to the Fairfaxians and Risky business: China dumps our dirty coal.

Oh you can find a short note in the lizard Oz, but it's merely recycling AAP and it's mercifully brief and thankfully not in any way alarmist, as you can see in China bans 'dirty' coal sales, imports.

That story was to hand last night for the reptiles, but instead they ran with the moo cow angle.

Well there's no reason to get excited:

Australia - whose economic growth has been fuelled in part by Chinese demand for energy and raw materials - may feel the brunt of the impact of Beijing's latest move.

Yes that feels right: In part ... may ...

Let's not get too excited here. You see the reptiles are at one with the Minerals Council of Australia:

Reports on draft new guidelines for China’s coal use and their impact on Australia’s coal industry are misleading and unnecessarily alarmist. (here)

Yes, because it's coal, coal, coal for Australia and the coal reich will last a thousand years ... or more ... so thank the long absent lord the reptiles carried on, blithe, serene, and resolutely calm and unalarmist ...

Unlike those wretched Fairfaxians at the AFR in China's green ban will hit hard on coal exports.

Say what? The wretched commies are going greenie?

Australian coal producers will be hit by a Chinese ban on low-quality coal, which is likely to force costs higher and could drive demand to Indonesia. 

Wood Mackenzie’s China consulting manager Rohan Kendall said none of the Australian thermal coal currently being exported to China would meet the new restrictions in China’s major cities. 
The National Development Reform Commission has banned the burning of coal with ash content of more than 40 per cent or sulphur content of more than 3 per cent. In big cities such as Shanghai, Guangzhou, Beijing and Tianjin, which are all struggling with chronic pollution, the restrictions are tougher – at 16 per cent ash and 1 per cent sulphur. 
It follows a recent move by the authorities in China to force power utilities to slow coal imports, with the aim of improving air quality. “Those restrictions affect 100 per cent of Australian thermal coal exports,” which have a high ash content, said Mr Kendall. 
However, he said “it won’t be difficult for producers to meet the cut-off”. They will just have to wash the coal, which could increase the cost of production. 
 “The risk for Australian producers is that Chinese importers turn more to Indonesia rather than higher-price, higher-quality Australian coal,” he said.

Oh never mind then, carry on, it's coal, coal, washed, decreased profits, rivals empowered coal for Australia ...

So how's the rest of the government's splendid energy policies going?

Well thank the long absent lord jolly Joe is on hand:

(and the rest, with links,  here)

It's just an aesthetic view? It's just a fucking aesthetic view?

Energy policies are going to be based on fucking aesthetics? Where does that leave Morwell? Or the Hunter Valley? (And a shout out to the pond's Morwell-loving extended family).

Well you have to admire Miles George's slap-down:

As I understand it, Mr Hockey, poor people don't drive cars so they wouldn't see that wind farm anyway.

But it finally dawned on the pond what jolly Joe's real interests are.

He's not a treasurer - everything he's done is a testament to that. He's more a Regency fop, or if not of that era, then a fin de siècle art nouveau Aubrey Beardsley and Oscar Wilde type, with a fondness for green carnations, and nothing wrong with that.


Pity they didn't dress in the cigar, but you know it's there, an aesthetically pleasing smoke that might fuck up your lungs, but hey, coal is also a sublimely aesthetic experience ... just ask the Chinese in Beijing stuck in a decent inversion or the citizens of Morwell ...

But watch out if jolly Joe asks you into the office to look at his collection of grotesque, decadent and erotic Japanese woodcuts.

What else, as the pond falls prey to mid-week hysteria ...

Well it seems Chris Kenny imagines he's turned into a fearless scooper, instead of carrying on as a blow-hard, hard line right wing feral ratbag chattering class commentator (and never mind any conflation and confusion of roles). Yes like every other reptile he's scored an EXCLUSIVE:

Now the pond couldn't be bothered reading, or linking to the story, but it did provoke an idle thought.

In the pond's KPI days, there was always a board to hand to give the CEO a decent review and a head kicking as required.

Who will do the same for Tony Abbott?

On the evidence to hand, he's the weakest link, blighting every area he touches, ducking and weaving and shifting the blame to others, and always trying to avoid the buck landing in his kitchen. Lately he's taken to heading OS or into the deep north, anywhere he can stage a photo op and pose as a statesman, without actually doing anything useful or sensible, except bunging on a war at a half a billion or so a year ...

Say what? What budget emergency was that? Well nothing to get in the way of a bit of war mongering and fear mongering ...

Will Abbott have a stern Abbott to Abbott conversation about his poor performance? Will he shake himself up? Or will he head off to the GG for an assessment? Could the Queen get involved?

It'll probably stay one of life's deeper mysteries, but the pond doesn't mind, because it's a sure sign that Abbott's government is now as barking mad as former Chairman Ruddster's was...

Does Abbott have the first clue as to time management, and the peculiar folly of the symbolism in which he's indulging, which will apparently see him fly out on Thursday to farewell personnel headed for combat operations and then fly back on Friday to honour the pledge to stay the week, except he's not staying the week, he's flying out and flying back? (well that's what it says in Tony Abbott leaves East Arnhem Land early ...)

Busy looking busy and not the first clue as to the point of being busy.

It's that sort of faux symbolism and managerial ineptness that symbolised the sublime folly of the Ruddster ...

There was just one forlorn comment at the time the pond visited the story:

This visit was never more than a shallow photo opportunity for Abbott. It's time to abandon the tent embassy, and I bet the Aboriginal people will hardly know he is gone.

How will the Queen deal with this when she comes to do the KPI?

Never mind. On another matter, it seems that Burkey has found safe haven amongst the reptiles and not to worry that Foxtel and its outrageous monopoly has done more to encourage piracy in this country than any other single force for evil:

Actually it's the owners and the distributors that have the ability and obligation to encourage proper use of their product, by offering the product in a time sensitive and economical way, instead of exercising monopolistic rights, jacking up prices and otherwise seeking to exploit the punters in the Australian market.

What has Hollywood done to embrace the internet supply of product, backed by decent pricing? How is it that Netflix can have an estimated 200,000 subscribers or more, though the service is subject to region blocking? (Hollywood Reporter, here)

How is it that you can head off to a website called Netflix Australia - You can easily get it right now (not used or approved by the pond).

How soon before the dinosaurs get it and do something sensible about the mess they're in, instead of blaming ISPs and consumers?

That's led the pond to make a solemn promise:

Never mind the sexism. As a first step, this very day the pond promises to download a Village show and to actually watch it.

This will involve considerable pain and courage and angst on the pond's part. What little the pond has seen of of Warners-Village product has convinced the pond that the bulk of it is fairy floss crap, as substantial and as useful as an overdose of sugar, salt, fat, oil and flour, which instead of doing no harm, actually warps minds and ruins lives and leaves rancid memories which need to be expunged, but alas the pond's mind isn't as easily fixed as rebuilding the hard drive...

Burkey, it has to be said, is an old man, and clearly doesn't understand the new world order, or VPNs, or all that stuff, and thinks that railing at ISPs will fix his business model, but he doesn't have a clue. And so the pond will have to devote at least a couple of hours of its life to the destruction of Hollywood/Melbourne greed and cruelty ...

And so, before Roadshow results in a mind wipe, back to one last KPI issue.

The pond recommends remembering this lizard Oz splash the first time that the ISIS fighters duck across the border into Syria for refuge, and the US decides that they either need to put boots on ground or take military action in Syria ...

So many stupid people saying stupid things.

And while we're at it, perhaps the Queen should add this question to the KPI assessment ...

(Below: and so to David Pope, and more Pope here, and yet another KPI issue).