Saturday, April 25, 2015

In which the pond narrowly avoids humbug alley ...

(Above: by golly that's some rabbit, and more Pope here).

Truth to tell, the pond thought twice about getting out of bed today.

Look at this humbug alley, this gasoline alley row of blather and hypocrisy:

Thank the long absent lord, there was Nikki Gemmell carrying on the sacred crusade with a bit of murderous creed bashing.

No wonder the pond, inspired by Popish jokery, resorted to reliable old tune for a bit of light comedy.

You see, in amongst their many patriotic duties, the reptiles felt the rousing call to arms and stepped up to defend Bjorn Lomborg against the cruel slings and arrows of outrageous fortune:

 Oh indeed, indeed, it's just so unfair. Do go on:

In short and fundamentally what to do with taxpayers wanting to know who decided to stump up the taxpayer cash and give it to me consensually so we could have a little consensus fun ....?

Well they can kiss my ass ...

As for Paul Johnson, the second refuge of the scoundrel is academic freedom:

A deep believer in climate science? Suddenly science has become a matter of deep belief?

Oh roll the jaffas down the aisle...

He's saying we can reduce emissions?

 Like this?

I helped organise something called the Copenhagen Consensus on Climate where we have got some of the top climate economists to look at what is the smartest ways to tackle global warming. And they basically say, don’t try to cut carbon emissions. Even if you do it effectively it’s going to cost a lot. And it’s probably not going to happen and even if it does it won’t do very much. But if you spend money on research and development into green energy. Essentially make sure it becomes cheaper than fossil fuels over the next 20 to 40 years. We’ve solved global warming. If we could make solar panels cheaper than fossil fuels by say 2030/40 we’d have done, we’d be done. Everyone would buy them not just rich well meaning westerners but also the Chinese and the Indians. (here in pdf).

Courtesy of the reptiles, the pond has had a long introduction to the fuzzy thinking and dissembling of the Lomborg, which much suits the reptiles since it's at least a degree warmer than Screaming Lord Monckton.

Yes, on any day of the week, you can find Lomborg saying that there's no need to reduce emissions. Of course on any other day of the week, he might be saying something entirely different, provided it suits the coal industry and his funding patrons ...

Others have written about the climate confusionista's unique capacity to tell the emperor what he wants to hear about his brand new set of clothes - back in December 2014 for example in Is Bjørn Lomborg writing Australia’s climate and energy policies?

The joys of fracking, the blessings of coal, the need for research on solar rather than actual expenditure on solar or other useless RE, and so on and so forth ...

Lomborg the professional confusionista, smoke screener and paid humbug is your man ...

More to the point, Lomborg is also the Bolter's man.

Now on the surface it might seem odd that a profound climate denialist should be at one with a "deep believer" in climate science, but that's the cleverness of Lomborg's confusionista strategies.

So it almost goes without saying that the Bolter is outraged, outraged the pond tells ya, at the treatment dished out to his deeply believing hero ...

But it does produce some great comedy stylings ...

This is disgraceful - a real indictment of Australian academia - and shame on the journalists encouraging this intellectual McCarthyism.

Now if ever anyone had wanted the pond to nominate the best top notch intellectual McCarthyist doing the rounds in Australia at the moment, it would have been the Bolter, as rabid a populist demagogue as has done the rounds since the grand old days of Father Coughlin.  Closely followed by the reptiles of Oz, who can only be considered and counted as a pack because of the baleful influence of the hive mind ... (Of course on the world stage they'd be considered small beer against the best of the Faux Noise Murdochians).

The entire point of the confusionista exercise is to dissemble and to delay, to fudge and to conflate, to confuse and produce inertia, and that's why the Bolter and the Lomborg can be as one, and the Bolter knows just who to quote:

Eco-realists contend that for the bulk of the world’s population, energy poverty is the immediate concern that must be resolved before climate change action can hope to deliver the desired results.The question remains whether ambitious early action will foster long-term change or squander the opportunity for a more considered solution.

Eco-realists? Oh the endless stream of jargon and cant, it's too much ...

So let's just kick the can down the road.

But if that's the solution, why does Lomborg need four million dollars of Australian taxpayer money to line up the can?

That's the thing that gets the pond. There's the Bolter out defending the government lavishing cash like a drunken sailor on a man who can't raise two bob in his home country, and there's Johnson talking about academic freedom when he's really defending the right of blow-ins to raise a bit of government cash, so he can do a little scavenging and temple-building on the sidelines:

And that's at the heart of this story:

And so on, in Australian taxpayers funding climate contrarian's methods with $4m Bjørn Lomborg centre.

And that surely is the nub of it. At a time when the federal government has slashed and burned the CSIRO, sundry other scientific research activities, and bodies dealing with climate science matters, pleading desperate, dire poverty, and a budget emergency of the first water, does anyone think that blather about academic freedom and McCarthyism can hide the giant double dose of political hypocrisy ... as a monorail spruiker, abandoned in his own country, rides into town to take the rubes for a ride?

Dr Eric Feinblatt, an honorary research fellow with the department of engineering, said as he left the meeting the centre “would not happen anywhere but Australia”. 
 “The only reason it’s happening in Australia is because the policy of the Abbott government makes it a favourable environment,” he said. 
“This is just a proxy for the Abbott government. And for the administration of the university not to admit that, to deny that, is ridiculous.” (here).

But where would the pond be without the ridiculous?

Down humbug alley with the scoundrels ...

(Below: and more Wilcox here)

And here's a bonus for Lebowski lovers, and more cartoons here.

Friday, April 24, 2015

From poodle lovers to fish killers, there's all the fun of a luna park today in the pond ...

(Above: so over it and still a day to go, but clearly Pope's having the same thought, and more Pope here. Thank the long absent lord for that radical, revolutionary ship-jumping, law-breaking trade wobbly commie socialist pinko pervert unionist offering some comfort with his donkey).

Paw up, poodle lovers. Harden the paw up.

Did you really think that leaking to Fairfax that it was all the fault of master Tony and mistress Peta would get the poodle off the hook?

Fairfax Media has confirmed with multiple sources that the idea was conceived in the Prime Minister's Office, with Mr Abbott and chief of staff Peta Credlin personally driving the decision to fund the centre. 
Mr Abbott referred to and praised Dr Lomborg in his 2009 book Battlelines. 
One insider said Mr Pyne had "nothing to do with the idea", while another said the Education Minister had been "crucified" for the decisions of others. (here).

Come on poodle lovers, all that means is the poodle's some kind of sap, some kind of sucker, some kind of fall guy, some kind of dummy in a film noir or a crime novel ...

You know, the dummy that carries out the crime for love and then gets lumbered with the caper. Just to imagine the poodle as William Hurt and Peta as Kathleen Turner in Poodle Heat makes the pond's head reel ...

If the poodle hated the idea so much, why did he run around the house boasting about the droppings he left under the aspidistra on the what not in the lounge room?

Are you saying he's a blithering idiot that would yap and bark on command, without the first clue what he's yapping about, so long as it pleases the mistress and the master?

Well that may be, but he's still a naughty poodle. Waiter, that rolled up copy of the lizard Oz please ...

Yes, on it merrily rolls, with WA academics in uproar at Fairfax here, but even the reptiles had to run the story, albeit in terse form, and what do you know, one line even acknowledges that climate targets might be part of the game:

But thankfully there was one reptile ready to stand firm and to stand solid, and wouldn't you know it, it was the van oscillating man himself:

Uh huh. What's the bet that the prolix prof waxes for a really long time about the joys of being Bjorn?

That's it? That's as good as it gets?

It's clear and consistent?

Well there you go, is there any better evidence of the state of reasoning and logic in Western Australian academic circles?

Meanwhile, punters who visit certain papers might get to read this sort of stuff:

...the deputy chief executive of the Climate Institute, Erwin Jackson, said a quarter of the $2.55bn emissions reduction fund had been spent to secure just 15% of the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions needed for Australia to meet its target of a 5% cut by 2020, based on 2000 levels. 

“Things might get better in future auctions but they’ve already spent a quarter of the money and all the analysis suggests that these prices won’t get significant emissions reductions,” he said. “There is no confidence that we can even meet our woefully inadequate targets with this. 
“The broader issue is why are taxpayers footing the bill rather than the big polluters doing any of the heavy lifting? The public is bearing the cost here rather than the big polluters.” (here at the Graudian).

So let's see how the hard-hitting reptiles give the Greg Hunt claims a thorough going over, a severe examination:

The bromancer does foreign affairs and climate science and all from a supine, boot-licking position? Why the man's a chenius, a bloody chenius ...

The same, unfortunately, can't be said for Leigh Sales. Her performance last night interviewing Greg Hunt was a tragedy in search of a snark.

It didn't begin well:

Now don't switch off; I know it sounds a bit dry and complicated, but I will explain.

And with that imitation of a kindergarten teacher out of the way, she went on, with the help of Hunt, to give the pond the distinct impression of being back with Alice and Humpty Dumpty:

LEIGH SALES: Minister, if you can address my point, at $13.95 per tonne, the amount set today, given that you have $2.55 billion to spend, you will fall short of Australia's targets by about 57 million tonnes. 
GREG HUNT: No, that's false. 
LEIGH SALES: OK, so how are you going to reach the targets? 
GREG HUNT: Well, what are you assuming is the target? 
LEIGH SALES: I'm assuming that the target is five per cent by 2020. 
GREG HUNT: Correct. We'll achieve it. 
LEIGH SALES: So are you going to reach that? 
GREG HUNT: Yes, we will. 
LEIGH SALES: OK, so today...

Okay, so it went on from there, with Hunt smirking and making claims, and Sales flailing and failing to land a single question ...

So what happened when we reached a contentious lie?

GREG HUNT: ... it (the carbon tax) wasn't achieving emissions reduction, which is the whole purpose here. 

LEIGH SALES: Minister, I'm sorry, we're out of time, unfortunately. There's so much more that we could discuss. Thank you very much for coming in. (here, if you must).

It was as dismal a performance as the pond has seen in some time, and a reminder of why watching the 7.30 show is largely a waste of time, generating much heat and carbon, but very little light ...

There was more fun to be had at the 7.30 hashtag than by watching the actual performance. There were graphs:

And there were comedy items:

Oh the comedy, the comedy:

But wait, the pond is appreciative that its first duty each day is to serve up a hearty portion of lizard and it would be remiss of the pond not to feature in the in-depth thinking of Greg "the bromancer" Sheridan.

But wait, there's always someone hanking for a free set of steak knives, so first let's ask a question.

Were there any punters out there who plunged bravely and boldly on the notion that the bromancer would at some point in his piece, berate the ABC, Fairfax and the climate change industry?

If so, congratulations. You can now retire to a life of leisure though perhaps in view of the recent battering NSW copped from wave action, you might be better off risking bushfires in an idyllic rural retreat than settling down by the sea:

That's it you ask? That's the whole box and dice, and such a bold set of assertions without so much as the slightest bit of proof?

Everything's for the very best in the very best of all reptile worlds?

Well yes, and the pond has noticed that the reptiles of late are getting increasingly short and lazy in their propaganda efforts.

That's what happens when they get pampered and bloated and well-fed.

Never mind, it's the weekend, and thanks to the all of the above, there's no need to go into the darker parts of the Australian psyche, with that job left to David Rowe, and more Rowe here:

Thursday, April 23, 2015

In which the pond marvels at the way a poodle can be a Pinocchio with a very pointed nose ...


That's not a newspaper, that's a comic strip ...

Why did they feel the need to keep the banner visible? Because the punters know it's just a gigantic comic strip full of commentariat nonsense?

Well it is full of comedians. Today's there this immortal effort from Niki S.:

The pond immediately began to savour other headlines. Better a BLT or bacon and eggs than being Jewish, or a Beef curry way better than Hindu cow worship.

Is it being offensive or stupid that Islamics give up their no alcohol rule and that will, in due course, help them avoid terror grooming? Who knows, and who knows what she wrote, because the pond silently tiptoed by ...

And there was the bromancer beavering away ...

It embodies our nature? You mean, dumb fuck lemmings incompetently charging at rows of machine guns and rifles at the Nek, and being mown down in an abattoir of death?

And there's nothing we can do about it, like do some decent planning, make sure the plan runs smoothly, get the big guns and the men in some kind of synch, and avoid massive casualties, because that sort of thinking is alien to our nature? Our nature is to be complete dummies?

Who knows what the doofus actually wrote, because the pond felt the need to walk on by ...

And then there was the Bolter in the Terror ...

Uh huh, because that idiot George Bush did such a wonderful job, V for Victory and all that, and thank the long absent lord, the mess in Iraq is a testament to his vision.

Who knows what the idiot wrote, because the pond was deterred from reading it just by contemplating that smug, smirking visage for a nanosecond.

And yesterday, let's not forget the dog consorter's latest bout of climate science:

Yes, yes, without bothering to read it, since the pond doesn't usually get its science from idiots, the pond added the header to other great moments in climate science:

By golly, he's an inspiration to the troops. Someone should put him in charge of planning for the Nek:

Who'd have thought he was such a big proponent of Netflix? And let's not forget this:

That compendium of twittering twittish tweets is, of course, just an excuse for the pond to run the latest devilish Popery, and more essential Pope here:

Of course the always prescient Pope is just drawing attention to the news that the poodle's imitation of Pinocchio has some basis in fact, because either the poodle or Paul Johnson, VC of UWA, is lying.

How naked and blatant was the lying?

Well anyone who watched Lateline last night would have marvelled at the depth of the lies, and the consummate skill of the lying:

A senior academic from the University of Western Australia (UWA) has confirmed the Abbott Government originally approached the university to set up a policy centre directed by controversial figure Bjorn Lomborg. 
Dr Lomborg is a controversial figure in the scientific world, having attracted controversy in the past for suggesting the dangers of climate change are overstated and that alleviating poverty is a greater priority. 
"The Federal Government approached the university," Paul Johnson Vice Chancellor of UWA said. "It (the Government) said: 'Would the university be interested in considering setting up a centre to study long-term development goals both global and Australia?'" 
A spokesman for Education Minister Christopher Pyne earlier told Fairfax that "the Government is contributing around a third of the total cost of the centre based on a proposal put forward by the University of Western Australia and Dr Lomborg's organisation". (more at the ABC here).

And what do you know, but today someone has taken the trouble to leak to Fairfax some university talking points:

Since the centre was announced, there has been speculation, including among university staff members, about how the centre was conceived and how it came to be funded. 

Last week a spokesman for Education Minister Christopher Pyne said: "The government is contributing around a third of the total cost of the centre based on a proposal put forward by the University of Western Australia and Dr Lomborg's organisation." 
But in talking points circulated to UWA staff members, David Harrison, UWA' s head of corporate and government affairs, provides a suggested answer to any students or colleagues to the question: "How did the Australia Consensus Centre come to UWA?" 
"UWA was approached by the federal government," the talking points state. 
"We saw it as a good opportunity, not only for the university's reputation as a global leader in higher education, but also as a way we could make a positive difference in addressing some of the biggest challenges facing the world today." 
The university would not respond to questions on Wednesday, but Mr Harrison did not back away from the statements contained in the email, including that the establishment of the centre was a suggestion from the government. 
"We stand by the points raised in the talking points," Mr Harrison told Fairfax Media. 
Fairfax Media understands that government ministers, following discussions with Dr Lomborg, had the idea of bringing his methodology to Australia and approached UWA about hosting the centre. The university then submitted a proposal to the government that was accepted. (here).

Of course this doesn't help the university explain why it was so desperate for dollars that it thought it was a good idea to sup with the devil, though it does add something to the Four Corners' story on how pathetic universities have become in relation to academic standards when a might dollar or two hoves into view ...

Degrees of deception? Yes and degrees of stupidity, as if blaming the poodle for coming up with the bright idea of a Consensus Centre, and lying about it, somehow gets the Uni of WA off the Consensus Hook ...

LINTON BESSER: Universities are now stuck in an arms race. Students and standards are merely collateral damage. 
BARMAK NASSIRIAN: At the end of the day, Australian universities are governed by Australians. And they really need to make a decision whether they're willing to undermine the credibility - international credibility - of credentials they manufacture in the name of more business. 
 ZENA O'CONNOR: Education is not an industry. And this is the mistake that the universities are making. Education is not an industry. 
KERRY O'BRIEN: Of course, these same academics, these same universities, these same courses are processing Australian students as well. Are they somehow untouched by the kinds of activities and concerns revealed tonight? Given what's at stake, it's unfortunate the vice-chancellors of the three universities featured in our story - Sydney, Western Sydney and the Australian Catholic University - couldn't front up in person and face the obvious questions.

Indeed, but the Vice Chancellor of the Australian Catholic University could turn up in print at the lizard Oz berating upper house politicians as pygmies in need of an education.

Well played Peter Craven ...

Never mind, the pond got a little distracted there for a moment, when really we should be admiring the efforts of Fairfax in tracking down all the sorts of Lomborg love that can be found in the coalition.

And then there was Lomborg quoted in Tony Abbott's Battlelines and Lomborg mingling with Bishop:

But this is hardly surprising. After all the reptiles have been in the grip of the mad infatuation known as Lomborg love for years, faithfully republishing his pieces, and naturally charging for them, even as the desperate propagandist left them hanging around on the intertubes for free ...

And we already know that the Pinocchio Poodle is a shameless liar, always willing to fetch and carry for his masters.

But if Paul Johnson thinks he can just blame it all on the federal government, surely he's mistaken?

It must have all seemed like sweetness and light and a good deal when the University's publicity machine early in April churned out New economic prioritisation research centre at UWA:

The University of Western Australia and the Copenhagen Consensus Center today announced the establishment of a new policy research centre at the UWA Business School. 
The new centre will focus on applying an economic lens to proposals to achieve good for Australia, the region and the world, prioritising those initiatives which produce the most social value per dollar spent.
The new Australia Consensus Centre will be based at UWA but have global reach. It will help frame the debate on aid, agriculture and regional issues and focus on smart, long-term priorities.

And so on:

The cooperation between UWA and the Copenhagen Consensus Center will also mean that the President of Copenhagen Consensus, Dr Bjorn Lomborg, will spend time in Perth and across Australia to encourage a conversation on priorities for aid and development and the future prosperity of Australia. 

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson said: "The Australia Consensus Centre will become the go-to place for useful economic research to inform the national and international debate, building on UWA's many academic strengths."
Dr Lomborg said: "The Australia Consensus Centre is an amazing opportunity to showcase the power of economic research to help inform the national and international conversation on setting the most effective priorities."

Yes, it was as if Lomborg and climate had never rubbed their noses together.

Which suggests that, if you want to sell your snake oil, first find the quisling who will hang your shingle on the tent ...

And that way you'll get a scandal that will keep on giving through the years ...

(More Matt Golding here).

Which just leaves time to pay attention to First Dog, at the Graudian here, noting the joy of Tony Abbott indulging in yet another "Billy goat but" routine ...

You know, some of my best friends are gay, but ... or some of my best friends are Jewish, but ... and some Islamics are okay, but they don't drink beer, and some climate scientists seem genuine, but so do most Satanists, and so on and on, for as many Billy goat butts as you can manage ...

Ah yes. And no doubt at some point we'll be reading the Bolter denouncing Leopold II of Belgium ... and the behaviour of the Dutch in their colonial rule ... and at that point, perhaps you should have a beer, because the bacon clearly provokes quirky dreams ...

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

In which the pond enjoys the stench of hypocrisy in the morning ...

Of course David Pope nailed it all in one - and more excellent Popery here - but on we must plod in his dazzling footsteps.

What's this, a rising gorge and an incipient note of fresh floral nausea, with subtle herbaceous and grassy undertones?

Is the pond the only one who finds the nausea from the stench of the hypocrisy occasionally overpowering and overwhelming?

Especially when that sort of splash sits on the same digital page  with this splash:

It's all there in Veterans group use Anzac centenary to fire up over pension reforms, and it's always the same, the cheap rhetoric and the hollow pieties, followed by the cash grab and the penny pinching.

This time the irony's even richer, because having done the dirt, Abbott's headed off to Gallipoli to don the sackcloth and ashes and keen and moan about the diggers.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott is under fire from groups representing military pensioners and war widows who say the government's proposed changes to veterans' payments threaten the quality of life and dignity in retirement of nearly 300,000 people who sacrificed for Australia. 
Mr Abbott, who is en route to Turkey for the Anzac centenary at Gallipoli, met with the leadership of the RSL last month but refused to back down on a decision to index payments to the rate of inflation rather than wages.
Veterans groups have been working behind the scenes since the budget but recent meetings between the Federation of Totally and Permanently Incapacitated Ex-Servicemen & Women (known as TPI), the Defence Force Welfare Association and the Alliance of Defence Service Organisations resolved to increase the pressure to coincide with Anzac Day and as Treasurer Joe Hockey finalises his second budget. 
"It's all very well to commemorate the fallen – and we support the centenary commemorations – but we have to fully support the living as well," TPI national vice-president Pat McCabe told Fairfax Media.
The TPI wrote to Mr Abbott this week, reminding him of the words of Prime Minister Billy Hughes who said in 1917: "We say to them, 'You go and fight and when you come back we will look after your welfare' ... we have entered into a bargain with the soldier, and we must keep it!" 
"It's that bargain they have broken," Ms McCabe said.

Billy Hughes, the greatest ratbag of all?

Oh well never mind, and the pond should perhaps declare an interest, having benefited as a child from Legacy, but there's nothing like the moment when the cash hits the road that the pond's infallible detector of sanctimonious bullshit springs into action.

The change is expected to save $65.1 million in 2017 but the cumulative effect will erode the value of veterans' pensions by more each year as time goes on. Legislation to facilitate the change has been introduced in the House of Representatives but is yet to be tested in a hostile Senate.

Enough already, before the pond has some kind of seizure.

And then there was this little joke from Rowe today, and more Rowe here:

Well yes, and the pond was especially moved to see this from the reptiles of Oz:

Oh no, they didn't go there, did they? Even the pond knows that to use an extreme weather event is likely to send the world's greatest climate scientists, the Bolter and the Pellists, into something of a frenzy:

...raindrops keep falling on his head. 
Sydney rainfall in the 24 hours to 9am yesterday: 119mm.

Oh they did, they did.

Do they have any idea of how ineffably stupid they sound?

Probably not, the lizard people are never big on science ... but hey, the pond is big enough to go there. Do they realise that California has had to use Star Trek technology and William Shatner to sort out its drought?  Or something like that ... you can see Bill on K5 news here, but the pond accepts no liability for any damage, to emotions or rationality ...

But as always, it's time to put away childish things, and think like adults, and perforce that means joining the reptiles of Oz on their lifelong learning lessons.

First up today is one of the world's most famous climate scientists:

Poor Moorice is in the grip of a deep funk:

Okay, time for a pause. Just how did we get from celebrating bullet trains in Communist Shanghai to deploring the state of Europe because of radical leftism and dangerous progressive thinking?

Could it be that the fascist charms of communist China work like the lustrous scent of myrrh and frankincense in Moorice's nostrils?

So it seems, but hey ho on we go, and the pond urges you to remember that this is Tony Abbott's business advisor speaking:

Yes, it's coal, coal, coal for Australia (and India) and hey let's freeze activist bank accounts, because hey that's how they do business in communist states, and now if only Tony would appoint me chief Kommissar, by golly, things would be different and better ...

But much as the pond would like to brood and dwell with Moorice, and perhaps reach for the stars, or at least land on the moon, there's other urgent advice pending.

The pond has often wondered what's the best way to negotiate with minorities. Start off by calling them moral gnats, dummies, doofuses, lowlifes, scumbags, losers or dropkicks, or some other pleasantry?

Silly pond, we should have turned to a master of negotiating ploys:

Pygmies! Oh why didn't the pond think of that.

Perhaps said with a sinister sneer and a curling of the lips and a tossing of ash from the cigarette holder while adjusting the cravat. Should one be carrying a white Persian cat, stroking it gently, while saying in velvet tones, 'now listen up, pygmies ...'

Is there any more of this invaluable wisdom to hand?

Yes, it's yet another bout of demonising the cross bench, and hit seems the certain way to charm  and woo them is to call them eccentric, perhaps craven, pygmies.

No wonder the Abbott government works so well, and negotiates so capably and with such consistent and excellent policies too ...

Could we please have another dose of sneering condescension from a tremendously wise sophisticate?

You have only to ask the reptiles, and as your anxious, routinely loss-making servants, they are only too anxious to please:

Yes, and if they make all that genuine commitment of time and intellectual effort before chancing their hand, no doubt they too can get to piss four million dollars against the wall on the likes of Bjorn Lomborg ...

There's just one question. If this is the sort of offensive, fuckwitted, pollywaffle condescension we can expect from a sniggering academic, laughing at pygmies, who's going to educate the useless tools that pass themselves off as educators?

(Below: yes Cathy Wilcox, the pond is up to the challenge, we do it every day with the reptiles, and more Wilcox here).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

In which the pond gets consensual ...

(Above: Rowe devises an excellent system for Greg Hunt, and more Rowe here).

You can imagine the pond being a bit startled, and prancing around like a nervous nellie, to hear gravel-voiced Ian Macfarlane intone on the radio this morning that everything was under control, and Australia was on top of its emissions game, and don't you worry about that, and have you thought of feeding the chooks, and so on and so forth ...

The enduring memory of the gravel-voiced wonder was his appearance on Lateline back in 2007, when he had to explain the difference between being a climate sceptic and a climate sceptical, though it turned out that he had in fact been a climate sceptic and now, in Bjorn Lomborg style, was merely climate sceptical ...

Or something like that.

TONY JONES: We'll certainly come to that. 'I am a sceptic of the connection between emissions and climate change', you recall saying that?  
IAN MACFARLANE: I do recall saying that, yes. Let's not try and verbal me here, Tony.

In the usual way, there's a transcript for the Lateline show here, but it helps explain why the Federal Government could suddenly find a lazy four mill for Bjorn Lomborg, the sceptical sceptic.

The pond was delighted to see Prof Paul Johnson being exceptionally busy explaining how the new consensus centre might produce some kind of consensus - despite the lack of consensus about it being formed - because it'll have nothing to do with climate, it won't be headed by Lomborg and Lomborg might drop in casually for a couple of weeks a couple of times a year.

Johnson - who crazy brave lists his email address here - did a remarkable sort of tap dance in UWA vice-chancellor defends think tank linked to controversial environmentalist Bjorn Lomborg by explaining the many ways the think tank would have nothing to do with Lomborg.

It turns out that the good Prof didn't have much of a clue about where the idea came from, and what's more remarkable, the good Prof had decided, in consultation with others, that the one thing the good Prof saw as a major challenge would not be suitable turf for the new think tank:

"The big challenge for humanity is how do we find ways of reducing carbon emissions that are so sustainable and economically efficient that even poor people in India and in Afrca and other parts of South East Asia will use these alternatives rather than what is currently the cheapest source of power, which is fossil fuels." 

Uh huh, which is no doubt why the good Prof was pleased to ignore this big challenge for humanity, and look at the consensus on other matters:

Professor Johnson said there would be three main projects over the next four years: 

  • Focus on the smartest development goals for the United Nations post-2015 agenda, which will be adopted in New York in September. 
  • The Australian Prosperity Consensus, which will focus on determining which policies will keep the nation prosperous in a generation's time. 
  • Setting global priorities for development aid, and help DFAT and agencies produce the most good for every dollar that is spent.
You see, nothing to do with the climate or the big challenge for humanity! Now there's a triumphant use of a lazy four mill ...

Thank the long absent lord Lomborg didn't make his name being a climate science contrarian.

Of course the snarky leftists - Meet Bjorn Lomborg, Abbott's Four Million Dollar 'Climate Contrarian' - are wondering, at a time of Macfarlane-driven CSIRO cuts, how four million would be pissed against the wall on a man who'd barely show up, and who'd refrain from unleashing his genius on his favourite speciality, climate science, and the 'big challenge for humanity', but really it's just another of the wonders of a natural world ...

Naturally the poodle was also in the thick of the action:

Ah yes, but it's got nothing to do with climate has it, it's only got to do with actual pressing problems ...

Enough already, and as melancholy duty requires, it's time to turn to the reptiles, happily content that one of their own has scored a lazy four mill ...

And what a splendid reptilian display of colour there is on view, more multi-hued and glowing than your average gekko ...

Indeed, indeed ... all those useless agreements between federal and state bodies, what an embarrassing waste of time.

And look ,the bromancer is wildly excited, in a state approaching ecstasy:

Yes, what a triumph. Sending wretches back to what was only two minutes ago being denounced as an unholy, Satanic regime, but now it turns out, is a noble ally in middle eastern endeavours.

Why it's enough to make the pond a sceptical sceptic, but rather than indulge in such a rich treat, the pond perversely became entranced, yet again, by the Caterists:

Uh huh.

Now the pond has long noticed a trend in political discourse, and the supermarket wars are as good an metaphor for it as any.

Lovers of free markets like to blather on about plurality, diversity, disruption, and market forces maximising competition. But the reality is that soon enough you end up with an oppressive duopoly, where even to enter the marketplace to attempt a triopoly, or some other variant oligopoly becomes hugely difficult and needs deep pockets - Aldi say hello to Coles and Woollies ...

The urge, the desire, the need to reach some kind of monopolistic level of domination becomes the motif to the struggle.

Now when thinking of democracy, as its currently constituted, the pattern is pretty much the same. The two major parties like the notion of keeping the turf to themselves, you take a turn, now I'll take a turn, and so on and on for as long as the game lasts.

Oh sure, it's well and good to talk of diversity and plurality, but only in the context of their own structures. Keep it all inside the tent and all's well.

Now the natural extension of this attitude to power-sharing is fascist or communist in nature. The sort of blather on view online about democracy at our very own Museum of Australian Democracy is inimical to your average monopolist or duopolist:
  • Practically all adults have te right to run for elective offices in the government. 
  • Citizens have a right to express themselves without the danger of severe punishment on political matters broadly defined. 
  • Citizens have a right to seek out alternative sources of information. Moreover, alternative sources of information exist and are protected by law. 
  • Citizens also have the right to form relatively independent associations or organizations, including independent political parties and interest groups. 
  • Elected officials are able to exercise their powers without fear of being overridden. 
  • The polity is self-governing; and able to act independently of constraints imposed by others. 
  • People have the freedom to speak and publish dissenting views.
And so on, here.

This sort of nonsense is designed to outrage Caterists. They simply can't stand minorities, pluralities, diversities, alternative ways of looking at the world, dissent, or wild cats straying from the straight and narrow.

Here you go, cop a decent dose of bile:

Well this is good as far as it goes.

Squawking myna birds is an immediate reminder that we have foreign birds in the polity, but the pond was looking for more. You know, like a grotesque soap opera:

Yes, that'll do it. Roll that one around on the tongue:

The upshot of this grotesque political soap opera is the Senate is looking a lot like the Caucasus, the mountainous terrain between the Caspian and Black seas where the Chechens, Abkhazians, Ossetians, Dagestanis and three dozen other ethnic groups fight over strips of land, united only against compromise. 
Tony Abbott’s critics assume the civil war in the Senate, like the Ebola virus, is all his fault. If only he didn’t walk that way, if only he didn’t wink so much, if only he wasn’t so punchy, the Senate would obligingly fall into line. 
No prime minister, however, has faced a Senate as disorderly as this one. No prime minister has been obliged to negotiate with 18 crossbenchers spread across the spectrum from moderately quirky to stark, raving bonkers.

And there you have it. If ever you wanted an example of 'der Wille zur Macht', surely that would do it.

It's as if Albert Patrick Field never existed, it's as if Brian Harradine didn't score bounty for Tasmanians for years.

Instead it's the usual demonisation and talk of people being stark, raving bonkers. As if the poodle helping out his consensual mate was a model of sanity ...

The point of course is to produce a situation where all minorities are removed from the action, and the duopoly is kept safe, even to the point of blathering about rotten boroughs.

But it gets even weirder, as with the Caterists fawning all over Leyonhjelm, who might come in handy when it comes to a crunch vote:

When the intemperate culture that pervades the Senate distorts the judgment of a principled man such as Leyonhjelm, the case for reform is irrefutable.

That principled man got into power by being canny with preferences, just like the others, and many would think he was stark, raving bonkers, but perhaps no more so than Fred Nile's party having two seats in the NSW upper house ...

Next week? Well there'll be talk about dangerous elites, and how your average dinkum digger is the repository of wisdom, provided he or she isn't repositing her bum on a seat in the Senate. Then they become as dangerous as a myna bird ...

It's the business of the major parties, and the craven, lickspittle, supportive commentariat, to weed out diversity, and plurality, and reduce the body politic to two shades of grey, or perhaps a beige and a grey ...

Which then allows the feathering of nests, by mates, for mates, by like minds, for like minds, without anyone on hand to get too agitated, or too able to do much about the feathering ...

Then you can get to call the result the consensus centre, while George Orwell rolls in his grave, because it seems the only consensus that's a good consensus is the one where a man as disliked as Tony Abbott can blame it all on others  ...

(Below: more First Dog here).