Sunday, May 31, 2015

In which the pond breaks the silence and enjoys some strawberry moments ...

(Above: and hasn't the real papist Pope been in fine form while the pond's been away, and more papist antics here).

There have been any number of moments in recent weeks tempting the pond to break the silence.

Take the Media Watch moment, henceforth to be known as the greatest post-modern, post-ironic stuff up of all time. The pond was watching at the very moment that compere Paul Barry was berating Fairfax for sundry stuff-ups when the ABC produced its own monumental error.

Talk about glass houses. It instantly reminded the pond of all the errors introduced by the NZ subbies in to the pond over the years, even to the point of calling themselves subbies and thereby irritating a real life sub.

During the enforced lay off, the pond has been sadly watching a fair amount of 24, and what an astonishingly unique opportunity it has provided the pond to observe a parade of relatively unique abuse of the English language, dead air, primary school level typos and mis-spellings, mis-placed supers, dunderhead questions, fatuous coverage and endless examples of journalists talking to other journalists about the state of their navel. If that's the pond's ABC, can we trade it in for a new model?

But then the Twitterati began mocking Barry within seconds, and all was right with the world.

Then came the moment when Luke Foley announced that the solution to putting light rail into Sydney's CBD was to abandon it and build bus tunnels.

It reminded the pond that it was a Labor government that closed down the original Sydney tram system.

It was truly admirable how much like a stupid ning nong Foley managed to sound in one short mind-numbing sentence...

Then came the moment when the Prime Minister revealed his fascist streak.

Oh come on, you say, surely not to break the silence and then plunge right into a breach of Godwin's Law. Surely the pond has already accumulated enough in the swear jar to retire for life?

And indeed in the past the pond has usually thought of Tony Abbott as a crypto-fascist of the Opus Dei kind and left it at that.

But this has been a ripper of a moment, as recorded by Peter Hartcher in Tony Abbott rolled by his own ministers over stripping terrorists of citizenship (forced video at end of link).

As usual, the softies at the Graudian strolled around the point, and the likes of Lenore Taylor remonstrated in genteel fashion with the PM in Debacle over terrorism and citizenship is leak-based policy in its purest form.

Everybody was fascinated by the leak to the Daily Terror -   lick spittle fascist rag to a fascist government - and by the policy implications and by the dirty dog who had given the copious leak to Hartcher, and most people refused to use the "f" word.

There was much fine rhetoric about the way that perhaps, just perhaps, Australian citizens might actually be Australia's problem rather than dumping them abroad. And perhaps it was time for the Fortress Australia mentality to take a break before it became too Hansonite, and clowns stalked the street abusing the Chinese ...

But the pond was entranced by taking a time machine back to the 1930s. You can do it too. Just Google "Jews", "Nazis" and "stateless".

Yes, it was the policy of the Nazis to deal with the Jewish question/problem by making Jews stateless, and thereby making them homeless and ensuring that they would have an immense amount of trouble getting any state to accept them. Devious means, often involving false papers and documents, were required.

Decades later, Tony Abbott has decided that the solution to the Islamic question/problem is a policy torn straight from the pages of the Nazi party.

So the swear jar is safe. The "f" word is justifiable.

Not too much blame can be attached to Peter Dutton. The pond has always thought of him as a bear of very little brain, the picnic short of a sandwich, the dullest knife in the drawer, the sheep lost in the top paddock, the BBQ bereft of chop and sausage, and a time server willing to do the bidding of others, in this case the PM's office.

But the news that a majority of back benchers have got together to pen a letter in praise of Dutton and Abbott's handiwork shows just how deep the fascist streak runs in the Liberal party. What's remarkable is the way a few stood up to the fascist in cabinet, though everybody's now pretending it's just a little tiff, a jolly jape amongst chums, with Julie Bishop leading the way.

Then there's been the Irish moment and the matter of gay marriage.

The pond can't begin to count all the conservative commentators who've explained that there are bigger policy issues and bigger policy matters that are of national concern, or how it's all Bill Shorten's fault, or how it's nothing to do with the federal government and all that's needed is a little time, or how we should wait for the US Supreme Court, as if that's got anything to do with what should be happening in Australia ...

If it's a matter of overwhelming inconsequence and trivia, surely the way out is to just do it. Let gays enjoy the benefits of domestic bliss or domestic violence or whatever, and those who don't want to marry can carry on their single lifestyle, and it's done and dusted and we can move on.

The elephant in the room has been the way the luddite fascist at the head of the government has once again been caught napping and pushing back against the inevitable tide.

There is just one person standing in the way of gay marriage who has significance and consequence, and that's the PM.

But even that parade of conservative follies and Abbott's obdurate obstinacy and inflexibility didn't get the pond going enough to break the silence.

That moment came when the angry Sydney Anglicans, courtesy the dim-witted Michael Jensen, penned for The Drum I oppose same-sex marriage (and no, I'm not a bigot).

Yes, it was another of those classic, I'm not a racist but ... rants, up there with I'm not an abuser of complimentary women, but, but, you can get your docile Anglican women here, free, and we'll throw in a lifetime of oppression.

It's the Billy goat but butts moments that are guaranteed to get the pond going ...

Especially as the piece contained this monumental piece of silliness:

This is where Bill Shorten again misunderstands what marriage is. As we now understand it, marriage is not merely the expression of a love people have for each other. It is, or is intended as, a life-long union between two people who exemplify the biological duality of the human race, with the openness to welcoming children into the world. Even when children do not arrive, the differentiated twoness of marriage indicates its inherent structure. 
Now, I didn't pluck this definition from the sky, nor is it simply a piece of religious teaching. It is the meaning of marriage that emerges from all human cultures as they reflect on and experience what it is to be male and female. It is only in the last 15 years that anyone has seriously thought differently.

What a goose, what a dim wit. Only in the last 15 years? Marriage is intended as a life-long union?

Intentions smentions ...

Let's overlook the way divorce is as common as bad coffee.

Heck, let's overlook the comical attitude to marriage in the bible. Oh heck, let's not:

And Saul said, Thus shall ye say to David, The king desireth not any dowry, but an hundred foreskins of the Philistines.... And when his servants told David these words, it pleased David well.... Wherefore David arose and went, he and his men, and slew of the Philistines two hundred men; and David brought their foreskins, and they gave them in full tale to the king, that he might be the king's son in law. And Saul gave him Michal his daughter to wife. -- 1 Samuel 18:25-27 (here, with a handy click through to the sceptics' bible).

And the pond can think of a hundred examples, easily matching those hundred foreskins, of the way that the concept and practice of marriage has varied and changed over hundreds of years in hundreds of societies...

It's a measure of the inherent stupidity of the angry Sydney Anglicans that they should keep thinking in simplistic Adam and Eve terms - yes, the Adam and Steve joke is never far below the surface of what they write.

Around this moment, the pond is always tempted to write, to the PM and the Anglicans and the rest of the conservative crowd, so if you share the attitudes of the Taliban and Daesh to gays, why not head off to join them? You certainly share their attitude to women. (George Brandis rejects crossbench push on extra super for women).

Want to talk about a death cult? Here's a death cult:


By golly that Crivelli was a sick puppy and a pretty sick painter too ... and look, with this death cult, you get bonus cannibalism and the chance to eat real flesh and drink real blood ...

And then came the fuss about an AFL footballer doing a little dance, and the enormous racism that lurks just beneath the surface in this country came bubbling up like a bunch of hoppy toads ...

And then there was the fuss about a game the pond only just now realises is frequently called "beautiful", which is a strange abuse of the English language when it's used to refer to a game which alternates between a festering mess of vile corruption, and exceptional tedium.

Yes the pond subscribes to the Simpsons' view of the game:



And there were other moments too. Like the Liberal government deciding to turn arts funding policy into an eighteenth century monarchist's way of getting appropriately artistic praise and high hosannahs, and the marvellous sight of Mathias Cormann blaming Bill Shorten for the budget deficits stretching into the future, as if Shorten was in government, and the ostensible government was powerless and incapable of negotiating with the cross-benchers. Which is to say that the economics girlie man lacks the resources of a Julia Gillard ...

And then there was Barners, sticking  his foot in his mouth and his beak into other people's business and copping a blast for it, and going silent like a dog in the manger.

But enough already.

There has been an upside to the month of physical nausea the pond has been experiencing ...

You see, the physical nausea got associated with the mental nausea of reading the Murdoch press, and so for the past month the pond has rarely bothered reading the reptiles of Oz.

According to the doctors the pond has consulted, it's a form of nausea transference, but it's made the pond feel like a heroine in a novel about nausea in a Jean Paul Sartre novel. Scrub that, the sublimely sexist, in a French way, Sartre didn't do heroines, but he did do nausea:

“I am. I am, I exist, I think, therefore I am; I am because I think, why do I think? I don't want to think any more, I am because I think that I don't want to be, I think that I . . . because . . . ugh!” (no need to read the book, just do the quotes here).

Which reminded the pond of being intimidated by the clever girl walking around the Tamworth high school clutching a copy of Sartre's Iron in the Soul. Sartre in Tamworth! Luckily the jocks didn't know what it meant, but the pond currently lacks the iron in the soul, and so a return any time soon on a daily basis to that festering mess of hate and fear is most unlikely ...

Giving up reading the reptiles is truly is like stopping the beating of your head with a hammer, but it reminded the pond of one of its favourite koans:

Buddha told a parable in sutra: 
A man traveling across a field encountered a bunch of Murdochian commentators. He fled, the Murdochians racing after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. 
The Murdochians sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another bunch of Murdochians waited, Albrechtsen, the Bolter, Miranda the Devine, Akker Dakker and others, all waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him. 
Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. 
How sweet it tasted!

Oh okay, here's the original and more of the 101 koans here:

Buddha told a parable in sutra: A man traveling across a field encountered a tiger. He fled, the tiger after him. Coming to a precipice, he caught hold of the root of a wild vine and swung himself down over the edge. The tiger sniffed at him from above. Trembling, the man looked down to where, far below, another tiger was waiting to eat him. Only the vine sustained him. Two mice, one white and one black, little by little started to gnaw away the vine. The man saw a luscious strawberry near him. Grasping the vine with one hand, he plucked the strawberry with the other. 
How sweet it tasted!

So the pond might occasionally drop by just to keep ticking the site over, but it'll be a long time before we head back into the morass on a daily basis. That nausea keeps coming back in waves, and right now we're enjoying the taste of early winter season strawberries

Instead the pond has been occasionally dropping in on First Dog here and the other cartoonists, knowing that the world of absurdity and monumental stupidity is safe in their hands.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Global warming! Climate Science! Bjorn Lomborg! Consensus! Reptiles in a fury! Soft censorship! A wind machine in action!

First a little mood setting:



Now to the bitterness of reptiles disappointed in love, and their sense of loss, albeit temporary, of stories pouring out of a WA "consensus centre" exposing the lack of consensus.

Truly a reptile editorial that sings a Nero-Ustinov like hymn of despair and tragedy is a fine thing to read:


Yes, the huckster is so well known and renowned, he's turned up carpet bagger style down under, ready to fleece the poodle of a few cool million. And where's the harm in that? Every town needs a monorail, and Sydney's never been the same since it lost its post-modern wonder.

And as for stripping millions off the CSIRO and other scientific research, and shovelling it down the throat of a hustler tripping down under. Why to be challenged by that idea must mean you haven't had your shot of kool aid this morning. Then you'd be laughing and sighing in Murdochian bliss.

But wait, as we dream the impossible dream, we surely need an aeolian harp.

Waiter, wheel in an aeolian harp ...

 Yes, there's a veritable wind machine, ready to blow soft, ready to blow hard. Go on, wind player,  blow hard:


Ah, the fresh ideas, fresh food people. 


Yes, it's entirely appropriate to wonder about a federal government pissing, selectively and with determined purpose, against the wall, some four million on a man struggling to get funding elsewhere in the world, having felt the need to distance himself from his genuine allies and supporters, the fossil fuel lobby.

But as it seems no one actually noticed this, at least according to the harp, the wind machine can blow hard in every other direction. And so the poodle is safe from the relentless blowing of the wind machine.

In its current enfeebled Melba condition, all the pond can do is present and let the reader decide.

But lest the loud gnashing of teeth and the wailing from climate denial central and the tears of the fresh food people - remember, always print the controversy, always disrupt the consensus, which is why you need to drape yourself with the humbug word "consensus" - lest all this mayhem and blowing hard suggest that the reptiles and their pet are in trouble, please, spare a glass of champagne for the impending celebrations:


What astonishes the pond in all this?

Well there's not a single mention that the United Nations inspired the University of WA, its academics and students, to do this dastardly deed.

Yes, indeed, there's not a single acknowledgment of Maurice Newman's extraordinary vision and insight.

But as surely as night follows day, forests turn green, there's ice everywhere, then surely it was the UN wot done it, as part of their devious march towards world government!

When will the aeolian harp and the reptiles catch up to the profound insights of their most notable columnist?

And now, if you'll excuse the pond, we have a disharmony centre to set up ... we hear the poodle is a soft touch for four mill, and what better use for it than to establish disharmony throughout the land ...

Oh wait, you say that's what Rupert funds the reptiles to do?

And so to a few cartoons.




Sunday, May 10, 2015

In which the pond maintains Melba mode, thanks to Kate Mills, the poodle, Lomborgians, Matthew Bailes and a guest appearance in the Abbott cabinet by Peter Unstinov playing Nero ...

(Above: and more Pope here).

While the pond is in Melba mode, a couple of miracles have occurred.

Slumped in sick bed, the pond finally saw Quo Vadis from beginning to end, and at last began to understand why American Christians don't have the first clue about the history of Rome. Or much else for that matter. Dear sweet absent lord, how could the pond have missed this masterpiece, which you can Greg Hunt here.

Speaking of Greg Hunt, then this morning came the vision of one Kate Mills on "News and distorted views 24", mourning Bjorn Lomborg being turned away from the haven of Western Australia, and slamming Australians for not being open to "fresh ideas".

Now let's forgive the notion of "fresh ideas", because everyone has had to endure for what seems like centuries the notion of "fresh food" advertising. You know, you just head down to the university supermarket, key in a few numbers, and bingo fresh ideas are yours for the devouring.

Anyone who's actually bothered to read Lomborg, thanks to the faithful efforts of the lizards of Oz charging for what elsewhere you could find on the Internet for free, the pond has actually kept track of Lomborg's fresh ideas.

By now most of them are old, stale, tedious and in need of a diligent polishing, except that's hard because they're also contradictory, revisionist and inclined to be fully changeable, blowing with whatever anti-climate science breeze that's wafting like a zephyr through the air.

But even so, the pond found Mills ineffably silly, sounding off about fresh ideas the way she did. That sort of blather is a bit like intelligent design people pitching a fresh idea and getting a bit shrill when some evolutionary types point out it might have been fresh around 4,000 BC but it's a bit shop soiled of late ...

Where does "News and distorted views 24" get these chattering people from? You can find Mills on Linkedin, and frankly as the pond brooded about doing a Melba - how many years of the tour could long-suffering readers stand? - we thought of letting it go.

But really, watching the tedium that is the alleged news channel that's supposedly the jewel in the crown of Mark Scott's reign has been a revelation to the pond. It's as half baked, as superficial and as gormless as a Fox down under.

But it was this offering from a correspondent that swung it:


And yes the pond will treasure this Twitter conversation too.

Of course, it helps in the joke if you know who Ann Bressington is. Not everyone is aware of the assorted conspiracy theories cultivated by the eccentric Bressignton, though reasonable hank will give you an idea of the Bressington follies, at least up until the time of his post in March 2013 here.

Talk about being deep into fruitloop territory. Why it makes the pond seem like a survey of the outwardly normal, but once beguiled, you can have a Bressington field day on the full to overflowing intertubes.

What's most problematic in all this is that the poodle will now proceed to trawl through assorted craven universities in the search for other "fresh food" people.

He won't have to look far. Not so long ago, the reprehensible Matthew Bailes, pro-vice chancellor (research) at Swinburne University of Technology scribbled this cry of pain at The Conversation, here:

So getting back to Bjorn, yes I’m annoyed that the minister didn’t ring Swinburne and want to give us A$4 million for a new research centre. But I’m also of the opinion that it has to be valid to challenge the costs of the various CO2 reduction schemes. And if they are good enough they’ll stand up to evidence-based scrutiny, by Bjorn or anyone else. If we refuse to have our carbon strategies costed and scrutinised, we’re no better than many fundamentalists.

So there's your chance Prof Bailes. Just pick up the phone and explain to the poodle that you're one of those fresh food, fresh ideas Kate Mills people, willing to indulge in a bit of bin diving ...

Unless of course it was just a bit of ostentatious twaddle, and now when the rubber hits the road, you go all craven on your taste for fresh food ideas ....

And so to the real reason the pond was in a state of agitation.

Ye ancient cats and dogs, the pond thought it knew ham, but nothing prepared it for Peter Ustinov, who come to think of it, might well, as Nero, have made a decent fresh food people man for a government so inspired by wood burning, Moorice Newman and Bjorn Lomborg.


Friday, May 08, 2015

In which the pond attempts a Nellie Melba ...


In short, this was going to be a thank you for all the kind words left on site, and a signing off, with a note that the pond wasn't up to doing more farewells than Nellie Melba, who notoriously managed a four year farewell tour.

But what do you know?

There came the earth-shattering news that the UN international conspiracy involving black helicopters and climate science had reached a startling new level.

This is devastating stuff, the sort of thing the pond really can't overlook:


What is it possible to say about a newspaper that purports to be the heart of the nation, the country's leading and only remaining broadsheet, that it should publish this sort of stuff?

What does it say about Tony Abbott that he would give credibility to this sort of paranoia by having the writer in a leading advisory position?

Well let's not dilly dally, let's cut to the chase:


Yep, there it is. Roll that around on the tongue with relish:

Figueres is on record saying democracy is a poor political system for fighting global warming. Communist China, she says, is the best model. This is not about facts or logic. It’s about a new world order under the control of the UN. It is opposed to capitalism and freedom and has made environmental catastrophism a household topic to achieve its objective.

This isn't about facts or logic? Well even a broken clock will get it right a couple of times over 24 hours.

Communist China is under the control of the UN? And so is Vlad Putin's Russia?  By golly, that's as good a conspiracy as the pond has come across in recent years ...

But wait, there's more:


What to say? What can you say to the barking mad?

More to the point, has Chris Mitchell no shame? Does he really have no regard for Moorice, that he should let him rant and froth and foam like this in public, like some twin towers conspiracy theorist?

Ah well, it suddenly made the pond feel quite good, which in these current difficult times isn't that easy.

So here's a recipe for Peach Melba, and the immortal Dame herself, and many thanks to all those who scribbled a few kind words. They were really appreciated. The pond might now be intermittent, but so long as the Moorices of the world keep squawking, there's much still to celebrate.



Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Goodbye to all that for the moment ...


The pond is unwell.

It might be the cumulative effect of constant exposure to the toxic sludge of the commentariat over the years.

If the pond may misquote playwright Keith Waterhouse farewelling Jeffrey Bernard at the UK Terror here, the pond was introduced at an early age to the rabid ratbag rightwing commentariat, and "from then on, I was never to look forward."

But there's a limit to the capacity for looking backwards, especially when not well. There's a simple test. If you look at the Bolter and laugh, everything's right with the world; if you look at the Bolter and cry, it might be time for a little R and R.

For the moment, this means the pond is on leave, the extent of the leave contingent on the time needed to find a cure for current ailments. Alas, the prognosis isn't good. Apparently the bile and noxious abuse is absorbed into the nervous system, and is hard to eradicate.

This has implications for the pond.

When jolly Joe goes around celebrating the new interest rate, all the pond can do is heave and sigh.

There are others around who will be able to recollect the fatuous fraud as recently as the 6th August 2013 going on to Lateline to say:

(To Joe Hockey): Joe Hockey, John Howard and Peter Costello told us for years that low interest rates were a good thing, a sign of their great economic management. You today have turned that on its head. Are you really telling Australians now that they shouldn't celebrate when interest rates are low? 
JOE HOCKEY, SHADOW TREASURER: Well, we should celebrate when interest rates are sustainably low. It was Kevin Rudd on four November 2009 that said three per cent cash rate was an emergency level. Today they've gone to 2.5 per cent. And Leigh, they're not cutting interest rates because the economy is doing well. Interest rates are being cut to 50 year lows because the economy is struggling. (here)

Yes indeed, and on and on he went, proving that he's in the business of arguing black is white, except when it's the business of proving white is black.

JOE HOCKEY: Well Leigh, you know what? You can't pay your mortgage if you haven't got a job. And the fact is we now have rising unemployment in Australia going up to 800,000 Australians unemployed. So if your argument is that the lower the interest rates the better the economy, go and ask the British or the Americans or the Europeans that have interest rates at zero how their economies are going because I tell you what, we are now beyond emergency levels. That's the definition provided by the Labor Party, not by us, and if anyone thinks that the Reserve Bank acted today because the economy is doing really well, and Labor's doing a terrific job running the economy, they'd be deluding themselves.


Well there's serious delusion, and then there's jolly Joe.

The pond knows one thing, and that's the way Sydney's housing market is currently in the grip of a serious bubble, and if there's one thing history affirms, bubbles burst and this particular bubble, cemented by the desperate attempt to lower the dollar, an attempt failing at the moment, is going to burst in a very hard way ...

But the pond is unwell, and so for the moment, certain lyrics must be obeyed:

Make believe 
That you don't see the tears 
Just let me grieve 
In private 'cause each time I see you jolly Joe 
I break down and cry 
And walk on by (don't stop) 
And walk on by (don't stop) 
And walk on by 

The pond now has to practise the art of walking on by ... which it has to be said, sometimes requires an inordinate amount of strength.

The pond has, in the past few days, almost been tempted to leave the sick bed, to express the outrage and the horror and the nausea induced by the ABC.

Oh sure, to some it might be nothing, but really, Foreign Correspondent bombarded the airwaves with this line:

... a place of stunning natural beauty and home to some of the world's most unique wildlife ... (yes, at time of writing, you could still find that trailer on the ABC's site here).

Most unique wildlife?

Why you most unique twits, you might be somebody's ABC, the kind favoured by illiterates, but you are certainly not the pond's ABC.

Sssh, be still beating heart, walk on by ...

So what will the pond say to news that the Northern Territory's bid to establish the apparatus of a fascist state is at last going to be challenged (High Court challenge to NT arrest powers).

Sssh, be still beating heart, walk on by ...

And all this before the pond even turns to contemplating the never-ending chatter machine known as the Surry Hills 'leet machine of pontificating prats ...

But there's one observable truth in all of that. You need strength to be able to confront the chattering classes in their ivory Murdochian towers, and you need lightness and a certain frivolity and a bubbling up of disbelieving hilarity ... as you'd expect when confronted by a Murdoch press trying to explain how the current interest rates are for the best in the best of all possible worlds ... and that's hard to bring to the table when you're feeling as crook as a Tamworth dog that unwisely munched on a bit of snail killer ...

So for the moment the pond is walking on by in silence, knowing that others will be walking on by laughing, gawking and admiring the enormous stupidities paraded daily for the amusement of all ...

Have fun, and with a bit of luck, the pond will be back in due course.

And so to a few Pope cartoons, since where would the pond have been without the blessings of this particular Papist? (And as always more Pope here)



Friday, May 01, 2015

In which the pond's brain wilts and a couple of days away from the commentariat beckons ...


Poor old Doctor Karl.

Well, not literally, since the last time the pond checked he had a nice inner west shack, and Sydney real estate prices being what they are ...

But how he must regret having offered to be presenter for the Abbott government, even though like working actors, working presenters must present, and doing the intergenerational report probably seemed at the outset like a straight presenting gig.

For the government it also probably seemed like a lay down misere. Get some triple J mug patsy all day sucker to take it seriously, and things would be sweet with the in crowd.

But the pond has an adolescent reaction to all government advertising and suspects this might be the Australian way.

"What are you against?", runs the old line, and the answer's always "what have you got by way of government advertising this week?"

In the times the pond has been in this situation, the public servants have always acted like they were straight out of "Yes Minister". They knew the advertising campaign would be useless and counter-productive, but public servants have got to do what cardigan wearing public servants must do.

And politicians, of whatever stripe, are always ineffably stupid in thinking that at last they've discovered the perfect, value-free way to communicate their message.

Former Chairman Rudd, for example, called tax-payer funded political advertising a long-term cancer on our democracy, and then proceeded to indulge in some epic bouts of cancer-spreading. Rudd backflips on political advertising, ran the headlines.

Rudd could have been promoting Einstein and Darwin, and the pond would have been agin it.

Of course back in the day, all the chattering commentariat were lined up to heave stones at the resulting advertising.

Now you could hunt all day and not find a member of the commentariat lining up to hurl abuse at the Abbott government for pissing some $11 million dollars against the wall on the intergenerational report, after having set it up without Treasury following proper procedures, or so it said in yesterday's Fairfax exclusive, Abbott government bill for controversial Dr Karl ad campaign set to hit $11m.

Naturally Bill Shorten is outraged at the waste of money, and yet the one thing the pond can guarantee is that if Shorten ever gets to power, he too will piss money against the wall on some useless taxpayer funded, deeply political advertising campaign.

And the ineffably stupid Abbott government will smirk and think they've got away with it and that hapless Dr Karl will carry the can, while in reality it's just another stunning example of the hypocrisy of politicians ... and of the commentariat that will cluck in outraged fashion on cue, but only when it suits them.

The pond has a couple of takeaway messages. Complete disinterest in the intergenerational report, a complete disdain politicians and a sneaking sympathy for Dr. Karl, bright in some ways but dumb in others. Oh and a curiosity as to when clueless government might wake up and discover social media, instead of using a TV commercial done in the style of a totally naf Citizen Kane rip-off. Guys, you might be dropkicks and losers, but do you have to make it so obvious?

Meanwhile, the pond had been wondering when a little hoppy toad or two might hop out, and sure enough, there was Piers the toad hopping into full view:


Akker Dakker was, inter alia, outraged that school students might be allowed to think that drug smugglers being tied to a stake and shot was somehow draconian, when after all, it was just what they deserved ...

Bloody bleeding heart types with their puerile fantasies ... what's wrong with a decent public execution?

Of course it's a tad unsavoury, the sight of an unapologetic, self-admitted drug user railing this way - didn't someone tell News Corp that the nauseating canonisation of Akker Dakker might have an impact on sales? - but it reminded the pond of Victorian times, when a hanging was a source of public entertainment, and huge crowds flocked to the visual feast.

There's a tidy evocation of Victorian public hanging days here, which contains this satirical thrust:



Indeed. Perhaps Akker Dakker could now campaign for the great moral improvement sure to follow when state-sanctioned murder returns to Australia's shores.

The pond was pleased to be reminded that in Victorian England there were some 222 crimes that were punishable by death, including this collection assembled by the Daily Snail here:


Indeed. Being in the company of a News columnist for a week should be a good enough reason for a hanging.

One of the good things about the online age is the way that information about hanging Victorian England - and the notion that somehow a good hanging would produce general reform - is now freely available, and so what was once only available to students of arcane Victorian attitudes can now find publications like The Newgate Calendar easy to access, as here, or at Project Gutenberg here, and elsewhere on that site.

It helps explain how the murderous, bloody thirsty attitudes of an Akker Dakker were once common, until it gradually dawned on the British that perhaps killing people in public, or simply killing people in gruesome ways, didn't actually improve the body politic. It seems Akker Dakker and the conservatives on the United States Supreme Court are still stuck somewhere back in the nineteenth century,  as demonstrated by the matter of the arguments over the lethal injection case, recorded in the NY Times here. (There's a handy tag to coverage here).

But it's Friday, so it's time to lighten up, thanks to the Bill and Tanya show:



What wags,and there's more Rowe here, and more Pope here.

Of course all the usual Catholic conservatives in the Labor party have been most indignant - Joe de Bruyn being typical (forced video at end of link), though really Joe de Bruyn's as good a reason as any not to vote for the ALP. If the pond wanted that kind of social conservatism, why it could just join the NCC and vote for the DLP ...

And Liberals have seen it all as a devilish plot to take away their own freedom to vote according to their conscience, as if blaming the ALP was an excuse that let Tony Abbott's mandated instructions on how to vote off the hook.

But now a new threat to the sanctity of marriage has got the Terror in a tizz:


Ms Corbett is agitated by the latest exercise in Nine vulgarity, but if you spent even a nanosecond deploring free to air's incessant quest for the base, sordid and demeaning, you'd never have a moment's peace.

It seems that they've even mounted a petition to stop the show, as described in Petition to stop Nine's Married at First Sight, but this sort of publicity is just gravy to a TV publicist.

When you haven't got anything else, always print the controversy and get the chattering classes going.

It turns out the show is based on a lie, but a bigger question is why anyone would bother to watch commercial television at all ...

Of course every show needs its willing facilitators, and in this case "psychologist" Sabina Read, and "clinical neuro-psychotherapist" Dr Trisha Stratford - apparently she's a dab hand at "human synergistics" - and clinical psychologist John Aiken were the ones who aided and abetted the process, and thereby gave the pond a clue as to who not to call on when in need of a little spiritual insight.

How appalling did it get?

Well the pond will cherish this thought from the Nine network:

Nine's director of programming and production Andrew Backwell said while it is a "noisy show", the Australian public should view it as a documentary rather than a regular reality TV program. 
"The expectation is that its going to be trashy reality TV," he said during a media preview in March. "This is an observational documentary and it's 100 per cent real. There is no manipulation from production and I think that sets it apart." (here).

Oh go wash out your mouth with soap, you utterly silly and preposterous man ...

And with that the pond is taking a couple of days off. We've already endured a trip to Sydney airport in the rain, and are running late, and it's all getting too much, so it's time to take a weekend away from the commentariat ...

And so to a Tom Tomorrow. Somehow it seems to fit the Libs, the Labs and the Nine network:

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Or how to drive a dead cert business into the burial grounds ...




Now there's a brand.

So how's the brand doing?


Oh dear, never mind, so how's the network doing?


More of that story here, and of course there's no connection between the Bolter's show and the network's fortunes, but what a pleasure to report Ten's progress.

In which the pond deplores the politics of envy and, inspired by Julie Bishop, tries to work out the most dire threat to civilisation at this time ...

(And more New Yorker cartoons here).

Once again the dastardly Fairfaxians are out and about preaching the politics of envy. Sometimes the pond thinks they're as bad as the Labor party:


Shocking, outrageous stuff.

No, not the hapless millionaires, who after all just want to run wild and free, in a benign world free of onerous tax, just like those tax-free bandits making out like lords on 18k a year ...

Look how they struggle and suffer:


There's more here if you like, but the pond is outraged that this sort of politics of envy should stalk the land, when the Bolter, courtesy of Peter Costello, has explained that there's not enough rich people to make a difference:


Yes, high income earners aren't the problem. Who cares if a few millionaires run wild and free, and what's wrong with envying them and their splendid accounting advice anyway?

Let them and the multinationals be, let them peacefully go about their business. And let the bulk of the population suffer instead ... It's called the dinkum Aussie idea of a fair go, because dinkums never envy, except in an aspirational way ...

And so to the problem of having a long and useless memory.

It seems only a day or so ago in the pond's mind that we were being warned about Iran and the axis of weevils, and before you know it, there was Julie Bishop heading off to have high level chats with the highest weevils.

It wasn't so long ago that North Korea, armed and posturing with nukes, was deemed a high risk. Why even the possibility of Pakistan's nukes falling into the hands of rabid ratbags was reckoned to be a real risk ...

But as Julie Bishop noted, there's no point in holding on to old, out-dated fears, when fresh newly minted fears are always turning up over the horizon, and so Islamic fundamentalists are now all the go.

Sure, those preaching the politics of this kind of fear can usually be found preaching against the politics of climate alarmism ...because you only need so many fears to do the rounds at any one time, and anyway, the pond has it on good advice that Bjorn Lomborg is going to sort that climate panic, and so cheaply too ...

So it's fallen to a couple of hundred thousand to pose a threat to the 7,3 billion or so on the planet (world population clock it here), so gangrenous, corrupt and festering are the masses that they're ripe for picking, and being turned into Islamic fundies and signed up to a world caliphate.

Now the pond has taken the top figure of 200k for the Daesh desperadoes, as per The Independent here, just to add gravity to the world's plight.

The pond has already noted Julie Bishop's astute fear-mongering on the desperation situation, which was naturally taken up by little Sir Echo:


Who knows how North Korean might respond, in a fit of pique at being so slighted?

So having already taken a shot at Ms Bishop's fear-mongering, you can imagine the pond's alarm at discovering that the reptiles of Oz have dared to publish a piece that dares to suggest that Julie Bishop might have been exaggerating just a tad.

This is the sort of heresy that verges on the treasonous:


How outrageous to note the conventional thinking of Daesh, which is to build a caliphate, which is to say a government, which is to say to build a state. Now sure the ambition might be to build a single one-world theocratic government to last a thousand years, but isn't that the aim of any decent "-ism"?

And there's an irony in Dibb mentioning a nuclear winter, seeing 


Shocking stuff. But what luck, thanks to a humble four mill to Bjorn Lomorg, that climate change doesn't constitute a palpable threat to world order.

Seeing how it's raining in Sydney right at the moment, is there a dumb one in the house?




Which reminds the pond of the real, dire and deepest threat to civilisation. The House of Murdoch ...

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

In which we are all nanny staters now ...

(Above: and more Pope here).

Is it only the pond that finds the news of nannies deeply and richly ironic?

For years now, the favourite term of abuse for anyone interested in good government has been to accuse them of being nanny staters in a nanny state, with a nanny state state of mind.

Dear sweet absent lord, if you head off to the IPA - though who could explain why anyone would bother with a site that trumpets itself as Freedom Watch - you'll even find that they have a tag called the Nanny State Files. (Careful, they like to check all visitors with ASIO before allowing entry).

But it isn't just the IPA. You'd have to be a rare commentariat beast not to have used the 'nanny state' abuse at some time in some column somewhere. The Caterists love the notion and are always railing against nanny staters; Janet Albrechtsen has regularly deplored the big government nannies who trample on her freedom. One of her classic entries in the field was Our kids are covered in bubble wrap ...

In fact the pond might be so bold as to issue a pond challenge. Google any commentariat name and the pond guarantees you'll come away with a nanny state mention and a link, or your money back.

Example, Andrew Bolt ... Too easy. Big Nanny pushes us off our bike in which the Bolter deplores the Victorian nanny state.

And that's just the first google link at the head of the queue.

Now the concept of a nanny state has never been quite clear to the pond. After all, it's only the rich who could afford nannies and the notion that Centrelink is a caring nanny suggests that not enough people have experienced the joys of bureaucratic indifference.

Indeed, in a rich and varied life, one of the pond's most treasured memories is sitting in an eastern suburbs kitchen having the nanny state denounced by a wealthy person, who at the time counted a general factotum, a cook, a gardener and a nanny in their employ - though to be fair the gardener was part time, because the rich ponces took on the onerous task of cutting and arranging the flowers themselves.

Still, the pond learned to curse and reflexively spit at the notion of Mary Poppins and nannies in general, and above all, nannies in the employ of the state.

So what will happen now that the Abbott government has introduced the first genuine, true to label, bona fide example of the nanny state?


There's more here, but what joy the program is targeting families on struggle street earning less than $250k a year.

The reptiles also brought the good news:


The rest is paywalled, so no point offering a link, but what a cute, winsome bub they selected to go with the story.

Though nannies — who must be aged 18 or over — will need the usual Working with Children Check and first aid qualifications they will not be forced to gain minimum early childhood qualifications. 
Further, the program will sit outside the National Quality Framework already in place for childcare centres which mandates minimum staff to children ratios and training standards, among other things. “The Productivity Commission Report into Childcare and Early Childhood Learning recommended nannies be an eligible service for government assistance to families,” Mr Morrison said. 
“The Commission found that for some parents, particularly those undertaking shift work such as nurses, police and emergency service personnel, nannies are used because working arrangements do not fit within standard operating hours of long or family day care. This is also the case for families in regional and rural Australia. 
“This has been reinforced to the government through our targeted consultation process as part of the development of our families’ package. Increasingly nannies are being used by families to make sure they can meet their workforce commitments. 
“Parents doing shift work or working irregular hours need the reassurance that their children are safe and happy in their home while they work to support their family, as do those families in rural or remote locations or those with other accessibility.

Yes, and remember it's heavily means tested. No one earning over $250k can have a state nanny, they must buy their own!

So what will the reptiles do now for a term of abuse?

Will they turn to camera and say as one "we are all nannies now"?



Meanwhile, the reptiles have produced some fascinating reading for the day, far too extensive for the pond's puny resources.

Look at this rich juxtaposition:


But surely it's obvious Mr Wiltshire. If the poodle vacates school education, why it might develop into one of the best in the world ...

And then there was this bit of house-keeping:


Uh huh. Well if a twit like freedom watching IPA's Jennifer Oriel is wheeled out to defend Lomborg, it's likely that there's some fire as well as smoke, and it must be political and ideological, since with Oriel present, it could hardly be scientific ...

But when push comes to shove, the pond will always go with Dame Slap, who is in top notch form this day:


Ah yes, there's nothing like the tortured convolutions involved in saying some freedom of speech is good, and some bad, and it's all the fault of the lefties. But do go on:


Ah yes, dangerous elites. Worse, lovers of the nanny state!

But let us do our duty, let us make a timely call, for we are all nanny state lovers now ...

Finally, speaking of free speech, the pond was bemused to see the reptiles try to lather up some indignation about a creationist film:


Akerman? Now there's an unfortunate name, but do go on:


Yes, indeed, and that's where, with due respect, Danny Jarman clearly didn't have a clue.

The idea of the tax scheme is to prevent editorialising. That way the likes of Graham Burke's Roadshow can loot and pillage the Australian tax system to make all sorts of tosh and fairy floss for the US, and no one will say boo to a goose about it ...

But should the Australian tax system support ignorance and folly and silly creationist fundamentalists?

Ah, but we are all nanny staters now ...

And if you've managed to reach this point, give yourself a treat, and you could probably also do with a cartoon, and more First Dog here.