Monday, November 24, 2014

In which the push to elevate Julie Bishop to the throne takes on a new, urgent, hyper-real momentum ...

(Above: the prescient Rowe, and more prescience here).

It's taken enormous restraint and considerable discretion - a restraint and discretion lacking in the mainstream media - not to mention the cavorting of the buffoon and the Tasmanian ...

But as David Rowe confirms today in his splendid cartoon above, there's bigger fish to fry, and that's the pond's observation that the pressure in the cooker of the "Julie for Canberra" campaign is building to explosive proportions.

What's that you say? She's already in Canberra, so she doesn't need a "Joh for Canberra" campaign.

Sssh, it's code for 'Julie for PM' - don't want to startle the possums or the nervous nellies out there.

You see, there's bugger all else out there for your average, now profoundly desperate conservative.

Tony Abbott is irredeemably proven a liar, and Malcolm Turnbull is now a liar for the liar.

It's grim times. Jolly Joe and Mathias are just a budget nightmare with a very big black hole, while others like the poodle Pyne are beyond the valley of the jokes. Why even the reptiles are mocking the poodle as he's mocked by Turnbull:

There is something cheerfully, almost supernaturally indefatigable about Christopher Pyne. As Strewth once suggested, he could be caught in a tornado of piranhas and excrement and still come up smiling. And so it was again yesterday when, with the air of a Death Star officer hanging a “Keep Alderaan tidy” poster near his desk, he launched an online petition at calling on the ABC board not to can its Adelaide production facility. This while his colleague, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull, was in Adelaide preparing to spell out the diet Aunty and SBS were about to be put on. People were soon flocking to Pyne’s petition. To perhaps nobody’s great surprise, many tried to process the emotions produced by this chutzpah, but failed to do so with any elan. Suffice to say that a sentence such as this — “Chris Pyne confirmed as a bigger moron in Australian politics than Tony Abbott or possibly even Billy McMahon” — counted as one of the politer efforts. And yet Pyne still responded as only Pyne could: “Great response! 1000 people have joined me in wanting ABC production to remain in SA. Have you signed it?” One journalist asked of Turnbull, “Is it a bit much for your ministerial colleague Christopher Pyne to be petitioning the ABC Board not to impose cuts when he’s part of the cabinet that has just signed off on the cuts?” Turnbull channelled Francis Urquhart from the original House of Cards and said, “You may very well say that but I couldn’t possibly comment.” Rather than try reading between the lines, we asked Pyne to characterise his colleague’s reaction. “Impressed,” he said. (James Jeffrey from his inner Sydney 'leet bunker, but no link, it would only lead to a begging letter).

O yes, I'm the great petitioner, petitioning that I'm doing well ...

What's left but Julie worship?

And right on cue we have an in-depth bit of worship from Allison Worrall at Fairfax - as Fairfax re-brands itself as really deep in its political reporting - with Julie Bishop amuses her Twitter followers:

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has amused Twitter users after she began using "emojis" in a series of tweets on Sunday evening. Emoji, or emoticon, stands for an emotional icon.

Strike the pond dumb with a communion wafer - that can happen to followers of Satan - that's deep, and it even manages to conflate and confuse the Japanese style emoji (Greg Hunt them here) with conventional emoticons (Greg Hunt them here), and what do you know, Jules has finally caught up with Puck magazine in 1881:

But talk about a wittering and a twittering, do go on with the holy Julie service:

The small pictures are widely used across social media and smartphone messaging services. 

Really? And is the punchline the news that Jules has caught up with the nineteenth century?

Ms Bishop responded to a number of her followers' tweets with smiley faces and even told a story in the popular icons after one user requested her to do so. 
She depicted a holiday in emoji pictures which included planes, the globe, the sun, a yacht, a hat, a hot drink and a cookie. 
One Twitter user joked Ms Bishop had learnt the "international language of emojis". 
Another challenged Ms Bishop to address the United Nations using the icons, to which the Foreign Minister replied with the pictures the Statue of Liberty, tall buildings, a pen, a book and a smiley with an open mouth. 
Ms Bishop is an avid user of Twitter, posting more than 3000 tweets to over 85,000 followers.

Dear long absent lord that's deep.

But wait, there's more. The pond's new Fairfax favourite, Latika Bourke, has channeled Jules in an exclusive seance, and these are the opening lines of Tanya Plibersek is no Kevin Rudd, says Julie Bishop:

Julie Bishop has revealed she and Kevin Rudd became close friends as a result of Labor's leadership wars and has suggested the Opposition's Foreign Affairs spokeswoman, Tanya Plibersek, is a lightweight on foreign policy compared to the former Labor prime minister. 
In an exclusive interview with Fairfax Media, the Minister for Foreign Affairs says she consulted Mr Rudd on policy issues in opposition and the pair still text each other about foreign policy.

So now the Ruddster is a role model and an advisor, and we all, like Jules, remember him fondly, and the pond's not expected to roll around on the floor caught up in paroxysms of laughter?

Are there any other rich comedy stylings?

"We rarely disagreed on things," she said but said they did discuss the one major difference – Labor's bid to sit on the UN Security Council, which Ms Bishop and then opposition leader Tony Abbott regularly mocked. 

"He knew that the Opposition had taken a position from 2007 on the Security Council and we would discuss it quite openly," she said. 

That's astonishing. Banality taken to a whole new level, but even then, the pond wasn't prepared for the closer:

When Mr Putin finished his conversation she approached him and said she wanted to talk about MH17. 

"At all times he was warm, engaging and focused," she said. 
The former US president George W Bush once said he was able to get a "sense of his soul" when he looked Mr Putin in the eye. 
Ms Bishop, famed for her "death stare", said she looked into the Russian President's eyes. "I saw steely blue resolve".
And then he swept me into his arms, strengthened by long hours of mixed martial arts, and I felt his power, and yet a sudden serenity swept over me, and I knew peace and tranquility, and understood that life would now be different ...

Oops it seems like there's been a transcription error in that last sentence, but you catch the drift. Damned if Latika isn't going to give Sharri a run for her money in the hagiography stakes ...

Now there's plenty more - the Daily Snail crawled all over the Twitter story here, with examples - and it helps why Australia's Macbeth now sulks in his throne room ...

Meanwhile, back in the bunker, as faithful servants huddled beneath the Canberra earth, Lugers and cyanide pills at the ready, the raw nerves, the sense of being under assault, popped up everywhere:

The reptiles felt so threatened they trotted out the desiccated one, the pond's tip for winner of the dry coconut of the year award:

And just in case you nodded off during Henry - why is there a hole in his bucket? - Ergas's smack down, as some lazy punters are wont to do, the reptiles delivered an editorial which is a marvel of seething resentment and paranoia:

It had everything .... recycled second hand 'bromance' Sheridan, bitterness at the luvvies, and the shock horror that Obama had dared to insult Tony Abbott. Insulted him! By catching him in his brand new climate change believing emperor's clothes!

The next par after the excerpt above made it clear enough why the reptiles were so filled with angst:

Labor and the Greens will undoubtedly try to use Mr Obama’s speech against Mr Abbott at the next election. Doing so, however, would not further their cause because it’s unlikely to have shifted Australians’ views on climate change policy one way or the other. However insulting to his host, the speech deserves to have little impact ...

That bloody atheist Islamic socialist Kenyan ....

And then the reptiles wrapped it up this way:

When the leader of the free world speaks, Australians are always happy to listen. Unfortunately, on this occasion, on our shores, he pandered to a narrow constituency and disappointed the silent majority. Australians will continue to look to the US, however, as our closest friend and ally in the world.

It's so tortured and conflicted and confused, that usually when confronted with this sort of friendship, the pond recommends psychotherapy, but others might find laughter the best medicine as they read the raving outside the paywall here.

Sheesh, it's been a good long week since Obama delivered his speech, and much has happened, and yet the thin-skinned, hyper-sensitive wretches still can't get over it and get a life and more to the point get some decent policies on climate science and the reef ...

Could it get any better? Well yes, the pond started off with Turnbull and the poodle Pyne, and this very day the reptiles are agitated that the bloody ABC board might dare not to roll over, and show their belly for a good Turnbull rubbing.

Naturally the reptiles found a good moth-eaten politician and dragged him out of the bottom of the cupboard to air a parochial whinge:

Dear sweet long absent lord, the pond hasn't thought about John Bannon since it watched in close up as he fucked up the state bank matter, the Labor party and the state of South Australia.

What a gormless inept twit he was - yes the pond has a fund of Bannon anecdotes - and now he's back telling the ABC how to be efficient .... oh roll the pond over slowly and let's dream of Don Dunstan ... (you can Greg Hunt the man here).

Meanwhile, Sharri is on to the treachery and the defiance:

Dammit cardigan wearers, just take your medicine, or else Sharri will turn up on The Drum again, and we'll have yet another tedious bout of Oz journalists talking to ABC journalists talking to Fairfax journalists .... and Greg Sheridan might turn up looking really weird ...

From this:

To this:

Well if women always have to cop comments on their appearance ...

Oh yes, it's going to be an interesting week, and the wretched ABC is full of Abbott, from Abbott's problems go deeper than Bolt realises, to It's lose-lose for Malcolm Turnbull with ABC cuts, which discusses the liar lying to excuse the liar's lies:

Turnbull's convoluted defence did nothing to answer that direct charge, and it did nothing for his own reputation. When Turnbull led the Liberal Party, Kevin Rudd typically thrashed him as preferred prime minister. That was in part because the big C conservative Liberals didn't like him. Reducing the ABC's resources might please that group, but they'll thank Abbott for that, not Turnbull. In the meantime, he'll lose part of the middle ground that he has so successfully cultivated for so long.

There's no hope, no way out, unless we turn to that great friend of former Chairman Ruddster ... I mean, the Ruddster made Malcolm Turnbull sound like a pompous dud, and  how hard was that ... while meanwhile Abbott, now like an Oscar Wilde rocket descending from the heights into the mud below, can contemplate his and the reptiles' legacy (and more Moir here):

Sunday, November 23, 2014

In which the spirit of things is a warm lettuce leaf ...

It's too hot for a Sunday meditation on the matter of religion, and anyway, the Jensenist division of the angry Sydney Anglicans is still in a quiet funk, or perhaps a sulk, and the Catholics are trying to travel under the child abuse radar, and the fundamentalist Islamics and Jews are just too weird, and the war on Xmas has yet to crank up properly, though there are promising signs ...

The Dutch are in an uproar over their infamous blackface routine, Zwarte Piet - it's a bit like listening to English folk defend the Black and White minstrel show - and already the first shots are being fired in the ritual holiday season loonacy in the United States ... with PetSmart in the gun, and assorted newspapers ...

The English have got their knickers in a knot about an ad featuring a penguin ... oh yes, it's going to be a good season ... but in the meantime, Sydney has been blessed by the visit of a faith healer, covered in the story Controversial Brazilian faith healer John of God visits Sydney, first bit sampled above.

But the pond already knew about this huckster.

You see Rachael Kohn had already presented a full - the pond is tempted to say 'fulsome' just to convey the simpering - interview with a huckster follower, in The Spirit of Things, proving yet again that Kohn will provide a home to any passing psychic or spiritual hustler and lend a sympathetic ear and microphone...

The challenge is for the average secularist to make it right to the end of the interview. One of the things about this sort of "Australian Story" approach, designed to tread softly and draw out the interviewee, is that any challenge is muted, any question soft-pedalled, any doubt voiced in the softest sotto voce way.

If you follow the link, you can listen yourself, but truth to tell, getting interviewed by Kohn on this sort of subject is like being pounded with a wet lettuce leaf ...

So how did Kohn try to get out of jail, having simpered and fawned her way through the interview with John of God's assistant Ann Joel?

Well she bunged on an interview with sceptic James Randi, who had made a career out of exposing the tricks of faith healers (and the likes of Uri Geller).

Yep, it's another classic case of 'print the controversy', and never mind the damage done to the stray secularist who falters after the first few minutes.

The program site even has the cheek to provide a link to John of God's propaganda machine, which at least does provide this legalistic comedy:

In light of recent media coverage that incorrectly attributes many claims to John of God we are obligated to communicate the following information to you in order to legally clarify your participation in and our offering of the John of God event in Sydney Australia between 22nd and 24th November 2014 at Sydney Showground, Sydney Olympic Park. John of God has always stated that he does not heal anyone. We understand healing to be an act of God. Neither John of God nor the organizers make any promises or guarantees expressed or implied with respect to any results, cures or any other claims as a result of attending the Event. Furthermore, the work of John of God is purely spiritual in nature and it is not intended to replace traditional medical treatment. Spiritual healing work is complementary to traditional medical care. John of God advises you to seek professional medical advice from a doctor or health professional if you have any health concerns. John of God also asks that you follow your doctor or health professional's advice and the protocols prescribed by your doctor or health professional. If at any point any instruction given to you by John of God or the organizers of the Event conflict with your doctor or health professional's advice, please follow your doctor or health professional's advice."

That warning should be copied by the ABC and put at the head of Rachael Kohn's show.

Hello I'm Rachael Kohn, this is The Spirit of Things on RN and online, ahead of the visit of John of God, the world's most renowned faith healer, I speak to one of his faithful guides ...

And I've armed myself with a warm lettuce leaf.

And so on.

John of God himself, communing with the almighty, couldn't have devised a better puff piece himself ... replete with evocative music of the trance kind ...

So you want a conspiracy theory? How's this for Julie Bishop and a conspiracy theory ...

It's Sunday, time to catch up on a few pond favourites.

How's the Daily Terror and the immortal Hadders going at correcting a fundamental, first class, futtocking failure of the facts?

Nope, two days and counting, and the error still stands, and, if the pond may deploy an understated Tamworthism, Hadley is sounding as fuckwitted as ever, and the Terror as reliable as ever. 

Oh what a lovely sticker.

There were a couple more comments:

Never mind the typos, amen comrade Reggie, bravely done. The pond understands why an apostrophe might get displaced or a word mis-spelled when wandering in that vale of tears ...

Now how about the delusional Poodle?

Yes, as delusional as ever, but what's interesting about that tweet - if you rush off to the poodle's twittering here - is that it came out on 20th November, and thereafter there's been silence.

Has it finally dawned on the poodle and his mincing minions that their excursions into social media have been pathetic, counter-productive and risible? In point of fact hysterically funny?

Steady, you'd have to be on the kool aid yourself to fancy that the poodle had that level of self-awareness.

Meanwhile, Quentin Dempster, who fronts one of the duller, worthier (and rarely watched by the pond) parochial shows on the ABC finally distinguished himself with an insight:

You can read the story itself if you like, here, but the pond was happy enough just to see the bullshit artist himself, caught by the magic of the camera, in a reflective moment where he clearly realises he is a bullshit artist.

Turnbull is - if the pond may indulge in a form of Tamworth classism - that peculiar form of eastern suburbs breed, smug, pompous, certain via his ego of his skills - who while going about the business of wrecking the NBN and the ABC - thinks he can get away with it, via a nice suit, a charming smile, honeyed words and a suave use of the tongue. 

But there's only so far you can get with quisling behaviour and smarmy self-justification, and it has to be said, QD style, with bullshit. The price Turnbull will pay for his fellow travelling and forelock tugging, and his recent contorted linguistic justifications for same, will be that he's always perceived as slippery, a bullshit artist, not the sort of chap you'd want to buy a used NBN from, let alone actually run the country. In short, the Albert Speer of the regime ...

Meanwhile, the work of other diligent beavers is finally beginning to surface:

It took a long time for the news about Jakarta to reach the top of the digital page at the Oz, but this is hardly surprising.

Like Scott Morrison, the reptiles probably assume unilateralism describes the sort of bike you need for a circus act.

Meanwhile, the white anting and the undermining continues.

Now the pond would like to make it clear that it is in no way promoting Julie Bishop as future leader of the Liberal party. Who cares which clown gets the job as leader of the circus clowns?

But Bishop's career trajectory is taking on an interesting curve. Firstly, she went into bat for Abbott and Greg 'wiki the walrus' Hunt and the bantam Newman over the reef and Obama and the whole damn thing ...

No one could question her loyalty, or her stupidity, under fire.

Now comes the surest sign the pond has yet seen that Bishop intends to take over from Tony Abbott, and sooner rather than later.

Oh sure, the signal comes in the guise of a monumentally, breathtakingly trivial story which is dressed up by the Fairfaxians as "Breaking Politics", but which in reality is this:

You can read the rest of Latika Bourke's report here - it makes the study of navel fluff seem like a philosophical endeavour   and the report handily also contains a forced video featuring Bishop doing a gay hallway encounter with "entertainment reporter" Nelson Aspen featuring show biz goss and Broadway tunes. Look how she laughs with glee ...

The "breaking politics" report concludes with some momentous information and stunning insights:

Julie Bishop can't recall or won't say the last time she had a holiday, "some time ago," she laughs. Bob Carr constantly complained about the jet lag involved with the job, but Bishop has a simple method for dealing with the lack of sleep. "I just don't think about it". 
Liberal MPs Kelly O'Dwyer and Wyatt Roy say Julie Bishop is a "rock star" in their electorates but her star factor is being noticed abroad. A tragic Sleepless in Seattle fan, we visited the SixtyFive bar next to New York's iconic Rainbow Room to see the view. "It's just like Sleepless" she exclaimed excitedly taking a quick photo snap of the illuminated Empire State Building with her iPhone 6. A group of Canadians asked her to take their picture and she happily obliged. When they learned she was Australia's Foreign Minister they sent over a bottle of champagne and were back for selfies. At the end of the evening, the staff took her especially into the Rainbow Room, which was closed to all other visitors. She was in Meg Ryan heaven, reliving one of her favourite film scenes. 
Entertainment reporter Nelson Aspen was star-struck when he saw the minister's entourage entering the same television studios and begged to meet her. Bishop was fielding tough questions on live television back home about her rebuke of President Obama's climate-change speech but showed no sign of any pressure as she met Aspen, a self-confessed "great admirer" in a five-minute break between her back-to-back interviews. The pair traded Hollywood gossip and discovered a shared admiration of Australia's Hugh Jackman who appeared at the United Nations during the week where the Foreign Affairs Minister chaired several sessions of the Security Council before Australia's presidency and UNSC membership expires. 

Yes, it's guaranteed to shrivel any remaining brain cells in a kind of Wolverine death slash.

But here's the clue, buried in all the star-struck guff. For convenience, please allow the pond to borrow the crucial scene from the film's wiki - after all, if it's good enough for Greg Hunt in his hunt for southern walri, it's good enough for all of us:

With Jessica's help, Jonah flies to New York without Sam's permission and goes to the Empire State Building searching for Annie. Jonah goes to the observation deck and asks every unattached woman if she is Annie. Sam, distraught, follows Jonah and finds him on the observation deck. Meanwhile, Annie has seen the skyscraper from the Rainbow Room where she is dining with Walter and confesses her doubts to him. They amicably end their engagement. She rushes to the Empire State Building but is told that the observation deck is closed. Annie convinces the guard to let her go to the observation deck after mentioning An Affair to Remember (which the guard replies is his wife's favorite movie) and arrives just moments after the doors to the down elevator close with Sam and Jonah inside. (the rest of the plot for Sleepless in Seattle here).

There, you see. Not only have we established Bishop as a hopeless romantic, but her favourite scene is set in the Rainbow Room, and it's the one where Meg Ryan amicably ends her engagement to Bill Pullman.

Don't you see? Tony Abbott is Bill Pullman ...

Now you might think that's a gross defamation of Bill Pullman, but it's a metaphor. Like Sam's joke about flying to New York to see some woman who could be a crazy, sick lunatic, fresh out of Fatal Attraction ...

Trust the pond ... the whole story is preparation for bright and breezy Julie to jog her way to the top, Ms showbiz personality, lover of Nelson and New York and the whole damn thing ... She doesn't need sleep, she's super-human and she's ready to lead ...

Listen, it's not often the pond decodes hidden messages, and then waits with quiet satisfaction as they unfold, as predicted, but just remember, you read it here first ...

Enough already. It's going to be a scorcher in Sydney today, but sssh, the pond has promised the Bolter never to mention climate change, and especially not in the context of the weather.

But in a curious way this offers further proof of the pond's thesis:

Prime Minister Tony Abbott's apparent, if modest, conversion to the idea that climate change was an "important subject"(forced video) following talks with French president Francois Hollande on Wednesday was greeted with no small measure of cynicism. 
This was, after all, a politician who had built a political career on climate scepticism, with his famous remark in 2010 that it was "absolute crap" to assert the science was settled. 
It took only two days, but the doubters can claim vindication after revelations that the government sent a briefing note to Barack Obama to dissuade him that the Great Barrier Reef was under threat by climate change.  
In an interview with Fairfax Media's Latika Bourke in New York (forced video and a Dan Harrison byline), Minister for Foreign Affairs Julie Bishop said the Reef was "not under threat from climate change because its biggest threat is the nutrient runoffs agricultural land, the second biggest threat is natural disasters, but this has been for 200 years". 
This is disingenuous, and factually wrong. 
To be sure, the government believes the world is warming, and that human factors play a part. 
But when it comes to acknowledging the urgency of the problem, how climate change will impact on the world, and what must be done to avert a catastrophic four-degree rise in global temperature, the Abbott government offers obfuscation and excuses. (the rest here).

You see? Julie Bishop is a safe pair of hands for any conservative worried that if Abbott goes, there'll be nobody to offer obfuscation and excuses.

And even better Julie will still have the petitioning poodle, and big bullshitter Mal and any number of other obfuscators ...

The reptiles have called for change, the Bolter has called for change, and Julie is ready to answer the call ...

And now it's time for the pond to seek refuge from the heat, and take a meditative Sunday nap. And since the pond's partner is in New York at the very same time as Julie Bishop, relax, everything's fine at home:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Please, keep digging ...

(Above: always more Pope here).

What could have inspired David Pope to produce such a lovely image?

Ah, there it is:

It's possible to admire Bishop, albeit in a perverse way.

The pond has always been inclined to perversity, and so it seems admirable that Bishop should defend the indefensible, to whit, Campbell Newman, the Queensland government and the reef, Tony Abbott and the reef, and the spluttering, whittering Greg 'wiki the walri' Hunt and the reef ...

Of course it only took a nanosecond for a horde of journalists to drag out a horde of scientists saying she was a clown fish lurking in a reef skull - for example, Peter Hannam's Great Barrier Reef will be 'slaughtered': scientists dismiss Julie Bishop's claim reef not at risk (forced video at end of link).

In fact, right at the moment, the pond is struggling to keep up with the farcical headlines that keep surging into the world. Yesterday there came this one too:

As if the Abbott government could fail at emitting emissions!

What a preposterous headline ... why, emissions are their speciality, and sure enough when you read Australia one of only four nations forecast to miss 2020 emissions target, you quickly realise that it's an international conspiracy involving the UN's attempt to introduce covertly a world government, using climate science ...

At least you do if you live in paranoid Murdoch la la land ...

Sometimes the headlines paired off:

Oh no, could it get any more desperate? Why next thing you know the parrot will be proposing that Tony Abbott be dropped in a chaff bag and drowned at sea ...

Naturally the reptiles at the Oz scurried to the scene to attempt to repair the damage, and to point the finger at the Kenyan socialist who'd started all the fuss:

Look, there's prattling Polonius making a late bid for the pond's prize of a tin of desiccated coconut for the most boring member of the Oz commentariat. "No offence a good rule"? How can that work when a sandal-wearing luvvie hovers into view?

It's gotten so tough for some that they've begun to shriek 'enough already'.

Why there's Lenore Taylor making a spectacle of herself in Tony Abbott keeps digging himself in deeper, and it makes no sense.

Taylor wants Abbott to stop the digging, and where's the sense in that? What would every newspaper outside Murdoch la la land do for a story?

But the arguments with which Australia is now trying to berate America are truly ridiculous. And they are just drawing more domestic and international attention to our policy absences and inadequacies.

But you're just being a spoilsport Ms Taylor, ruining everyone's fun. If we've got the windmills, of course we must have loons that will tilt at them ... that's the natural order.

According to conservative commentator Andrew Bolt, it has to “change or die”. Some of his advice is probably good – to concentrate on the domestic agenda and to give up on some fights it cannot win. But Bolt also berates Abbott because “he’s given up the fights for free speech and workplace reform, and dares not openly challenge the [global] warming hysteria.” In other words, Bolt reckons the government should dig harder, be more ideological and intransigent. 
I disagree. I think it would be better, politically and in the interests of good policy and general sanity, for the government to stop digging for a while.

What? And then we won't be able to learn how Vegemite is sponsoring world terrorism?

Enough of this spoilsport attitude. It's Saturday and there are other fish to fry. Now usually the pond would sample a typical member of the ratbag Oz commentariat. Like Chris Kenny:

Yes, it's a typical dim-witted Kenny effort, along the lines of "why is this intertubes still a thing?"

It's luddite gibberish, but then that's Kenny's speciality, and he spent the first half explaining why the ABC shouldn't get into digital. What's wrong with valve radios?

Then came this pathetic serve of parochialism:

Yes, move to Adelaide and the cardigan-wearing socialists will meet real people ... South Australians, from Adelaide ...

Ah, it's the old BAPH states carry-on, the same sort of stupid bleating about eastern staters that's been doing the rounds since the pond first discovered the mysteries of Light Ent at the ABC ...

The pond would love to spend all day with Kenny explaining how stories about the aunts on the verandah and tales of cats and wisteria have limited appeal to a wider demographic that's more urbanised than ever, but a bigger, cataclysmic event overwhelmed that narrative.

You see the reptiles have reached a deep, existential crisis, a point of complete and utter despair, and it's on view in the lizard Oz editorial today.

All the cheerleading, all the forelock tugging, all the hopes and expectations, where has it got them?

Let's look at how it cranks into gear, here, and outside the paywall for your pleasure and potent political examination.

They're doomed, doomed, we tells ya:

Limply? Losing the battler? Risks becoming a "oncer"? 

A shambles? Deficiency that can't be masked or ignored?

What's interesting is that this is also a confession that the kool-aid drinkers have failed. All that massaging, all that heroic propaganda, has been deployed in the service of dud goods. It's a pitiful cry for help.

Just roll it around on the tongue, and you'll discover a pleasing complexity: talking points and three-word slogans can never suffice ...

Sheesh, now they've worked it out? Now?

Yes, it's the reptiles doing a Bolter, with high gravitas and great resentment. It's just one step short of a tap on the shoulder and a demand that Abbott vacate his seat for Julie Bishop.

On and on the editorialist rants about this maddening man's maddening government, which has lost its authoritative voice, and is beset instead by a communications malady:

Ah, a re-boot. Let's hope it works better than a Mac re-boot. But do go on (and on and on, if you will):

Mr Abbott is unable to capitalise on the past fortnight of global prestige and successful trade diplomacy. Readers can only imagine how Paul Keating would have conceptualised the Brisbane gathering and the economic might that accompanied it. The former prime minister would have been clever, shameless and over-the-top. He would never have succumbed to the low-rent fearmongering of radio barker Jones on the FTA or Chinese investment. Mr Keating would have had the wit to link the recent trade deals with China, Japan and South Korea — and the possibility of closer ties to emerging India — to a grand narrative about our future in the region, investment, rising living standards, jobs, aspiration and the need to keep opening our eyes, hearts and reform ambitions in the face of Asia’s economic transformation. 

Oh that's just too cruel, too unfair. Fancy comparing Abbott to Keating. What? Won't we get a musical? Can it get any worse?

It is true that the conservative side of politics does not trumpet its successes in the manner of the Left. Certainly, Mr Abbott was right to recognise that the electorate had lost patience with the extravagant verbiage of the Rudd-Gillard era. But there is a sweet spot between overblown rhetoric and the dot-point banalities pumped out by the PMO and the Coalition’s advisers. John Howard proved that he not only had convictions and a framework for action, he also knew how to speak directly to voters; he used the tools and media outlets that suited his purpose. Mr Howard was not universally loved, but he built a solid relationship with the Australian people because he argued his case from first principles. His words and his political persona were one and the same; no one thought he was taking his cues from a focus group or party official. The same thing was true for Bob Hawke, another authentic voice in our politics who was able to speak past his enemies and directly to voters. 

Oh no, not John Howard. Oh dear sweet absent lord, not Hawkie ...

While Mr Abbott is just as intelligent as his predecessors, he is languishing and looks flaky. He lacks the appeal of “comfortable and relaxed” Mr Howard or the everyman charisma of “Hawkie”, whose narrative of consensus united the nation. 

Looks flakey. Languishing ...

Okay, the pond can work out where this is heading. The pond has no interest in sport, but has seen certain sports movies, where the coach has a final chance to address the team, appeal to the captain. It's a two minute warning, it's a time out. The coach is impassioned. She grabs the captain by the shirt-front, and gives him a good shirt-fronting.

Harden the fuck up man. You've got two minutes to win this game. You'd better do a cabinet shuffle, roll the dice, regroup, pull yourself together.

In the old days, a smack across the chops might have been thrown in, just to bring focus. For fuck's sake are you a girly man? Get out there and lead:

The Prime Minister can prevail, but he needs to show courage and leadership. One suggestion for capitalising on the G20 goodwill comes from former treasurer Peter Costello. He argued that going for growth, in line with the Brisbane Action Plan, does not depend on Mr Obama, Mr Putin or faceless officials; it’s up to the leaders of countries, such as our own, to repair their budgets and deregulate industries. “A government serious about reform might use such statements to educate and persuade its own constituency,” Mr Costello argued. “But the business of economic reform is hard, specific and local.”

Sheesh, is that the best the coach has got? Silly old Petey boy? Let's ask the tough questions, let's check the hardness quotient:

Is Mr Abbott hard enough? Without a clear narrative, the task will be beyond him; his communications strategy is in disarray. The Coalition needs skilful media personnel and new roles for its best ministerial performers; it must communicate like a team that knows what it is doing. Short-term tactical wins may offer a mood hit in the executive wing, but they are not the key to sustained governing. Mr Abbott must regroup, trust himself and speak with purpose. Right now, his insipid default setting is losing the people.

Yep, it's just one step short of a tap on the shoulder and a demand that Abbott step down. Instead over Christmas, he must do a re-shuffle - find "new roles for its best ministerial performers".

It has dawned on the Murdochians that Abbott isn't just losing the people, he's lost the people, at least to the extent that matters in an election.

What's produced this existential crisis? Well the reptiles take the reading of the runes seriously, and the last Newspoll was something of a disaster.

The latest Newspoll survey, conducted exclusively for The Australian at the weekend, reveals that the Prime Minister, after two weeks of being overseas or consumed by international affairs, has suffered a fall in satisfaction as his government’s primary vote dropped to a four-month low of 36 per cent. 
At 39 per cent, Labor’s primary support is higher than the government’s for the first time since July, when the Coalition was being punished by voters for a poorly ­received budget. Labor’s core vote has jumped by three points in the past fortnight and is six points higher than when it lost the election 14 months ago. 
The Coalition’s primary vote fell two points to its lowest level since July, has fallen by five points since mid-September and is nine points lower than at the election. (no link, it'll only lead to a begging letter from the paupers of the press)

All this while Bill "zinger" Shorten lands punches on shadows ...

And so everyone has now got advice for Team Abbott, from the Bolter and the Parrot through the Oz editorialist, to Gra Gra Richardson, who took his eye off Swiss bank accounts long enough yesterday to offer some thoughts:

This week’s Newspoll gives Labor a 10-point lead. No matter how many times you hear the phrase “the only poll that matters is the one on election day”, you can be certain the consistency of the Labor lead is worrying every Coalition member. 
Be they backbenchers or ministers, they all know that in the 14 months since the election, a Labor Party drowning in a well-deserved reputation for not being able to be trusted with the task of minding Australia’s bill has risen from the floor and is still able to land the odd punch. 
The real story of this, though, is not Labor’s comeback. Self-­inflicted wounds have been the government’s biggest problem. 
That Tony Abbott ran a truly disciplined and relentlessly effective campaign against a politically incompetent government led by two hopeless Labor leaders in Julia Gillard and Kevin Rudd was true until the last few months before the election. During that time discipline went out the window. Any hint of fiscal rectitude was sacrificed on the altar of electoral success. 
Remember the endless — and one could say needless — promises. Health and education were the obvious ones. There would be no changes and no surprises. Even the dreaded ABC and SBS were to be quarantined from the savage cuts we expected to come. 
Therein lies the problem. Just where did the Prime Minister and Joe Hockey think they were going to come from? Once they had ruled out new taxes there was only one way to deliver on the deficit and debt reduction built as the centrepiece of their campaign. 
That meant the one thing they said they would never do was an absolute certainty. Abbott killed Gillard by reminding us every five minutes that she had told a great lie over carbon. “There will be no carbon tax under a government I lead” should be Gillard’s epitaph. Remember Abbott’s famous words — we will do what we say and say what we do.

And so on:

To have believed even for a second that an audit and a repetition of age-old and tired rhetoric would raise the budget brought down last May is a testament to political ignorance and the tyranny of distance — the million miles our PM and Treasurer seem to be from those battling in the suburbs, towns and farms. 
There had not been nearly enough hard political slog done in trying to prepare the electorate for what was to come. This was the classic ambush and the electorate felt robbed. The number of broken promises grew too many to count. People stopped counting but they stayed angry. 
According to Newspoll their fury is mounting, not dissipating. 
Just for once, I am not sure we needed Newspoll to know how the government is travelling. 

And Gra Ga was generous with his advice:

The government’s troubles don’t end there. Having talked up the deficit crisis it now appears almost certain it will have to face the people with a deficit considerably higher than the one it inherited from Labor. As iron ore and coal prices continue to decline, government revenues will inevitably decline with them. State and federal governments will be feeling the pinch. I can hear the bleating now about the fall in the terms of trade and how it was unexpected and how it wasn’t their fault. Think back to Rudd and Gillard fighting to keep us afloat when we were hit by the global financial crisis and remember how much quarter the then opposition gave them. 
For what it’s worth I have some advice for our PM. Spending $500 million on the G20 in Brisbane may have made you feel good but I’m not sure the punters out in the real world are all that crazy about it. Photo opportunities galore won’t serve you. There needs to be a major rethink about this government’s approach. One iron rule in politics is that you can’t fight on too many fronts. The last budget opened up fronts across the board and you are not politically strong enough to fight them all. Stop pussyfooting with that stupid PPL scheme. Don’t promise delay, just say it can wait until the budget is in better shape. Take a leaf from your political hero’s book. Take the co-payments to an election. If you approach Australians honestly and explain the extent of the health cost blowout, umbilically connected to the ageing of the population, you might get back some of your reputation for honesty. 
Finally, do Denis Napthine a favour. Stay away from Victoria until after Saturday week. It is interesting that Labor’s big lead in Newspoll rests on a massive advantage in Victoria.

There you go Ms Taylor, you see. You're telling Abbott and jolly Joe and others to stop digging, the Oz editorialist is telling them they're hopeless, and Gra Gra is telling them to get out of town until the heat blows over ...

But, and it's a very big butt, billy goat, what if it's a dud team, with a dud captain? How will the coaching help? What if they keep on copping a walloping?

If by a miracle, they did fix up their game, where would all the funny headlines go? Would Vegemite stop financing terrorism?

Ah well, never mind, all this after Abbott had a chance to shine on the world stage ...  and all this as Julie mounts such a noble defence of Tony, Campbell, the reef and Greg 'wiki the walri' Hunt.

How could it go so wrong. Let us turn to Cathy Wilcox, who is more fun than a poll (and more Wilcox here)

Now where did the parrot put that chaff bag ...

Friday, November 21, 2014

How dumb does it get in Hadley la la and Daily Terror land ... dumb and dumber ...

It was funny enough when Mark Scott took an easy mark, aimed and scored, tweeting merrily on his account here.

It was funny enough when mUmBRELLA picked up the ball, coathangered the boofhead, and repeated the joke:

The kindly Dr. Mumbo can be found here, and he even ran Mark Scott's clipping separately:

Yes, there he is, the blowhard doofus and the dubious data.

But now it's Friday night, and the pond was reminded of that lovely Robert Frost poem:

The data are lovely, rich and steep
But I have useless data, no need to keep
And miles to go before I sleep
With data to correct before I sleep

They couldn't, could they?

The pond was like a felon in a Dirty Harry movie. It's got to know, so it headed off to the Daily Terror just a little while ago.

And yep, there it was, published at midnight and still standing, defiantly ignorant, proudly dumb, at 8 pm, a full working day after the folly was first published:

What a bunch of slackers.

What a doofus Hadley is ...

Time to work harder for the money? Like have the first clue what you're writing about, while feigning a fit of righteous indignation?

You wouldn't even allow him on the set of mumblecore movie ...

UPDATE: Of course the pond checked in this Saturday a.m, to check on progress, and attempts to connect Ray Hadley to the real world. It's proving to be a struggle.

It's not as if one reader didn't attempt to help:

Note the time stamp - 23 hours ago.

Someone tried a little more recently:

But nary a peep came. Presumably the blowhard was off blowharding elsewhere, and presumably with the same regard for accuracy and truth, and nobody trapped in the Murdoch gulag of despair gave a stuff ...

Time for Hadders to work harder for the money?

Actually, if you're dumb, you can sometimes try to work harder, but all it does is send the wheels spinning, and strip the mental gears ...

In which the Caterists are given a rousing Tamworth send-off ...

Make no mistake. This is the real agenda for the Murdochians.

It's dressed up in the guise of wise words from "media analyst" Steve Allen ... one of those totally useless titles for words from a totally useless git ...

No doubt Allen is also a futurist ... and he wouldn't be the first futurist to advise the world that the digital space has no future, and we should stick to 1980s music and Phillips head cassettes because they're certain to make a comeback in a Marvel movie, and what's wrong with LPs, and why it's guaranteed my man, that radio and TV are the wave of the future, and what this town needs is a monorail ... monorail ...

Well if the pond may don its own "media analyst" hat - we're as expert as Steve Allen - the reason why old media doesn't want the ABC using modern technology is that even now the Murdochians haven't worked out how to make money from it.

Could the pond make a suggestion? When a self-pitying Lara Sinclair lists the cuts made to jobs at Fairfax and Ten and puts numbers to them, how about putting numbers to the "significant reductions in staff numbers" made at News Corp?

You see, News Corp is run as a private family fiefdom, and it routinely distorts and and dissembles the truth about itself. It made hay about job losses at Fairfax, and only grudgingly admitted it was in the same sorry sacking business. As an organisation, it has the transparency of a lead apron in an X-ray room ...

Sinclair's story is just another part of the bewilderment, and the self-pity that old media continues to feel in the new digital world.

It's also a part of the endless futtocking that goes on in the pea brains it calls a commentariat, for which it expects punters to shell out good money to read when they can always manage to piss into the wind themselves (yes, women can manage this feat too).

Like this futtock:

Now is there any irony in this futtock's idle futtocking, emanating as it does from 2 Holt Street?

Why yes, because Surry Hill's is hipster central in Sydney:

Now the pond has family in Surry Hills, and its endlessly amusing to spot all the hipsters going about their business. Not News Corp types of course - they're chained to their desks and fed peanuts on the hour, which goes some way to explaining their endless rage and fear.

So why have the reptiles bunkered down and centralised in Holt street, providing homes for rags as diverse as the Daily Terror and the lizard Oz, and

Well it's simple really - see how close they are to Central, see the economies of scale, see the benefits of a well serviced, easily supplied work force. That sort of centralisation offsets the costs of running a multiplicity of offices in a variety of places. The private sector does it all the time, and so does government in all its forms - try finding a Centrelink outpost which hasn't retreated into one of several very large silos in the bigger cities ...

Whenever the pond reads someone like a Caterist,  the pond is forcibly reminded that like many academics, those who end up in think tanks have never really had to tackle the actual business of running a business, whether in the private sector or in government.

Otherwise they wouldn't mouth such mindless fatuities about the latte belt, which if taken as a general direction would embrace central Sydney, but in Melbourne be far more wide-ranging, since who could leave out St Kilda?

How dumb can Caterists manage to sound? Well the opening lines give you a fair idea:

Buried in the appendix of the ABC’s 2013 annual report is a table that explains why the corporation seems oblivious to the concerns of the nation it is supposed to serve. 
 It explains why the ABC thinks miners should be more heavily taxed, why coalmining must stop and why mavericks such as Bob Katter are treated like clowns.

Actually, all that explains is that the Caterists are fuckwits, since right at this moment, Bob Katter is racing around, stopping anyone who will listen, and at least one in three, that he suspects the actual intent of the coalition government is to destroy the ABC.

KAP Leader and Federal Member for Kennedy Bob Katter has said today he is absolutely appalled by the Government’s proposed $300 million cuts to the ABC and SBS. 
“A vast amount of the cutbacks will be borne by regional and rural Australia, where the ABC has been the essential point of contact and point of communication for non-metropolitan Australia. “These cuts effectively hand control of Australia over to the supermarket duopoly, the banks and the oil companies. 
“The Murdoch press are open advocates for the LNP, the boss of Woolworths went over to manage Fairfax, surely there should be some independent media out there? In the long term the interests of LNP members and their constituents will be very badly served by short term political advantage. (and the rest here).

Oh Bob, and they treat you like a clown ...

Now for its sins, the pond watched the ABC's direct broadcast of the Senate committee grilling hapless Mark Scott last night - the pond is usually busy watching paint dry - and what became clear, from the endless harping, is that in a Christopher Pyne way, the government is terrified at the push-back its going to get in regional areas and in states like South Australia, already doing it hard, arising from the cuts in general, and possible cuts to local radio in particular (oh enough with the local radio already).

Yet here's the reality (and we know it thanks to a government report here):

Apart from city states like Singapore and Monaco, Australia is the most urbanised nation. More than three in four of Australians live in one of 18 cities of 100,000 people or more. From 2011-2012, the larger capitals grew almost 50 per cent faster than the rest of the country.

So what's the Caterist solution?

The concentration is getting worse thanks in part to technology and in part to the commercial pressures that have led almost every media operation to streamline operations and reduce staff over the past 20 years. 
Commercial radio stations in regional Australia are increasingly staffed by computers running syndicated programs from the cities. Country newspapers, never exactly flush with staff, now have fewer than before. Metropolitan newspapers in groups such as News Corp Australia and Fairfax increasingly share copy. 
This is precisely why a taxpayer-funded body such as the ABC should be bucking the trend. The ABC’s relative strength in regional broadcasting is widely recognised as one of its greatest contributions to national life. Were the corporation run along business lines this would be termed a competitive advantage and it would play to its strengths.

A competitive advantage? Now there's a man who doesn't have the first clue about what competition actually means ...

So what's the Caterist solution?

Yet staff in regional posts complain of being starved of resources. Even in a sprawling, rural state such as SA, staff are placed disproportionately in the city. 

Sometimes it seems management is deliberately drawing the blinds across anything that happens beyond easy reach of a good soy latte. Landline, an informative, well-produced and often inspiring program, is buried in the schedule. 
Here’s a tip for the farming lobby: if you want your voice heard when the rain falls, call it climate change, not drought. 
 If the ABC wants to broaden its horizons and extend its narrow agenda beyond the familiar list of causes, it should be decentralised and broken into separately-funded units.

Yes, there it is, the sting in the tail.

And that's what the Murdochians really want. De-gutted, broken up, turned into harmless local radio services, decentralised, neuteured and neutralised, denialism rampant, no alternative voice to be heard in the wilderness ...

Sheesh, even Bob Katter gets it ...

The question arising is whether the Caterist is the most irritating, sneering, supercilious Joe six pack currently deployed. Here he is musing about the BBC:

In Britain, the BBC reacted to its lower market share in the north of England by building a large broadcasting facility in Salford, Greater Manchester. By last year 500 staff had moved there, largely from London, and 1000 or more may follow in phase two of the great transmigration. 
Yet the evidence that the change of air has done anything to alter the prevailing cultural tone of the BBC’s coverage is so far unconvincing. Some critics say the precincts around the BBC’s Media City compound have become just another ghetto populated by ­sophisticates, a small island of the bien pensant that is reluctant to assimilate. 
Perhaps being “inside the beltway”, as the Americans call it, inside la Peripherique in Paris or London Transport’s zone one, is less a physical location and more a state of mind. You can take the man out of Islington, perhaps, but you can’t take off his beret. 
The concentration of public broadcasting in the hands of sections of an educated elite that looks at the world in a certain kind of way has been a long process that goes back to the 1960s.

Say what? Bien pensant, sophisticates, ghetto, beret, educated elite yadda yadda ...

There's only one sophisticated Tamworth style response to this sort of gibberish.

Why don't you just fuck off, you fuckwit, you small-minded braying simpleton ...

You know, in the old days, all sorts of people donned suits to work in radio - if you got a gig in radio you were part of an elite - and country folk looked towards getting an education. They didn't see it as a form of reverse snobbery, but they would have noted the mindless stupidity of a man running an institute mocking the benefits of education and knowledge.

And so to the Caterist wrap up:

Scott had the opportunity to take some sting out of the mounting criticism by strengthening the regions. Instead, if the cuts take their likely course, he will only make matters worse. Impossible as it may seem, Scott is likely to step down from a corporation more concentrated in the inner city than the one he inherited.

Put it another way:

Abbott had the opportunity to take some sting out of the mounting criticism by not so nakedly and baldly breaking a clear promise, and then sending out lap dog Malcolm Turnbull to speak gibberish on his behalf - never has so much gibberish been spoken in so little a time. Instead, if the cuts take their likely course, Abbott will only make matters worse, and comprehensively fuck over the ABC to the great indignation of many. Impossible as it may seem,  Abbott is likely to step down from a government which presided over a country even more heavily urbanised  than the one he inherited, and as a bonus, with a fucked ABC to boot...

Or something like that. What a tiresome tool Nick Cater is, such a resounding bore with such simple-minded language it's a wonder he doesn't nod off half way through a column ... has he ever thought of the benefits of drinking coffee?

But you ask, because you love to feed the pond rhetorical questions, do the Caterists matter? Who listens?

Yes, in the Murdoch echo chamber, the biggest gong resonates the loudest and that fatuous fop, the poodle Pyne, who still hasn't checked the actual quality and nature of the signatories of his petition, cites Caterists as suitable for linking and reading.

And so to answer the question previously posed by the pond.

No, according to the judges, the Caterist isn't the most tiresome member of the commentariat doing the rounds - that honour belongs to Brendan O'Neill, courtesy of ABC radio - and there perhaps lies the reason for the Caterist snarkiness. But even the ABC knows that if they gave a nonentity like Nick Cater a gig, the ratings would shift from ** to **** ...

And now, since the sun is shining and we've heard from the deluded Poodle yet again, here's the level of childishness to be expected from the government and from that wretched Sharri Markson:

Click to enlarge, if you like - the pond disclaims all responsibility for responses ranging from a heart murmur to a heart attack - but there's a simpler explanation, overlooked by the simpering Markson.

No, it's not that the government expected to be able to click its disorganised fingers and the ABC would drop everything and come running, at a time when it has to cope with difficult sackings and bereavements in the family. You'd expect a government of fascists to be completely unaware of the effects of the knife slicing through the helpless butter ...

No, it's that the awards have involved Gerard 'prattling Polonius' Henderson. Any award involving Hendo would see viewers either nod off or smash their tellies and how would that help either the ABC or the government...

The only excitement around Hendo this year involves another question. Who -  the competition is exceptionally fierce between Hendo and Henry Ergas - will win the pond's 'desiccated coconut of the year' award?

Hopefully the ABC will, at short notice, broadcast proceedings, since the award features a year's supply of ...

(Below: images showing dangerous elites at work in radio found here, along with other OTR goodies).

In which the pond goes off with 'teh crazies' and the head flat-earther ...

The thing that the pond most admires about the coverage of George Christensen's latest bout of paranoid hysteria is the way the mainstream media persists in running photographs of him standing alongside Tony Abbott.

Sure,  gorgeous George (so named in honour of the famous wrestler) is only a small beer, parochial, xenophobic Queensland politician, of the worst, shallow, mindless, self-seeking for self-promotion and self-publicity kind, but as they say in the trade, when you step in a cow pat in the meadow, the bloody stuff sticks to the boot.

Here's the happy pair in The Age's report on proceedings:

There, you see, 'teh crazies' together ...

Yes, eccentric, baffling Tony has to wear his colleague's ordure ... here he is with George in the Illawarra Mercury:

Nine News also did the right thing, showing 'teh crazies' together in their coverage:

It wasn't universal - some just went with shots of Freddo frogs or jars of Vegemite - but the pond hails the efforts of the journalists who automatically reached for a reminder that 'teh crazy' was a colleague of 'teh chief crazy'.

The story itself was mendacious, a shameless beat-up, in which Christensen asked a series of rhetorical questions, full of sly innuendo and paranoia.

No doubt he wanted people to troop off to his website to read Terror in the Tuckbox?

See how it's a question?

It's an easy style to mock and imitate?

Is George Christensen a fuckwit?

Does George Christen have half a clue?

Is the real terror in the box gorgeous George?

Never mind, the pond is too cunning and canny to give up a link to a prize ass.

If people want to find the musings of prize asses, they must seek them out by themselves:

Uh huh.

Now how long before gorgeous George - isn't that just a darling caricature at the top of the page - gets stuck into 'teh Jews'?

(click to enlarge, or get your Kosher certification here. Bring money).

Of course Christensen is such a goose and doesn't have a clue in such a gigantic way that it's easy to make fun of him, and so people did.

Craig Harvey provided the go-to tweet for the occasion:

Yes, of course, of course the federal government provides direct funding to Islamics via the school chaplain program - anyone at all in preference to secularists, atheists, humanists, social workers and the rest - and the federal government directly funds Islamic schools (and Scientology schools and fundamentalist Christian schools and creationist-teaching schools and ...)

But this is the pond, and we're never looking for sensible debate or coherent arguments, we're just loon hunting.

The problem with these loons - Christensen is just a light-weight - or if you will heavyweight - version of Cory Bernardi - is that they're predictable in their self-seeking promotional ways ... and that makes them boring.

But their routine association with 'teh chief crazy' Abbott makes them invaluable.

It adds to the notion that Abbott is himself something of a flat earther. And the direct evidence for that continues to accumulate.

You won't see this story running in the Murdoch media, but there it is on the right in The Age:

The story's here, but this captures the flavour in a nutshell:

The attitude of Prime Minister Tony Abbott to the global challenges of climate change is "eccentric", "baffling" and "flat earther", according to a group of senior British Conservatives.

And there's Abbott's current image problem in a nutshell. Surrounded by minor league crazies, but showing all the signs of being a major league crazy himself ...

Now in recent times, Abbott has been attempting an epic back flip to try to separate himself from all 'teh crazies', the parrot, the Bolter, and all the rest of the climate denialists.

It started with Abbott announcing to the bemused French that Paris must succeed (Abbott decides that climate change thing needs a dust after all).

No wonder the Bolter is alert and truly alarmed.

And then came the capper to the pond's day - the answer to that eternal question.

What happens to the world's leading climate scientists when they take an interest in worldly affairs?

Why they end up like screaming Lord Monckton campaigning for "Rise Up" in the Victorian state election.

Lord Monckton stands beside Rise Up Australia.

Like as not, you won't read about that in any of those who once stood alongside the screaming Lord. The list was long and dishonourable ... Paul Sheehan, Andrew Bolt, Miranda the Devine, the parrot, why it was even alleged that Monckton once broke bread with Maurice Newman (here).

So there's Abbott and the rest of the barking mad denialists off with a creationist-supporting rabid fundamentalist loon ...

Truly the result is a golden age for cartoonists.

Not the pathetic kool-aid swilling likes of Bill Leak - a figure moving slowly from the pathetic to the tragic - but the likes of David Rowe, who know how to skewer, and does it on an almost daily basis. Below Rowe's at it again, and as always, more Rowe here.