Friday, December 19, 2014

Tolerance? Bah humbug, it's a fundamentalist Rupert Christmas ...


(Above: that headline found here, but only if you want to visit the Daily Fail, also lovingly known as the Daily Flail).

That's it, that's more than enough. It has to stop and it has to stop now. The pond is sick of it. The pond won't stand for anymore.

Ray Hadley handing out a D- to Tony Abbott, which in most academic circles would count as a fail, just a minor step up from an epic F?

Where's that leave the pond? What's left but sackcloth and ashes?

The pond is fully aware of what's going down. The conservative commentariat are berating Abbott as a way of demonstrating to the public that he's not a fiendish ideologue, he's just a soft-hearted pussy, a wet-lettuce Liberal everyone should love - except feral right-wing ratbags of the ranting, raving, Ray Hadley kind ...

It's a clever ploy. How on earth can the pond hand out Abbott a D- now? Join Ray Hadley? Or Dame Slap? Or the Bolter? Or the reptiles, or any of the others of the ranting, raving right wing kind who've been tearing strips off Abbott these past few months?

Why sooner should the earth open and the pond be transported to the fiery pits of hell ... (hey, religion is handy for metaphors if not much else).

Even worse, reports are now emerging that Abbott is preparing to do exactly what the media has demanded of him, which is to say a cabinet re-shuffle, as if re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic will help change the direction of the ship.

Who knows if James Massola's Prime Minister Tony Abbott to spend weekend pondering frontbench reshuffle is a genuine EXCLUSIVE - sheesh, have they stopped leaking to the reptiles at the lizard Oz? - but the coy Abbott seems determined to give the reptiles even more fodder to get excited about.

Abbott government insiders insist that no final decision has been made on whether to implement a reshuffle this weekend. 
 Conversations about the reshuffle have been pushed back by the Sydney siege this week, which have taken the Prime Minister's full attention and could delay the end-of-year reshuffle, which is considered the "orthodox" approach. 
Discussions are said to be tightly held, with Mr Abbott, chief of staff Peta Credlin, Liberal Party director Brian Loughnane and deputy chief of staff Andrew Hirst part of the discussions.

Eek, it's that Credlin woman again. And her partner! Shades of dynastic excess.

Massola claims Abbott wants to save his big re-shuffle until the end of next year, which shows that the captain of the good ship Titanic remains sanguine. Well, that's what you'd expect of a D- student, if only he could be called that ...

Meanwhile, the epic stupidity of George Christensen won't be denied. Yes, the sweet lad is making a determined late push for Crikey's Areshat of the Year award with a series of tweets (some of which can be found at New Matilda here).

The man has an enormous capacity for self-promotion, and an equally enormous capacity to not contribute a single distinct thought when it comes to actual policy, surely an enormous achievement even when surrounded by top notch contenders like the poodle ...

It got so bad that even poor old Ewen Jones had to pretend he didn't know who the screaming, ranting gent on the bus was ...

(that juxtaposition found at Fairfax here, with forced video).

Yes, Ewen you intolerant lefty twitter warrior you ...

Actually if you head off to Ewen's website, here, damned if you can find much about the LNP, but the logo's there if you scroll down to the bottom of the page ... though perhaps he should think of changing the text to read Despair. Punishment. Failure. Let's keep Australia on the rack ...

Meanwhile, the reptiles are in top notch form, recycling the recent tragic event into yet another part of their ideological wars ...

This takes exceptional skill,  up there with Senator Leyonhjelm, since everyone knows that the only appropriate response to death by shooting is to demand that the marketplace be flooded with guns, and Australia turned into a rough approximation of the old West, and Sydney a most excellent imitation of Dodge City in its hey day ...

In one editorial, the reptiles made it clear that they were at one with gorgeous George:

Not to be outdone in woolly thinking, Crikey’s Bernard Keane tweeted: “The fury of the Right that their terror toy has been taken away from them by #illridewithyou is palpable, isn’t it?’’ What rot. On Twitter, Deakin University academic Scott Burchill condemned associate editor Chris Kenny for writing two columns about the Sydney siege and the threat of Islamist extremism without mentioning Australia’s bombing campaign in Iraq.

Yes, when you're a ranting ratbag right wing ideological hammer, everything's a lefty nail.

Of course if you paint the killer as a classic member of a fanatical terrorist group, part of a well organised evil empire, you might pause at some point and wonder why the security services failed to take note of a man who left so many conspicuous examples of his ratbaggery on the record. It was hardly necessary to ferret through oodles of metadata to discover the man's behaviour and views ...

But on and on the reptiles ranted, pumping up the Islamic terrorist hysteria to eleven. The funniest thing? 

Well the pond means funny only in the 'peculiar' way because events in Pakistan are profoundly disturbing, but here's the line on this:

The murder of 141 children and teachers in Pakistan is beyond comprehension.

Why not try out this line instead?

The murder of 141 Islamic children and Islamic teachers in Islamic Pakistan by alleged Islamics is beyond comprehension.

But that would undermine the monolithic simple-minded black and white narrative which pits Islamic fundamentalism against Western civilisation, with no subtlety, nuance or further insight allowed or required.

Strange. There's Chairman Rupert, good mates with a major Saudi Arabian shareholder, and there's Saudi Arabia on hand as the chief exporter of virulent, violent, fundamentalist Wahhabism to the world ...

Yes, when conducting a war of civilisations, make sure you know how to sweep inconvenient truths under the carpet.

It has to be said that the reptiles are now employing exactly the same rhetoric that Hitler and his henchmen deployed in Nazi Germany to justify domestic paranoia and a lavish security apparatus, and foreign adventurism.

The pond will cheerfully kick a dollar or two into the Godwin's Law swear jar, but the reptiles should consider doing the same for this sort of rhetorical flourish:

Such utterly different views on the sanctity of life are why we sometimes struggle to take heed of the severity of the existential threat posed by Islamist extremists. There is no room in this battle, perhaps decades-long, for naive Islamist denialism. 

Except if one of your major shareholders is a big cheese in fundamentalist Saudi Arabia ...

If we are to confront the enemy, and avoid terrorist attacks, we must not be blind to the pernicious nature of extremism; it will never be defeated by smothering it in misguided affection, faux understanding and dangerous notions of tolerance.

Seig heil. War without end, tolerance dangerous, understanding faux, affection misguided. And armchair warriors on the march ...

After such apocalyptic visions of the world in never-ending war - since the reptiles assert the right to keep bombing the shit out of countries far away - it seems almost comical, but inevitable, to note that the reptiles are also maintaining the rage, and their war,  with Julian Disney.

Disney was so outrageously intemperate and ill-advised as to urge that the media treat the Martin Place matter with caution and discretion, as opposed to the astonishing gutter vulgarity displayed by the Daily Terror, as it went about the business of supporting and sustaining terrorism (who could argue with Joshua Dabelstein's effort at New Matilda, The Only Terrorist Organisation Involved in The Sydney Seige Is The Murdoch Press Empire).

The reptiles were ropeable and in their opening salvo, did their very best to sound like George Chistensen at his Twittering best, though strangely they hid their dementia and their ranting behind a paywall gold brick bar:

The terrorist who killed two people in Sydney this week has created a dreadful quandary for the hand-wringing, morally superior Left. The reality of lethal Islamic terror has clashed head on with a view of the world that has much in common with the Stockholm syndrome. Terror might have erupted in Martin Place but instead of dealing with the consequences, the posturing Left would prefer to avert its eyes.

Yep, you really couldn't get a better example of a kool aid drinking ideological zealot determinedly looking through the wrong end of the telescope at everything, always dividing the world into left and right, and always determined to explain how anything left of Genghis Khan was contemptible hand-wringing of a morally inferior kind.

Well follow the logic. If the left is morally superior, but the reptiles at the Oz are so morally superior that they can point out that the left, which thinks that it's morally superior, is actually morally inferior, then it goes without saying that the reptiles are supremely morally superior, albeit in an alarmist chicken little way ...

Or some such thing.

You see, here's how it's done. Disney, too mild-mannered for his own good, and too constrained by his position and his circumstances, to say anything about the outrageous behaviour of the Daily Terror - busy doing the work of terrorists - could only make some mealy-mouthed clucking noises and expressions of piety, while making a few general observations about media mis-deeds.

That's the sort of pigeon guaranteed to send the reptiles into a frenzy:

Because Professor Disney’s critique amounts to a fact-free zone it does not deserve to be taken seriously. He refused this newspaper’s request to name the publications that were guilty of wrongdoing and to cite examples of their “errors” “exaggerations” and “dangerous misinformation”. 

Indeed. Let's not mention the hysterical Daily Terror busy doing the work of terrorists.

His refusal to back up his public statement with facts raises the risk that his critique of the coverage of the Sydney siege will be applied to all media outlets. 

Yes, we all know who he's talking about, but he can't say it can he, nah nah, because there's already been complaints about the rag some mistake for exceptionally rough toilet paper ...

In other words, the chairman of the Press Council has smeared the industry that pays his bills. 

And never mind the blot that the Terror is on the industry ... though soon enough perhaps 'cottage industry' will be a better turn of phrase ...

Professor Disney, who leaves the chairmanship early next year, has also destroyed the council’s ability to be seen as an unbiased arbiter of any complaints about the coverage of the siege. The right thing for him to do is to own up to a gross error of judgment and apologise for such unseemly behaviour.

You can see how this works, and it's there in that key line buried at the end of the rant:

Professor Disney, who leaves the chairmanship early next year, has also destroyed the council’s ability to be seen as an unbiased arbiter of any complaints about the coverage of the siege.

It's a pre-emptive strike, and so the shameless and outrageous behaviour of the Daily Terror has given way to yet another attack on Disney.

The Murdoch press is now so wild and out of control, it's doing genuine harm, and the fact that the editorialist of the alleged upmarket broadsheet version of the ideologues can sound like George Christensen says more than the pond knows ...

Did the reptiles ever think of writing this?

The right thing for the editor of the Daily Terror to do is to own up to a gross error of judgment and apologise for such unseemly behaviour.

Probably not.

Ah well, it will soon be all over for the year. In a couple of days, the pond will be downing tools and joining the great Australian slumber until the new year ...

But that just leaves time to slip in a cartoon from David Pope, and more Pope here, as at last the NRA can join the killer tobacco industry in having a representative down under.






Thursday, December 18, 2014

And so the "congrats" and the "self-congrats" continue, with Sarrah Le Marquand showing how it's done ...


(Above: for the full First Dog cartoon, go here).

Nightcrawler is a parable, perhaps not as subtle as it could have been, about the media and capitalism.

The hero, Lou, played with cadaverous, socket-eyed intensity by Jake Gyllenhaal, is an urban cockroach, who starts as a petty thief, but after noticing there's money to be made by stringing, begins shooting footage of violent incidents in affluent neighbourhoods. Soon enough, his footage is selling to a gutter crawling television station which specialises in ambulance and police chasing material ...

Lou has read all the right books about the entrepreneurial spirit in America, and does so well peddling his footage that he can afford to screw an assistant.

As he begins to make real money, Lou imitates the airs and graces of the mainstream media that feeds off his gutter crawling ways - he devises a grand company name and moves amongst the chosen ones, the anchors and the executives. Soon enough it's hard enough to pick this cockroach from the others in the nest...

The movie is inclined to over-work the parable - Lou's big feat is to get inside a McMansion in the aftermath of a double killing, and then to contrive a bloody finale, which sees him get rid of his assistant and at the same time produce epic footage of a shoot out with the cops.

But the main point is clear enough. When you get an executive tweeting "Congrats" on the coverage of murder, you know you're in the land of the Nightcrawlers …



Not that the pond is inclined to brood but that "Congrats" still sticks in the craw.

So what have the cockies been up to today?

What do you know? It's all the fault of the ABC:



Now there's a sophisticated response, nuanced, subtle, everything you'd expect really ...

But the real trick is to whip up a story about the story.


Uh huh.

The Daily Terror doubles down, thanks to the double 'r'd' Sarrah scribbling silly things.


It's admirable in a way.

The sheer gall, the cheekiness, the audacity, the Jakiness, the  willingness to defend the indefensible, the way all hands get on deck and celebrate the rag as a repository - please, no suppository jokes - of accuracy and integrity.

Well it conforms to that other golden rule, most commonly seen in politics. When in trouble, send in a woman to do the dirty work and defend the indefensible.

Oh and bung on a poll:


See?! Wring some juice from the juice!

The pond didn't reward the cockies with a vote or a click, nor even a link, but poor Sarrah does her best with the dirty linen:


Hang on, hang on, the pond's head is hurting.

Mixed messages.

Wasn't it chairman Rupert himself up above tweeting about the dangers of a lone wolf?

But actually Sarrah isn't interested in the truth of the matter. Sadly, it's her job to conflate, confuse, muddy the waters, pump up the fog, and defend the indefensible.

And then came this:


Well then the front page was, in the usual Daily Terror way, useless.

The last the pond checked, Broken Hill was on NSW soil:



Indeed, thanks to Trove, the news of that story and the men who did the deed is only a keystroke away here.

The pond doesn't expect historical awareness from Sarrah or the other reptiles, just like it doesn't expect truth or integrity in a tabloid. But there has to be a limit, and that limit comes with the reptiles routinely denying the four killed and seven wounded back at that New Year's picnic in 1915.

But Le Marquand saves her best sick-making scribbling for the final few pars:

The naysayers — the self-­appointed media umpires who would never condescend to ­actually read this paper — would have you believe journalists are there to service their beliefs alone. That pre-empting any criticism from a few stone-throwers on Twitter is the sole basis on which editorial decisions should be made. 
They will tell you that a failure to airbrush sometimes harrowing realities from news coverage only incites rage and spreads hatred. 
Strange, then, isn’t it, how little rage and hatred we have seen as thousands of people lay flowers at Martin Place in a peaceful and dignified tribute to the siege victims. Don’t look now, but if that’s the public mood then the media must be doing something right.

Oh come on, cloaking yourself in the flowers?

Have you absolutely no sense of shame or decency?

It reminded the pond, as many things do, of Macbeth mired deep in his shame:

...I am in blood 
Stepped in so far that, should I write for a Murdoch tabloid no more, 
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.

And so the Terror, in its bid to pump up the terrorist angle, trotted out another "expert" to explain how the man was an expert terrorist, though whether he got his knowledge from a jihadist school or the internet was a tad hard to work out:


Well you can only spend so long in the company of nightcrawlers before you hope the movie ends and you can move on to something else.

Is there someone who can turn the conversation to other matters? Perhaps the Terror could wheel in the world's greatest climate scientist?


Oh sheesh, they could, they could.

Whenever the Bolter turns up with his latest tirade, the pond's mind turns to Lord Monckton, and that's fair enough because the IPA book the Bolter's spruiking features a piece by the 'lord'.

The 'lord' was last sighted in the run up to the Victorian election in company with Catch the Fire, espousing barking mad fundamentalist policies. His days as an effective useful fool were by then long gone, but it's always useful to remember the good old days.

You know, when the Bolter joined Monckton in talk of the UN using climate science as a way of introducing world government:

“What he did was confirm, point out, which is black and white in the draft agenda for Copenhagen—it was taken out of the final bit—draft agenda for Copenhagen, a plan to get all countries to send billions—seven billion in our case—to the UN to give them a sort of supranational kind of body that will tell you what to do with your economy. 
“Now that is a form of world government, even if you do not like the term,” Bolt said. (here, it's a conservative site, it must be true).

Eek, and now the Abbott government is funding the world government.

The pond looks forward to the Bolter campaigning against this dangerous man.

Meanwhile, is there anyone else so tone deaf that they immediately know how to strike up a tone deaf conversation before the wounds have healed?

 Come on down Senator Lyonhjelm:


Yep, that should do it ... that should get the Greens dancing in the tone deaf conversation, when even the PM's confused about whether the killer held a gun licence ...

Truth to tell, it got so problematic that the pond began to look around for a few comedy items.

Oh sure, there was an excellent memory of Miranda the Devine, thanks to Crikey:


Yes, that "parody account" features moderated comments let loose on the Bolter's blog.

You can head off here, but as with inhalation fallout from  the Daily Terror in any form, the pond recommends moderation.

As you'd expect, the "parody account" has been busy of late. 

Oh okay maybe there's a few parodies in it, as well as real screen grabs, but hey, the first one below accurately sums up Chris Kenny's column, which the Bolter naturally featured and confirmed as unerringly true:



And also thanks to Crikey, there was an even better memory of that prize twit Sharri Markson furiously scribbling, without the slightest awareness of the stupidity inherent in what she scribbled:

“But the indoctrination appeared to be strongest at The University of Sydney where the entire first major lecture focused on News Corp’s power and its impact on journalism, irrespective of the fact it is one of the largest employers of journalists in Australia.”

She's still young and perhaps not ready to step up to the top league, but surely there's a potent case for a Junior Arsehat award, as an incentive for all the best young kool aid drinkers in Murdoch la la land.

But just as the pond was enjoying these blasts, along came David Pope with a cartoon, and more Pope here.

Grim days. Is there a twittering tweeter ready to tweet "Congrats"?


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Meanwhile ...



(Above: and more Tandberg here).

Meanwhile ...

Remember all those politicians blathering on about the terrible burden the current selfish generation is imposing on the generations to come ...?

This caught the eye:

Student debts are expected to double to over $50 billion in four years if the federal government achieves its goal of deregulating university fees and expanding federal funding. 
The Higher Education Loan Program (HELP), formerly known as HECS, will rise from $25 billion to $52 billion in 2018 according to the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook (MYEFO), released on Monday. (here)

Yes, let's make sure the best and the brightest stay locked in debt, and develop the sort of bitterness already on view in many professions ... Has the pond mentioned the carping of medical graduates lately?

How about the mentally ill?

The dementia and severe behaviours supplement, which provides a payment of $16 a day to residential facilities for each eligible dementia patient, will be cut.

Yes, let the poor buggers wander off into the wilderness and have their eyes pecked out by crows. It'll be best for them and a social benefit for all ...

How about this?

Like Wayne Swan before him, Joe Hockey is likely to leave the Treasurer's office without having delivered a surplus. But more-important things are at stake. Like all treasurers he is determined not to be one who pushes the economy into recession. That's why he'll let the deficit blow out by $10 billion a year for now and pick up the pieces later. (here, with forced video).


Like Wayne Swan before him?

That reminds the pond of that old song:

Like the treasurer's treasurer before him
Brought up on building up a deficit
Fell in love with a gigantic blow out
And they married up and settled down
Natural way of life if you're lucky
For a big end of town Treasurer man ...

That was a sampling of some of yesterday's stories ...

Today?

Treasurer Joe Hockey has broken a pledge to impose tough new tax avoidance rules on multinational companies that shift billions of dollars in profits between Australia and their international subsidiaries. (and a lot more here).


Do go on:

John Passant, an outspoken tax expert from the Australian National University, recently wrote about the government's decision not to abolish section 25-90 deductions. 
"It is unfortunate in the extreme that the Treasurer and Treasury have listened to a group of rent seekers being unjustly rewarded by not repealing section 25-90. But since this is a government of the 1% that is not surprising and we can conclude in fact that Hockey's bluster about addressing tax avoidance by his rich mates is just that – complete and utter bluster," he wrote.

How about unemployment? How's that shaping up?

Say what Gareth Hutchens? Budget warning: Treasury predicting thousands more job losses next year ...

... economists warn that Treasury's higher unemployment forecasts mean the number of unemployed will swell by thousands more than expected next year. 
And younger workers are likely to carry much of the burden.

Ah well, they can always saddle themselves up with debt for life ...

And so it's time for end of year moaning and groaning, and so Ross Gittins unburdens himself in Has the Lucky Country lost its ardour and ambition? (forced video at end of link).

You mean Ross that we should all come up with spiffing ideas to make Tony Abbott and jolly Joe Hockey look good?

That's a tall order ...

And there's Greg Jericho having a moan in The Coalition's previous budget rhetoric has come back to haunt them ...

The pond loved the opening conceit:

The mid-year economic and fiscal outlook (Myefo) released yesterday was a case of the karma police arresting Joe Hockey and reading him his rights. The Myefo revealed a large write down in taxation revenue which saw the budget deficit for 2014-15 increase by $10.6bn – from $29.8bn to now, $40.3bn. Revenue problems were a habitual concern for Wayne Swan while treasurer. But during that time, Hockey never gave him any of the sympathy he now believes he is entitled.

The karma police!  Maybe it should be the irony police ...

They also wheeled out their favourite line that “Labor has a spending problem, not a revenue problem”. 
To support this they noted that revenue was “expected to be over $70bn higher than at the end of the Howard government, and with budget data for the first seven months of this financial year showing revenues up by almost five per cent relative to the same period in the previous financial year”. 
So it must be a shock for Hockey to find that not only is revenue this year expected to be $84bn “higher than at the end of the Howard government” and higher than Labor, it is also expected to grow over the next four years by an average of 6.3% each year. 
Of course nominal dollar terms can be misleading, but at no stage over the next four years is total government revenue ever expected to be lower than the 23.3% of GDP that was the high water mark under the Rudd and Gillard governments ...

There's a graph too, but soon enough Jericho shows he's a candidate for the karma police himself:

Clearly comparing the budget revenue and expenditure as Joe Hockey and Tony Abbott did while they were in opposition is utterly moronic. Nominal figures ignore inflation and growth of the population and the economy itself. It is apt that their words should come back to haunt them. 

But it would be in all our interests, given the challenges that approach the government and our economy, from the ageing population to the end of the mining boom, if our treasurer would now adopt a more intelligent rhetoric.

But Mr Jericho, haven't you heard there's no allowance for dementia ...

Meanwhile, over in Murdoch la la land, the country continues to be in the best of hands.

Finally, too much has already been said by too many who know too little and show too little empathy or understanding ... but this nauseating effort by Daily Terror editor at lar..., John Lehmann, shouldn't pass unnoticed:




In the pond's experience, the moment someone says "Let's be honest" - usually a real estate agent or a used car salesman - it's the prelude to a gigantic whopper, a richly contrived lie ...

And so it is with Lehmann ...

The specious, disingenuous logic deployed by Lehmann in the nauseating Let's be honest: Man Haron Monis was an IS terrorist - you have been warned it's nauseating - is that if you fly an army flag, you must be an army man.

Well the pond might have been influenced by Paul Keating, but it's never been a paid up member of the Labor party.

Now we can ignore the factual errors, like Lehmann saying it was the first Islamic terror attack against Australian civilians on home soil.

That just proves he's ignorant, and willing to disrespect the four people shot and the seven wounded in the Battle of Broken Hill, back in 1915. (Greg Hunt it here).

What's compelling is how Lehmann unravels his own logic. It turns out that Monis wasn't so much an actual IS terrorist, as "following the IS playbook to the letter".

Then it turns out that perhaps "he saw himself acting on behalf of IS".

Then this monstrous stupidity:

There is no need to fill in a membership form to join IS’ bloodthirsty quest; no need to declare if you are single or part of a group; no need to wait for an instruction to attack.

Now the pond has no idea why Lehmann and the Daily Telegraph think it's their business to promote and pump up the work of terrorists and the Daesh ... or why they seek to elevate a lone wolf terrorist to the ranks of Daesh, and spread the fear ...

Likely enough, Lehmann is attempting to prepare the groundwork for the Terror to defend its outrageous and offensive afternoon edition, with its egregious cover ...

But by the end of his piece, Lehmann limps to this conclusion:

He was a terrorist, clearly influenced by IS. Let’s be honest.

Uh huh. So he's gone from being an IS terrorist, to a terrorist clearly influenced by IS.

Okay, let's be brutally honest, Mr Lehmann.

You're a pathetic, dissembling spreader of a fog of innuendo, distortions and lies.

Oh and you're a fuckwit to boot ...

Why don't you persuade the Daily Terror from going about the business of pumping up the volume for the Daesh?

Even the reptiles in their front page 'lone wolf' coverage ...


... didn't dare go where Lehmann and their tabloid brethren had gone ...

Yep, it's a lone wolf member of Daesh, and never mind how lone wolves join a gang.

The reptiles even declared Monis was a self-declared radical sheik (many of the commentariat have been declaring he was an actual, real sheik)... and quoted Tony Abbott:

The Prime Minister acknowledged that Australia had been “brushed by terrorism’’ after the 16-hour siege but stopped short of labelling the attack a dedicated act of Islamist terrorism. Instead, he described Monis as a “weird’’ individual who had become enthralled by extremist ideology and said the national security committee had questioned why he was not being monitored by security agencies. “It’s pretty obvious that the perpetrator was a deeply disturbed individual (with) a long history of crime, a long history of mental ­instability and infatuation with ­extremism,’’ Mr Abbott said. (no link, you know how to google to avoid the begging letter from the paupers of the press).

That's the real story Mr Lehmann. Here's a man wandering around as bold as brass, and meanwhile the security agencies want to disappear into metadata land and destroy the privacy of everyone, while incapable of looking at the bleeding obvious staring them in the face.

Meanwhile, your pathetic, wretched paper jumped the gun, and did the work of terrorists by distorting and enabling Monis's behaviour ... and now you seek to retrospectively dress the rag in righteous garb ...

The Terror wasn't the only one. But it was right up there, as noted yesterday by John Birmingham in Media coverage of Sydney siege shameful:

The special edition of yesterday's Daily Telegraph was probably the low point in the full spectrum media coverage of Monis's crime. It was wrong on every count. 
But if that was the definitive low point, there were many contenders. Some driven by malice. Most caused by the need to fill up dead air space or to beat the competition in the race for clicks and eyeballs. We at Fairfax were not immune. The ABC allowed one idiot talking-head after another to sprout dangerous garbage all over their 24 hour news service while many media outlets updated police tactical movements around the site of the siege. It took pleas by the police, the establishment of the exclusion zone and some determined social media shaming to cut off that information flow to Monis. 
And all that was needed was a news flash. Even a two minute update every hour would have exhausted the news content of this slow moving story. Admittedly this would have given Monis some of the exposure he craved, but much less than he actually received. It might also have taken the heat out of the worst of the social media reaction, which at times seemed like a megaphone specifically designed for morons. The rolling coverage made it all worse. 
If Monis had actually been a trained jihadi, and not just a murderous arse clown with mental health issues and a gun, the media coverage could easily have contributed to the death of more hostages as part of an ISIS media plan. Some protocols to avoid this in future events – because they will happen – would be prudent. But unlikely.

Sometimes a little discretion would be helpful ... but not it seems, at the Terror. Just doubling down and self-justification, and not the first clue or awareness of just how wretchedly they behaved ...

Which just leaves space for a David Pope cartoon, and more Pope here.



Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A short note to those who spend money on contemptible newspapers ...

No, the pond doesn't have anything to say on the matter, except to mourn the loss of life, sympathise with the suffering of the hostages, and acknowledge the work of the police and emergency personnel in extremely difficult and trying circumstances.

It's a time for restraint, and what a pity it is that some in the media took the opportunity to emulate the movie Nightcrawler (and what a good little movie it is, flawed but compelling), or perhaps attempt to relive an episode of Frontline, as you can if you too, if you want a distraction, by heading off to YouTube here (there is an advertisement to endure).

Yes, the contemptible Daily Telegraph behaved in an execrable and contemptible manner.

Actually, to rush out a special edition, with a misleading headline, while people were still suffering, was beneath contempt:



Put it another way, since the should be room for grim humour in even the most trying circumstances:


As usual, the pond turned to the ranter who is doing his level best to make ranting bloggers redundant:

Of course, not everyone on Twitter was either spouting racist venom or accusing the government of staging the event to draw focus from the announcement of the mid year financial outlook (to which we shall shortly come). 
Not the Daily Telegraph, for example: they used their afternoon edition's front page instead, declaring DEATH CULT CBD ATTACK as an exciting demonstration of their admirable ability to leap to conclusions without being slowed down by confusing, annoying things like "evidence". 
Uber used it as a chance to up their price for a ride out of the city to an eyewatering $100, before complaints forced them to offer free rides instead in a desperate attempt at damage control. 
Thr1ve, meanwhile, took to Instagram to assure everyone that "our thoughts and prayers are with those caught in the drama of Sydney today" before adding that their MLC store had been shut as per police requests but "can still serve you up a delicious lunch at our @westfieldsyd store! #staysafesydney #nutritiontoTHR1VE" 
It went down predictably badly and was swiftly removed, but not before media site Mumbrella noticed. And it would be just barely possible to pass it off as public service announcement were it not for the hashtags. 
Seriously guys: it looks pretty tacky to effectively declare #whatatragedy #nowbuystuff. (here at Fairfax for links and more).

Yep, what a tragedy, now let's sell some newspapers ...

The Telegraph's appalling behaviour even made it into the Irish Independent, here.



No doubt the rag will now go about the business of defending the inexcusable, hoping that memories will fade, but may the pond humbly suggest that if you buy any Murdoch publication, you are supporting such appalling behaviour, and perhaps you should stop.

Spend the money on something less poisonous - why even aids to masturbation might be more factually correct and useful ...

Will the toothless Press Council - itself a victim of relentless Murdoch bullying - do anything about it?

The Australian Press Council has confirmed to Mumbrella the edition has attracted “at least one complaint” by 4pm, but did not specify how many, or the nature of them. (here).

Probably not, except perhaps for a light spanking with a wet lettuce leaf ...

UPDATE:

As kindly readers noted, the pond, as a record of the contemptible, should note the contemptible going about the business of defending the indefensible:


There's more here, with most appalled at the sight of a man dancing on graves. As they should be ...

Well, appalling update about an appalling man publishing an appalling newspaper done, the pond will keep it short today, and tomorrow, go on about its normal business, inspired by David Pope's cartoon, and more Pope here.





Monday, December 15, 2014

In which the pond reconsiders reincarnation and what it means for jolly Joe ...


(Above: and as always more David Rowe tone-setting, and fiery fun, here).

The pond has always had difficulty with the concept of reincarnation.

Philosophically and practically, it always seemed too difficult.

And then came jolly Joe Hockey looking and sounding unnervingly like Wayne Swan. Not just channelling, but re-born, and slouching like a rough beast to Canberra to sell a bigger deficit.

Not to mention, if you look to the Rowe cartoon above, Tony Abbott taking on the hues of Bing Crosby, and Julie (if the pond may be so van Onselen bold and personal) Bishop looking just a little like a Doris Day hardened by life in the outer reaches of hell.

There will be more Joe Hockey channelling Wayne Swan today, though after enduring jolly Joe blathering about 'shock absorbers' yesterday, the pond feels entitled to give it a miss. Anyway, the fix is already in ...

As usual these days, it's dejua vu all over again, as anyone with at least one memory still operating on a solar cell can recall the outrage the opposition offered up when Swaneee tried to offer the world economic crisis as an excuse for running a deficit ... (what world crisis, the opposition screeched).

As always these days, the pond turns to the reptiles at the Oz to discover the multiple level of ironies at work in political life.

These might be simply summarised as there's a gigantic emergency, followed by a mouse-like squeak, it's not really an emergency ...

Well it's an emergency but it's a different emergency, which requires an entirely different strategy, which is to not worry too much about the size of the deficit ... which is to sound and do like Wayne Swan ...

Phillip Hudson (no link, it only leads to a begging letter from the paupers of the press) put it this way:

Like the bomb disposal expert trying to decide whether to cut the green or red wire, Joe Hockey has to show delicate precision with the twin messages he is selling about the budget and the economy. The Treasurer is trying to use the worst annual decline in the terms of trade since records began in 1959 to jolt a hostile Senate — and untrusting public — to accept his unpopular budget repair plan. But Hockey must not panic shoppers 10 days before Christmas and risk already fragile confidence being spooked by his grim forecast of higher unemployment as the budget bottom-line continues to deteriorate.

Uh huh. But everyone's seen the unemployment and growth predictions, and everyone knows it's grim, and everyone knows confidence is down the gurgler, and the majority have formed a view, as the reptiles reminded us yet again today:


They need a poll to discover the government's on the nose? And the news is an EXCLUSIVE?

Meanwhile, the bomb disposal metaphor was taken up in Eric Lobbecke's accompanying illustration:


The pond was immediately reminded of the grand-daddy of cut the 'blue or the red wire' routine, Richard Lester's wretched 1974 'blow the ship up' drama Juggernaut:


The scene's here, if you can stand the accompanying advertisement, but it reminded the pond how Australian politics has now been reduced to a commercial action pot-boiler, and no amount of energy trying to dress up jolly Joe as a star of The Hurt Locker can hide the banality of the concept (is there an email from a Sony executive somewhere to prove the point?)

Anyway, does jolly Joe want to go there, as this ...


... lead to this ...


But back to Hudson, singing a song of reptile lament:

Today’s Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook is the start of the two-step strategy to relaunch the campaign to convince the nation the government’s has the right plan to put the budget on a sustainable footing. But the wrong tone or a repeat of the gaffes that undermined the previous sales job could see the budget and the economy — and Hockey’s future leadership ambitions — explode in the Treasurer’s face. 
He also has to avoid being tangled in the live wire of hypocrisy after years of ridiculing the former government for revenue writedowns that saw it constantly fail to meet claims of a return to surplus. Hockey’s argument is that unlike Labor, which relied on the temporary proceeds of a boom to lock in permanent spending promises, the Coalition has been sideswiped by a rapid deterioration in the terms of trade.

Uh huh. Hudson trots out that reliable fop, Chris Richardson, to reassure anyone that's listening that the government's situation is worse than anything Labor dealt with, as if that's some sort of viable excuse.

Sadly the scales seem to have fallen from the reptiles' eyes, or is that their skin?

The Coalition has failed miserably to communicate a consistent and coherent budget message.

Say that again. A miserable failure?

Before the election there was a “budget emergency” yet it teamed up with the Greens in one of its first acts in government to abolish the debt ceiling and loaded up the deficit. Instead of using the momentum of an election victory, it went quiet for months and kept the Commission of Audit hidden. It was finally released just 12 days before the budget when the harsh measures it recommended took attention from the debate the nation needed to have about the unsustainable rate of growth of the biggest spending areas in the budget, such as Medicare and pensions. 

Uh huh. Do go on.

Australians didn’t understand why they were being asked to pay $7 to visit a GP. 

Might that have anything to do with the way the seven bucks wasn't being spent on the "budget emergency" but instead was lavished on a brand new medical research scheme? (And as for that scheme, why not dip in to Ross Gittins' Medical research future fund: How the trick is done).

And all the while, long after it was necessary or politically wise or useful, Abbott the social engineer still clutched to his bosom his lavish PPL scheme...

So what's the result?

Abbott now says the policy he was forced to dump will be replaced by something “better”, which will only embolden the Senate to say no more often.

Ostensibly that's about the co-payment, but it might well apply to any of the indecisions and the revisions that arise when you have a government drunk on spending on its own pet projects ...

The lizard Oz saw it as a clarion wake-up call for government and public on its front page today:



But Hudson remains a rock-solid reptile, and you have to admire his resilience, as he goes on to do a preview of the government's future strategies and sells us on electorate-friendly solutions:

A childcare and families package will be the centrepiece of the next budget as Abbott’s paid parental leave scheme is watered-down with more focus on the availability and affordability of childcare for low and middle income voters. 

A blowout in the cost of childcare and family payments puts means-testing on the table and the government reckons finding childcare solutions, such as nannies for families who don’t work 9-5, is a winner.

A personal nanny-led recovery is the solution?

A nanny in every home? Every home must have a Mary Poppins for bludgers who are leaners that don't clock on 9-5?

Just listen to yourself you goose ... can't you hear the cackling of the leaner geese?

And yet without a shred of irony, or the slightest hint of a mixed message, Hudson goes on to quote a senior government figure:

“How do you convince Australians that spending less is a good idea. It’s like trying to sell cancer,” he says.


Put that another way:

“How do you convince Australians that pissing money against the wall on nannies is a good idea. It’s like trying to sell the notion that every kid needs to know how to spell supercalifragilisticexpialidocious,” he says.

Here's a government allegedly caught in a dire budget emergency, and determined to do the hard yards, and yet according to a senior government figure, it's already planning its next bout of vote-buying and pandering as a way of saving its hide ...

So where's all the Photoshop from the Murdoch press sending up this nonsense?

No, all you cop today in the reptile editorial is this sort of idle hand-ringing:

Today's release of the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook provides an opportunity for the Abbott government to recast its economic policy, refocus its communications effort and reset the political debate before the end of year. Since the government’s election last year, economic policymaking has often been confused and core messages have run counter to key objectives. The necessary conversation with the Australian people about need for reform was not adequately undertaken in advance of the May budget. With little groundwork prior to the budget, voters were not persuaded about the merits of key policy initiatives designed to fix a problem they couldn’t see. Some initiatives caught voters by surprise, such as the now defunct $7 GP co-payment and the deregulation of university fees. Not surprisingly, both have run into strong Senate resistance, despite the strong public policy case to adopt both. We were told Australia faced a “budget emergency” only to see ministers crab-walk away from that phrase months later. We were promised remedial action to “end the culture of entitlement” but the generous paid parental leave policy seemed to entrench it. Just last week Senate leader Eric Abetz said the economy needed a “reboot” yet Treasurer Joe Hockey rejected that terminology, saying the economy is “fundamentally strong”. Without public or parliamentary support for necessary budget measures coupled with confused messaging, the voters are looking for a steady hand on economic policy and a clear framework for decision-making in the year ahead.


Settle reptiles. Get around behind. A steady hand will see a nanny-led recovery ...

How stupid does it get?

The true state of the economy and the budget will be revealed in MYEFO. This is a test for the government. The Treasurer gave a preview yesterday. He said declining commodity prices — iron ore, coal and wheat — have produced the largest fall in the terms of trade since 1959. It was a sobering message. While the underlying performance of the economy remains relatively strong, we are facing significant headwinds that will further erode the budget bottom line and necessitate economic reform. Mr Hockey characterised the external threat to the budget as a risk to future prosperity and standards of living. He said the budget would be used as a “shock absorber” to counter these external pressures. Although the government did not anticipate a declining iron ore price and the impact this would have on revenue — although we have sounded warnings for many years — the fall from $120 a tonne a year ago to $63 today cannot be ignored. It has rocked the foundation of the budget and poses a risk to our export-dependent economy. Economists are expecting this year’s deficit to be around $40bn — up from $29.8bn forecast in the May budget.


The government did not anticipate a decline in prices ...

Come away Ms Poppins, let us hop into the pond's time machine:

TONY ABBOTT: We've got Martin Ferguson announcing officially this morning that the mining boom is over. 

 LEXANDRA KIRK: The Opposition Leader says that poses some problems for the Government. TONY ABBOTT: How can you have a government whose policy is based on spreading the benefits of the boom now that the boom is officially over? This is a real problem for the Government, it undermines their whole economic strategy.

Hey nonny no, that's enough of August 2012 and The World Today here ...

As for this pandering government, that talks tough but veers away from any notion of taxing the rich or ending assorted rorts, from negative gearing to superannuation, which favour the well-off, what an abject failure, and hypocrites to boot they are ...

Is there an upside?

Well yes, with jolly Joe as the dancing bear in the circus, we've been spared more yet talk of Peter Credlin, so we can focus on the policy makers and their nanny led recovery ...

Well let the pond get in a pre-emptive 'bah humbug'. This is a government now so scared of its own shadow, and of the wrath of the electorate, and so deeply mired in its previous bungles and bumbles and hypocrisies, that the best they can offer is a field day for journalists, who once jolly Joe Hockey speaks, immediately race off to the archive to discover the way he said exactly the opposite only a few days before ...

...Diamond Joe's about to unveil a massive further deficit with no possible surplus in sight in tomorrow's midyear fiscal and economic outlook. 
And, again, that would be reasonable except that that Hockey's entire pitch for the gig was that he had miraculous powers of economic sorcery. It doesn't help that he mercilessly hammered former treasurer Wayne Swan for relying on pathetic excuses like the existence of the Global Financial Crisis. Needless to say, opposition leader Bill Shorten is in a revengey sort of a mood. 
 "Joe Hockey said, when he got to power with Tony Abbott, that they would be in surplus within the first year, then within the first term," he said yesterday. "I'm surprised they haven't said 'the cat ate my homework' before Monday's mini-budget." 
Joe's cat was unavailable for comment.

Yes, it's zinger Bill and that mainstream media Street man trying hard here to make ranting bloggers redundant ...

Ah well, just time for a little Eliot:

And indeed there will be time
For the slinky deficit that slides along the street,
Rubbing its feline Hockey cat back upon the window panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder a budget 
And create a nanny-led recovery,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate; 
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions
And thousands of sackings in time for Christmas ...

Time to turn back and descend the stair,
Cigar in hand,
With a bald spot in the middle of my surplus— 
(They will say: “How his surplus is growing thin!”)
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the Diamond Joe chin,
My blue necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin—
(They will say: “But how his surplus is so thin!”)
Do I dare 
Disturb the universe?
In a minute there is time
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse.
And sackings to generate confidence 
For I have known them all already, known them all:
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, 
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons;
And my deficits with WA iron ore loaders;
I know the voices dying with a dying fall
Beneath the music from a farther room.
So how should I presume? 

And I have known the eyes already, known them all -
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase,
Budget shock absorber
Nanny led recovery
And when I am pinned and wriggling on the wall,
Then how should I begin
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways?
And endless hypocrisies and follies.
And should I then presume?
And how should I begin?

Well it's like this you see,
It's been a bit of a bummer world price wise
But we have in hand a nanny-led recovery
Which will see all those retrenched just before Xmas
Ready to tackle a brave new world of discovery ...

Ah well,  the pond doesn't usually repeat its cartoons, but really the pond feels like repeating this David Pope effort endlessly, in the run up to Christmas (and more Pope here).



Sunday, December 14, 2014

On a meditative Sunday, the pond wonders what happens to the testicles ...




In the usual way, the Catholic church has been busy in these last few days speculating about a place no one has seen, no one has visited, and from which no one has ever returned, with one alleged exception, and he heard voices, and frequently talked to himself, and anyway he's been gone a couple of thousand years, without anything further by way of new news.

Naturally the reports sent theologically inclined Catholics into a frenzy about the mainstream media:

2) Why do we have reason to be suspicious? 
First, because the common theological opinion for centuries has been that the souls of animals do not survive death. 
Second, because this is just the kind of sensationalistic story that the media loves to get wrong. 
Third because we have the same words being attributed to two different events: The Wednesday audience at which the remarks were allegedly made occurred on November 26, but the donkey-giving event occurred later. 
Fourth, because the Apostle Paul never wrote anything comforting a child who was morning the death of his dog. Anybody who has read his epistles knows this. In fact, just do an online search of St. Paul’s epistles, and you’ll see what I mean. There is only a single passage (Philippians 3:2) where St. Paul refers to dogs, and there he isn’t comforting a boy. He’s using the term as a way of referring to people who do bad stuff. 
Fifth, St. Paul certainly never wrote that “One day we will see our animals again in eternity of Christ. Paradise is open to all God’s creatures.” That’s just not in the New Testament. Anywhere. 

3) Do the reasons for suspicion deepen if you look further into the story? 
You bet. While many secular news agencies are carrying this story, you know who isn’t? 
The Vatican’s own news agencies. You can do searches on News.va for terms like animals or dog and you won’t find any articles about Pope Francis saying that animals go to heaven. 
You might even find a story denying this if they get around to posting a denial for the benefit of the world press. 
You can also read the entire text of the Wednesday audience where Pope Francis allegedly made the remarks. He doesn’t say anything like what is attributed to him. 
And, if that’s not enough, you can watch the video of the entire papal audience, including the stuff before and after it, like where he’s riding around St. Peter’s Square in the popemobile, and you can see for yourself that at no point does Francis make such remarks—nor is a crying child ever brought to him for words of comfort. (here - may be slow to load - for more, including the links, and what Francis allegedly said, and more about the nature of heaven, without any indication that the writer has actually visited the place and returned with details of the visit).

Now the pond has visited heaven, and knows exactly what it is - a wonderful country club, with great entertainment and facilities for angry elderly white men. The pond even returned with a few snaps:





What a great place, so why shouldn't there be a few doggies floating about? Not to mention moggies.

Yes you can sell anything to Americans including heaven with a decent golf course and dry matinies and some condo in Boulder as a vision of heaven ... and never mind what those pet-hating Catholic conservative writers might say about the beasts in and out of the fields ...

As always, in the event of great theological debate, some might like to resort to the Catholic Encyclopaedia here, on the matter of soul, where it seems that animals don't carry much clout, even human ones, whatever Christ might have been doing blathering about lambs and riding a horse, or the dove being roped in as the holy spirit.

It seems pretty clear cut in another part of the Encyclopaedia, here:

If plants and animals are to remain, either all of them will, or some of them. If all of them, then dumb animals, which had previously died, will have to rise again just as men will rise again. But this cannot be asserted for since their form comes to nothing, they cannot resume the same identical form. On the other hand if not all but some of them remain, since there is no more reason for one of them remaining for ever rather than another, it would seem that none of them will. But whatever remains after the world has been renewed will remain for ever, generation and corruption being done away. Therefore plants and animals will altogether cease after the renewal of the world.

Yes, that passes as theology in Catholic land.

There's a lot more speculation and blather by the unwitting about the unknowable, but the pond prefers to get its notions from more respectable sources. There is, of course, a long history of impeccable theological and philosophical conclusions on hand thanks to able contributors to The New Yorker:








Oops, those last two seemed a little strange.

Never mind, and never mind that the next two New Yorker cartoons aren't really about heaven.

After that parade of deep theological thinking on a meditative Sunday, the pond was ready for a Peter Credlin cartoon:


And one for Tony Abbott: