Monday, May 30, 2011

In which the pond celebrates a wealth of ad hominem attacks by odd hominems ...

(Above: found here at Behind the Lines: satirical snapshots for 2010, but somehow it seemed to evoke the current loonatic Murdoch media mood).

Dick Gross can be regularly relied on to deliver silliness in the supposed cause of atheism, as if atheism should be an organised movement because of the faith everyone believes in, like, y'know, it's some kind of religion.

Things would be a lot simpler if he just announced he'd rediscovered his lost faith in the attic, put it on and discovered it wasn't just a bad fit - but instead, in The Devil wears evolution, he exceeds himself in silliness.

I suggest that atheist groups transform themselves so that those atheists who so choose can insinuate themselves and reside happily in faiths as atheistic Catholics or say, agnostic Hindus or say godless Jews.

Yep, if you want to do the right thing by atheism, you hang around inside the cathedral, do a takeover and soon enough we'll have an atheist pope. Gross thinks this is such a jolly good idea, he has another crack at it, while delivering a back hander to "angry" atheists:

We should collaborate with the progressives and stop bashing those who believe. We should give Humanism a go for a few decades or centuries but simultaneously join or rejoin our faiths and reform from the inside. There are nominal believers there who would welcome us.

What do you think?

Is angry atheism alienating?

And so on and so forth. But where's all the anger coming from?

Gross's suggestion that atheists need to infiltrate religions, take over and reform faiths from the inside, is so profoundly silly and funny that he generates gales of laughter ...

Well at least it took the pond's mind away from the onerous, burdensome task on a Tuesday of reading that desiccated coconut Gerard Henderson, on call with It's all hot air from the jet-setting eco brigade.

At least Henderson's column quashed the notion of the pond joining the Sydney Institute, beavering away for a century or so, and transforming the place into a haven for liberal atheist secularist humanists, with a scientific bent. Who could stand the mental torture?

Henderson delivers by now the standard bashing of Cate Blanchett, and anyone else who dares to catch a plane and head offshore for whatever reason.

Henderson has never been comfortable discussing the actual science of climate change - he knows he's out of his depth - but he can be found elsewhere discussing the relevance of ad hominem attacks, so what better way of producing a 'get out of science' card, and proving his point about ad hominem attacks than flaying Cate Blanchett for having a very large carbon footprint, living in a Hunters Hill mansion and travelling the world to practise her art.

In which case I wonder why we should listen to righteous sanctimonious claptrap from Henderson, for the Sydney Institute no doubt has a very large carbon footprint as it practices its cabal-ish conservative arts.

But no, instead it's the usual stuff about the "many who live in the inner cities or wealthy suburbs close to the CBD" looking down on the 'burbs, as if Henderson himself has a clear view from his eerie in 41 Phillip Street Sydney, in the heart of the city, and awfully close to the thuggee boofhead ways of the rugby league tribe.

No doubt it's also handily close to a club or two where the conservative elite can gather to discuss their concern for the suburbs, but let's not brood about the amount of carbon produced by the hot air therein ...

Meanwhile, not content with Blanchett, Henderson rounds up an eclectic bunch with personal carbon emissions the envy of most Australians, including Tim Flannery, Tim Costello, Dick Smith, Clover Moore, Al Gore and sometime partner Tipper, and Sting, and then the usual predictable blather erupts once more:

Support for the carbon tax is highest among well-educated Australians who enjoy relatively secure employment or comfortable retirement - many of whom live in the inner cities.

Yep, there it is again, the crime of being well educated and well off. But hang on, what do we make of rich conservatives who are well off, like Gina and Twiggy?

It is true that the wealthy miners such as Gina Rinehart and Andrew Forrest publicly opposed the Rudd government's proposed mining tax. But they were urging others to do the same. It was a case of: "Do as I do."

Do as I do and ship the guts of Australia off to China and become a billionaire? Or do as I do, which is protest in the streets to save the billions for the billionaires?

Who knows, because Henderson, when it comes to the rights of billionaires, is a dab hand at special pleading and somehow this mystical command to 'do as I do' becomes a wonderful contrast to the tree huggers who say 'do as I say but please don't do as I do.'

As for actual climate science?

Well for that we have to turn to Hall and Oates, and diddy doo wop, oh oh oh oh, diddy doo wop, oh oh, well, it starts in my head and it ends when I stop, keep singing diddy do wop ... or perhaps baby do what you do do so well you do do me so swell, do do ...

Oh by the way, a few readers might wonder what ad hominem means, since Latin pedantry has retreated in recent times, apart from Christopher Pearson.

Well the dictionary explains it's appealing to personal considerations, rather than to logic or reason, and it has its very own wiki, which begins

An ad hominem (Latin: "to the man"), short for argumentum ad hominem, is an attempt to link the truth of a claim to a negative characteristic or belief of the person advocating it.

The wiki goes on to note that ad hominem is sometimes described as a logical fallacy, but in fact sometimes questions of personal conduct, character, motives and such like can be relevant to an issue, which indeed, given Henderson's perpetual state of righteous indignation about the inner city elites, is why the pond feels comfortable calling him a prattling Polonius or a desiccated coconut, or since the terms are not exclusive, a desiccated Polonius ...

Of course it doesn't prove anything for or against climate change science, but it's as emotionally as satisfying as the anal argumentation provided by Gerard Henderson, and his suggestion that all who think there might be something to climate science should immediately stop all international travel and go live in a garret ...

Finally, just a couple of footnotes celebrating wonderful contributions to the pond.

First a gold leaf with egg splatter to Terry McCrann for his efforts in Don't fight a hotter world, prepare for it:

The Prime Minister should try to open an LNG plant or a new coalmine in monthly or even fortnightly lockstep with every new coal-fired power station in China. And if that flags, with new ones in India.

Only economic growth can generate the economic surplus to be spent on building what might be termed the global warming tsunami sea walls, whether figurative or indeed literal.

Well played Tezza and the pond has unilaterally voted that you be the one to stand on the coastline and hold back the tsunami, whether it is figurative or indeed literal. Please start your coast watch duties this week ...

But Tezza saw the gold medal snatched away from him by Alan Jones, featured this week in Media Watch being a vile, domineering, bullying, ignorant and ill-mannered proponent of hyperbolic gestures. (Lessons in hyperbolic gestures).

Whenever The Australian carries on about the ABC, all the ABC has to do is offer me another episode of Media Watch, and all is well. At the end of the segment, you'll see that ACMA has begun an investigation into 2GB's coverage of the climate change debate.

No doubt in due course after much pedantry and paperwork, they'll produce a pigeon feather, and use it to give the station a vigorous slap on the cheek.

Meanwhile, Jones will continue to blather like a first class loon, the loudest, most hypocritical and ignorant loon on the pond. That's why we have a special corner for him, and never, never listen to the man, but loved the way Media Watch nailed him for his breathtaking gall and hypocrisy, as he proposed that David Karoly was a corrupt scientist dancing to the dictates of government because he who pays the piper calls the tune ... as if Jones himself hasn't danced to all sorts of weird pipers and tunes ...

So much ad hominem stupidity in the land, so little time to return all the blows with ad hominem pleasure ...

Meanwhile, as opposed to all the attacks on Blanchett and the like, there's some actual news involving carbon and the climate. Leaked report shows record carbon emissions, and the implications thereto are stories doing the rounds outside the ad hominem crowd. Not that you'd know it from reading the commentariat or the minions of Murdoch.

Keep bringing those brown coal stations on line Tezza ... it's the only way forward ...

(Below: an ad pigginum attack on denialism).

At last, the pond discovers a new rule for rich people ...

(Above: a rich person mouthing off.

Below: there, that's how it's done, softly, softly, sweetly whispering into the ear of the beloved).

Thank the lord it's now official.

Rich people should keep their traps shut, stay out of the kitchen, avoid any policy flames in their vicinity, and just go quietly about the business of looting the countryside and increasing their riches.

This might seem a tad unfair to Gina Rinehardt, who is beyond filthy rich, and who has bought into shares in Fairfax and the Ten Network just so the media does take notice of her voice, but there you go, what's good for a latte sipping culture vulture or two should surely be good for her as well.

We look forward to Barners denouncing Rinehardt - or even giving her a good mole whacking - the next time she pops her head above the surface, and complains about things like the mining tax.

Luckily the pond even has a prepared script for him, ready and raring to go:

"I think that Gina Rinehart is a marvellous miner, a beautiful person and a wonderful Australian, but the relationship between that and a person who is, unfortunately, is already doing it tough in their life, who's under the pump already because they can't afford their power bill... what do they get from her campaign against a mining tax?

"Gina, we can't support you on this one, this is wrong because you're really going to hurt people Gina, you really are."
(and here's where we borrowed the idea for the script).

The naked stupidity of Barners and the minions of Murdoch who ran with that line fell apart pretty quickly, and there was scattered return of fire from various quarters as people explained that rich people had a right to participate in public debates, so the next spin from those gate keepers came with a slightly better based attack ... on the quality of the advertisement.

There's a sample of that tack here in Shoot the messengers, and send them to Bonnie Doon, courtesy of punch-drunk Anthony Sharwood, as he explains how he would have done the ad and defends his fellow minions:

The stars of the ad, and its makers, are today arguing that Rupert Murdoch’s evil foot soldiers are attacking the ad as a kind of gratuitous blood sport. No. The papers aren’t spinning bullshit. But they happen to be very, very good at detecting it.

Except, it seems, in the case of free flowing Sharwood-style bullshit, or the bullshit flowering in the Murdoch rags and which flows as freely as the bullshit that flows from the more rustic class-minded members of the National Party.

Sharwood's solution to the mining tax in the very same breath-taking article?

And to those who kicked up the same sort of stink that Big Mining kicked up when the Mining Tax was being kicked around, Gillard might have cited last week’s figures, showing Australia now has more billionaires than ever before, 35 to be precise, the bulk in the resources sector.

Um Anthony, the people who were kicking up the shit storm over the Big Mining tax were very rich people, and the minions of Murdoch and Dr. No.

Still, I like the idea, I like the notion that rich people should simply shut the fuck up.

Sorry big Mal, we were counting on you for some policy ideas up against the populist policy vacuum known as Dr. No, but rules is rules.

And while we're at it, what a jolly clever way the Queensland government has hit upon to silence any uppity blacks. Whack them with a media ban! That should make them STFU.

Back at the time Lex Wotton was sent down, and then given parole for his role in the Palm Island riots - concerning the way an unfortunate copper simply stumbled over a prone man and somehow managed to do him in - Wotton was handed various parole conditions, including a ban on speaking to the media.

Back then the typical comments from the white shoe brigade focussed on how he'd been let out early, and how nobody did their time these days and how unfair it was that the blacks should be restless (Palm Island riot ringleader Lex Wotton set free but banned form speaking to media).

They sure are funny in Queensland, what with the notion of free speech seeming but a mere passing whim or fancy, and with the notion that Wotton seemed up there on a par with David Hicks, and so deserved a media ban.

Unhappily, Wotton has decided to challenge the media gag, by taking an appeal to the High Court. (Palm Island ringleader appeals against media ban).

This is most unseemly and unfortunate and flies right in the face of all that the Murdoch media desires of people who might want to express a point of view. What on earth could Wotton have to say to the media, and why on earth should he be allowed to say it? Shocking ... shouldn't he just STFU?

Yep, so we're back with our new theme song.

Why don't they just all shut the fuck up, and leaving things to the Murdoch media and Dr. No? Then all would be silent, so that Anthony Sharwood could just rant on and on about the one-eyed loudmouth organised Left, and the lack of nuance in their predictable rants.

Sharwood himself is utterly unpredictable. Who would guess how he'd deal with the left?

Because the Left was spawned, and often still dwells, on university campuses, it habitually laments the lack of proper dialogue in public debate, the fact that no one reads anymore. The masses are belittled as unthinking, and desperately in need of guidance beyond the daily sound bite.

Does Sharwood have the first clue just how fuckwitted that sounds?

What a caricature, what a stereotype, how very anon edit in The Australian, how very Gerard Henderson in Fairfax he sounds.

Does he think half the population which voted for the ALP and/or the Greens, and so spawned a minority government dwell on university campuses, and everybody in the 'masses' are desperately in guidance from the Daily Terror and the HUN, anything but the filthy university lefties lurking on campus?

Could anybody reduce the debate to a lower level of predictability?

It's such lazy, stereotypical writing that the only thing that astonishes and produces unpredictability is that Sharwood failed to mention lattes and chardonnay.

Presumably he exhausted that line of whittery when he twitteried "Everyone knows that people who eat poached eggs are the new latte wankers" (here), as a feed to another column.

(Above: a screen cap of a twitter).

Well others who are better placed than me have observed the confected outrage and hypocrisy of the minions of Murdoch, who now run a party line more watertight than Tony Abbott can manage with his recalcitrant front bench (and you can pursue this further with Bernard Keane in 'Carbon Cate' and the confected outrage of News Limited, wherein he ticks off various boxes, including the one about rich people needing to shut the fuck up, most notably Rupert 'please shut the fuck up' Murdoch, who by any comparison with Cate Blanchett has surely far less idea of the suffering of Joe Blow in the 'burbs).

All this is most burdensome for the pond, since Cate Blanchett and her film roles normally produces a sturdy and toxic reaction.

But the sheer irrational hatred and class bitterness and attitude to interfering arty wankers is really something to see.

And the funniest thing in all this?

The likes of Barners and Anthony Sharwood pretending this is all about the suburbs, and invoking class war as some kind of basis for the discussion (though strangely eighty per cent of the punters who voted in the utterly unscientific Fairfax poll attached to Blanchett exposed for the 'crime' of speaking up thought she had a right to express her point of view).

Like Dr. John Hewson speaking out, though who knows how rich he is these days ... did he cross the line into 'shut the fuck up' territory, and should we feel appropriate envy and anger?

And the saddest contribution of all?

Dick Smith, who squibbed turning up in the ad because he feared an assault by the minions of Murdoch, and who in his contrition dared to suggest the minions might be sending out mixed messages.

Mr Smith earlier said that while Mr Murdoch believed climate change should be addressed, the views of the many papers he owned were contradictory.

"In their editorials they say they accept that human-induced climate change is a real danger ... yet their news pages and opinion pieces are full of endless attacks on politicians and others who support putting a price on carbon," he said. (I was gutless over climate ads: Dick Smith).

Dick, Dick, you did fine.

You did what we all now expect of rich people.

You shut the fuck up ...

Now for the lord's sake, if only we can persuade Rupert Murdoch to shut the fuck up, and so stop another rich person telling us what to think and how to think ...

(Below: that's right Dick, stick to selling dinkum food, and otherwise STFU).

Sunday, May 29, 2011

In which the latte sipping crowd listen to Bobby and cheer on human rights in China and Saudi Arabia, thanks to Barry Cohen ...

(Above: perhaps the end lyrics should read Saudi Arabia, I'll give you weaponry to shelter from the storm).

Belatedly, long after its over, we pause to recognise the birthday of Bob Dylan:

The funny thing about Dylan was that he changed the landscape of an earth which he ceased to inhabit with anything like the same power of innovation himself.

Well I guess we know what Peter Craven was trying to say. He likes early Dylan better than middle or late Dylan.

If you want a convoluted thesis explaining this, along with the bizarre notion that Dylan is simply an invention of baby boomers (perhaps in much the same way as Shakespeare hasn't been much use to anyone since Elizabethans shuffled off this mortal coil), then hustle along to Peter Craven's Dylan's times, they changed everything.

It would be unfair to blame Dylan for all the gibberish and excruciating writing that's been trotted out to celebrate his birthday - a bit like blaming Shakespeare for the screeds of excessive, myopic and wretched text surrounding him - but surely enough is enough.

The most excruciating, typically enough, came from Michael Henderson in The Spectator, typically enough reprinted in The Australian under the header Bob Dylan: Still on the road and still pulling the crowds, wherein Henderson explains sagely how Bobby isn't a genius like Lorenz Hart or Ira Gerswhin or Stephen Sondheim. Perhaps we can now look forward to Henderson's explanation that Mozart isn't a genius like Beethoven, Mahler or Wagner.

Henderson manages to find grace in one record Blood on the Tracks (1975) - because it's absent cringe-making protest songs, jokers and clowns - whereas Craven finds Dylan's career ended in 1966 with Blonde on Blonde. Is there anything more stupid than the sight of people elevating their personal taste to some kind of exemplary canon?

Meanwhile, we gird our loins, or don our chastity belt for the Monday ritual of reading Generally grumpy Paul Sheehan, and what a relief, because Sheehan is yet again railing against and reviling various NSW institutions, as you can see in Crippling blow to a destructive machine.

This will be of no use or interest to anyone except those with a fixation on navel fluff, but for what it's worth, the NSW Industrial Relations Commission continues to be the source of all NSW's woes, except for WorkCover, which shares the blame, because it disgracefully has achieved five times the rate of prosecution and conviction for workplace safety violations compared to Victoria or Queensland.

It's all the fault of the unions, and the Greens prostrating themselves to their union paymasters, so here's hoping that Sheehan encounters a stapler in his workplace, and it accidentally fills him full of staples. Now that should make him even grumpier.

Meanwhile, for a rant that truly rallies a full blown set of stereotypes and the prejudices, the pond must look further afield, and there coming to the rescue is Barry Cohen with Left ignores the truly oppressed.

Cohen leads with his right steel capped boot as he explains how few countries in the Middle East have ever experienced 'freedom':

This must come as a shock to the motley collection of left-wing academics, students, trade unionists, journalists and the idiot brigade that controls Sydney's Marrickville council.

Indeed. Quite possibly it also must come as a shock to the United States and its lickspittle fellow travellers, who year in and year out, have enabled the kind of oppression to be found in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, to name just a couple of prominent western allies.

The current rumbling from the underground of Saudi Arabian women who want to be allowed to drive - a practise banned in 1990 because "Women's driving of cars contradicts the sound Islamic attitude of the Saudi citizen, who is jealous about his sacred ideals" - is just the most bizarre moment in recent attempts to give some basic human rights to women in the kingdom (David Randall: Miffed over free speech? Try being a woman driver in Saudi Arabia).

It almost goes without saying that Saudi Arabia contributed 15 Saudi nationals to the 19 hijackers identified as being responsible for 9/11, and that its government funds virulent Wahhabism throughout the world.

The United States response to what is a profoundly undemocratic and repressive regime? Let's revert to a couple of wiki moments:

... On October 20, 2010, U.S. State Department notified Congress of its intention to make the biggest arms sale in American history - an estimated $60.5 billion purchase by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. The package represents a considerable improvement in the offensive capability of the Saudi armed forces. (here for more details).

And along with George Bush's visits, and King Abdullah's return visits in 2008 came the happy proposition that ...

...human rights in the kingdom including women’s rights, religious rights, and free speech rights is not in any way considered an obstacle in the relationship since the relationship focuses more on government-oriented issues rather than public-oriented issues. (wiki)

Here's hoping that a wanker like Cohen never actually has to visit Saudi Arabia in company with a woman and expect her to drive because he's imbibed a little too much, thereby risking the wrath of the religious police.

It almost goes without saying that back in the day when Cohen was a righteous member of the Hawke government, toeing the line on Saudi Arabia went with the turf, which makes his blather about the motley collection of lefties unaware of what happens in the middle east all the more offensive.

Just as you can discover that Hawke himself is still at it, leading a trade mission last year for Australian businesses to get down and do business with countries like Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates (Bob Hawke in Gulf trade push). But then Hawke saw nothing wrong with doing the dance with Burma, until a few people pointed out the obvious ...

The bottom line in the Cohen tirade, him being an apologist for everything Israeli, is that the more the Arab regimes can be painted as oppressive, and repressive, the more Israel comes out smelling of roses, with a 'get out of jail' card for its own various and extensive crimes. (How many other countries can manage to build a Berlin wall and be acclaimed for its humanitarian activities?)

Cohen even has the cheek to note Freedom House's worst of the worst category in relation to 'freedom' which, along with the likes of Belarus, Chad, the Ivory Coast, Syira and Western Sahara, also includes Saudi Arabia and China.

So it's only lefties and the loons at Marrickville council that ignores the lack of liberties and the oppression in China?

Tell that to Gina Rinehart and the Minerals Council of Australia (perhaps you might like to read the clarion call for human rights in China in the Minerals Council of Australia's submission to the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in relation to an Australia/China FTA. Caution: irony alert set to high).

Meanwhile, Cohen is still blathering on in a predictable way about the usual stereotypes:

Which begs the question. Why did they remain silent all those years? How did the "geniuses" in our universities, the media, trade unions and politics get conned by the propaganda of the Palestinians and their Arab cohorts? Was it stupidity, ideology and bribery or just the latest fad of the cafe latte set who searched to find something to replace their love affair with the Soviet Union and its satraps when they collapsed in 1989?

Which begs the question. When is Cohen going to do something about the mote in his historical eye when it comes to countries like Saudi Arabia and China? Or is the desire to buy oil and sell coal and iron ore the guide to and bottom line for all things concerning human rights?

Well having dropped the standard red flag about the latte set - as if no one drinks good coffee in Israel - he wraps it up with another rhetorical flourish:

To pretend the proposals being put forward by the Palestinians and their supporters are a peaceful solution is ignorance, stupidity or blatant anti-semitism.

Of course you could just as easily scribble:

To pretend the proposals being put forward by the the right wing Israeli government and their supporters are a peaceful solution is ignorance, stupidity or blatant anti-semitism towards the semitic Arab population of the Middle East.

Sadly solutions rarely emerge from the one eyed, especially the one eyed who think evoking the caffe latte set is a form of wit, or perhaps a definitive kind of knockdown argument.

But then Cohen has found a wonderful forum in his old age - it almost goes without saying that it's The Australian - wherein he can be free to rant about such things as marriage equality because it'll lead to bestiality, paedophilia and cats and dogs living together.

Come to think of it, Cohen himself isn't far from the best thinkers of the middle east when it comes to oppression, as you'll discover if you re-acquaint yourself with Opposing gay marriage doesn't mean I'm barking, wherein the oppression of homosexuals and equal rights is judged to be a good and right thing.

Come on Bazza, hit us with an explanation of how Opposing women drivers doesn't mean I'm barking ... (and for a little more fun with that, see Barry Cohen embarrasses himself in his old age).

Then Bazza can get on with the business of sorting the middle east so that Israel keeps everything, and a little more, all in the nonsensical name of human rights and democracy.

Tell that to the Arabs kicked out of the land called Israel and denied the right to return, while refugees from Russia litter the landscape and produce the likes of ratbags like Avigdor Lieberman and the Yisrael Beiteinu party ...

Whether or not you think of Lieberman, as Martin Peretz does, as a neo-fascist, a certified gangster, and the Israeli equivalent of Jörg Haider, it's typical of Cohen to lump everything at the feet of the latte-sipping set.

Guess that means Lieberman loves his coffee too ...

(Below: a hawk in search of coffee?)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Kalling all konspiracy theorists, there's a konspiracy happening somewhere right now, perhaps right next to you ...

(Above: screen cap of the Menzies House blog post that shows how clever it is to do the KKK routine. Link below).

For those with a taste for irony, the Menzies House site is a rich and perhaps under-appreciated source of iron.

Take Janet Thompson's The Idiocy Continues, which starts off in fine fettle, with an eye-catching sub-header:

The left seem to have an obsession with doomsday senarios, Janet Thompson.

Some of the lefties that Thompson immediately identifies?

Well there's John writing Revelations, no doubt the very first mystical Marxist, and then there's Nostradamus, a veritable prince of the lefties, what with his prophecies about cross-eyed leftists taking over the world, and Malthus, for all that he was an Anglican curate in the Surrey countryside who became a professor of History and Political Economy at the East India College, and a fellow of the Royal Society.

Yep, these dudes are Marxist socialist lefties right up there with Rachel Carson and Michael Moore.

At that point, you realise that shoe-horning and cheerful misapprehension of the facts is Thompson's style, and it doesn't take a Nostradamus to know that she'll trot out the standard climate science denialism, including but not limited to the splendid notion that nine billion people on the planet is going to be jolly good fun and all will dine well, as they currently do at the moment (and perhaps that will leave more time for jolly hockey sticks).

Never mind posting some rice to the starving millions in Asia because (a) you can never rely on a government run postal service (b) the postage is too expensive in socialist run postal services and (c) Thompson and her merry band have already fixed it.

Thompson berates Tim Flannery, in the house style, for being a scientist who dabbles outside his field, and then in her notes explains proudly that she's an economist, primary producer, mother of four, and dabbler outside her fields (except she's clearly doing her bit for population growth, and perhaps sees this as some kind of merit badge and a knock down argument, though why she thinks I should care a whit or a jot about her motherhood status when it comes to discussing climate change must remain a mystery).

Of course if this kind of logic is taken to its logical conclusion, nobody could say anything about anything outside their fields, but since the pond's field is waffling, hey, we have a get out of jail card. Let's hear it for the wofflers ... or must we restrict our comments to our undoubted expertise in macrame in the future?

Moving right along, and speaking of the idiocy continuing, Andy Semple offers up a post headed Barnett thinks Chinese understand business and WA better than the Kanberra Komrades Kommunity (KKK) aka ALP.

Dearie me, author Andy Semple, what a splendid and klever konceit, Krunching Krappy Komparisons into Kornball KKK humour. Strange fruit indeed, as the song said to the lynching mob. So much more sophisticated and witty than Labtards, which after all might offend retards ...

As if to prove that it's not just lefties that have bizarre konspiracy and doomsday scenarios theories littering their konks, Andy 'KKK' Semple koncludes his piece thus in relation to WA:

Is that the sound of the secession clock I hear ticking?

Did you check the wind up Chinese clock on your bedside table first Andy?

I hear they tick very loudly because of the spring mechanism, a bit like the raucous sound of kuckoo klocks. Still, your tag "speak without fear and Question with Boldness" is incredibly krafty and kompelling, and it's grand to see libertarians in bed with the Chinese government, home of libertarian movements and freedom fighters ...

Yes, indeedie, and cigarette packaging will fund terrorists who will run rampant in Bali, speaking of kompelling konspiracy theories.

Of course the pond would love a civil war with Western Australia. The comparisons are eerie and compelling. The United States had a population around the 31 million mark when it started its civil war, a mere spittoon's spitting distance from Australia's current population, and we're heading in the right direction as Janet Thompson pushes things along.

And what better way to stimulate the economy? Come to think of it, why not a war with the Northern Territory at the same time, seeing as it's always in a bludging mess and with a chip on its shoulder about the Berrimah line. We'd love to see Queensland taken down a notch, full as it is of stereotypical vulgar white shoes. (There no Christian Louboutin shoes, no Louboutin there, of the kind that gives rich inner urban elites such rich pleasure).

Sadly South Australia would be a push over (given the way they build Collins class submarines) but still the idea of secession, revolution and chaos is a grand one, and an alliance between a breakaway WA and China to take over the other states is a perfect way to solve the GST dilemma, and show that klever konceits like this one are really a kind of new libertarian Nostradamus routine. I see the future, and it involves secession, or perhaps the death of John Lennon.

It could be the deep north and the west v the liberal elite in the south, and perhaps South Australia could play California, but please not fair to join with Tasmania as some Californian secessionists wanted to do with Oregon.

A few grumps suggested that Semple's kleverly krafted komparisons were a tad far fetched, which naturally roused Andy to indignation:

Lefties, just like the noted individuals above, are sour, boot-faced people with no sense of humour. They behave this way because they are motivated by grievance and envy, neither of which is a sentiment guaranteed to put joy in one's heart. They seek offence where none is intended; they strive to suppress the individuality of expression; and they like to control others.

No offence is intended with a KKK komparison? Well what on earth was the point of the komparison? Perhaps we think Semple looks like the back side of a baboon, but we hastily add that no offence was intended by that kind of genial comparison.

We look forward to Andy's comedy stylings at the next Jewish feast he attends. How about putting on a Nazi uniform - as Royals are wont to do - then read out the collective highlights of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf. And if some uppity bolshy Jew gets upset, explain that they're sour boot-faced people with no sense of humour, and are motivated by grievance and envy in the Jewish way, and they're seeking offence when none is intended. Finish it off with a show stopping performance of Springtime for Hitler.

It should turn the Jewish feast into a riot. A guaranteed winner ... and if anyone complains, what a bunch of boot-faced grumps.

But wait, Andy has even deeper philosophical insights:

Humour, whose main purpose throughout existence has been to deflate such priggish, pompous, and sour attitudes, are therefore the enemies of the leftie - who wishes to standardise attitudes and behaviour, and whose political goal is to enforce and inflict as much control as possible over others.

Don't you just love a zealot who puts people into boxes and categorises them, then opines about standardised attitudes and behaviour, and rabbits on in the most paranoid fashion about political goals aiming to enforce and inflict as much control as possible over others?

Of course in a bar, mano a mano, it could be sorted in a much simpler fashion. Semple calls leftie a Klu Klux Klan lover, leftie calls Semple a fuckwit and glasses him, Semple is rushed to hospital moaning about how people are priggish, pompous and sour, and the whole thing's done and dusted in a trice. All before the six o'clock swill has finished ...

But enough talk of Semple and swill, since we wouldn't want to offend any pigs in the audience, because that would inevitably bring up talk of that well known tract written by a socialist Animal Farm, or perhaps that other work of a life long socialist 1984, both of which clearly demonstrate that lefties simply have no sense of humour. Or should that be a half-arsed undergraduate's sense of humour, determined to make South Park sound like Jonathan Swift? Sad to say, but the days of Alexander Pope and Augustan wit are long gone ...

Okay, enough already, it'll be a long time before the pond hits Menzies House again, not when we can get liberal doses of student scribbling courtesy of Honi Soit.

Instead we'll settle back with Miranda the Devine in A festival only for David Hicks, in which she cogently explains how Hicks was a deep and dire threat, only to quote Colonel Morris Davis, who explains how he didn't think Hicks was of sufficient stature to warrant prosecution. It seems Hicks main problem apart from being a fellow traveller and a foolish macho warrior was that he could walk amongst westerners

"In my view, one of the things that made Hicks a real concern, of real value to the other side was he looks like he could walk through any Australian or British or American crowd.

He didn't stand out," he said. "His support for their (the Islamists') cause could potentially be a bigger asset than he turned out to be because he was assimilated into western culture, one of those hapless dupes who got sent out on missions."

Uh huh, and now he walks amongst us, like Frankenstein's monster, though at the time he showed no signs of being a hapless suicide bombing dupe, as opposed to a wanna be macho posturing soldier keen to fire off a few shots to show he was quite manly.

It's a most curious exercise, talking up Hicks and his significance, and at the same time talking down Hicks and his significance. If ever you want to experience schizophrenia in its most direct form, you can always rely on the Devine. But perhaps the most bizarre part of the outing comes with this:

Davis compares Hicks's sentence to a case in Virginia in which a mother and father were sentenced to eight years in prison (reduced to 27 months) because they allowed their son to have alcohol at his 16th birthday party.

To attack Hicks you have to prove the American justice system is fucked in the head?

There's plenty more in the Devine if you want to re-live the culture wars, and the sense of grievance over John Howard's conspicuous failures in relation to Hicks, but as always Miranda the Devine has it all over the likes of Semple when it comes to comedy stylings ...

The pond doesn't have any time for Hicks, but then it doesn't have much time for a society which sends a family down for 27 months for serving alcohol at a 16th birthday party.

Why any Islamic fundamentalist Taliban terrorist would nod approvingly ...

And now a shout out to Andy with this song:

Southern trees bear strange fruit
Blood on the leaves and blood at the root
Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze
Strange fruit hanging from the popular trees

Pastoral scene of the gallant south
The bulging eyes and the twisted mouth
Scent of magnolias, sweet and fresh
Then the sudden smell of burning flesh

Here is fruit for the crows to pluck
For the rain to gather, for the wind to suck
For the sun to rot, for the trees to drop
Here is a strange and bitter cry

Talk about a laugh a minute, and you can laugh along with Billie Holiday performing it on YouTube here. The KKK is just sooh funny ...

(Below: in the matter of thinking right wingers - adopting their ying and yang dualistic simple-minded, black and white, love and hate Robert Mitchum, simplistic view of the world for a minute are priggish boot-faced sour pusses who lack a sense of humour, how do you plead?)

(Below: sock it to me preacher man, give me some of that love, but while you're at it, don't forget the hate. Love that hate).

In which the minions of Murdoch once again rail at liberals, the Irish, Catholics, inner city dwellers and the ABC. Same as it ever was ...

(Above: sorely needed inspiration for the African church).

Last week the pond discreetly overlooked Christopher Pearson's excellent contribution to the keeping of the Catholic church in the nineteenth century, in Sacked Toowoomba bishop discogers Rome's world still law.

Oh there was a fine flurry of high minded high falutin' Latin words as Pearson explained theology to a bishop of the church, and reprimanded him for heresies small and large, including his vox populi vox deo ways and his love of cheap grace.

Lordy, everyone knows grace in the Catholic church must be as expensive as possible, and that the Vatican must be coated in pagan Roman marble for it to provide a suitably splendid way through the eye of the needle, past the mote in the eye, on the camel ride to heaven ...

Actually it's more like keeping a thousand year old tradition of 'sssh, whatever you do, don't mention women and the priesthood' or get agitated about clerical celibacy, as you can discover by reading a thoroughly biased and pedantic wiki Clerical celibacy, that has the paw prints of the church all over it ...

No wonder there was a Reformation for more sensible folks, including monarchs who want to cavort like a modern day Windsor.

Well if we paid scant regard to Pearson's complete predictability, not to worry, there's Angela Shanahan having another go at demonising poor old Bishop William Morris of Toowooba in New wave of conservatism as migrants bolster Catholic church.

Shanahan is enraptured at the way the new world is far more conservative than the old, and on reading the piece you almost expect her to burst into song about the wonderful persecution of homosexuals in Africa (would The Book of Shanahan and Pearson be too off Broadway?)

Her inspiration is Francis Arinze:

In many parts of the world, the family is under siege. It is opposed by an anti-life mentality as is seen in contraception, abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. It is scorned and banalized by pornography, desecrated by fornication and adultery, mocked by homosexuality, sabotaged by irregular unions and cut in two by divorce.

According to Arinze, liberals are brats, and Shanahan too can see the creeping signs of heresy:

... a polarisation is emerging in the Catholic Church between doctrinal and liturgically orthodox minorities (some championing a revival of the Latin mass) and the mainstream, infected in various degrees with irreverence, lax practices and, in its most extreme manifestations, heresy. Pity the confused everyday middle-of-the-road Catholic.

Yes, it's the eye of the camel, and the straining of gnats and liturgical purity all over again, and never mind that Morris took a firm stand against child abuse, and never mind support within an informal meeting of bishops, the secular press have been all over Morris without realising that single handedly he and other liberal ratbags have reduced the influence of the Catholic church, and been conducive to ... gasp ... heresy. Burn him, or at least sack him.

That the simmering discontent of the Australian hierarchy has bubbled over on this issue is not surprising. The church in Australia, both priests and laity, partly because of its origins in the Irish convict-descended underclass, and its traditional links with the Labor movement, has always emphasised social action over doctrinal purity. Since the 70s the Australian church has moved rapidly to the Left, with doctrinal orthodoxy almost gone in many institutions, especially schools. It is a phenomenon of a church under the thrall of secularism that although the schools are bursting with kids, there are no babies crying any more in church on Sunday.

Yes, it's those bloody Irish ratbags, and socialists and leftists and secularists in thrall to heresy rather than doctrinal purity who've ruined the church, while the Pellists do their valiant best to battle climate change and save the world for carbon polluters ...

It was the post-Vatican 11 liberalism that ruined everything, but there is an upside. You know all those boat people that conservatives routinely revile? They're the salvation of the church, turning it aside from that pitiful bog Irish mentality that the church should care for its flock:

... there has been an influx of Catholic immigrants, particularly in Sydney and in Melbourne. The new face of Australian Catholicism is largely Asian, Vietnamese, Filipinos and Indians, particularly in city congregations. Along with this is a revival in conservative practices in Australia, particularly among these groups. This seems to be an indication of something that is obvious across the world.

Oh dear, what a mixed message. Out with the wondrous Anglo-celtic heritage, and in with the conservative retrograde practices of foreigners. Whatever would Pauline Hanson make of it? Well it's anything it takes to do down those pesky naughty liberals:

The church's decline is most obvious in the liberal parishes, with a younger, more vibrant group among the more doctrinally orthodox conservatives.

It's a revolution, I tells ya, and it's sweeping the country, and it's orthodox v liberal, and the liberals are copping a thumping from young conservatives, and so we can continue to see the Pellists battle climate change, homosexuality, and women having a significant role in the church:

This is happening across Australia. This was starkly illustrated during Sydney's World Youth Day in 2008 when, to the shock of many, young people from across the world brought their own orthodox brand to Sydney.

Morri's Toowoomba spruikers should take heed.

Truly the conservative Catholic thinkers seem to have found a home in The Australian - what a strange demographic the rag appeals to - and provide comedy stylings week in, week out.

It almost makes me believe in god sometimes, that she should have led me away from these absurdities into a world where tugging the theological forelock and abasing oneself and donning the cilice for sundry guilts, impurities and unorthodoxies and ideological and theological heresies is no longer seen as the path of heaven, which in any case might simply be what we can make of the life to be led on earth ...

Still we can add liberals in the Catholic church to climate change scientists and spruikers for the NBN as bête noires for the minions of Murdoch. These forsaken lost secularists souls are always ready to be fitted up like patsies and piñatas, and given a good beating.

Oh and we almost forgot the ABC as the other chief bête noire, because the Oz is at it again with the anon editorialist offering up Leadership is needed to reclaim taxpayers' ABC, and Chris Kenny producing a rant about clap happy Mark Scott's interview with The Guardian, leading him to ask the rhetorical question Whose ABC?

It's hard to know what upsets the minions more. The fact that Scott talked to a "progressive" newspaper, or as the anon edit puts it "the left-of-centre newspaper's head of media and technology Dan Sabbagh."

The notion that the ABC is a "market failure broadcaster" has sent the minions into a righteous fury, with the anon edit blaming it all on:

A sly coup by a coterie of like-minded, inner-city staff has commandeered the ABC's transmitters and stipend to broadcast almost exclusively to the vocal minority who share their prejudices.

What, you mean like the minions of Murdoch, who rabbit on almost exclusively about that coterie of like-minded inner city liberals who ruin the Catholic church, are responsible for the NBN, and have engaged in a world wide conspiracy to hide the truth about climate change, which isn't happening?

To top it all off, the anon edit demands relevance and respect for the punters from their ABC, which makes you wonder just what relevance and respect we might expect from the minions as they routinely sink the slipper into women, homosexuals and climate change scientists.

You can read the Chris Kenny hatchet job if you like, but really it's just more of the same, full of the same carping and right wing indignation, which sees the minions of Murdoch paint the world in black and white ideological colours.

What seems to have got up their collective noses is that the ABC has blocked a Freedom of Information application for details of the ABC's audience research, and now we look forward with high expectations and optimism to The Australian revealing all the details of its corporate strategies, in particular the implications of Foxtel taking over Austar ... (and let's while we're at it do a little shout out to Tim Dick doing his thing for Fairfax in Pay TV relentless march of media consolidation, wherein he thinks you need an iQ Foxtel box to watch the second episode of Angry Boys. Hello Tim hello? Why not catch up on the third episode while you can on iView? Still at least you're doing cable cutting, and there should be more of it).

What Kenny argues for in his piece seems to be a kind a dictatorial hierarchical structure where Scott bends the ABC to Kenny's right wing view of the world, and all content is filtered to confirm to the Murdoch line.

Well I guess if Rupert Murdoch is your inspiration and your fearless leader ...

Thank the lord there are alternatives in the world, including a sunny day in Sydney on a Saturday. Enough of this tawdry Murdoch nonsense. There's a life to lead. Enjoy it while you can, and if it involves a little harmless sinning or even a heresy or two, what the hell, toujours gai ...

(Below: finally the truth can be told. Rupert Murdoch left his heart in Adelaide in cold storage, along with his picture of Dorian Gray, but not apparently his desire to privatise the ABC. Rupert Murdoch leaves his heart in Adelaide).

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Of Tony Abbott, Big Mal, pineapples, subbies, Fairfax, and the silliness of Ross Cameron, who thinks you can still catch a tram to Bondi ...

(Above: the cruel photo the Daily Terror used to illustrate its story of Tony Abbott the drunken snoozer. We much prefer the uplifting, enthusiastic, smiling one below, showing the pineapples that Mr. Abbott had earmarked for Malcolm Turnbull's behind).

What a good way to get on the road this Friday, by referencing Don (or is that Prima Donna) Churchill, editor of The Age, and his wondrous ways with customer relations ...


Say no more, and rush off to Crikey's pdf of Churchill's email exchange with a disgruntled Salvo reader on the matter of subbies and sackings, here, wherein Churchill complains of being miss understood. (Crikey backrounder here).

Miss understood? Is she in the same family as Miss chievous and Miss apprehend and Miss take?

By golly the media remains the best entertainment outside the Mad Hatter's tea party, and it's only going to get better as the subbies hit the road. Sorry subbies, especially the ones who snipped the last two pars of my copy holus bolus to make way for yet another advertisement, the end is night, and so are all standards of literarcy. Put the pedel to the metul and hit the raod ... Oh it's a long time ago, but I have a long memory. Why I can even remember when Peter Garrett was a greenie and a socialist.

Sorry, is there a subbie in the house/?

Moving right along, we briefly turn to the matter of big Mal missing a vote. We are truly concerned and find it utterly reprehensible. Big Mal and his indolent gang of fellow travellers disrespected the opposition, its fearless leader, the whips, the people who voted for him, parliamentarians everywhere, and the Australian people, and quite possibly their hard working pets.

Naturally Mr. Abbott had to draw the line, and approve a reprimanding email. Discipline team, and take the ball up the middle, or else you'll end up like NSW (Liberals split by brawling).

On the other hand, it was perfectly understandable, and indeed quite proper for Tony Abbott back in 2009 to miss five divisions in relation to the key economic vote of the new Parliament - the $42 billion fiscal stimulus package - because he feel asleep after a night of drinking (Tony Abbott slept through key vote).

After all, he was merely consoling the Member for 'Iggins, and the member for Ming the Merciless, and it was a mere oversight that he forgot to request leave or a pair. Thankfully taxpayers had provided a crash pad for the honourable member - his office - because he was very tired after all his hard work. Not to mention the plonk. As usual, the pesky media simply refused to understand the necessity of male bonding:

Asked if he was drunk, Mr Abbott said: "That is an impertinent question. I had dinner with the gentlemen you mentioned, there's no doubt we had a couple of bottles of wine, I wasn't keeping count, maybe two.

This is an impertinent question. I'm going to politely hang up now.''

Polite! Always the honourable gentleman, and always happy to share a glass of wine with chums. Big Mal would do well to emulate his ways. Shame, big Mal, shame. Now feel free to go and have a nice glass of red or three ...

Meanwhile, the bubbling booby from Parramatta, Ross Cameron, offers his most excellent contribution to the scientific debate in Bid to stifle climate debate clouds history of scientific errors.

When making decisions about our country's future, we ought not to be dismissive of the wisdom of the traveller on the Bondi tram.

The Bondi tram? What century is the goose living in?

Oh that's right the nineteen fifties. Hang on, didn't they preach marital fidelity and fault and guilt in divorce proceedings in those long lost days?

Sorry, that's a cheap shot, about as cheap as all the shots Cameron takes at climate science, on the principle that if you know bugger all, make sure you spend all the time explaining how actual science won't blow air, or even squeaky helium, into your party ballon.

Cameron even goes as far back as 1841 to Charles Mackay's Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds - and you can read it too if you head off to Project Gutenberg here - seemingly unaware that Mackay spends much of his time celebrating the madness of the crowds who catch Bondi trams.

That Cameron can manage to talk both of the madness of crowds and the wisdom of Bondi tram catching crowds says a lot about his capacity for contradictory thinking, and bugger all about climate science.

Then it's the usual repetitions by rote, including the East Anglia emails, and a further bid for intellectual window dressing by referencing Thomas Kuhn's The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. But in trivialising Kuhn and in making the bald assertion that scientists defend the status quo long after the data shows an underlying thesis must be wrong, you have to ask exactly what data Cameron is relying on to show that the underlying thesis regarding climate change is wrong?

The one thing you can say about Cameron and all the ill-informed gits scribbling for Murdoch is that they don't get out and do any field work and observe what's actually happening and report back, not when they can happily sit at their computers in ill-lit rooms babbling like geeks on Cherry Ripe overdoses about the inaccuracies of computer models.

Well it seems that the main evidence Cameron has to hand from his field work is that Tim Flannery trousers $180k a year from the government, and is in bed with Panasonic, the producer of energy-intensive, carbon-rich electronic goods.

Yep, when you actually don't even the first clue about the science, always play the man. It's a bit like making jokes about marriage ... Flannery might be a goose, but he's not the only scientist in the game.

Meanwhile, if the notion that scientists are human and so as mad as tulip fanciers in Amsterdam doesn't satisfy you, how about a bit of paranoia, along the lines that the scientists really only are in the climate game because of all the taxpayer money to hand to pursue the anthropogenic thesis. This leads to a bit of intellectual dishonesty any Jesuit would admire:

It doesn't mean the thesis is wrong, but the transparency being practised by the scientists falls woefully short of that expected of journalists, politicians and company directors.

Would that be the transparency practised and expert scientific insights offered by the likes of Tim Blair, Andrew Bolt, Miranda the Devine, and all the other minions of Murdoch at war with scientists? Along with the idle minds of Liberal party hacks like Cameron and Nick Minchin?

Cameron wraps it up by dragging out the Club of Rome's The Limits of Growth - yes roll on nine billion people on the planet - and then resorts to the most desperate effort of all, the old Y2K routine.

But here's the thing. Once again Cameron dumbs down what the Club of Rome report actually said, and he gets agitated about the money spent on Y2K, yet there was a serious issue for many computer systems and users in relation to inadequate software. Risk management dictated precautions, and much nastiness avoided. Sure there were some charlatans who exploited fear mongering - a bit like the Ross Camerons of today who sees socialists and paranoia under every bed - but you really had to be a smug Macintosh user like the pond to escape some of the issues. (Hiss, boo, Microsoft).

In all this, Cameron purports that he only wants to keep the debate going, but when someone contributes such an ignorant pile of mush, what's the point?

Well I guess it brings us back to Fairfax and Don Churchill and his plea not to be miss understood, when in reality the Fairfax rags are deeply miss guided.

Sacking the subbies and instead hiring Ross Cameron to spout lazy paeans of praise to Bondi tram travellers?

Why not just send Cameron off to write a blog, and close the bloody Fairfax rags down, so little use they seem to be in this changing, difficult world ..

Finally, because seeing Fairfax join in the mass stupidity which is a key feature of the Murdoch press's war on science in recent weeks, and being as tired as you can possibly be of the whole relentless, monotonous one note hysteria and calumny involved, I just have to mention Nicholas Carter conducting Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra this week.

Carter - looking impossibly young, as if he'd been let out of high school for a special occasion, like much of the audience - stood in for Benjamin Northey, and took the baton with the Sydney Symphony, in a performance which will be broadcast on ABC FM on Saturday 11th June at 1 pm.

He didn't do half bad. I kept waiting for Gordon Kerry's Symphony to break into melody but the composer kept the staccato foreplay going for the entire piece. Still, you can't blame the conductor for that.

The ensemble got a little ragged in Percy Grainger's In a Nutshell, and the brass got up to their old wayward indolent tricks in the Introduction to the Bartok - what is it with Sydney's brass, when the wind and string and tympani sections showed up for the night - but short of jumping off the podium and cuffing them around the ears, what can you do?

Precise in his style, Carter looks like he'll have a future in the game, so naturally he's shortly off to Hamburg, and good luck to him. I'm sure he's had to tolerate endless jokes about how young he looks, but he played the right card by trumping the joke with good music making.

As Tim Blair would undoubtedly put it, he's a musical advocate who sees in a symphony orchestra the meaning of a free people.

Okay subbies, you can cut last sentence ...

Let's put in another advertisement. There's only so much tosh and hypocrisy to be swallowed in one life time ...

(Below: and since Ross Cameron, as part of his piece explained how we're in an ice age, as if somehow that proved anything, and celebrated how scientists once talked in the seventies of a coming ice age, as if that proved anything, and as if it had anything other than mixed support amongst scientists at the time, let's add to the general stupidity and generalisations on offer, by throwing in this bonus cartoon, an oldie but a goodie by Tanberg. How soon before the cartoonists follow the subbies into the void?)

In which the pond drinks heartily from the billy tea of assorted parties ...

Perhaps the silliest burst of rhetoric in the current fuss over plain packaging for cigarettes comes from Tim Anderson, courtesy of Menzies House, in How Plain Packaging Will Help Spread Terrorism.

... one fact hasn’t yet been addressed by the Australian media: The undisputed fact that it will help fund terrorists.

Fortunately Tim provides his own answer:

This may seem silly and alarmist at first glance. Terrorism financed because of plain packaging? This must just be crazy fearmongering, right? I'm being ridiculous! I mean, drugs, sure, but tobacco smuggling? Surely I've gone mad!

Mad as a march hare Tim.

I do wish at some point you learned some Photoshop skills. Replicating any kind of packaging in a trice is now just a keystroke away, and if you want decent examples, look no further than the film and television industry. I say with some modesty that even I could produce the kind of packaging you can routinely find at the Newtown street market for illegal packaged goods.

On a more sophisticated level, there's always the fifty buck "replica" watches I've used to fool my respectable Eastern suburbs acquaintances, but this year in Canal street, New York, the cops had been through the forgery market like a gust of wind from the east, and the fifty buck watch was no more.

Unhappily, according to Tim, the federal cops and customs are so inept in Australia, the Australian marketplace will be flooded with replica, plain packaged, terrorist funding cigarettes ...

Fortunately for Tim there are some sensible comments attached to his piece, and failing aspirin as a way of bringing down the fevered hysteria, he might read them and contemplate how alarmist claptrap really doesn't help the Liberal party and big tobacco save themselves.

Memo to big tobacco: forget Menzies House, and go with the Institute of Public Affairs, who know how to craft a canny libertarian message.

Or, oh heck, lash out and hire Karl Bitar, and once he's finished saving poker machines in the cause of tourism, he might be able to save the tobacco industry in the name of tourism. Just think how hideous it will be for German and Chinese tourists to be confronted by plain packaging, knowing they're directly aiding terrorism and the next Bali bombing. (Bitar says casino role is to promote tourism).

Meanwhile, while we're on the outer arm of a galaxy spiralling out of control, why not drop in on the Australian T.E.A. Party, whose site features an "iconic movie" as part of its message. After viewing this "iconic movie", allegedly inspired by Animal Farm - sue them, socialist George Orwell, sue them high, sue them low - I began to get a glimmer as to why the Australian movie industry dismally fails to connect with an audience. Enough already.

The poor hapless possums realise that realise that the Boston Tea Party provided a heaven sent marketing opportunity in the United States, but doesn't have much to do with Australia, while the mantra No Taxation Without Representation is also a particular part of American history. What to do?

... while this was part of American history the sentiment is universal.

We have borrowed and modified this saying to reflect citizens frustration with government engorgement and our apparent powerlessness to reduce or even restrict it.


Does this mean we're getting unreal representation at the moment? If so, speak to Tony Abbott, or perhaps the hand ...

The sweet concerned things purport to be of no party - a Non-Party Political movement - except of course everything is dedicated to a raving conservative cause, ratbag heaven, dressed up in a house style worthy of the National Enquirer.

While the site carries all the requisite patriotic jingoistic last refuges of assorted nameless scoundrels - maps of Australia, flag waving and such like - there's a most unhealthy linking to United States fundies.

It ends up making Pauline Hanson look like someone who understood the zeitgeist. At least she could do a decent barn dance ...

Why the antipodean tea partiers don't even have a commercial relationship with whoever now owns the Billy tea brand.

My grandfather used to swear by Billy Tea. He'd make it as thick as an Irish stew, then to balance the acrid, hepped up dose of caffeine, he'd heap in spoonful after spoonful of sugar. Once the spoon could stand upright in the brew on its own, the tea was right for serving.

Oops, wait a second, are the kangaroo and the bum talking to him a couple of disreputable swaggies, relying on hand outs and bludging while they trudge the outback roads? Shame, shame, you reprehensible kanga, you're not fit to be a dinkum Aussie emblem. Get back to work you bludgers, and I guess it's back to the raving irrelevant drawing board for new dinkum Aussie symbols ...

Enough of the outer fringes.

Why go on a tour there when we always have the minions of Murdoch, and sure enough the anon edit for The Australian once again comes up trumps, fomenting class hatred and sounding exactly like ... Gerard Henderson ... of all people ... in Emu Plains subsidises Bondi:

Under Labor's solar panel program, the battlers in outer suburbs whom the party once claimed to represent were made to subsidise the green aspirations of the prosperous north shore and eastern suburbs middle classes the party once despised.

The anon edit presents no statistical data for this assertion, which seems to amount to the peculiar notion that the circa 110,000 households who have taken up the scheme reside in the north shore and eastern suburbs, and possibly subscribe to Fairfax, the fiends.

Strange then that the Wauchope Gazette should report discontent in the Port Macquarie region:

Mr Alley says the Solar Bonus Scheme was successful in the Port Macquarie electorate with many thousands of home owners taking up the opportunity to install solar panels on their rooves. (here).

Well Port Macquarie is to the north. Guys, consider yourselves promoted to the northern suburbs of Sydney, courtesy the anon edit of The Australian. Then stand by for a belting because of your wretched selfishness and Greenie ways:

Not surprisingly, the Greens, whose electoral base is professional elites in expensive suburbs and inner-city areas that formerly voted Liberal, or perhaps Labor if they work in universities, want the scheme retained and will oppose its rollback in the NSW upper house.

Funny, you know, in this capitalist age, that the question of contract law and retrospectivity is rarely raised as a key issue. Still, the notion of being arbitrarily capable of overturning an agreed and contracted deal, simply because one party no longer likes the deal, is a handy one, and perhaps should guide the pond in all its future dealings with the state government, especially when it comes to taxation. Go for it Tea Partiers, do the restrospective taxation without real representation and contractual obligation state government down ...

Of course back in the day Terry McCrann was very hot to trot on the matter of retrospectivity:

A key issue was the way the proposed tax acted retrospectively on existing projects, where much of the cost of developing them had been written off, so the tax would impact even more punitively. (here)

And again:

If you stay with the retrospectivity, you are announcing Australia had become a republic. A banana republic. Because you are effectively confiscating some part of successful projects. (here)

But that was about the mining tax and the long suffering big miners.

Mug punters from Port Macquarie are a completely different billy tea kettle of fish (and worse they use mixed metaphors).

Ain't it wondrous how simple ideological zealotry can totally obscure any real insights into who participated in the solar panels program and what might be fair compensation for those, both inside and outside certain Sydney suburbs, who took part in it, beguiled by the notion that a contract with government was more solid than a handshake with crossed fingers, only to discover that these days a contract with government is worth less than the paper it's printed on.

So what else do the Murdoch minions have going today?

Well there's Greg Sheridan once more slaying that double crossing traiterous treacherous beast Malcolm Fraser - kill the beast, kill the beast - in Fraser's unreliable memoirs rewrite history, and Gary Johns' explaining how Wayne Swan is a goose - kill the beast, kill the beast - in A ball short of a tennis match, which is a bit rich coming from a goose who somehow thinks a wayward tennis court at Nundah State School serves as a metaphor for discussing big mining and the mining tax. Call it a royalty in Wayne's Western Australian Liberal party world and perhaps the problem will be solved?

Then there's Peter Anderson explaining how the Carbon tax is a free-trade risk. Funnily enough the Kudelka cartoon attached to the story sends up Tony Abbott, and by implication, Anderson, special pleader for the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, shitless.

And then there's Ian Harper of Access indulging in special pleading and piety and semantic distortion to explain how it's a jolly good thing to keep Christian chaplains in school in the name of pluralism and pastoral care (and a little bit of Xian propaganda on the side). (A place for spiritual and ethical guidance).

But there is one shocking, disturbing omission. We're spared the daily reminder of how the NBN, or is it the ABC, are the ruination of Australia. Why it's been a full three days since Mark Day fulminated in Scott's talk of ABC being a market failure is cheap, and days and days since Mike Quigley was dusted up for all that was wrong in Alcatel, and all that's now wrong with the NBN.

Perhaps tomorrow? Surely tomorrow ...

(Below: Australians saved from terrorism because there was none of that plain packaging nonsense for decent dinkum Aussie tea back in 1910, as cheerful Ceylonese workers scoured the hilltops for the tastiest tips with which to fill the billy).

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Two cheers for the paracletes, and the return of Dame Slap ...

(Above: after starring in The Enchanted Wood, Dame Slap returned for another outing in The Folk of the Faraway Tree. Accept no imitations, and certainly no substitutes, especially editions which change Dame Slap's name to Dame Snap, and downplay the spanking which all horrid children and Greens richly deserve).

If ever you wanted definitive proof that travel doesn't broaden the mind, look no further than Janet Albrechtsen's Bob, the sun is shining on you.

Yes, hooray, one of the pond's favourite members of the commentariat is back, and a refreshed Dame Slap is in top Faraway Tree form, and it almost goes without saying, is completely and utterly predictable.

Oh yes, it's great, grand news for followers of the chattering urban elite commentariat, even if this first outing is just a standard rant about the ABC and about Bob Brown and the nasty Greens, and how dare anyone say that the ABC has taken a swerve to the right, and it's full of doozies, like this one:

Had Andrew Bolt's new, high-rating Bolt Report launched an aggressive takeover of ABC1's Insiders?

High rating? According to the invaluable Mumbrella, here, Bolt's debut scored 163,000 in its morning slot and 123,000 in its afternoon slot. Well I suppose it's up there with Video Hits, but it takes a truly deluded fellow traveller to call it high rating (and there's even more fun to be had in reading Advertisers in Bolt revolt).

Perhaps we should consider this first return outing a canter, a warm up for more serious outings down the track.

It almost goes without saying that Chris Uhlmann is righteous and probing (as opposed to being a quavering, wavery interviewer of the second water), Bob Brown is devious (as opposed to the Murdoch hacks who are relentless in their unified indignation), and worse, he's also defamatory and totalitarian:

Last week Brown revealed a more totalitarian tack, labelling News Limited as the "hate media" for failing to accept the Greens climate change policy holus-bolus.

Yes, it's totalitarian to say that the minions of Murdoch run a party line, and we really have to score that a splendid breach of Godwin's Law, since everyone knows that totalitarian = Hitler = Nazi = Bob Brown. (Brush up on Godwin's Law here at its wiki).

What a relief to know that calling someone a totalitarian isn't in any way related to hate speech ... Now back to work horrid children and pixies.

Of course all Dame Slap is doing is educating the public, while shedding a tear for the brutal treatment of Pauline Hanson:

Remember Pauline Hanson? She received a mauling at the hands of the media that loathed her. The media does a better job when it sets aside its loathing and loving, as the case may be, and sticks to non-judgmental, hard-hitting questions about issues aimed at eliciting answers to better educate the voting public.

Dame Slap of course always sets aside questions of loathing and loving, especially when it relates to Bob Brown, as she explains how the Greens are ruining the country, and the public are being woken up, made alert, if not hysterically alarmed, by the minions of Murdoch:

They are finally catching up with the real Bob Brown, who has crafted a carefully modulated voice, aiming to ooze sensibility so that his agenda and method escape scrutiny. Any pretence of moral superiority is being rapidly exposed as just that.

Oh yes, with his smarmy clever dick ways and his oozing out of the primordial sludge, out of the paleozoic mud, there's no question that Dame Slap puts loathing aside, and instead, in a non-judgmental way, simply calls out people with a sense of moral superiority, coming as she does from a position of deep moral inferiority. And nothing wrong with that ... because it's climate science at its most expert and detailed and insightful.

And how to top Marion Rae, Brown's sidekick, calling some newspapers great for soaking up cat urine, and thereby failing to make the point that they're actually much better lining cockys' cages to catch all the shit and the litter? (Though perhaps not as good as specially waxed paper liners of the kind advertised here).

Well enough of all this tommy rot and natter and chatter about a more constructive, mature relationship between the Murdoch press and climate change.

... the sun is now shining on Brown. And the King of Canberra Hypocrisy is wilting.

Oh yes, that's how to do a column while setting aside matters of personal loathing, and instead in a non-judmgental way, concentrating on the fine details of climate science, and possible solutions to issues facing the world.

As always, Dame Slap leads the way ... from the rear. And don't you dare trying being nice to her, you horrid Greens with your oozing totalitarian leader.

Spank that naughty child at once.

Well on such a joyous day - schools should be closed to celebrate the return of Dame Slap - the anonymous editorialist is feeling the heat at The Australian. Soon the spotlight will shift away from him or her permanently, given that he or she is merely a third rate scribbler, much like any other anonymous blogger ...

How to stay in the game, how to compete with Dame Slap for the spotlight and a little attention? Well the anon edit tries hard, but ends up being hardly trying in Spare us the lecture again.

Drawing him or herself up to a preening portentous height, the anon edit denounces the current proposal to introduce plain paper packaging, and thereby deny cigarettes their precious branding (won't someone think of the branding, lordy, please, forget the children, someone think of the branding).

The smoking lobby and big tobacco will be mightily pleased, as the anon edit sounds just like a hack seeking a role in the movie Thank you for smoking.

Senator Lothridge: Now as we discussed earlier, these warning labels are not for those who know, but rather for those who don't know. What about the children?
Nick Naylor: Gentleman. It's called education. It doesn't come off the side of a cigarette carton. It comes from our teachers, and more importantly, our parents. It is the job of every parent to warn their children of all the dangers of the world, including cigarettes, so that one day when they get older, they can choose for themselves.

Here's the anon edit singing right from the same song sheet:

Smoking causes heart disease, cancer, emphysema and other illnesses. This is why the proportion of Australians over 14 smoking has almost halved since 1988, and why it is so much lower than in 1945 when 75 per cent of Australian men smoked. But as with other harmful but legal behaviour, responsibility rests with individuals.

Yes, it's completely a matter for personal responsibility, parental responsibility, the responsibility of children and teens to do the right thing.

In much the same way that the sooner we abandon the need to license the driving of motor cars, we can make that too a matter of personal responsibility. And if someone fails to take personal responsibility, and kills someone? Oh what's a crash between chums ...

As for research? Completely irrelevant:

It is beside the point whether market research supports or contradicts the possibility that the world's first plain packaging would cut smoking further.

Let's hear it again from Nick Naylor:

Nick Naylor: Few people on this planet know what it is to be truly despised. Can you blame them? I earn a living fronting an organizing that kills one thousand two hundred human beings a day; twelve hundred people. We're talking two jumbo jet plane loads of men, women, and children. I mean there's Attila, Genghis, and me, Nick Naylor the face of cigarettes, the Colonel Sanders of nicotine. This is where I work, the Academy of Tobacco Studies. It was established by seven gentlemen you may recognize from C-Span. These guys realized quick if they were gonna claim cigarettes were not addictive they better have proof. This is the man they rely on, Erhardt Von Grupten Mundt. They found him in Germany. I won't go into the details. He's been testing the link between nicotine and lung cancer for thirty years, and hasn't found any conclusive results. The man's a genius, he could disprove gravity. Then we got our sharks. We draft them out of Ivy League law schools and give them timeshares and sports cars. It's just like a John Grisham novel. Well you know without all the espionage. Most importantly we got spin control. That's where I come in. I get paid to talk. I don't have an MD or law degree. I have a baccalaureate in kicking ass and taking names. You know that guy who can pick up any girl, I'm him on crack.

Well there's none of that ambivalent, confessional guilt on the part of the anon edit doing his Colonel Sanders bit:

In a market economy, the only goods and services that should not be marketed are those that are banned.

So much for all those generic brands all the rage in pharmacies. Not to mention all that generic home brand nonsense.

Which reminds me of one more Nick Naylor exchange, this time with his son about choice, as his son opts for chocolate over vanilla ice cream:

Nick Naylor: Well, I need more than chocolate, and for that matter I need more than vanilla. I believe that we need freedom. And choice when it comes to our ice-cream, and that Joey Naylor, that is the definition of liberty.
Joey Naylor: But that's not what we're talking about
Nick Naylor: Ah! But that's what I'm talking about.
Joey Naylor: ...but you didn't prove that vanilla was the best...
Nick Naylor: I didn't have to. I proved that you're wrong, and if you're wrong I'm right.

Have a cigarette kid. Heck have a whole pack, and remember to admire the branding, which makes you so kool.

So here's the funny thing. The government has already defaced the packets that contain cigarettes with horrendous images, thereby attempting to ruin the branding.

So all the anon edit is doing is joining in a rearguard action to protect the rights of an industry which peddles death, these days most often to working class families. And in the process, the anon edit is zealously guarding their right to kill themselves with an addictive substance ...

The anon edit asserts that anything else is an interference in the liberties of people ... as opposed to the liberty of big tobacco to go on making a killing.

Next week, the libertarian anon edit argues the Ron Paul case for the legalisation of heroin. At least it might keep them in the ring with Janet Albrechtsen.

But a tip, anon edit. Make sure you use the word "totalitarian" at least three times, and preferably discover a connection to Nazi thinking and mind control ...

(Below: oh yes, bring it on, a return to the old days and personal responsibility and Sherlock Holmes before the interfering busy bodies and nanny staters got in the way of a hit, and still for some reason conservatives oppose a decent shooting gallery where people can exercise freedom to do themselves harm. Contradiction? Moi? No, I just read the nattering minions of Murdoch. Go on Akker Dakker you tell 'em in Shooting Gallery Trial an Overdose of failure. Unlike cigarette packaging and branding, which is surely an overdose of success).