Tuesday, January 31, 2012

And so once more a member of the inner city elite demonstrates how the inner city elite just don't get it ...

(Above: just the man we need to tackle climate science).

What happens when you become a caricature of yourself? When all your routine presumptions, assumptions and prejudices are laid bare on such a regular basis that a lampoonist could ghost write your columns in a fit of sleep-walking, somnambulism, or oneiric automatic writing ...

Why likely enough you'd sound like Gerard Henderson, inner city worker and habitué at the sumptuous 41 Phillip Street premises of the Sydney Institute, surrounded by legal eagles and just down the road from the New South Wales Rugby League bunker.

It's by steadfastly maintaining a perch deep in the heart of enemy territory that you can report to the outer suburbs on the dark Sauron-like doings of the inner-city elites.

Sauron? Well if you've never heard that name, that means you're not a reader (or even worse a viewer), and so clap hands and sing with joy, you might not have shifted to the dark side:

For more than two years, members of the inner-city left have been warning that Abbott poses a threat to democracy and civil order. The group consists of educated leftists and social democrats alike and comprises authors, academics, bloggers, commentators, journalists, professionals and public servants.

And there you have it, a caricature of a caricature developing a fine old conspiracy when actually:

For more than two years, members of the inner-city Gerard Henderson Sydney institute have been getting their knickers into a knot about a bizarre phantom cartel of educated people who seem to pose a threat to democracy, civil order and Tony Abbott.

But pray how do we discover these leftist fiends?

Their views are evident to anyone who reads the ABC's online publication The Drum or the letters pages of the broadsheet newspapers.

Uh huh. That'd be The Drum, haven for members of the Institute of Public Affairs, and right at the moment featuring the thoughts of Keith Windschuttle in Legal deception, and Peter Reith assuring the world Straight with the public? Not Julia Gillard, and the always reliable Kevin Donnelly spouting his usual mantra in support of a decent religious education in Greens' education policies a case of ideology, which is shocking, since everyone knows a decent education policy should be a case of theology.

Fools, imbeciles. Don't they know that by heading off and banging their drums on The Drum, they stand revealed as just another bunch of inner city democrat bloggers, authors, journalists and professionals, and quite likely educated to boot, though in the case of Peter Reith, who can say. Is there a diploma in boofhead boot to the brain industrial negotiations?

Anyhoo, we seem to have lost the thread a little, but that's because our prattling Prufock is in fine form right from the get go, with his talk of an unintended riot outside a Canberra restaurant (heck, the pond believes in free plugs, head off to The Lobby and make your booking for your wedding or Xmas celebrations now).

Technically I suppose a riot is an affray featuring more than three people, at least according to some laws in some lands, but really the pond felt like doing a Paul Hogan, say comparing what happened in Canberra to what's currently going on in Syria. You know, that's not a riot, this is a riot ...

And while the rest of the press pack are off carrying on about police inquiries and knavery and treachery and polls, our prattling Polonius hones right in on the real issue:

... the ALP's political difficulties turn on policy - most notably, its action on climate change.

Say what? Was that a typo? Surely it should have read its inaction on climate change?

Oh wait a second, it's only inner urban elitists who read stories like Arctic climate change 'to spark domino effect', or wring their bleeding hands and expose their pulsating pumping bleeding hearts by having an anxiety attack about how Ocean currents emerge as climate change hot-spots or pause to think about food security and lifestyle (Climate change a 'fundamental' health risk) or sometimes panic about how an over-populated, resource and energy stretched world might be heading to hell in a handbasket (yes, that's just the usual blather about sustainability from the black helicopter mob at the United Nations). Which reminds us of a recent xkcd cartoon. Time out:

Meanwhile, it's marvellous to see our prattling Polonius in denial as he patiently explains how all the leftists got it wrong, because its really that the carbon tax/emissions trading scheme that's at issue, and not the drip drip of foolish bungling - as per the Canberra affair - or a failure of nerve - as in the poker machine debate, which will now see Andrew Wilkie spending the rest of his time in the house niggling away at the Labor government which dudded his deal.

It appears that Australians are more concerned with the cost of electricity than with the anti-Catholic sectarianism which fires up much of the inner-city criticism of Abbott, or with the stance the Opposition Leader takes on such issues as Aboriginal advancement, asylum seekers and same-sex marriage.

Uh huh. But the cost of electricity bears a close relationship to state government activity, and isn't it wonderful to see Barry O'Farrell refusing to sell off the poles and wires, and assuring the world that The Liberal party was never founded to be the representatives of business (here), as he folded his tent and stole into the night in relation to the matter of ethanol blend petrol (Premier bows to motorists on unleaded fuel - read it and weep Manildra, read it and weep).

It is of course possible to chew gum and blow bubbles all in one go, and so it is with such issues as Aboriginal advancement, asylum seekers and same-sex marriage, and if the prattling Polonius's advice is that these can be swept under the carpet in favour of electricity pricing, he is - in his own words offered to others - delusional.

The Liberal party of course has its own set of policies in relation to the environment, a continuation of past policies of shoving generous subsidies down the throats of companies like Manildra, making out like bandits and doing diddly squat for the actual environment.

Boldly the Liberal party proclaims:

Tony Abbott and the Liberals stand for real action to tackle the complex challenges of climate change, energy security and water scarcity. (all the policies here)

Phew, real action for a complex challenge that apparently doesn't actually exist. Susie Creamcheese, bring those jaffas to my desk this instant!

But wait it gets even better as the Hon Greg Hunt offers up this:

The Coalition will provide holistic management of the whole Murray-Darling water system so that water can be distributed fairly and equitably among all those people who depend upon it.

Holistic? What is he, some kind of inner city hippie elitist?

Of course if you read the actual Liberal party policy (here in pdf) you'll get much fine blather about Real and Direct Action rather than talk, and proposals for appropriate support and incentives, including additional funding for one million solar homes by 2020, solar towns and solar schools geothermal projects, whale and dolphin protection, and so on and so forth ...

It's a complete and comprehensive mish-mash of government interventionism and socialist activities, and it helps explain why Gerard Henderson doesn't once in his entire piece come up with a sympathetic appreciation of Dr. No's 'say yes to the environment and government money going down the throat of big business' policies ...

The next federal election will not be decided on anyone's position on the tent embassy. It is only delusion, fired by obsession, which would lead to any other conclusion.
Or, in Greg Turnbull's terminology, the belief of a knucklehead.

Damn right, and if anyone thinks that a Tony Abbott government is primed to deal with the environmental issues to hand, could they give Barry O'Farrell a call, or read the current Liberal party's environmental policies. Read them and weep, or read them and laugh.

You know, like the still current plan for a 15,000 strong green army of valiant Chairman Abbott environmental workers, or the ten million dollars set aside to provide for a 'once in a century replenishment of our soils' (and with ten million bucks, it'll surely take a century).

The pond is quite looking forward to an Abbott government. All the signs are that it will - in retrospect - make the Gillard and Rudd governments look quite competent. That'll take some doing, but we think Abbott is up to the job.

And the pond is willing to bet that before the term of office is up, someone will have tapped on the shoulder - or kneecapped - the nattering nabob of negativity ...

It's hard to imagine at the moment - what with the daily serving of delights by the Gillard team, and the posturing of former Chairman Rudd - but the signs are there, and it'll be tremendous fun read our prattling Polonius, once more given the onerous duty of explaining - from his eerie in the inner city - how the inner city elites simply don't get it.

Amen to that, provided you keep the prattling Polonius in the prayer ...

As for the environment and climate science? Not to worry, that's all crap anyway ...

(Below: remember the green action man and his warriors, here?)

Monday, January 30, 2012

Waiter, bring some jaffas, the pro-lifers are at the door again ...

(Above: found here at a aph paper on conscience voting in the federal parliament 1996-2007).

I’m sure all ALP members appreciate it when people outside the party lecture them about party policy.

Outsiders? Lecturers?

It seems you can only be an insider if you want to lecture the Labor party about party policy. One of the chosen few, one of that happy band of brothers and sisters who can wander along in their very own policy cloud of paranoia and exclusiveness. Even if the party policy being proposed belongs to a clique of the most regressive kind ...

The latest example? Simone McDonnell scribbling I'm Labor, I'm pro-life and I'm no political hypocrite.

But if not a political hypocrite, then at least a political user of cliches, with 'pro-life' perhaps the most offensive of all. Is anyone out there 'pro-death'? Can anyone be rustled up who is 'anti-life'?

When after all 'pro-life' is just a fancy way of evading the truth, which is pro the right of others, usually a bunch of bees in bonnet crazed men, to tell women what they can and can't do with their bodies ...

Yep, we're back with the infiltration of the ALP by a bunch of Catholics, as if the stomach-gouging of the DLP in the great split of the nineteen fifties had never happened, and now we need a new world of Catholic-derived social policies. It sounds very grand and very noble:

I believe that life begins at conception and that it ends at natural death. I’m also fundamentally opposed to the death penalty and the loss of innocent life in war and conflict, and believe that we should do everything within our power to help those who are marginalised within our society.

Uh huh. But let's burrow down a little. What's actually happening?

Labor for Life is simply a group of ALP members with pro-life values. We are a new organization, only formalising our structure at the ALP National Conference in December. There are strong branches operating in the ACT and QLD. As within all democratic bodies, members are entitled to hold and express their own views.

Uh huh. Pro-life values, which is to say anti-death and against pro-deathers. And it's a new organization, a democratic body, within a democratic body, which just so happens to accord with the thoughts of Joe de Bruyn, one of the most regressive forces of all within and without the Labor party:

The group also has links to the largest union, the Shop, Distributive and Allied Employees Association, and its staunchly anti-abortion boss Joe de Bruyn.
In 2008, Mr de Bruyn described abortion as the "deliberate destruction of human life" when he clashed with former prime minister Kevin Rudd over a decision to drop a ban on foreign aid funds spent on family planning services. (Pro-life push in Labor's ranks)

And we catch a whiff of Joe de Bruyn's democratic style at his very own wiki:

At a quarterly SDA members meeting in February 2011, de Bruyn moved a resolution against gay marriage, without giving any members a chance to speak or vote on the issue. This led to the first instance of members of the SDA speaking out and challenging de Bruyn on his stance on gay marriage. 83 SDA member signatures in support of gay marriage were presented to the SDA Queensland branch quarterly meeting, shop steward Duncan Hart said SDA national secretary de Bruyn’s staunch opposition to gay marriage did not reflect the feelings of its members. Former ALP Prime Minister Gough Whitlam once said "Joe de Bruyn is a Dutchman who hates dykes."

Dear old Gough? Yep, this particular set of smelly prawns has been going around for a long time, as recorded in Rubbing shoulders with royalty - ALP royalty back in 2003:

Mr Whitlam also baffled many in the room when he launched into a curious attack on the conservative Catholic head of the shop assistants' union, Joe de Bruyn, who is known for his staunch opposition to abortion, stem cell research and lesbians having access to fertility treatment.

"Joe de Bruyn is a Dutchman who hates dykes," he said.

The centrepiece of Mr Shorten's speech was a lighthearted tale about geese. It was not an insult to be called a goose, he insisted.

"For the AWU, the attributes of a goose are important because of the ability to stick together and fly in formation.

Speaking of geese flying in formation, let's get back to Simone McDonnell, and get a detailed explanation of what it means to be anti-death:

I understand that we cannot remove access to safe and legal abortions, especially in circumstances of rape or where the mother’s life is in danger. We cannot go back to a society where backyard abortions take place. What I want to see is a debate that is centred on why unwanted pregnancies occur in the first place.

Fine words, but not so fine when it comes to extending the thoughts, deeds and policies of Brian Harradine, which ensured that AusAID couldn't provide any funding internationally to any organisation which provided any abortion training or services or research, trials or activities which directly involved abortion drugs ... even where it could save the life of a woman. The sort of policy that would have a Rick Santorum nodding in approval ... (Wrath over Rudd aid for abortion)

And if that's the attitude to international aid, McDonnell must really think she can sell pups if she thinks she can sell the idea that all Joe de Bruyn wants to do is focus on why unwanted pregnancies occur in the first place. Because when it comes to that, there's not much to talk about.

People fuck. They always have fucked, and they will go on fucking into the future. It's what people do, and if you don't take precautions, if there's a woman involved, she can get pregnant.

The best ways to prevent unwanted pregnancies involve sex education, and contraceptive devices.

Oh wait, that brings us full circle, back to the reprehensible attitude of the Catholic church in relation to sex education and contraception. And to women being fucked in more ways than one ...

Which is why McDonnell wins 'goose of the week', for flying in such steady formation so early in the week:

Prevention is always better and, in my opinion, education is the key. The mental and physical trauma that abortions cause to the mother and father are not easily healed and the questions we must all ask ourselves is why, in a community where contraceptives are so readily available, do women find themselves in a position where they need to terminate an unwanted pregnancy?

Pure roll the jaffas in the aisle gold. Why it's up there with Phillip Jensen's assertion that everything went wrong because of Virginia Woolf and that crowd ... (here)

And it reminds us of what Cardinal Pell dubbed the Donald Duck heresy:

A new book called 'God and Caesar" by Cardinal George Pell, the Archbishop of Sydney is to be published this week. The book deals with a widespread 'heresy' among Catholics which permits approval of contraception and even abortion by way of "primacy of conscience".

Borrowing from Oxford Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Pell calls it the "Donald Duck heresy" referring to the Disney character who "knows it all", and "has an unshakeable conviction of self-righteousness." The self-indulgent duck, explains Pell is well-meaning but "his activity is often disastrous for himself and others."

So too with Catholics who practice and indeed promote a disordered vision of human sexuality, with contraception, abortion and even embryo-destructive research suggests Pell. With claims to "primacy of conscience" they falsely believe themselves in the right, while they thus distort the image of God which the Creator intended to convey in the fruitful sexual union of husband and wife. (here)

And so on and on and on, yadda yadda, until the cows and the unwanted pregnancies come home ...

"There is very little understanding in the public mind - even within the Catholic community - of the connection between 'the Pill' as the trigger of a contraceptive mentality, and the evil consequences for society of this contraceptive and irresponsible mentality," he said. "So a major task for the Church is to encourage people more and more to see the wisdom, human and divine, of this particular teaching."

Meanwhile, the Donald Ducks of the world are supposed to swallow this wrap-up by Simone McDonnell:

Labor for Life is not aiming to embark on some sort of Tea Party-inspired take over of the ALP.

Well that's a relief, but maybe it'd be better to have a Tea Party-inspired take over than a Joe de Bruyn, Cardinal Pell and ACL-inspired takeover.

It is simply a group of people who, as with all members of the Labor Party, support the Union Movement and believe that the Labor Party is the best party to lead our country. We also believe that all aspects of life should be treated with dignity and respect.

Oh spare the pond's days. More gilding of the Joe de Bruyn lily.

Well talking of treating all aspects of life with dignity and respect, we know what happens to heretics who happen to disagree with Cardinal Pell. They're off to an eternity of hellfire. That'll teach them dignity and respect ...

It so happens that the pond thought it would be a cold day in hell before the pond would publish an approving link to a Tory Shepherd piece, but here it is: Beware the pro-lifers doing hard Labor on abortion.

In it, Shepherd notes that Labor for Life has been approved by the Australian Christian Lobby, and that they've already managed to get together a disingenuous Facebook page, which has already sent a shiver down the spine of Tony Bourke by claiming him as sympathetic to their cause.

So here's the thing. Why on earth does McDonnell think Labor for Life is some wonderful democratic growth within the Labor party, as it goes about the business of subverting current Labor party policies and replacing them with sundry Pellist and ACL doctrines worthy of the DLP in the old days?

There's already a political leader who's fully sympathetic, and in his glory days, maintained a ban on RU-486, a ban which he promoted while distorting best medical advice and best medical practice (Abbott rejects abortion pill).

I guess there's method to the madness, because McDonnell's mob is doing its level best to devalue the Labor party.

In the usual tweedledum and tweedledee way of the two big parties, McDonnell's mob is ensuring that it'll be a cake walk for Tony Abbott, because her mob provides conclusive evidence that a vote for the Labor party should in effect be a vote for Tony Abbott's world view...

Yep, if a vote for the Labor party is a vote for Joe de Bruyn and the ACL and the Pellists, why not just vote for Tony ...

Sunday, January 29, 2012

And so to play up and play the game, and never mind the snicks or the statistics ...

(Above: umpiring in a post-modernist world).

As always, Sunday is a chance to catch up on the week-old thoughts of expert climate scientist Cardinal George Pell, and by golly, after a week, do they get a pong that assails the nostrils.

Take World Leaders for example, in which Pell manages to conflate gambling and drug abuse, and delivers this off-the-cuff statistical advice:

General health costs from illicit drugs, including the treatment of cannabis-induced schizophrenia, are at least as high as alcohol-related health costs.

Uh huh. So the hapless academics who toiled away to analyse the data that produced this chart for Australia (study in pdf form here) completely wasted their time:

Well near enough is good enough in the world of Pellist climate science, and so the 14.6% social cost of illicit drugs is clearly at least as high as the 27.3% for alcohol. Even flinging in alcohol and illicits together can't help him balance the books, but hey, tourjours gai in a Pellist world of science and statistics. (But why do people scribble factoids when a two second googling would lead them to more compelling data?)

Now please breweries, remember the Catholic church is your friend when the collection plate next comes round your way ...

And there are other bon mots in the Pell piece, like how no-one wants a nanny state attempting to curb human weaknesses. After all, that's the job of the Catholic church, and its nanny church wowserish ways.

But enough of the Pellist way with data, because hark, there's the siren song of the Sydney Anglicans, and this week the neo-Calvinists have gone populist with cricket:

In a desperate attempt to make neo-Calvinism relevant and popular, Michael Jensen has penned Towards a theology of cricket.

Let's hope his theology is better than his understanding of the dullest game - bar baseball - on earth ...

Now the pond admits to seeking some technical advice from those around who have wasted an already wretched life watching the Indians go down, but even the pond knew this bit of Jensenism was tendentious:

3. Cricket is a game that relates directly to the surface of the created and cursed earth; it is exposed to the wind and the rain and the sun. The ball is bowled to bounce from the dirt and grass and to respond to it.

Why the earth should be cursed is a matter only the bleakest of Calvinists can explain.

But as for the dirt to which we shall all return someday, for upmarket games these days the dirt is cosseted and cuddled, and covers are routinely deployed, and for down-market games concrete or matted pitches are provided, and even the most abject theologian should understand the difference between cursed turf and cursed concrete (no, this is not a chance for you to wax lyrical about how you scored three runs for Balmain D's in 1970 on a concrete pitch, there's too much of that sort of thing going around already).

Let's skip over Jensen's comparison of W. G. Grace to Jacob, and Don Bradman to Christ, and the number of Xians who have played the game, so we can get to this next bit of errant theology:

4. Cricket is a game invented by shepherds to play while their sheep grazed on green pastures and drank from still waters. It is a pastoral game.

Well in a church where the literal truth of Adam and Eve can still get a run, they would believe that, wouldn't they, but if you head off to the wiki on the history of cricket, here's the version written by Charles Darwin:

The sparse information available about cricket's early years suggests that it was originally a children's game. Then, at the beginning of the 17th century, it was taken up by working men. During the reign of Charles I, the gentry took an increased interest as patrons and occasionally as players. A big attraction for them was the opportunity that the game offered for gambling and this escalated in the years following the Restoration. By the time of the Hanoverian succession, investment in cricket had created the professional player and the first major clubs, thus establishing the sport as a popular social activity in London and the south of England.

Children and toffs gambling! Where's your shepherd cricketing Messiah now? Hang on, he too was a working man, a carpenter ... or was he a Harry Hodgetts man?

Hurrying on - like the white rabbit, we sense the need for an important date - we'll go past Jensen's talk of Peter Roebuck's talk of the redemptive potential in cricket for individuals.

Some might find it merely tasteless, given the failure of cricket to redeem Roebuck in life or in death, but it seems Jensen can't see the wood for the many reported trees, as he proposes that Roebuck - who jumped out a window six stories up - expected too much of the game, which is great fun, but can't change hearts.

Well it certainly didn't change Roebuck, though if we take the analogy of cricket to Christianity to heart, perhaps Jensen has a point, since the Calvinists have been trying for centuries to produce dour Trevor Bailey hearts, but without much luck ...

Not to worry, let's cut to the heart of the matter:

9. The batsman who ‘walks’ is expressing a far more Christian view of the world than the batsman who doesn’t. The batsman who acknowledges that he is out even when others cannot see it is saying that the truth is what actually happens, and that it matters in every instance. The batsman who does not walk is firstly postmodern, in that for him nothing is true until it is described as such (‘it’s only actually out when the umpire says so’) and secondly, fatalistic, in that he argues that umpiring mistakes in his favour will eventually balance those mistakes that fall against him - so he might as well make the most of his luck while he has it.

Say what?

Well first the pond had to suffer through a lengthy account of an innocent being given out in a game played against deaf people, in which the deaf umpire gave people out for snicks he couldn't hear, but thought he could see, and then the pond was assured by this same expert that this was the silliest thing that had ever been written about the game. And a lot of twaddle, mountain high loads of it, had been written over the years ...

Assuredly, this expert advised, it must have been written by someone who never played the game, except perhaps some kind of silly hit and run thing at a neo-Calvinist barbecue.

The reality is that it is impossible, indescribably silly, or desperately foolhardy to walk in the matter of LBW, and there thus is nothing post-modern about waiting for the umpire's verdict. Ditto run outs and stumpings, and ditto catches where the batsmen might not have seen the outcome of the catch. Or even been assured in his or her own mind that he or she had actually hit the ball (yes women play cricket too, though why has never been completely clear to the pond, even if Australian women are currently ruining life for kiwi cricketers).

In this post-modernist subjective world, even a player sometimes can't tell what happened, so waiting for the umpire is merely sensible and modest, and 'walking' is a grand rhetorical gesture beloved only by ponces and gits of the kind who think that duelling is a noble and manly thing to do ...

The reason why professional cricket now employs a panoply of technical tricks - oh dear absent lord not another half hour looking at hot spots and snicker snacker-ometers - is that in the postmodern world, it is sometimes very hard to ascertain whether there has been an edge, and if there has, what has been edged, and whether the ball has been plucked from the air before touching the grass.

That's why these days the umpires on the field are frequently post-modernist, and revert to the third umpire in relation to all manner of things, and why there has been a rigorous attempt to remove 'bleedingly obvious to television viewers', old-worldly umpiring mistakes from the game.

The notion that either players or umpires actually know what is happening most of the time, and that this is the truth, is surely the greatest philosophical delusion of all time, advised the pond's resident cricket expert ...

What Jensen is actually saying is that Christians are as deluded as batsmen who 'walk', as if they know the truth of things, and somehow think they're preserving integrity, confusing this with the quaint traditions of English gentlemen of Victorian times, when amateurs walked through one gate, and lumpen yeoman professionals walked through another to take the field.

What is being expressed isn't a sensible way to play the game, but a yearning to return to the simpler times of Sir Henry Newbolt and Vitai Lampada and imperial delusions and the Anglican church as facilitator of conquest:

There's a breathless hush in the Close to-night --
Ten to make and the match to win --
A bumping pitch and a blinding light,
An hour to play and the last man in.
And it's not for the sake of a ribboned coat,
Or the selfish hope of a season's fame,
But his Captain's hand on his shoulder smote --
'Play up! play up! and play the game!'

The sand of the desert is sodden red, --
Red with the wreck of a square that broke; --
The Gatling's jammed and the Colonel dead,
And the regiment blind with dust and smoke.
The river of death has brimmed his banks,
And England's far, and Honour a name,
But the voice of a schoolboy rallies the ranks:
'Play up! play up! and play the game!' (the rest here)

Okay, you probably think the pond is being unnecessarily cruel to Michael Jensen's very old fashioned theology, and yet here, in another place, Jensen quotes Newbolt's poem with what almost passes for full approval, noting that in the old days of the nation and the empire, for cricket writer Neville Cardus, the present state of the game was 'not cricket.'

A bit like Jensen saying the present state of the game for non-walkers is 'post-modern' and 'not cricket', and evading the truth, while the earlier state of the game was truly Christian and truly 'cricket', and righteous 'walkers' will inherit the earth, along with the meek and Sydney Anglicans.

Oh let's hear it for the warrior Christian way, and in the process it becomes clear why Sydney Anglicans have such a terrible time coping with gay and womens' rights ...

Naturally a fierce war broke out in the comments section, proposing that bum sniffing in rugby was the actual game that was played in heaven. Not that there's anything wrong with bum sniffing, but should it be done in front of a crowd?

Truly, the pond says unto you, visiting the Sydney Anglicans and the Pellists each week becomes weirder and weirder ... and then the Sydney Anglicans have to run a story like You Lost Me without a hint of post-modernist insight or reflection, as to why churches might be running out of steam:

Part two identifies six main reasons for why young people are disconnected from the church together with recommendations for how the church (church leaders as well as parents) can respond. The six problems are that the church is overprotective and unwelcoming of creativity and involvement in culture; shallow in its teaching; antiscience; repressive particularly in regard to sex; exclusive in a way that conflicts with the open-mindedness, tolerance and acceptance of the surrounding culture; and does not allow the expression of doubt.

Well it's a statement of the bleeding obvious, no doubt about that, especially as it relates to the Pellists, who routinely commit all these sins.

But can we add to that Sydney Anglicans' attitudes to gay and women's rights, and talk of post-modernism in cricket, and the joys of 'walking' instead of waiting on the umpire's verdict, especially in these post-modernist, TV gadget-laden times?

To conclude, a good hour or more wasted listening to cricketing anecdotes in search of correct cricket theology is an hour that will never come back ... and the result Sydney Anglicans?

And now the shocking truth: Kevin Rudd like as not wrote the plays of William Shakespeare ...

(Above: found here at Judge: Bacon Wrote Shakespeare Plays).

A few months ago, Eric Idle (who was most likely Michael Palin) established some important points about authorship in The New Yorker with Who Wrote Shakespeare?

While it is perfectly obvious to everyone that Ben Jonson wrote all of Shakespeare’s plays, it is less known that Ben Jonson’s plays were written by a teen-age girl in Sunderland, who mysteriously disappeared, leaving no trace of her existence, which is clear proof that she wrote them. The plays of Marlowe were actually written by a chambermaid named Marlene, who faked her own orgasm, and then her own death in a Deptford tavern brawl ...

There are many aspects to his theory:

Many people believe that Richard III not only was a good man who would never hurt a fly but actually wrote “She Stoops to Conquer,” and that the so-called author, Oliver Goldsmith, found the play under a tree in 1773 while visiting Bosworth Field, now a multistory car park (clearly an attempt to cover up the evidence of the ruse).

And it leads the pond to announce that Christopher Pearson finds his columns for The Australian in the chimney, where they're delivered by the stork.

How else to explain this?

It is sadly a PP (post fickle finger of gold bar paywall) column, so no link, but clearly Pearson was upset by Robert Manne's bout of man love for former chairman Rudd in Why Rudd's return is Labor's only chance of survival (not that there's anything wrong with man love, but why former chairman Rudd? Why does he attract all the man love? What's gone wrong with George Clooney?)

Now it's true that Manne seems to have undergone some kind of trauma, such that it might well be that his columns are currently written by Paul Kelly, because back in the day Manne was front and centre propounding profound insights at universities, and so blessed La Trobe University with The Rudd Government: What Has Gone Wrong.

... the bit that I now think is very strange is that he said that his great hero was Dietrich Bonhoeffer who stands for the greatest kind of act of moral and political courage in the twentieth century for Rudd. And then, in the last few months, it’s been said by almost everyone, I’ve never seen such cowardice over the ETS. Both cowardly and mis-judged. But the cowardice is what I want to concentrate on. How can one put together a person whose moral hero is Dietrich Bonhoeffer and whose actions make Graeme Richardson seem to be principled? And who has acted on the greatest moral challenge of the twentieth century for humankind in such a cowardly way. I can’t put it together.

Oh curse and damn you cowardly lion Rudd. Quick, Dorothy click heels three times and escape.

Not so quick, because happily Judith Brett was to hand to confirm Manne's worst fears:

Well, I don’t actually have much of a psychological take on Rudd because I find him so incredibly unappealing. So I find him very unempathetic. I thought what Lenore was saying about this moment things snapped because I can bear almost… I can’t bear to listen to him any more except that I have a professional commitment to hearing what he says. So I think that he’s now at the point where people leave the room. You know, you turn him off.

Oh the man hate.

Yep, it was a hate fest of the first water, with one questioner evoking the ABC series The Hollow Men, and damning ridiculous media speculation about Julia Gillard as a potential leader, and Paul Kelly throwing things wide open (with Lenore Taylor) to a faint glimmer of hope:

One of the interesting features of the government is, there is an accepted successor to Rudd, that's Gillard, which could make the second term particularly interesting.

And so we now live in interesting times - thanks Chinese proverb - and now Manne wants to bring back Rudd to make the times even more interesting, but the most amazing thing is that Christopher Pearson somehow thinks this sort of contradiction is contradictory.

Astonishing really, given his endless campaigning and speculation last year from the very get go of the Gillard era about the imminent return of Chairman Rudd. Next day, next week, or in a worst case scenario by next month.

It wouldn't be easy, but Kevin Rudd could pull this off is but one spectacular example of an avalanche of pieces allegedly written by Pearson - but possibly ghosted by Miranda the Devine or Piers "Akker Dakker" Akkerman - explaining how former Chairman Rudd could return to the throne of power, change policy, take a new stance on people smuggling, the carbon tax, gambling in clubs, and so end the reign of the Wicked Witch of the West.

Happily such pieces are PP (pre gold fickle finger of fate paywall), so the pond can link to them, and readers can still frolic through them for free, therefore not violating the most offensive PP of all (Pay to read bloody Pearson?)

Yep, it was back in September that Pearson went overboard on Rudd's return:

There's a joke doing the rounds that Rudd has only one friend, Newspoll, but it's a very powerful ally. How could Rudd convert that political capital into a return to the Lodge? He'd have to act quickly, perhaps within the next few weeks before parliament resumes, while the mood in caucus grows ever more desperate and before support gathers behind another candidate. Simply by being in the House of Representatives, Rudd is a reminder to many voters, especially in Queensland, of the legitimacy problems that dog Gillard's leadership.

Within the next few weeks?

There's a joke doing the rounds at the pond that Pearson has the predictive insight of random tea leaves at the bottom of an over-brewed cup of tea, soggy and lumpy, and it surely makes it even funnier to realise most likely it was Robert Manne writing his columns way back then ...

Unless of course it was Phillip Adams, mounting his clarion call last September Let Rudd resume rightful role. He had a helpful illustration from Nicholson to make his point:

Yep, at various times Adams and Pearson and Manne have been one in their desire to bring back Rudd, except when they have been three on the matter of bringing back Rudd, and so the world came to understand the concept of the unholy trinity.

Meanwhile, Gillard might well be going, though she's been longer in the going than some expected or demanded, but there's an authorship crisis surrounding her involving Tony Hodges and Kim Sattler - Outed unionist Kim Sattler says PM Julia Gillard's story is inaccurate).

This week's capers haven't helped, but does anyone - outside of Manne now, and Pearson and Adams back in September last year - think Rudd is the solution, as opposed to being part of the problem?

More to the point, in this PP environment, would anyone pay to read the unwholesome, unseemly spectacle of Pearson, preening prat and sufferer of long term memory loss in the matter of Rudd, bag Robert Manne, sufferer of long term memory loss in the matter of Rudd ...

Truly expert analysis and opinion might matter, but the theories of Manne and Pearson are probably only worth a pinch of Python:

Mere lack of evidence, of course, is no reason to denounce a theory. Look at intelligent design. The fact that it is bollocks hasn’t stopped a good many people from believing in it. Darwinism itself is only supported by tons of evidence, which is a clear indication that Darwin didn’t write his books himself. They were most likely written by Jack the Ripper, who was probably King Edward VII, since all evidence concerning this has been destroyed.

Uh huh. Well the pond's theory that Miranda the Devine is actually Christopher Pearson who is actually Piers Akerman will have to wait another day, until we've proven that Tim Blair is actually the pigeon droppings from Andrew Bolt's table ...

Paranoia? Of course not. It’s alternative scholarship. What’s wrong with teaching alternative theories in our schools? What are liberals so afraid of? Can’t children make up their own minds about things like killing and carrying automatic weapons on the playground? Bush was right: no child left unarmed.

Why this dictatorial approach to learning, anyway? What gives teachers the right to say what things are? Who’s to say that flat-earthers are wrong? Or that the Church wasn’t right to silence Galileo, with his absurd theory (actually written by his proctologist) that the earth moves around the sun. Citing “evidence” is so snobbish and élitist. I think we all know what lawyers can do with evidence. Look at Shakespeare. Poor bloke. Wrote thirty-seven plays, none of them his.

Right. Look at Christopher Pearson. Poor bloke. Wrote at least thirty seven columns demanding, mentioning, pleading or praying for the return of former Chairman Rudd, and now none of them are his, because Robert Manne's stolen the idea, and gone overboard with it, and Robert Manne, poor bloke, wrote many many columns and spoke many many words, denouncing former Chairman Rudd's cowardice and now none of them are his ...

It must be the lawyers, it has to be the lawyers. First shoot them all, and all will be well, eh Bill?

(Below: we've run it before, and like as not in these Rick Santorum/Tankard Reist times, we'll run it again).

Saturday, January 28, 2012

While Menzies House unveils a petition, the pond unveils plans for an Über weekend ...

(Above: together in unity and vitality).

Does anybody at all pay attention to Menzies House?

The valiant battlers against their own obscurity have launched a staunch campaign of defiance, demanding people sign a petition to close down the illegal, racist and divisive Tent Embassy. And they've bravely and boldly issued a press release to back up their agitprop action.

And never mind that Tony Abbott doesn't agree with them, or want to go there ...

Why even the average Trot or Maoist would blanch at this fine display of bolshie activism.

Oh those bloody black racists, wherever did they learn their racism from? It seems the tent embassy is a divisive attempt to create two Australias based on people's race ...

Thank the long absent lord no one ever attempted to create two Australias way back when ... and it only began when those pesky blacks set up a tent embassy.

Come to think of it, it's likely enough that the entire unfortunate history of the Aboriginal people in Australia is entirely the fault of Aboriginal people because ... well because they're just so damn divisive, and racist, and inclined to judge people by the colour of their skin.

The pond keeps forgetting the comedy potential of Menzies House, but it was good to see that others visit the site and leave the occasional comment:

I'm all for closing down racist & divisive institutions. Let's start with the Young Liberals and the Australian Libertarian Society.

Meanwhile, there have been other comedy highlights arising from the fracas, most notably Martin Flanagan's incisive analysis: Why we need to find a new date for Australia Day.

Flanagan is anxious that Australia Day is currently conflated with Invasion Day, and the pattern has now been set. Henceforth dissidents, radicals and ne'er do wells will seize the day for ratbaggery, and harmony and peace across the land will disappear:

A situation now exists which extremists on both sides can work to their advantage.

By simply shifting the day, such extremists will be defanged, detoothed, dearmed and disenfranchised.

It will simply never occur to them to use the Australia Day symbolism on a new Australia Day to protest about various issues, and instead everybody will be happy and frolic in the meadows together in bliss, possibly to a tune sung by The Seekers.

There's a new world somewhere
They call The Promised Land
And I'll be there some day
If you will hold my hand

But then there's the problem of deciding on the new day.

Anzac Day simply won't do, though it's absolutely fair to say that Australians have never ever used Anzac Day to mount protests about the uselessness and folly of war, most notably the Vietnam war.
Oops. But hang on, hang on that was in London on April 25th 1968, and was all the fault of lax Pommie security. In Australia no one ever used Anzac Day as an opportunity to protest against war ... did they?

Not to worry, surely there's a day of war when we can all come together to honour war yet again?

My suggestion is January 22. That is commonly regarded as being the date when the Battle for the Kokoda Track - sometimes referred to as the Battle for Australia - ended in 1943. Australia was on the verge of being invaded by a force, the Imperial Japanese Army, with a record of mass human rights violations. The New Guinea campaign involved at least one Aboriginal hero, Captain Reg Saunders.
We must summon an occasion when we were united.

Is that a kind of Anzac Day lite? Will the government issue little koala toys and a bunch of chocolates so we can in unity celebrate the efforts of the chocolate soldier diggers on the Kokoda track?

Will Japanese people in Australia be led into the town square and ritually excoriated for the Japanese army's massive human rights violations? Could it become burn a Mazda day? Compare and contrast with the nuking of Hiroshima and the fire-bombing of Tokyo, in no more than five hundred words ...

Oh dear, the pressure of turning out words and columns, how it shows sometimes.

Never mind, the pond has its very own solution, inspired by the massive amount of sickies that struck across the nation last Friday, and inspired by the 'floating day' way that Easter and the Melbourne Cup work.

Every child in the nation - in training to become a poker machine addict - knows that the nation stops for a horse race the first Tuesday in November.

So why not stop the nation for Australia Day on the very last weekend of January, no matter on which date it falls. And here's the kicker. Each Friday before that weekend will be deemed the Good Dinkum True Blue Get on the Piss Good Friday, and each Monday will be the Day of the Vegemite on Toast reviver. And the Sunday will be deemed You Must Attend a Non-Divise United As One Barbecue, No Matter What the Weather, Day ...

Sorry Martin Flanagan, eat your chocolate soldier heart out, the pond is applying for patents at this very moment ... a four day holiday at the peak of the heat that will stop the nation dead in its tracks.

How can it possibly miss?

Meanwhile, the pond has been brooding about the tent embassy, and by a curious coincidence on the weekend watched Phil Noyce's Backroads, and was reminded how Gary Foley was front and centre once upon a time:

And how attempts to banish the embassy gave its adherents a sense of purpose, and it turns out, longevity.

Well played Menzies House. Now all you need to do is get the police to demolish the tents under a Government ordinance, and that's the last the nation will hear from troublesome racist, divisive, illegal blacks ... and we can all, because things are going so swimmingly well in every way every day for everyone, join together on the pond's Über January weekend ...

Put it in another George Santayana way. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it...

Friday, January 27, 2012

On the utility and futility of satire, and the urgent need for Stewart and Colbert to travel down under ...

The pond is all in favour of a satirical magazine in the antipodes of the Private Eye kind, as proposed by Richard Ackland in A Private Eye helps the search for truth, though as Private Eye rather pre-emptively pointed out in its 5oth anniversary celebration cover, satire is completely and utterly useless ...

But you have to wonder which planet Ackland has been living on:

Australia is a weird place with lots of amusing possibilities. There is plenty to satirise. Slowly people are beginning to realise that someone like Alan Jones is a brilliant comic having a huge lend of us every morning. If only we could mainstream a sort of local Private Eye, it might ensure that we don't become too dull a lot.

Ye ancient cats and dogs, people are slowly beginning to realise ....??

People have been sending up the pompous prat ever since he was dubbed the parrot, and he's been celebrated for his squawking for what now seems like eternity:
People have been parroting on about the parrot, and the parrot's keeper John "life's a rort" Singleton for years (Does Alan Jones deserve a place in our licensed radio community?), but in terms of hide, Jones is more elephant or rare white rhino than parrot:

Happily Alan Jones is now just an aging parrot with a croaky voice, and his participation in the Convoy of No Confidence to Canberra, and his bizarre claims thereto showed he was out of his depth in the federal scene. (Police baffled by Jones' blockage claims).

Even Tony Abbott begins checking the time when Jones starts speaking:

Yes Tony, it's way past time to enliven Australia Day in your own inimitable, puggish, verbally thuggish and aggressive way.

That gaggle of tents might be an eyesore to the bourgeois mind, always intent on the neat and the tidy, but really, it's outside old parliament house, and only the caretakers, the tourists and the burghers of Canberra noticed it ... until you stepped in and promoted it to the front page, by offering up your very own brand of Telephone, Chinese Whispers or Gossip (How to Play the Repeat Game). On Oorrstralia Day, you bloody beaut ...

Meanwhile, if the pond has its druthers, it would rather see a Jon Stewart or a Stephen Colbert liven up the political scene in Australia.

The coverage of the Republican primaries by the indomitable duo is of a kind and quality that suggests satire might, in some locales, have a visceral, discernible impact on the electorate, at least when it comes to the absurdity of Super PACs.

Instead what we get is a sitcom like At Home with Julia which has as its only claim to fame a feeble sex scene.

Amazingly Tony Abbott confessed to having a good belly laugh, which perhaps explains why humour and satire struggle in the antipodes ...

Colbert and Stewart would have had a field day today, and they possibly would have started with the wild coverage of yesterday's events, with the Daily Terror leading the way:

Say what? Bodyguard ready to take bullet for Julia? What bullet, where?

It seems Paul Whittaker might be safe at the Terror, which surely must be the most depressing story to emerge this Australia Day season, not the rampaging mob ...

Naturally the Bolter was there to savage the mob, in his usual pompous, overblown, over the top, hysterical, alarmist way.

There's never any shame for the day of shamers.

Ah yes it's payback time black people. Which is why you can find Piers 'Akker Dakker' Akerman brooding yet again about the Orwellian ways of the world in Second-class meddling is selfish, deceitful, and the dreadful, shocking treatment of the Bolter along with the dreadful shocking treatment of the language:

... the Orwellian newspeak of the politically correct "indigenous" does not mean born in Australia. It means Aborigine as in Australian Aborigine, a definition that is also becoming increasingly fluid.

Indeed. No doubt Akker Dakker yearns for the days when Aborigines were defined as part of the fauna, and so could be classified as truly indigenous:

indigenous - originating where it is found; "the autochthonal fauna of Australia includes the kangaroo"; "autochthonous rocks and people and folktales"; "endemic folkways"; "the Ainu are indigenous to the northernmost islands of Japan" ...

And the Veddoid Australoids are indigenous to Australia ...

Meanwhile, the HUN took a surprisingly sotto voce whimsical approach to the clash:
But if you've got the Bolter in full indignant apocalyptic war cry, you can afford a little perspective and slipper sinking in the news section.

UPDATE: well the slipper whimsy didn't last long, as the HUN provided an update full of shock and horror.
Yes, it's one thing to make fun of princess Gillard and her slipper, but quite another thing when valiant indigenous leaders jump to the defence of Tony Abbott.

Now who's going to explain to Akker Dakker that the Herald Sun is in the grip of Orwellian indigenous language? Oh you Murdochian big brother fiends, not you too. It's a Herculean task for Akker Dakker to clean out his very own Augean stables ...

So there you go Ackland. Wrong magazine, wrong request.

What we need is a Jon Stewart doing over the latest grandiosity from the grandiose Gingrinch, like his discovery that there's a war against religion even fiercer than his war on marriage. (here). And what we need is someone to dismantle Hulu so the pond can embed a clip of Stewart in full flight.

And what we need is Colbert doing over Rick Santorum, even if it doesn't mention Santorum saying that rape victims should accept their babies as gifts from God.

Say what? Rapists are acting on God's orders, and seeding babies like Santa coming down the chimney?

... I believe and I think the right approach is to accept this horribly created -- in the sense of rape -- but nevertheless a gift in a very broken way, the gift of human life, and accept what God has given to you. (here)

So there you have it. God works his magic through rapists ...

No wonder Santorum is the gift that keeps on giving to US comedians, and would that we had comedians that could do the same for the Abbotts and the Gillards here, instead of having to rely on Anthony Albanese ripping off a speech from The American President.

Is there a speech in an American movie about the urgent need for a second airport in Sydney? Bet Albo doesn't rip that one off ...

Take it away Colbert, embedded from another source - damn you Hulu, damn you to hell - but ain't it grand to spoof Comedy Central and score a direct hit to the veins in the eyeball from the dynamic duo.

Not that satire would make a jot or whit of difference to Tony Abbott ...

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Australia Day, and the pond is standing in it ...

(Above: putting money into the answer on being Aboriginal in the lucky country).

It wouldn't be an Australia Day without someone in the commentariat being offensive about something.

Come on down Paul Sheehan and jump from the matter of magistrate Pat O'Shane to a wider commentary about being aboriginal and black in Australia, and running out the oldest meme about how being black is a sure way to cash in the paw:

When it comes to indigenous issues, our legal and political system has monetised race. It has racialised the law. In doing so, it has created a problem about identity: who is an Aborigine? There is money involved in the answer.

Oh yes, they've monetised race all right, so there's only one answer to the question of whether you'd experience all the cash and advantages of being black in Australia ... or experience the joys and satisfaction of being a pompous, preening member of the commentariat. Go on, name one Aboriginal person in the mainstream media given a perch to squawk on a weekly basis to the masses about the way things should be, as Sheehan does so predictably and pathetically in For the sake of her Honour and ours, no more double standard.

No wonder the Herald didn't throw it open for comments, speaking of double standards as we are ...

Moving right along, it wouldn't be Australia Day without some literary or cultural critic coming up with a bunch of twaddle. Come on down Peter Craven, and hit us with your best insights on why cultural nationalism is a good thing (forced video at other end of link):

It's all good (and has particular poignancy for us) because as Australians, we so often feel lost in a vast world that we think of as somewhere else. That's the paradox that makes us sceptical about Australia Day, and it's a reaction born of defensiveness. In fact every day is Australia Day in Australia.

Dear sweet absent lord, say it ain't so. China is a vast world somewhere else, and every day in Australia is a day in Australia ...

It's true, of course, that we always feel we have to ask the question, ''How Australian is it?'' before we do anything else. We can never, like our New Zealand neighbours, just decide that now we'll make a film of Lord of the Rings.

Yes, that's exactly the sort of question people asked before throwing taxpayer money at dancing penguins in Antarctica. Are they dancing in Australian Antarctica, and how soon before Australia owns all of Antarctica? As for Mission Impossible 11, I remember a heated debate with a fellow film buff as to whether Tom Cruise should be given honorary Australian status even though he's a scientologist for all that he'd done for Australian film culture ...

When it comes to runaway productions, we can never just decide to make another gormless, useless Alex Proyas science fiction film, without asking why Alex Proyas doesn't happen to be Peter Jackson.

Meanwhile, it wouldn't be an Australia Day without someone being silly. Come on down Michael Koziol and deliver us A land of tough talk and thin skins. Koziol sees thin skins everywhere in the response to Dr. Charlie Teo's Australia Day speech, and in Melinda Tankard Reist going feral about Jennifer Wilson, while at the same time thinking the twitterati had performed an over-zealous witch hunt on Tankard Reist, before turning his attention to Kyle Sandilands and demands for his demise:

There has long been an elitist witch-hunt against Sandilands, which has taken on a competitive nature among those vying to be the final scalp-taker.

Bugger me dead, the tabloid Daily Terror and The Punch, gutter crawling trash from the outer rings of Murdochian hell are elitists? Go on, type in the tag for Kyle Sandilands at The Punch, and see what an elitist witch hunt you get ...

For the absent god's sake, will someone give the inner urban inner west chardonnay sipping elitists a break. Are we responsible for every crime against humanity and Kyle Sandilands?

Speaking of The Punch, it wouldn't be Australia Day without a completely gormless quiz to identify the Australian-ness of quiz takers (How Australian are you? Take our test ...), including this gem:

Q. Who sang in a pub with no beer?

There are, of course, at a minimum, in terms of hits, two answers, and so today the pond celebrates the epic effort of Bobbejaan Schoepen. Well done, dinky di true blue ocker Bobbejaan ...

Meanwhile, it wouldn't be The Punch without a column brooding about racism on Australia Day, decrying how Australia Day is used to brood about racism. Come on down Dai Le with Change the topic, Australia Day is not about racism.

Actually Australia Day can be about anything you like Dai Le, and you can make it a black-bashing day in the style of Paul Sheehan if you like.

What have you got, the punters are standing by, ready to have a bash at it, including Indian cricketers ...

Poor Dai Le dances around on the head of a pin as a way of avoiding the naughty "R" word:

What we do have in Australia, from time to time, is what I would call, the “tension, the drama of the human condition.” It’s a reaction to the arrival of a group of people, especially those coming here on refugee resettlement, or those who have sought asylum. And the emotions, the feelings among the general population tend to be more intense particularly in times of economic difficulties.

Oh bugger me dead, the pond grew up in a perfectly respectable racist environment. Sure we appreciated the Chinese folk in the restaurant across the road giving the white trash 'luck' soup, but we also knew we were superior. Just as we knew we had the edge on wogs ...

No big deal. Stroll across the road to China and especially Japan, and you'll get the same attitude in spades ... yes old woman who wouldn't let us into the temple because we were filthy alien despoiling gaijin, I still remember you fondly. You could have made a fine guardian of a temple in Tamworth ...

There's no need for half-baked equivocation in regard to the naughty "R" word, though there are degrees of conviction when it comes to actual racism, where prejudice often collapses when the generalised prejudice meets the individual, who turns out to be human after all. There's no need for this sort of nonsense:

The automatic human reaction to a perceived “threatened” situation is to “attack” and protect common territory. It is too simplistic to just react and call someone a racist. And I am personally offended that my country is described as a “racist” country. But we have our fair share of people who are ill-informed, uneducated, insensitive, and unsophisticated.

Yes, and racist to boot, and no benefit to sweep it under the rug in a wave of verbal evasiveness. But naturally Dai Li got the comments she was looking for:

Of course Australia is not racist. The claims of racism come from minority groups and the PC media who can’t live with their own life guilt.

Yes, and don't forget the elites. Whenever there's a problem, whenever there's smoke there's fire, so don't forget the that it's the 'leets what done it ...

So what is Australia Day for? Well there's always a chance to catch up on a little back reading, and so inspired by Bernard Keane, with Misogynist abuse online and playing the victim, we headed off to catch up on Miranda the Devine, and Travails of a pro-life feminist.

First up, you're greeted by this splendid pic:

And then you cop the Devine's seemly contribution to polite rational debate: miserable orcs, 'driven offline' by vitriol, nemesis, abuse, internet haters, twitter hate exploded, Christophobes, spite, sanctimony, anti-Christian malice, 21st century McCarthyism, the purging of Christians and abortion enthusiasts.

The funniest thing? McCarthy of course was a Christian conservative. And who on earth would be an abortion enthusiast? On the other hand, if you ever experienced an abortion in the family back in the days of the McCarthyist fifties, who on earth would put up their hands and be enthusiasts for backyard abortions? Who would be enthusiasts for women bearing a child even if the pregnancy was the result of a rape? Well you can find some Christian conservatives who would ...

It's always funny how Catholics like the Devine recognise that fundamentalist conservative Islam is an issue (oh yes, they're at work in Egypt), while mouthing the same sort of anti-gay, anti-woman, anti-porn, anti-right to have an abortion rhetoric on the domestic scene, and never capable of acknowledging that it's liberal secular values that make the difference ...

Not to worry, it seems that the Devine has been on quite a rabid roll, what with her scintillating endorsement of David Evans on the matter of climate science (Open and shut - the climate skeptic's case). Dammit, there it is again, skeptic, archaic and Unites States only please ... If you want some balance, David Evans features heavily at Skeptical Science (and here too). Dammit, there's that word again ...

And what about the Devine's proposal that monster trucks should only be driven at night when fewer cars are on the road. By golly, that should cull monster trucks. Now if only we can make bicyclists only ride at night, and in best socialist communist style, hire more flesh and blood highway patrol officers to make it happen, why all will be well on the roads. The trucks that ate Paris and cyclists ...

Then there's the Devine on the joys of flag-waving, and suddenly the true meaning of Australia Day occurred to the pond. It's doing over the Lebs:

Forget Clover Moore as the Grinch of Sydney's Christmas. The "Lions of Lebanon" with their Glock pistols and Molotov cocktails have put her to shame this holy season. While the NSW police lock down entire beachfront suburbs, instruct stores to stop selling baseball bats, and apply the full force of the law to pasty-faced nerds with a taste for Nazi literature, they continue to cower from the real hardmen, the Lebanese-Australian criminal gangs of Sydney's south-west who have ruled the roost in this city for at least a decade and now number in their thousands. (Gangster's hold on Sydney is safe).

Second thoughts, no, it's not reading yet more vicious ad hominem attacks from a scribbler who routinely decries vicious ad hominem attacks on Christians.

Hell is reading the commentariat and having a memory, and hell, it's time to head off to a barbecue ... yep, Australia, you're standing in it ...

(Below: more cartoons on the battle for Cronulla here).

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

And now the further doings of POTUS, Bronwyn Bishop, the world of Rosewarne and the world of chairman Rupert ...

Typically it was POTUS (that's OPTUS to you know nothing anti-Murdochians) who set the tone for the week with this message last night.

While the news about cyberlockers has fallen off the front pages, the fall-out from the Megaupload affair has been a virtual massacre of sites (Cyberlocker Ecosystem Shocked As Big Players Take Drastic Action).

The funniest thing? All this happened without the help of SOPA or other draconian legislation. Turns out that the authorities had ways of tackling the issue all along ...

Of course there's already been some kicking back (Anonyupload: faceless group steps in after Kim Dotcom's arrest) but the point is, there are already plenty of laws available in relation to breaches of intellectual property rights, and contrary to talk of the intertubes being the wild west, what users get up to is easily trackable. And if you get to a certain size, you become noticeable ... and steps can be taken.

Somedays the pond feels like making wildly defamatory statements about certain politicians to prove the point, but then again, even a minnow can cop a Meryl Tankard Reist, so maybe not ...

Meanwhile, what else is new in the world of the digerati? Well yesterday they had the splendid chance to see Bronwyn "Kerosene bath" Bishop shedding crocodile tears and maintaining the rage in Labor's mean-spirited attack on our most vulnerable.

Now think what you will of the proposal to remove high income earners of the 30 per cent rebate in relation to private health insurance - parliament has already rejected it twice, so it will be a tough sell third time around - but the proposal relates to ending the right to claim for individuals earning more than $80,000 a year and families earning more than $160,000 a year (New push to means test the private health rebate).

In relation to these figures, Bishop manages to produce some splendid statistical gobbledegook:

Peter Slipper had good reason to vote down this mean-spirited means test because 58 per cent of his voters are over 50 years old, 32,000 of those being over 60 years. 70 per cent of his electorate earn less than $50,000.

Oh the beauty of data. But wait there's more, a further frumious, furious, flurry of floozy figures:

The Government’s own figures show that of the 10.3 million people with private health insurance, more than half live in households with incomes of less than $50,000 a year and of these 3.4 million live in households with incomes of less than $35,000 a year.
These people will bear the worst of the pain.

And how will that happen? Seeing as these figures have actually nothing to do with the means test target?

Well there'll be a demise of regional private hospitals and the disappearance of visiting specialists, and the whole private system will collapse and we'll all be rooned.

And then the wild and woolly rhetoric disappears into the world of the north shore and shrieking privilege:

The private health insurance rebate is a moral issue. The Medicare system is a universal system. It only works because the private health system is an integral part of it and must also remain universal and therefore means test free.

The rebate was a policy introduced by the Howard Government to rebuild private health insurance participation after it was decimated by the Hawke and Keating Governments.

A moral issue! Would Bronwyn Bishop know a moral issue if it bit her on the Riverside nursing home bum?

Well can anyone punching on at the punch-drunk Punch out punch Bronnie?

Sure can. Come on down Lauren Rosewarne scribbling Sex scandals should not render a leader impotent.

Bizarrely she tries to give Newt Gingrinch a 'get out of jail' card in relation to his behaviour:

I’m not advocating Newt’s behaviour. Quite clearly he’s a scumbag.

Uh huh. He's a scumbag, but on the principle that everyone should be able to have their cake and eat it too, his scumbaggery should be completely ignored:

My position however, is that provided he is not committing any crimes, his personal life is entirely his own. Instead, I am suggesting that the obsession with moral character needs to be put on the backburner. That arbitrarily plucking a single personal indiscretion out and expecting it to function as a predictor of performance in office is insanity and that doing so has resulted in some very good politicians being ousted.

Well it's a noble ideal, and to break Godwin's law just briefly, it would have worked a treat for Adolf Hitler, who was inclined to vegetarianism, and a relatively discreet private life, mixing marriage (to set things right) and suicide (to set things right).

If only Newt himself had lived up to Ms. Rosewarne's lofty ideals, no doubt all would be well in the United States. But readers only had to reach the second comment to see Rosewarne's bit of trolling laid to rest:

The problem is these people run on themes of family values and moral judgement against others. These two things underpin their entire political outlook. If they can’t abide by the foundation of their political philosophy, it is correct to question their ability to lead.

Indeed. Glass houses and all that. Now hop into your time machine Ms. Rosewarne and go back in time to suggest to Newt that maybe, just maybe, leading the charge to impeach Bill Clinton over an intern blow job, while fucking around on the side, was a tad problematic for a politician wanting to live in a Rosewarney world.

Of course Gingrinch dressed up his Clinton campaign as protecting the sanctity of depositions, with never a no mind for the sanctity of depositions to partners, along the lines of "oh no honey, of course I'm not fucking around". (Gingrich impeached Clinton to preserve sanctity of depositions).

There's plenty of fun at Wonkette about Newt, about him getting non-wife blowjobs during Bill Clinton's blowjob hearings (here), and how Newt Gingrinch committed adultery because American made him horny, and how in another place his infidelities helped him to understand how to impeach Clinton.

Of all the candidates to try to get off the hook in relation to personal lives ...

Of course private lives should be private lives, but when you run around celebrating traditional marriage while fucking around like a rabbit in untraditional ways, even blind Freddy (no disrespect to the blind or Freddy intended) might realise that questions will be raised ...

Take it away Doonesbury and click to enlarge:

And finally, since the pond asked the question of what was happening with The Australian, at last some news from the Murdoch front line in Whittaker in the firing line at News Limited.

Oh it's juicy, and it's not just the Daily Terror and the wretched Whittaker likely to see changes, it seems that the HUN still intends to roll out a subscriber paywall in March.

Bring it on. Oh frabjous day, callooh callay, the pond chortled in its joy.

Could this mean that Andrew Bolt is a Dickhead awareness week will now have to be re-titled Andrew Bolt is a dickhead locked behind a paywall awareness week?

Probably not, but hope, how it springs eternal ...

And now a reminder of your June awareness duties, provided you don't have to breach a paywall to pay your respects ... take it away First Dog ...