You have to admire the sheer clunk-headed, tone-deaf, ham-fistedness of James Packer handing over 250k to Bob Katter's Australian Party.
Even amongst chums 250k is more than a sneeze or a tickle, and it comes at a time when Packer is wanting to fight the good fight on poker machines, and get a licence for an extremely ugly casino proposal smack dab in the middle space set aside as public space in gay old Sydney's Barangaroo development.
Naturally Barry O'Farrell slobbered all over it in a most unseemly way, proving that as a politician he's just another kelpie.
Now suddenly Packer's off with the boofheads in the homophobic gutter, doing his best to contain the damage, as the likes of Andrew Wilkie started to mutter about "brown paper bags" and unseemly behaviour.
But what about Packer's attempt to reclaim ground with his "fierce condemnation" of Katter?
"I admire his passion for this great country and that's why I donated to him," Mr Packer said.
"But I don't agree with all his policies and views and I certainly don't support this advertisement or his attack on Campbell Newman.''
He could have attacked Katter with a bag of marshmallows and had more impact than this fuddy duddy statement. Yet the headlines presented it as Packer "slamming" Katter (as in Packer slams Katter over anti-gay marriage attack ad - warning forced video ad at other end of link).
If that wording is a slam job, then slam dunk has lost all meaning. It's about as hard core as dunking doughnuts.
Packer might be the son of the father, but he certainly isn't up to the father, nor are his advisors, and every moment in the unfolding saga does him and his business plans no good.
Katter is certainly strong on comedy routines - like saying that the advertisement didn't deliberately show vision of Campbell Newman folding a skirt, as if a researcher or an editor getting hold of the footage and deliberately cutting it in, and then it being viewed by all and sundry, and deliberately allowed to remain in the advertisement was somehow not deliberate.
What gherkins and clowns, with all the talk of Russia because an ABC employee breached her terms of employment ('This is Queensland, not Russia' when surely the header should have ran This is Queensland, we're way more homophobic than Russia).
What a surprise to learn that Joh's Jury's Luke Shaw is the campaign manager for Katter's party. Time to get out the old telemovie and remember exactly what Shaw did to help advance truth and justice in Queensland ...
If you were playing the game of sexual innuendo Katter style, you'd have to wonder if a big boob fetish is what's led Packer to his current folly, except of course that there's nothing intrinsically wrong with either boob or blonde fetishism. It's just a marker, a sign ...
Meanwhile, in other billionaire news, Gina Rinehart's company Hancock Prospecting has failed to file its annual accounts for the past two years "a failure which the corporate regulator was at a loss to explain last night". (here)
Well nobody expects anything much of ASIC when it comes to regulation and disclosure, but surely it should have read "a failure which the company was at a loss to explain last night", since the company, in a veil of silence way refused to comment.
Why do journalists and commentators always turn on the regulators, when the real culprits - Rinehart and company - hide in plain sight?
Meanwhile, down in the comments section of the Herald, the smirk has swung into action with Carr appointment takes Senate manipulation to next level.
To read the smirk - Peter Costello, failed non-Liberal party leader to ordinary folk - you must forget everything you remember about Australian politics, like the appointment of Albert Patrick Field to the Senate by Joh Bjelke-Petersen. (he has his own wiki here). Yes, by an irony, the corrupt politician who presided over a corrupt government, and so ably defended by Luke Shaw ...
That little gambit led to a constitutional crisis, yet here's the smirk wringing his hands over Carr getting into cabinet as foreign minister, as if the sky had suddenly fallen in ...
The way Costello glosses over Bjelke-Petersen's behaviour ("refused to accept Labor's nominee") and celebrates the aftermath as a triumph of Malcolm Fraser's integrity is a wondrous display of weasel words.
Amazingly, there's also a wiki for the list of Australian Senate appointments - here - and when you start reading it, you might wonder why the smirk isn't equally agitated about Arthur Sinodinos getting the nod when Helen Coonan left the scene. Or how the Liberal party managed to appoint Mary Jo Fisher after Amanda Vanstone decided she wanted to enjoy pasta in Italy (and who can blame her for that?)
Costello's piece is full of vague innuendo and furtive insinuations and alarmist hysteria, right down to this bon mot:
Technically, even a prime minister could be chosen from outside Parliament and whisked into office via the Senate - as long as the governor-general could be convinced to issue a commission on the basis of a majority in the House of Representatives. This is how Professor Mario Monti was recently appointed Prime Minister of Italy.
Oh no Amanda, quick, speak to the Italians, Australian politics is going Italianate.
Oh no Amanda, quick, speak to the Italians, Australian politics is going Italianate.
The fatuous Costello rambles on about how the rights of voters have been ignored, but who was speaking up for the rights of voters when Mary Jo Fisher got the nod?
Still, it's reassuring to learn that Sinodinos will not be given a cabinet appointment because of the way he was appointed to the Senate, and so western democracy will once again be saved.
Every column Costello now writes seems to be infused with a melancholy bitterness, a dour emptiness, infused with a reflexive ideological cant and desire to fight, without any realisation that the caravan has moved on, leaving the dogs to bark and the cats to smirk.
It's only when you realise the Cheshire cat faded to a smirk, and then the smirk itself faded away, that the future suddenly brightens ...
Speaking of zealotry, bitterness, and emptiness, Brendan O'Neill's at it again in Kony 2012 the bastard offspring of the liberal elite.
Now the pond had determined not to play the tedious Kony game, but O'Neill's squawk is such a fine example of Norwegian Blue thinking that dead parrot lovers around the world will rejoice at the final par:
... what such mocking overlooks is that the moralistic zealots of the simple-minded Kony 2012 campaign are actually the bastard offspring of the liberal elite and its cynical, self-serving moralisation of international affairs.
Yes, once again the "liberal elite" is responsible for everything.
Kony, the anti-Kony campaign, the anti-the-anti Kony campaign, and everything else in between. O'Neill has become such a convoluted caricature of himself, with his obsessive monomaniacal attribution of all the sins of the world to the sinister "liberal elite" that he probably doesn't realise how much he sounds like either a casuistical Jesuit or a child of the Bolsheviks ...
One reader proposed that O'Neill abstain from the use of "liberal elite" for a year while writing columns, but what would the dear lad have left?
Communism, socialism? Look to the liberal elite. The worst excesses of capitalism? Surely the fault of the liberal elite. The conduct of world affairs? Look to the hideous liberal elite.
Black helicopters? In the hands of the liberal elite right as we scribble ...
Is there no evil that can't be attributed to the evil liberal elite?
The funny thing of course is that O'Neill makes a living out of writing columns, which turn up at the ABC, for some the heartland of the liberal elite, and he shows all the signs of being an elite member of an elite who make a living pounding on keyboards. Please, someone check his hands for calluses and signs that in his other life he's a Canadian lumberjack.
Or else let's look for signs that he's a covert member of the liberal elite and all his expostulation and dead parrot routines are just an elaborate kind of cover ...
Meanwhile, speaking of sexual politics, as we were at the start when we strayed into the homophobic gutter, how fine is Doonesbury this week? (you can find him here, or get him sent to your email). Decades on and he still manages to get banned ('Doonesbury' Abortion Strip Gets Rejected By Some Newspapers)
The pond rarely goes feminist - it can upset James Packer - but a special note of thanks is due to the prankster women politicians in the United States making a point by demanding regulation of men's sexuality:
Before getting a prescription for Viagra or other erectile dysfunction drugs, men would have to see a sex therapist, receive a cardiac stress test and get a notarized affidavit signed by a sexual partner affirming impotency, if state Sen. Nina Turner has her way. The Cleveland Democrat introduced Senate Bill 307 this week...
... An Illinois bill would require men to watch a “horrific video” on the side effects of Viagra. In Virginia, Sen. Janet Howell (D) submitted a bill requiring men to undergo a digital rectal exam before receiving a prescription for erectile disfunction drugs. (here)
Now (SPOILER ALERT), all we have to do is settle back and wait for the punch line to Doonesbury's Thursday cartoon:
Thursday: In the stirrups, a young woman is telling a nurse that she doesn’t want a transvaginal exam. Doctor says “Sorry miss, you’re first trimester. The male Republicans who run Texas require that all abortion seekers be examined with a 10″ shaming wand.” She asks “Will it hurt?” Nurse says, “Well, it’s not comfortable, honey. But Texas feels you should have thought of that.” Doctor says, “By the authority invested in me by the GOP base, I thee rape.”
And the Friday one:
Friday: Doctor is explaining that the Texas GOP requires her to have an intimate encounter with her fetus. He begins describing it to her. Last panel, he says, “Shall I describe it’s hopes and dreams?” She replies, “If it wants to be the next Rick Perry, I’ve made up my mind.”
Where's the Australian Doonesbury sending up Bob Katter, James Packer, the smirking Costello, the liberal elitist Brendan O'Neill and the ABC's The Drum for running the dead parrot squawking?
I was afraid you'd ask that ...
(Below: and another Doonesbury. Click on to enlarge. Thank the lord it seems liberal elitists have a sense of humour).