Wednesday, July 11, 2012

In which the pond contemplates a Craven solution ...

First a message to our unsolicited sponsor, nee Int. Prop. aggregator nee appropriator.

Greetings Blogotariat readers. If you're reading this, it's because the robot harvester ripping off blogs for your pleasure failed to recognise that the FBI are actively pursuing each and every Blogotariat reader for intellectual property breaches. The penalty, sadly, is life in a volcano with a Thetan.

Why not come over to the original, permeate-free, 101% fresh, seminal, foliate-enriched, truly unique Loon Pond and read it on its actual, innovative, ground-breaking, gluten-free site?

We keed, we keed. We're just wondering how far we can go before someone at Blogotariat catches on to the joke.

Now on with usual loon business.

The pond was intrigued to read that Andrew Bolt's blog had suddenly withdrawn its comments section in a fit of petulant sulkiness related to a dispute over the supply of moderators by the Herald-Sun. (here at Crikey). There is a stern injunction at the bottom of many posts saying (No comments.) and sure enough, there are no comments.

True, the readership produces such a cesspit of comments, it must be like moderating the Bolivar sewage treatment works on a daily basis, but what joy for the Bolter now he can boast zero comments on many posts? Has the readership gone into sharp decline, deprived of the right to be feral and bigoted and howling banshees of prejudice?

Meanwhile, as the Bolter and the HUN conspired to silence their readers' freedom to speak like raving loons, Janet Albrechtsen toddled into print with this declamatory rhetoric:

We the people?

Has reading Janet Albrechtsen and the lackeys of the Murdoch press suddenly been transformed into the Preamble to the United States Constitution?

Suddenly Janet Albrechtsen speaks for "we, the people"? Somehow it's "our" free press? Strange, the last I looked, News Ltd was owned, in a controlling way, lock stock and barrel by the Murdoch clan.

Isn't this sort of rabble-rousing idle demagoguery a step down the road to serial breaches of Godwin's Law?

Can The Australian get any sillier?

And they want readers to pay for this incredible display of hubris? They whacked a gold bar on all this chatter about "we the people"? You need to pay Rupert to be free?

Well the pond would rather have all teeth extracted using a chain saw than pay to be one of Janet Albrechtsen's people ... but okay, if we must, yes, we, the pond, reaffirm our commitment to a press free of the onerous, burdensome control of ratbag billionaires ...

On the other hand, the pond needs its daily serving of loons and with Peter Costello absent from Fairfax - perhaps the smirk will turn up later in the day, grinning in his Cheshire cat way -we did duck behind the paywall to take a look at Greg Craven's brilliant idea in Parliament needs the voice of reason to raise the tone of politicians (google text to avoid the paywall).

After roundly abusing parliamentarians and parliamentary standards, let's cut to the chase:

If parliamentarians will not debate, perhaps we should put some non-parliamentarians into parliament...

... what about some real, genuinely free-thinking, politically disinterested figures? Why could we not modestly change our system so that each house of parliament had sitting inside it five eminent Australians chosen on the basis of distinction rather than desperation, with the duty to speak decency in the counsels of the nation.

Oh dear, speak decency. Can we have an example of the elevated tone?

This is not the old fantasy about non-political independent members. These go feral with power quicker than Aunt Maud's moggie gone bush.

Aunt Maud's moggie? I see these ancient seers will bring to the wider world the wisdom of bush ways. And how will these non-voting sages work?

... what we want is their voices, not their votes. Hearing the speeches of eminent Australians speaking sense on what politicians regard as their own issues in their own debating chambers would be calculated to bring them to a salutary sense of public shame.

Uh huh. That sounds fair. Publicly shame democratically elected representatives by a bunch of unelected rhetoricians given a free ride into parliament where they can act like ponces answerable to no one and nothing ... apart from their ineffable sense of their own importance. But now we're at the point where the rubber hits the road, who might these eminences be?

We would not have too far to look for what might be called these counsellors of state. The highest grade of the Order of Australia - the Companions - is full of them. Why couldn't the independent Council of the Order be charged with picking a couple of handfuls of willing statespeople for appropriate terms of service?

What, the Order of Association which currently has as its president that NT boofhead and headkicker Shane Stone as its president? (here). We'd put a mean and tricky memo writer in charge of the show?

Their eminence and record of achievement would guarantee that they already had outstanding careers, with no need to use parliament as a platform for power. Former politicians would be acceptable, as no one is more critical of an institution than a successfully escaped inmate.

Uh huh. So Shane Stone is a goer. But come on, the rubber's hit the road, the peddle's hit the metal, how about a few actual names?

Imagine how the quality of parliamentary debate would be improved on issues such as boat arrivals, climate change and the minerals tax by the participation of such figures as Peter Cosgrove, former chief justice Gerard Brennan, former premier and academic Geoff Gallop and business chief Mark Leibler.

Peter Cosgrove? Would that be the same Cosgrove chappie who demeaned and diminished Anzac Day by turning up in an advertisement for VB plugging beer? And getting Suzy Freeman-Greene agitated in Heroes and booze: the unhealthy fix at the core of our culture.

Have another one on us Peter.

Geoff Gallop? Would that be the Gallop who hung around with Iraq war monger Tony Blair, and then ducked out of politics on the ground that he was depressed and wanted to spend time with his family? Should we be wanting to give him a new life away from his family? Don't we already get a bucketload of his views in WAtoday? Here they are ... not that they always make it across the Nullarbor plain, and not that the pond is saying they're worth reading, unless terminal boredom is a personal ambition.

Mark Leibler? Would that be the same Leibler who routinely runs cover for Israel and its current batch of policies in relation to Palestine and the Palestinian people? As can be seen in pieces like Only one path can lead to two states? Writing and lobbying in a way that sent Malcolm Fraser into a frenzy in I wonder what happened to the ethical Israel I used to know:

Leibler shows no concern for the great number of Palestinians killed. Israel’s answer has indeed been disproportionate and heavy handed. He justifies Israeli action by saying that it must be examined in “context”. This is why many people’s attitude to Israel has changed. It has abandoned the ethical approach so evident in earlier days.

The attitudes depicted in this response will result in continued conflict, continued warfare, continued terrorism. It is time Israel and America learnt that if a country has confidence in itself, in the justice of its objectives, talking with people involves no risk. It does not mean that you agree to something contrary to your principles or to your own fundamental security but it is an essential tool in the search for peace. Failure to talk represents lack of confidence, lack of conviction and a weakness that can have tragic consequences.

I know there are members of the Jewish community in Australia who do not agree with the views vehemently expressed by the Lobby but they are deterred, by one means of another from entering the debate. It would be an important advance if they were able to find a voice and debate these issues. They are too important to allow the usual spokesman free rein.

Oops, we let big Mal run on a bit - he does love to run on with the bit between his teeth. Back to Craven:

How exactly would a swaggering government or a sniggering opposition go about belittling their contributions?

Fairly easily, it would seem, at least if they're a lobbyist for Israel, a flogger of beer, or a parochial former state politician with war monger friends, all appointed by a cabal headed by a mean and tricky memo writer from the NT.

Even more thought-provoking, how could they avoid improving their own in order to escape embarrassment? Even a cynical media might recognise truth when it was spoken.

Oh dear. Delusion rampant.

Best of all, such a change has all the virtues of simplicity. No basic political consequences. Minimal expense. Not even the need for a constitutional referendum.

And best of all, no need for democracy. Just a plutocracy, or perhaps a meritocracy or snobbish hierarchical stratification, as a way of avoiding Aunt Maud's moggie peeing on the carpet.

What's that?

Just a good healthy dose of quality.

Like cod liver oil? It'll keep us regular?

So there you have it. The next time you hear someone rabbit on about the idle chattering classes, just remember this bit of Craven idle anti-democratic elitist chatter - with a snowball's chance in moggie hell of coming to fruition - turned up in The Australian, and if you've read this far, you've wasted valuable, precious minutes of your life. And what did you end up with?

Just a good healthy dose of stewed prunes and mogginess, and an awareness that there are ponces, and then there's Greg Craven ...

(Below: is being undemocratic and yearning for elites a Catholic thing? Who knows, but if you want to learn why the photo below juxtaposes Craven and a bogong moth, head off to Catholic professor compares atheists to a plague of moths and blowflies).


  1. Well, DP, if you are truly offering 'foliate', then let's Green up together. But, if you meant 'folate' then I'll just eat more broccoli. As we all know, pregnant persons cannot/will not/should not eat any broccoli, so we are condemned to having another chemical (ahem!) stuffed into our bread, like they put Li in our water.
    Craven suggestions do have merit, but there are none more meritorious than David Cappo and Frank Brennan SJ. So, when the next Family Planning Summit (David Cameron has spoken well at the current one) comes, PM Abbott could just defer the decision to send delegates off to his panel of eminent appointments.

  2. Gosh golly Earl, and I also offered up "truly unique" and no one has bitten. It says a lot about these truly unique times ...

    And yes, let's stack the appointees with Vicar Generals and Jesuits ...


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