Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The pond proudly presents a classic commentariat rant ...

(Above: please spend wisely and check the 1912 fine print here)

The pond is always on the quest for the perfect commentariat rant, and truth to tell, it's been slim pickings of late.

Your classic commentariat rant should always purport to be a rational, sane contribution to policy debates and discussions, but just simmering beneath the surface, there should be a stew of completely irrational hysteria and hate, decorated with lashings of abuse, over-heated rage, fear, loathing, froth and foam, preferably with a dash of paranoia.

One of the classic ways of achieving this is to lump together all sorts of disparate issues, unlinked except in the ranter's mind, as the ranger proceeds to link them together and blame them on "the other",  the different, and anyone who dares to see things slightly differently.

A sure guide to a classic rant is the header.

Now if it's a desiccated Henry Ergas header, or a pompous fly-blown Paul Kelly header - today's example is High-stakes test for the nation - you're entitled to immediately nod off and indulge in a quick cat nap.

No, what's needed for a classic spray is something feisty, like You're all a bunch of fucking idiots. Yes, you!

Of course for the MSM, the fucking is a tad tricky, so Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen settles for next best with Leftist jargon is village idiocy (behind the paywall to keep you on an even keel), and never mind if that offends your average village idiot, because everyone knows there's no problem offending retards, losers, dropkicks and the handicapped if it's all in a good cause. Anything else would be terribly PC, and as we all know, all youse PC types can just get fucked ...

Anyhoo, it turns out that there's nothing more certain to irritate an Eastern suburbs type than people standing in the way of progress, and lordy lordy, is Dame Slap mad as hell:

Around where I live, there has been a recent campaign to "Save Bronte Village." I've lived here for more than 20 years and I've never heard the old set of shops up the road from me be referred to as a village. It's just your regular strip of shops. 

Now stop right there.

In its day, back in the twentieth century, when the pond was more high-falutin' and up market, a regular swish and a swell, it had several friends who lived in Bronte, and they referred to it as a village. Most areas the pond has lived in Sydney considers itself a village, though there's really no more pitiful village than Kirribilli.

In fact, Sydney has long thought of itself as an aggregation of villages, partly because of the difficulties of getting around, which sees people stick to their own tribal villages. A bit like those hapless Melburnians who get the fear of dragons when they cross the Yarra.

The pond knows of eastern suburbs types who get the shakes if they head further west than Surry Hills, and frankly the pond can get nose bleed shifting from Newtown to Erko village, and their valiant campaign to cut a supermarket down to size.

But if you're determined on a rant, talk of ethnography or geography or sociology isn't the main game. It's the rant:

...a small group of locals started calling it "Bronte Village" as a ploy to stop a large fruit and vegetable shop opening. We might call it progress. Nothing radical, just a new, bigger shop that sells stuff we need, like fresh fruit and vegetables. The activists call it destroying a village. 
You have to hand it to this group of malcontents. They know how to steal a word, make it their own, and then flog it to stop progress. The other day a woman from outside the suburb asked me for directions to "Bronte Village." I told her there is no village here, just a set of shops up the road. Nonplussed she walked on in search of a village.

Now who are these malcontent, ne'er do well, activist ratbag leftist idiots?

Well it turns out that they include the hyphenated Bruce Notley-Smith, the Liberal party member for Coogee, who dared to attend a "Save Bronte Village" Rally:

...I joined in the rally to protect this special part of Bronte from becoming a victim of overdevelopment and ensure that local residents have their voice heard by the developers and Waverley Council. 
It was great to see so many turn out on Saturday in support of their community. I look forward to closely following the steps in this process to ensure the future of Bronte Village remains in the hands of the community.

It confirmed everything the pond feared about lickspittle village idiot Liberal party stooges, always ready to pretend they cared abut the community.

Oh for Dame Slap to bite off his head with a sharp snap, nonplussing this wretch by reminding him there's no such thing as society, just a bunch of buildings ...

Never mind, back to the rant, because you see once you've lumped everybody into the wash - no you shouldn't mix socks and shirts and hyphenated Liberals with radicals - you're ready to embark on the full-blooded part of the rant, but first you need a name to outrage you, one that is as shocking as the concept of villages:

This is what the Left does best. Find some sweet-sounding words, repackage them as a beguiling catch-cry for a campaign, and you're on your way. Soon enough careers and industries are built around a few words - words like "social inclusion" - even though no one knows what the words mean. But when your currency is emotion, logic takes a back seat. That's why words matter more for those on the Left. By contrast, those on the other side of politics focus more on tedious matters such as outcomes and empirical evidence.

Yes, damn you, state leftist progressive village idiot state Liberal MPs, where's your tedious focus on outcomes and empirical evidence. But what to call you and your lickspittle talk of community? (You dangerous radical ratbag, how dare you talk of amenity and village character, wash out your mouth)

Think I'm being too tough on so-called progressives? Start with the misappropriation of that word. Progressive. For decades, so-called progressives championed symbolic, feel-good politics for indigenous people. They talked of treaties and cultural identity, collective land ownership, "rights" agendas, the need for more hand-outs. This was the "progressive" agenda, they told us. And don't dare mention other words like "assimilation". That's the other tactic. Find a word and demonise it, to demonise your opponents. 
Assimilation became a dirty word and along with it the notion that indigenous people aspire to what non-indigenous people want - a home, a job, a life based on individual desires rather than collective agendas. After 30 years, there was nothing remotely progressive about the outcomes; the so-called progressive agenda entrenched misery in indigenous communities.

There you go, that's how it's done. You've moved from a state Liberal MP chatting about Bronte village to progressives to indigenous issues, and next thing you know Dame Slap is lining up beside the rough Brough to arrange an invasion of the Northern Territory, with bonus control of indigenous spending by government. And the way these assorted policies flamed out in a spectacular way is all the fault of  progressives ....

By now surely you're catching the art of the rant.

Don't hold back, don't consider subtleties and nuance, lump all you hate into a basket and bash away, casting sweeping nasturtiums:

Facing the facts, many on the Left now accept that welfare dependency and rights agendas won't deliver a better life, but it's easy to forget how long unorthodox ideas - such as getting people off welfare - were treated with contempt.

Yes, because progressives everywhere know that living on cat food to eke out your welfare payment to the end of the week, is a life of unadulterated luxury, and working on the check outs so you can afford to buy a better brand of cat food shouldn't be treated with contempt, not as you ponce around Bronte village, telling the natives they've never had it so good, thanks to a mall coming into a retail wilderness to give them the very best competitive range of cat foods to choose from. Because we all need choice ...

Oops, you can see how meaningless ranting is so appealing and catching.

And naturally, once you're on a roll, the foam-flecked spittle is spraying into the air, you're ready to move on to other issues, and naturally that's how the ABC is ruining the nation, and how awful it is to talk about compassion:

As for the Left's lingua franca about asylum-seekers, the trick is to claim sole moral ownership of the word "compassion." If you reject their policies of open borders, onshore processing and no detention centres, then, ergo, you lack compassion. You are not entitled to use that word. Worse, you are nasty, fearful, intolerant and, of course, xenophobic. The Greens and many within the Labor Party are members of this compassion con. And so are many within our national broadcaster. Just a few recent examples: earlier this month, after yet more asylum-seekers - including a baby - died at sea, ABC News Radio ran an online survey asking listeners whether they supported (a) a tougher line (b) a more compassionate approach; or (c) the existing policy. More akin to push polling, note the sly use of "compassion" as if only an easing of border policy can deliver compassionate outcomes. The results surely disappointed the ABC compassionistas: 70 per cent of respondents wanted tougher measures. 

Ah, the wretched ABC. But note the sly use of the word "compassionistas", which it has to be said, is right up there with fashionistas and warmistas ... so clever, this tasty reductionist sauce ...

So now you've reduced your enemy to a word, a nasty, fearful, intolerant and of course xenophobic word, you can maintain the heat on the ABC:

The compassion con has been one of the greatest frauds perpetuated on this nation. When Barrie Cassidy - host of ABC1's Insiders - recently interviewed Immigration Minister Tony Burke about the so-called "PNG Solution," he said "Where is the compassion in the new policy?" 

Yes indeed. Likely after this you'll want a test to root out, weed out, these useless sentimental folk and their pathetic addiction to compassion. Here's the go. Challenge anyone carrying on like a bleeding heart to leave their youngest child out in the snow overnight. If finding snow is an issue, challenge them to put the child in a chaff bag and throw it out to sea, in approved Alan Jones style. Set the example yourself, just to show how it's done ...

The next step of course is to celebrate John Howard's tough policies and excoriate the Labour party. But the pond doesn't do spoilers - well not too many - so let's cut to the chase and the righteous triumphalism:

Once again, so-called progressives have been forced to face the facts, but for too long they relied on the "compassion" word to win arguments. If the Left's use of sweet sounding words was harmless, we might forgive them as irrelevant Utopian dreamers. Sadly, the Left's emotional catch-phrases have led to disastrous consequences - and that's why exposing their hypocrisy is critical.

Uh huh. Now remember, you've got to here by starting off with talk of a Bronte village, featuring a state Liberal MP. It takes a particular skill to berate anyone interested in a "fair go" as rabid ratbag delusionistas. But that's Dame Slap at her finest:

There are plenty of other examples. Words like "social inclusion," "social justice", "human rights" are used to claim the high moral ground, often delivering nothing very moral at all. The Left will mould the phrase "human rights" to include every fashionable agenda - but try asking them to defend the basic human right to free speech, and they slink away, finding excuses or other "rights" that matter more to them. When you trade in emotion, not reason, philosophical consistency is not required. 

Yes fuck all this talk about a fair go, or human rights or other nebulous airy fairy chatter.

Okay, if you've hung in this far,  you'll realise that trading in emotion is entirely the point, and reason and philosophical consistency aren't required, at least not in Dame Slap's world.

If they were, she might have instead spent her column bemoaning the fate of whistleblower Bradley Manning, or hailing Edward Snowden for revealing the extent of government spying, or urging a vote for Julian Assange as a way of sticking it to people who attack Wikileaks libertarian activities ... but naturally she's not really interested in free speech, not when it comes to maintaining a decent security apparatus. In that context, defending the basic human right to free speech, and the right of whistleblowers to bring information to the attention of the world at large would be a bridge too far ...

By this point, you'll possibly also realise you're actually listening to the empty braying of a rabid ideologue, doing a pot and kettle routine, and with a deft change of a few words, the rhetoric is interchangeable:

The Right will mould the phrase "human rights" to include every fashionable right-wing agenda - but try asking them to defend the basic human right to free speech, and they slink away, finding excuses or other "rights" that matter more to them. When you trade in emotion, not reason, philosophical consistency is not required

Okay, if you've hung in this far, you'll be demanding a light tough, a comedy moment, to wrap it all up. So you've done indigenous and you've done refugees and you've done progressives and you've done Bronte village and state Liberal MPs. What else?

Why Queen Liz and the monarchy natch.

Take the focus on the royal family. Last week, following the birth of a new prince to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, the usual smug, mocking overtures emerged from people like Jon Faine - host of local ABC radio in Melbourne - about the antiquated monarchy. Yet, I'm willing to bet the same people who would happily mow down that bit of our heritage would be keen members of the "Save Bronte Village" campaign. Save a village that doesn't exist but scrap the centuries-old monarchy, in the name of, well, progress. Go figure.

What a perfect conflation. Bronte village and the centuries-old monarchy.

Truly you couldn't invent this sort of splenetic caper - oh okay maybe David Flint could - but at least you can understand why there are so many servile confused lickspittle Australian monarchists out there.

It seems that Prince Chuck is part of our cultural heritage.

Ah well, it's going to be a hard rain that'll fall when Dame Slap gets around to discovering the environmental, greenie, progressive bees buzzing around in Chuckie's bonnet ...

Meanwhile, please allow the pond to award Dame Slap the prize for the rant of the week, high in the competition for rant of the month, and possibly rant of the year ... and all thanks to a state Liberal MP  prattling about Bronte village ...

(Below: now remember, be firm, be very, very firm. And remember, if any innocent approaches you asking for directions, bite their bloody heads off, and leave them confused and non-plussed. It's a way of showing your very own brand of compassion and care).

(Below: by request)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Reheated and recycled, these delicious cookies are for you ...

(Above: same as it ever was).

So on the continuing subject of Greg Hywood and Fairfax and impassioned editorials, yesterday this was what was headlined as top of the dial digital comment:

Maureen Dowd?

If the pond wanted to read Maureen Dowd - the pond generally doesn't - the pond would hie itself off to the home of the Dowd, The New York Times:

Whenever the pond wants weiners, of any kind, edible or not, the pond defers to the United States.

The point is that in recent years Fairfax has been derelict when it comes to its top talent, many of whom have drifted from the rag. 

The newspaper game involves a lot of stodge - the modern equivalent of shipping news - and the sultanas in the cake mix should be nurtured and treasured. 

As soon as you start importing sultanas, you've failed - The Australian is just as guilty as Fairfax in this matter, demanding payment for scribblers you can pick up for free if you could be bothered (Bjorn Lomborg anyone?) and so is the ABC, with the astonishing sight of Brendan O'Neill briefly running the alleged RN jewel in the conservative crown, Counterpoint. (Spike that man, spike him at once)

This isn't idle parochialism or jingoism, or even the sentimentalism and appeal to history of a Hywood. It's simply the reality that there is already a hell of a lot of stuff out there on the full to overflowing intertubes, and you need a distinct brand, not a recycling depot, if you're going to cut it ...

Speaking of stodge, for example, is there ever a chance that The New York Times would pick up a column by our very own prattling Polonius, and feature him at the top of the digital page?

Not if the somnambulistic, somnolent tone of this day's Chameleon Rudd keeps opponents and voters guessing.

It's yet another tedious, repetitious history lesson, in which the dissembling Gerard Henderson uses the Hawke/Keating government to beat other Labor governments around the head.

Here he is today:

Australia's two best performing prime ministers were Hawke (supported by Keating) and Howard (supported by Peter Costello). Both the Hawke and Howard administrations practised cabinet government in its established format, with all the governmental and bureaucratic constraints which this entails. The same is broadly true for the governments headed by Fraser and Gillard. The Rudd government, on the other hand, most resembles Whitlam's. The Prime Minister is a big fan of Whitlam - unlike Hawke and Keating, who witnessed Whitlamism first hand. But there is one difference between Whitlam and Rudd. The former always proclaimed his dissent from his political opponents - Harold Holt, John Gorton, William McMahon, Bill Snedden and Fraser. Whitlam was not inclined to feign conservatism. He was a conviction politician.

Here he was on 12th March 2013:

The sad truth is that Labor has run only one efficient government at the federal level since the Second World War ended nearly seven decades ago. Ben Chifley's government floundered on an ill-advised and bungled attempt to nationalise the private trading banks and was defeated in December 1949. The ALP did not return to office until December 1972. As prime minister, Gough Whitlam certainly made a difference. However, his administration was beset by incompetence. The most severe critics of Whitlam have come from the Labor side. 
In The Hawke Memoirs, Bob Hawke referred to the Whitlam government's ''fiscal irresponsibility''. In 1987, Paul Keating acknowledged Whitlam had no policy ''for dealing with inflation and unemployment''. The Whitlam government's woeful economic performance was analysed by Peter Walsh (Hawke's finance minister) in his ironically titled 1995 book Confessions of a Failed Finance Minister.

Does he have an app on his computer that allows him to scramble the copy just a little so it comes out slightly different?

Not only is the bashing of the Whitlam government tiresome, and beyond predictable - Henderson never mentions the Holt, McMahon and Fraser governments, or even poor old John Gorton when he does his rambles through history - it's replete with a standard repertoire of repetitive tricks.

Back then:

It is too early to judge the achievements of modern Labor and it would be foolish to foretell the outcome of the 2013 election.


It is foolish to make predictions.

But hey, let's channel the prattling Polonius, and talk like a fool and make some foolish predictions.

Tony Abbott is great, Malcolm Turnbull is a loser, current Chairman Rudd is a loser and is due to go down big time, Tony Abbott has wonderful policies on climate change, the Liberals are tremendously stable under Tony, and besides, did I mention I can't stand anything to do with Labor:

Rudd's tactic of fighting an election on his opponent's chosen ground may or may not work. But, win or lose, this makes it harder to understand what contemporary Labor stands for. 

Indeed. But it's easy to understand what the contemporary Liberal party stands for and that's full on, mind-numbing, brain-deadening nattering negativity.

Now here's the further point Mr. Hywood. It's not as if there aren't matters going down that are more interesting and significant than yet another comparative trawl through the Whitlam years.

There is, for example, talk of the impact of Australia's neo-colonialism on Manus island, as featured last night on 7.30, here

There is the matter of Jon Stanhope, current administrator of Christmas Island, speaking out about the loss of humanity in the land.

There's the matter of the Fijian dictatorship sounding more aware and liberal than the Australian government.

There's the refusal of the Australian government to allow access to any refugee facility, and a deliberate dehumanisation and obliteration of the individuals involved and their stories ... such that Guantanamo Bay almost begins to sound like a liberal prison ...

And then there's Tony Abbott's latest announcement, that he intends to build a portable slum, a tent city, trumping the Ruddster by being even more punitive and more ad hoc ... such that even News Corp rags felt the need to use evocative front pages to describe this policy-making on the trot:

Remember this sort of rhetoric as recent as June 2013:

"We will stop the boats and we will make a difference from day one," he said.

Yes, it would all be over in months. Three months max, done and dusted

And now Abbott's planning to build a huge new tent city slum. (Coalition proposes tent city).

Australia's very own town camp, its very own gulag, its very own ghetto, its very own apartheid township, as a way of trumping Labor's plan to do the same in PNG.

It's a race to the bottom, a race begun by the feral Scott Morrison, and Tony "invisible substance", "any lie to get hold of the precioussss" Abbott ... while the reptiles at the lizard Oz shed crocodile tears about the suffering of children ...

And what do we get from Fairfax?

Reheated Dowd and a tedious rambling amble down the Whitlam years from a man incapable of writing a coherent word about current events and current policies ...

This, this, this is your idea of penetrating commentariat scribbling which will lure the punters to part with their pennies for a digital subscription?

Oh wait, those school lunches look positively scrumptious.

Tell the pond more ...

Monday, July 29, 2013

A keening and a moaning at Fairfax, but very little sense ...

(Above: some class warfare jokes to set the mood for Monday, click to enlarge)

Only two clicks to go until the end of the month - reserved for generally grumpy Sheehan, and tomorrow, Hendo, the man who prattles more than Polonius - and without unseemly gloating, the pond has been handling the Fairfax paywall with startling ease.

Oh sure, The Guardian's downunder version still has the ineluctable smell of English-ness about it, such that the pond has been reverting to the UK edition, but since loon-hunting is the name of the game, when in doubt, there's always the United States, an enormous loon paradise from democratic weiners to republican kingly racists.

Courtesy Firefox, the pond was hoping to score a screencap of the Fairfax paywall, proving the preposterous notion that they would dare to attempt to charge - or even demand an email address - for the pleasure of accessing generally grumpy Sheehan.

But strangely, the warning popped up yesterday, and yet today all was forgiven, and the pond was rushed into the presence of the general grump without even a by your leave.

Naturally this is exactly the sort of cavalier treatment with which the pond up will not put, so instead we  detoured into "a note from the Fairfax Media CEO".

Oh the poor dears, they must be really hurting, because it turns out the note is a bit like the ones some Romans scribbled while personning Hadrian's Wall, while the Picts and the Celts, barbarians the lot of them, chanted and painted their faces in blue (sorry, the pond wasted an hour or so watching Centurion the other night, though not so much a waste as watching Tom Cruise evoke a sense of Oblivion).

For a moment, perhaps a nano second, the pond felt vaguely guilty at the cheap and easy ride it had indulged in, at the expense of these fearless crusaders for the poor and the powerless, at least until it remembered that this was the home of the routinely biased Peter Hartcher and editor's pick Paul 'generally grumpy' Sheehan.

But you can tell when a rag's in trouble, and that's when it veers into the maudlin, the sentimental, and the tragically righteous, and the amazingly triumphalist, and by golly, the CEO's note has that it spades

For 182 years the Herald has exposed corruption, protected the vulnerable, pursued growth for all and embraced an optimistic vision for the nation based on a contest of ideas.

Nonsensical really, especially if you can remember the days when Fairfax might more properly have been called the Eastern Suburbs Bugle, and routinely followed the most conservative line about the need for the vulnerable to be spent down coal mine and spend a decent 12 hour day working at face...

The real problem, of course, is that, back in the day, Fairfax felt invulnerable, and then starting with young Warwick way back when, bungled its business, and then in the shift to digital, bungled its business model, and others took a hand in stripping of its classified advertisements, and its mortal Eastern suburbs enemies - the Murdochs and the Packers - took the chance to turn a dollar.

The result? Well images of a bad karaoke version of Gloria Gaynor singing I Will Survive in a bad re-make of Priscilla immediately swarmed into view:

For the sake of those who value democracy and a proudly Australian voice, let's hope not. Fairfax made mistakes along the way. No one in the myriad media organisations that have vanished or struggled can deny that. But Fairfax survives.

Go on now, go walk out the door
Just turn around now
'cause you're not welcome anymore
Weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye?
Did you think I'd crumble?
Did you think I'd lay down and die?
Oh no, not I
I will survive ...

And so on.

Well Greg Hywood has now laid down the challenge:

Contrast this to the Murdoch empire's rejection of internal dissent and insistence on groupthink; to Kerry Packer's intolerance of criticism and his son's ''hatred, hatred, hatred, hatred'' outburst in describing his motivations against Fairfax. Contrast it to the Herald's ability to give credit where it is due and play every issue on its merits. 
To the chagrin of Packer and Murdoch, the Herald's team of fearless journalists remains a thorn in the side; a check and balance on the extremes of power; a challenge to the cosy status quo; a rival that cannot be paid off; in essence that most dangerous of ideas, free speech in pursuit of the public interest.

Oh yes, it all sounds fine and noble. Fearless, check and balance, incorruptible, no groupthink, no hatred, playing each ball on its merits like an Australian batsman, above all challenging, challenging ...

So tell the pond about your team:

Kate McClymont, Adele Ferguson, Linton Besser, Peter Hartcher and so many more - let no businessman or politician say their work and that of countless other Fairfax journalists has not made this country a better and more civilised place.

Hang on, hang on, wind that back a little.

Peter Hartcher?

The very same Peter Hartcher that featured so prominently in Kerry-Anne Walsh's The Stalking of Julia Gillard? The very same Hartcher whom Mark Latham called "the equivalent of Rudd's press secretary, a political agent masquerading as an independent reporter". And whom the pond had independently decided was unreadable, so relentless was his monomania (read his tragic attempt at a defence in Peter Hartcher responds to Kerry-Anne Walsh book on Kevin Rudd, may be pay wall affected).

Forget Murdoch, Hartcher was his owb one one-man band of groupthink.

Never mind, then we came to the close, we cop an outburst which could be construed as a wail or a delusional cry of pain, as if somehow the fate of Fairfax was spot welded to the fate of the nation:

... you still have a choice about what sort of country Australia should be. It can be one where the commercial interests of Packer and Murdoch prevail, self-satisfied and free of scrutiny. The other is one where, as the first Herald editorial said in 1831, editorial management of newspapers is conducted upon principles of candour, honesty and honour. Where respect and deference are paid to all classes. Freedom of thinking. No wish to mislead. No interests to gratify. Dissent with respect, to establish a principle. 
 By these sentiments we shall be guided, and, whether friends or foes, by these we shall judge others; we have a right, therefore, to expect that by these we shall be judged.

No interests to gratify? Not even the shareholders, panting with fear?

Uh huh, okay, you can guess by now the pond has been dissembling, procrastinating, dilly-dallying, so let's head off to Paul "generally grumpy" Sheehan, routinely the editor's pick, routinely a far right froth and foam machine, and see how we shall judge.

Oh yes, they must be really feeling the heat at Fairfax, because the man who routinely bashes lazy Celts and the British and European and Greek diseases (you know, workers expecting decent pay for a day's work, instead of being taxed to support dissolute German bankers) suddenly decides to scribble Callous capitalism: endless insecurity.

Surely this is code for callous capitalism: endless insecurity at Fairfax.

It's as if Sheehan has completely forgotten all his support for John Howard and the rest of the gang as they talked about the need for a flexible labor market, and the needs of employers, and the benefits of contracts to produce said flexibility and satisfy said market-driven needs.

Suddenly the sky has fallen in on Chicken Little:

Corporations, private and public, are increasingly outsourcing, offshoring, subcontracting, casualising or downsizing their workforce. Or all of the above. The most soulless corporations engage in a practice called ''managing out'', where the bottom 20 per cent of staff, as measured by KPIs, are pushed out of the company. 
Call it the imperatives of the unforgiving marketplace. Call it structural change. Or the rising velocity of innovation, or the accelerating cycle of obsolescence. Call it gimlet-eyed greed. Just don't call it by that impregnably pompous corporate euphemism of ''challenging''. 

Well actually given Sheehan's penchant for the labor policies of the Liberal party, and his love of union bashing with a piece of 2 be 4, and his desire to see Tony Abbott lodged in the Lodge, we'll just call it outrageous rank hypocrisy by an impregnably pompous man who blows every which way without a thought for coherence and consistency.

That becomes clear as we read on.

Astonishingly, it turns out that Sheehan manages to blame everyone and everything rather than callous capitalism.

It seems all these capitalist shenanigans are actually all the fault of the unions and anti-bullying laws and unfair dismissal provisions (because you know it's fair to have unfair dismissals) and people wanting to protect the rights of workers, which leads to the European disease, and hapless employers baulking at taking on permanent employees because, you know, they might not be able to exploit the shit out of them, and the Labor government for faking the figures, as if Queensland's Campbell Newman has done a sterling job for employment in his state, and Labor allowing so much immigration, and governments no longer doing infrastructure, and that's all because of welfare:

Governments can't build infrastructure like they used to because their spending is now dominated by social welfare. In the 1960s less than one in 30 Australians depended on state financial aid as their main source of income. Today that figure is closer to one in five. 

Ah yes, it was so much better in the days of the great depression when government didn't waste time on social welfare. Let them eat rabbits, or maybe locusts ...

By the end of it all, a confusing, incoherent, confused rant, a shriek of pain, the pond returned to that fateful line:

The most soulless corporations engage in a practice called ''managing out'', where the bottom 20 per cent of staff, as measured by KPIs, are pushed out of the company. 


There you go Mr. Hywood, there's the bottom 20 per cent of your staff right there. Is it worth alienating so many of your readers with Sheehan's relentless tosh?

Shouldn't he be feeling a little job insecurity?

The pond would of course be devastated, we need our local loons, but we're up to the impregnably pompous corporate euphemism of "challenging", the challenging of the status quo about which you so eloquently spoke.

We figure there are many more loons you can employ:

Where respect and deference are paid to all classes. 

Said in the best eastern suburbs tones.

....since the beginning of 2012, has run seven articles that discussed the government’s “class warfare” and “class war”, in addition to reporting of the use of the term by Coalition and Labor figures and other contributors to public debate. The Australian Financial Review, a reliable critic of Labor under its current management, has run 10 articles that discuss “class war”, aside from reportage, in that period. The Daily Telegraph has run 21 pieces on “class war” during that time. And The Australian has run 77. (Class warfare in political debate, may be paywall affected)

A final burst from Sheehan:

Nor can we expect government spending to come to the rescue via big infrastructure projects. Australia has become a society where assets once owned by the people via public corporations or private co-operatives have become privatised assets, and many are engaged in oligopoly pricing...

...Future generations may look back with wonder at the era when Australia was a society where most workers had permanent full-time jobs and loyalty between employee and employer was routine.

Uh huh. Well Fairfax, courtesy of the likes of Sheehan, and the AFR, has led the charge to the right, with relentless blather about welfare and the European disease and the uselessness of unions, and the need for a flexible work force, and Gina wanting two dollar a day workers African style ...

... And speaking of big infrastructure projects, in the case of the NBN, the AFR has joined The Australia in relentlessly opposing it, and barely a peep about a second airport for Sydney ...

... And  now the shoe is on the other foot, and the creditors and the baying shareholders are at the door, along with the sneering Murdochs and the Packers, and there's much keening and moaning ...

And bugger all awareness of what they did or why it's turned out this way ...

Waiter, a bowl of jaffas please. The aisles of the local cinema call ...

(Below: and now for something different. Greetings from the parrots of Camperdown, vastly more entertaining characters than the parrots of shock jock radio)

Sunday, July 28, 2013

It's a cherry-picking Sunday ...

Like most people, the pond loves a good cherry-pick (if you share the pond's sinus issues, remember that on the other hand, a nose pick must be done in private).

Shakespeare is always tremendously rich ground - if you go about it the right way, he's a monarchist or an anti-monarchist, a crypto-Catholic or a closet secularist, possibly bisexual, certainly not completely straight, except of course he had a wife and a bed, the possessor of a voice best revealed in - choose one only - his comedies, histories or tragedies, and so on, and if you do it right, you can, with consummate cherry-picking, prove he didn't exist at all.

The Bible is even more fertile ground, written as it was by the hands of many men, some relatively sane, and some barking mad (and who knows maybe the odd woman, gay, TG person or slave chipped in a few lines, their role now hidden by the patriarchal hand of church history).

This is to the delight of the average secularist, since the bible is full of contradictions, and stern injunctions, especially assorted old testament lunacies,  ignored these days because they're too hard.

(Yes, yes, here it is:

8 O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us. 
 9 Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones.)

Now take Desmond Tutu.

Clearly he's been cherry-picking the bits of the bible that talk about love:

I would not worship a God who is homophobic and that is how deeply I feel about this ...
I would refuse to go to a homophobic heaven. No, I would say sorry, I mean I would much rather go to the other place ...
I am as passionate about this campaign as I ever was about apartheid. For me, it is at the same level. (Desmond Tutu Would Prefer Hell Over a Homophobic Heaven)

Which brings us to the angry Sydney Anglicans, the Jensenist heresy and the Pellist conspiracy.

Oh sure, they talk the talk about love, but they don't walk it, because they prefer to cherry pick the bits about hate, and fear and loathing, especially when it comes to equality of rights for women and gays ... that's how they've ended up hanging out with the fundamentalist gay bashing, women persecuting Anglicans of Africa, rather than Archbishop Tutu

Oh you can find the odd acknowledgment that maybe Christ's over-riding message seemed to involve love and he never actually picked out 'teh gays' for a rough ride - that was left to the goat and camel herders and fishing folk that took up and distorted his message with their own cherry-picking agendas.

Which is why you can find featured on the angry Sydney Anglicans site today yet another outing from Phillip Jensen under the header In What Are We United?

Once you get past the usual Jensenist gobbledegook, the message is the usual fundamentalism of the angry Anglican - a fundamentalism which incidentally sees the angries often spouting fundamentalist thoughts more in keeping with a fundamentalist Islamic than a Tutu.

Let's cherry pick a little:

Organizational unity instead of Gospel unity is death. The failure of Christian ministries, be they church or para-church, commences when they lose their direction and become organizations that demand organizational unity over theological unity in the service of the gospel.

Yep, right there, from the get go is the fundamentalist creed. Theological unity or death ... And who is going to give the world theological unity? Why the Jensenists of course ...

Never mind relativism or liberal 'live and let live' philosophies or diversity of thought ...

The beginning of this downward fall is nearly always the loss of gospel clarity.

That'd be Jensenist gospel clarity ...

What follows is a long and tedious tirade against the splitters and the interdenominational or the non-demonitional which inevitably sees a slide into the hell of the interdenominational ...

And what's the problem? Well there's the danger that the sheep might stray from angry Sydney Anglican fundamentalist thinking, allow others an assortment of beliefs, allow for diversity, allow for different sorts of cherry-picking to the preferred brand of angry cherry-picking.

The language turns almost Maoist in places:

When people of great ability who do not share the common theology or vision are included the ministry will inevitably be weakened. Fellow travellers are more dangerous than enemies.

Oh dear, the pond always recommends the use of lickspittle in these circumstances - as in lickspittle fellow travellers are more dangerous than running dog enemies ...

Now you might think the pond is indulging in paranoia, but inter alia, in the usual way Jensen reverts to idle talk of Corinthians:

Paul consulted with the ‘influential’ leaders in Jerusalem but knew his commission came directly from Christ and they could not add anything to him but should in fact be opposed when they were in error (Galatians 2). Yet he can talk of practices that should be followed as a rule laid down for all the churches (1 Corinthians 7:17, 11:16, 14:33).

Uh huh. Now 14:33 is this in the King James version:

For God is not the author of confusion, but of peace, as in all churches of the saints.

And what's 14:34 and following?

Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but they are commanded to be under obedience, as also saith the law. 
35 And if they will learn any thing, let them ask their husbands at home: for it is a shame for women to speak in the church.

And amazingly you can find any number of examples of angry Anglicans insisting, a couple of thousand years on, that this remains a good reason for women to be kept silent and in their place!

So when you read this, seek out the hidden message:

Any church is the church of God when by Christ’s Spirit it gathers in his name, prayerfully preaching his gospel, believing his word, seeking in his mercy to be obedient to his will. Or as our denomination has it: “The visible Church of Christ is a congregation of faithful men, in which the pure Word of God is preached, and the Sacraments be duly administered according to Christ’s ordinance” (Article 19).

Yep, there you go. Not a congregation of faithful men and women, but a congregation of faithful men, with their women locked up and silent at home, since it's all the fault of the shameless hussies and Eve that the angry Anglicans aren't in the garden of Eden ... or some such twaddle ...

Your average angry Anglican doesn't pick up on that kind of casual sexism - the invisible woman - in much the same way as their refusal to acknowledge gay rights is a practised, routine form of bigotry ...

And yet, as anyone, including Tutu knows, prayerfully preaching Her gospel and believing Her word can just as easily be construed to suggest that gay rights are a struggle up there with apartheid ... a struggle for love a loving Jesus would look on with favour.

As for the Pellists, they've had a really bad week, but the tragedy is that the really bad week has arisen from the really bad lives many of their victims have lived ...

Brooding about that just gets the pond agitated, so let's end with a laugh from that splendid comedian and bigot Angela Shahanan, doing a totally excellent bit of cherry-picking. Read it in full under the header Catholics should have more freedom on mandatory detention (behind the paywall but you know how to google if you want your full dose of cherry-picking madness)

Cherry picking good:

Pope Francis pulls no punches with his language on marriage and family, bluntly referring to the same-sex marriage campaign as the work of the devil. His willingness even to speak of the devil is a clear evangelical tendency, which some find rather startling. 
But for some years preceding this papacy, Catholics have made common cause with Protestants, especially evangelical Protestants, who both politically and ideologically have the zeal and organisational ability of a previous generation of Catholics.

Devil talk good! Evil easy to spot!

In Australia, the battleground of good and evil has become muddied as Kevin Rudd, the "Keir Hardie socialist", self-proclaimed follower of Bonhoeffer, and quintessential Christian-lite, casually embraces deeply destructive social policies like gay marriage. This is as much a problem for Liberals, who are finding their social conservatism playing second fiddle to fundamentalist libertarianism.

Taliban anyone?

But now sob, cherry picking denied, the cherry picker most unhappy!

People with a strong faith walk a very fine line when politics and theology overlap, as Tony Abbott well knows; and it is a fair bet that many Australian Catholics support mandatory detention, even as a preliminary way of sorting refugees from economic queue-jumpers. So why, when the very foundations of family life are threatened, are Australian Catholics not given a bit more leeway on asylum-seekers?

Yes, yes, more leeway of asylum-seekers, who are after all the work of the devil. That bloody Satan!

Oh yes, it's great to talk about the devil and hate and fear and loathing,  but what's all this jibber jabber about love?

The church must be even-handed politically, and the Australian church makes statements on all sorts of things. Social justice is important, but the rock upon which society is founded is more important than anything. Religious freedom is under threat in Australia. If orthodox Christianity wants to be taken seriously, it cannot allow itself to be subtly undermined by socially progressive governments.

Naturally you'll find the orthodox Taliban saying exactly the same thing.

So let's wrap it up with Shanahan's very best comedy stylings:

People from very different traditions are now working together to try to save the oldest natural legal and social institution in the world. It shows that despite the jeers of the proselytising atheists, Christianity has an influence which is not spent.
Back in Australia the scenario looks depressingly familiar. We have a wishy-washy Christian leader, a secular polity teetering on the brink of neo-paganism and a Catholic hierarchy who, with a few notable exceptions, are demoralised by sexual abuse scandals which reveal a history of inaction and possible complicity.

Sob. Neo-paganism, Romans in the streets, wine flowing, coffee sipping ...

Who to talk to? Why let's form a Jensenist Pellist conspiracy!

Anglican archbishop Peter Jensen said at a talk on Christian engagement with the public square in Sydney last week: "We are in a contest for the soul of the West and the church is in full retreat". 

Yes, the Devil's out there, and only a few valiant, if entirely deluded people are matching Hollywood in its love of the occult.

Unfortunately Catholics have historically invested far too much of their political and social aspirations in the established political structures, especially in the Labor party. But they have been betrayed. Witness the successful abolition of the religious exemption in aged care, which will be a precursor to the abolition of all religious anti-discrimination exemptions.
The Catholic bishops didn't really put up a fight against that abolition, nor did Catholic Health. Ironically, the day after the amendment was passed the bishops published a statement about the next election, rather wimpishly entitled "Vote for the Common Good".
I am sure we will all vote for what we think is the common good; and although the bishops have quite rightly set out the life issues and the issue of man-woman marriage as first-order issues, the only area where they make a definite policy recommendation is to call for the end of mandatory detention. This is indicative of the influence of the left-leaning Catholic social-justice wing.

Well if nothing else Shanahan is indicative of the influence of the right-leaning, fear and loathing 'hate the love' wing, revile sordid notions of social justice wing, a wing which in its day fell in love with Franco and which now is given routinely given free voice and much space on the pages of the lizard Oz ...

You could spend a lifetime trying to work out the angry bees buzzing in the bonnets of Shanahan, the rest of the Pellists, their fellow travellers, the angry Sydney Anglicans, and the Jensenists, but why not just settle down instead and watch a repeat of The Exorcist?

After all, the devil has a starring role, and there's plenty of mumbo jumbo ...

And remember that cherry picking is essential if you want to be truly barking mad, such that you get to complain if you can't dish out the same fear and loathing to asylum seekers as you already do to gays ...

And that's enough comedy this cherry-picking Sunday ...

(Below: some fashion thoughts for angry Anglican men. Is your virgin bride dressed appropriately when in church?)

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Getting out on the wrong side of the bed ...

(Above: oh you must know where to find your daily dose of Popery by now. It's here, and just for today, in the rotating cartoon hall of fame, it features Tony Abbott channeling Cher. Who could ask for anything more).

So there the pond was this Saturday, struggling to wake, and helped along by the ABC's country breakfast - because cows and crops and the city never sleep, not even on a Saturday ...

The pond was almost on the movie, when up popped a story on the NBN, and like the cockies out there thirsting for extra speed, reliability, love and pain and the whole damn thing, the pond paused to listen ...

The cost of the NBN is $100 billion dollars, the reporter baldly advised at the start of his spot.

Hang on, hang on, wind that back. Here's how it should have run:

The cost of the NBN is contested and controversial. The opposition has produced figures suggesting it might reach $100 billion, the NBN and the government continue to insist that it's in the territory of $40 billion. Whatever the final cost, let's look at the pros and cons to the rural user ...

You see, the pond didn't even go into its personal opinion that the higher costs were a bunch of baloney of the big Mal kind, produced to please his master, and with as much connection to reality as most of Tony "invisible substance" "national emergency" Abbott's policy statements ... and no, we haven't even mentioned how big Mal invented the intertubes in Australia ...

So why did a toadie on the ABC trot out the opposition figure without a murmur, a caveat, a five second indication of the first clue of the politics surrounding broadband?

Stone the flaming crows, the pond muttered under its breath in true Tamworth style, heading to the shower in a rage of seething discontent.

What's worse, coming up was Geraldine Doogue promising to hector and lecture the world about a need for a gentler polity and a kinder debate and a way back to civility in our political discourse and all the other stuff you expect of the cardigan-wearers ... and no doubt social media and bloggers and all the rest of the useless stuff clogging the full to overflowing intertubes would line up to take a disproportionate share of the blame.

Well here's a simpler solution Ms Doogue. Don't have the ABC's rural reporters send bloggers into a fucking frenzy by saying really offensively stupid and dumb, unqualified things.

Oh sure, it's just a grain in the sand, just a minor example of all the tawdry bullshit and misinformation and distortions that turn up on the Australian media on a daily basis, but by golly, it's amazing how those grains of sand get in the most uncomfortable places and really irritate the skin ...

It reminded the pond of a piece yesterday by Bernard Keane in Crikey - yes for some mysterious reason the pond is still on the mailing list - taking down the media, and most particularly the reptiles at the lizard Oz for misreporting about the NBN, in Keane: it's been a bad week for the anti-NBN brigade (inside the paywall, but hey if you're on the list, you stay on the list)

Now in recent times the pond has suffered from NBN fatigue, especially fatigue at the thought of all the continuing wretched coverage - it comes from reading too much of the lizard Oz, and has the same impact as a tick or a tsetse fly bite - and all the more so because of the way Mike Quigley had mucked up both the politics and the delivery ... which somehow turned into an epiphany, an understanding that until the day the final trumpet sounded, the pond would be destined to look at the whirling spinning pinwheel of doom ...

So stories that floated out from one Annabel Hepworth - the unfortunate hatchling spawned by the lizard Oz's campaign of hate - were ignored, no matter that they were as shameful and as nakedly biased and skewed as a rural reporter on the early Saturday morning shift on the ABC.

So what fun to see Keane nail yet another shock horror panic budget blowout in the order of squillions story by Hepworth:

... aghast at the looming blowout in the NBN’s cost, I checked with the company. According to NBN Co, the total cost of the rollout of the fibre will be around $11.3 billion, a third of which is equipment costs that NBN Co directly controls. The remainder, the construction costs themselves, are worth around $7.5 billion over a decade. So Hepworth’s 40% increase in cost would add $3 billion — not $30-40 billion — to the NBN cost of the build. Moreover, NBN Co has a 10% contingency in place that would cover the $3 billion. 
 “There’s also the slight matter that none of our contractors have come to us cap in hand demanding a 40% premium. Not one,” NBN Co’s spokesman told Crikey. 
So apart from the cost increase that isn’t happening and the maths that was out by a factor of 10, Hepworth nailed it.

And then Keane demolished another Hepworth story, about delays due to asbestos in the pits, in which she conspired with a union official to produce another bit of hysteria about delays in the roll-out:

Who demanded work stop until the pits were safe? Why… the CEPU itself. So in June the CEPU was demanding a halt to work until everything was OK, and even threatening industrial action unless this was done. Eight weeks later, Telstra’s doing too thorough a job for the liking of the CEPU. Presumably the CEPU wants subcontractors to now go back into unsafe pits. 

So much stupidity, so little time, though Keane does take the time to knock over shock-jock Paul Murray for bagging the NBN on the basis a caller rang in to complain about the time Telstra had taken to fix his wi-fi.

So much ignorance, and so little time.

Speaking of which, the pond just has to acknowledge another story in Crikey, featuring Pauline Hanson's understanding of climate change on her Facebook page:

Ah you can't take down anything once it's been up in the ether.

It sent the pond into such a laughing, cackling witch frenzy that the parrots didn't come back to the cherry blossoms for a good couple of hours ...

But then it become clear Hanson wasn't angling for a seat in the forthcoming election:

Global warming is all about a power grab by a wealthy elite and their collectivist sycophants - using the U. N. as a cover and a tool.

She was angling for a job as climate science reporter at the lizard Oz, sharing the job with Maurice Newman ... or perhaps she was wanting to replace the Bolter at the HUN, because he only rants this way once a day, and she could serve it up, with bonus fish and chips, on the hour, like a well-regulated Mao clock ...

Last and best of all on the Crikey list? The return of Col Allan to advise Kim Williams, as noted in Hold the sink: Col Allan returns to Oz to advise Kim Williams.

Allan is a thug who established his reputation by pissing in a sink during a news conference, and currently he's responsible for the New York Post, one of the most useless ways to waste a buck imaginable, a rag whose front pages make the NT News seem modest and decorous.

Williams is a pompous classical music loving git, of the kind that Nick Cater would routinely describe as Satanic, or at least some kind of elite - amazing how these fat cat elites seem to run News Corp, encouraging other fat cat elites to rail against your average humble elites forced to drink de Bartoli chardonnay - more oak chips than grapes - and make DIY coffee like a faux barista. (Do these naked ponce elites think they're wearing a Potter-patented invisible cloak? You can bet your top notch News Corp exec pisses out only the very best remains of the very best plonk).

Sorry, where were we?

How much would the pond love to be a fly on the wall, as Allan, Williams and Chris Mitchell go mano-a-mano, with Williams given the job of containing costs and Mitchell only interested in maintaining a crusade of rage and misinformation and distortion in the interests of the coalition ...

You see, and the pond didn't once mention any personal detestation of Williams, just the desire to be a fly on the wall, if only to see Allan piss all over the joint ...

By golly, look at the time.

The pond has been having such fun, there's barely time to look at the Saturday work of the reptiles at the lizard rag, still maintaining their tedious rage and hysteria about refugees and boat people, so can we just pause to acknowledge the sterling comedy effort by Angela Shanahan, in To have and to hold: what makes royal bub king of the kids (behind the paywall because you're so over conservatives using the royals for one campaign or another).

I know, I know, it has all the fascination and horror of a train wreck, especially when the opening gambit starts this way:

Thank goodness that royal baby has been born. I couldn't take another minute of the speculation and the cheek-slapping drivel of the "whether Catherine's dress was a homage to Princess Diana" variety.
Unfortunately, the young family at the centre of all this fuss, who we are always told are "modern and down-to-earth", will, despite their modernity and proximity to earth, never again be able to yawn, cough, grumble, or their child fart, put on weight or have the odd tantrum without being subject to armchair psychoanalysis and criticism.

Naturally this is a cue for Shanahan's epic fart of armchair psychoanalysis and criticism, though it's directed at others, you know, the fornicators and the disrespecters of Catholics and "natural" things and a "natural" way of life ... the usual sort of irritating condescending paternalistic blather.

Can a woman be paternalistic, you ask? Clearly you've never read Shanahan ...

In the past these girls would have married early and made excellent mothers who generally stayed at home and looked after their children. Now, because of a combination of economic factors - particularly insecure full-time work for unskilled men and the pernicious social effects of the sexual revolution - women cannot find suitable stable male partners.

Ah yes, the pernicious sexual revolution, and the shocking notion that women should be able to work if they chose, when really they're just dumb bunnies who should stay at home and breed.

Could it get more offensive? Of course it could, it's Shanahan, even if she has to quote someone else to show there is more than one bird-brain sitting in the one tree:

As English social commentator Joanna Bogle has said: "Marriage - that is, true marriage, a man and a woman united for a lifetime - is becoming a minority lifestyle in today's Britain, and the consequences of this are miserable for the many children who are forced to grow up amid a confusing set of adults all busy with their own desires and relationships. A typical childhood in modern Britain involves being born to unmarried parents, then one of the parents marrying, then that marriage breaking up, then a new relationship being formed ... " No wonder kids are confused.  

True marriage? Well you know where this is heading, and the sting in the tale turns up at the end:

Yet even though there is much about the royal birth that is not at all typical of modern Britain, it shows people are naturally drawn to the less modern and much more traditional natural family. After all, it is really the natural family that is timeless and absolutely down to earth. Perhaps the response is rather jingoistic; the English do jingoism well. 
But it is also an emotional response: partly nostalgia, but I think an instinctive feeling about the worth of the bonds of the natural family that most people share, even in a country with a terrifyingly high out-of-wedlock birthrate.

The traditional natural family? The one where the man beat the shit out of the woman and she copped it sweet while he went off to the pub and drank the weekly wage and pissed it into the gutter, and they were hitched for life and if she wanted to leave, she had no support mechanisms, no fall back, and so they stayed together, chained together, with divorce frowned upon and made onerous and burdensome for women? And private eyes with cameras snuck around seeking to establish guilt, and deeply unhappy people stayed together to ensure that their children were also deeply unhappy, attempting to lead deluded, constrained, cribbed and confined lives.

That traditional natural family, the alternate side to the picket fence fantasy?

And you see, the pond didn't once mention the other target for Shanahan's wretched nostalgia - people who seek to allow loving gays to share a life together, respected by community ...

Ah yes, the pond would love to be a fly on the wall when Williams, Mitchell and Allan meet.

Here's hoping they tear each other apart, or at the very least tear down the loss-making podium from which wretches like Shanahan indulge their fetish for armchair psychoanalysis and disapproving criticism of other people leading lives which they disapprove of ... clucking and tutting and blaming and hating ... small people demanding others conform and lead small lives like their own ...

And all this because an ABC rural reporter made the pond get out on the wrong side of the bed, a most untraditional and unnatural thing to do.

Shame on you ABC, shame on you ...

(Below: traditional men for a traditional natural marriage. Found here at the AWM)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Permission to engage, General, suh ...

(Above: thank the long absent lord for the Pope. Get your share of Popery from the genuine Pope here).

Today the pond announces a brand new strategy, titled with infinite subtlety and nuance, Operation Turn Back The Politicians.

Now already there have been a few petulant, petty objections from small-minded people. People experienced in operational matters hastened to remind the pond that Operations were never given explicit political names. If embarking on Operation Ned Kelly, why not call it Operation Iron Bark?

If the pond didn't look out, it would end up sounding as silly as Tony Abbott posturing before Operation Sovereign Borders ...

Next thing you know, Neil James was front and centre, asking the pond about the chain of command. Naturally the pond had a direct line to the Minister of Waffle, who in turn had a direct line to the Prime Monster.

But what, James wanted to know, about the theoretical notion that there was someone else who was theoretically in charge of the pond?

How would they feel about being by-passed? He thought he could see some of the same flaws that bedevilled the Coalition's proposal, which within twenty four hours had seen sundry geese completely contradict themselves and the operational chart that had been dropped on the full to overflowing intertubes (Neil James questions Coalition's border policy).

Oh and there were others, wondering what the three star general - the pond had proposed six stars, like the very best Dubai and James Packer hotels - would add to the work six three star generals were already doing, and how this might be anything more than changing the nature of arrangements in Camperdown and Canberra ...

Oh there was talk of incrementalism of a bureaucratic kind, and politicising the military, and shuffling the deck chairs, and talk of civil law enforcement tasks rather than a war on refugees, and why pay the military to do add another layer of scrambled eggs to the mix ...

Well the pond decided to take a leaf out of Tony Abbott's book, and just ignore these soul-destroying pedants with their willingness to point out the bleeding obvious. After all, if you shoot from the hip, the whole point is to shoot anything remotely within range ...

And after all, there was important work to be done ... turning back the politicians.

It is, for example, the pond's misfortune, to be represented by Albo, the minister for useless reports, and now the minister for silly walks and statements.

This might be of no significance or interest to people who don't understand that Sydney is contending with Tamworth for the title "centre of the known universe", but Sydney has a standing riff, a long-running joke, called the "second airport" which goes back to long before the Whitlam years.

Dust it off, and it's always guaranteed for a laugh, and a headline:

So why is it pure comedy gold?

Well Albo's dusted off and trotted out the second airport, without daring to nominate an actual location.

"It needs to happen - everyone knows it needs to happen, except for maybe (Sydney Airport chief executive) Max (Moore-Wilton)." 
Mr Albanese said he hoped to select a site next year but still would not commit to one.

Incidentally that's a News+-∛∑ story locked firmly behind the News paywall, except that it's freely available at Last call for Mr Albanese - ALP vows second airport but won't say where. It's a hard call to say which is dumber, Albo or the News paywall ...

By the time Fairfax's story hit the digital edition, it was so far down the taxi and landing queue that if you blinked, you'd miss it, which is just as well, because the pond is feeling the pinch in terms of allowable Fairfax hits this late in the month.

Meanwhile, over at the reptiles beavering away at the lizard Oz, the raptors thought Tony Abbott's military manoeuvres were such a wonderful solution, they naturally put it top of the digital page:

Oh hang on, there seems to be some kind of technical hitch. New Zealund subbie, where's that header Glorious leader guarantees glorious military-led success. Can we show stray pond readers the real deal in the tree killer edition?


Oh perhaps they're right, better to bung on about the Ruddster's many failings than put the blow torch to Abbott's stab at a policy initiative, in the way that retired Admiral Chris Barrie did on RN this very morning (it should turn up here in due course). He sounded like a good and thoughtful man. What a pity he's retired ...

Never mind, there must be some parrot who can take on the burden of making it sound good and right.

Come on down, Greg Sherdian, parrot without peer, a reptile of splendid lizard proportions, and scribble an adulatory Work or fail, at least Coalition stepping up. (behind the paywall to preserve your sanity).

Yes, never mind if the doofus proposal actually works or fails, all you have to do is step up.

And suddenly it struck like a bolt of lighting. Sheridan, or perhaps Tony Abbott, are seeking to be captain coach of the Australian cricket team:

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 Australia's far, and Honour a name, 
But the voice of a Sheridan rallies the ranks: 
'Step up! step up! and play the game!'  (apologies to Sir Henry Newbolt, original here)

But how, you ask, do you know we're in the company of a parrot, perhaps driven to a heightened sense of ecstasy by the cherry blossoms now in bloom?

How about this for an opening line?

Tony Abbott has crafted a credible plan to approach what he rightly regards as the national emergency of illegal arrivals by boat to Australia.

If it's not the cherry blossoms, it's certainly the kool aid. And if you want a completely fatuous conclusion, how about this one?

It may or may not work, but it's a useful step forward.

Actually, if it doesn't work, and it shows no signs of working, being merely window-dressing and scrambled eggs shuffling, it's totally bloody useless ...

You know, once upon a time, it was the business of journalists to point out when either side of the aisle was wearing the emperor's clothes, or perhaps a fig leaf, but not in Murdoch la la land ...

Now perhaps you can see why the pond persists with its strategy of Operation turn back the politicians and the lizard Oz commentariat ...

But this left the pond short of something to celebrate, it being Friday and all, and TGIF and all ...

Well a keen eye would have noticed that the reptiles at the lizard Oz have continued to crusade against poor old hapless billionaire buffoon Clive Palmer.

Sheesh what's the man got to do?

He's already building a Titanic replica, and just yesterday came news that he was building the biggest and best dinosaur park in all the whole wide world, with 160 fake dinosaurs and a truly exciting vintage car museum, because, well because dinos and cars go together like a horse and carriage (as you can read in Clive Palmer's dinosaur park approved). Oh the Sunshine Coast is in a state of wild-eyed slavering excitement ...

So what's poor old Hedley Thomas do for a splash and an EXCLUSIVE?

Why he heads back to a press release issued by Prof Clive Palmer back on December 18th last year, and writes it up in How Clive Palmer engineered entry to the ranks of world leaders. (behind the paywall to keep you calm).

The pond didn't think there could be anyone who could match the Prof at tawdry nonsense, but Hedley, your obsessive compulsive slip is showing in your bizarre Clive fixation.

Now Hedley suggests that the Prof might have made some donations to smooth the way to a meaningless title in a meaningless organisation, but surely the bigger point is that if you keep taking the Prof's political aspirations seriously - as opposed to an ongoing set of comedy routines - then others might too.

The Prof has already got form in this area - in no little way thanks to the geese in the NSW branch of the National Trust making him a national living treasure.

What's that you say? Hedley had a nibble at that six days ago, in Refined votes made Clive Palmer a national living treasure? (behind the paywall at the lizard Oz to keep you sane).

Six days ago?

That nonsense was covered and done and dusted back in March 2012 as you can read in Fairfax in National living treasure uproar.

The pond has no time for the billionaire buffoon, but what's more interesting is what this war against the Prof reveals.

When the reptiles at the lizard Oz embark on a crusade, they're relentless. It's a rag that thrives on hate, and when it gets a fixation, there's no end to the pursuit of the fixation.

Is it good journalism? Sometimes, perhaps, but when all we're being told over and over again that Clive Palmer is a billionaire buffoon, it quickly becomes stale and starts to sound like a cracked record ... a cracked record that simply doesn't know how to cope when confronted with a three star general absurdity ...

(Below: how to get the reptiles at the lizard Oz agitated. Flaunt your friendship with their cousins shamelessly in front of them).

Thursday, July 25, 2013

And apparently all this is being done ... for us ...

The simpering nausea continues:

And what a compelling lack of imagination as the squirrels go about their business as the PR department for the Royals. By appointment, lickspittle Murdochians ...

Now on to today's business. Note-taking and list-making.

The pond has always had a golden rule - never take notes.

Think about it. If you say something in the company of the pond, an acknowledgment, an admission, a confession, a shopping list, a laundry list, the pond won't takes notes, and within twenty-four hours, the pond won't remember a single thing, and there'll be no need for any action about anything. Especially the laundry.

This comes from a Catholic education and the nuns explaining how a soul soon became black as soot, charred and dark like coal, because of assorted sins of omission and commission. But if you told the priest in the confessional everything, he'd be guaranteed not to make a list, and your soul would be Persil-white. Or Rinso. Or whatever you like to use in your laundry.

And this glorious tradition has continued ever since in the Catholic church, to judge by Brian Lucas's explanation that he never wrote a single thing down, as revealed in Senior church figure advised clergy not to take notes of interviews with accused priests (careful, it'll cost you a Fairfax hit, and is reading about the depravities of Catholicism worth a hit?)

The pond can remember the days when Lucas was a go to media man for the Catholic hierarchy way back in the day. But what about this?

 He said his main priority was to remove priests from situations where they had access to children, and taking formal notes could be "unproductive" and stop them from speaking to him. "The particularities in dealing with these priests were that one had to, in a sense, seduce them into agreeing to resign," he said.

Seduce? Oh dear sweet absent lord, why this word?

 "Is the real position as to why you didn't want to take any note that you didn't want it to have to be exposed in any subsequent legal process?" asked counsel assisting the inquiry, Julia Lonergan, SC.
 "I think that would be a reasonable comment," he replied.

A reasonable comment? Try telling a priest in the confessional in the old days that you wanted to evade exposure, and avoid the keen eye of the lord ...

She asked whether he had published views for the benefit of other clergy to the effect that it was a good idea not to take notes "so that a subsequent legal process that would compel production of them cannot be successful?" 
“In some instances that would be accurate” Father Lucas responded. 

But what was even more astonishing? Well Lucas righteously dressed this up as the church thinking only of the victims and showing enormous care and consideration. Because you see if a victim didn't want to go to the police, and so didn't dob in a priest, it certainly wasn't the business of the church to dob in the priest ... just nab them and shuffle them off to somewhere else where they could keep on doing what they like to do ...

And even after that, there was no sign that Lucas understood the enormity of his behaviour.

Never mind, let's move on to list-making.

Here's one for the opposition and Tony Abbott.

Alienate PNG? Tick, done.

Alienate Indonesia? Oh that's a big job, let's save it for next week.

And now let's see how the thoughts of the PNG PM were reported by the reptiles at the lizard Oz:

O'Neill? Who is O'Neill?

PNG PM Peter O'Neill warns Coalition to stop misrepresenting foreign aid deal

Oh that O'Neill.

Well it simply wouldn't do to feature a man sordidly accusing Tony "General MacArthur" Abbott and Julie Bishop of lying. Was anything written down? Were notes taken? Of course not, and that's the end of the matter.

And now the pond offers its daily choice in the matter of splenetic bilious bile, no list required.

There's an obvious choice, there usually is on a Thursday, and there might be those willing to sacrifice a Fairfax hit to indulge in an acid bath with Paul Sheehan, furiously scribbling Another backflip for Rudd, another win for Labor's whatever-it-takes ethos, which is of course completely different to Abbott's whatever-it-takes ethos, including lying and misrepresenting hapless O'Neill, who finds himself in the deep end of the pool with Australia's political sharks.

In a way that ensures Fairfax will never receive pond patronage, bizarrely Sheehan's outburst is labelled "Editor's Pick", but the pond would rather pick its nose ...

It is, in the usual offensive way, an attack that purports to be from the caring side:

A backflip with pike. What makes the cruelty of this policy even more outrageous is that it is so transparently cynical, so clearly an election ploy, so self-evidently flimsy.

Naturally there's not a word about the cruelty of Nauru or the Pacific solution, nor this risible "news" which has flooded News Corp like cockroachs in the sewer running in the back lane, General to run Coalition's asylum boats strategy. (yes it's a Daily Terror news+ Emma Jones "exclusive" being aired to the world by the lizard Oz, and at Perth now here if you want the true tabloid experience at the click of a non-exclusive mouse. Can we put it on the list? Must get paywall shit together)

A top-ranking general and the might of 11 agencies would wage war on people smugglers - that's part of Tony Abbott's plan for a likely August 31 election.

Yes, we're at war, and who better to run the navy than a four star general? Get lost admirals ...

Oh that's right, it was on the list. Alienate the navy ...

And how much will the general have to spend on his war? Ten million smackeroos. That's a pitiful, tragic, pathetic ten million bucks to you ...

But while all this is jolly good stomach-turning fun for chums, today the pond recommends Greg Sheridan as doofus of the day, and if you have a lead-lined stomach, his hand-wringing in PNG plan is a dangerous game of bluff (behind the paywall for google risk-takers) is revealing for the game being played by the commentariat.

If you read the digital splash of doom, you might think he's inordinately sympathetic to subtlety and nuance:

When you get into the actual read, it turns out to be incredibly simple:

Many who come now are economic migrants rather than refugees, as Bob Carr has argued.

Yep, there's your immensely complex question involving a thousand shades of grey sorted in a nano second.

As for the rest, Sheridan berates the PNG "solution", yet manages to give Abbott a free kick:

... Abbott is not entitled to criticise PNG itself, to demonise the idea of sending asylum-seekers there, or to demonise even resettlement in PNG. Up to now, I would say the opposition has not crossed the line, but it's come close.

Oh never  mind that O'Neill called Abbott and Bishop dissemblers and liars. That's not crossing the line. By the way, who's O'Neill?

As for Sheridan's gee whiz, whiz bang alternative to PNG?

Why to adopt it and do it all over the place. Wherever:

... Canberra would hope it has a chance of getting either the Philippines, Thailand or Indonesia, or some combination of them, to set up processing centres financed by Australia. This would be difficult, but not impossible. But none of those nations would accept the idea of permanent resettlement. 
The only nations that could conceivably accept that are South Pacific nations. Australia could make the balance of such deals so attractive that South Pacific governments might accept them. But imagine what the South Pacific would be like in five or six years' time if there were 50,000 resettled refugees in PNG, and perhaps 10,000 in Vanuatu, 5000 in Solomon Islands and a few thousands elsewhere in the Pacific. 

Uh huh. We're worried about the impact on the small island countries?

Of course not silly, remember it's all about Australia:

... if the program is implemented for more than a short time it's going to create an entirely new security problem for us. 

That will be the creation of a disgruntled, new Muslim population in the South Pacific.These refugees would be Iranians, Iraqis, Afghans, Pakistanis, Palestinians, perhaps some Sudanese and Somalis, and most of them getting some Australian financial support. 
 This population would constitute a recipe for social instability and a significant security problem for the region, and for us. 

Oh no, surrounded by deviant Islamic hordes, fencing us in, and ruining everything.

For us.

Oh there's a lot more, but the pond can only take so much paranoia and hostility, especially as Australia's done such a sterling job this past decade helping turn Afghanistan into a paradise of peaceful living that no one would want to flee, a deputy sheriff Howard government bit of war-mongering aided and abetted by the commentariat reptiles at the lizard Oz ...

But Sheridan does give a further clue as to how Abbott will proceed should he win. Assault the Refugee convention and blame the entire mess on the UN, and appoint a four star general to sort it all out ...

For us ....

It's just as well the pond never makes notes. If we did, they'd run into thousands of pages detailing the stench of hypocrisy and the stupidity of analysis provided by Australian politicians and the lizard Oz commentariat ...

Ostensibly for us ...

As Sam Goldwyn said, include the pond out ...

(Below: found here at Shane Maloney's thoughts on Thomas Blamey and General MacArthur)