Monday, September 30, 2013

Small mercies on a Monday ... with bonus happy mangoes ...

(Above: more David Rowe here).

The pond is always grateful for small mercies.

Larger mercies are like a banger in a field of mash, and it seems that generally grumpy Paul Sheehan has decided to be merciful this Monday, and the pond is profoundly grateful.

After his epic dummy spit, Fakes, trolls and counterfeit politics, it seems Sheehan has picked up his dummy and waddled off, if only for the moment, and such is the disdain in the system, the pond copped this when it clicked on his name:


Of course it was just a Fairfaxian glitch, in much the same way as the grinch Sheehan is routinely a glitch.

Never mind, the pond knows better than to look a gift horse in the mouth, and the notion of looking at Sheehan at any time is likely to induce a wave of nausea, so it was off to gaily roam the rags free of his surly grumpiness.

And what alternate delights there are.

It turns out that, displeased with the role the omnipresent media role Mark Latham plays in the life of the Labor party, Alexander "the blue-rinse stocking" Downer is determined to play role of the mad uncle that comes down from the attic at regular intervals to torment and prod Tony Abbott.

Could things get any sweeter?

That's right, Monsieur Bas Bleu, you tell him ...

What this is doing top of the digital page as the lead story in the news section of the lizard Oz must remain something of a mystery, with the bald advice is as dumb as it could get:

"End Jakarta asylum row, Abbott told"?

Now if had been something useful:

"Start Jakarta asylum row, Abbot told by Monsieur Bas Bleu"

Being told to stop a row is as useful as being told to eat your broccoli or clean your teeth or be nice to your brother.

Of course it's back up by a story from the nattering Downer who also seems also to go by the photo "" ":
Because, you know, the very first thing the elegant Scott "speaking in tongues" Morrison would be wont to do is elegantly sweep the boat problem under an elegant diplomatic carpet, and Tony "the elephant in the room" Abbott would be doing it with him ...

With advice like this, the reptiles at the lizard Oz are soon likely to become Dr. No's least favourite people, despite what seems like to be a parade of nauseating simpering from Greg Sheridan, who can now abandon all pretence of objectivity for abject cheer-leading:

Oh yes, the Indonesians can't wait to fall at the feet of Sheridan's idol, and fawn and show exceptional willingness to do his business and the result is hugely fascinating and highly encouraging ...

And you want a link to this kind of simpering drivel? Sorry ...

But before we leave the wretched reptiles, simmering and basking in their new lizard Oz castle of "lite" access, can we spare a thought for Henry "desiccated coconut" Ergas?

It's a singular piece. First Ergas never bothers to actually define what he means by "liberalism" though it seems to mean markets running wild and free, with "freedom from regulation" the cry.

And as his chief example of lack of freedom, Ergas trots out Putin's Russia, which hardly seems to be high on the list of Pacific regional governments with whom Ergas urges the hapless Abbott to engage.

And amazingly it seems it's all the fault of the middle-class, those wretches with enough cash to be able to afford the ranting of the Murdochians in the lizard Oz, and the scribbling of academics for same:

...the reaction is often strongest among middle-class people, who have plenty to lose but, unlike the rich, lack the protection of guarded enclaves and powerful friends. Angered by the kleptocrats and yet fearful of the poor, the promise of stability proves a powerful lure, with a recent study finding that half the coups launched in the last 20 years enjoyed middle-class support or were openly called for by middle-class protesters.

Amazingly, Ergas arrives at this sort of conclusion without once mentioning the great meltdown of 2008, its causes and effects, or its relationship to "liberalism" of the Ergas kind in full cry.

And while railing at Putin's Russia, nor does he bother to mention the exceptional band of American loons led by Senator Ted Cruz, who out of sheer vengeful stupidity are at this very moment intent on shutting down the government of the United States because of pique about Obamacare, because it dares to offer health care for a larger number of American citizens ...

Now if that's not enough to make you ponder about "liberalism" of the Ergas kind ...

Instead Ergas offers a peculiar form of high-flown dribble:

To make matters worse, the advanced economies have become more reticent in their promotion of liberalism. Kevin Rudd foolishly celebrated what he called the death of "neo-liberalism". Julia Gillard's Asian Century report was scarcely better, failing to analyse the trends and their implications for Australia, much less how we should respond.

But never you mind about what Ergas's "liberalism" might actually be or do or want.

Instead you cop this for the closer:

Khrushchev famously boasted that communism would endure "until shrimps learn to whistle". Today, their call resonates loud and clear. But freedom is a fragile flower; and though Australia cannot transform the world, we should at least try to understand it. As the Abbott government engages with our region, grappling with liberalism's changing fortunes should be a priority.

The pond ventures to suggest that it would have helped if Ergas really wanted Abbott to grapple with liberalism's changing fortunes, he might have ventured to explain what he meant by "liberalism", especially as he urges us to understand the world, even if we shouldn't bother doing anything about it because ... well because it's too hard and too difficult and anyway surf's  up and the natural brawn thrillers are on the loose...

Yep, it's business as usual for the Daily Terror and never mind this yabber about shrimps and prawns and crawl bobs.

What continues to amaze the pond is that the reptiles at the lizard Oz expect people to pay for such prime tosh, whether it's dull old Henry, with his logical holes in the bucket, or Lord Downer seeking to re-live past glories or the uxorious Sheridan fawning all over Tony Abbott ...

What else?

Well it turns out Miriam Cosic's "adult in the room" has decided to re-pay his wedding rort (George Brandis will repay nearly $1700) without in any way admitting he was a naughty boy because, after all, attending a wedding at the taxpayers' expense is a torture and a burden, especially when it's a shock jock wedding ...

What's even more astonishing - and a lucky break for ministers - is that the recalcitrant is also slated to draw up a new ministerial code of conduct.

Naturally the pond approves of employing a poacher to act as gamekeeper, and what joy that after all these years of righteous harumphing about expenses, George Brandis turns out to be a singular and most adept poacher ...

In one story, here, shock jock Michael Smith is quoted as saying that the expense claims were justified, yet if you head off to the actual "SJ" site - though why anyone would bother is unimaginable - said "SJ" presents a vast and long speculation by an alleged tax lawyer, with links and case studies and such like, which lamely concludes ...

In my opinion it is probably appropriate that Brandis has made a repayment.
As you say we have to wait for Joyce to disclose more details ... (One of Australia's pre-eminent taxation law experts on work-related expense claims arising from a wedding)

Talk about a damp squib ... and a shock jock in retreat.

And so the adult in the room has forked over the cash, and now is ready to advise all and sundry on how to approach the rules of ministerial conduct and vexing claims about how to tart up a wedding as damned hard work worthy of a little allowance...

And there were some people who thought the Abbott government wouldn't be a circus ... full of happy mangoes ...

But the tribe is being led by the biggest, happiest mango of all.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

The fundamental folly of fundamentalists and puritans ...

This week the pond is taking a break from religious fundamentalism. There are plenty of future Sundays to meditate on this folly ...

There's only so much ratbaggery anyone can take, including the current Pope's discovery that all the homosexual priests in the church are actually human, angry Sydney Anglicans using left-handedness as an excuse to berate sinners (Right Must Not Be Left Behind), or fundamentalist Islamics shooting up a mall to prove how fundamentally stupid and cruel they are.

Now you might propose these assorted crimes are not each of the same scale or enormity, but when wandering through the Rijksmuseum recently, the pond came across the painting above, Beeldenstorm in een kerk, by Dirck van Delen, 1630. (may be slow to load)

It's a rare illustration of the iconoclastic storm that swept across Europe in the seventeenth century, infrequently painted - and later covered up by guilty parties - but it shows the way the same fundamentalist puritanism and the urge to violence joins the Calvinists to the Islamics ...

More on iconoclasm at its wiki here, and you can find a brief note on van Delen here, and more of his images here, and you can google even more here.

The pond is thinking of a grant to explore the deviant gene that pushes the religious towards anger, vandalism, puritanism and fundamentalism, or worse the killing fields, but it might prove tricky because it seems it's a gene unfortunately shared by an unhealthy number of secularists and atheists given to ideological fundamentalism. Shssh, please don't mention the Bolter or the Dear Leader ...

Here you go, here's the Taliban at work in Bamiyan:

Dehumanising gays, demonising boat people, berating sinners for their sins, blowing up rival statues, killing people in malls or on the high seas, it's all part of the same hubristic judgmental racket ...

Sucking it up this Sunday ...

(Above: why don't you join the dots? It's too puzzling for the pond).

It doesn't take much to get the pond going.

An inadvertent use of inverted commas, as seen in a sentence appearing incidentally in a report that John Symond was replacing Kim Williams as head of the Sydney Opera House Trust, was more than enough.

It purported to be "journalism", but was in fact common, vulgar gossip:

Mr Symond is likely to bring his business and society connections to the role. In April, he hosted a fund-raiser for The Australian Ballet at his home attended by Lachlan and Sarah Murdoch, deputy chair of The Australian Ballet. The evening was co-hosted by his girlfriend, Amber McDonald, former wife of Patrick Keating, son of former prime minister Paul Keating.
The couple's romance made headlines in January, with their first outing at Mr Symond's son's "marriage" to his long-term partner ...


The report was prepared by two "journalists", going by the names of John Saxby and Daisy Dumas, for a "newspaper" run by the Fairfaxians, which had been brought into the house by a couple of untrained "house guests".

If you Google the offending text, you don't get anything, just a sanitised "report" by "journalist" John Saxby with the header John Symond replaces Kim Williams as Sydney Opera House Trust chairman, and similar stories in a similar vein.

Now you might think this is a minor, trivial matter, but the pond felt the need to roll up the newspaper and beat the house guests soundly around the head with it.

They spent three actual dollars - price rising this week - on a tree killer, and the sole reward was to inflame the pond and sent it into a frenzy?

You can imagine what sort of treatment might have been doled out to the two "journalists" had they been "in reach" ...

Of course in the scheme of things, it's not the same as the dictator Putin bunging on his prejudicial legislation in Russia, or the vile IOC pandering to him in much the same way as they pandered to Adolf Hitler, but then you tend to expect fascist organisations bent on Leni Riefenstahl style celebrations to pander to other fascists, crypto or blatant.

And it's certainly not up there with the common gossip that the Herald used as its tabloid front page tease today:

Oh forget the news that Bondi is going to go - it's too crowded with bogans anyway - and besides, the pond promised not to mention climate change, as a way of conforming to the Dear Leader's dearest wishes, and in keeping with the Bolter's scientific explanation that he's not an actual denialist, he's just a denialist who reports the facts, gleaned from years of assiduous collection of raw data and astonishing personal analysis.

No, it's the story George and Barnaby's excellent adventure which caught the eye, available online under the header Ministers claimed costs for wedding trip.

The pond was titillated, because - should you click on the story and use up precious Fairfax hits - it features Barnaby Joyce and George Brandis, and only a few days ago Miriam Cosic was celebrating Brandis in An adult is back in charge of the arts.

Shouldn't that have been "an adult"?

Now the pond had resolved never to speak of Tamworth again, at least while Barners remains its "member". To think, the town once had Tony Windsor as its rep, about whom you could say adult without any need for inverted commas.

The pond has unilaterally stripped the town of its "centre of the world" status, because, let's face it, if you have Barners as your "member", you're actually hicksville central.

Anyhoo, it seems the "adult" in the arts room, and the "drongo" in hicksville managed to run up a bill of $3,000 attending a shock jock "wedding" - yes, the news surrounds "weddings" this day - and it turns out that attending "weddings" is official business and primarily a professional engagement and very little to do with social engagements.

The pond thinks the same way whenever heading off to work in a stretch limo to a luxury hotel with a glass of champers "in the paw".

At least the "journalist" involved in reporting the "exclusive", one James Robertson, had a sense of humour:

Mr Joyce claimed a flight to Moree the next day and about $500 worth of charges for the use of a Commonwealth car on the day of the wedding. He said he could not recall whether he had other meetings that day but defended the use of public resources to attend the wedding. 

Ah, the good old "can't recall" routine. But do go on:

''There were, no doubt, lots of people there involved in politics,'' he said. ''It was one of these things where you're noted more by your absence than by your participation.'' 
In the last Parliament, Senator Brandis made the case for prosecutions of Mr Thomson and Peter Slipper. 

Yep, that'd be the "adult" in Miriam Cosic's reptile room.

Of course none of this matches in seriousness the ongoing fallout arising from the vile and wretched almost daily, certainly incessant, and usually hysterical rhetoric deployed by the then opposition, now government regarding refugees, boat people, sovereign borders and all the rest of the nonsense, using misery to claim the "preciousss" and come to power.

Even the lazy reptiles at the lizard Oz felt the need to leave this story at the top of the digital page overnight:

It's been frequently noted that Scott "talker in tongues" Morrison failed upwards, on Peter Principle law, to get to his current position - read So Who the Bloody Hell Are You? on the Tourism Australia matter - and now he's in a public position to routinely confirm it, and good old tabloid Gemma Jones now has a new straw dog to beat up, as you can read in Coalition breaks silence on sunk boat after Tony Abbott Abbott flees reporters after asylum seekers drown on way to Australia.

The header says it all, though it doesn't quite capture the way news of arrivals is sneaking out on Twitter.

Of course we're all used to the sight of Tony Abbott doing a bunk:

The main point is that the rogues and cheats and liars went missing when it came to the crunch, and the footy proved an insufficient distraction, as can be read in Death toll rises after asylum boat sinks.

Long ago, Abbott and Co. had the chance to introduce a gentler polity and a set of sensible bipartisan policies in relation to what is a humanitarian issue involving real people in real misery, international treaty obligations, a fundamental relationship with a northern neighbour, and basic Christian principles of the kind routinely trotted out with nauseating regularity by former chairman Rudd, current Dear Leader, and clap happy Morrison.

Instead they've inherited a whirlwind they helped create, and there's no easy way to silence the storm.

It went that way for Macbeth too, and thus far, in his short tortured reign, Abbott shows every sign that Great Birnam wood might well come to Dunsinane Hill, as he heads off to Indonesia this week ...

It couldn't happen to someone more deserving ...

Finally, since contemplating all this can send the pond into a depression, it's been a long while since the pond dropped in on the Pope for a little more Popish knavery, and you can too by heading off here. 

This one manages to join climate change, the 1950s mind set, Captain Bligh, and stupid three word slogans, with a dash of Long John parrot conjuring up the spirit of Alan Jones.

By golly this Pope would introduce a little levity into the Vatican, even more than the shiver that went around the conservative dead wood with the recent words of the other Pope.

Meanwhile, the pond has started on its own three word chant. If you voted for the parrot, remember to:

Suck it up.
Stop the boats.
Suck it up
Respect my authoritah.
Suck it up.

And just for fun, the thought of Pyne being in the bag is irresistible:

Saturday, September 28, 2013

A few passing irritants ...

Muh lud, the pond would just like to put on the record how a grave, tragic national emergency became just a passing irritant in just a few weeks, which is either a linguistic or a policy miracle. 

It seems Scott "speaking in tongues" Morrison has a direct line to the divine after all ...

The pond would also like to put on record a profound debt to jolly Joe Hockey, who gravely explained that the national budget emergency remained a grave national crisis, but required no further immediate action, and certainly no recall of parliament, a mini-budget and the slashing to the bone of everything in sight - that massacre could take place in an orderly way, and middle class welfarism and income re-distribution could proceed in an equally seemly manner.

Yes the grave national emergency has made way for the baby breeding bonus for lawyers and bankers.

A debt of gratitude should also be recorded and noted for the media's exemplary conduct in these matters, since drawing attention to the state of the new emperor's clothes would have been in extremely poor taste.

What else?

Well it turns out that "Poodle" Pyne is a hot shot curriculum developer, and so Pyne is ready to reshape curriculum with a paws-on approach.

Is the poodle worried about schools that teach young earth policies, creationism, speaking in tongues, the imminent arrival of the rapture, scientological insights or the fundamentals of Islamic fundamentalism on the taxpayer's guinea?

Of course not.

...Mr Pyne was not worried about sparking a fresh round of ''history wars'' by claiming the national curriculum favoured progressive causes, saying he did not mind if the left wanted to fight the Coalition on the topic. 
''People need to understand that the government has changed in Canberra, that we're not simply administering the previous government's policies or views,'' Mr Pyne said. 
"I know that the left will find that rather galling and, while we govern for everyone, there is a new management in town.'' 

Time to roll up the sleeves and do the hard yards:

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has warned he will take a much more hands-on approach to what is taught in the nation's schools, as he prepares to overhaul the government body in charge of the curriculum and NAPLAN tests.

Can a poodle also be a bear with very little brain?

You betcha.

But oh doesn't he look so masterful and in control in the accompanying illustration, armed with a glass, a cuppa and a phone, and the ever present poodle smirk:

Oh the pond felt a surge of ministerial lust ...

Meanwhile, the pond is vastly relieved to discover that pressing educational issues can be resolved because the curriculum favours "progressive causes" - when there the pond was, foolishly thinking it favoured previous Labor "short memory" policy had favoured an expanded chaplaincy program and the right of religious schools to teach whatever they felt like ...

So what a relief to learn that, thanks to the poodle, creationism is safe and progressives will be given their needful comeuppance...

Which is just as well, because already those UN plotters, the IPCC, have released their next blueprint for taking over the world via a world government, which incidentally happens to be based in New York, but never mind, New York should be the home of the new world government ...

Already studious, sharp-edged scientific brains - of the order of the Bolter and the Pellists - are devouring the document, ready to refute the findings in a single blog posting (leaping over tall buildings and outdoing a speeding bullet by special request only).

Right at the moment the Bolter is keeping his powder dry - he's busy recycling Gillard's secret women's strategy, a sinister document documented by valiant Chris Kenny for the reptiles in the lizard Oz about Julia Gillard's shocking and divisive appeal to women's voters, which is so much more important than drawing attention to the way a national emergency became a passing irritant.

But give it time. After all, the Bolter likes to recycle everything in his blog, and not being able to afford first division scientific research, he'll have to wait a few moments for others to do the digging, and then in due course he can reveal that the IPCC is indeed a sinister, divisive body intent on alarming the world about climate science, when the official advice is to ignore it and it will go away ...

Happily, for the moment, he's just outraged and shocked that his name has been used in vain:

Age environment report Tom Arup makes stuff up: 
 In their more reflective moments, mainstream climate scientists will tell you they wish they were wrong and that the Andrew Bolts of the world were right. That global warming was not occurring. That it was not that dangerous. That it was all due to natural variation. That it was one big global conspiracy. 
I have never said global warming was “all due to natural variation” and “was one big global conspiracy”. I have instead questioned warmist hyperbole and inaccuracies of the kind Arup has yet again demonstrated. 
What makes The Age so incapable of reporting sceptical arguments correctly? (here)

Yes damn you Tom Arup, get your facts right, dammit.

What you need is a refresher course in the Bolter's 10 Warming Myths:

Yes, the world may resume warming in one year or 100. But it hasn’t been warming as the alarmists said it must if man were to blame, and certainly not as the media breathlessly keeps claiming. 
Best we all just settle down, then, and wait for the proof—the real proof. After all, panicking over invisible things is so undignified, don’t you think?

You see, carbon dioxide is just an invisible substance you find in Coca Cola except when it's a visible substance and then you find it in dry ice ...

Damn you alarmists and your alarming ways. Why the Bolter is as concerned as Greg Hunt, who noted on radio this morning that action will need to be taken over a hundred years, in a studied, measured way ...

And now as a study in contrasts this Saturday, please allow the pond to place on record the initial coverage of the IPCC report, which some deviant people (possibly alien, having been occupied by the lizards) think might have some bearing on the planet.

Oh sure, the forelock-tugging, nervous nellie Fairfaxians put it on the front page:

Alarm? World on path to disaster?

The sooner the poodle devises a curriculum that puts an end to all this alarmist nonsense the better.

Why don't they take a leaf out of the Daily Terror's book?

There you go. 

Sunny days on the beach for thugby league boofheads and a boom time in super Saturday real estate, and all's well and right with the world ...

I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain 
I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end 
I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend 
But I always thought I’d be reading about the thugby leaguers in the Terror ...

But, but you say, surely we should enjoy the sunny days?

Indeed, because as we know, thanks to the poodle and talking in tongues Scott Morrison, the rapture is just around the corner and is certain to save us.

It's only if you trot off to the progressives wringing their hands and carrying on that you get the remotest hint something might be going on in the world of science. Like those wretches at The Guardian. Look at this for a splash and alarmist headlines like Australia can expect 6C rise on hottest days.

Sheesh, you useless pommy bastards, it's boom time. Don't rain on the boom time parade, just settle back and enjoy the sunshine and never mind the skin cancer.

Climate calamity?

Sheesh, it's only a passing irritant. You see, science is just a damned bit of progressive thinking ...

Time for the denialists to roll up their sleeves and get stuck into the hard work.

Wait, surely it's better just to do nothing and say nothing and it will all go away. Show us how, NT News:

Oh yes, it's been an interesting week, and thanks to Dear Leader and his valiant pack of hounds, it's likely to be an interesting week next week.

Take it away, David Rowe, and more Rowe here:

Friday, September 27, 2013

A few modest proposals ...

(Above: more details here).

In the usual way of broadening the mind, the pond returned with a few notions and modest proposals arising from its trip OS.

What a fine example we found - see above - for a re-modelling of the Lodge to suit our new Dear Leader, who has started his reign with all the skill and aplomb of a Sun King, and has dazzled the Murdochians with the brightness of his light.

Was it only yesterday that Greg Sheridan was dazzled by the stunning Julie Bishop, the sun king's expert in foreign affairs? Already she outshines Charles Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord ...

And as for recalcitrants, who keep on babbling about the emperor's new clothes, why not take a leaf out of the Chinese government's books - a notion the pond picked up while passing through Honkers, as explained by Keith Zhai in Up to three years in prison for Chinese internet users who spread rumours:

A libellous online post that is forwarded more than 500 times or viewed more than 5,000 times could land its author in jail for up to three years, according to the mainland's first judicial interpretation to control rumours on the internet. 
The legal move comes as the Communist Party ramps up its campaign to rein in the internet following President Xi Jinping's call to "seize the ground of new media". 
The Supreme People's Court and Supreme People's Procuratorate, the country's top prosecution body, jointly issued the document yesterday. It set out the terms on what constitutes a criminal offence when it comes to spreading rumours or misinformation on the internet. The guidelines take effect today. 
Besides quantifying the number of views or reposts that can get an internet user in trouble, the interpretation stipulates that any untrue post found to cause mental illness, self-harm or suicide can be considered a "serious case" also punishable by up to three years in jail. Other such "serious cases" include posts that lead to mass protests, instigate ethnic or religious clashes, damage the nation's image or "cause a bad international effect". 
Aside from facing libel charges for online rumours, an offender can also be charged with stirring up trouble, extortion or operating an illegal business.

Spreading rumours! Why that would stop ignorant bloggers dead on a dime, instead of proposing malicious stories, such that Dear Leader has a lesbian sister or Chairman Rupert is a gay divorcee, and yet somehow both imagine they still live in the 1950s in Ming the Merciless land.

As for stirring up trouble, it would certainly stop any mention of "Poodle" Pyne already being sent to the kennel by his own master for dropping a policy on the lawn just when it wasn't needed.

Of course the discipline - 'No plans: to remove student services fee: Abbott - beware the lizard Oz "lite" - makes Dear Leader look masterful and in command, and is therefore able to be reported by the lizards with splendid spin:

Tony Abbott says he has no plans to revoke compulsory university student services fees, in a clear sign to colleagues that he does not want his legislative agenda to become bogged down by ideological distractions.

Oh yes, the sun king is resolutely non-ideological, but should it be mentioned in blogger land that he seems to have saddled himself with a brainless poodle set adrift in a major ministry without much of a clue, now that preening and strutting and abusing the opposition is no longer enough?

Sure enough, anywhere outside Murdoch la la land, the mindless poodle's strutting has got the pundits agitated, as you can read in Quality fears over demand-driven uni funding misplaced.

Already there are idle rumours of policy promises broken.

And speaking of broken promises and betrayal, what are we to make of the strange case of Ian Macfarlane? Poor hapless trusting true believer farmers, as you can read in Resources Minister Ian Macfarlane accused of CSG mining 'backflip' - but beware the lizard Oz "lite" experience:

The Lock the Gate Alliance has released footage of resources minister Ian Macfarlane telling an anti-coal seam gas rally he had "misgivings'' about the sector, which it says directly contrasts with his bullish stance since being elected.

And then the hapless gravel-voiced duffer decided to call his opponents "anarchists" - yes he did, yes he did, as you can read in Coal seam gas opponents 'anarchists', says minister.

Now your average cocky, still imagining they were tending the land and wanting to hand on something for future generations - try a European perspective of five hundred years, try a black perspective of 40,000 years - looked up the definition, and discovered inter alia they were being linked with the likes of Mikhail Bakunin.

Oh sure, it ties in with the theme of the sun king - or at least his hapless descendent Louis XVI, who is rumoured to have said let them eat coal gas so that we can eat cake - but what does it say about the state of the sun king's ministry, forced to grapple with contending forces and chose sides.

Already the anarchists on their facebook page are sounding agitated and restless.

And what about the desire to mount a full-scale confrontation with Indonesia, redolent of the last few glorious years of Ming the merciless?

Only the other day the pond dropped in on a piece in the lizard Oz, and was struck by the war-mongering nature of the comments, with most convinced that boat people were all the fault of the filthy Indonesians and they needed to be taught a damned good lesson.

It would have been easy to dismiss it as the rabid rhetoric of armchair warriors, but then what do you know, along came that rabid armchair warrior, Alexander "the blue rinse toff stocking" Downer to stir the pot.

Of course anybody with a smidgin of common sense knew that all the blather and the blarney delivered by the coalition before the election was all bullshit, and that became clear when Indonesia's foreign minister Marty Natalegawa dared to drop details of a private meeting he had with Julie Bishop in New York.

The always helpful Downer decided it would be good to set all the oil on troubled waters alight, as you can read in Chris Bowen says Coalition must address Alexander Downer's comments on Indonesia's asylum seeker stance.

Even better, Dear Leader is off to Indonesia on Monday - lordy, lordy, what fun, while Scott "clap happy, let's all speak in tongues" Morrison is busy expanding the gulag at Manus Island (here).

How to spin this crazed, chaotic start to government?

Well it actually provided a feast of headlines and you takes your pick. Granny went with poodle Pyne:

While the reptiles went with confrontation - after all, think of the newspapers you could sell, just like William Randolph Hearst when he helped start the Spanish American war:

Truly everything is working out for the best in the best of all possible sun king worlds. A shot across the bow!

Finally, thank the long absent lord there's football to keep the tabloid minds off impending disasters, and sssh, whatever you do, please don't mention climate science.

Already alarmists are proposing all kinds of dismal prospects - Australia could be left with no policy on climate change - failing to understand that if you refuse to mention or acknowledge an issue, it will simply not happen, or at least have the politeness to quietly go away.

To harp on records and heat and drought is bad enough but to mention actual climate science in that context would be really bad form - the HUN shows how it should be done, with frolicking children gaily enjoying the warm waters of Southport, while casually mentioning a few records were broken, and sssh, not a mention of climate science, while celebrating the news that relief and a cool change is just around the corner, as you can read in Cool change coming as Queensland hot weather records smashed.

What a relief, and after all that hearty exercise, no doubt the children can settle down to a cordial and a nice slice of cake.

Helpfully the lizard Oz has taken to publishing Dennis Jensen in full climate denialist, Bjorn Lomborg mode ...

That's all you need to know about Dennis "coca cola is a gas" Jensen.

Why should the pond keep on linking to the reptiles doing their "lite" routine?

The pond would no more give up an email address to read the ratbag ranting and raving of a loon as read Jensen in Lomborg mode... and the sooner the lizards realise this, the better ...

If this is the top opinion piece in the rag, then it's in as much trouble as the sun king. You can stick your bum in the air like an ostrich, but the chances are someone will notice the bum ...

Now how about that cake ...

(Below: another cake eater. Can she find a place in the new sun king's court? Or perhaps scribble a piece on climate denialism for the reptiles at the lizard Oz?)

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Yet another day, yet another dose of the kool-aid ...

It seems that while the pond's been away the wretched, pathetic and desperate reptiles at the lizard Oz have become even more wretched and desperate.

These days you get a pop-up demanding details to set up "lite access" before being allowed to continue.


Well as the Oxford notes:

denoting a low-fat or low-sugar version of a manufactured food or drink product: lite beer 
denoting a simpler or less challenging version of a particular thing or person: I am the happy feminist who likes men, the feminist lite

Are the reptiles abusing their customers or themselves?

"lite access" - is it denoting a simpler and less challenging version of a particularly simple-minded, ideological and combative rag?

Or try out another notion, take it for a run: I am the happy deluded reader who likes mindless hive mind Murdochians, the reader lite.

The Oxford also offers the word as a noun, as used to describe light beer with relatively few calories, and who can argue that the rag offers very few intellectual calories?

The Oxford proposes that it was a commercial re-spelling performed in the 1950s - can anyone doubt that one of Murdoch's fellow United States' citizens was involved in the crime, the evil deed - and the pond holds the word in the same contempt as it reserves for nite, GR8, G2CU and yes, even Xmas, though atheists are given special permission to use the word if it irritates the heck out of a Pellist or angry Sydney Anglican Xian.

Anyhoo - oh how that word irritates some - to cut to the chase, or the long and the short, the pond feels absolutely no need to continue a "lite conversation" with the paranoid reptiles at fortress Murdoch, and certainly not by giving up identity details to an organisation which the pond rates lower than the NSA.

Of course it's only a bait and switch - click on the lizard Oz's explanation of "lite access" and you will be told "After a while, you will be reminded to upgrade to one of our great value digital subscriptions. It only takes a few seconds to register, and it's free, so dive on in."

"Reminded"? That's a quaint word for harassed and spammed endlessly.

"Dive on in?" Dive into a rag riven with ideological ratbaggery and feral zealotry?

Why the pond would sooner dive into a swamp full of mugwumps ...

Thank the long absent lord that the pond's mother  was always warning about diving off the end of the pier without checking for sharp cutting coral or brain-wrecking rocks ... and yes, Nick Cater, Denis Shanahan, Paul Kelly, Greg Sheridan and other regulars should really be considered rocks.

Lordy lordy, look how times fly when you're having fun, so we can tiptoe past the reptiles this morning indulging in their ritual NBN bashing, having established yesterday how News Corp does indeed fear high speed broadband and its potential to affect their earnings - not realising alienating at least half the population with their crusades easily achieves the same result.

Besides, if you want your News fix fixed as usual, you can head off to, because the silly old codger running the show still hasn't woken up to the way he's demanding money cosa nostra style with the right hand, while giving it away with the left hand ...

Oh sure it's as lite as a sodden piece of puff pastry, but it's free ... and all the Murdochians score is some pathetic click revenue most unlikely to offset the costs ... so get clicking ...

Meanwhile, since we're on the quest for free Murdochian madness, why not click on Miriam Closic's epic effort for The Drum, An adult is back in charge of the arts.

It's a sublime example of the hagiography which the pond predicted would become the pro forma for Murdochians, and in this case, the subject of the hagiography is one George Brandis, as unlikely a subject in his own unique way as Johnnie Cochran.

Reading the piece - bizarrely Cosic starts off by describing herself as a person of the left, a most amusing concept for a senior writer in the charnel house of Murdoch land - was the first time the pond had felt any sympathy at all for Peter "short memory" Garrett in a long time.

Cosic's criticism of Garrett? Well it seems you judge a politician and their arts policies by the way they return your phone calls and conduct their meetings - a most sublime version of the LA film game, where who will and will not return a phone call is an art up there as subtle and as intriguing as kabuki:

As reclusive as you'd expect a rock super-star to be, Peter Garrett was very rarely available for comment. In our first meeting, we had to angle around an inner-city Sydney cafe, to make sure his back was to the room so no-one would recognise him. We had to run through the whole conversation before he allowed the recorder to be turned on, then run through the same conversation again for the record, minus the spontaneity and the sense of conversational discovery unfolding. Let's be generous and put it down to first-timer's nerves. No-one was even asking about pink batts yet.

Sheesh, talk about tone deaf. How can you have a sense of a conversational discovery unfolding with a member of a tribe dedicated to the art of "gotcha" journalism? Why on earth would anyone in the Labor party be paranoid about the Murdochians?

And then came this:

The only arts that seemed to interest Garrett were pop music and Indigenous art: both genres that had a strong, private and profit-driven business model in place. Midnight Oil seemed his prototype of how things could and should be done. 

Which is both absurd, as anyone trying to find cheap nearby live music in Sydney will testify, and stereotypical, since Garrett could drone on endlessly (as the pond personally experienced) in exemplary bureaucratese about arts policies far removed from the world of Midnight Oil.

Embedded deep within Cosic's piece is the refined notion that really only Liberals - and perhaps screaming opera lover Andrew the Bolter - know about the subtle, nuanced world of the y'artz, as you might expect of refined people living in Toorak or an eastern suburbs somewhere near you - completely impossible for crude pub rocker types:

He was certainly more hip than Brandis. Yet it's those daggy old heritage arts, like opera and ballet, that really rely on government support. They cost a bomb because hundreds of people have to be paid - on stage, in the pit, and in carpentry, engineering and sewing workshops across the country - every time Violetta gets to die again.

Uh huh. Daggy old heritage arts!

Now there's a mindset at work. The pond hastily put away its proposal for doing Wagner as a defiant transgendered parable of stretching boundaries and mortality, with a whiff of Luhrmann - it's a bona fide goer, I tells ya - and has reverted to a replica staging as first rolled out in 1876:

Talk about daggy!

Inter alia, Cosic broods about John Howard, Tony Abbott, and free speech, and comes up with this reassuring line:

Freedom of expression cuts both ways. It's the old vexed issue of not liking what you say, but defending your right to say it. In the West these days, that sentiment generally stops short of Holocaust denial and murder-inciting anti-Semitism. It doesn't rule out misogyny, advocating the active physical repression of women in the context of religious worldviews - using that tired old trope "they're cultural, not political issues" - or racism. (Jews now count as European, putting another weapon in the anti-Western armory.) 

In that throwaway line about the Jews, the pond came to realise it didn't have the first clue what Cosic was actually on about.

Except perhaps that only Brandis and the Bolter were on the right track:

... In the last week of campaigning, Brandis promised the reassertion of common law rights and freedoms, and the appointment of one, maybe more, "freedom" commissioners to the Human Rights Commission. 
 "I don't want to see the human rights bureaucracy expanded," he said, "but if we are going to have a human rights agency of the commonwealth, it ought to be an agency that protects human rights, not an agency that protects some human rights and makes excuses for the violation of others." It's a line that Andrew Bolt, with much less sophistication, has been promoting for months. In reality, the race hatred provision of the anti-discrimination bill has been rarely evoked and then mostly for cases of rabid anti-Semitism. 

Frabjous joy. So it seems we'll be able to go back to blaming the blacks for always playing the victim (as if that game has ever stopped).

You see, here's the rhetorical trick. You call the Bolter less sophisticated, because that allows you to say that delivering up Bolter-style abuse of the most insulting kind is actually quite okay, since he only bashes the blacks and doesn't do it to the Jews ... who are European these days, and that's why everyone abuses the west. Or some such thing.

And then this:

The election of an Abbott Government may not signal the threat to intellectual freedom the Howard government represented, as long as it doesn't start objecting to this publicly-funded work of art or that publicly-funded research project, or controlling information flow for political ends. 

And so in a single sentence Cosic washes away all the preening and posturing in the election campaign about wasteful research and wasteful artists daring to comment on non-existent matters like climate change, not to mention jolly Joe Hockey going front and centre in a television campaign with an attack on ergonomic chairs (non-ergonomic chairs being so much more useful if you want to downsize the public service and send them all off to the scrap heap).

Yes, you can piss away zillions on an excessive and inequitable paid parental leave scheme, but watch out for the chairs ...

Never mind, it turns out that everything is the best in the best of all possible worlds:

With so many flat-earthers promoted to other portfolios, those of us interested in the arts and in freedom of expression should be glad that Brandis has been given his wish list. Arts and Attorney General's, second only to Industrial Relations perhaps, are two areas non-Liberals won't want to see in the hands of the New Right. 

Yes, because this sort of flat-earthing is so much more acceptable, and never mind that there might be other flat-earthers roaming about. You know, Bill Heffernan blathering on about barren Gillard. Or:

Senator Brandis hit back yesterday, describing Ms Gillard as one-dimensional. 
 "I think Julia Gillard who . . . has chosen not to be a parent . . . shows that she just doesn't understand the way parents think about their children when they reach a particular age," Senator Brandis told the ABC in Brisbane. 
"I think that although Julia Gillard is a very clever politician, she is very much a one-dimensional person . (It) is not something she would have said if she were herself the mother of teenage daughters."

Uh huh. So if as a woman you don't have children, you end up a one-dimensional person.

Suck on that Jane Austen. Go howl at the moon Virginia Woolf (and what do you know, Amazon even provides a list of famous childless women, some of whom dabbled in the arts).

But back to Cosic, vastly relieved that at last she's got a politician who will return her phone calls, and not act weirdly in cafes,  and explain to her how everything is for the best in the best of all Abbottian worlds:

... Nor am I worried, again unlike some others in the arts, that his responsibilities as Attorney-General will swamp his work in Arts. Senior front-benchers routinely take on more than one portfolio and, in Brandis's case, neither was foisted on him. 
Brandis, an intellectual and a political moderate despite the relish with which he rolls up his sleeves and plunges into savage political debate, will no doubt have to wrestle with issues of freedom versus decency in both his portfolios. As we all must, if we're rigorous. He may also, as Attorney-General, have to wrestle with his colleagues in cabinet on a whole range of other issues that blur the lines of democratic rights, political expediency and economic privilege.

Oh and he needs to save us from useless art grants and artists daring to mention climate change and ergonomic chairs and childless one dimensional women dabbling in the y'artz ...

Truly the kool aid is strong at News Corp, and as befits the confused, chaotic tone of Cosic's piece, it evoked a storm of equally confused and chaotic comments, as disturbing and as amusing to read as her own hagiographic effort ...

So let's close with Cosic's best effort. She attempts to bank Malcolm Turnbull's defence of Bill Henson, on behalf of Brandis and a new era of toleration. 

But here's what Brandis said when the affair was going strong:

Senator Brandis says artists must act within the boundaries of the law. 
"No artist has a carte blanche to say, 'Because I'm an artist, I'm entitled to breach the criminal law in relation to matters like child pornography'," he said. 

Uh huh. So what did the creepy cafe greeter have to say?

Arts Minister Peter Garrett says artists have a right to confront audiences but must operate within the law.

Why it turns out they're two peas in a law-abiding pod, a veritable Tweedles dum and dee. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Is there any hope?

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has described Henson's photographs as "absolutely revolting" but Greens Senator Bob Brown says Mr Rudd does not understand art. Senator Brown has compared the furore to censorship in Soviet Russia. (here)

Ah Bob, long gone now, and George Brandis ready to assume the Garrett mantle and maintain the law.

How soon before shit happens and Brandis puts his foot in the libertarian mess? 

The pond is already arranging a bet involving a quite tasty bottle of red with a mug punter friend. 

Perhaps Cosic would like to join the challenge, though it's a more than fair bet she'll stick with the kool aid ... strong or lite ...

(Below: a portrait of a one-dimensional woman. How she became one of the pond's favourite writers must remain an enduring mystery which perhaps only Miriam Cosic and George Brandis might be able to explain).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Of heroes and hero worship and the Murdochians on parade ...

(Above: one of 101 ways to use a newspaper. Other ways include wrapping a dead cat).

One of the curious by-products of travel is the way it's easy to be insulated from a shrieking, howling pack of journalists announcing a national budget emergency or an apocalyptic 'stop the boats' crisis or sundry other catastrophic epic government failures, always cranked up to eleven, and always featuring Dear Leader, with not a shameless thought of the need of a figleaf of truth for the relentless hyperbole and exaggeration on the progress to power...

In the garret in the hotel in Paris which kindly hosted the pond (five rooms over five floors and a ceiling height and room size any hobbit would envy), there was only Russia Today in English on the box - pumping out Putin propaganda in a way Dear Leader would envy - and CCTV in English, delivering the news in a way Dear Leader would love to emulate, and France 24 en anglais (or Arabic if you will) which relentlessly explained how France was the centre of the universe.

As for the BBC world service? Pourquoi? Or any other perfidious English language service? Mais non ...

Still there's been a major turn around in France since the pond was last in town, with VOSTF (Version Originale - Sous-Titre Français) now all the rage in French theatres, and the desire to dub everything in sight into French seems to have retreated to French television.

It seems like the Académie française is on the retreat, and the fear of Franglais has gone with it - after the obligatory snigger at "silver plate", French waiters now freely admit to speaking English ...

Oh okay, this is just a way of beating around the bush, evading the issue, ducking the Murdochians, maintaining the fiction that the domestic commentariat collapsed into a black hole the moment the pond left town, and has never been sighted since.

And as I sat there brooding on the old, unknown world, I thought of Murdoch's wonder when he first picked up The News on North Terrace. He had come a long way since those days, and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night. 
Murdoch believed in the green light, the orgastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter - tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms further... And one fine morning -
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

Oh dear melancholy so early in the morning.

So let's turn to the good news:

News Corp's Australian newspaper revenues fall by $350m - three times more than Fairfax's drop.

The mUmBRELLA headline really says it all, but there's an even better sting in the tail as the piece quotes the SEC filing on the threats faced by the Murdochians:

“Content owners are increasingly delivering their content directly to consumers over the Internet, often without charge, and innovations in distribution platforms have enabled consumers to view such Internet-delivered content on portable devices and televisions. There is a risk that the Company’s responses to these changes and strategies to remain competitive, including distribution of its content on a “pay” basis, may not be adopted by consumers. In addition, enhanced Internet capabilities and other new media may reduce the demand for newspapers and television viewership, which could negatively affect the Company’s revenues. The trend toward digital media may drive down the price consumers are willing to spend on the Company’s products disproportionately to the costs associated with generating content. The Company’s failure to protect and exploit the value of its content, while responding to and developing new products and business models to take advantage of advancements in technology and the latest consumer preferences, could have a significant adverse effect on its businesses, asset values and results of operations.”

Put that in your pipe and smoke it the next time you read the Murdochians boasting how sympathetic to the internet and to the opportunities it provides to the evil Empire, whether by way of digital newspapers or Foxtel.

The funny thing, of course, is that any number of nongs swallowed the line that chairman Rupert just loved the business opportunities provided by an open internet, as opposed to a closed, walled-garden approach which allowed him to shear the sheep in a tidy, regular, profitable way ...

Even more startling for the pond, however, was to catch up on the share price for the Ten network, which currently seems to be tracking back down to the abysmally low price it hit earlier in the year.

So this is where the brightest business minds of a generation - including but not limited to Lachlan Keith Murdoch and Gina Rinehart - have taken a once cleverly targeted, demographically aware, niche effective broadcaster.

It's an old song, but the pond continues to sing it - anyone who prefers the Bolter's ideologically driven ranting over the joys of Video Hits deserves no less ...

But as always the pond offers a glass half-full solution. The last time the network was in such an appalling mess and staggering towards bankruptcy, along came Numéro Quatre Vingt Seize to save the network's bacon.

The pond proposes a new show - Numéro soixante neuf - which could feature the Bolter's first appearance in a drama - and with Gina and Lachy handling the operation, it's sure to be a gigantic success ...

Well it's as good an idea as Studio Ten ...

Jolly Joe Hildebrande, the taxidermically enhanced Ita Buttrose and poor old Jessica Rowe, recycled one more time, not to mention Sarah Harris? Suddenly Dutch television looks like James Joyce ...

Never mind, the pond is still a little ginger about being back in the land of the lotus eaters, and even more ginger about stepping into the fetid, rank pool of the reptiles at the lizard Oz, but duty must be done, and so we briefly note with wild approval Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen's most excellent effort,  The unheralded heroine at Coalition's heart (paywall protected to limit damage to the faint of heart)

Now it's long been the pond's belief that in the first days of the Dear Leader, the reptiles wouldn't know what to do with themselves, much like the Abbott government itself, and so they'd veer dangerously between supine fawning and embarrassing hagiography.

Sure enough, Dame Slap's piece is an embarrassment, as dated and as quaint as Thomas Carlyle scribbling Heroes and Hero Worship. (Happily you can find the Carlyle at Project Gutenberg, here, for free).

Dame Slap spends an unnerving amount of time and words celebrating Peta Credlin, proposing that one superwoman at work in Canberra, with a bonus Julie Bishop, is more than enough feminism at work in the Dear Leader's fearless government.

It's hagiography at its finest, and wisely Credlin decided she'd have nothing to do with it, while Dame Slap herself, with supreme indifference to incidents that drew some attention to Credlin - such as her low range drink driving offence - spends all her time buffing and polishing the portrait of a heroic woman subject to idle smears and victimisation, and through it all, emerging triumphant ...

It's likely that this modus operandi - comment as hagiography - will continue indefinitely into the future, and even better proof than Dame Slap is the excellent example of denialism unveiled in a twitter war in Tony Abbott's broken Indigenous promise and News Corp Breaking Bad.

Abbott indulged in a shameless bit of pandering to an audience, as politicians are wont to do, and then his pandering was dragged out and paraded and revealed for the shameless pandering it was, and then Samantha Maiden, for inexplicable reasons, decided to abandon any pretence of being an objective journalist, and instead set out to defend the pandering words of Dear Leader, and to explain how black is white, except when white is black, and an offer isn't a promise, and so on and so forth, in ways that Lewis Carroll's Humpty Dumpty would find quite wonderful.

Never give an inch, never surrender, and you too can have a deeply Victorian mindset.

The epic twitter exchange is a classic example of how the Murdochians long ago abandoned any interest in objective reporting, preferring hagiographic indulgence as a style (and you can find a lot more Samantha Maidenisms at her twittering account, tweeting away here).

And so the circle is complete, and the point of international travel revealed, because truly it can be said that Samantha Maiden, Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen, and the rest of the Murdochians are to Dear Leader as Russia Today is to Vladimir Putin ...

Oh yes, Russia Today, Pravda, CCTV and Mosfilm would all be proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Murdochians ....

And so it's great to be back in the land down under. Not only can the pond look forward to Numéro soixante neuf  but we can also cop a goodly dose of the Sunday Territorian-loving Maiden being so up herself as to scribble a tweet about inner city hipsters ...

What happened to the crocodiles?

Finally, what a pleasure to get back to First Dog, who was in fine form a few days ago with Mrs Slocombe and the copper tubings. 

Can you imagine the way the pond suffered at the idle gloating of Dutch friends, when the pond proposed not wanting to ruin their bandwith cap by downloading too much data?

What broadband cap? they wanted to know.

Here no cap, no cap here, data is unlimited, all you do is pay for speed if speed is what you want, remembering that the standard speed on offer without additional pricing is twice the 25 down speed proposed as standard by big Mal's copper frenzy.

And all the while, these past few days, the ABC has been running stories, on television and the radio - yes you, pathetic 7.30, with Leigh Sales sounding more luddite than Tony Abbott, yes you Radio National, explaining how 25 is more than enough, and we'll have no need for anything more in the future.

Do our computer pundits lack all common sense? The truth in no online database will replace your daily newspaper, no CD-ROM can take the place of a competent teacher and no computer network will change the way government works. (and the rest of Clifford Stoll's epic effort The Internet? Bah! here, and if things are quiet at the water cooler, why not google Internet predictions for more fun, or perhaps just keep listening and watching your luddite ABC?)

Take it away First Dog, and more First Dog here.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Where to start? Where to start?

(Above: fools or frauds? Or a bit of both?)

Where to start? Where to start?

Well it seems like the reptiles at the lizard Oz have done a makeover while the pond's been junketing, the sneaky furtive mice sensing the cat's away (can a skulking reptile also be a furtive mouse? Why do you ask such a silly question?)

It seems that the rag has decided the gold bar fickle finger of fate - aka demanding money with menaces and false pretences as to the truth - should be a little more discreet.

But the raging barrage of red-coloured EXCLUSIVES still pepper the front digital page, no doubt before disappearing up some nearby fundament.

Oh and there was a burst of unseemly fury about PANPA daring to approve of The Age above the lizard Oz, when really any assault on the awards should have begun with the disgraceful decision to allow a rabid ideological feral rag to call itself the newspaper of the year ... last year ...

What can be said about Nick Leys' piece PANPA award sparks outrage and accusations of bias from rival editors that hasn't already been said?

Suck it up, cry baby lizards and spoilsports, bleating and sulking like sore losers at an Academy shindig.

Even better was the news that only an accounting trick had kept the rag and its colleagues from being part of a massive blow-out, as the full-year's financial results for News Corp sidled into the arena like a warthog (News Corp's hall of mirrors can't hide newspaper woes, may be paywall affected).

Suck it up lizards, it's sure to get worse, as astonished readers of Nick Leys' petulant princess piece of sullen perverse bellyaching decide to can such a narcissist rag ...

It turns out that nothing has actually changed, at least if Media Watch is anything to go by.

Last night's piece, A real scoop or just hot air?, watched with bleary-eyed incredulity through jetlag, was a lovely smack down, and by the end of it, the pond was left wondering how Graham Lloyd - allegedly the lizard Oz's environment editor - sleeps at night with himself.

What does he think when he looks at himself in the mirror in the morning? Does he see a dunce, or a fellow traveller seeking out anything eggbeater to hand to serve his master's voice? There can't be too many other options ...

And this was rapidly followed by news that the Daily Terror was in the middle of one of its feral campaigns, as detailed in Bike Bashing at the Daily Telegraph.

Having just been in two cities - Amsterdam and Paris - where bike riding is both pleasurable and practical, you have to wonder why the Daily Terror wants to turn Sydney into the nightmare on the roads that torture Los Angeles. What's in it for them?

Even more peculiar, don't they realise that Dear Leader loves to cycle, and is, without a shadow of a doubt, a lycra-clad lout?

There can be only one diagnosis, and the pond offers it for free - the Terror is in the grip of a deep and deadly schizophrenia.

What else? Well there was some good news - yes only Andrew Bolt can do it for the pond - with the news the ratings for The Bolt Report have slipped under the 100k mark, with 96,000 and 94,000 for its September 23rd outings. (here)

It seems that the Bolter was shifted to the 11.30 am slot, but still had less appeal than Video Hits running highlights of the disco era (ah, for an opera buff to be done over by Xanadu, what joy, what joy).

Or as Glenn Dyer put it here, may be paywall affected:

The partisanship of Bolt and people like Piers Akerman who was on Insiders yesterday morning aren’t liked by viewers who have moved on from the election campaign and the Rudd-Gillard years. Bolt and Akerman and their fellow travelers are fighting yesterday’s battles, like the two old codgers on The Muppet Show.

Akker Dakker and the Bolter as muppets?

Oh so unkind, kind sir, so unkind ... but you do make a fair point, because now that Dear Leader Abbott is installed, all that's left for the Bolter is the simpering, fawning air of a lickspittle doe-eyed deer ...

What's he do do? Criticise Dear Leader for being a soft leftie?

Even better - yes it's hard to imagine but the image of a bloated Akker Dakker making a fool of himself yet again is even better than the petulant reptiles at the Oz or the fawn-like Bolter - is the way that the ABC has been compelled to distance itself from its guest commentator.

You can, thanks to the wonders of the slow-intertubes - make it slower, big Mal, make it even slower, use copper, Queen Victoria would approve -  catch up with the circus here, though any stray and wiser reader might have just been content with the ABC having to acknowledge the folly of showcasing tired ideological hacks and fetid Murdoch warriors:

Misinformed? That's a quaint word for a rabid zealot ...

Now if the pond were to say it was pleased to return from bicycling in Amsterdam and doing a tour of the galleries of Paris, it would be a bald-and-bare-faced lie, up there with the Murdochians and their Janus-like approach to the truth, but it has to be acknowledged there are some compensations at returning to see such pleasant scenes ...

As for the rest, everything as it was. Peter "send in the hounds" Reith continues his permanent residency at the ABC, perhaps thereby showing how privatising the place and making it a division of the IPA might well be an excellent policy initiative in the next year or so.

It takes an enormous gall to title a piece The return of stable government without the surprises, but then this is a man who thinks sending in the hounds is a way to produce industrial harmony.

Naturally stable government includes furtive secrecy on the matter of boats - conceal news of their arrival and hey presto they don't arrive. Do they really think if they turn back a boat, and it sinks and people drown that  no one will ever know?

But it turns out this also includes a novel approach to science.

Abolish any news of climate change, and hey presto it's not happening (and by the way have you finally come to understand that copper is all the working class dregs need for their connectivity?)

And as usual, there's prattling Polonius, still rolling out his tedious and banal insights, and calling into question with every word the singular and peculiar slogan of the Fairfaxians to be always proud of their independence ... a quaint way of putting their ongoing publicity for and promotion of the Sydney Institute and its guru ...

Happily the pond skipped Blame game should start with party names because the pond lost a good bottle of red wine betting that prattling Polonius wouldn't be frothing and foaming about Clive Palmer and the AEC and the Liberal Democrats, but instead would be shocked and outraged at David Marr's takedown of the Pellists (you can sample it at The Monthly here). Maybe next week, or maybe Pellism is a losing cause ...

More to the point, as a way of confirming that it's business at usual at Fairfax, it seems that their expert troller at large, Paul Sheehan, has been trolling away in fine style.

How can you tell he's a troll? Well he boasts of the hits arising from his trolling in Fakes, trolls and counterfeit politics:

Last Monday's column, ''Welcome to the Abbottoir'', about the fundamentalist subculture of Abbott-hating, generated more than 300,000 visitors on the Fairfax websites and more than 1000 comments, 300 of them deemed unpublishable. As I say, trolls don't do irony. 

Yep, Paul Sheehan doesn't do irony, though you'd think that his love of magic water might have led to a little self-awareness.

What's even more interesting, apart from the peacock-strutting and the boasting about the way his shit-stirring stirs up shit and resentment, is the way that Sheehan sees himself and Fairfax at war with the full to overflowing intertubes:

These were real numbers, generated by a real company, with people operating in the sunlight, in contrast to the counterfeit politics and counterfeit morality that inhabits great swathes of the internet.

This from a flim flam magic water man.

The irony is too delicious.

But it reminded the pond that the war just isn't with the reptiles at the lizard Oz, it includes the Fairfaxians, who routinely value shit-stirring trolling over substance.

How so? Well the flim flam magic water man had the cheek to scribble this:

In modern politics, fakery and insult are thus growing enormously via social media. For me, the biggest issue in our society is the environment and I believe we have underestimated the damage done to the soil and water during the past 200 years as Europeans tried to turn a highly complex ecosystem into a new Europe. But, instead of a genuine, grassroots, pragmatic, environment-centric environmental party, we have the Greens.

This from a man who wrote in praise of "Lord" Monckton, and took all Monckton and Bob Carter's and the other denialists' talking points seriously, while at the same time pretending an interest in the environment.

Yep, Paul Sheehan doesn't do irony.

But it should be noted that the Europe Sheehan routinely berates is changing rapidly, with wind farms in abundance, high speed rail long a banal reality, and electric fuelling stations all over the place in Paris - Libre comme l'air runs the slogan, which is more than can be said for Fairfax wanting people to pay for Sheehan's trolling.

More like merde agitation à un prix.

Never mind, as the pond was strolling through the Louvre with an independent air - as one does - an image caught the eye.

It seemed to be the perfect visual metaphor for the new Australia - xenophobic, isolated, parochial, and with remarkably little interest in the ways of the world, preferring a hunkered down fear and loathing approach to real engagement - and a perfect evocation of the way the new policies of Dear Leader would be applied:


Silly pond.

Of course the painting means something else entirely different and in any case it features two women, when it's well known you need only one woman in cabinet to do a hearty nipple pinch ...

Still while away, the pond did come up with a solution to certain fiscal woes.

Sale and leaseback.

Take all the works in the Louvre, and other European museums (what a fine looter Napoleon was), and don't forget ones held by the Papacy or the expert museum looters of Britain and the United States, and value them at a fair market price, and send the money off to Greece and Italy and Iran and such like places, and suddenly these poor countries would be rolling in cash. The Etruscans and the Carthaginians would also be in great shape.

So the Louvre could keep itself in the tourism game - with maybe a five per cent royalty for the leaseback - and all would be well.

Perhaps we start by helping the Egyptians. Who will start the bidding on the Seated Scribe?