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?
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 ...
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.