Thursday, October 31, 2013

The pond's muttering about RN again ...

(Above: more here. Click to enlarge)

By golly, it was a doozy.

RN's The World Today this very day, managed to mix Annabelle Quince preparing a story in gays in Russia for Rear Vision, with the sounds of news reports on sheep scandals and so on.

On and on went the novelty mix, minute after minute, in a way worthy of Stockhausen, with Annabelle at one point asking if it sounded okay.

It sounded fine Annabelle.

The pond loves post-modernist radio mixes and this improved The World Today no end ...

More please.

I guess we should thank the long absent lord the signal cleaned up so we could hear Barners saying he didn't propose shutting down the banking industry because of bank robbers.

By golly, he's a sharp pollie ... but you know, multi-tracking him might help the blather sound more convincing ...

(Below: okay, it was just a cynical excuse to run a few radio cartoons and have a laugh. As soon as the Bolter says we shouldn't be laughing, it's way beyond time for a laugh).

Sorry, the Bolter is always a laughing matter ... but don't forget Peter Beattie ...

The pond has had Queensland on its mind, and so has the Bolter.

Everything worrisome comes out of Queensland, and not least is Clive Palmer, as the Bolter tells us in Clive Palmer is a man who tells it like it isn't:

Clive Palmer, the Bolter assures us with thin, outraged, pursed lips, is no laughing matter, which rather ruins things for the pond, because if you can't laugh at Australian politics and Clive Palmer and his entourage in particular, what on earth can you laugh at?

Of course back in the day, the Bolter was appalled at the outrageous behaviour of Wayne Swan, scapegoating hapless, innocent billionaires:

Wayne Swan goes back to the poisoned well, drawing on the same destructive envy and hatred he’s peddled for a year. It’s the kind of low-rent thinking you’d expect from a man whose work as a Treasurer is inspired by a pop song: 
The Treasurer, Wayne Swan, will intensify his assaults on the billionaires Clive Palmer, Andrew Forrest and Gina Rinehart tonight… All while channelling rock icon Bruce Springsteen, who the Treasurer cites as his greatest inspiration… (Swan back to scapegoating the rich)

Shocking Swannie, shame on you.

You should leave it to the Bolter to scapegoat the rich. 

Remember the Bolter has better taste in opera and red wine, and may he never again be forced to listen to local operas by wretches like Brett Dean and Richard Meale, or for that matter, rubbish like The Fiery Angel.

Back in the day of course, Palmer was one of the three brave, persecuted amigos, Clive, Gina and Twiggy, battling the wicked mining tax, riding high as crusaders against socialism, fighting the good fight against class warfare, and standing up for battling billionaires doing it tough.

Palmer bankrolled the Queensland LNP merger, and helped pave the way for Campbell Newman, who is now doing fine work sacking public servants, demonising bikie and paedophile lovers and destroying the justice system.

Back in the day, in February 2010, Tim Bleagh was ecstatic about the way Clive shoved it to the greenies, and Bleagh wanted a redneck shredneck outlaw country tunesmith to celebrate Clive's new mega-mine in song (well Bleagh's taste doesn't quite run to Puccini or even the Boss):

This rocks: 
An Australian firm has signed a $60bn deal to supply coal to Chinese power stations. Clive Palmer, chairman of the company, Resourcehouse, said it was Australia’s “biggest ever export contract”. Under the deal, the firm will build a new mining complex to give China Power International Development 30m tonnes of coal a year for 20 years. 
We need an Australian Tim Montana to commemorate our new mega-mine in song. Even better, the mine – six mines, in fact – will apparently require the construction of a new dam, a new power grid, 500km of railway line and a 570km water pipeline. That means jobs, people. Tens of thousands of wonderful, life-enhancing, car-buying, family-building jobs. Naturally, greenoids are bawling: 
A $69 billion coal deal announced by mining magnate Clive Palmer and Premier Anna Bligh is “another nail in the coffin of our climate”, says Friends of the Earth Brisbane. 
Sucked in, losers. But no word yet from Kevin Rudd; he’s likely still consoling little Gracie, who at the moment probably feels let down. We now live in a time when massive job creation is regarded by the Prime Minister as a political liability.

Those were the glory days, when you could approach Clive for a helping hand in the matter of the rough Brough ...

Clive was onside with Gina who was onside with Twiggy and no one thought billionaires should be punished for going about their business, interfering with the Ten network, buying into Fairfax, denouncing climate science or shipping Australia off to any interested buyer ...

The Bolter himself was always ready to stand tall when miners got a knock, like the pitiful one that Jessica Irvine attempted for the Fairfaxians in They're our resources, and it's time miners paid more to dig them up. Shame on you Jessica!

Labor sure is laying into "greedy" miners, and many journalists couldn't agree more. 
Here's Sydney Morning Herald writer Jessica Irvine: "Those minerals they're mining - all that gold, iron ore, coal and uranium - it's yours. You own it." 
Then here's a shovel, Jessica. Go dig. 
But wait. Don't know where it is? Can't move your mountain from a desert to a port, and to a foreign mill? That makes your rocks worthless, right? 
Meanwhile, Andrew Forrest finds the ore and develops the mines. 
He builds a railway, port, power stations, roads and housing. He lines up lenders and buyers, and bets $8.4 billion that he can expand without losing the lot. 
Concedes Jessica: "It helps to have private companies to dig this stuff up for us." 
"Helps?" So which bit did you do?

Let that be a lesson Jessica. Get a little dirt on your hands girl, (you gotta) get a little dirt on your hands, if you're going to grow up to be a big big Bolter ...

 Oh those brave, bold miners. Twiggy, Gina, patron of many, no need to mention names, too sordid, and yes, Clive, the Titanic man too ...

Remind us Barners:

...there is no doubt that Palmer's public rhetoric has been more strident than that of mining figures such as BHP Billiton's Marius Kloppers and Fortescue's Andrew Forrest.
But the big talk has a purpose, according to Senator Barnaby Joyce. ''Clive enjoys political pugilism,'' Joyce says. ''Sometimes people can say things just to see if they get a bite.'' Joyce says the magnate reminds him of his uncle who ''used to change the rear-vision mirror to see what happened to your face when he would make a comment to get a reaction … to get a sense of joy out of unsettling people". 

But his heart was in the right place:

... Joyce says Palmer's approach was simply to put his views and ended with: ''You must always remember to do what you think is right'' - strong advice from the man who was his party's biggest donor. (here)

Strong, useful advice! And bulk money too!

But times change and now the Bolter is unsettled by the 'so-called' poseur:

So-called mining "billionaire" Clive Palmer is not just an embarrassment to our democracy but a danger. 
Voters who last month gave Palmer's new party potentially three senators - and a critical share of the balance of power - no doubt thought he was another tell-it-like-it-is maverick. 
In fact he's a man who too often tells it like it isn't and uses his money to take on critics with court action.

But, but, he was only taking on Bruce-loving Swannie and his socialist pinko pervert mining tax and climate scientists with their shameless theological ways and ...

Oh how times change. The Bolter has turned quite Swannie:

Palmer insists he just got into politics to help Australia and is being persecuted by papers like this, owned by Rupert Murdoch, whose estranged wife Palmer claims is a "Chinese spy". 

But in my view he's sinister, irrational and a self-serving bully who refuses to answer basic questions about the health of his businesses and his wealth, which in June he boasted was $6 billion. 

What next? A lengthy article for The Monthly denouncing the filthy rich and their irrational, sinister, self-serving bullying ways?

Could the Bolter take over the title of scapegoater of the rich, and fiercest warrior in the class warfare league dedicated to undermining heroic miners? Will quotes from Bruce Springsteen begin to seep into his writing?

When I die I don't want no part of heaven 
I would not do heaven's work well 
I pray the devil comes and takes me 
To stand in the fiery furnaces of hell

How about a double act, the Bolter and Swannie, doing John Barry's music from the Bond movies, with Clive as the capitalist villain intent on ruining the world?

Never mind, the Bolter has discovered the shame of it all, and the shame belongs - of course, inevitably, it should almost go without saying - to the ABC:

It should shame us that such a conspiracist convinced so many Australians to give him their vote. 
It should particularly embarrass the ABC, which gave Palmer so many softball interviews (as a critic of Tony Abbott) that he regularly praises ABC host Tony Jones as "the best journalist in Australia". 
You see, when Palmer says he "shouldn't be in Parliament" not one of us should laugh.

It should also shame us, or at least be a rich source of hollow laughter, or deep concern, that the Bolter seems to have entirely lost his memory.

It seems he's forgotten how Clive was a powerhouse in the LNP in Queensland, and a powerhouse in the rhetoric of class warfare, and how the conservative commentariat celebrated with many songs about how Clive and mining were good, and climate science was bad.

No, not just good, bloody great for the country - mining - and bloody awful for the country - theological climate scientists - and hip hip hooray, the wicked greenies and Jessica just had to suck it up. Get a little dirt on your hands girl, get a little dirt on your hands, you gotta get a little dirt if you want to be a big big Bolter ...

What joy that Clive was a powerhouse for climate science denialism.

All this, and his ways of working were well known long before he went rogue, and stepped outside the LNP tent, and then suddenly also stepped outside the News Corp's commentariat caravan ...

Back in the day they all had a kind word for the "spitefully demonised" Palmer, like Akker Dakker writing in June 2010 here:

Only now has the Australian business sector, which snuggled up to Rudd Labor and has cosily embraced the state Labor governments, finally woken up to the real cost of its short-sighted foolishness. Its not the mining sector which has driven the inflationary wage spiral, its not even the well-fed but productive mining czar Clive Palmer, who has been so spitefully demonised by the Rudd Cabinet. (here)

And now the spiteful Andrew Bolt spitefully demonises the well-fed but productive mining czar ...

Well the Bolter tells us not to laugh, but really, the pond reserves the right to cackle, chuckle, laugh and launch into hysteria when the moment's right ...

To blame Palmer on the ABC is truly rich, an incredibly inventive re-writing of history, as if the commentariat celebration of Palmer and the LNP and Campbell Newman and the destruction of the mining tax and climate denialism and the three mining amigos could and should be stricken from the record ...

And while we're laughing, the pond came across this prediction by Samuel J on the Catallaxy Files back in March 23 2011:

Sorry, Campbell, you may have been a promising potential state politician but you’ve blown it. 
Labor will be re-elected. You will not win your seat. And you will no longer be Lord Mayor. A trifecta of sorts. 

Yes, yes, please let the pond have a go. That sounds like fun. How about the Bolter will embrace climate science, write thoughtful pieces denouncing Tony Abbott's climate science policies, and remind the world that he and Clive Palmer once were denialists together, until the Bolter came to his senses and repented ...

By golly, that'll teach Samuel J how to do predictions, and if you believe that, we've got a super memory pill to sell you. Works like a charm, though there are indications one of the side effects is that it can be selective ...

Can it get any sillier, any funnier? Of course it can, especially if you read ALP should have wooed Clive Palmer says Peter Beattie.

Yep, the ALP should woo Clive to score his preferences. Class warfare turns epic Beattie class suck.

Forget it Jake, it's Queensland town ...

(Below: a few cartoons from the glory days when Tony Abbott and Clive were one, and the class war on billionaires deplored by all, and including a riff from the immortal David Pope on Don Quixote, for the Canberra Times 12 March 2012, which you can find here).

Ah Queensland ...

Ah Queensland. Perfect one day, superpluperfect the next.

Where else could you find the right to run a bikini clad delight on the front page, and call it an "exclusive" under the specious excuse that tourism to the deep north is on the rise.

Could it get any better?

Hang on, what's this? In just a short day, peace broken by vicious acrimony?

What a relief ... the Snail empowering Toads to be judges ...

Now with endless stories in New South Wales of endless corruption - don't you even mention Bob Carr without flecking foam on your lips - how sweet it is to take a gander at the deep north.

In recent days, Campbell Newman - whose popularity had been flagging - seized on the moment and some ill-judged bikie mayhem to whip out a law 'n order routine as the way forward to the next election.

Joh Bjelke-Petersen would have been in awe at the manoeuvre. And it's not just bikies. If you happen to disagree with Newman, chances are high that you're a paedophile - yep, the spirit of Stephen Conroy's fabulous internet filter lives on in Queensland.

Remember Conroy's fabulous conflation of critics of his internet filter with paedophile lovers, supporters and facilitators. If people equate freedom of speech with watching child pornography, he thundered in his smearing way, then the Rudd-Labor Government is going to disagree (here).

Go on Mr. Newman, try it on for size, you'll find it a tidy fit:

(Newman) .... has labelled critics of the laws as "apologists for paedophiles".
"What the community is saying is you need to listen," he (Newman) said. "You need to come out of your ivory towers. You need to mix with the ordinary men and women across Queensland who've said 'we've had enough of people who are a threat to the community being released'." (here)

Could it be done with any more skill? Ivory towers = paeophile apologists? Game, set and paedophile bikie-loving match:

Mr Newman also said he was concerned by recent court decisions granting bail to alleged outlaw bikies. 
"Queenslanders are sick of these people who get appointed into these jobs who then are totally unaccountable," he said. "Judges and magistrates don't actually have to go for re-election - they're there appointed, they have tenure, they're there until a retiring age and I can't influence them and I don't try to influence them. 
 "The only people saying they're against these laws are people who are apologists for sex offenders and paedophiles."

There's more than a whiff of irony in this in NSW, when we see the work of people elected to power, and then the feeble attempts of the justice system to bring said rorters to justice for their systemic and systematic abuse of their positions of power. Accountable? Now there's an unaccountable laugh ...

But it did make the pond wonder whether Newman had now achieved a new record in low level abuse by saying that anyone against him and his laws were apologists for sex offenders and paeophiles.

It would seem that by his account, constitutional law expert Professor Gerard Carney is one such apologist:

As someone who has invested a career in constitutional law, he (Carney) says he has never heard of a government in Australian modern history accusing members of the judiciary of living in "ivory towers" and being unaccountable to the community. 
"I think this is unprecedented in Australia in modern times and it's incomprehensible," he said. 
"One of the paramount principles that we have enjoyed is the benefit of is public confidence in the integrity of our judges and our courts. 
"That is in fact now a constitutional requirement that nothing be done in a way to impair public confidence in that institutional integrity. 
"To have the Premier come out in those terms is appalling, it damages our constitutional system and the attorney traditionally has had the role to protect the courts from that sort of scandalous comment."

Of course if you're a mexican from the south, you tend to shrug your shoulders and just say "Queensland is a foreign country, they do things differently there", with a tip of the hat to L. P. Hartley for mangling his opening to his novel The Go-Between.

The current frenzy was given a kick along by Tony Fitzgerald turning up to deliver a verdict on the "tough Newman Government law and order crackdown".

Amazingly, after Greg Hunt's experience with wikipedia, Fitzgerald dared to quote wikpedia on the matter of demagogues:

"Demagogues usually oppose deliberation and advocate immediate, violent action to address a national crisis; they accuse moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness. 
"Demagogues have appeared in democracies since ancient Athens. They exploit a fundamental weakness in majoritarian democracy: because power is held by the most numerous group of people, one who appeals to the lowest common denominator attitudes of a large enough segment of the population can obtain power from them." 
History teaches us that claims that repressive laws will reduce serious crime are usually hollow and that laws which erode individual freedom and expand a state's power over its citizens are fraught with peril.

Fitzgerald seemed to be implying that Newman was a jumped up, petty, slandering demagogue:

 It is extremely arrogant and socially destructive for politicians to slander citizens who disagree with their "political solution" or to denigrate the judicial branch of government and its generally conservative judges who must make sometimes unpopular decisions in accordance with the law and available evidence and their oath of office. 
 And it is incomprehensible that any rational Queenslander who is even remotely aware of the state's recent history could for a moment consider reintroducing political interference into the administration of criminal justice, even to the point of making decisions about incarceration.

Hah, another apologist for sex offenders and paedophiles and drug-crazed bikies ...

(No it's not a breach of Godwin's laws, those are bananas on his arm patch).

And then another of these wretches came out of the woodwork, as you can read in Justice George Fryberg accuses Premier Campbell Newman of bullying judiciary over bikie bail laws (forced video, may be paywall affected).

More fuss and bother, more apologists!

Happily we've learned today that Dr. Ken Levy, head of the CMC, is no bloody apologist for the criminal motorcycle gangs which are taking over the state and making life very hard for bikini-clad beauties, as you can read in Strong anti-gang laws vital to shield the innocent in bikie battle says CMC boss, if you evade the paywall.

And dammit he doesn't have time to read wikpedia entries because they only lead to trouble. No, it's time to stand behind the fearless leader and bleat in support.

So his piece is a stout-hearted apology for Campbell Newman.

Levy certainly doesn't live in an ivory tower, and he's certain other states will be looking to follow Queensland, and the very finest law and order methodologies of the great state of Arizona. Dress them in pink and all will be well ...

And never mind all this idle blather about the separation of powers, the scales of the criminal justice system are not in balance, and what we need is populist polling to rectify the situation:

Approximately 50 per cent of those who responded agree with the Government's stance and a further 25 per cent said that the laws are not tough enough. There is clearly a perception that the criminal justice system has not been effective in the eyes of the majority of people in Queensland.

Because getting the citizenry into a lather and then taking a poll is the right and seemly way forward when it comes to constitutional matters.

Now the pond has valiantly resisted any thought of mentioning that this was the very trick deployed by Adolf Hitler in the early days of his rise to power.

The law and order issues arising from the Reichstag fire (there's now little doubt it was set by the NSDAP) allowed Hitler to take out communists, social democrats and other criminal elements, some of whom were no doubt apologists for paedophiles and bikies...

But back to Levy, who bizarrely tells a story of how in 1994 a Californian woman shot a man in the dock, an alleged paedophile who had allegedly molested her son. She had been "driven to murder this person because she saw the justice system as inadequate".

The wise Levy sees a situation arising where crazed Queenslanders, totally dissatisfied with everything in the Queensland justice system, turn up in Queensland courts and starts popping offenders.

The consequences which followed are instructive. After this woman was sent to jail, the community responded with bumper bar stickers saying 'nice shootin Ellie'. There were also comments in the local press saying that more people should take the law into their own hands because the justice system did not protect them. 

Levy's clearly on to something here.

Queenslanders are, in generality, barking mad, completely crazy, and out of their tree, and damned if they won't pick up the nearest shooting iron, and let the lead fly.

Why they might even start taking the law into their own hands and taking out judges, and surely all that sort of stuff should be left to Campbell Newman and his AG:

A potential problem when these debates become heated is that unless the outcome is seen as being effective, the ultimate risk is that there could be greater social unrest; resulting in people taking the law into their own hands. 
Even more disturbing would be that it could lead to a call for challenging the judicial system and perhaps even the tenure of judges. It would be regrettable if this led to the loss of confidence by the community in our system of justice which has served in Australian jurisdictions exceptionally well since Federation. 

Yes, the very confidence in the legal system we thought we had will be undermined by politicians expressing a lack of confidence in the legal system and this might well lead to people expressing a loss of confidence in the legal system by the community ... and so politicians are right to express concern about a lack of confidence in the legal system ... rr some such thing ...

We already surrender our rights to the Crown to prosecute on our behalf. What some advocates now claim, in effect, is that we should also surrender our rights to have a say about the effectiveness of the criminal justice system. 

No, no, surely not, not when the polls are so clear, and those damned ivory tower elitists won't listen to the will of the people, embodied in the fearless shape of dear leader Campbell Newman. Why it's intolerable, it's patently absurd, it will not be tolerated! Tell us Dr Levy:

Clearly, the community is saying that this is absurd and will not be tolerated, at least as far as the new laws are concerned in relation to CMCGs. 

That last little flurry of jargon refers to criminal motor cycle gangs, itself a nice Orwellian flourish, since it proposes that anyone on motor bikes in a group are a gang, and likely enough, they'll be criminal.

Now the pond has always had a simple solution to motorbike crime - confiscate any bike with a noise rating above 60db and a big muffler.

Yep, we can out Newman being Newman.

But there is an upside. Islamics and people of middle eastern appearance and blacks and the unemployed and single women must be heaving a sigh of relief, unless they happen to have motorbikes. Temporary relief from being responsible for ruining everything ...

There's a new set of demons in town, and they're taking the heat off the old whipping boys, and in the run up to the next election, they might just deliver Campbell Newman a second term.

And if the price for that is a comprehensively fucked justice system, where's the harm in that? Given that Queensland has always been a state where the corrupt and the crony have flourished.

When not writing in support of Newman and his 'law 'n order campaign, the editorials at The Courier-Mail have, of recent days, been worried about Queensland tourism, and the prospect of luring young men to perve on beauties clad in bikinis ...

"Beautiful one day, perfect the next" is a great line, but still not good enough. (editorial here, locked behind the paywall because who cares what the editor of the CM thinks?)

Indeed. How about "fucked one day, and even more fucked by Campbell Newman the next"?

Just a thought. We mexicans are always willing to help, and it does take our minds off Bob Carr, Eddie Obeid, and it turns out today, relatively new Resources Minister Chris Hartcher, who has introduced legislation to kill of a court case, as you can read in Minister's 'outrageous' move over gold mine.

The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

(Below: and if you want more visual Queensland content, you can always head off to this Facebook page or Leahy's cartoons)

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Taking a short walk on the stodge side ...

(Above: oh dear).

And now just a short note of bewilderment and despair.

Why is Fairfax reprinting James Delingpole scribbling about Lou Reed?

Apart from anything else, the piece is available to anyone who cares to read the UK Daily Terror, here, and with a less puncturing header to boot.

The Fairfaxians seem to think they can lather up a little controversy of the "puncturing" kind, but it turns out that Delingpole's piece is relatively soft core, and meaningless snide gibberish at that, which concludes with the enormously banal observation that it's all show business.

There have always been these two strands to popular music: the easy and the difficult; the raw and the smooth; the real and the fake. But, really, they are just two sides of the same coin. Whether you’re the Byrds or the Beatles, the Velvets or the Sex Pistols, it’s all just showbusiness in the end.

Politics? That's just show business.

The climate? That's just show business.

An argument with the spouse? Sheesh, that's just show business.

Life? Don't you know? Haven't you guessed? Just show business, make sure you go out with a bang.

And so on. Fling in a quote from Elton John about shallowness and you're done and dusted, and as a bonus, you've stayed resolutely at the shallow end of the pool.

Yet it turns out that Delingpole was scarred by his encounter with Reed:

Lou Reed, who is reported by Rolling Stone to have died aged 71, was the most terrifying rock star I have ever interviewed. Partly it was his look that was so unsettling: all those amphetamines in his rock n roll years had taken their toll. His sunken cheeks, intense staring eyes and perpetually macerating jaw gave him the look of a malevolent praying mantis in a poodle fright wig. Partly it was because he took especial delight in giving the journalists who came to see him as hard a time as possible – especially if, as I was, they were young, nervous and clearly out of their depth. (The scary genius that was Lou Reed)

Scary genius? Terrifying? Sorry, that's just showbusiness in the end ... you know, like climate science ...

It turns out that Delingpole asked an asinine question in the interview, just as he writes asinine nonsense these days, and Reed gave him a good smack down by demanding to know Delingpole's source:

He did warm up a bit later, actually to the point of asking me what I thought his best song was. I named his bleakest and most depressing. The one from Street Hassle about trying to get rid of the body of someone who's just O-Ded in your flat. "Hey that ****'s not breathing….." it begins. This seemed to cheer him up immensely. I liked him very much.

Hey that cunt's not breathing is the actual lyric, but hey you can have too much realistic showbusiness. Remember, asterisks are also showbusiness ..

Never mind, it turns out that Delingpole liked Reed so much that when he came to write the farewell reprinted by the Fairfaxians, he found the time and the energy to breezily dismiss Reed as just another showbiz hack ...

The point, if there's any to be discovered in this bleak show biz world, is that the Fairfaxians could have acquired any number of farewells to Reed, yet they selected Delingpole as their stocking filler, a glib bit of nonsense that settles on the stomach like rancid porridge and almost makes you forget everything that's interesting about Reed.

And they make this part of their bamboo wall, while Delingpole is freely available peddling his superficial views of rock music and his climate denialism elsewhere?

Take a walk on the stodge side, Fairfaxians ...

A shout out to all the pond's TG friends, but as everyone on the planet is publishing links to Reed's Walk on the Wild Side on YouTube, here (ad attached) and elsewhere, how about the pond links to The Kinks doing Lola?

It's all showbusiness, but some songs are better than others, and some climate denialists worse than others...


Every day is a day right for cant, hysteria, FUD, and backward-looking originalism ...

(Above: Janet Albrechtsen, off to the trough with Chris Kenny and Tom Switzer).

Could we just contemplate a few general principles:

1. If a journalist has a hot story, one of the key concerns is the source, and therefore the veracity, of the story. Is it solid, is it safe? The riskier the story, legally or financially, the stronger the concern. Senior executives must take a view.
2. If someone asks for some cash in the paw to get some information, it's the business of the person who has the keys to the cash box - and the person who supervises the person with the keys - to know where the cash is going, and why.
3. If you're in charge, it's a truly feeble excuse to say you didn't know what was happening. That's pleading ignorance and incompetence in preference to knowledge and competence. If say, you're an editor, or a proprietor in charge of herding cats, sometimes known as journalists, it's your business to know what they're up to, and whether it's legal. Anything else is dissembling and clutching at straws as a way of avoiding guilt ... and usually plausible deniability turns out to be really implausible ...

Now apply these principles how you will, to a workplace near you, or to workplaces in the news - whether the White House or a newspaper office or a corporation dedicated to the news -  and let's get on with the day's commentariat craziness.

And since the theme is responsibility, recent events reminded the pond of the Ruddster's great gathering in 2008 - so long ago - which was meant to usher in a new world by 2020.

The Ruddster, rightly, copped a lot of stick for bringing together a quintessential group of ponces eager to have a junket.

But what do we make of a much more intimate gathering of vultures, ready to celebrate and feed off the carcasses of the dead? No doubt also at taxpayers' expense, and sworn to silence, and confidentiality, like a gaggle of furtive schemers, a band of sinister brothers, with the odd sister thrown in for window dressing ...

Would it seem like the ultimate chutzpah? In your face, mo'fuckers? We won and we're going to party down?

A few had the good grace - amazing to think of the Bolter possessed of any grace at all - not to attend such a naked, blatant bit of cosy group think but more than a few had no sense of shame or propriety.

Amongst them, according to Tony Abbott's private function an affair for the conservative media faithful, were Paul Kelly and Janet Albrechtsen.

Which brings us back to that question of group think, because you couldn't find a finer example of group think than what the reptiles of the lizard Oz feature at the head of their opinion pages today. And because opinion is scarce on the ground these days they got a double mention, in the opinion listings and in the digital fickle finger of whirling fate at the top of the page:

Now anybody with any experience at all at reading News and its corp of group think corpses will not need to read any further.

The pair could have opened, for example, with a call for Tony Abbott and his conservative cronies to forget their dehumanising agenda, bite the bullet, help out Abbott's sister and a bunch of gays who, however misguided and however fundamentally flawed marriage might be as an institution, want for all sorts of reasons to get hitched - don't get the pond talk about its own marriages, we like the institution so well we keep on trying it.

Short circuit the ACT fuss, announce a change of heart, be as generous and as bold in leadership as David Cameron or the perfidious French. Bizarre isn't it ... who'd have thunk the pond would type such words...

No, instead, and as usual, the pair lead off with hesitations, saucy fears and doubts, designed to spread and maintain a handy blanket covering of FUD.

Kelly, in Same Sex lobby in slippery territory, starts off by calling same-sex marriage an 'often hysterical dispute', and pursues the same line about 'noise' and 'intimidation':

The explanation, contrary to much same-sex propaganda, is that support for its cause is far more equivocal than it admits and, for many people, there is resistance to the nature of the noisy and often intimidatory same-sex campaign. Telling people who are not persuaded to your position that they are prejudiced or bigots does not, ultimately, assist your cause.

Given that Kelly shows all the signs of being a prejudiced bigot, this helps explain why he might have found the 'campaign' to be 'noisy' and 'intimidatory'.

As opposed to the relentlessly noisy and intimidatory work of the reptiles at the lizard Oz.

How desperate does it get? Well Kelly invokes Frank Brennan - yep, the Catholic church in all its forms are such enthusiastic champions of gay marriage - and even, oh maintain the rage, Gough Whitlam:

The situation is clear: the ACT government is responsible for each and every consequence if this law fails. It is inconceivable that Whitlam, a Labor icon and human rights champion, would have tolerated this ACT indulgence designed to undermine national marriage laws that, if upheld, would permit states to freelance on marriage (think a populist Queensland premier merrily legislating against a federal same-sex marriage law).

Yep, the spectre of Campbell Newman, and what a shocking spectre it is. Oh wait, conservatives just love his bold brave attempt to imitate the very worst of the Arizona penal system ...

Kelly is big on blame.

The same-sex cause may triumph in the High Court. Its champions insist the ACT laws will be upheld. If so, it will be a threshold event. There remains, however, a serious risk the ACT has misjudged, that its tactics are faulty, that it will provoke grief and anger when expectations are dashed and that its intention of intimidating Tony Abbott will backfire.

Not a word about the intimidatory Tony Abbott provoking grief and anger by routinely dashing expectations.

Instead dire talk of what would happen if the Labor party took a stand ...

... it would kill in the tracks any prospect the Coalition would embrace a conscience vote. 
 Abbott would have an irrefutable argument to meet force with force, thereby locking his Coalition partyroom into support for traditional marriage. The same-sex lobby and its ALP advocates risk multiple tactical blunders in their current mindset - depending on the High Court.

But Abbott has already met force with force, and has maintained an impenetrable argument in favour of force and coercion, and never a conscience vote will cross his lips.

And earlier in the piece, Kelly triumphantly announced that the numbers were against the federal parliament doing anything, and on the remote chance that Abbott changed his mind, even if he did, the numbers - thanks to the reality that the Labor party is almost as full of social conservatives as the coalition - wouldn't be there.

So what he's saying is 'go home folks, forget about it'. Which is why people impotently shout at him and others who really, for all their mealy mouthed words, couldn't give a flying fuck ...

I'm alright Jack, so fuck you Jack ...

And then bugger the pond dead, the masochists and the gluttons can line up for exactly the same group think herd mentality serve from Janet 'Dame Slap' Albrechtsen in Indiana Jones and the case of gay marriage

Sure, the adjectives are different - now we have talk of anti-democratic cant - but the FUD mindset is exactly the same, even if the way of producing the FUD is slightly different:

Regardless of one's views about same-sex marriage, there are serious questions about how we will get there, if we get there. 

Speaking of mindless cant, this is a doozy. Neither the pompous puffed prose of Kelly nor Dame Slap's rhetoric shows the slightest sign of wanting to get there.

Are we there yet? Shut up kid.

Now on with the abuse:

 A deeply anti-democratic strain permeates much of the debate. Start with some of the cant used by activists pursuing the gay marriage cause. They will, on the one hand, assure us that most Australians support gay marriage, yet in the next breath express ardent opposition to a referendum to change the meaning of marriage in the Constitution to reflect that apparent groundswell of support. Plain English translation: "Don't ask the people. We, the political elites, will tell you what the masses think."

So there's a variation.

Kelly thought it was all the business of the federal parliament. Dame Slap ups him by suggesting a referendum, because she'd really like a full scale demonising of gays and the politicising of the debate. Oh what fun, how many newspapers could be sold on the back of putting down the odious gays in a massive nation-wide display of Putinism (by golly he's such a manly type, such a hunk, does still water run deep? Is marriage a handy cover?)

Ah but Dame Slap has an answer for this nasty thinking:

Gay marriage activists justify their anti-democratic posturing by arguing that a referendum will only whip up division and lead to scaremongering. Plain English translation: "We, the political elites, don't trust the masses. They are too stupid to be trusted in a robust debate to come to the right conclusion."

And there you have it. An elitist paid a handsome amount of money to scribble bile for the rag pretending not to be an elitist, and taking the side of honest yeomen by offering plain English translations.

Along with a posturing that yearns for the sort of feral ratbag tabloid hysteria, the wretched photoshop front pages, the wicked distortions, the bald-faced lies, the lizards all of one group think mind, the bizarre Bolter, Miranda the Devine, all joining in a "robust debate". Why it could make a lynching party look like a court of law.

It turns out that Kelly is a wuss when it comes to Dame Slap's idea of a "robust debate". Yep, that old bee in the Dame Slap noggin is buzzing yet again about unelected "activist judges", as befits an unelected member of the News commentariat:

Sooner, but more likely later, the High Court of Australia will settle the question of whether a referendum is required to change the definition of marriage in section 51(xxi) of the Constitution. If the court decides that a handful of unelected judges can redefine the meaning of marriage, it will reveal precisely the same contempt for Australian voters as the activists.

In the process, it seems fair to say that Albrechtsen reveals the same contempt for Australian gays as Paul Kelly and the rest of the commentariat.

And for any experienced Dame Slap readers, what then follows is an entirely predictable bout of bee-buzzing High Court bashing:

We know from past cases that if the clever judges on the High Court want to get to a position, they will get there. Like judicial versions of Indiana Jones, exploring judges have discovered implied rights in the Constitution despite the clear absence of express rights. Redefining the meaning of marriage to include gay marriage is a seductive prospect for judges who prefer to play the more exciting role of social engineer. Camouflaged in judicial robes, these judges are social reformers, leading the charge from the bench for a more enlightened world, limited not by law but only by the brilliance of their own socially progressive imaginations.

You see in Dame Slap's ideal world, there wouldn't be any activist judges, just judges like Ian Callinan, who when not writing sex-laden airport blockbusters, wrote opinions which contrived ways to allow federal parliament to legislate any which way it wanted, while opponents could hit the highway ...

Each example mentioned by Dame Slap - Roe v Wade and abortion (the court 'concocted a right') or Work Choices (what a jolly good idea that was) sees Dame Slap go all originalist, in a way worthy of Scalia:

Citing a judge who respects the original meaning of the Constitution will send sections of the Left into a flurry of indignation about the need for a "living" Constitution that changes with the times. 
At the risk of annoying gay activists and activist judges even further, this assertion is best answered by delving into one of Callinan's footnotes. The judge quotes a rhetorical question asked by the US Supreme Court's Antonin Scalia during a 2005 visit to Melbourne: "Would anyone vote for a constitution which said: 'Those general norms set forth in this document ... do not refer to the people's current understanding of what is embraced by those terms, but rather shall bear the meaning assigned, from time to time, by unelected and life-tenured committees of lawyers'?" 
It's a question that gay activists and activist judges will not answer.

And so Dame Slap throws in her lot with the originalists, the Tea Party, and all that's regressive and backward looking.

So let's hear of her support for banning abortion, and for the restoration of slavery - allowed by the original US constitution - and the stripping of the right to vote won by activists - only in 1920 in the US by way of an amendment to a living, breathing constitution that changed with the times - and so on and so forth, including all the other changes made to the way the world operates in the United States since the eighteenth century, and in Australia since 1901.

Let's see her share Justice Clarence Thomas's understanding that "we the people" in the Constitution at one time didn't include him, and so he had to clutch at the Declaration of Independence (here).

Of course it's not a question that conservative activists, and activists dressed up as originalists ever care to answer, because it's such a stupid question, and it reveals them to be profoundly reactionary stupid people ...

But the pond at least acknowledges that there's a wide diversity of views at the lizard Oz.

Take it to the High Court says Kelly, because everything else is fucked, and if you take it there, be assured the High Court is fucked says, Dame Slap, and the one thing guaranteed by reading them is that nothing will happen in relation to gay marriage, and everything is fucked ...

And the editorialist at the lizard Oz wants people to pay for this sort of nattering, hand-wringing, negative Tea Party content ...

Now there's a reliable joke ...

Let the backward looking, cant-laden, hysteria inducing  FUDsters do their work without payment from the pond ...


The Bolter quoting Paul Kelly - as a way of proving you didn't need to attend the dinner to share the love - under the header Yelling abuse at gay marriage advocates is half the fun of the same-sex debate, and concluding:

But that's the whole point. Abusing others as a loud-mouthed, noisy, elitist, deeply anti-democratic minority, full of cant, is half the fun.

Oh okay, we changed a few words. Guess which ones ...

(Below: and so to a few Scalia jokes - Tom the Dancing Bug just loves some originalist fun which we've uploaded at snail mail pace- hey big Mal thanks for that copper and the modem. The pond is a www 1990s originalist!)

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The empire doesn't strike back, so much as lash out in a feral foaming frenzy ...

(Above: by Tony Sowersby, who enlivens the Mornington Peninsula arts and culture scene here. You can find his home page here).

The vile, loathsome, blatant, nakedly self-seeking and self-serving reptiles at the lizard Oz now seek to cash in their election cheque:

As a matter of priority, the Abbott government must review the ABC's reach, role, funding and internal leadership.

Time to open up the ABC insiders to outside review is both blackmail and a shakedown, though it claims to be a fair-minded review.

It opens with some astonishing tripe, as once again the reptiles show that in the current digital landscape they are truly lost:

Under managing director Mark Scott the ABC has expanded and become less accountable. 
It has used extra government funding and favourable allocation of a lucrative government contract to work its way into every corner of the media market, forcing all private media, even struggling digital start-ups, to face a public competitor providing free content. 
Commercial news services can even purchase news content from the public broadcaster. As the number of journalists in the private sector shrinks, the ABC expands. 
Divisions between print, television, radio and online are becoming blurred. The ABC was established to provide a national radio and (later) television service. Now it pushes taxpayer-funded content online at no direct cost to consumers, just as the private sector -- including, of course, The Australian -- strives to convince customers that content is worthy of purchase.

Yes, there's the naked rub, as if The Australian's attempts to convince consumers that blatant ideological ratbaggery and right wing thuggery, dressed up as "content", should be considered worthy of purchase.

Alienate your audience and then bleat if they go elsewhere.

The nakedness of the self-serving moaning is quite remarkable, and remarkably silly:

Mr Scott brazenly championed his empire and the Labor government was sympathetic. Twice the ABC contested a tender for DFAT's overseas television service, worth more than $200 million over 10 years, and twice the ABC lost to Sky News (which has small corporate links to The Australian). 
Yet in a startling decision never convincingly explained, the ABC was given the contract regardless. Still, the Australia Network coverage of the recent bushfires was bettered by global players such as CNN and BBC World. 

The Australia Network's remit isn't to act like CNN and BBC World, but it's all the funnier when you remember the fun that News Corp had with poor old NBC's coverage of the fires.

Oh how they laughed. But back to the self-pity and the moaning:

If we consider whether the ABC is reaching too far, we should also ask whether it is spreading too thin. Instead of asserting his editorial leadership, Mr Scott has been the cheerleader for his staff, extolling their virtues on Twitter. As editor-in-chief, his role is to impose standards rather than merely defend a largely autonomous editorial cohort. 

Reaching too far, spreading itself too thin?

You mean The Australian is pushing shit up hill trying to attract a readership?

Crikey, which relies on subscription, and has its own difficulties competing with the ABC, nonetheless called out the attack by the Australian - and a full frontal assault it is and will continue to be - as the desperation of a rentseeker eager for a government handout.

As Crikey noted back in August, News Corporation's enthusiastic support for Tony Abbott's election comes with a quid pro quo: the company's long list of media "reforms" that will serve its interests. And one of the key reforms is reducing the capacity of the ABC to compete with News Corp outlets. 
News executives have long argued that public broadcasting is a direct threat to them -- as James Murdoch, before he become perhaps phone-hacking's most high-profile victim, complained about the BBC in Britain. And it is: the ABC will always provide Australians with a free, high-quality news service while companies like News Corp and Fairfax shift their operations behind a paywall. Moreover, the ABC consistently scores far higher as a trusted news source for Australians than anyone else in the media, and especially News Corp's outlets, which are rated amongst the least-trusted. This is as it should be: the ABC is funded by taxpayers, who are entitled to expect they will get a better product than that produced by the commercial sector. And it is by no means the case that the ABC's news coverage is perfect -- but it has a transparent, independent statutory complaints process for its TV and radio services, something no newspaper or online media outlet can claim. 
The true motivation for The Australian's assault on the ABC -- made on the day that one of the most significant phone-hacking trials, that of one-time Rupert Murdoch favourite Rebekah Brooks, begins in London -- is an attempt to undermine a rival outlet, one that Australians trust and rely on far more than they ever will for News Corp's products. News Corp newspapers are dying -- some, like its tabloids, dying slowly; others, like The Australian, which loses tens of millions of dollars a year, dying more quickly. And they're desperate for anything that will make life easier for them. 
That's the context in which the decisions of the Abbott government in relation to the national broadcasters must be considered. Any reductions in funding will confirm that the government indeed feels bound to return News Corp's many favours by undermining its competition. And that debt will be one that all Australians end up paying. (You can give Crikey a hit here)

What an admirable and accurate editorial.

The pond has had its quibbles and disagreements with Crikey in the past, especially when they too moaned about the ABC, but if you're going to support a service by subscription, why on earth would you fork over cash to the Oz when you could give a 'smell of an oily rag' service a boost ...

They even published a letter written by the ABC's Michael Millett as a response to the Oz editorial:

"The Australian's latest editorial on the ABC (October 29) exhorts the national broadcaster to display Australian nationalism, open-mindedness, curiosity, plurality and fair-minded debate. What the editorial doesn't mention is that in the past week the ABC has: broadcast the lost masterpiece documentary on the Opera House, started a landmark series on Australian art with Ed Capon, educated a nation on brain nureoplasty (sic) with Todd Sampson, launched a new triple J radio service to promote Australian music and better serve audiences, broken audience records for iview through Chris Lilley, provided a forum for a debate on gender in the media at the Olle lecture, raised half a million dollars for Syria, delivered outstanding bushfire coverage for days on end and broke major stories including the shutdown of Operation Puma in Melbourne and another instance of scientific fraud, this time regarding research into heart disease. 
 "It also fails to mention that Federal Parliament this year unanimously voted in favour of updating the ABC Charter to recognise the importance and popularity of its on-line services. Ultimately, the audience decides if the ABC is doing its job properly, not the editorial writers at The Australian."

Such arguments will bounce off the very thick and desperate hides of the reptiles.

They will drone on and on, in a monotonous way certain to deter all those who resent self-serving rent-seeking ratbaggery.

Do the Murdoch true believers ever stop and listen to the sound of their carefully selected and sorted sheep chanting the same song day in, day out? It's only the football that saves their tabloids and delivers them any readership at all ...

And then wonder why rags like The Australian lose millions a year, always veering towards the right and zealotry, never attempting to appeal to the centre.

All that's left to them is to stomp their feet and demand Abbott help them out.

Produce that cheque - no, no, let's not have a modern electronic transfer of funds, let's stay with the ABC running a radio service back in the 1930s - and demand that Abbott sign it ...

Well if push comes to shove, and Abbott decides to cut back the ABC, hell will freeze over before the pond purchases any product tainted by the rent-seekers.

Especially as they don't seem to have caught up with the news that there are many, many things to read on the intertubes ....

(Below: get your useless statistical guess as to the size of the www here. So many ways to waste time and yet not waste a moment on the loons)

The pond goes back to the future ...

(Above: ah the good old days, when girls needed a typewriter so they could bang out a letter to their favourite movie star).

The pond, for its sins - some might say crimes - has been reduced to dial-up speed for the moment, and so we're forcibly reminded how silly all this talk of speed and connectivity is, when really a good 1990s modem was all the intertubes ever wanted, or needed ...

Lordy, lordy, did 300,000 mb disappear into the ether, like a gossamer web in the breeze?

It seems so, and so the pond is reduced to munching on cracker biscuits, slurping a thin gruel, and contemplating a rather large navel ...

The downside is that postings and responses to comments will be limited; the upside is that the pond doesn't have to think of all the loons out there beavering away to produce fresh loonacy.

By a curious coincidence, the pond happened to be reading 'Notorious' pirated DVD market pinpointed in Australia by US authority.

It was like taking a time warp trip back into the past, with much blather about discs:

Melbourne's Caribbean Gardens and Markets, an outdoor market located in Scoresby, Victoria, was singled out in the report as a "notorious physical market". 
The report said Caribbean Gardens had between 10 and 20 individual market sellers "offering counterfeit region one and two DVDs, together with other sellers offering burnt DVDs of recently released titles". 
DVDs are generally coded to limit their sale to a single market, with regions numbered one (the US), two (Europe), three (Asia), four (South America and Australia), five (parts of central Asia and Africa) and six (China). 
Imported DVDs are popular in Australia because of the easy availability of "multi-region" DVD players, that is, players which have been unlocked and can operate discs from anywhere in the world. The Australian problem is exacerbated, the report said, due "to a lack of enforcement". 
According to the MPAA, Australia's state and federal police have "shown no interest in enforcing the issue despite multiple entreaties from right holders," the report said.

They're still bleating about region coding?

And while we're on the subject of bizarre entertainment news, you could have knocked the pond over with a feather to learn that Screen Australia had dropped $50k on The Conversation.

It turned up in yesterday's Mumbrella feed, and you can read about it in Tim Burrowes' exceptionally mild, reasoned reprimand, Screen Australia needs to stop acting like a club.

The process taints both SA, for the way it offered the money, and The Conversation, in that it accepted money delivered via a process which can only lead to accusations that editorial coverage can be purchased with a little 'sponsorship'.

As if a story on The Conversation about ninety per cent of Australian films - try flogging a re-make of Patrick, go on just try it - would get the pond interested.

Why, you make as well propose that watching BL's The Great Gatsby is a way to get interested in F. Scott Fitzgerald ...

Enough already. Clearly the entertainment industry is as barking mad as the political commentariat. Back to that navel ...

(Below: hey big Mal, the perfect accessory to go with your copper wiring. You're welcome, think nothing of it, have a nice day).

In which an albatross, an inner-city professional and a hack in search of psychoanalysis appear ...

(Above: the Bolter and Robert Manne ... as fresh as 2008. More First Dog here)

Now where were we?

 Oh yes, Ten is stuffed - this last Sunday, its main channel was 10.1% to the ABC's 11.8%, and the network only had only a narrow win by counting in all its multichannels to get to 15.6% and a .5% lead over the bureaucrats.

Oh and the albatross around Ten's Sunday neck continued to do its job:

Insiders: 163,000 / 96,000 / 50,000 
The Bolt Report: 115,000 / 68,000 (here)

Go albatross.

On the upside the Bolter at least cracked 100k, and loomed as a serious threat to Little Ted's Big Adventure, which struggled to reach 168,000, 5 city metro, on ABC2.

Damn you ABC, damn you and your children's programming to hell ... and damn you Barrie Cassiday, you deserve another thrashing from George Brandis ...

What else?

Well prattling Polonius has marked time this week, with a standard bit of stodge and alarmism about the fiendish, evil, devilish greenies and their deviant influence on the Labor party, as you can read in Future for Labor is hit and myth alongside Greens, if you've got absolutely nothing to do with your life and your time.

Hendo really is a one note Johnny, and he keeps banging the one drum with feverish monotony. Even the most dreary drummer introduces occasional variation into the drum kit, reaches for the triangle, gong, tom tom, cowbells and good old tubular bells.

Not Hendo, not when he can repeat himself endlessly. How many times has he conjured up this tired, predictable contrast between the inner-city and the 'burbs?

It would be foolish to predict that, under Shorten's leadership, Labor has no hope. Yet Shorten Labor clearly has serious policy difficulties. They mainly turn on the policy legacy of the Greens-Labor alliance: namely, carbon pricing and asylum seekers. 
The latter issue presents obvious predicaments since it brings into play Labor's diverse base. There are the inner-city working professionals, many of whom are dependent (directly or indirectly) on government funding. Then there are those who live in the suburbs and regional areas, many of whom are in the private workforce or self-employed.

Now let's leave aside Hendo's inexcusable wording. Clearly he hasn't caught up on the memorandum from Liberal party HQ and Scott 'speaking in tongues, a spade is a spade' Morrison, and so he talks of asylum seekers, when really he should be speaking of "illegal maritime arrivals".

Frankly the use of "asylum seekers" almost makes Hendo sound like some craven, simple-minded greenie. Stiffen the sinews, remember the routine Hendo, keep that 'unlawful' chatter front and centre, and offer it up by way of vague generalisation and without any statistical or other evidence whatsoever. Remember, stereotyping is the way forward:

Myth two: people arriving in Australia by boat are fleeing persecution. Not necessarily so. The overwhelming majority of boats arriving in Australia unlawfully contain people who have made secondary movements. Many have travelled freely to Indonesia or Malaysia where they buy spaces on boats from people smugglers. Their immediate fear of persecution is no greater than that of established refugees waiting for placement in United Nations-run camps in Asia, Africa and elsewhere.

It ain't necessarily so! Secondary movements! Now there's a knock down argument. The filthy rich buggers are just a bunch of unlawfuls ...

When really everyone knows life is totally hunky dory in Sri Lanka, whatever those silly Canadians and their PM might think. Let that be a lesson to them, let them become "established refugees", because that's the sensible path for refugees, and let them not turn into these wretched desperate people, so desperate that they're willing to cross storm-tossed seas on leaky boats ...

Oops, sorry, the pond is starting to sound like one of those nasty, lofty, tedious, air-headed inner-city working professionals.

And just as Hendo always blathers on about them, how many times has the pond responded by noting that Hendo himself is one of them, beavering away in the heart of Sydney, and with his Sydney Institute entirely dependent on people wanting to yabber on endlessly about government ... with a bit of Captain Cook and twentieth century sex for variation ...

Move along folks, nothing new to see here.

For genuine shock, horror and exclusive outrage, we have to go Cater this morning, with the Nick in a total lather about outrageous news of the Australian War Memorial, as you can read in Word of God lives on unknown soldier's tomb in War Memorial, if you google to get around the paywall.

That bloody Brendan Nelson. He wasn't ever a true Liberal, was he?

It's hard to know what's more shocking - proposing ditching a reference to god, or replacing god with words taken from a Paul Keating speech.

The pond came all over flushed and fainting at the very thought of it.

The Australian War Memorial has abandoned a proposal to remove the words "known unto God" from the Tomb of the Australian Unknown Soldier after the personal intervention of Tony Abbott. 
The memorial's governing council decided at its meeting in August to replace two inscriptions on the tomb at the Canberra memorial with words from a speech by Paul Keating. 
The memorial's director, former Liberal Party leader Brendan Nelson, announced the changes in an unscripted National Press Club speech six weeks ago on a day when attention was focused on the swearing in of the new government.

And before you breathe easy fellow citizens, Dr Nelson continues to show an alarming respect for Paul Keating, an astonishing willingness to be bipartisan.

Sure he's backed down a little, but he's still fellow travelling. What an appalling wimp:

"The words 'known unto God' will remain precisely where they are and will not be touched." 

The inscription at the southern end, however - "He symbolises all Australians who've died in war" - is on a bevelled edge of a stone surround to the grave that will be removed and replaced with identical stone bearing the words taken from Mr Keating's 1993 speech, with the new inscription reading: "He is one of them, and he is all of us." 
Dr Nelson said the words from the speech were chosen after advice from a historian from the memorial. Before the change of heart, the reference to God was to have been replaced by these words from the opening of the speech: "We do not know this Australian's name, we never will." 
Compromise has also been reached on a plan to display the full text of Mr Keating's speech on a brass plate inside the Hall of Memory where the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier lies. The plate will now be displayed outside the hall to the left of the entrance.

On and on Nelson rabbits:

Dr Nelson said his intention had been to give a sense of permanence to the key sentiments in Mr Keating's speech, which is already on display at Villers-Bretonneux in France. 

"It was a towering eulogy and a great tribute not only to the unknown Australian soldier but to the Australian soldier," Dr Nelson told The Australian. 
"Not only will it stand the test of time, it already has. On this occasion I think he did our nation proud. "But the end result is that 'known unto God" will remain precisely where it is. It will not be touched at all." Senator Ronaldson was not available for comment yesterday. It is understood the government's position on the compromise proposal has yet to be finalised.

Shocking. We'll hear more about this. Already the pond has adopted the guise of the Major from Fawlty Towers and penned several outraged letters to the editor, praising Nick Cater for performing a national service by drawing attention to the godless atheistic scheming and plotting of the lickspittle fellow travelling quisling Nelson.

Just think! What if we hadn't had Tony Abbott to right the ship, steer the course, save the day, re-form the square, un-jam the Gatling ...

Finally the pond would like to draw your attention to a bilious, retching, spewing piece by Alan Howe in Here are the questions Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger won't be asked.

Howe has an enormous chip on his shoulder, and what looks like a gigantic chunk of bile on his keyboard (google his name, perhaps with "journalist" attached, and you can have hours of reading pleasure - check out, for example, this effort recorded by Media Watch).

The piece is full of seething resentment, and Howe is clearly still brooding about past slights (why he was English and had worked at The Times for five years, how dare they ignore him) , and he hoes into The Guardian in fine style, never mind that right at this moment in England News Corp will yet again have its name dragged through the courts as a result of all sorts of bizarre activities approved from up on high ...

Happily you can always rely on the HUN for a good dose of sanctimonious, righteous, navel-gazing, self-esteeming claptrap, and Howe has done an exceptional job.

What most pleased the pond was Howe's opener, which no doubt he thought was a knock-down blow:

When asked once about the future of newspapers, the editor of London's The Guardian said it was beyond his control. He added that it was readers who would decide the fate of newspapers. 
Readers have certainly decided the fate of his. Perhaps no modern editor has presided over such a vertiginous collapse in circulation as Alan Rusbridger, apparently a modest man and with much to be modest about. 
 He has edited The Guardian for 18 years and while his paper once showed signs of life, a decade-long lurch towards oblivion has seen it shed almost 52 per cent of its sales. 

They really don't get it in Rupert la la land, do they. Here's Howe carrying on about tree-killer sales dropping, as if that's still the measure of anything, as remorselessly the world shifts to dropping hard copy and the delivery of everything online - save for those luddites who will treasure the newspaper experience in the way that some still treasure scratching LPs with a dropped needle ...

No wonder they maintain the rage about the NBN. They know something's up, but they're still not sure what it is ...

Howe is only trying to settle old scores, and he does it in such a naked, bitter way it's really only of interest for those who like to psychoanalyse the media, but it did remind the pond that Ken Auletta back at the start of the month had published a much more lengthy and interesting piece about The Guardian and Alan Rusbridger in The New Yorker, and you can read it here under the header Freedom of Information (outside the paywall for the moment).

Amongst other things, you'll find that The Guardian's online readership has tripled since 2009 and that two thirds of its online readers are now located outside the UK.

The Guardian has its troubles - covered by Auletta - but it is now a global brand, in much the same way as the Daily Mail, courtesy gossip and scandal, has become a huge presence on the intertubes.

That requires imagination.

What is most conspicuous about Howe's piece is the pile of lemons on view; what is most noticeable is a singular lack of imagination ...

Does the pond mind that The Guardian and other papers have been at the centre of the revelations of Edward Snowden, which have made life exceptionally tough for the United States and the Obama administration?

Not at all, not at all, and it's a much more interesting exercise in actual journalism than the efforts of the splenetic Alan Howe, or the ham-fisted spying beloved of the Murdoch empire...

(Below: and more David Rowe here).

Monday, October 28, 2013

Satan and Rupert ...

Finally it's official.

Rupert Murdoch is controlled by Satan.

Well that's what Rick Santorum thinks.

How so?

Well depending how you count, there are six major Hollywood film studios (some would include a few mini-majors to crank up the total).

Rupert Murdoch controls one of these majors, the re-badged 21st Century Fox, which also includes various television interests and subsidiaries such as Fox Searchlight.

Now according to Rick Santorum, Satan controls the film industry:

“This is a tough business, this is something that we’re stepping out,” Santorum said, “and the Devil for a long, long time has had this, these screens, for his playground and he isn’t going to give it up easily.”

The pond never did well at logic 101, but:

Screen playgrounds = Murdoch's Fox playgrounds = Satan's playground. (Devil's playground if you're an Australian movie buff). QED: Murdoch plays with Satan.

Oh sure the other studio heads are in on the fix, but clearly Rupe is one of six with a direct line to the evil one ...

Of course Santorum could just be a shill, shamelessly plugging a film produced by his Christian film company, which has been in a state of internal feuding since Santorum turned up.

No matter.

The pond takes it as a win-win scenario, confirming either that Santorum's off with the pixies, like most of the Republican party, or that Murdoch's off with Satan, like most of Hollywood and Fox News ...

Here, for the YouTube link and more on the story.

Wait a moment, not so fast.

It turns out that these days Rick Santorum likes to present himself as a thoughtful moderate, at least if Rick Santorum: Ted Cruz 'Did More Harm' Than Good With Government Shutdown is any guide.

Gasp. If he can say something sensible, could he be right about Rupert?

Does lightning strike twice in the old Santorum noggin?

Of course we've had hints before, as in this story, Murdoch divorce stuns Satan in The New Yorker:

HELL (The Borowitz Report)—Word that the News Corporation chief executive Rupert Murdoch has filed for divorce from his wife, Wendi Deng, came as a “total surprise” to longtime Murdoch confidant Satan, the Lord of the Underworld said today. 
“I am totally blindsided by this,” Satan told reporters. “He and I talk every day.” 
Citing his long history with the media titan, the Hound of Hell said, “We go way back. I gave him the idea for Fox News. I told him to hire Roger Ailes. That’s why this is such a shock.” 
A frequent dining companion of the Murdochs, Satan said he “didn’t have a clue that they were having problems.” 
“I’ve had dozens of dinners with them in the Hamptons,” he said. “Did they bicker? No more than other couples. But they seemed to be on the same page about all the important things, like creating corrupt media monopolies and buying politicians. I thought they were for keeps.”

And then there was that story at the BBC, Rupert Murdoch - A portrait of Satan. But they would say that ...

But then there was this unfortunate snap, which some thought was simply a white shirt collar, but others thought very revealing.

As always, the pond merely reports, and you decide, and there is every chance that we might have maligned and persecuted an innocent:

There might be yet another explanation.

Could it be that Murdoch is simply a wild thing, a feral, like the feral dogs that do such harm to lambs, or the feral cats that maim and kill native Australian wildlife?

Who knows. All the pond can do is provide a link to Robert Manne, pondering yet again the deeper mysteries of being Rupert in Why Rupert Murdoch Can't Be Stopped, unlocked for 72 hours and who knows when the clock started ticking.

Will the empire strike back? Will the reptiles mount a full frontal enraged assault on Manne yet again?

Who knows. But if they do, there's still no conclusive answer as to whether Santorum is correct, because Satan and ferals both have form when it comes to empires that strike back ...