Sunday, June 30, 2013

The pond apologises from the get go ...


The pond is getting increasingly concerned for News Ltd, nee News Corp, nee Paywall City, nee the constant narrowing and sharing of content for (provincially) branded outlets.

it so happens the pond's eye was caught by a splash in today's digital Sunday Terror featuring an Alan Jones' apology.

But the click led to an apologetic news +√±÷∉∑ "Oops!"

Call it a kink, hey call it a perversion, hey call it a filthy disgusting vice, but the pond loves to read about Alan Jones apologising.

Doesn't matter to whom, about what, just bring it on, and watch him grovel, preferably while at the same time being forced to hand over the readies ...

So the pond just had to know ...

Oops.

Of course it's click bait, but how tragically inept News Ltd is at the art.

Sure enough The Australian had picked up the story, and published it here under the very same header with the very same opening line.

Oops.

The lizard Oz has a porous paywall so it can still think of itself as being part of the conversation. Sometimes it doesn't even bother to apply its porous paywall. Fatal mistake, a bit like Michael Douglas forming a fatal attraction for  Glenn Close ...

Even worse the same yarn was published at the Courier-Mail, under the same header, here.

Oops.

The Courier-Mail doesn't at the moment bother with petty limitations on readership for this sort of southern story, and even provided a handy link to the Jones' letter (and you may click on it to enlarge):

What a funny logo.

Now here's the thing. The pond has already helped the angry Sydney Anglicans fix up their website by returning it to the way it was, and now the pond feels free to offer a few gratuitous, offensive, condescending and provocative words of advice to the hacks in News Ltd, nee News Corp, nee Paywall City.

If you want to construct an effective paywall, think about making delicious click bait content harder to get.

Don't reprint it within the day in another rag looking to pretend that it's done the hard yards.

What cane toad deeply cares about the fate of a southern-based cane toad, even if by some miracle of nature, the cane toad is somehow managing to make a living as a shock jock in Sydney? They don't need this sort of content until it's stale, at least a day old ...

Even more importantly don't allow the reptiles at the lizard Oz to trade off on tabloid content, at least not while they're part of a porous, easily googled bamboo curtain ...

You see, if you really want to drive subscriptions, you really do have to tighten up your game. Sure your advertising and your clicks might fall into a hole, and one of the few tabloid jewels in your tattered crown might collapse, and the entire business might go under, and your shares might fall to junk bond status, but hey that's what risk-taking is all about.

The pond loves risk-taking almost as much as it loves apologies.


Now here's the click bait you must put behind a strictly non-porous paywall.

Apologies from Howard Sattler, Alan Jones, Rupert Murdoch, any of the reptiles at the lizard Oz, not limited to but certainly including Greg Sheridan, Paul Kelly, Dennis Shanahan, Janet Albrechtsen, Chris Mitchell, and Angela Shanahan, apologies from Akker Dakker, the Bolter, Miranda the Devine and Tim Blair, notwithstanding that some might chose never ever to apologise for anything (though as we know specious apologies are good for the soul, as happened in the matter of the News of the World).

Help Kyle Sandilands, and passing stars of reality television, and footballers and cricketers and Shane Warne and comical hoax callers make clowns of themselves in some way, and then put their apologies behind a really strict paywall.

If you can, encourage miscreants in News Ltd to make greater and greater mistakes, so that when they apologise, the apologies can also be put behind the same very severe paywall. A kind of fifty shades of Murdoch paywall grey, if you like ...

You see, humiliation and apologies are intoxicating click bait stuff, what makes tabloid news go around these days, and there's no way social media can produce the same high class level of apology. That's the way most material requiring an apology is generated these days.

See!

And those apologies are click bait gold, a little bit like a teenage boy stumbling on a porn site, and the credit card not locked in a safe ...

Now the pond knows what you're thinking pilgrims, seeing as how John Wayne was a Reaganite and the Duke famously said in She Wore A Yellow Ribbon, never apologise (and never explain) - it's a sign of weakness.

So please don't apologise for getting it wrong. Just let the pond offer this advice, free and gratis, and without a subscription paywall. Follow it and all will be well ...

(Below: a few ways to do an apology, as channeled by Steve Bell, including a vintage black and white one from 1995 which doesn't have much to do with apologies but is great fun. More Steve Bell here).





It's a pop-up Sunday and all sorts of things start popping up ...




(Above: keep these images in mind for the homily that lurks below)


The pond is well down the path of abstaining from Australian media - what do you know, Crikey's last final offer suddenly remained open for another month - but it turns out that reading The Guardian carries more than its proper share of risks.

It's terribly easy to stumble across someone like Owen Hatherley writing a bizarre denunciation of pop-up stores, in Pop-ups are papering over our crumbling social structures.

Now the pond is neither for nor against pop-ups - the last one to be noticed in Newtown was, of all things, an exercise in Britishness, a pop-up for Dr. Who fans - but doesn't see much point in getting extremely agitated about a retail strategy, given how much retail has shifted online.

After reading Owen Hatherley's combination of rank prejudice and a desire for a capitalist apocalypse which pop-ups seemed to be preventing or obscuring, the pond looked him up and he seemed remarkably young to be sounding like an English eccentric ...

But already it was possible to spot all the signs in this spectacularly bilious bit of trolling, though it only delivered a disappointing couple of hundred comments. No doubt in earlier times Hatherley would have started his career by writing angry letters to The Times ... (a wag started off the comments, generally hostile to Hatherley, by noting that The Guardian had recently opened up a pop-up coffee shop).

But since pop-ups are the theme of the day, it was even more remarkable to stumble across Matthew Engelke popping up with Christianity and atheism are two sides of the same coin.

For a piece written by an alleged anthropologist, it was a singularly silly and narrow-minded piece, offering up the standard sorts of inanities to be found amongst fellow travellers with Christians. It seems fair to call Engelke a fellow traveller:

At the breakfast we recited the Lord's prayer. We sang a hymn and we listened to a gospel reading. There were other prayers too: one for the government (delivered by a Labour MP, who joked about the irony), one for parliament and one for the nation.

It turns out that he's an American amongst the British, and delusional in the timeless artless unsophisticated American way, like a naive hero in a Henry James novel beguiled by the peculiar rituals of the English (sardines, brollies, Jeeves, P. G. Wodehouse and top hats, wot wot):

Faith or no faith, and whether you're enthusiastic, indifferent or apoplectic, the breakfast is a brilliant example of why public ritual matters. Those of us with no faith have a lot to learn about the value of halting the normal rhythms of life and stopping to reflect. We could all benefit from prayer breakfasts, or at least something akin to such a metaphysical break.

Yes, of course, atheists have no knowledge of the normal rhythms of life, nor do they ever stop to reflect, nor do they ever indulge in metaphysical breaks. The y'artz are simply beyond them, and ecstatic moments are reserved to the pleasure of listening to the snap, crackle and pop of rice bubbles.

It culminated with this piece of specious tosh:

Christianity and atheism are two sides of the same coin.

Yes only a Henry James dullard could offer that kind of dualism, placing christianity centre stage. If it had been written in a sensible way, it would have noted that there are many other gods than the christian god, and fitting all of them, and agnosticism in all of its hues, and atheism in all its pantheist variability on a single coin, would have required a very large and multi-faceted coin.

Yes, for unctuous blather Engelke took the cake:

At the moment, their relationship to one another is often antagonistic, but for unbelievers the sentiment – if not the sacral nature – of the prayer breakfast should be taken seriously. 

Why? Why should anyone ape the rituals of foolish believers? Why dress up a breakfast with friends as anything more than an enjoyable start to the day?

Do you have to start off the day with a prayer breakfast when you Gather on the Green, and stare at the bizarre joggers doing their thing on Camperdown Oval? And meditate on their knee caps? (well maybe not this Sunday, thank you long absent lord for the relentless drizzle).

Naturally Engelke's piece sent the punters into a frenzy, attracting over 2,000 comments, and reminding the pond that writing letters to The Times, or The Guardian or whatever else, remains a very British business.

There must be an algorithm that works out the number of letters that will be written, directly proportional to the amount of trolling nonsense an Engelke can work into a paragraph.

And if that wasn't enough Britishness, over the weekend the pond got around to doing an upgrade on Apple TV, and what should turn up but Sky News, British version, and for free (though you may need an American Apple account for that to work for you).

There were any number of bizarre sights - David Cameron togged out in colonialist kit defending Tony Blair and the business of the Afghanistan war, in the context of Armed Forces day, with a lot of toys in red marching around with something like bearskins on their noggins. Kill all the bears!

We keed, we keed, but even more bizarre was the news that the head of British operations, one Lieutenant-General Nick Carter, had worked out that it might have been wise to sit down and have a chat with the Taliban back in 2002! (And what do you know, David Cameron and army divided over Afghanistan role after 2014).

Never mind, by close of business, the pond had had an over-dose of Britishness, and it was time instead to turn to the angry Sydney Anglicans.

As usual, there were all sorts of pop-ups for the Jensenist heresy, led by the chief Jensenist, who seems to be taking a long time to say his farewells while donning a fearsome bearskin rug attitude:


Never give up,  never surrender, said Buzz Lightyear, and naturally the Jensenist story is headed Archbishop says don't retreat.

Which is foolish advice, since the angry Sydney Anglicans wisely retreated from the folly of their website design (and still no cheque in the post to the pond for its advice).

In the usual megalomaniac angry Sydney Anglican way, Jensen makes a claim for Anglicans to be able to interfere in everything, and societal structures and people's thinking, all in the guise of loving thy neighbour when in reality it's like any other overbearing, interfering, intrusive busy body sticking an unwanted finger in the pie:

Dr Jensen believes there is a biblical imperative for speaking. “The Bible delivers an particular way of thinking about human beings, an anthropology. We believe that it is true, life-giving and universal. We belong to Christ and teach the Biblical revelation to all” the Archbishop says. “We have his mandate to speak whatever the society, the state or the human structures. This arises from love of God and love of neighbour”. 

Stumble across any other fanatical cult follower in the street and you'll get the same universalist delusional story.

And there's the problems in a nutshell. Angry Sydney Anglicans never shut up, and still routinely blather old Testament nonsense about Adam and Eve, and why that's a role model for relationships and men and women today. Not to mention using the old testament as an ongoing reason to persecute gays and their rights, without pausing to think if you really should still be using the fables, myths and thoughts of camel herders for cosmology, physics and chemistry.

Dr Jensen says Anglicans, and Christians generally, should engage by using the resources of the Biblical revelation, having a coherent view of what it is to be human and seeking to demonstrate that the Biblical revelation actually makes sense of human life and experience. 
“We must not be afraid to do so and we must not be silenced by any false ideology which removes our right to do so. We have to trust that God’s way for human well-being and flourishing as revealed in law and gospel, is best” the Archbishop says.

The trouble of course is that as with all cults, which blather about false ideology, the imperative of any messianic delusion is that the cult must be the one true possessor of what makes sense of human life and experience, and followers must therefore spend an inordinate amount of time explaining to everyone else how they've got it wrong.

There coule be no better example of the offensiveness of this delusionalism than the other story given front page prominence, Phillip Jensen's Terminating Violent Euphemisms.

It's a first class example of an old preacher trick. Seize on a worldly event - in this case a radio discussion of words that make people squirm - and then, in a violently euphemistic way, put a worm in the eye of the reader, and lead them into a state of horror about a woman's right to control her body, and determine whether or not she might have an abortion.

It all builds to a guilt trip, all the chatter about weasel words and the violence of language and the violence of killing, and the preposterous notion that Arnold Schwarzenegger was called the Terminator because somehow the word is a euphemism. The pond felt like terminating Jensen with extreme prejudice ... (yes you have to know your movies in a way the Jensenists can never manage)

Really, what planet do the Jensenists live on? But do go on:

‘Termination’ may be a more acceptable and politically correct euphemism for abortion but as with all euphemisms it clouds the discussion in confusion, does not work in removing the pain and prevents women talking freely and finding forgiveness.

Yes, there it is, a guilt trip for women, who can only find forgiveness by seeking a Jensenist offering forgiveness.

Abortion is difficult enough without controlling mind and word games, or clap trap and condescension, and chatter about women needing to find forgiveness.

It was a stark reminder to the pond of what must surely be the ultimate Christian mystery - why any woman or gay would willingly be a member of the Sydney Anglican community.

If you come across an example, surely you have witnessed a miracle deeper than turning water into a decent bit of plonk, or the multiplying of bread and fishes for a bloody good nosh up. (One of the original pop-ups ...?)

Enough already of all this nonsense popping-up. As it happens, the pond has had standing by a guide to the world of Anglican women, and here it is. Click to enlarge:





Saturday, June 29, 2013

Starting a big Mal meme about the intertubes on the full to overflowing intertubes ...



The pond loves its memes.

From lolcats to tin foil hats, the vast, unknowable, full to overflowing internet is full of memes. (Know your meme, etc, etc, yadda yadda)

Like the one that Al Gore claimed he'd invented the intertubes, which sadly the killjoys at Snopes declared false (make sure you've got your pop up blocker on if you snoop at Snopes):

Despite the derisive references that continue even today, Al Gore did not claim he "invented" the Internet, nor did he say anything that could reasonably be interpreted that way.

What a bunch of spoilsports and dropkicks, and never mind that the closest they could find was Gore claiming some administrative and political kudos in an interview for facilitating the invention of the intertubes.

But the pond has extremely high hopes for Tony Abbott's most recent effort, because there were no caveats or disclaimers when he said:

We have a strong and credible broadband policy because the man who has devised it, the man who will implement it, virtually invented the internet in this country. Thank you so much Malcolm Turnbull.  (Who really invented the internet in Australia, where in a forced video you can see an actual Tony Abbott saying the actual words).

Now many people have rushed to dismiss Abbott's gaffe as a joke, an ironic thrust to get a laugh from his colleagues. And he succeeded ... in getting the laugh.

But it's also the sort of cruel joke that a bantam rooster delivers to remind those in the room of the pecking order of things, and to put Mal in his place, as a weird kind of geek in love with copper and ready to put his geekish skills in service to the true master of the universe, one Tony Abbott, who when not in his cape rounding up villains in a Marvel comic, rounds up the Labor party ...

So his jocular praise of Turnbull could well lead to a great internet meme.

When Turnbull walks into a room, surely someone will now say,  or perhaps whisper and then snigger, "look, here comes the man who virtually invented the internet in Australia".

Now it might never achieve the status of the Al Gore routine, but the pond lives in hope, especially if it the boom tish is "look, here comes the man who thinks aged, ancient Telstra copper in the corroded asbestos-laden pits in the ground is the way forward for the internet in Australia".

Now the professional hacks have already had a go - as you can see at the head of this piece - but the pond expects more.

It's not as if the joke's not already out there. It's gone viral:

And that's just some of the news services that gave it a run.

But where are the photoshoppers and the geeks seeking revenge? I mean surely someone can come up with something decent?


Apart from dog terrified and trembling in awe to be in company with the man who virtually invented the intertubes in Australia ...

Meanwhile, what fun to see Julie Bishop get upset and go feral at current Chairman Rudd's remarks about Indonesia.

Naturally it got the reptiles at the lizard Oz equally agitated:


There, now you can see how it's done, in inimitable lizard Oz style.

Rudd proposes Abbott's policy risks a row with Indonesia?

Naturally there can be only one headline: Rudd risks row with Indonesia.

Oh and a generous serve from that stuffed imitation of a pompous English butler, Paul Kelly,  who naturally knots his knickers into the standard lizard Oz indignation twist.

Truth to tell, Rudd is only matching Abbott at his own game, gilding the lily and embroidering the place mat.

At the same time, it does draw attention to the stupidity and folly of Abbott's proposal to turn back the boats, and make them all Indonesia's problem, since (a) as in previous times, it will be an extremely onerous task for navy people burdened with implementing it; (b) at some point, it is likely to end in disaster, while in the mean time be hugely expensive to implement - how many broken down boats can be fixed and made seaworthy for the return journey?; and (c) at some point others, apart from Indonesia, will draw attention to Australia's international treaty obligations.

Abbott has never had to explain all of this, instead just waving his hands and saying jocularly "Julie will invent the ways we can turn back the boats safely".

Bob Carr has shown the way forward with a much more inventive deployment of Orwellian double speak, by explaining at length how 100% of people on some boats are economic refugees, and never mind that in the past the statistics have suggested that 90% of boat people have been judged genuine refugees.

Thanks to the Carr double speak, if you happen to want to get out of Afghanistan - because Australia, in consort with other countries, have done such a splendid job fucking it up, and you happen to a member of the majority ethnic and religious group, ipso facto you should just stay in country and suck it up.

You can read about it in Rudd Carr boat people, and it set the pond to wondering just how low both parties can go in their rhetoric and their promised actions after the election. On the evidence to date, there's no sign they've finished scraping the bottom of the barrel, but every sign that Labor intends to scrape as much of the barrel as Abbott.

Meanwhile it seems to replace the departed Pearson, the reptiles have had to look around, and thus far could only come up with Chris Kenny, delivering this sort of impeccable logic to his digital splash in the revolving carousel of lizard doom at the top of the page:


Now if you can make the slightest shred of sense from that line, you're way cleverer than a Dorothy Parker imitating Gunga Din.

It's about as obscurantist and gobbledegook as anything the late lamented Latin lover could deliver.

But it turns out that if you evade the paywall - surely you don't pay for the lizard Oz, let google be your friend - and actually summon up the energy to read Even under Rudd, Labor won't win the election but it can keep Abbott honest, that the pick of it, and the rest is actually very sub-par and very sub-Pearson.

Kenny gives himself a chance to expand on his sublime koan:

To return a Labor government after all that has transpired, voters effectively would have to say we give governments licence to tell us what they like, break any promise, indulge in bitter and selfish power plays, change leaders at a whim, and tolerate sleazy deals and corruption.

Which of course could just as easily be written:

To return an Abbott government after all that has transpired, voters effectively would have to say we give governments licence to tell us what they like about how invented the internet, or turning back the boats will sort out everything, break any promise, unless they're written down, and even then, maybe they were written down wrongly, indulge in bitter and selfish power plays, like Joe Hockey feuding with Abbott, change leaders at a whim, and with only a vote separating Abbott from the man who virtually invented the internet in Australia, bring back a bunch of time-serving hacks who had passed their use-by date before the end of the Howard era, and tolerate sleazy deals and corruption, like keeping Peter Slipper in the party, and then intriguing to get him replaced by the rough Brough, doing dirty deals and dinner party menus ... and did we once mention getting Pauline Hanson put into jail.?

But sad to say the rest of Kenny's piece fails the Pearson cant and rant test, as he spends a nervous time contemplating the return of the vampire Ruddster.

Next please, lizards of Oz.

Meanwhile, speaking of loons, by golly they've been squawking in a big way out at Parramatta, as you can read in Swap you: Chinese skyscrapers for a motorway. By golly Fairfax gives it a great old splash ... how a grand Sydney vision, a horde of invading Chinese, and a real estate deal still excites granny.

Second airport? Wash out your mouth ...

So that's how Ross Cameron has been filling in his time ... when not turning up like a gadfly on the ABC to irritate former ABC viewers and make sure they turn off the box and go do something healthy with their lives. Well even unhealthy. Just anything to avoid hearing Ross Cameron speak ...

Does anybody at the ABC, or on The Drum, remember the good old days of the Alston crusade?

Parliamentary secretary for Family and Community Services, Ross Cameron, went further, proposing the ABC be floated and sold to the people of Australia, as he said it catered only to the educated and should not be financed by the rest of the population. 
 "The internet is not some sort of a solution to all problems but my own view, which I suspect is a minority view in the Government, is that Australia doesn't really need a national broadcaster," Mr Cameron said. (here)

What's that you say? Why isn't everyone rushing to allow Cameron to tear up a huge chunk of Sydney with his Chinese colleagues? Clearly you weren't a shareholder  in My ATM, but you can read about it in Former MP Ross Cameron a right loser.

As for the pond's opinion, surely there's no harm in allowing Cameron to tear up Sydney. Let the boys play with their toys.

After all, big Mal virtually invented the internet in Australia, using advanced copper wire technology, and thereby made the need for the ABC completely redundant ...

So it goes.

(Below: more Nicholson here).



Friday, June 28, 2013

Let the gladiators enter the ring, and let there be blood, lots of blood ...

(Above: found on twitter)


The first whiff of humbug and hypocrisy didn't take long to land, and it came with current Chairman Rudd urging the brethren to be kinder and gentler to each other, followed by Albo closing down the Reps with more blather about kindness.

This idle chatter from a man who stalked Gillard for years until he finally nailed her to the cross and expelled her to the briar patch of life? And from a man who specialises in the art of steel-toe-capped head kicking?

Not to worry, naturally the Senate carried on with the usual exchange of insults.

But it reminded the pond of the sort of pious nonsense that Tony Abbott led with when he proposed a kinder, gentler polity. Yeah, like ditching that bitch witch ...

Well the pond doesn't much mind who's playing at the Coliseum (Colosseum only to trendies), though it will need to be the matinee session with good pricing for the front seats.

The pond is up for a Rudd v Abbott re-match, provided there's blood.

Let there be blood, and plenty of it, bucketloads and bucketloads, like the tsunami of blood that poured out of the lift well in Kubrick's The Shining.

And let it be a clear- and dry-eyed bloodletting and let there be no sanctimonious tosh and whiff of humbug hypocrisy.

Oh sure, no knuckledusters, no eye-gouging, no hair tugging or bag snatching, just the usual rules ... and blood. Did we mention lots and lots of blood?


No talk of a gentler, kindler polity. Just the assault and battery we've endured from the Murdoch press these past three years ...

Oh and plenty of popcorn. Not that fetid salt and buttered crap that drives the pond down to the front row of the movies, but the good old crunchy icing sugared and flavoured popcorn you used to be able to get in the stalls at Tamworth, centre of the known universe.

Now the pond realises this is a minority taste, but remember, be kind and gentle to minorities.

What's that? Talk of sanctimonious righteous hypocrisy? Oh you can all shove a huge bucket of salt and buttered, stale, sickeningly greasy popcorn down your throats ...

One thing this plea might help stop is the sort of nonsense that came through the email to the pond yesterday, in yet another profoundly offensive editorial, which perforce is at the top of the Crikey newsletter.

Crikey seized on the brave work of Wendy Davis, the Texas state senator who filibustered Rick Perry and his minions, which saw the Republicans bizarrely attempt to redefine the concept of "midnight" (Abortion bill defeated after Texas Republicans concede vote came too late).

Now anyone who does over Rick Perry in any form is a heroine, and Davis's feat sent social media, especially of the feminist kind, into an entirely warranted and deserved frenzy.

But what did the Crikey editorialist make of it? Well the piece began celebrating Davis this way:

Yesterday, a lone woman stood up to her (overwhelmingly male) colleagues who were trying to take away her rights and silence her voice. She stood in the legislature and spoke for women everywhere, and when she could stand no more her colleagues and the people who elected her stood with her. And at least yesterday, she was triumphant.

And then this popped out:

Yesterday, in Australia, our first female prime minister stood up to her male colleagues who were trying to silence her voice. She stood and called their bluff, and she said she was not going down without a fight. But then, when she could stand no more, her colleagues and her friends spoke for a man with a blue tie instead. And while a few remained loyal to her, it wasn't enough. In her final speech as prime minister, she took to the podium alone. "What I am absolutely confident of is it will be easier for the next woman and the woman after that and the woman after that, and I am proud of that," she said. And no one stood with her at all.

Indeed. And amongst the 'no ones not standing with her at all' was the Crikey editorialist of a few days ago, who urged her to step aside or be dumped and for delusionals to stop treating her with any regard at all.

So what's the point of this piece of pious nonsense and claptrap?

What an epic fail as a way of sending Gillard on her way.

Ah well, it won't be long before Crikey stops turning up in the email box, and that'll be the end of the torment and, sob, First Dog. Oh First Dog ... but we promised no tears ...

And so to an increasingly urgent demand. Where's the bloody paywall at Fairfax?

It didn't take long for a new angle, a new way to assault Gillard, popped up in the headlines:


Childish, adolescent, petulant and envious, and we owe it all to Tony Wright scribbling The first day of the rest of her life, which in the natural order of things should have been safely locked behind a paywall.

Happily there were a few punters in the comments below the fold who noted that the story was petty, as well as predictable.

Where's the story about all the other perks all the other retiring politicians will be "enjoying". Where are all the male politicians. Where's John Howard and his perks? Mark Latham? Gra Gra Richardson? Why only Gillard?

Well we all know why ... and well played Mr. Wright. You know about the nasty cheap shot. Thought of a second career in the UFC?

Bring on that paywall, bring it on now ...

Frankly anybody who had to put up with Paul "generally vile" Sheehan  deserves a cosy retirement, and sure enough yesterday the general grump said farewell by accusing Gillard of being the worst kind of hypocrite . Sheehan couldn't resist a final backstab in Blood on Julia Gillard's guillotine, before shifting his front stabbing to Bill Shorten and current Chairman Rudd.

It was another touch of class from a man who has never backward about being a forward first class hypocrite and the pond reckons every politician deserves a parliamentary pension, and a substantial one at that for enduring that vale of no win tears and back-stabbing ...

Now the pond isn't inclined to tears - Gillard did indeed live and die by the sword, as all politicians do - but at least she did the honourable thing, and fell on her sword, instead of hanging around like a spectral wraith for the next three vengeful years.

It should also be noted that she was subject to some of the most vituperative, gender-based remarks and assaults going around in politics, with Abbott cheerleading along and sometimes at the head of the baying pack of hounds.

Which is why you can see the pond wants that paywall now. Let Sheehan live and die by the paywall, and see how many punters stump up for the pleasure of reading his tirades ...

Meanwhile, the pond has handsomely collected in a private bet with a mug punter who really should have known better.

The bet was about the length of time it would take the reptiles and the hacks at the lizard Oz to wheel in the sky like sparrows and take aim at current Chairman Rudd.

Surely, the hapless punter suggested, it would take a little longer than the time it took for the signature and the GG's seal to dry?

Oh foolish punter. First out of the blocks today?


Oh well played Judith "groan it must be the terrifying" Sloan.

Even Denis Shanahan wasn't so nakedly obvious, talking of challenges, challenges naturally that current Chairman would fail, but at least challenges rather than feral talk of outright failure at the very first hurdle - perhaps the Ruddster even tripped on his spikes coming out of the blocks!


Yes, if the date is the rumoured to be August 24th - heck let's make it November 24th - he'll have any amount of time to satisfy Dennis "the tie" Shanahan that he's an abject failure.

And now, if you'll pardon the pond, can we just take a look at the photographic group think that litters the print media today:




And in the lizard Oz's digital page, it became this:


Yes, it's Rudd v Abbott, watched by a yearning, hopeful optimistic woman, as her man goes into battle with a fiend who needs to fix his mistakes, because he's a failure.

So it goes.

Meanwhile, the pond is still keeping an occasional climate science watch on the reptiles at the lizard Oz, and today's outing features Bjorn Lomborg, with the reptiles demanding payment to read his take-down of the World Bank for daring to think that climate scientists might be right.


There's nothing new to read - Lomborg remains the only person in the world uniquely able to understand climate science and what should be done about it. 

What is routinely outrageous and shocking is that the reptiles at the Oz should demand payment to read this tosh, when such is the desperate vanity of the man that you can read it all at his Facebook page, here, under a June 22nd date ... for free. 

For bloody free ...

You mean we should pay as a way of having all the other Lomborg Facebook tosh filtered out?

Yes Lomborg is now so far outside the mainstream that he's turned himself into a Facebook blogger, while the lizard Oz demands money to read his six day old thoughts about how in the world of climate science it's the World Bank that's preventing free energy and everyone living in utopian bliss. Or some such utopian nonsense, while Lomborg swipes mightily at utopians ...

You can see why by the time the pond got to Maurice Newman scribbling Labor gambled and we all lost (behind the paywall so you never have to know or care).

Indeed, in much the same way as we might say that John Howard gambled, and the ABC and climate science lost ...

What to do?

Well at least David Pope - more Pope here - is having his usual field day ...

Bring on the gladiators, provided Russell Crowe stays outside, eating pizza and watching the thugby leaguers outraged that anyone might want to ban from the field common assaults that would earn jail time on the streets ...



Thursday, June 27, 2013

And so to sundry matters, including the minister for useless reports, gay rights and climate science ...




Lordy lordy lah di dah, will this meeting never end.

Personal point of order, Mr. Chair.

The pond is deeply apologetic and profoundly mortified that the Minister for utterly useless reports is now the (temporary) deputy prime minister of Australia.

Let it be noted that the pond did not vote for Albo, or for a second Sydney airport in Woop Woop (pending further detailed reports) by the year 2050, and a VFT to somewhere (pending further detailed reports and property deals) by 2100. The pond promises to do all in its power to give Albo his due cinematic reward, but lacking a horse's head and access to his his bed, this will have to take the form of not voting for him again.

As for treachery, the shortish Bill Shorten should surely take the cake. The delusional Rudd really thinks he can pull off the great escape - there's no denying the delusional their delusions - but keep an eye on Shorten. If former, now current chairman Rudd, falls off the perch, Shorten will be there to pick up the pieces.

That this will be a role roughly equivalent to that of the current leader of the opposition in NSW, a union hack by the name of John Robertson, will not deter Shorten in his long game. Robertson, a man largely unknown outside NSW, and largely unknown within it, got himself ahold of a poisoned chalice, but hope springs eternal, and Shorten - like big Mal - will be contemplating the sight of Tony Abbott making a goose of himself when confronted with the actual task of actually devising workable, acceptable policies ...

Meanwhile, settle back in the lounge chair, and crank up the Dolbyised 7.1 volume, as all the guns that were trained on Gillard will now turn on Rudd, and the people who proposed that Rudd return will somehow rediscover all the flaws forgotten over time. The hacks at Fairfax, the ABC and Crikey should make for particularly revolting, if spectacular sights ...

Now Mr Chair, can we please bring the meeting to a close, leave the chatter to the paid professional chattering classes - the Akker Dakkers, the Bolters, the reptiles at the lizard Oz - and move on to other things, not least the decision of the United States Supreme Court in the matter of gay rights.


Oh yes, and all the sweeter for reading Scalia Slams 'Legalistic Argie-Bargie,' Re-Argues 'Homosexual Sodomy' in Dissenting DOMA rant.

That Scalia has long been a disgrace to the court, and a first class loon to boot, has been established over the years, but it's also his complete lack of grace and style that's beguiling. As a judge, he's a classic example of a steel-toed boofhead, and it turns out, something of a Cory Bernardi:

...the Constitution neither requires nor forbids our society to approve of same-sex marriage, much as it neither requires nor forbids us to approve of no-fault divorce, polygamy, or the consumption of alcohol.

Yes, because being gay is much like being as pissed as a parrot.

Scalia is deeply disturbed by the notion of sodomy, though what he makes of rum and the lash is outside the pond's ken. What he makes of heterosexual sodomy or heterosexual oral sex is also outside the pond's ken.

And then there was the singular pleasure to be had reading Mike Huckabee's twittering tweets, as you can too in Mike Huckabee Takes Bible Verse Way Out of Context. And there were all the other haters venting their hate (Supreme Court Rulings ... Irk Haters), and having been trained in the art of hating by Murdoch hacks, how the pond chortled with glee and delight.

Gillard missed an opportunity here by aligning herself with Tony Abbott, and hopefully without her cover, Abbott's role as a maintainer of the hate will become a little clearer ...

Meanwhile, the pond recently wondered how long it would take for the climate science haters at the lizard Oz to lash out at Obama.

Bear in mind that this would be done within the context of a report this morning proposing:

Australia's record-breaking heat last summer was at least five times more likely to have occurred in a world subject to to greenhouse gas emissions from human activities than one without, a study has found.

And noting:

"These results support a clear conclusion that anthropogenic climate change had a substantial influence on the extreme summer heat over Australia and that natural climate variations alone are unlikely to explain the recent record summer temperature," the researchers say in a paper published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. 
The Bureau of Meteorology says temperatures throughout the country last summer were 1.11 degrees above the long-term average, making it the hottest since records began. (Human activity linked to hottest summer on record).

The hottest summer on record?

So what do the reptiles at the lizard Oz run with today?


And who is this " " ", aka Alan Moran, repeating dubious factoids in his denunciation of Obama?

Why he's the Alan Moran who is the director, deregulation, at the Institute of Public Affairs...

And what expertise does Alan Moran have in the matter of actual climate science?

Why he trained as an economist, and the practitioners of the dismal art know everything about everything (yes, it was doing a unit in economics history that led the pond to know everything).

You can read about Dr Moran here - why they even have a picture of him - and what a splendid job he does going about the dissembling, distorting business of the IPA.

Barack Obama's long-awaited address on climate change has thrown the spotlight back on to an issue that was receding in policy priorities. The US President repeated some of the dubious factoids about the warming in recent decades and receding Arctic ice without noting countervailing points, including that there has been no warming for 16 years and ice in the Antarctic is increasing.

Which, since we're talking factoids, are two classic examples of the art.

For a start this idle chatter about ice in the Antarctic doesn't take the time to distinguish between land ice and sea ice, as you can do by reading a site less interested in factoids, and more interested in actual science, here.

As for that other handy factoid that there's been no warming for 16 years, let's ignore the parochial experience of the hottest summer on record down under, to note that the hottest twelve month period ever recorded was from June 2009 to May 2010. (here)

What's interesting about this is the way that people who've actually experienced changes in the environment are aware that the IPA - and the reptiles at the lizard Oz - routinely play loose with scientific records, observations, theories and insights.

After recent events, including invasion by sea, New Yorkers are no longer quite so cocky about climate science, or the plasticity of oceans, which allows differing and changing heights in different locations, and there was a recent poignant story by Anna Somers Cocks in the New York Review of Books, titled The Coming Death of Venice? (outside the paywall).

The question mark almost seems redundant as Cocks discusses the difficulties of dealing with buildings falling apart, eaten by damp, as the result of the sea rising above the impermeable stone bases of most buildings, with dire consequences:

... by far the most shocking gap in the management plan is its failure to consider the rise in sea level. Of course the flooding gets discussed, as does Mose, due to be completed in 2016, but the chronically rising water level—a global problem—only gets mentioned to say that research is needed to determine the implications of the rising damp for Venetian buildings, and climate change “may increase the hydraulic risk to the entire territory due to heavier rainfall and rising water levels.” Compare that ludicrously understated comment with the words of the report published by UNESCO in 2010 and entitled “From Global to Regional: Local Sea Level Rise Scenarios, Focus on the Mediterranean Sea and the Adriatic Sea”: 
 There should be no doubt that the sea level will eventually rise to a value that will not be sustainable for the lagoon and its old city. The planned mobile barriers might be able to avoid flooding for the next decades, but the sea will eventually rise to a level where even continuous closures will not be able to protect the city from flooding. The question is not if this will happen, but only when it will happen. 
That was the conclusion of the meeting convoked in 2010 by UNESCO in its Venice office with scientists of the Istituto di Scienze Marine (ISMAR) and the Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche (CNR). The scientific consensus is that the level of the Mediterranean will lag by only a few months behind that of the Atlantic. 
The report says: The average water level [in the lagoon] is now closer to 30 cm [11.8 inches] above datum [established 1897]. This indicates that a sea level rise of 80 cm [31.5 inches] would bring the mean water level to the critical threshold of 110 cm [43.3 inches, the level at which Venice begins to flood]. In this case, Venice would experience regular flooding twice a day, due to the tidal oscillation (tidal amplitude 40 cm [15.75 inches] during spring tide). That is twice a day, every day, not to mention the much higher tides when there are the exceptional climatic conditions that cause flooding today. 


Of course from a cosy chair in the IPA all sorts of observations can be dismissed as factoids.

And naturally the Moran factoids are led as the basis for yet another attack on the carbon tax, but the real question here is why the lizard Oz routinely publishes this sort of IPA blather, while routinely distorting climate science, and routinely publishing dissenting voices, some of the wildest kind.

Sure there's room for vigorous discussion, but why does it so often seem in reading the Murdoch press, that the reports are roughly equivalent to reading Wilhelm Reich explaining the mysteries of orgone accumulators?

Never mind, the pond is currently in the grip of a bout of queasy nausea, explained by the parade of Labor party hacks turning up this morning on RN to explain away their change of hearts, and their words, some only days old before turning putrid and fetid in the compost bin - most notably Penny Wong and Gary Gray.

Proceedings took on the air of hapless souls recanting their crimes and sins as if at a Stalinist show trial. Rats recanting and explaining the deeper mysteries of ratdom and every rat for him or herself ...

Dear sweet absent lord, what a grubby game politics is. Why only working for Murdoch, the IPA or as a second hand car salesman could top it ...

Well the pond won't have Stephen "Mr Filter" Conroy or Peter "Fame is the Spur" Garrett to kick around anymore, nor sadly Tony Windsor to celebrate. Let's just say that he did Tamworth, centre of the known universe, Werris Creek and Quirindi proud ...

Second thoughts, perhaps an art department could whip up a horse's head for use by the pond?

No need for equine suffering, not when so many now have to suffer the (temporary) return of the Ruddster ...

(Below: so it always was)


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Convening a meeting of the flat earth society ...

(Above: click to enlarge for the good oil and a totally useless object).

Okay, we've got a lot to get through today, it's a busy agenda, all that the pond asks is that the language be kept civil and polite, down there with parliamentary standards.

Madam chair, as you can see, I've tabled a guide to knitting of a kind which even the pond has been known to understand and enact. I would like it noted that I can almost cope with the continued existence of the Australian Women's Weekly, I can almost cope with the image of a PM conjured up from deep within the 1950s and the time of Ming the Merciless, I can almost cope with the notion of knitting itself, despite stereotypical notions that women should have the slightest or vaguest interest in it, but I'll be fucked dead if I can cope with the sight of someone knitting a toy for a bloody Royal ... a bloody ponce git English Royal ...

Please, resume your seat, it's well understood that on this site the insulting concept and term of a "Royal" is only used in reference to money or in the presence of David Flint and then only as a term of feral abuse, and it should be noted that Flint's tribe have made no mention of the knitting ... strange for a bunch of crowned republicans ...

Madam chair, I would like it noted that when asked to unite behind former Chairman Rudd, the pond reserves the right to choke on its vomit, or perhaps on a large sandwich, on the principle that what was good enough for Jimi Hendrix and Mama Cass is good enough for the pond ...

So noted, and let it be so.

Madam chair, it has come to our attention that the President of the United States has, in the matter of climate change, announced that there isn't enough time for a meeting of the flat earth society.

Oh dear, that's unfortunate. Haven't the reptiles at the lizard Oz and Tim Bleagh and the Bolter called a special meeting to denounce this most unfortunate remark?

Madam chair, it seems that the Bolter has yet to respond, being too busy denouncing Rob Oakeshott and the knitting of toys for Royals, fierce and admirable republican that he is.

What then of the Bleagh?

No Madam chair, he too is protesting the knitting of toys for Royals, which perhaps marks his turn towards Republicanism at last.

Piers Akerman then? Surely Akker Dakker?

No Madam chair, he's obsessed with the return of the Ruddster, to the point where he even demands that we forget the matter of the toy for Royals. But then he's notorious for his solidity with the Republican cause, so his concern for the Ruddster is a way of downplaying knitting for Royals, as you can read:


Many in Canberra still believe that former PM Kevin Rudd’s forces will still drag him to challenge and that he will have replaced Gillard by end of play Thursday. 
That will make the display of a knitted kangaroo look like a very small error of judgement indeed.

Oh dear, does that imply some sort of displeasure at Royal knitting and Ruddsters?

What about Miranda the Devine?

Silence since June 18th at her blog, Madam Chair. We've sent out search parties, but we believe she might have gone off to meditate with the Yeti and develop new anti-bicycling strategies in case a lycra-clad lout wins the election...

Dear sweet long absent lord, is there no one willing to attend a meeting of the Flat Earth society to rebuke President Obama and climate science?

What about the reptiles at the lizard Oz?

Sorry Madam Chair, the only mention of the deviant devious Obama this day on the front digital page of the lizard Oz concerns the appointment of a new US ambassador to Canberra.

Otherwise all that's on view is the usual. There are hordes of members of the commentariat turning up to denounce the unseemly challenge that seems about to happen.
Hang on, hang on, what's that last splash in the digital carousel of doom by Dame Slap, aka Janet Albrechtsen?

Yes, it's true Madam Chair, suddenly the lizards of Oz are realising that they won't have a stuffed toy to kick around any more. It's time to tackle that troublesome serial pest, so Dame Slap demands that the party Man up, Labor and expel Rudd (behind the paywall so you never have to care).

Would it be possible to woman up?

Sorry, Madam Chair, the notion of such feeble language is completely beyond Dame Slap, who regularly mans up herself. And by golly does she show how - should the Ruddster return - the next few months are going to play out amongst the reptiles at the lizard Oz. 

By golly, well spotted, it looks like it's going to be a feast or a field day:

It was only after Gillard's stocks plummeted that we learned the truth about Rudd's removal. He was a psychopath, said Steve Gibbons; he had no Labor values, said Wayne Swan; he ran a chaotic, dysfunctional government, said other ministers who also complained about Rudd deciding big policies with no consultation. Off the record, a senior Labor figure told ABC journalist Chris Uhlmann that Rudd was a narcissist, a "crypto-fascist (who) made no effort to build a base in the party". His faction comprised poll numbers and when the polls dipped, Rudd was out.


Oh dear, a narcissist crypto-fascist psychopath with a tendency to chaotic dysfunctionality and possibly sociopathic tendencies? That's sounding unnervingly like the pond ...

But hasn't The Age and Crikey and the Fairfax press in general and the ABC and all the pundits at the lizard Oz been insisting on the return of the Ruddster?

What's going on? What's going down? Is this just the first of many bouts of commentariart lizard oz Murdoch abuse as a new knitted toy hovers into view?

Labor is left with two choices. Make Rudd leader to satiate his desires or expel him from the party. Forget the first. It will only prolong Labor's pain. That leaves expulsion - perhaps just as unlikely because it will require enormous courage and determination to deal with Rudd in one final, fell swoop. It's drastic. It's dramatic. But it is final and effective if Labor wants to rebuild its brand free from Rudd's crazy narcissism. 
Under the ALP state constitutions, any ALP member can charge another with behaviour that warrants expulsion. The federal executive can also seek expulsion. The grounds include: action or conduct contrary to the principles and solidarity of the party; behaviour that is disloyal or unworthy conduct; engaging in disruptive tactics; making public statements about internal party matters that may harm the best interests of the party; not supporting the ALP platform and rules of the party to the best of the member's ability; or failing to vote and work for officially selected party candidates. 
After the election dust has settled, a convincing case could be mounted against Rudd if the many criticisms of him are true. Take the allegations about Rudd's leaks. They are legion. Latham details some in his book, The Latham Diaries. In Confessions of a Faceless Man, Australian Workers Union boss Paul Howes wrote about more leaks just before the 2010 election: "It seems that the same person who leaked last night's story to Laurie Oakes has now given similar quotes to Peter Hartcher at The Sydney Morning Herald. It firms up my suspicions that Rudd is waging a dirty war against the Labor Party." Howes wrote that he became so incensed by Rudd's alleged behaviour that on July 30, 2010, he drafted charges against the former PM to warrant his expulsion but never filed them. Interestingly, Rudd has never taken legal action against any of these allegations of disloyalty. 
Labor has expelled men greater and lesser than Rudd. Billy Hughes was expelled while PM in 1916 and Jack Lang was expelled in 1942. Each expulsion is different but in each case it's done for the good of the party. It will be up to Labor's future leaders - men such as Bill Shorten, Greg Combet and Howes - to find the courage to rid the party of this troublesome, capricious, vengeful, angry former PM, toothy smile and all.
Yes it is ... talk of the toothy smile of a crocodile, and the Ruddster given a resounding pummelling and slapping around the ears, and that's before he even mounts an actual challenge ...

That Dame Slap certainly leads a rich fantasy life.

Can we have a show of hands then?

Point of order Madam chair. We're most reluctant to have a show of hands.  The meeting still wants to discuss the great moral challenge of our times ...

If you must. Proceed.

Sorry Madam Chair, the best we can do is offer up Innes Willox in the lizard Oz complaining yet again about the price of carbon, courtesy his piece in the lizard Oz, Business pays too much for carbon (behind the paywall so you can avoid the unpleasant sight of a whinging whiner wringing his hands).

That's it? That's the best on offer for the flat earth society?

So be it. The flat earth society will reconvene once the matter of the narcissist sociopath is resolved.

Let it be noted in the minutes however that the lizard Oz is doing its best for the carbon cycle by recycling, and charging its users for the pleasure:


Yes, that story by Jared Genser ran in the Wall Street Journal, with a date of April 25th 2013 attached to it, under the header In China, Repression Is a Family Affair (outside the paywall for your free reading pleasure).

Oh brave climate science affirming, abstemious, canny, frugal reptiles at the lizard Oz.

Meeting adjourned.




Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A delusional frolic with the delusional ...



So yesterday Crikey decided to call the pond delusional.

Oh it wasn't personal, it was generic, addressed to anyone who took exception to The Age and its bold front-page intervention in the ALP leadership.

The piece was headed Crikey says: Rudd a reality if you really care, and it took a swipe at the hundreds of commenters on The Age website and hundreds more across the social media:

Which makes them almost as delusional as Labor MPs. Almost.

Which is to say we're now arguing about the degree, the extent, the nature of the pond's delusion.

Given that the pond's inbox has almost imploded, been swamped and inundated - almost as bad as a Sydney winter rain - with begging letters from Crikey proposing that the pond renew its membership, this is a courageous position, up there with the courage on display in Yes, Minister.

Especially when the closing words were a major guilt trip:

Those who care about a progressive political agenda - Labor MPs, say - should face up to reality.

Indeed. So the pond faced up to reality, and came to understand that there was no finer example of delusionalism than the delusional request for 199 delusionals, or 174 delusionals a year for a vanilla subscription, so that the recipient of an email might experience the pleasure of being called delusional.

So it's farewell Keane and Rundle and - sob - the one that really hurts, First Dog - if only because this kind of indolent insult shouldn't go unrewarded.

The pond was/is a terrible parent, but it did learn one thing from the terrible twos. If you reward an egomaniacal, narcissist, me me vision of the world, it doesn't go away, it just intensifies. We've already seen a Rudd-led government, and it wasn't a pretty sight, and there's been nothing in his extraordinary, selfish, petty behaviour over the last three years - a three year run of a minority government that wasn't supposed to happen - that has redeemed him. It's been all about personal animosity and revenge, and in recent days, the clutching at straws of the fearful, who know they've blown it and now await the wrath of judgement day.

It isn't delusional to come to the conclusion that Rudd isn't the messiah, more a naughty boy, and that if he were to gain power and lead the Labor party to the election, it would remain a divided, embittered, hopelessly riven party, with a substantial swapping of chairs, and no amount of delusional proposing of Rudd's alternative cabinet by Crikey would alter that reality ...

Meanwhile, it seems that the ABC has at last woken up to the need for the examination of things outside their navel, and the world of the lizard Oz and the IPA.

Someone on the ABC news last night dared to show Telstra copper pits full of water, and a mess and a tangle of wires, with plastic billowing all over the place. Strange, the pond didn't notice them filming outside the pond's house, but at last after two years of moaning and whining about the stupidity of Tony Abbott, Malcolm Turnbull, the copper pits from hell, and the lack of broadband, somebody noticed.

Yes, you can see the footage at Unions raise doubts over Telstra's copper network; workers using plastic bags to waterproof cables, no doubt a response to the shocking, shameless, pathetic nonsense trotted out by David Thodey in Telstra's copper could last 100 more years: Thodey.

Sure, if you spend a bucketload on a completely inferior product.

Naturally Malcolm Turnbull stayed invisible, and left it to Thodey to suck up to a bizarre alternative reality.

Then Media Watch dared to note that The Australian was profoundly biased and frequently in error when it came to the coverage of climate science.

Perhaps this was inspired by the nonsense trotted out in pieces like Marc Hendrickz's ABC lacks balance in its climate coverage (behind the paywall so you can avoid a fatal mental infection), but the pond was pleased that someone in the mainstream media had at last noted it one more time.

Jonathan Holmes rather spoiled the party in Hot air stoking the climate change 'debate' by advising that  it was the show's 21st episode for 2013 and the first time this year the show has dealt with the reporting of climate change.

This is something to boast about?

What an astonishing and pathetic admission, and meanwhile, the reptiles at the lizard Oz have been roaming around out in the open peddling all sorts of snake oil medicine and fake nostrums. That's how Graham Lloyd and Chris Mitchell and the other lizards have won, by a process of devious, relentless exhaustion.

All the same, the show ended with a neat and wry little touch, noting Lloyd's pathetic, plaintive whinge:

The Australian has unwaveringly supported global action to combat climate change based on the science... — The Australian online, 4th December, 2012 

And responding:

If The Australian bases its views on the science it chooses to report, you have to wonder why it supports any action at all.

Indeed, and what a shameless flock of reptiles, no doubt going about their business strong in the knowledge that while the dinosaurs didn't make the cut, the reptiles have been going strong for millennia ...

It almost made the pond forgive Holmes getting agitated at the way the usually pathetic, feeble and hopeless ACMA had dared to take a look at Southern Cross Austereo for pretending the terms and conditions of its license could be flaunted or broken, and that such potential criminality was absolutely nothing to do with the industry regulator.

Almost.

Meanwhile, speaking of delusionalism, the pond pauses to note that Gerard "prattling Polonius" Henderson is at it again in Best of enemies: Labor relives its great depression.

Henderson spends his entire column trawling through the past of the ALP to produce a harvest of hate, culminating in the current Rudd v Gillard feud, an exercise that reveals in alarming detail how he loves and lives on the hate.

Of course it would be possible to do exactly the same for the Liberal party - was it so long ago that funky Pete lacked the ticker to take down the man who would lead the Liberal party to a political eclipse?

And the pond could go on and on, because there's nothing like the refined hate of an assortment of Toorak and eastern suburbs and north shore and Adelaide Hills (and so on and so forth) ponces jostling each other for power and most of all, for perks ... and by golly, if there is an Abbott government, it's going to be a hum dinger ... a real set of zingers ...

But of course Henderson is merely setting the tone for Fairfax, though it seems that the lizards at the rag are finally stirring.

Arriving late at the scene of the accident, Tim Colebatch finally got it together to write Climate change: Abbott must get off the fence.

No he doesn't Mr Colebatch, with the greatest respect.

The Fairfax media has allowed Abbott to get off scot free in the matters of climate science, the NBN, copper networks, education, "head north pilgrims with a crack of the whip", and sundry other peculiar policies, while spending an extraordinary amount of time brooding about the Labor leadership and agitating for the return of Chairman Rudd.

He cannot put out another policy, as in 2010, that relies on ridiculously optimistic estimates of how much carbon could be stored cheaply in the soil.

Yes he can.

The real solutions for real Australians - hope, reward, opportunity - still peddle the "magic soil" routine. The ludicrous 15,000-strong Green Army is still the key proposal, a preposterous "solution", as is the chatter about putting carbon back in the soil, producing a "once in a generation replenishment of our farmlands".

No link, you can find your own rat poison by googling for it, but the pond refuses to accept responsibility for ruining any stray reader's mental health.

It's all there, rarely noted and rarely challenged, while the reptiles have jumped around shouting "squirrel" about the Labor party leadership.

And meanwhile Gerard "prattling Polonius" will keep on trotting out the tired old memes and tropes of hate ...

And Crikey calls the pond delusional, and somehow Fairfax thinks its complete failure to focus on policy will somehow tickle a digital sub from the pond?

Talk about delusions ...

Meanwhile, just for the comedy, the pond went to look up the Liberal party's policies on climate science.

Oh dear ... click on the top two google suggestions and here's what you get.

Either the whirling circle of death familiar to Mac users or ...





Monday, June 24, 2013

Forget any talk of the north, have another sip of kool-aid and Greg Melleuish ...



The pond is the essence of patience, and so it's waiting ... waiting ... waiting ...

For an in-depth analysis of Tony Abbott's "head north pilgrims" policy adventure which landed with a resounding thud of disinterest only a few days ago ...

Better keep cultivating that patience ...

Top of the digital whirl of doom today at l'Age?

Say what?

Make that man leader at once ...

Oh wait, the review is just a leak from the other side, as you can read in Rudd to blame for Labor disaster, says Gillard poll review, and is just part of the most excellent destabilisation campaign being conducted by the "squirrel" media.

Other contributors? Well why not drag out a woman to toe l'Age's editorial line, and scribble Make a graceful exit, PM, while you still can, with the poignant sub-header Your going wouldn't, in itself, set back the cause of women.

You can tell you're off in l'Age squirrel la la land by the notion that Gillard could at this point make a graceful exit, and there'd be no blood on the floor.

As for Kaye Darveniza, a Labor MP in the Victorian government, no doubt she means well, but it turns out that she offers as much help and guidance as that prime doofus Peter Beattie suggesting that Bob Hawke should be disinterred and become the peace maker between the warring parties.

Meanwhile, the real flavour of the paper, the tone setter, the "editor's pick" so to speak, swans in from Sydney to mount yet another generally grumpy assault.


Yes that's the real tone and flavour of the reprehensible rag.

Fine company for Kaye Darveniza to keep ...

As for that profound, in depth assessment of Tony Abbott's "head north pilgrims", with Gina as our patron? In your dreams, pilgrims ...

Naturally you won't find any discussion by the reptiles at the lizard Oz. They're still baying for blood, ferreting through the entrails, casting the runes, in a way so predictable it's as tedious to go o'er as it is to return ...

Which just leaves a tasty bon-bon for devotees of Monday nausea, and thankfully Greg Melleuish is on hand to deliver up Story didn't finish in 1975 (behind the paywall so you never have to care).

Now the pond is occasionally asked the meaning and origin of "Lickspittle", and it's obvious enough that it means abject toady or sycophant, and some sources date its first use to 1741, an honourable lineage though perhaps not as lengthy as lackey, which dates from the 1520s and comes from the middle French laquais, meaning footsoldier, footman, servant. It was only in the 1930s that its use as a term of abuse by communists came to stand for "servile follower".

Just as "lickspittle" or "lick-spittle" came into its own in the days of the Red Guard, routinely denouncing people as imperialist dogs, lick-spittle capitalists, lackeys of the USA, betrayers of the people and so forth and etc.

The pond isn't sure how these words came to attract Chinese and Korean communists so much, but they often turn up in company with running dog, which is apparently to say zǒu gǒu 走狗, or lackey or lapdog.

Still, they're more attractive than other western terms of abuse, such as ass kisser, since really, what's wrong with kissing arse? Unless you happen to be an angry Sydney Anglican ...

And what's wrong with being a "yes man" or "yes woman", since the alternative is to be a Tony Abbott in the grip of nattering negativity ...

But with this sort of history, perhaps it's a little kinder to talk of kool-aid drinkers, since that only references the drinking of kool-aid at the Jonestown massacre ...

Never mind, however you cut it, no doubt you want an example, and that's where Greg Melleuish delivers the bon-bon, because he opens his piece this way:

The well-deserved success of Nick Cater's The Lucky Culture raises an important question about historical writing about Australia. 
Recently we have also had George Megalogenis's The Australian Moment and Paul Kelly's The March of Patriots. It appears that our contemporary history is being written by journalists from The Australian!

Oh yes! Well-played. What a first class example of ... (insert preferred term here).

It's the use of the exclamation mark for emphasis - The Australian! - which beguiles the pond, conjuring as it does the difference between kool-aid and kool-aid!

And that's about it, because the rest of Melleuish's piece is a thought free zone, though it does also end with another resounding bit of kool-aid! drinking:

Cater, Megalogenis and Kelly have done a sterling job in keeping the study of contemporary Australian history alive. But surely the time has come for academic historians to cast away their old prejudices and enter the 21st century.

Sterling job! First class! Top notch! Oh pick me, pick me ...

And why are these bloody historians obsessed with the past? Always yammering on about long forgotten completely useless events. Like the leadership speculation in 1940 ...

Don't they know they should be writing the history of 2024 right now?!

Along the way, Melleuish gives us an idea of his simple-minded approach to history, which is to seize on dates, as a kind of symbolism. He blathers on  about 1963, then belabours 1975, and finally settles on 1983:

...a new Australia came into being, quite different from the old one. If it has a symbolic birth date, it is 1983 and the Hawke and Keating reforms.

Yes, it's that level of fatuousness, along with the notion that there needs to be competing stories about the past fifty years, as if there aren't any already plenty of them out there ...

As a clarion call to arms for historians, it's about as resounding and exciting as the sound of a one-armed Zen buddhist monk clapping somewhere in a silent forest ... can anybody hear?

So what's it really all about?

Well right at the bottom there's a mention of Melleuish's new book, in which he tries to do a Cater ... and did we mention that it's published by Connor Court?

Indeed. Nothing like sucking up while trying to draw attention to yourself ...

Meanwhile, where's Melleuish when it comes to looking at the mythologies of the northern food bowl, which has a long and splendid history?

Right at this moment this history needs to be dusted off, brushed up, and led out into the light of day ...

A history full of moonshine and delusions that was added to recently by kool-aid swilling Andrew Robb in Food bowl within reach (paywall affected).

Well if you want useful history and discussion, forget Melleuish, forget the mainstream media, forget the squirrels, forget the current idle chatter about leadership, and head off to The Conversation back in March, The only way is up? The northern Australian food bowl fantasy, which contains handy links, perhaps the most handy one to a short history of land use in northern Australia, in pdf form here.

Allow the pond to borrow a few key points:

1. Outside of eastern coastal Queensland, cropping has largely failed to establish in northern Australia despite many pioneering efforts and a long history of government subsidisation and agricultural research. Northern Australian history has many examples of failed agricultural developments that typically relied on profits from tax concessions and increasing land and share values rather than sale of agricultural products. 
2. Arable soils have been scarce in northern Australia and have not occurred in extensive contiguous areas. The arable soils themselves are typically of low fertility, low water holding capacity, highly erodible and prone to surface crusting. The climate is harsh with fluctuations between the wet and dry seasons causing numerous agronomic difficulties. 
3. Much of the motivation to develop agriculture in the north has been driven by pressures external to the region, and particularly by the defence imperative. For most of the past century, Indigenous interests, long term sustainability, economic viability, and environmental and ecological consequences of northern agricultural development have been ignored by researchers. 
4. In the absence of successful pioneering efforts at agricultural development, agronomic science was relied upon to lead the way for farmers. Despite many decades of intensive effort, it largely failed to achieve its goals. 
5. For northern Australia to meet the competing demands of society, food security, climate change and development pressure it will require research that is better able to integrate the agronomic, environmental and social sciences, with particular emphasis on economics and governance.

Amazingly, while writing this history, Garry Cook takes the story up to 2005, thereby confounding Greg Melleuish who seems to think it's all about 1983, though only the long absent god knows why...

Now is there any chance that the mainstream media will begin a major discussion of the new northern policy promoted by Abbott? Thus far not costed, not driven by markets, bearing no signs of any consideration of pragmatic policies ... thus far showing all the substance of fairy floss or gossamer, and with way less substance than the much reviled NBN.

Fat chance.

Squirrel.

Not to worry, with a bit of luck and a good wind, and due course and thanks to leader Abbott, we can make life hell for New Zealanders, in the way that Indonesia has been making life difficult for Singaporeans these past few days ...

(Below: the good old days, found here at the Batchelor museum).