(Above: compare and contrast. Student papers must be submitted within the week. Those seeking to crib may head off to ABC News here. Hint: those students who say there are more seats filled in one photo will be marked down).
Once again Tony Abbott shows he has all the grace and style of a Terminator:
A statesman, a Prime Minister with ambitions to reconcile the nation and rule for the country, with minorities kept firmly in mind?
Bugger off, he'd rather step into the gutter and maintain the 'roid rage boxing stance, slugging it out, and biffing half the electorate, who didn't vote for him and don't like him, while strutting his hour on the world stage.
And never mind the inherent contradiction and therefore the stupidity of what he was saying - berating the Labor party for fiscal recklessness, while at the same time warning that any reduction in the current US stimulus should be done carefully, because you know, the US needs to spend its way to prosperity ...
It was such an irresistible bit of silliness, the logic found its way into another splash for Mark Kenny's piece, here,
''In the decade prior to the crisis, consistent surpluses and a preference for business helped my country, Australia, to become one of the world's best-performing economies,'' he (Abbott) told the high level group containing many of the world's top business and political leaders.
''Then a subsequent government decided that the crisis had changed the rules and that we should spend our way to prosperity.''
The comments seem to suggest Australia did not need to stimulate the economy through 2008-09 under Labor, despite the near-unanimous advice of economists and Treasury to do just that.
The stimulus program has been accused of waste, such as the pink batts scheme, elements of the school halls program, and cheques sent to the deceased or to people living permanently overseas.
However, the Australian government also received widespread praise and recognition from around the world for its aggressive response to the global challenge with swift policies credited with avoiding the recession from which virtually all comparable economies are yet to fully recover.
If Mr Abbott was critical of Australian excess, he went the other way on US stimulus, warning that the ''taper'' of quantitative easing, where the Federal Reserve has effectively been printing money, should be done carefully.
There's a reason Abbott has a reputation for being a dunce at economics, and not just because he first swallowed whole all sorts of peculiar B. A. Santamaria notions, and it's embodied in the contradictions laid out in that set of pars ...
Meanwhile, Julie Bishop has been trotted out again the past few days to try to hose down the relationship with Indonesia, after the boys and their toys had once again cranked up the volume. Poor Ms. Bishop, always picking up Scott Morrison's rubber duckies.
But talk about a waste of good oil, poured on acidified, climate change ruined, ocean waters:
Uh huh, so the pugilist is at it again, king hitting and hay-making and flailing away without regard for the consequences.
Here's a sample of Michael Bachelard's piece, which can be read in full here:
Government spokesman Agus Barnas said Mr Abbott's blunt comments in Davos about sovereignty ''will only worsen the prospects'' of trying to normalise relations
''It may be [that Prime Minister Abbott is deliberately making inflammatory statements] because he's tied to his campaign promises,'' said Mr Agus, the spokesman for co-ordinating security minister Djoko Suyanto.
''Maybe he is also receiving big pressure domestically, but turning back boats is not the answer, because that only benefits one party, namely Australia.''
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono's special adviser for political affairs, Daniel Sparringa, agreed Mr Abbott was being deliberately provocative. "He has done more damage than good. Such a pity."
In the same piece Fairfax disses The Jakarta Post, no doubt aware that it is now common for Australian readers to bookmark the Indonesian paper and head off to find out what really might be happening, from an Indonesian perspective.
The notion that, Abbott-style, Indonesian politicians might say one thing for their domestic audience and another to an Australian audience, doesn't seem to have crossed Bachelard's mind. Plausible deniability? Never heard of it ...
Meanwhile, how do the reptiles at the lizard Oz tackle the ongoing fuss?
Sorry the answer was so obvious the pond couldn't afford to provide a prize, not with millions lining up to claim it:
But where is this rising tide of criticism coming from?
Why only the government and the Murdoch press, and yet at the same time, in a bid to soften the controversy, the Australian government finally came around to the notion that allegations were made, and an investigation required, and lordy, they even offered support, as you can read in Abbott government to co-operate with Indonesian probe into asylum seeker burn claims (forced video at end of link):
The Abbott government has promised to co-operate with an Indonesian police investigation into asylum seekers' allegations that Australian navy personnel inflicted burns during a tow-back operation, despite the government's belief that the claims are wrong and unsubstantiated.
Yep, within 48 hours, we've moved from Morrison's outright denial of any investigation whatsoever happening, to humble co-operation with said investigation, now understood to be happening.
This should have been the response in the first place, but Morrison's bullying, huffing and puffing, never give an inch, pugilistic imitation of Tony Abbott missed the point.
Now the Indonesians are saying they might not have the power to conduct the investigation, and with talk of co-operation, it's likely to shuffle off to some humidity-affected filing cabinet, and who knows and who cares what actually might have happened.
As for the reptiles joining in the chorus and attempting to ravage the ABC for reporting a story with legitimate public interest, and trotting out mindless patriotism and blind faith in the navy as the reason?
Well it's hard to see how they can continue to call themselves self-respecting journalists, though as the News of the World trial still unfolding shows, this delusion can infest all areas of the Murdoch empire (though quite what lesbian pornography has to do with investigative journalism remains unclear to the pond).
Anyhoo, the reptiles' coverage reached some kind of nadir, when they reached into their box of tricks and pulled out Bob Carr to run a standard patriotic line, like the big fucker - Blair defence - that he is.
Does Carr have a single useful or meaningful insight to offer, apart from the one embedded in the header Bob Carr disputes torture claim as Jakara rallies navy? (inside the paywall for your peace of mind)
Absolutely not, he's just a convenient peg on which to hang a hat:
...Mr Carr said the claims levelled against the navy, which included allegations that as many as seven asylum-seekers had been forced to hold burning metal pipes, had to be tested. He expressed scepticism, saying evidence needed to be produced.
"I'm disinclined to think that these are the things that Australian service people would do," Mr Carr told Sky News. "I find it inconceivable, and desperate people seeking admission to Australia aren't the most reliable of witnesses."
Mr Carr, whose tenure as a cabinet minister in the previous government was notable for the hawkish perspective he brought to bear on Labor's asylum policy, said asylum-seekers had shown "desperation" in the past. "And we're entitled to have these claims properly tested before we give them any credibility," he said.
All it did was remind the pond that it was inclined to be sceptical about anything Carr said.
This, after all, was the man who promised to go on serving in the Senate, and then walked away, and who presided over the NSW government at the time that Eddie Obeid and his consorts began to flourish, and who supervised the decline and fall of NSW's infrastructure. And now he's seizing the moment to pontificate about events that happened far away and about which he doesn't have any first hand knowledge.
In that context, if we're going to properly test claims and assertions, make sure you take time out to examine Carr's credibility.
Meanwhile, the reptiles in the same piece, like the Fairfaxians, quoted slabs of The Jakarta Post as their source for speculation about Indonesia's defence assets and where they might be placed, either to the north or the south.
It's a tragic indication of just how far the mainstream print media has fallen in terms of capacity and resources.
Bob Carr sitting in a Sky News studio, and a quick gloss of The Jakarta Post and a word or two with ANU professor Greg Fealy and that's your lot at the lizard Ox...
No wonder the reptiles resent the ABC, who still have a few lonely feet on the ground in our largest near-by neighbour.
One thing's certain. When the relatively pro-Australian SBY is replaced by the next Indonesian president in July 2014 - whoever it is, they're likely to be much less friendly to Australia - then if Abbott and his cheerful gang of knuckleheads keep heading down this bully boy path, the chances of getting a real confrontation going will increase exponentially.
But wait, the pond is dedicated to the comedy of current affairs' coverage, and the decline and fall of The Australian as a decent national broadsheet smacks too much of tragedy.
How to lift the gloom?
Could we have a decent dose of hubris and gob-smacking nationalist pride as Australia Day approaches?
Unique? Well that's a mighty unique use of the word.
So Australia is going to teach India, China and the rest of the world how to suck eggs? Or ship coal?
You can read the bouffant one's supine, fawning, words in PM takes his 'open for business' message to the world, (behind the paywall because fawning should be hidden from sight), but all you'll get is hagiography, all talk and promises, and the usual rhetoric about the private sector and the evils of government, never mind that Abbott heads a government, and Abbott delivering this quote, full of specious nonsense:
"After the recent election, Australia is under new management and open for business. This year, Australia is in a unique position to help promote global growth as chair of the G20. If the largest economies can individually achieve higher growth and can co-operate to achieve higher global growth, obviously, every country benefits," he said.
Australian never closed for business, and as for that blather about an international trickle down effect, pull the other one.
All the same, Little Sir Echo couldn't help following his master's voice, and politicising the world stage in typical bouffant feral fox coat style:
While Kevin Rudd can only dream of what might have been, Abbott is taking full advantage of the opportunity to demonstrate an economic interest and competence globally and nationally.
A global economic competence?
Remind you of anyone? Pinky and the Brain perhaps?
Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?
Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky - try to take over the world! Or at least demonstrate our economic interest and competence globally and nationally.
Pinky: Gee, Brain-2, what are we gonna do in the next millennium?
Brain: The same thing we do every millennium, Pinky-o. Try to take over the galaxy! And in the process demonstrate our economic interest and competence globally and galactically.
Less preening, more doing ... nationally, globally and galactically.
(Below: and now while we're on a Tim Wilson history roll, who can forget the immortal contribution of Sarah Palin? For those who came in late, Wilson managed to muck up his impressions of the Magna Carta and the American Revolution, as noted in a previous post.
By golly it's such fun, the pond is inclined to declare the whole patriotic festering, suppurating Australia Day weekend a three day celebration of Tim Wilson's preferred libertarian version of history. And who better to set the ball rolling than Ms. Palin? Except perhaps, Tim "won't someone, anyone think of the Bolter?" Wilson himself).