(Above: David Rowe sets the tone for the day, and as always more Rowe here. By golly he's fun).
It was remiss of the pond not to note what Janet 'Dame Slap' Albrechtsen wrote yesterday on her return to the feral pack of neocon commentators that infest the lizard Oz the way cockroaches infest the average Sydney home (don't get the pond started on the rats and the mice).
Never mind, yesterday Guy Rundle did a delicious smackdown in Crikey, Media briefs: Planet Janet speaks (behind the paywall).
Crikey is a fierce spammer when you drop off the twig as a subscriber, but if Rundle keeps ravaging the commentariat, the financially troubled rag might just find a niche in these desperate times.
Rundle's much more fun to read than going through the tedious business of visiting the faraway land above the faraway tree to read Dame Slap's words (behind the paywall), as Rundle ponders the perils of a hack drafting a speech to advise 'the great and the good on what to say to calm the ravening masses':
Witness Planet Janet Albrechtsen’s words of advice to President Barack Obama. Planet suggests that Obama should stay out of the Syrian civil war and let the Arabs sort their own problems out, rather than pursuing his current strategy of staying out of the Syrian civil war and letting the Arabs sort their own problems out.
For sheer Australian Idol levels of cringe, you can’t go past a neocon hawk giving handy hints to someone who has steered the country clear of an Iraq-style disaster by ignoring everything the neocons thought and did. Add in an asinine misunderstanding of the conflict (Sunni-Shia rivalries ancient as the moon rising over the camel-trodden dunes sort of thing) and you have the perfect know-nothing op-ed. The purpose is, as always, a retrospective justification of the disaster of Iraq. Planet paints it as a triumph and a liberation and rolls Afghanistan and Libya in with it.
And so on. It almost tempted the pond to google around the paywall and read Dame Slap.
All causes shall give way: I am in blood and commentariat verbiage,
Stepp'd in so far that, should I wade no more,
Returning were as tedious as go o'er.
Never mind, as Macbeth then worked out:
... My strange and self-abuse
Is the initiate fear that wants hard use:
We are yet but young in deed.
And so on we go.
Perhaps there were a few ABC types who thought that by delivering the coalition a few union heads, they might be given a get out of jail card by the coalition.
If so, they were wrong. Abbott is a good hater, and a demagogue most at home dog whistling to the far right in shock jock land, and as already noted on these pages by a correspondent, he's delivered Aunty an Aunty Jack.
Abbott is a forked-tongue mendacious person who doesn't in the least mind being contradictory while smacking down his foes, as you can contemplate while reading Tony Abbott blasts national broadcaster: ABC takes 'everyone's side but Australia's'.
Can an abusive bear hold these two thoughts in his noggin at the one time? Of course he can:
"I want the ABC to be a straight news-gathering and news-reporting organisation, and a lot of people feel at the moment that the ABC instinctively takes everybody's side but Australia's,'' Mr Abbott said. (here, happily behind the paywall)
Straight? He wants it to be straight?
Of course he doesn't. He wants it to be a home-town cheerleader, on side with dinkum Aussies, the kind of mindless media that serves up dollops of Putin worship on a daily basis. The Australian and the Murdochians writ large.
Abbott: that was, that was a, a deep concern and I said so at the time, um, look, ahhhh, you know, if there’s credible evidence, ahh, the ABC like all other news organisations, is entitled to report it but you can’t leak to be critical, ahh, you shouldn’t leak to be critical of your own country, ahhh, and, and, ah, you certainly ought to be prepared, eh, to give, eh, the Australian navy and its hardworking personnel the benefit of the doubt You would like the national broadcaster, ah, to have a, ah, a rigorous commitment to truth and at least some basic affection for the home team, so to speak. (thanks to the pond's correspondent)
A rigorous commitment to truth that is immediately distorted by displaying a basic affection to the home team.
Abbott speaks out of a horse's arse, but he's also a cunning politician, and he knows the time is right to do some ABC bashing.
Here's what you cop at the moment in a Fairfax poll:
Meanwhile that ponce from the Eastern Suburbs, Malcolm Turnbull, has stepped into the ring:
Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has strongly defended the ABC's editorial independence in the face of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's attack on the national broadcaster, which he says ''instinctively takes everyone's side but Australia's''.
Mr Turnbull defended the Prime Minister's right to critique the ABC but, in comments that could be interpreted as resistance to Mr Abbott, he said the ABC was rightly accountable to its board of directors, not politicians. Prime Minister Tony Abbott Prime Minister Tony Abbott: said that the ABC ''instinctively takes everyone's side but Australia's''.
''What's the alternative … the editor-in-chief [of the ABC] becomes the prime minister?'' he said. ''Politicians, whether prime ministers or communications ministers, will often be unhappy with the ABC … but you can't tell them what to write.'' (Abbott, Turnbull clash over ABC)
It's pathetic, feeble stuff, and of course in coalition times there's nothing like a debate about the role of the ABC and fluff and navel-gazing to distract people from matters to hand.
It allows people to talk about the need for patriotism and balance, and the essential need to report on facts and to do so in a balanced way, and without bias and so on. Yep, that's it, just move a little to the right of Genghis Khan.
For all big Mal's weak tea response, the reptiles at the lizard Oz have a direct line to the White House and they know what President Abbott is building up to, which is funding cuts for the ABC:
Uh huh. There will be payback and there will be blood, and if this leak doesn't pay off, the coalition will find another way.
Meanwhile, after all the blather about the heroic and wonderful Navy and how the ABC has done the dirt on them, what do we find has slipped through to the keeper?
'Field allowance' cut: Diggers' pay to be trimmed in push to save budget millions of dollars.
The daily "field allowance", which is given to Defence personnel serving in arduous conditions and worth up to $56 per day, will no longer be paid to all troops in Afghanistan, but rather decided on a case by case basis.
Other allowances, worth $200 per day for troops in Afghanistan and $125 per day for those deployed in the Gulf States and anti-piracy operations, are also in line to be scaled back.
Yep, while everyone's blathering about the ABC and its disloyalty to the navy, the coalition is delivering the armed forces a substantial haircut and paycut, and there's nary a boo from any goose, including Neil James, who has fallen into line like a lickspittle lackey.
This puts the pond in the awkward situation of having to agree with Stephen Conroy:
Labor's defence spokesman Stephen Conroy shares those concerns and has accused the Government of "penny-pinching".
"Mr Abbott is hiding behind the drawdown of troops in Afghanistan to cut the pay of people who are involved in anti-piracy, who are protecting the waterways," Senator Conroy told reporters in Perth. "(This will) punish and penalise serving ADF personnel by up to $19,000.
"This is 1,000 personnel who are still serving there, who are still doing the same jobs that they were before."
See how it's done?
Accuse the ABC of disloyalty and a lack of patriotism and so on, and then shaft the actual workers in the field still doing the dirty work - who perforce just have to suck it up and follow orders.
Berate the ABC, while behind the arras, wield the knife.
The pond has always had a simple view on serving personnel. When they're doing tough work they should get paid a decent rate of pay.
Vietnam? Don't blame the military, blame the politicians. Ditto Afghanistan, Iraq, whatever.
Now comes the notion that turning up in Afghanistan is a doddle, with improved infrastructure and living conditions.
Say what? It's a bloody war zone where bombs still go off all the time, and personnel, kept there at their pleasure by the federal government, are always a target.
What gutless, duplicitous hypocritical wonders these politicians are.
While we're at it, the pond has the same attitude to decent pay for fire fighters, cops and others. Moan about a fire fighter being paid well because a couple of times a year they have to go into a burning building? Well you won't catch the pond going into a burning building any time of the year.
And if you pay cops poorly you'll be guaranteed to increase resentment, and the inclination to corruption, and not much else. Sure some NSW cops might be as wild and as woolly as the cops in Mad Max, but when the pond is confronted by crime, we know we'll be hollering for a marshall.
Here's the reality for the ABC.
Leigh Sales might fawn all over jolly Joe Hockey as she did last night - by golly it was a shocking sight to see, as they danced and they danced, and Sales had not a thought of laying a glove on the nice smiling man, as you can check out here.
And Fran Kelly might try to talk sense with Senator Ian Macdonald, as she did this very morning, and here it is, but the chances are, all you're likely to get is an incoherent rant about being from the old school, quite possibly the school Raquel Welch attended in One Million BC.
Oh and a rant about climate change and what a wonderful chap Bob Carter is, and how climate science is all about the views of ABC journalists and not actually climate scientists, and please give us some balance, which is to say balance of the cloud cuckoo right wing ranting kind.
Whatever they put in the water in Queensland - the pond knows it isn't fluoride - it's powerful stuff, and it's truly terrifying that McDonald is a coalition voice, since in his own inimitable cane toad way, he's as far out as Cory Bernardi ...
Thick as two bricks and as dumb as two sticks ...
However the minions now try to play it - fawn or talk sense - the ABC is now back in the same situation as it's always been under a coalition government, as a straw dog:
Chapter 5 of the Tao Te Ching begins with the lines "Heaven and Earth are heartless / treating creatures like straw dogs".
Su Ch'e commentary on this verse explains: "Heaven and Earth are not partial. They do not kill living things out of cruelty or give them birth out of kindness. We do the same when we make straw dogs to use in sacrifices. We dress them up and put them on the altar, but not because we love them. And when the ceremony is over, we throw them into the street, but not because we hate them." (here)
Yep, they're just like a good old piñata. Give it a good beating and out falls the lollies.
Remember the Richard Alston years, the crazy, crazy, rabid as a mad dog Richard Alston years? And the pale faced, haunted look, and the paranoid feral tendency to persecution, arising from a persecution complex?
Alston's complaints (seriously) ...
The Minister's complaint ... (actually 68 complaints in 2003)
And so on and tediously on.
This time the Murdoch press has a vested interest in degutting the ABC.
You can get an idea of how shameless Murdoch is in pursuing his interests by noting that, right at the moment that the News of the World trial is unfolding in the UK - and all it's revealing - rumours have begun to surface that Murdoch is interested in mounting another takeover bid for BSkyB (Is Murdoch poised to launch another BSkyB takeover bid?)
Shame? For a Murdoch it's a meaningless concept ...
Meanwhile, the Daily Terror, Australia's least trusted newspaper, is feeling its oats kick in:
And who is that former ABC chairman?
Why Maurice bloody Newman ... the PM's business advisor ... with a vested interest in proceedings ...
Sheesh, where's Guy Rundle when he's needed?
Meanwhile, the reptiles at the lizard Oz think they've hit another winner:
Don't you just love the lyrical picture, which serenely sets up the copy that follows?
Councils in NSW will be instructed to distinguish between "clear and present dangers" of coastal erosion and flooding and "doomsday" UN scenarios of global sea-level rises under a landmark policy on coastal planning and climate change to be unveiled today. NSW Planning Minister Brad Hazzard will release a draft circular aimed at stopping some coastal councils from imposing draconian planning restrictions based exclusively on UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predictions of what could happen a century ahead. (the rest behind the paywall here)
Uh huh. That reminded the pond of a story by old favourite Nick Possum.
We have seen the future and it squelches
It had this tidy illustration, taken at the aptly named Bay street, Tempe in good old rum, sodomy and the lash Sydney town - and nothing wrong with any of that - on the 3rd January 2014, showing a king tide at work.
Sadly it's in black and white and isn't quite so lyrical, and so you'll never find it in the dissembling propaganda that passes for news at News Corp :
Where's Guy Rundle when he's needed?