Friday, March 07, 2014
In which the pond expresses concern for Gina Rinehart's welfare ...
(Above: First Dog ending discussion on one of the issues of the day. The rest of the cartoon here, paywall affected).
So just to rub salt in the pond's wounds, Lenore Taylor scribbles a piece proposing that it isn't Qantas that's picked up the carbon tax bill, it's the mug punters who fork over a special levy at somewhere between $1.93 and $7.25 a flight.
Qantas carbon tax bill has been covered by ticket surcharge, she says, putting all the whining and howling in a different light:
Zero! It was like the emperor's Joycean clothes all over again, except who'd be so cruel as to drag James Joyce into this net of befuddlement and lies ...
And then Clark and Dawe deemed it funny to have a parrot parrot over and over again "carbon tax" like a bloody great macaw with its beak stuck in a cracked 78. Welcome to contemporary Australia, they said cheerfully, presumably planning to work their way up to being door bitches for Satan's hell ...
The pond would, for a change of pace, like to get Friday into gear by proposing a great read on another matter altogether, the attempt to catch a star's fusion in an ITER bottle on earth and by a bit of luck, Raffi Khatchadourian's lengthy piece, A Star in a Bottle, is outside The New Yorker paywall.
It's either a gigantic folly or the salvation of humanity, but either way a marvel and a wonder to read about ...
Okay, okay, any stray reader of the pond knows that there's many exciting and engaging things to read out there in the real world. Head off to The New Yorker and you'll be stepping outside the tent for qute a while, but then that's no matter, because there's bugger all to see here...
Sadly, the pond's night beat for the daily is the demented world of the commentariat, the ones who believe in Noah's ark but call climate science a religion ...
What's that mean? Well for starters there's always the hagiographers and knob polishers doing their daily rounds of bowing and scraping:
Sheesh, how much can a possum bear? Now there's a very model of a model bouffant Pooh-Bah.
You mean we should celebrate Abbott's long held and consistent view that climate change is crap and that the carbon tax is responsible for Qantas's misfortunes?
Meanwhile, somehow the pond is meant to work out, on the fly, a discordant notion which proposes exactly the opposite:
Ah well, read Tony Abbott's plan is to have no plan at all if you must, but the pond settled for Simon Letch's illustration of a treeless vista populated by mining 'roos and a banana republic plane overhead ...
And over at the Daily Terror, the least trusted newspaper in Australia, the loudest macaw of them all, the one with a beak that cracks 78s in a single blow, was at it again:
So Akker Dakker has swallowed the Joycean pup. But given what else he's swallowed and sniffed in his useless career of idle abuse, who's surprised by that?
Well the woman who inherited a fortune, and has held it fast to herself, no matter the grasping fingers of her family, is at it again.
Naturally the Daily Terror - did we mention it's the least trusted newspaper in Australia? - gave it a hearty splash:
But you can get the gist of it by reading Australians living beyond our means says Gina Rinehart:
"I can already hear the left boiling with rage that I dare challenge their ‘bottomless pit’ and the belief that money doesn’t have to be earned before it is spent mentality.
Actually the pond doesn't consider itself on the left, and it rarely boils with rage - the comedy of life is simply too rich for that - but it does enjoy a suppurating, festering dose of paranoia:
"More nasty twisted articles will appear, forests and splinters of them. But every day Australia goes further into debt with no clear planning operation to get back even close to where we were.
And exactly where were we back in the 1930s?
Happily there are many interesting features on Australia in the old days, not least this piece offered up by the NSW parliament, 1930 to 1939 - depression and crisis. Jack Lang was a funny old bugger and a curmudgeon but his plan was a good one. It was the Rineharts of the day that ruined it ...
It's always hard to pin down the "where we were" days. Are we talking about the great depression of the 1890s? Or the credit squeeze recession that Ming the Merciless produced with Holt's jolt in 1961-62 (ADB Holt here). Or the mess in the 1970s which can be shared amongst the Whitlam and the Fraser government?
Or is Rinehart hoping that Australia will get back to the glory days of a Hawke/Keating government? Well it can't be the mess that John Howard produced as treasurer ...
As always when the fatuous go in search of stereotypes, they land on Margaret Thatcher, and naturally she's a Baroness:
Ms Rinehart paid tribute to the late Baroness Thatcher, saying Australian politicians needed to follow her example.
''Thatcher steered through a lack of courage in her own political party, which had become riddled with lefties or 'non-courageous wets' and self-interested power mongrels, who didn't grasp or didn't want to grasp what was needed for their own country,'' Rinehart said.
''What Thatcher did for Britain our own leaders should do for us - cut spending, cut waste, cut the shackles and back hard work.''
Uh huh, Well if someone can arrange for the pond to inherit a stray billion or two, by golly we'll get right down the business of cutting spending and waste, cutting the shackles and backing hard work. Why there'll be stacks of work for the butler, the chauffeur, the cook, the maid, the pool boy, the gardener and a dozen more.
Of course you don't have to head off to Alex Pareene's hatchet job The woman who wrecked Great Britain to get an understanding of what Thatcher actually accomplished and what were her limitations.
You can head off to the UK Telegraph - hardly a hotbed of seething leftist radicals and read Ten myths about Margaret Thatcher exploded, and get to Number 7:
7. She restored the values of thrift to the UK economy. At best arguable. What she certainly did do though was begin some of the reforms that ended up undermining Britain’s once enviable private sector final salary pension system. She taxed surpluses in a manner which encouraged contribution holidays and corporate raiders such as Hanson, some of whose takeovers were more motivated by the opportunity for realising pension fund money than any real interest in the underlying company. Even the introduction of personal pensions was very much a double edged thing, since it ended up in a huge mis-selling scandal.
And in a bizarre recounting of twenty ways Thatcher changed Britain - power dressing and shoulder pads anyone? - you might stumble on this:
Thatcher said that privatisation was a chance to give "power back to the people". In fact, as Robert Philpot, director of the Progress pressure group, wrote last week: "Now, in 2012, it's clear that the result of electricity privatisation was to take power away from the people. Small British shareholders have no influence over the overwhelmingly non-British owners of the firms that generate and distribute power in Britain."
Of course the rich don't have to worry that much about power bills, or the ruining of the town of Morwell for that matter, and frankly once that inherited billion or two lands in the pond's bank account, it's likely we'll become fiercely Thatcherite, because it's a certainty the family will be off to court demanding a share ...
So what's the real reason for all the frothing and foaming and resentment that regularly features in Rinehart's tracts, which on its more absurd days results in headlines like World's richest woman calls for Australians to take a pay cut - 'because African workers are willing to earn just $2 a day'?
When in doubt, the pond always goes Freudian.
You see all those jokes about being an heiress is what really gets the Rinehart goat, and really gets her going.
For all her efforts to have her late father venerated, however, Rinehart has also been at pains to point out that she deserves the credit for rescuing the company after his death in 1992. In an email to Tim Treadgold, she spoke of the “the mess and debts and liabilities I was left with”. Lang might have been the discoverer, but Rinehart has been the company’s developer. Her hatred of being labelled an ‘iron ore heiress’ is well known, precisely because she regards herself as a self-made businesswoman. Similarly, she never describes her father as the ‘King of the Pilbara’, because it would imply hers is a privileged inheritance. She is nobody’s princess. (Nick Bryant, What Gina Wants)
How absurd and desperate, and in its own way tragic and pathetic can this become?
It clearly needles Rinehart that her personal role in transforming Hancock Prospecting has not been recognised more widely. Her corporate website tries strenuously to advertise her achievements. The logos of recent awards, such as the 2009 Telstra Australian Business Woman of the Year, are displayed prominently in a kind of online trophy cabinet on the homepage. Her biography on the site also features a long list of lesser gongs, including her induction into the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels (a curious who’s who that embraces Bill Clinton, Pope John Paul II, Winston Churchill and Barry Manilow). More impressive to the ear is her 2011 Global Leadership Award for Masterclass CEO of the Year. She travelled to Kuala Lumpur to receive it in person, even though its sponsor was a bi-monthly Malaysian business magazine with a circulation of just 15,000. The website also links to a speech delivered by Tony Abbott that appears to be there because, in a room packed with her peers, he singled Rinehart out for special praise. (Bryant, ibid)
And so we come to the Freudian bit, courtesy again of Nick Bryant:
The company website, of course, shines little light on Rinehart’s vexed private life. In any event, a linear timeline could not adequately do it justice. It requires something much more elaborate: a graphic showing shifting Venn diagrams, perhaps, to illustrate her overlapping feuds at any given moment. Over the years, adversaries have included her father, her Filipino stepmother, her first husband, the children of Peter Wright (her father’s business partner), former employees, and a long line of sacked lawyers. In the late 1990s, she also settled out of court with a former security guard, Bob Thompson, who had filed a sexual harassment suit against her. “She’s just incredibly lonely and isolated,” Thompson told Woman’s Day.
Another acquaintance tells me she lacks emotional logic. Conflict is the recurring theme of her life. “People who spend time with her end up falling out with her,” says a former colleague. “Writing a cheque is her only way to advance things.”
And so to the current family feud, and the endless court cases, and bizarrely a poem engraved on a 30 tonne boulder in a shopping centre which repeats Rinehart standard lines in a way that soils both poetry and her intelligence.
But then the rich can do things differently while the rest of us are borne along by the tide, beating on, boats against the current ...
It's vainglorious stuff, as much a plea for recognition and attention as any actual nostrum as to how to run the economy and the government. It springs from the same alienation, the rootless and restless hollow ambition of that hollow man the Bolter ...
Every so often Rinehart will bless the world with her views, and the media will pay attention because she's filthy rich, and when she has a mind to it, she can help destroy a government's policies or help elevate a worshipful group thinker ...
Australia hasn't yet reached the peak of crazed billionaires or rich people American Koch style, but Rinehart is helping us get there, and yet not for the moment would it occur to her that it's because she's in reality deeply unhappy ...
The pond hopes by this point most have fled to The New Yorker, but if you've stuck around, here's your delusional, paranoid just desserts, wherein you'll discover all that's been reported as news today was said long ago, and in a really inept and silly way.
And so to the poem. The pond fancies it's best said in a tremulous schoolgirl voice, trying to make rhythmic sense of the doggerel attempts at rhyme:
(And more on British comics here)
The globe is sadly groaning with debt, poverty and strife
And billions now are pleading to enjoy a better life
Their hope lies with resources buried deep within the earth
And the enterprise and capital which give each project worth
Is our future threatened with massive debts run up by political hacks
Who dig themselves out by unleashing rampant tax
The end result is sending Australian investment, growth and jobs offshore
This type of direction is harmful to our core
Some envious unthinking people have been conned
To think prosperity is created by waving a magic wand
Through such unfortunate ignorance, too much abuse is hurled
Against miners, workers and related industries who strive to build the world
Develop North Australia, embrace multiculturalism and welcome short term foreign workers to our shores
To benefit from the export of our minerals and ores
The world's poor need our resources: do not leave them to their fate
Our nation needs special economic zones and wiser government, before it is too late.
What a shocker and strangely, how sad ... so much money, and yet, so little self-understanding or awareness ... so much anger, hostility, paranoia and conflict, so little tranquility ...
And if that's the future of poetry, the country is well and truly fucked. Put everyone on welfare, the pond says, and help them learn how to write ...
(Below: the pond wouldn't want you to go away empty-handed without a souvenir)
Put it another way:
Posted by dorothy parker at 3/07/2014 08:57:00 AM