Wednesday, April 30, 2014

A rose is a rose, a tax is a levy, and an Abbott is a MAMIL Gillard, except when he's a Ruddster ...

(Above: and as always, more Pope here)

Of course the pond's excited.

The smell of blood in the water can always get a shark going. In fact most days throw in a bit of bread for burley in the water, and you can get the pond thrashing about like a carp at the entrance to the spillway ...

Yesterday can be dated precisely as, if not the end, or even the beginning of the end, then certainly the end of the beginning of Tony Abbott's premiership.

Already the pond has opened a domestic book on the exact date of its termination.

At the moment, the odds are long and the precise month and year fluctuates wildly, but in the end the market will sort it out, as also whether the demise is by the hands of colleagues, or at the hands of the electorate.

Naturally the pond prefers death by the hands of colleagues. There's always something splendid about the sight of a rat casually eradicated in the arras, and the comings and goings of Gillard and the Ruddster were monumental, and in due course, deserving of a musical up there with Keating and Howard.

Most people already knew that Abbott was just another politician, albeit blessed with a certain rat cunning and lycra-clad MAMIL aggression.

But now he stands revealed as just another really stupid politician.

He has, in short, at least from his own inimitable, short-sighted,  three word slogan mantra perspective, done a Gillard.

Now Gillard made a number of mistakes, not least in killing off an emissions trading scheme, then bringing it back in a form which could be labelled a tax. Abbott made her pay. He hung an albatross around her neck, and whether it was fair or not, or a matter of good policy, was never the question. He made her pay ...

How astonishing then to see Abbott, in Gillard mode, stumble about yesterday, embroiled in discussions about whether a levy was a tax, and whether it constituted a broken promise.

Sure, the pond household would be up for the tax nee levy.

But it's not personal, because the pond household could ride out the blow. In much the same way that the pond could handle a carbon tax, while at the same time understanding that the main cost in terms of electricity charges has been to do with infrastructure costs of the wild and woolly kind, and has had three fifths of fuck all to do with  the demonised carbon tax.

But Abbott spent his whole time in opposition demonising taxes and levies, to the point where the pond was heartily sick and tired of hearing about them. That's what happens when you campaign in mindless slogans full of bile and nattering negativity.

Help out with the Queensland flood, even if they're a flock of toads? Sure thing.

What's that? It's an evil levy, sure to break the bank? A filthy new tax? We shouldn't have to stand for it?

The disgraceful Fairfaxian media, which the pond noted yesterday were off with the pixies on what was surely the biggest story of Abbott's premiership, finally caught up today:

Oh sure at the top of the page the Sydney Fairfaxians were still off in la la click bait land, but down below, even they knew that electoral suicide would lead to party-room revolt:

And to be fair, the Fairfaxians had begun to swing along with the pond by last night. 

The Age framed it as a credibility issue, while the Sydney granny headed the yarn as electoral suicide:

Even the reptiles at the lizard Oz felt the need to join in, though good old Hedley Thomas was still front and centre demonising Clive Palmer.

 Of course another front page provided an explanation of why Hedley was so agitated:

But how is the buffoon getting away with all this? Making so many waves and splashes?

Well it's because the Abbott government smells to high heaven, already, and never mind the shortness of the reign, and so does the Labor party, and yes, mind the Shorten.

Now every pundit in the land, from the IPA to Lenore Taylor, are having a free kick at Abbott's head.

Even that dunderhead the Bolter began to have doubts as to the wisdom of class warfare:

... the only defence Abbott has mounted so far is likely to give comedians lots of material: 
I think if there was a permanent increase in taxation that would certainly be inconsistent with the sort of things that were said before the election. 
 True, this broken promise would be less potent than Gillard’s. Who bleeds for the “rich” - except, of course, some important Liberal supporters and donors? 
 That’s why I suggested in a post below that a tax rise on the “rich” could still be good politically, given the cuts to come on middle-class welfare and the charges for “free” government services. 
But now I’m less sure. Labor and the Greens both suggest they’ll oppose the tax, hoping to make Abbott seem the liar. They would need just two votes of the eight crossbenchers to block the tax in the Senate. And they’d get them: ... (here)

Et tu Bolter? Class warfare isn't going to fly as a strategy?

The poor lad was so distressed and disturbed that today he opened with links to Beethoven's Triple Concerto on YouTube, but it's Moscow in 1970, so don't you go fretting about breaches of copyright ...

Was the Bolter inspired by David Pope's Wagnerian portrait of jolly Joe and the wretched Abbott beavering away in the pits?

But we digress.

The kindest solution for Abbott would be to have the levy killed off in the Senate, but even if that happens, it's the process that's signalled the demise of Abbott. It will be an agony if the levy is made policy and passed in the lower house and then wends its way to the upper house to meet its demise.

But even if he kills it off now, he can't call his brazen folly back. Around his neck he himself has hung quite a juicy albatross ...

From here on he'll be "a levy isn't a tax" Tony ..

Even more amazing - and this is where it really gets bizarre - in laying the proposal out, Abbott did a Ruddster:

Incredulous Liberals contacted by Fairfax Media said they had been given nothing to tell voters who were beginning to call electorate offices to complain. 
The mood in government-held marginal seats was particularly febrile. One MP revealed that neither he nor his colleagues had been warned about the tax. 
A number of western Sydney Liberal MPs had been calling each other on Tuesday morning "to lend each other support". 
Constituents had been phoning electorate offices wondering what the tax would mean for their families, a Coalition MP said. 
One Liberal MP said he woke on Tuesday morning to the news of the tax. 
"It's just shock," the MP said. "There was no communication from the leader's office. We're all just scratching our heads. It's the biggest f----up we've had in a long time." 
"I can't say anything on the record because it's just too stupid," he said. "If it's wrong, then it's bulls--t, because why would you scare the electorate? And if it's right, then it's even worse because we said before the election there'd be no new taxes." 
Another branded Mr Abbott's attempts to recategorise the tax as a levy as "sophistry", calling it "an offence to voters" that was "worse than Gillard's claim that the carbon tax was not a tax".

Febrile! You give me fever. Worse than Gillard!

And so on and so forth.

No wonder Lenore Taylor flayed away at Abbott here:

It’s not the government’s aim of bringing the budget back to surplus that is the problem. It’s what we are learning about how they might share the pain – the ridiculous semantics of talking about a new tax while pretending it’s not a tax and of pretending they never promised not to raise taxes when they quite clearly did, and the gross insult to voters’ intelligence to think they might not notice.

And no wonder there was this fatal headline by the granny:

Gillard and Abbott, joined at the hip in this way?

Who could have foreseen it? Who could have imagined he was so stupid, arrogant and inept? Even those who disliked Abbott intensely couldn't imagine a complete absence of political nous.

The headline was wrong of course. The worried Liberal should have produced a headline that said "I worry this is Tony's Ruddster moment".

All that nonsense about a new cabinet way of running the government, with consultation and briefings and consideration of alternative views has been swept away by a man with a blunderbuss blundering as he blusters from the hip ...

Trying to explain how a levy's not a tax ... because it's temporary ...

Even the commentariat can't save a man from this sort of monumental nonsense, and even the reptiles didn't try:

It made the standard hagiographic knob polishing of the bouffant one even more belated and pitiful than usual:

Captain Courageous?

A captain's knock?

But Abbott has started a debate and lost control of it, and now the PPL remains caught up in that bigger debate, and mutineers will gather in dark corners and mutter, and no amount of the most strenuous knob-polishing by the bouffant one will alter that reality ...

What a monumental fool Abbott has been, to the point where the pond whether jolly Joe Hockey sold him a dump (as they say in the land of coat hangers and spear tackles and broken necks), and Abbott accepted the hospital pass before being collared and hospitalised...

Which is why the pond has opened its book. You see, Shorten is a cure which might be as bad as the current disease, but there are other Liberal diseases ready to do their work behind the arras ...

You could even open your own book for own amusement at home, though like James Packer, the pond urges everyone to gamble responsibly ... unless you happen to be a Chinese high rolling beached whale, in which case consider yourself stripped of your fortune and bundled into a plane to go home ...

Oh yes, they're all at it, and David Rowe manages to turn Abbott into a ginger, who beguiles hapless Scott Morrison - already indicted for shocking crimes against humanity - into even more waywardness.

Let the count down of the days begin, and more Rowe here to amuse us as we travel along singing a cheerful song:

... a stone is a stein is a rock is a boulder is a pebble, and an Abbott is a Gillard except when he's a Ruddster.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

A rose is a rose, and a snake is a snake, and Tony Abbott is Tony Abbott ...

(Above: and so the memes continue)

Is it stupidity, arrogance or hubris, or a combination?

All those promises, all that rhetoric:

There is one fundamental message that we want to go out from this place to every nook and cranny of our country: there should be no new tax collection without an election. (here)

Everyone knows a levy is a tax, and we know it in no small measure thanks to Tony Abbott and his stance on the Queensland flood levy and the Medicare levy:

She committed to a tax before she knew the bill. Now, we don’t think tax first. We think save first. So that’s the difference of approach, the fundamental difference of approach between us and the Government. (here)

All I know is that a good opposition holds the government to account and it acts as a credible alternative would, and I think that a credible alternative government, based on the principles that have always animated the Liberal and National parties in this country would look for savings rather than hit Australians with a new tax at a bad time. (here)

And so on and on. We even learned from a negative Abbott example, as in this encounter with John Laws, lovingly transcribed by the faithful so they could work out the meaning buried in the entrails:

Laws – Your proposal for paid parental leave, that’ll be funded by a 1% levy on the company’s biggest companies. That’s a great big tax.

Abbott – Well, it’s a modest levy 

Laws – It’s a tax 
Abbott – It’s err…I’m not going to get into a terminological argument with you John.. I accept that it has to be paid for. It will be paid for by a levy on the taxable incomes over…blah blah blah…There will also be a company tax cut under us to make headroom for this… 

Laws - But it’s very interesting, when you talk about a cut it’s a tax, when you talk about an increase it’s a levy. What’s the difference between a levy and a tax?
Abbott – Well, I’ll leave others to ponder 

Laws – No, no, no, you obviously know the difference. 

Abbott - Well, well, er 
Laws -Tell me the difference between a levy and a tax 

Abbott – Well…umm…John…we can speculate all day
Laws – No, no we don’t need to speculate.
Abbott – I accept John, I absolutely accept that the paid parental leave scheme does have to be paid for and it is going to be paid for by a levy which you prefer to call a tax, it will be paid for by a levy or a tax if you prefer that on larger companies. (found here)

Of course the cat was belled for anyone who bothered to read the Queensland flood levy bill, recommended - oh loving irony by chair of the committee charged with the matter, Craig Thomson - in its opening words:

The Bill amends the Income Tax (Transitional Provisions) Act 1997 (the Transitional Provisions Act) to require a taxpayer to pay extra income tax for the 2011–12 financial year if:
the taxpayer is an individual, and 
his or her taxable income for the 2011–12 income year exceeds $50 000. 
The extra income tax is known more commonly as the ‘temporary flood reconstruction levy’ (the terms ‘tax’ and ‘levy’ are essentially interchangeable) (here)

Essentially interchangeable, though one might be for a specific purpose and another a more permanent measure.

And then there were all the other three word slogans, such as the impossibility of taxing the way to prosperity:

...the point I keep making is that you can’t tax your way to prosperity, you can’t regulate your way to prosperity. (here)

Yes, he kept making it over and over again like a three word slogan chanting Hari Krishna ...

Now some have taken comfort from the way the currently proposed "levy" - hung out into the wind to see how the wind blows - is supposed to be targeted at the rich. And once it's done and dusted, hallelujah, everybody will rise to a new world of lower taxes.

But the pond has always taken a Gertrude Stein view of the world ... a rose is a rose is a rose, a levy is a tax is a levy is a tax, a promise is a promise is a promise, and an Abbott is a fraud is an Abbott ...

And so did Lenore Taylor:

Yep, Taylor went at it hammer and tongs in Tony Abbott's duplicity in proposing a 'temporary debt levy' is astounding.

And it probably would be astounding if you expected Abbott to be anything but a mendacious, lying, cheating, fraudulent, deceptive, deceitful, hypocritical politician of the first water, a man who makes the average snake in the grass seem like a kindly D. H. Lawrence creature going about an honourable life ...

But you'd expect to find the shattered illusions and the pain of the innocents in The Graudian.

What's interesting is the way the reptiles in Murdoch la la land have reacted to the news.

Here's the front page of the lizard Oz:

Uh huh. Remember the good old days when Labor tried to make a move on people earning over $150k? 

Back then, Abbott labelled it "class warfare", and the Murdochians howled with anger and pain.

 (class warfare, with classy bike, here, screen cap no hot links)

How dare class warfare be made to stalk the land.

Today the Daily Terror grudgingly acknowledged the "levy" and bizarrely dressed it up as an EXCLUSIVE:

But in the digital edition it was presented as a kind of communitarian, socialist, comradely sharing of the pain, as all the farm workers heroically did their bit to help the pigs achieve utopia:

Share the pain to help fearless leader? Why it sounds almost benign.

It was only in the provinces that there was a decent shriek and a howl, though the "tax smash pain on all houses" had to share space with parochial matters:

As if to compensate, online the Murdochians ran an edited summary of Abbott's speech last night to the Sydney Institute - that gathering place of inner city elites and prattling Polonius - highlighting the 'pain so we can all gain' riff":

As for the Fairfaxians?

Why, they were right on the ball. 

Kylie's Logie commotion is exactly the sort of top of the page analysis Australia needs in these troubled times.

Naturally the Sydney Fairfaxians were right at the top of their game, holding the government to account, and providing the sort of hot topic you'd expect for a water cooler conversation game changer.

But at least the Sydney Fairfaxians ran a double in the digital edition:

So in summary, apart from the pitiful evidence of the tragic irrelevance of the mainstream media in hard copy form, and the irreversible shift of the Fairfaxians towards click bait, what do the runes suggest?

Can Abbott get away with calling a tax a levy, and avoid a levy being thought of as a tax, no matter what he said in the past about levies, while showing a fondness for levies himself, and can Abbott get away with said tax by indulging in class warfare and targeting the rich, though in his very own speech, he was careful to explain that he wasn't targeting the rich:

Not for a second would I label families as “rich” just because they are earning $100,000 a year. A teacher married to a part-time shop assistant with children to feed, clothe and educate is certainly not rich especially paying a capital city mortgage.

So the levy which isn't a tax targets the rich, except that they're not rich. But then they're not being taxed either ... they're just being hit with a river bank.

So will the other second simple minded mantra, a coupling of three word slogans, also win out?

Endure the pain
Share the gain

On the evidence, it's likely. The man who promised no new taxes, who demonised the carbon tax, who excoriated Gillard for her taxing ways, might well skate on through, with the media defanged by its support for a scorpion, who after all, is just doing what scorpions always do with frogs ...

There'll be a few squawks from the likes of Lenore Taylor at the sheer brazen hypocrisy of the emperor, and a few pointing out the stench emanating from the dissembling, lying, cheating hypocrite, and everybody else will trudge along hoping for pie in the sky bye and bye, and maybe an actual surplus in a decade.

A decade?

And yet if you believe what you hear, Abbott has broken his most basic - and for years, at least to him his most fundamental message - for a mess of pottage:

CHRIS RICHARDSON: The Government's talking temporary. I'm sure it wants it to be temporary. There's a big enough budget problem that I can't say I'm necessarily convinced it will end up being temporary. Government also says high-income earners, so you could do it a few ways: you could, you know, boost the Medicare levy over $100,000, say, or you could go direct through the personal income tax system. There aren't many dollars to be had in high-income earners. If you just added 0.5 per cent to the top income tax rate - you know, people over $180,000 a year - that's not much more than an extra $300 million a year collected. Handy but not big bikkies in budget terms. 
LOUISE YAXLEY: So it would need to come down the income tax scale a bit. What do you think would be most effective? 
CHRIS RICHARDSON: If, for example, the Government picked up everybody over incomes of $80,000 a year - and they'd be pretty reluctant to do that - you would get somewhere around $750 million, $800 million a year from that. That's starting to be more serious money. You'd need to reach down one other tax level as well and pick up most people to start to get something close to $2 billion a year. (here)

But that's not even enough to offset the cost of Abbott's pet overblown paid parental leave scheme, which the APH assured the world would cost $5.7 billion a year. (here)

Which leads the pond to think this about the Australian media:

Mugs reporting to the mugs about how they're being mugged by the hypocritical, double-dealing, forked tongue, mugging mugs ...

(Below: at least David Rowe knows how to deal with a bottle of etherised promises and Pinocchio noses, and more Rowe here)

Monday, April 28, 2014

Ah Jake, you've got to laugh, it's Sydney town ...

(Above: Juanita Nielsen in her beehive hey day)

The pond was reminded the other day of the Juanita Nielsen matter.

Nielsen has a brief biography at the ADB here, and there's a link to one of the corrupt businessmen involved in the matter here.

For years nobody in New South Wales could bring themselves to admit, acknowledge or put on the record that Nielsen had been murdered. There was a conspiracy of silence, and the best that could be said was that she had seemed to have disappeared. One day an activist, the next day gone travelling.

It was a time when New South Wales was deeply, profoundly corrupt.

This is, perhaps a truism, since New South Wales has always been, and continues to be, deeply corrupt.

Back then, it rotted from the head down, with both the Premier and the Police Commissioner corrupt.

The ADB is piquant on the fortune that Askin made, here, though it - like the media of the day - is relatively discreet:

Askin died on 9 September 1981 at Darlinghurst and was cremated. Anticipating that questions might be asked about his estate, valued at $1.958 million, he had explained to his former press secretary, Geoffrey Reading, that for years he had been `the highest paid public officer in the State’, that `his lifestyle was frugal’, that he had `taken out a series of maturing endowment policies’, that `he was a very successful punter’, that he had benefited from the will of his brother, and that he was skilled in financial affairs and a most successful stock market investor. Though the Department of Taxation made no finding of criminality, it determined that a substantial part of Askin’s estate was generated through undisclosed income from sources other than shares or punting and taxed it accordingly. Lady Askin, childless, and a devoted wife who almost certainly had no idea that he conducted a number of extramarital affairs, survived him and inherited most of his estate. Her estate was valued at $3.725 million; a substantial part of it, too, was taxed. A portrait (1968) of Askin by Judy Cassab hangs in the New South Wales Parliament.

Yep, you can be shamelessly corrupt, and get hung in Parliament in a most genteel way.

It was only years after, with books like David Hickie's The Prince and the Pauper that the depth of the corruption was revealed.

Like the days of prohibition in the United States, the corruption relied on petty vice to generate cash flow - people who wanted a drink out of hours, or a little gambling casino style, or to pay for sex, or do some drugs, or to take a walk on the wild side and hang out with trannys at Les Girls.

Criminals supplied the services, and the police licensed the services and politicians were paid to look the other way.

Naturally the criminals looked to legitimise themselves further by embarking on sensible business activities. Such as tearing down parts of Sydney and re-building it at substantial profit. And if that involved the murder of an activist, hey you don't fix an engine without getting a little grease on your hands ...

It also led to what might be called the John Singleton defence.

The people in the 1950s, 60s and 70s were no different to those in 1850s, 60s, 70s. They wanted a drink, a bet and a good time and they weren’t about to let some dumb laws stand in their way. 
There were those who supplied the demand they became criminals. 
There were those who had to be paid off to let it all happen and they became corrupt. Is that the shocking truth or just the inevitable way life is? (Come back Bob - It was all in fun!)

Actually, if you were a politician, you theoretically had the power to change the laws, and remove the rackets. The pond is always in favour of fun, but if you can't rely on politicians to devise sensible laws, and police to police them, what's the point of having either of them in the house?

The truth is, neither the pollies or the cops were much interested in reform. Why let a little actual political activity, and law-making, get in the way of the rackets and nice little earners?

Singleton's squeal came from the way he was a facilitator and a player in the Askin game ...

You could almost smell the saintliness in the air in his defence gambit:

From that time on the commercials became part of the legend and the friendship I had with Bob Askin became one of a father and the son he had never had. 
Bob quit politics and we shared regular luncheons where the wine and stories flowed as the afternoons became nights. 
I loved the cynical old bastard. I saw the good, soft side of Bob Askin. I saw the tough side. I never saw a bent side if there was one.

It's hard to see a bent side through rose-coloured glasses, and the sobbing tears of filial piety and respect.

The excuse Singleton offered was a pathetic nonsense of course. If everyone followed the logic there'd be chaos - don't like a law, why then feel free to break it.

Supposed to be a cop policing the law, but find it too hard to police? Why just take that brown paper bag sir and have a nice laugh at the joke.

Worried about where your next gambling dollar is coming from Mr Premier? Concerned that you leave your wife a decent estate and that you get hung in parliament? No worries, and as a bonus, we'll thrown in John Singleton explaining how what you did was merely a community service and not a hypocrisy and corruption of the first water ...

Flash forward to today, and we're about to get a whole new ICAC circus, and along with it, no doubt a set of apologists doing their thing, and explaining how ICAC is a Star Chamber that's wrongly persecuting the political class, and how shocking and disrespectful it is (just as everybody was shocked and consternated when the mud was thrown at Askin and it stuck).

Usually this gaggle of apologists - you can find a lot of them in the Murdoch press - were as happy as pigs in mud when the Labor party was being done over; now it's the Liberal party and its hacks being given the slow roast, there's much consternation and hand wringing.

The reality is that corruption in Sydney is bipartisan and always has been. The Labor government that preceded Askin was remarkably corrupt, and Labor councils were routinely in the thick of it.

Forget it Jake, it's Chinatown, and this nice little anecdote for the ABC show The Track sort of conjures up the spirit:

John Singleton, once made TV commercials portraying Bob Hawke's Labor mates as Stalinist. Now they were co-owners of a horse, called Belle De Jour. Their filly was left four lengths behind when the Slipper field jumped. But then, she got up to win. The miracle of that victory had Singleton, as promised, shouting the entire public bar of Rosehill. He refused to buy the members a beer. No doubt the gesture - not to mention his kissing the ex-Prime Minister who believed we all once loved him - is now part of racing folklore. Wherever he is, Perc Galea, would have smiled. (here)

Yes you too can be a Stalinist who lies down with a capitalist, and gets up sharing ownership of a horse named after a Buñuel heroine who craves a life as a prostitute and ritual humiliation ...

Traditionalists will remember that these days there was much titillation when it was revealed Liberal party fundraiser Nicholas Di Girolamo owned shares with AWH shareholder John Rippon in a racehorse called Partners in Crime.

Well the circus is cranking into gear again today, as foreshadowed yesterday in ICAC's reality politics better than reality TV:

The continuing inquiries by the Independent Commission Against Corruption are proving that reality politics can be more riveting than reality TV. The next ICAC episode, which starts on Monday, is expected to deliver several twists and turns given that its backdrop is the stench of corruption surrounding developers, their hefty donations to political parties and possible favourable outcomes.

It's just as well. The pond long ago turned away from TV in favour of the sight of the insatiable greed of Sydney-siders willing to do anything to obtain a dwelling with at the least a harbourside glimpse, along with a share in a racehorse with a funny name ...

And it turns out that today, the commentariat, as if aware that a real circus is about to happen, have turned their attention to almost anything else they can find.

The best Paul Sheehan can offer is a cobbled together, mashed up, beat up about Facebook and Google,  but the only thing useful in Google's influence balloons thanks to maps and drones is a reminder that Project Loon still lives, and not just on the pond ...

According to the Fairfax date, it's already a couple of days old though it's presented this Monday as a new feast, when in reality it's months old, and shows Sheehan flinging together secondary sources in a way that suggests he really doesn't have much of a clue about anything when it comes to being a futurist.

Next the pond tried Tim Blair, a man who routinely makes a gadfly sound like a heavyweight ready to tackle a world champion ...

Yes, the gadfly likes to pass himself off as a humorist, but if you can find a single sharp satirical thrust in ABC faces the facts in donkey business why you're way sharper than the pond.

Blair managed to leap frog from this variant on a Murdochian assault on the ABC, and never you mind that Simpson was a radical trade unionist and deserter ratbag:

It’s probable, the ABC reported, that there was more than one donkey. 
The ABC was so stunned by this multiple-donkey scoop that it was mentioned four times online and on video. Talk about destroying an Australian military legend! All these years, whenever we’ve spoken about Simpson and his donkey, we really should have been saying Simpson and his donkeys. It’s enough to make you question everything we know about our nation’s history. 
As it happens, there has never been much dispute over Simpson’s several donkeys. Contemporaneous accounts report that they used to get shot all the time, as you’d expect in the circumstances. The ABC’s myth-busting is nearly 100 years late. Still, now we’ve got that fraud Simpson and his welter of donkeys out of the way, the ABC’s fact-checkers can move on to other crucial areas of contention, beginning with: 

Yes, yes, from that, to this:

Mr Squiggle — Everybody remembers passive-aggressive pencilnosed Squiggle for his eerie ability to complete unfinished drawings. 
 How did he do it? Was Squiggle secretly assisted by Miss Jane or Rocket? Was his head just a handle, manipulated by unseen forces? And why was Squiggle cancelled just two years before September 11? Video analysis continues as the fact-checkers aim to put us in the picture.

It's like watching a man with a pickaxe or a baseball bat or a blunderbuss firing away and mistaking it for a comedy outing.

It's as funny as watching paint dry. It generates sympathy for the ABC, this sort of leaden stuff, where none is deserved or required.

On and on Blair goes, about as clever as a pie in the face and as subtle as that banana peel left in wait in the street.

How pathetic does it get?

Well Blair even ends up recycling Skippy:

Skippy — For decades, biologists have been vexed by Skippy the bush kangaroo’s aptitude for dialling telephones, pushing buttons, gathering small objects and otherwise adapting in a primitive but remarkably adroit way to his surroundings. “These abilities invariably vanish when Skippy is viewed in anything other than close-up shots showing only his paws,” a researcher explains. “In all of the wide shots we’ve seen, he just hops around like an idiot. “The dichotomy is inexplicable.”

That was fresh when Abe Saffron was putting on shows at Les Girls.

As for the Bolter?

Well he was still represented today in the Daily Terror by this piece:

The pond knew at once that Peter Underwood had done and said a number of sensible things. Whatever they might be ...

It got so desperate the pond even hunted out Prattling Polonius, a man now much reduced in substance and routinely ignored by the editors at the lizard Oz, who rarely give him a featured splash on the rotating digital finger of doom at the top of the page.

The best he could offer on Saturday in Parliament will be interesting enough without the myths?

Tony Abbott’s Coalition government has completed about 20 per cent of its term. It makes sense, at this relatively early stage of the political cycle, to challenge some of the prevailing mythology. 
 ● Myth one: Tony Abbott and the Coalition are travelling poorly.

Myth two was that Gerard Henderson never wears rose-coloured glasses ...

Well you have to hand it to Polonius, he's way funnier than Tim Blair.

But what the pond yearns for is the circus where you can see the best of Sydney's clowns, so let the show begin yet again ...

(Below: Abe Saffron showing how to pose)

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Time for a little Sunday distraction ...

(Above: the crowds gather for a canonisation, and hey, if you want to hook up with a single in your area, no doubt for steaming, spicy, hot Catholic sex, with guilt and inhibitions, Catholic News USA will help you out here).

The pond doesn't get it.

Scrub that.

The pond gets why the Catholic church has cranked up the saints business.

It's all about panem et circenses, and a voracious media, operating on a 24/7 cycle feeds on this sort of offal like it's another dose of caviare.

It's a handy distraction when stories still keep popping up in the media about the institutionalised nature of the child abuse, and the institutional response (Church fought abuse claimants tooth and nail).

The recent stories haven't done much for the Salvation Army either - Salvation Army officer abused girl then mother, royal commission told.

No, there's all sorts of reasons for fast-tracking saints, and using the Penn and Teller-approved magician's trick of distraction:

When Penn and Teller perform the cups and balls trick, they throw an additional variation into the mix: After performing the trick with the traditional cups, they repeat the illusion with transparent cups. The mechanisms of the illusion are so effective, however, that audiences are still deceived even when they can see through the cups and presumably track the journey of the balls. (more here)

Everyone knows the canonisation of the two popes has been speciously fast-tracked, all for an ostentatious display.

So along with all the hoopla has come plenty of dissent, even as the hoopla is being reported and celebrated, and endless stories are run about how saints are made in the church:

...what should be a day of triumphant celebration for the Holy See will be overshadowed by deep-seated controversy. There is intense debate over whether popes should be made saints in the first place, and in particular over whether John Paul II is deserving of the honour. 
Many Catholics question the whole process of canonising popes, saying it is wrong because it is inherently political – that factions within the Church push for sainthood for their favourites in order to strengthen their legacy. 
Conferring sainthood implies that some popes are more worthy than others. Either canonise every Pope or none at all, critics say. “Canonising popes is a dumb idea. People will say, well what about Paul VI (the Pope who succeeded John XXIII and reigned from 1963 to 1978)?” said Father Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest and the author of Inside the Vatican: The Politics and Organisation of the Catholic Church. “If you don’t canonise him or other Popes, it seems as though there is something wrong with them.” There is also disquiet among some Catholics about the speed with which John Paul II has been canonised. 
Normally, a person has to be dead for five years before the process can start. That waiting period was waived by then Pope Benedict XVI, in response to the Polish pontiff’s huge popularity – at his funeral crowds chanted “Santo subito!” - make him a saint now. 
Benedict was keen to fast-track John Paul II, a fellow conservative, in order to validate his own vision of the Church, many Vatican observers believe. 
Pope Francis had little say in the matter of making John Paul II a saint – his job was simply to name the date. 
But it was his decision to combine it with the canonisation of John XXIII (1958 – 1963), in what is being seen as a political masterstroke – a deft way of balancing the conservative, some would say authoritarian, papacy of John Paul II with the more liberal, reforming reign of John XXIII. 
In his determination to hold the double canonisation, Francis waived the normal two miracle requirement for John XXIII – he will be made a saint with just one under his belt, what the Vatican claims is the scientifically inexplicable cure of an Italian nun with a stomach tumour who had prayed to his memory. “[Francis’s] actions have demonstrated very publicly how politicised saint-making has become, a process that risks devaluing the idea that saints are above all role models for how ordinary people should live a holy life,” argued Paul Vallely, a professor in public ethics at Chester University and the author of “Pope Francis – Untying the Knots”. (and the hoopla here)

Exemptions, waivers, politics, balance, conservatives v liberals...

We're a long way from the Christ of the bible ...

In that same story, you'll also read how John Paul 11 failed to tackle the abuse scandal, most notably and notoriously in in the matter of Marcial Maciel, the leader of the cult Legionaries of Christ.

Well the pond has no dog in the fight. The saintists will have their day, and in best Penn and Teller fashion, the illusion will be done, and the news will be put out there, and even though some will comment on the way transparent cups were used, the faithful will still swallow the trick ...

Amazing stuff. It's almost enough to make the pond believe in miracles.

So what have the Sydney Anglicans got to fling into the fight against the saintists?

Why they're gleefully mingling church and state in the usual Anglican way:

Yes, the Catholics might have their saints, but the Anglicans always go weak-kneed and get quite besotted at the sight of a Royal passing by ...

After speaking to the members of the choir and Sunday school, the Royal Couple left for Taronga Zoo. (here)

After awhile, it must be hard to tell the zoos apart ...

Meanwhile, the Sydney Anglicans offered up a double barrelled dose of Jensenism for Easter and Anzac day, as if there isn't enough suffering in the world:

It turns out that Jensenism is all in favour of a little war mongering when the timing is right:

Pacifism is a misplaced and mistimed ideal. It is the ideal of heaven. It fails to understand the sinfulness of humanity. We may not like, indeed we should hate, the fact that humans are sinful. But there is no point denying the reality. There will always be a need for Governments to intervene in the affairs of sinful people to maintain order, peace and justice. Be it intervention within our society by the police or intervention outside of our nation with our defence forces - armed intervention is going to happen. We therefore need to be prepared. (here)

By golly, the Jensenists are on the same page as General Buck Turgidson and his real life equivalent General Curtis LeMay.

It is of course a function of the way the Anglicans have been apologists for the state, and deeply embedded as one of the institutions in Britain for centuries. There's very little over-turning of the tables of the money lenders that goes on in Anglican circles - not when there's landlording to be done and money to be made and squillions to be lost on the stock market.

What always astonishes the pond is the intellectual contortions and stark hypocrisy this sort of state-bias produces.

You see, Christ had every chance - seeing as how he was actually god, with all the godly powers that implied - to smite his enemies, wipe out his Roman tormentors, smash the Jews, and generally act in a Jensenist "be prepared to be Buck Turgidson" way, and yet instead he went meekly to the cross like some bloody pacifist or a lamb to the slaughter. And just as suddenly the war mongering is forgotten, and this is presented as a role model:

...the sacrifices that we remember this week can heighten our appreciation of the cost of Easter. For, while we may die for the sake of a good man or our family or our nation - Jesus died for his enemies. To lay down your life for your enemies - even when they are filled with enmity - because they are enemies - is an extraordinary and extreme sacrifice. And Christians can never forget that we were the enemies for whom he died.

So much self-guilt, so much self-hatred, fear and loathing, it's enough to make your average guilt-laden Catholic sound like a hedonist.

Perhaps, if Christ had been suitably prepared, with a Glock, history would have turned out differently.

As for the other part of the double barrel, in The Most Dangerous Idea, the Jensenists get agitated about the usual suspects, which is to say feminists and atheist homosexual panellists.

Is it possible to imagine more horrendous hounds of hell?

Quick, where's the Royals for a bit of baby kissing ...

In the usual way, the Jensenists seize on a few remarks by the likes of Wendy Harmer and Elizabeth Farrelly and recalcitrant Jewish historians to berate all and sundry. It reminds the pond that you can never give fundamentalists an inch - like those cackling nostalgic geese Farrelly and Harmer did - because all they'll do is use the weakness to berate you about the head.

Here's how the trick's done:

The Resurrection cannot be detached from the history of Jesus. The Jewish Historian, Dr. Pincus Lapide (‘The Resurrection of Jesus’ Augsburg Press 1983) wrote not of ‘faith’ but ‘facticity’ when he investigated the evidence for Jesus’ resurrection and concluded that it happened. He wrote: “I cannot rid myself of the impression that some modern Christian theologians are ashamed of the material facticity of the resurrection. Their varying attempts at dehistoricizing the Easter experience which give the lie to all four evangelists are simply not understandable to me in any other way.”

Which raises the question, why does Dr Pincus call himself a Jew?

Clearly he's on the wrong team. I mean, in Penn and Teller terms, resurrection is a mighty fine trick, and if he accepts the resurrection, and still doesn't call himself a believer, that's a bit like a Satanist forgetting who's supposed to come out on top in due course.

And why is Dr Pincus providing ammo for the fundamentalists to take snide sideways shots at people like John Shelby Spong, who doesn't have much time for asinine fundamentalist literalists of the Sydney Anglican school:

“I don’t think the Resurrection has anything to do with physical resuscitation,” he
(Spong) said. “I think it means the life of Jesus was raised back into the life of God, not into the life of this world, and that it was out of this that his presence” — not his body — “was manifested to certain witnesses.” 
Like Rivett, he too said the Resurrection must be placed in context to be interpreted and understood — something he tried to do as a young priest in the Bible Belt through yearlong Bible study classes culminating in the Easter story, he said. 
“I tried to help people get out of that literalism,” he said. “But you don’t do it in a single sermon. You need time to lay the groundwork and for people to process it, ask questions. You have to begin to build it.” 
Spong’s Bible studies were enormously popular, attracting 300 people to each session, he said. His congregations grew as a result. 
“When people hear it, they grab onto it,” Spong said. “They could not believe the superstitious stuff and they were brainwashed to believe that if they could not believe it literally they could not be a Christian.” 
A Christian, Spong said, is one who accepts the reality of God without the requirement of a literal belief in miracles. (here)

Oh you can get the Sydney Anglicans agitated with that sort of idle chatter.

It is part, of course, of the assorted churches never being able to get their theology straight, as the pond was reminded reading G. W. Bowersock's What a Saga!, currently outside The New York Review of Books, which is a review of Simon Schama's story of the Jews but inter alia provides a few other insights:

In the early twentieth century the Jewish origins of Christianity embarrassed at least some of the faithful, including scholars such as the German theologian Adolf von Harnack. This discomfort soon spread throughout the majority of German Christians, both Protestant and Catholic. They made strenuous efforts to remove the so-called Old Testament (the Hebrew Bible) from Christian worship, and they even went so far as to claim absurdly that Jesus was an Aryan. This of course allowed German Christians, with a few noble exceptions, to unite their religious and national fervor in an evil cause. Even a Cardinal who protested the removal of the Old Testament from Catholic worship defended his position by asserting that it was only by reading the biblical texts that Christians would recognize the sins of the Jews. 
Such a poisonous falsification of the historical record has not altogether disappeared even now, as I discovered myself a few years ago when doing an interview on the Apocalypse for the Arte European television station. After mentioning the Jewish origins of Christianity, I was interrupted and instructed to re-record that part of the interview without mentioning the Jews. 
It is true that within a few generations after Jesus Jews and Christians began to go their separate ways, though there may have been a brief moment in the late first century when the Roman persecution of Christians led some of them to return to synagogues as the most effective means of avoiding detection. But the “parting of the ways” was irreversible, and the early martyr acts, notably of Polycarp in the second century and of Pionius in the third, show unmistakable traces of fierce antagonism between Jews and Christians in Asia Minor. Yet even with the growing differences between the early Christians and the Jews, every Christian still accepted the Hebrew Bible as sacred scripture. They considered the Bible fundamental, and it would take nearly two millennia before some Christians would disown it.

Which just goes to show, contra the Jensenists, if you've the mind and the will, anything can be detached from actual history.

And then there's this, which serves as a reminder for wayward Jews tempted to uphold the Resurrection:

The problem for Jews living among Muslims was precisely that their religions had so much in common. They were all monotheists, and they all rejected idolatry. For both religions Christianity could be seen as idolatrous. Maimonides could not accept the doctrine of the Trinity because it denied the unity of God, as did the belief that Jesus was God incarnate. But at least the Jews, unlike the Muslims, shared the Hebrew Bible with the Christians, even if Christians were sometimes less than enthusiastic about their Jewish origins. As Maimonides saw in his great epistle addressed to the Jews of Yemen in 1172 at a time of Muslim intolerance, Jews living in Christian states were in a very different position from Jews among Muslims. Yet even if Christians and Jews both read the Bible, Jews living among Muslims were in agreement about what they perceived to be Christian idolatry.

Well indeed. Even a Camperdown atheist has no problem seeing the angry Sydney Anglicans as Christian idolators, waging a war against gay and women's rights ...

You see the Jensenists are fierce trinitarians:

It is about time that we rediscovered the Trinity – that we heard the Triune name spoken of more in our praying and in our corporate worship. (here)

Corporate worship? Well there's a bit of a word slip for a Sydney landlord with a lot of prime real estate. But never mind, at this point, we've drifted well away from simple-minded Jensenist pieties of the literalist fundamentalist Anglican kind.

What's left is assorted baubles - saints and royals - which show how under the skin, the Catholics and the Anglicans just love their show biz routines ...

Which inevitably brings us back to Penn and Teller, and the good thing about Penn and Teller, at least when the pond saw them in Vegas, was that they worked the crowd during the show, and then they worked the crowd after the show ...

Yes, even Neil Sedaka is better than Miranda the Devine ...

(Above: the Stepford Wives in 1975)

So the pond used the internet radio yesterday to catch up on Paul Harris's Film Buff's Forecast on RRR ...

Why? Well the internet radio is there, and it's closer than Everest.

Lordy, lordy, and dear long absent lord, it turned out not a single movie was discussed, and instead the theme was the music of Neil Sedaka.

Apparently the music of Burt Bacharach had been given similar treatment in previous weeks, but oh how the mighty have fallen. The pond learned nothing new, but was reminded how, along with a couple of hits, Sedaka had been responsible for some very bad music, and that Carole King's riposte Oh Neil to Sedaka's genuine hit Oh Carol possibly rated as her worst moment in pop music ...

Is this what the internet is for? Listening to Neil Sedaka tunes, courtesy of Melbourne community radio? Is this the demographic for Film Buff's Forecast?

The pond immediately resolved to go out and buy a pair of slippers to prepare for winter ...

But there was something to be said for the experience - it was a temporary lull to all the hate, and anger, and fear and loathing, and strutting, and peacocking, and harden the fuck up fuckery, and get off my lawnery crap that saturates the Murdoch rags these days ...

Yes, a bloated reprobate and self-confessed drug user, who's only exercise is to pound the keyboard in anger and loathing is on side with jolly Joe Hockey about the need to get tough.

How about the need to shed a few pounds?

As usual, News Limited is befuddled about its paywall. The Sunday Terror will tell you you've used your free limit, and yet the site will serve up jolly Piers for free here.

It made the pond realise that "free" is a double edged sword. You mean there are people who'd actually click on this hagiographic nonsense because it's free?

It reached the height of existential absurdity down towards the end. Akerman is aware that the federal government is about to screw local students even more than in the past - lord knows the poor buggers have been given a right royal screwing in recent times, without benefit of KY or prophylactic and now have to spend 25 hours a day in casual work to spend the other eight hours in the day studying ...

But of course Akker Dakker must also maintain the line that they're a mob of deviant, incipient bludgers.

Here's how that's done:

University students should be expected to assist with the cost of their education (beyond racking up HECS debts which many will never pay) and universities should be able to price their courses without a fee cap if they are going to compete for the best students and provide the best tuition.

American tertiary education is already well and truly fucked, and Australia has now embarked on that path ... and the best Akker Dakker can do is explain how fees must be raised, and even more debt incurred by students, simply so he can have the pleasure of berating the bludgers and ne'er do wells for not repaying insurmountable debts ...

Talk about coming and going ...

Oh for the love of the long absent lord, Paul Harris, play some more Neil Sedaka ...

And then the pond went looking for Miranda the Devine, usually a reliable source of foaming, frothing rage and anger about something or other. Usually greenies or MAMILS - fearless leader excepted - or bicycles - or anyone to the left of Genghis Khan ...

You know, hang a greenie from the nearest lamp post, that sort of stuff ...

But the Devine has another mode. It's the mind boggling, simpering, fawning, forelock tugging mode.

The pond could feel the gorge, the overwhelming nausea, rising before even daring to click on the folly.

You see, for a rag that pretends it's on side with the western suburbs, it's actually a paper full of a commentariat who fear and loathe and dislike the bogan. Hence the talk of putting class back into sexy, and the tut tutting about slut walks and anything else that might offend an eastern suburbs princess ...

It's not just the Devine of course - the entire media indulged in a bout of arse-licking and butt kissing before the royals rolled out of town. The pond often imagines the sort of conversation they must have in the pampered first class plane as they leave the dust of the antipodes and the arse-licking behind ... "Dear, did you see that dreadful woman curtesy so low you'd swear she was fishing for your fly", and so on ...

Now if you want to read this folderol, which is to say trivial and nonsensical and absolutely meaningless fluff - second thoughts, scrub that, it reveals more about the Devine than you ever need to know - why not click on it at the HUN, instead of giving the Sunday Terror a hit?

Whatever you do, don't read it. Just teach the buggers a lesson with a wayward click.

If you actually read Kate the queen of new class of style, it's likely you might be struck blind on the spot, as you encounter this sort of abject stupidity:

In this era of butt selfies and slut walks, Kate Middleton, aka the Duchess of Cambridge, is a revolutionary. 
The royal couple flew out of Australia with baby George on Friday after a flawless tour that owed much of its success to the young mother. 
Kate’s grace and elegance is a welcome change from the desperate self-loathing exhibitionism of most celebrity ­females of her generation. 
It’s why she is raising ­hackles among snarky feminists. They have called her variously “plastic princess”, “painfully thin”, a “jointed doll on which certain rags are hung” and even “dangerous for our daughters.” 
Sunny Kate represents a threat to the pornification ­industry, which has somehow duped feminism into the belief that dressing like a stripper and acting like a hooker equals emancipation. 
Nothing could be further from the truth. You only have to look at Miley Cyrus and Lindsay Lohan to see what the end game is.

Oh for fuck's sake, is there a Neil Sedaka record in the house?

No, we dumped all the 45s? We'll have to make do with that double CD homage to the songs of Jackson Browne that also featured on RRR?

Kate is the anti-slut, the antidote to everything wrong with Western culture. She has put class back into sexy, made modesty cool, and added ­cachet to marriage and motherhood. No wonder she has become a role model to a generation of young women, despite scornful feminists.

Actually there's a fair argument that the Murdochians, the Devine, Faux Noise, and all the rest of it is actually everything that's wrong with Western culture.

Never mind, it is of course impossible to send up the Devine when the Devine so neatly sends up the Devine herself.

There's even more clucking and cooing, and simpering and fawning and forelock tugging, and even the greenies are dragged into the love fest:

Even arch republican and Greens loon Senator Sarah Hanson-Young admires her. She brought her seven-year-old daughter Kora to the Great Hall at Parliament House on Thursday to give a bouquet of flowers to the pretty princess. 
But there is something about Kate’s demure style and dutiful demeanour that grates with certain women. 
Kate, or Catherine, as her adoring husband William now calls her, had barely touched down in Australia when the subterranean griping started. Republicans, with the popularity of their cause plummeting, naturally were irritated at the adulation, and brushed it off as mere celebrity. Female commentators lambasted Kate for being a privileged dress-up doll “defined” by her husband. 

Now as Jon Stewart noted recently it sometimes gets hard for liberals when someone like Gwyneth Paltrow turns up again and again in the press, most recently bragging about a perfectly planned "conscious uncoupling" (yes that's the sort of story the Daily Mail feeds off here)

In fact the pond can be sent into a screaming frenzy just being reminded that Paltrow exists and is offering advice to sundry people on diet, dress and assorted other lifestyle choices.

Are you sure there's no Neil Sedaka anywhere?

But when you look at it in a disinterested way, Paltrow has possibly more chance of sounding like a rocket or a climate scientist than Miranda the Devine in simpering, fawning, arse-licking mode:

In fact, regardless of how easy she makes it seem, Kate is a working mother who treats her role as a job. Her short, sensible fingernails tell you she is no purposeless prima donna. 

In fact her fingernails tell you she's a hard worker? What, she's out sweeping factory floor at 6 am?

In fact it's an abuse of the notion of speaking in facts, rather than speaking in tongues, and sure enough, it isn't long before the charity card is played:

Patron of seven charities, including one for terminally ill children, she has generated a 10-fold increase in donations to the Foundation of Prince William and Prince Harry since she married into the royal family three years ago. 
If you watched Kate on this tour you would have seen how hard she worked. It might not be the same as toiling on a factory floor, but the discipline and effort of dressing appropriately, behaving properly and politely enduring endless hours of ceremony and small talk is real. She has a knack for making it look fun. 
In contrast to the troubled marriage of Diana and Charles, she and William evidently are very much in love, exchanging easy smiles and admiring looks. 
They managed a grumpy, teething nine-month-old George with aplomb, and spent only two nights away from him. They work together as a well-drilled team, punctual and smiling. 
Sunny, self-disciplined Kate has been an inspired choice as wife. You can’t imagine her rolling her eyes or affecting a glum face for the cameras, like Diana did. And you can’t ­imagine William shooting his cuffs or being jealous or looking exasperated at his wife like his father did. 

I know, I know, the drooling and the spittle is something to see, even in literary form, and images of the town of Stepford come flooding back, even the dreadful one with Nicole Kidman:

But the Devine is always tone deaf, always unaware of the way she parades a profound air of stupidity:

Good manners are not airs and graces but thoughtfulness and consideration for others, and Kate has these in spades. 

So all that talk of sluts and bogans and sharp-tongued shrewish embittered feminists and finely honed fingernails was just good manners?

On and on she goes, making the pond wonder whether there was some way out of here, as the joker told the thief:

You see it particularly when she is talking to disabled children. She bends down to engage with little people and makes sure the child is not alarmed or embarrassed. It’s a skill many politicians never master. 
Kate was always respectful and engaged during 19 days of public appearances in Australia and New Zealand this month, but she’s also a little bolshie, whether she is beating William in a sailing race or pushing past him to take the front seat of a RAAF jet. And he loves her spirit. 
His wife will never feel ­unloved or disrespected, as his mother felt she was. The success of their marriage is due to the fact they had nine years of dating to get to know each other including their time, out of sight of the media, as relatively normal university students at St Andrews in Scotland. It was a better foundation than Diana’s whirlwind courtship at 20 with a man 13 years older. 
Kate is 32, five months older than her husband, and is as well educated as he is, with a degree in the history of art, and has a dignified self-possession that tells of a steely disposition. Mature, smart and respectful of each other, the marriage is one of equals working together in the family business. 
They are restoring the dignity of the office after decades of tawdry scandal and broken marriages. Far from being ­defined by her husband, Kate is redefining the monarchy.

Now the pond has nothing against this particular Royal, just going about, keeping up appearances and making sure the job stays in the family. Being the drones and the queens in the hive sure beats being the worker bees - at least from some perspectives.

Come to think of it, the pond really doesn't care about Paltrow either.

It's just that neither have anything to say or do about anything whatsoever that has anything to do with the pond, and witnessing this latest media circus and the beat-ups - and now this coda by the Devine - the pond is once more reminded of how everything is fukt.

Except, of course that it does provide an excuse to fill up a column with Miranda the Devine guff.

For which the pond apologises profoundly and profusely.

Except to make the bleeding obvious point.

Next time you read the Devine carrying on about greenies, or feminists, or climate science, or bicycles or the future of the planet, or any of her other pet themes, just remember you've stepped into the royalist loving land of the Stepford Wives ...

And not even Neil Sedaka will get you out of that pickle ...

But at least the pond has mentioned a couple of films. Take that Paul Harris!

Now had enough show business?

Trumpets please and spiffy drum roll. It's time for - big voice please -

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Bibs and bobs in honour of doing a Murdochian Sean Hannity ...

Naturally the pond has been following the debacle surrounding Faux Noise - which long ago requested it be considered an entertainment rather than a news channel - and Sean Hannity and Cliven Bundy, which saw Jon Stewart deliver an epic smackdown (and Colbert a quite handy one too).

The stupidity, ignorance, prejudice and welfare queenism of Bundy is understandable enough, but the pond is continually amazed that the likes of Hannity can get out of their crooked bed and maintain a crooked smile while going about their crooked business ...

Does he ever look in the mirror?

It's inspirational stuff, and something the antipodes can only aspire to, though if the reptiles at the Oz and at the Murdochian tabloids could have their way, we'd be there soon enough. After all, they have an inspirational master:

Pick a weirdness, any weirdness will do ...

Why there's enough there for a dozen Hannity angles ...

As it is, all the pond can marvel at is the way the mug punters continue to see upside down as the right way up:

“Be warned — the commemorative tsunami is on its way. As James Brown put it in his recent Anzac’s Long Shadow, we are now witnessing an Anzac ‘arms race’. Australians are competing to find ‘bigger and better ways to commemorate our sacrificed soldiers’. The activities already planned for the centenary of World War 1, Brown calc ulates, will cost Australian state and federal taxpayers nearly $325 million. With a further $300 million projected to be raised in private donations, the commemoration might ultimately cost up to two-thirds of a billion dollars. (here)

$660 million, give or take a threepunce or a ha'penny or six ...

Now it's safe to say that the dead won't care or mind or know much about all the fuss, but meanwhile, the poor buggers who've returned home, wounded, maimed, in mind and/or body from assorted wars, are treated like some form of used goods.

The ABC has learnt the Coalition's razor gang will consider savings which could leave some former Defence personnel worse off. One of the proposals is believed to involve closing an old Defence pension scheme and forcing members into a modern version. More than 250,000 Australians get veterans' affairs support. (here)

Because, you see, if you look after the ha'pennies by screwing the survivors, you can piss them against the wall glorifying the long ago dead.

Now there's a Hannity for you.

Naturally the Murdochians have been full of dire imprecations at those who might dare to destroy the legend:

What's that you say you blood-sucking leech on the public purse, you pusillanimous veterans roaming around, mewing and yowling?

Harden the fuck up. It's more important to indulge in pompous rituals for the dead than give a flying fuck about the living, especially if they flaunt their suffering in a most unseemly way.

Just stick faces up on a wall and all's well:

The living? Messy and useless and expensive, and in need of a financial trim ... no visual beckoning or breaking dawn there ...

Now there's a Hannity for you.

And what about Dame Judith Groan?

Well it might be a no-brainer to Dame Judith, who's probably never done a decent day's physical work in her life, but try telling that to a farm labourer asked to fence the bottom paddock at age 68, or a shearer asked to knock over a hundred sheep in the morning at age 69 ...

Now there's a Hannity for you.

Yes the pond had a number of relatives that were shearers, farm labourers, what have you, with bugger all by way of pay and even less by way of saving for old age, not that they complained, enjoying the work and the outdoors lifestyle, and preferring the bush to the big smoke of Tamworth, but truly by the time they'd hit their sixties, their bodies were a wreck.

So what do they do? Re-train in macrame, or hie themselves off for re-skilling as SEOs on the full to overflowing intertubes?

Where to turn for insights, for help, for considered journalism?

Ah yes, there it is, third story down.

World is Fukt.

True enough.

Of course everyone had a good laugh. mUmBRELLA here, The Guardian there, the Murdoch press pretty well everywhere.

But the pond is deeply sympathetic. For years readers have pointed out typos, errors and omissions, little realising that the copy is perfect until the subs get at it:

A year ago, the AFR outsourced its subediting to a Fairfax subsidiary in New Zealand. More than 20 full-time and casual subeditors lost their jobs in Sydney.

The Kiwis! The Hannities of the internet.

Of course that doesn't explain how the AFR also stuffed up its bar code, which made the weekend rag impossible to sell, or why it's become such an irrelevant rag, heading off to the la la land of the hard core right, but when in doubt, always reach for the nearest cultural stereotype.

It's the Hannity way ...

What else? Well it's Saturday and the pond is in wind-down mode, but it's already been a week of surpassing riches. Like the Bolter agreeing with the buffoon:

Yes,  now you see how you can put together a piece by borrowing and cutting and pasting and then preening and strutting in the plumage, Bolter style.

Of course the story brings together two buffoons who are in what Kurt Vonnegut in Cat's Cradle called a false karass.

One buffoon has sundry interests in coal; the other buffoon, as the world's pre-eminent climate scientist, is convinced it's all the fault of the sun, the wind, volcanoes (insert cause du jour here), or it's not happening at all ...

Now there's a Hannity for you.

The pond prefers David Pope's conflation in today's cartoon, and more Pope here:

Of course you picked it in one.

Pope is suggesting that the turkey, quaintly named Simpson by its loving friends after a long ago revolutionary deserter, and militant, radical trade unionist, is having trouble with its pet donkey, called Hunt, who ran out of wikis and so is having trouble with the munitions ...

Now there's a Hannity for you ...

Which brings the pond to a final grievance for the day:

Hmm, that seems a fair point. It isn't right to go around calling everyone Hannities or Nazis or whatever. Point well made, Mr. Nunn, here.

What's that you say?

There are exceptions. The term "body fascism" seems appropriate for the obsessive expectations mainly placed on women's appearance. A "news junkie" or "chocolate addict" somehow don't devalue the discussion around addiction and its effects. Similarly, we may kill time or two birds with one stone – or could murder a Crunchie – without having a homicidal bone in our body.

Say what? Is there a term for "mind fascism"?

Nazi Germany and Mussolini's Italy and all that they entailed, including the Holocaust, are the equivalent of the fashion game?

You sir, are a Hannity!

But at least now the pond feels comfortable calling Greg Hunt a donkey. It seems an apt way to describe this flunky, what with the collateral damage that's seen the buffoon and the Bolter become as one ...

Now if you missed Stewart, and you've refused to spoof Firefox so you can see him live, despite the very clear instructions available on the full to overflowing intertubes, you can see him doing over Hannity here, and, as a bonus, you can see Colbert doing it here.

And so to David Rowe, seemingly the only reason these days to follow the AFR, and more Rowe here, as he brings together Quentin and the donkey and the buffoon, but sadly doesn't seem to have had enough space for the Bolter, who surely could have got into the show doing his fabulous impression of Uma Thurman as a climate scientist.