Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Forget the pitot tubes, on with the parade of bigots ...

(Above: bright Portland ideas the pond commends to George Brandis. Yes, George, that's Kyle McLachlan, mayor of Portlandia. And now on with the parade).

So the pond already knew about the role that the pitot tube and, likely enough, the black and yellow mud dauber wasp, played in the demise of Birgenair Flight 301, and unwisely switched over to watch another disaster unfold.

The pond can only plead insanity or perhaps the effects of a strong black tea drunk too late, but there it was, Emma Alberici interviwing Maruice Newman, with climate change first up on the agenda - as you can see for yourself in No evidence that man has caused warming, with the caveat that if you click on the link, the pond absolutely denies any legal or moral responsibility for any deterioration in a reader's ability to think.

So was it Newman's predictable science-denying rant that disturbed the pond? Nope, it was the sight of Alberici, ill-informed and floundering, incapable of asking intelligent questions, and appealing to authority on the vaguest grounds.

So this is the best interviewer the ABC has for its prestigious and allegedly serious late news and current affairs program on its main channel?

Alberici started off by trying to bell the cat, and Newman immediately revealed himself to be disingenuous and a hypocrite and a fraud:

EMMA ALBERICI: Now, Clive Palmer thinks the $1.5 billion worth of money the Government has set aside to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is money better spent on the aged pension. What's your view? 
MAURICE NEWMAN: Well, I don't quite know what he means by that. When he says it should be spent on the old age pension, does he mean we should increase the pension, that it should replace other money? I don't quite know what Mr Palmer is talking about frankly.

It was a stupid question, in that talk of the pension gave Newman wriggle room to avoid giving an honest answer to the most important part of the question. Namely what does a key advisor to the government think of the direct action plan?

What he should have said, if he'd been honest, is yes, I think climate science is a load of bunkum, and I agree with Clive Palmer that pissing $1.5 billion against the wall is a waste of time, energy and money. I just don't think we should waste it on pensions.

What we need to do is make old folks sell off their homes, and send them off to poorhouses like they did in sensible Victorian times, where they can eat gruel until they kick the bucket and stop bothering the world and the ruling elite (but don't you worry about me in my old age, Tony Abbott is seeing me right).

Right at the start, Alberici could have belled the cat. She should have asked "But you do agree with Clive Palmer don't you? That the direct action plan is a total and complete waste of money?"

It would have put Newman to the test. He wouldn't have been able to dissemble. He would have either been forced to agree with Palmer, or he would have been revealed to be a fraud, ready to dissemble on behalf of Tony Abbott, Greg Hunt, and their risible, pathetic attempt at window-dressing.

But Alberici just didn't have the class, and instead innocent stray viewers had to listen to a classic Newman rant, replete with all the superstitions doing the rounds in denialist circles, and with all Alberici able to offer as an alternative ... "But scientists say".

There was just one blindingly obvious insight in her questions:

EMMA ALBERICI: I think the one thing we can agree on is that neither of us are scientists. 

The ignorant talking with the ignorant, and shedding neither light, nor heat, at least in any warming and useful sense of the word ...

Alberici even accepted Newman's own specious definitions of what was happening

NEWMAN: ...It's a question of what has the climate done? And we've had, since 1996, 17.5 years where the temperature has shown no measurable increase. In fact, it can be argued since 2003, it has cooled off somewhat. And yet CO2 has been going up about six or seven per cent. So what do we make of that? What do we make about the pause? 
EMMA ALBERICI: That it's a pause. I guess that's what scientists say. It's a pause. They look back 800,000 years as I understand it, so 17 years in the scheme of things isn't an enormous amount of time.

She guesses that's what scientists say?

She guesses?

In the same week that a story broke about the symbolic 400 ppm number, here?

That bit of the interview ended with this classic bit of dissembling and confusion sowing crap, a snow job of the first water:

MAURICE NEWMAN: Emma, let's not confuse the issues. Cleaning the atmosphere, which is what carbon pollution is about, not CO2, CO2 is not a pollutant. But cleaning the atmosphere, being more efficient, all of that makes sense. That's got nothing to do with climate. That's to do with economics and being efficient. But I would say to all of those people who are arguing that CO2 creates global warming and man is adding to the global warming to show the empirical evidence of where this is so. Because I'm saying to you that where this originates is from models. Computer models which are wrong. Now, if you can show me where there is some sort of correlation that proves beyond doubt that what we have is global warming as a consequence of CO2 and man's contribution to CO2 in the atmosphere, well then we can have a different conversation. 

EMMA ALBERICI: I'm sure there will be scientists lining up to give you that information but we'll move on. 
MAURICE NEWMAN: Well we'll look forward to seeing it.

She's sure?

Damn sure it won't be Alberici lining up to ask intelligent questions.

The pond switched off and went to bed in a irritable funk. If there'd been a cat in the room, the pond would have forgotten all about peace on earth, and love for animals, and given the cat a kick. Or at least a major glare ...

Not because of Newman's predictable rant, but because of the failure to ask him any intelligent and informed questions, which might have tested his assertions and pushed him to justify his assertions.

Instead we only knew that Maurice Newman is the true face of Tony Abbott and Greg Hunt on the matter of climate science and climate change, but we already knew that years ago ...

Meanwhile, the Murdochian climate alarmists keep on spreading their panic and alarm:

So what shocked the Devine so?

You don’t have to look far in the climate change debate for examples of the “sheer authoritarianism” that so shocked Attorney-General George Brandis. 
Here was Neil Ormerod, Professor of Theology at the Australian Catholic University no less, writing in the Fairfax letters pages: “Free speech for racist bigots, free speech for climate denialists. Where will it end? There is a value in free speech to promote reasoned discussion and deliberation. And then there is obdurate and at times wilful ignorance ... 
“Denial is not driven by some otherwise ignored piece of scientific insight but by the massive vested interests of the fossil fuel industry (which pursues) its own short-term benefit, even if it means destroying the planet in the process.” 
So you are free to say whatever you like — but only if you agree with the professor’s doomsday eco-nonsense. Yep, just the spirit of open inquiry you want to see at a university.

That's it?

Ormerod rightly points out the likes of the Devine are full of hot air and inclined to idiocy, or at least obdurate and at times wilful ignorance, and all the Devine can do is nicely contrive to overlook the good professor's key point, that there's absolutely no value, use, or benefit in the Devine routinely asserting her free speech right to blather on endlessly, pursued by nightmare visions of demonic greenies who should be hung from the nearest lamp post, along with all those nightmarish bicyclists who simply ruin the street scape (except for a special 'get of out MAMIL jail' card for the PM).

So what was the real point of the exercise?

Well surely it was so this portrait of Bill Shorten could be run:

Eek, a bizarre green monster, picking at a banjo like they did in Deliverance.

Quick children the banjo plucker might be hiding under your bed ... it's Kermit mated with Frankenstein's monster.

Yep, it was a classic piece of fear-mongering, and alarmism, of the most pathetic and childish kind.

The funny thing? The pond doesn't have much time for Bill Shorten. He's much loved by a branch of the extended pond's family, who are as thick as thieves with him, but the pond has always thought the best way to reform the ALP would have been to select anyone other than Shorten as the leader. The difficult question is who ...

Anyhoo, by the end of this nakedly pathetic effort, the pond had a sneaking sense of pity for Shorten. With the cretins at the Murdochian gutter press constantly sniping, it's going to be a long and hard road. And not just for Shorten, for the whole bloody planet.

You see, the Murdochians, made gloomy by the many epic fails of the current government, have taken to living in the past.

Just wait until all the broken promises cascade around ears at budget time when it's sure to get worse. Is it possible to have everything? Fighters, paid parental leave for the rich, pensions untouched, all promises kept?

Soon enough there'll be the epic noise of sounding brass and tinkling cymbals and much speaking in tongues ...

In the meantime, the Murdochians are spending all their time reliving the good years, of hatred and opposition, so much more pleasant than actually having to do things, and resolve conundrums and complexities like Clive Palmer and climate science and pretending to believe in it while working out how to do absolutely nothing about it ...

So today we routinely copped stories like this:

Now Bramston has a book to flog, so there's an excuse for living in the past. But then there are any number of opinion pieces like this, about the Ruddster:

The Murdochians are still obsessed with navel-gazing, and obsessive rear-view mirror looking at former chairman Rudd and chair Gillard...

Stop it, stop it, you'll go blind, or grow hairs on the palms of your hand ...

Time's a moving on. Things have changed. Get over it.

Here's the top story of the day. A cash-strapped government decides to piss money against the wall on a dubious fighter:

Oh dear, we're back to thinking about the pitot tubes ...

Can we at least have a decent cartoon?

Oh we can, we can, David Pope's back from his break. Naughty Mr Pope, please, no recreation leave in these days of Australia's darkest, direst hours ...

Oh wait, it's not a joke. Damned if the pond didn't see this musée when last in Paris. The French love their antipodean eccentricities ...

Yep, it's a serious insight, and a damn sight more of an insight than you'll get from Emma Alberici ... (and more Pope here)

Greg Hunt as a penis gourd and scrotum cover ... now when will he be able to find that in Wiki?


  1. Letting Newman get away with monstrous clangers and crude propaganda is gross deliberate incompetence.

    It was London to a brick that he would rabbit on with the usual denialist claptrap and so a competent journalist on a major TV network's premier current affairs show should have been provided with or provided herself with the obvious answers to his obvious points in advance or, even more appropriately, as befits a position of lead journalist have known the answers as part of her professional expertise.
    Its not hard to find and understand the answers to the silly questions and assertions of well known denialists like Newman.
    They make PRATTs [ point refuted a thousand times] and as such a slightly competent journo could have found such debunking and wizzed it past Newman's head for the benefit of the audience.
    That this was not done is a national disgrace and reflects extremely poorly not just on Alberici but on the management and production staff of the ABC.
    Heads should roll.

    Not happy Mark.


  2. I was left aghast by Newman's comments in that interview. Ms Alberrici gets a 'F' for that interview (if that is what it was). She simply wasn't/isn't up to the job. I choked on my block of pre-bedtime squares of dark chocolate and switched off also. I concur fully with 'fred' above.

  3. And there's so much more light frivolity to which to look forward, with the CIS on May Day:

  4. the pumped up preener was allowed to exhibit his full pompousterousness .... no hint of the precautionary principle as is evidenced by his majestic comb over...

  5. Alberici: "Thou gleeking fen-sucked mumble-news!" (W.S.)

    1. The proposition to be or not to be is not really a question as is:
      Whether Alberici or Newman be or not be scientist.

      But, Shakespeare: Poet, playwright, scientist?

      Shakespeare: Did radical astronomy inspire Hamlet?

      Shakespeare: The godfather of modern medicine

      Shakespeare: Unleashing a tempest in the brain
      The Bard's continuing appeal lies in his intuitive understanding of how the human mind works

  6. I also hit the sack ranting madly at wife over the appalling interview with Abbott's prime bozo.Just could not believe my ears.Will be writing a blazing complaint to ABC. A perfect chance to hold Newman to account and we get that sort of crap. Grrrr!!!, Alberici should be sacked.

  7. There's conflation/convergence in the air. It's plain that the boyos have been clubbing together and worked up some vaguely "intellectual" efflationary tropes. These will, in the near future, work along the lines of: The End of [age of entitlement] [age of enlightenment] [freedom/liberty] [whatever].

    "Politics of Envy" will be a looming trope (should de-loom about May - June, I'm picking). Feel free to make your own predictions.

    Read/listen to the Vanguard of the Warrior Caste (e.g. O'Neill, Cater, Newman, Brandis, Furedi et al) and you won't be able to see a chink of daylight between their mitherings.

    (O'Neill, Cater and Furedi are out here because they've been rumbled in Blighty; this lot are well versed in right-wing vanguardism: for example, see here).

    And. Why now? My pet theory is the Fiona Stanley recently laid into the ferkwittery peddled by this lot. A woman! FFS! And what's more a woman with more intellectual cred than could ever be collectively mustered, over any number of lifetimes, of these ass-grapes.

  8. Joe Hockey: "nothing is free - someone always pays".

    Wrong Joe, entitlements to ex-politicians are free. You'll drool as you grab them with both hands when you retire.

  9. Interesting to connect the dots between Bolt and the ADL.

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments Apr 21

    The worst offenders were the single mums with 3 or 4 kids. If one child had a sniffle, then she would make appointments for all of the kids

    Seems 18C is only used against people who choose to be Australian and not those who choose to be Aboriginal or the Sharia devotees.

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments Apr 20

    ‘What are you looking at you white c---?’ That’s what most acts of racism in WA look like.

  10. There's too many to comment on , but here are a couple more which show the white supremacist clientèle which Bolt panders to.

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments Apr 20

    Low IQ, poor impulse control, and lack of future-time orientation (no concept of consequences). That’s them [indigenous people].

    Bolt Comments ‏@boltcomments Apr 20

    I feel very offended when Adam goodes spouts his anti-Australian racist garbage against white Australians.

    1. Keep 'em coming Anon. If someone's brave enough to trawl through a dungheap which on some days looks and smells like a cesspit, there's always room here to show off what they've discovered. That's why the pond prefers to read

      than summon up the bravery required to get down into the muck heap

    2. I think Bolt has more than a passing relationship with white supremacists. though he would of course deny this But he keeps supplying the ammo..

    3. DP - I prefer Judy Garland.and Fantastic Fred. Keeps me sane.


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