(Above: David Rowe mingling a toga party and the decadence of Rome with a prize fight, setting the tone for the day. More Rowe here).
Every time Tony Shepherd opens his mouth to have a yap, he reveals himself to be an ideological folly of the first water.
Take this evidence from last night's Lateline. Asked about the deficit tax - at least Alberici called it a tax, Shepherd came up with this:
TONY SHEPHERD: Well I think there's two issues. There's two issues there. One is to get back to surplus more quickly is an advantage. We save the interest cost and it means we're in a more secure position earlier. The other side of it though is what is the impact on confidence, consumer and business? I would certainly say - and it's not something that we looked at in the commission, but I'd say that if they were to bring in something like that, they'd need to be very careful about implementing any of our recommendations which have an immediate impact on the individual. So, things like Family Tax Benefit B and that sort of thing, I think you wouldn't want to run that in parallel with a debt tax or levy or whatever you want to call it.
EMMA ALBERICI: Why not?
TONY SHEPHERD: Because that might just be too much of a shock for the system.
EMMA ALBERICI: So, you're basically saying it's one or the other?
TONY SHEPHERD: I would recommend that. Again, I haven't done a deep study on either at the moment or on the debt tax, debt levy or what level it's going to be and on who it's going to impact, but I'd say have a good look at that because you wouldn't want to overcorrect at the present time. (here)
With friends like that, you don't need enemies. He hasn't done a deep study and he doesn't have much of a clue?
According to the latest gossip, the government is thinking about moving the goalposts from 100k a year to 150k a year, even further away from the 80k a year necessary to produce a decent revenue stream, and yet there's Shepherd solemnly explaining that this sort of mild taxing of the rich, class warfare if you will, would produce such a shock to the system that all his audit's recommendations in relation to individuals should be swept aside, ignored or overturned.
In short, the audit is such a feeble structure, built with straw, that the slightest puff would blow it into the wind.
Talk about Tony Abbott as a big bad wolf:
But let's leave the three little bops to their cool fate, there's even worse news for the wolf who doesn't understand that to play real hot you have to get real cool:
No not the fight, it's the sight of the reptiles have finally had to come clean with their polling, and the news is bad, bad, bad.
Support for coalition plunged to lowest level in almost four years, yadda yadda, all dressed up as an EXCLUSIVE, and behind the paywall for anyone who can be bothered, here.
Polls come and go, but here's the thing. Bill Shorten and Labor have had almost nothing to do with it.
Instead Tony Abbott can take all the credit for shooting himself in the foot. And the deepest, most pleasurable irony of all? Amidst the carnage, the cross-references to Julia Gillard continue.
Mr Abbott’s net satisfaction rating has tripled from minus 7 to minus 21 in the past month.
The Newspoll conducted exclusively for The Australian at the weekend shows support for the Coalition dropped five points to 38 per cent — the largest single fall for a government since Julia Gillard’s carbon tax announcement in February 2011.
It is also the equal lowest Coalition primary vote since Mr Abbott replaced Malcolm Turnbull as leader in December 2009.
Even the hapless reptiles can't resist making ongoing comparisons:
It seems Gillard has shifted from the plum role of Lady Macbeth to performing the duties of Banquo's ghost, or perhaps a better comparison would be the job of the albatross in The Rime of the Ancient Mariner:
And every tongue, through utter drought,
Was withered at the root;
We could not speak, no more than if
We had been choked with soot.
Ah! well a-day! what evil looks
Had I from old and young!
Instead of the cross, the ginger Albatross
About my neck was hung.
Of course none of this counts for much up against the Murdochians' pleasure at paying some 200k to get snaps of a billionaire getting down and dirty.
There's an irony there too. All the media is vastly titillated, but imagine if it had been a couple of yobbo bogans from Sydney's west. The howls of outrage from the press, and the shrieking shock jocks, would have been about demanding justice and Laura Norder.
The intrinsic provision of assault law in New South Wales is contained in section 61 of the Act, Common Assault. Section 61 reads.
Common Assault Prosecuted by Indictment Whosoever assaults any person, although not occasioning actual bodily harm, shall be liable to imprisonment for two years. (become a bush lawyer here, for free).
Of course it could be argued it's an uncommon assault - it's not every day your average billionaire gets into a street brawl - but in recent times there's been all sorts of clucking about killer punches and outrages in the street, but what's the chance of a couple of CEOs being had up for disturbing the peace, affray, or assault, or any of a half dozen other charges?
How silly of the pond to ask ...
You see the tone in the treatment has all been what a lark, a couple of boffo boys going the biffo, like they used to do in 1950s westerns, a bit of John Wayne whacker to the chops ...
Is this a fit and proper person to have been handed the keys to a goldmine at Barangaroo by a Liberal government mired in charges of corruption?
Is this a fit and proper person to be running a television company like Nine Entertainment, which runs a nightly foot in the door "current shock horror" show (the pond will never call it news) featuring cluck clucking and tut tutting stories about violence in the street?
Forget it Jake, it's Packertown ...
But in a day of such remarkable upheavals in the body politic, the usual dumbos are struggling to gain attention.
Of all the many stupidities that Tony Shepherd and his audit had to offer, there's a fair argument that the most stupid and least likely to go anywhere was the proposal to wind back the clock, return taxing powers to the states, and devolve everything to a kind of 1930s federal nirvana.
Naturally the ineffable stupidity of it brought the cuckoos out of the woodwork and into Shepherd's nest:
You can read Cater indulging in his usual Caterisms, if you can be bothered to avoid the paywall, but the pond only notes it as ineffable evidence that Cater can be wrong about everything and anything, given half the chance.
The dingbat even has the cheek to head his wretched piece Return the right to tax to the states, without adding the rider, because Barry O'Farrell and the Liberal party and the Labor party, whose current head thinks $3 million is all in a day's chat, have shown this bunch of fucking fraudsters need even more cash in their pockets to piss against the wall, seeing as how the lobbyists and the Grange are running a little short right now.
Cater is so tone deaf and so unaware of the implications of what he writes that he can scribble this sort of stuff:
Fiscal decentralisation is an idea worth reconsidering. Federal income tax would be slashed, since Canberra would have to send fewer cheques to the states. States could set rates as they pleased, allowing them to compete with one another.
Imagine how a South Australian premier, governing in the spirit of Playford, might respond to an invitation to become fiscally independent once again. A proud leader would drive South Australia’s cost advantages, cutting income tax to provide an incentive for other income-earning Australians to migrate to the beautiful City of Churches.
Yes, and you could nationalise the Electricity Trust of South Australia, and you could set up a Housing Trust, and you could earn the title Bolshevik from your colleagues, and you could, in due course, through assorted follies set up your state for a white goods and car manufacturing epic fail, and still earn high praise from a clueless Cater (and you can do a Greg Hunt on the benevolent socialist spirit of Playford here)
South Australian Premier Jay Weatherill can see all too clearly where this leads. “This is meant to be one nation, not a series of competitive units,” he told journalists. “We’re talking about ripping up the underpinnings … of what makes Australia what it is.”
Well no, actually. Competition has made Australia what it is today, as Paul Keating successfully recognised. The commission is merely talking about ripping up the underpinnings of what makes South Australia what it is; that is, a mendicant state with more state public servants than manufacturing workers, that bludges about $1 billion a year in GST revenue from states that can still make a buck.
Well yes actually, you first class prize futtock. There's no evidence that competitive states in the United States produce much more than confusion and chaos, with dominant states like Texas ruining educational opportunities for smaller states.
As for the notion that Australia has a mobile population that would head off like a herd of water buffaloes to more appealing states .... how could they manage that, seeing as how we're reverted to different rail gauges to appeal to local sentiment?
There's a lot more, but the pond rests its case with this closer from the Cater designed to introduce catatonia:
Given the sensitivity of the GST issue, the federal government is unlikely to buy into this debate in the short term, but it has committed to white papers on federalism and taxation by the end of this term.
If the heat and noise over the debt and deficit debate die down, this is where the Abbott reform agenda could be headed.
States indulging in income tax would lead to less income tax? On what planet?
As delusional as Tony Shepherd, yet this also explains why Abbott shot himself in the foot.
You see, he set an audit in motion without knowing what its answers would be, and now idle fops like Cater take notions from it to fill up a newspaper column and create mindless distractions ... before hearing that Shepherd himself thinks all bets should be off if Abbott dares to indulge in a little class warfare.
You can see why the pond was inclined to be short tempered by the time this hoved into view:
Oh stop it Louise Clegg. Of course you and George Brandis have the unexceptional and entirely correct right to be bigots, and fuckwits to boot, if you like.
But why should anyone pay any attention to someone who likes to celebrate bigotry, while indulging in yet another bout of ABC bashing of the standard reptilian kind?
Is this your closer?
In the meantime, the silence in this debate from the cultural Left — one time champions of free speech — remains deafening. (here, behind the paywall because life is too short)
Just what the fuck is a "cultural Left"? Are we talking about y'artz?
Then how about you spend some time contemplating Brandis and the Biennale? Maybe you could crib from The art of being awkward: Brandis is wrong about the Biennale.
Or maybe you could read up on this Return to book banning?:
Queensland Liberal Senator George Brandis’s call for the banning of a book from a school library depicting Prime Minister Sir Robert Menzies as a tyrant has opened a censorship can of worms. Certainly many would find it offensive to have the Menzies name mentioned in the same breath as that Adof Hitler, Pol Pot, and Saddam Hussein. The book, 100 Greatest Tyrants, was written 10 years ago. But is banning the answer? Would our school kids swallow the association hook, line, and sinker, or can we give them some credit for seeing through such an analogy? Could they be given contrasting material instead of a ban?
So it's okay to be in favour of bigotry, and doing a little favour for your favourite Bolter mate, while indulging in bashing of artists speaking their minds, or indulging in a little book banning?
Uh huh. Guess it must be okay for billionaires to riot in the streets ...
What's that? The NT News has a couple of crocs on the cover yet again?