(Above: and for the rest of that First Dog, click here)
The pond is in to signs and portents as much as the next loon.
There's Google acquiring a satellite maker (here), bringing the day Skynet goes live another step closer, and there was Steven Seagal in Under Siege 2 on the box last night reminding the pond what it was like when satellites go rogue - well at least for the nanosecond it took to switch to another channel - and then there are the barking mad Islamic Caliphate fundamentalists getting ready to march on Baghdad, while everyone forgets the old rule that when you break the crockery in the store, you should pay the price ... and the even older rule, that when you try to bomb people to civilisation, you're more likely to end up with rubble ...
And then there's the infidel luddite and climate denialist Tony Abbott marching on Washington.
No doubt about it, we're in the end times, but there's bugger all sign of a rapture. The centre will not hold, mere anarchy is loosed upon the world, and the Cantor might have sung his last song ...
So what's the funniest sight the chattering classes can offer this morning?
Well as always you need look no further than the reptiles at the lizard Oz. Yes, there they are, cheek by jowl:
Now the pond understands that there are many in the world who can only bear to read the silliness of the reptiles in short headline bursts, so here's how this pair of cold-blooded creatures appear in the whirling digital splash of doom at the top of the page:
Now of course whenever Greg Sheridan's head bobs up above the parapet, the pond feels the immediate need to link to The Monthly's How I learnt to love Tony Abbott A bromance for the ages.
Suitably prepared, it's time to get on to the howl of pain, the cry of indignation, the sheer suffering of the uxorious bestie as he sees the villainous Fairfaxians and the cardigan wearers responsible for everything, in Never let facts spoil your 'bad story (behind the paywall, because you should pay to read arse-licking of this most astonishing kind).
It turns out that Tony Abbott is an international policy relations genius.
The Prime Minister presided over pretty much the full repair of relations with Indonesia at the start of his trip.
In Europe, he honoured the Australians who died in France in World War I and elevated the heritage of Villers-Bretonneux in the national consciousness. He also had good meetings with European leaders.
In Canada, Abbott pioneered an altogether new level of intimacy with Ottawa.
In the US, he is doing two somewhat unusual things. One, he has taken a substantial business delegation with him. And two, he is making a serious pitch for US investment. The $1 trillion two-way investment relationship between the US and Australia demonstrates how profound an influence the US is on our national life.
And so on. In terms of hagiographic knob-polishing, it's a piece of the finest water.
And it's in complete contrast to the vicious ratbaggery of all those villainous Fairfaxians:
...you would know very little of this from Fairfax (The Australian Financial Review excepted) or the ABC. Melbourne’s The Age, in particular, perhaps now Australia’s weakest and feeblest major newspaper, has run a series of front-page stories saying that Australia’s relationship with the US is in jeopardy because Abbott’s view of climate change is different from Obama’s. There is no factual basis to this assertion.
But the worst was its front-page splash on Tuesday, under the headline “Abbott’s global plan to kill carbon pricing”, which was under the strap heading “Centre-right alliance PM seeks to thwart Obama”. This story claimed that Abbott would lead an international push to counter moves by Obama to lift the pace of climate change abatement.
The story contained not a single fact, and certainly no quote from Abbott or any Australian official, to support the preposterous notion of an Abbott-led anti-Obama alliance. The Prime Minister’s office tells me flatly that The Age’s story is not true.
Senior government ministers were astonished because the story is, in their words, “completely inaccurate’’. Abbott is leading no international push to counter Obama. This is just ridiculous.
Uh huh. So Abbott and Harper have got together to explain to the whole world that carbon pricing is a complete waste of time, and that Obama's interest in pricing carbon is a complete waste of time, and yet it's ridiculous?
So where's the comedy and the irony?
Well if you flick over to Niki Savva, you can read her giving Obama a right royal trashing in Abbott won't sweat over climate in Obama talks (behind the paywall because abuse of this quality shouldn't come cheap, and never free. That's what the Daily Mail is for).
There is no reason for him to feel awed or embarrassed in the Oval Office. Sadly, it is Obama who has fallen well short of expectations, not just on climate change. Now if only things were going as smoothly for Abbott at home as they are overseas.
Yes, the brave knight is being forced to endure what should have been quality time with a George Bush to rough end of the pineapple time with a failure, a flop, a drop kick and a loser off in the clouds with other la la losers:
Barack Obama is in no position to lecture anybody, including Tony Abbott, for not doing enough to tackle climate change.
Abbott can’t say it, the journalists won’t write it, Labor recites its climate change mantra, as if repetition will calm the forces of nature, and looks to Obama for sustenance, while the Greens sniff a vast right-wing conspiracy to destroy the planet. There is no fun for anybody in playing down a potential conflict between an alluring liberal president and an embarrassingly conservative prime minister. However the fact is Obama, unlike Labor and the Greens, has been forced to get real.
And Tony Abbott will, in a kindly way, keep on helping him get real. You see the loser is a lameduck and a tosser:
Now, with time running out, not for the planet but for himself, Obama finally announced something dramatic, by directing that existing American power plants should reduce emissions 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020 through energy efficiency and building renewable energy capacity.
You see how pathetic it is? All this nonsense about climate change, and it's just a lameduck rooster about to have his feathers plucked.
Apart from placing the major burden for delivery on the states, there is still a risk it will be blocked by congress. Last week The New York Times quoted the chairman of the Breakthrough Institute, a Californian environmental think tank, stating the bleeding obvious about Obama’s action: “Is it enough to stop climate change? No. No political leader in the world has a serious agenda to do that.”
So suggestions that US-Australia relations are threatened by Abbott’s approach, or that Australia will be humiliated if climate change is not placed prominently on the G20 agenda are so much gaseous emissions.
Yes, Stephen Harper and Tony Abbott will put this lame duck in his place, that's if the Tea Party can't do it for them ...
And now for a magic trick. Conflate the idea of a carbon tax with a price on carbon:
It would be audacious for Obama to try to push Abbott to embark on a course where he has been unable to act — thanks partly to resistance from his own side.
Abbott at least is trying to keep his promise to repeal the carbon tax. Despite action pledges during two campaigns, Obama has previously made clear there will be no carbon tax under a government he leads.
But Savva ruins the trick by explaining that Obama is actually keen on carbon pricing. You know, because a seven dollar levy on going to a doctor is a splendid way to send a price signal ...
As for all the fun?
Prime Ministers get tired and make mistakes, which always makes for good copy. Sometimes they say silly things. Journos, desperate for stories and prone to mischief, do their best to provoke, then beat the crap out of every slip or trip.
Oh indeed. And so the pond slips away from Savva, beating Obama to a pulp, to contemplate once again the uxorious outrage of the bestie Sheridan:
Abbott is leading no international push to counter Obama. This is just ridiculous.
But this complete falsehood ran for an entire day on the ABC. When I first heard it discussed as established fact on the ABC I thought I must have missed some significant Australian announcement. Only with some work did I discover it was a Fairfax fantasy gleefully rebroadcast, with of course no effort at balance, context or checking, by the ABC.
Indeed, the ABC seems to have lost all sense of restraint, professionalism, fairness or even decency in relation to Abbott, routinely mocking and insulting the Prime Minister, not only in its dreary satire programs, but in what are meant to be serious news and current affairs broadcasts.
However, there is a lesson here for Abbott’s government. It needs to correct blatant factual inaccuracies within the news cycle as they appear, so that news outlets are at least obliged to run the denials as well as the fantasies.
And what are the facts?
Well it turns out Australia might reduce its emissions by 4%, which is almost as good as the US, but let's face it, why worry, because climate change fundamentalists are barking mad, and because climate change is at best a minor problem, and then there's India and China, who are the real problems, and let's encourage them in being problems by reminding that it's all crap and coal is good, and anyway, Obama loves coal, why the Obama White House website predicts a big, long future for coal, and what do you know, Australia is at the forefront of an international push to stop all this nonsense:
Abbott says countries are moving away from trading schemes. He is right. Not only have Canada, the US and Australia turned their backs on such schemes, but so has Japan, which has put off a national scheme indefinitely and, with Russia, walked away from the Kyoto Two process altogether.
Say what? Even New Zealand's scheme is a complete waste or time, and amounts to more or less nothing?
So that's the source of that story. That's how it got legs. That's how the ABC and the Fairfaxians understood that Abbott is at the forefront of international push to counter moves by Obama to lift the pace of climate change abatement....
They read Greg Sheridan ...
You have to hand it to Sheridan. For comedy stylings, he's as good as it gets ...
As for the Fairfaxians, you can see how they picked up on Sheridan's lead - the way Abbott and Harper are leading the world in a crusade against carbon pricing and trading schemes.
Yep, Mark Kenny shamelessly picks up the ideas propounded by Sheridan and Savva and runs with them in Climate change a coolant for Tony Abbott's meeting with Barack Obama ... why, he's worse than the Daily Mail, the shameless wretch:
In response to Mr Abbott's statement that there were bigger problems than climate change, Mr Thomas said: ''We think that climate change should be the No.1 priority for all leaders to consider.''
The UN is looking for bold statements from leading countries in the hope of piercing a growing climate reluctance licensed in part by resistance from resource-rich countries such as Australia and Canada.
Yep, and now they've copped bold statements from world leaders in an international conspiracy to deny climate science, and don't you worry about that ...
And speaking of conspiracies, what fun that Kenny's story features a photo of Abbott and Credlin attending dinner with il padrone. It's only right and proper and fitting that Abbott should have dropped off to kiss the ring of the leader of the free world ...
Oh wait, Pope decided on Pinocchio instead (and more Pope here):
While Rowe ... well Rowe seems to have worked out the real leader of the world (and more Rowe here).
The pond still thinks a visit to il padrone fits the bill, but who can argue with the two Davids?
And now if the pond may be so bold as to address a personal message to Major General (ret) Tim Cross who interrupted Under Siege 2 by turning up on the ABC's Lateline here.
Do you really truly think that delaying the invasion of Iraq on specious grounds for a mere six months would have transformed the operation into a success, as opposed to the gigantic cluster fuck it became and continues to become?
There really are a lot of brain dead people in the world, aren't there, though you might prefer to call them supreme optimists, especially the ones that think Bush and Rumsfeld and Cheney could have got their shit together in six years, let alone six months, and now you think the result is the seventeenth century and another thirty years war?
Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a Murdoch,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Washington to be born?