Friday, June 13, 2014

TGIF and away with the brooding ...

(Above: and more of that cartoon and First Dog here)

The pond, it has to be acknowledged, is inclined to brood.

It's an unattractive feature, and the only excuse available is the daily contemplation of the barking mad commentariat.

The pond is still brooding over the infamous twittery of Major General (ret) Tim Cross, as featured in Lateline in West failed to understand division between Sunni and Shia, which contained numerous fatuous observations from the good general such as:

... I think underlying this issue was a failure to understand the deep divide between the Sunni and Shia communities in Iraq. I think to be fair to them, the Kurds have worked really hard to hold this thing together. But there is this very deep division between the Sunni and Shia communities, and it's not just in Iraq.

This from a senior figure in a country cheek by jowl with a country riven by sectarian conflict, which within living memory saw a terrorist war conducted on the streets of London.

But let's not brood about Ireland and the Irish - the pond is now far away from ancestral Tipperary - how did they end up mating with folk from the Black Forest? - and instead let's hie off to Guy Rundle and brood about the monstrous forgetfulness of the British, as Rundle reminisces about the way the British were the first to fuck up Iraq, in the way that imperial Britain managed to fuck up so many parts of the world, Ireland included.

And the role that Gertrude Bell played in the fucking up of Iraq:

History records that Bell — who also founded the National Museum of Iraq, the repository of the West’s heritage, which the Bush administration allowed to be destroyed — created Iraq by combining the Ottoman provinces of Basra (Sunni), Baghdad (Shia) and Mosul (Kurd), with the late thought that it might be easier if Mosul was just given to the new Turkish Republic. But it was more than that — through years of meetings, she signed up hundreds of sheikhs and clans to the new project, promised them an evolving independence and created a nation-state out of clan affiliations. She was eventually seen as too pro-Arab and was bumped off by a cabal of friends and enemies, not least among them St John Philby, father of Kim. Bumped off literally. She was “erratic” — read, manic depressive — and Britain’s post World War I Arab role was shaped by her wild over-enthusiasm and optimism. Squeezed out, she took an overdose. 
The recent arrival in Mosul of the ultra-Islamist group, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), marks the final collapse of that dream. It is impossible to overstate its significance — it marks not merely the end of the Iraq War, but of World War I. It is as much a death-knell for the pious hopes of Marxist pan-Arabism, as it is for the na├»ve triumphalism of the neocons.

Oh indeed. Even Bell's wiki here, which is inclined to be more kind, acknowledges that the attempt to include the Kurds in Iraq was a mistake, which now seems to be resolving itself via the fragmentation and the breaking up of Iraq.

There's a lot more to read in Advance of militants in Iraq means the end of the West as we know it (Crikey paywall affected), but Rundle also pays tribute to the flunkies, the foot soldiers prone to verbal diahorrea, the shameless and stupid cheerleaders, who never got out of the leather armchairs but who did their ignorant best:

Small beer, but this is the final and utter discrediting of the neocon project. From Wolfowitz to Dubya to John Howard to Greg Sheridan and lower orders of tame flunkies (and no I do not include assistance to the Libyan revolution in this ambit), it is clear now that their role was to speed up western loss of unipolar power by a decade or more, and kill half a million or so into the bargain. That’s what they did with their lives.

Is it wrong, at this moment in time, wrong to point out the bleeding obvious, or to take a stroll down memory lane, as Owen Jones does in We anti-war protestors were right: the Iraq invasion has led to bloody chaos.

It's understandable enough, but the end result of the extreme behaviour of right wing extremists, is a further growth in barking mad Islamic fundamentalism in a way which is de-stabilising the whole of the middle east.

It's an ancient saw of the conservative commentariat that leftists and secular atheist liberals and other god forsaken folk are on the side of Islamic fundamentalism, and yet in their infinite stupidity and ignorance, the hard right have done more to advance Islamic fundamentalism than the fundamentalists themselves.

And so to another waste of life.

Is there anything more offensive than the sight of Tony "climate change is crap" Abbott assuring - to camera and to anyone who will listen - that he has always taken climate science seriously?

The only thing to cheer a brooding pond was catching Lord John Deben, chairman of the UK's committee on climate change,  flay Abbott alive on RN - and you can have the same pleasure by heading off here.

As a bonus, Deben wouldn't have a bar of the feeble Waleed Aly's attempt to provide balance and to present, in a mealymouthed way, the arguments of Greg Hunt and Abbott. Instead Deben treated the wastrel Aly, and and his second hand, recycled debating points as the straw dogs they were ...

So what else?

Well there was a great David Pope cartoon which just about summarised Abbott and his barking mad stance on many matters (and more Pope here):

The latest thing to emerge from the waste paper basket is Abbott and Co's linguistic folly over "disputed" v. "occupied". Yes at a time when the middle east is in uproar the slavering, slobbering dog has supported the new wording, and so has decided to pour more fuel on the flames, and who knows where it will lead, perhaps even to trade embargoes.

This hare has only been recently let loose, and it has a long way to run. At the moment, Canberra is talking down the issue, noting only that a meeting with middle east diplomats and Arab potentates has been held, but eventually it will come out into the light, and it won't just be Nick Xenophon and the greenies paying attention.

So you can just imagine this TGIF the gloom that the pond experienced, as it flicked past Gra Gra "Swiss bank account" Richardson comparing big Mal to chairman Rudd, as if the wretch at one point hadn't been fully on side with the former Chairman ...

Only to note that the reptiles at the lizard Oz have yet again found space for the profoundly emotional and irrational Maurice Newman.

Yep, the business advisor of a man who believes in transubstantiation and cannibalism and the sipping of blood and the gorging on flesh is out and about yet again:

Uh huh, let's hear it for transubstantiation.

Well if you can be bothered evading the Oz paywall - and evade it you must so not a precious dime of your cash goes to Newman or the reptiles who facilitate him - you will find Facts ignored in wage ruling a fact free zone, a bit like Newman's casual use of the word "postmodern", which was, you will remember, if you head off to the word's wiki, here, first trotted out in the 1870s in relation to French impressionism.

At a time when the United States is suddenly discovering that the minimum wage can have meaning, especially when people working for it must rely on charity and food stamp benefits and public assistance programs, Newman, in his postmodern 1870s way, wants to screw the poor and the young even harder than is currently being managed, in the American way.

To what avail? You see, the fast food businesses and other low wage payers in the United States have their business model heavily subsidised by government and private charity (and don't just believe the pond, head off here to the public cost of low-wage jogs in the fast-food industry).

Newman wants to import the punishment of the poor and the lowly from the United States, just as some in the United States are realising the folly of their situation, and Seattle proves that the fight for decent pay can and must be won.

The pond is sick to the gob - that's pretty high up, if you understand the Tamworth word for mouth - of the likes of Newman presenting the gouging and exploitation of the poor and the weak as being for their own good:

...regardless of protestations from the industrial relations club and its sympathisers, the truth is that as a direct result of the latest increase in the minimum wage, many of those at the least margin of skill will lose their jobs. Where possible, businesses will economise on hiring and invest in labour-substituting capital. Alternative business domiciles will be considered. 
The government has decided to defer any changes to workplace arrangements until after the next election. Given its present legislative agenda, this is not surprising. However, with the budget and carbon tax likely to be rejected in the Senate, with debts and deficits growing rapidly and our terms of trade weakening, it is to be hoped that in this increasingly uncertain world, the markets will wait that long.

Fear, loathing, exploitation, threats and bullying ... and for what? So fast food workers can be paid cheap shit to serve up cheap shit, so that Australia can rank 3rd or 4th in the world in terms of an obesity crisis?

You can bet that everything that Thomas Piketty says zooms over Newman's climate denialist head, though you can listen to it here, on a PM show which ironically also carried the story Australians living longer, but getting much fatter.

The pond's advice to Newman? Well he'd better eat his cake now, because if he and his cronies keep on going the same way, they just might learn what it's like to be Marie Antoinette munching on cake when the hard times hit, as they surely will at some time in the future ... not least thanks to Newman and Abbott's follies in relation to climate science ...

Oh enough with the brooding, let's have a light-hearted cartoon, thanks to Cathy Wilcox (and more Wilcox here):

Sheesh, thanks Cathy. Another weekend of bloody brooding ...


  1. "Is it wrong, at this moment in time, wrong to point out the bleeding obvious, or to take a stroll down memory lane, as Owen Jones does in "We anti-war protestors were right: the Iraq invasion has led to bloody chaos.""

    Nup, it's not wrong, someone has to, lots of someones preferably. loudly and shrilly along with lots of "We told you so".


    1. As someone linked as worth revisiting in the Guardian today.
      Paragraph 9 struck a cord somehow.Cheers

    2. Oh yes indeed. - I've been posting that around the place for years - but that wasn't me at the Guardian.
      Probably the best single explanation of 'Why?' I have come across.
      I lost it for a few years then found it again. Good to see it rates a mention. Chilling stuff.
      It made me an admirer of Klein.


  2. If Newman wants to base policy on evidence and reason, he should read

  3. Ms Loon, just to be pedantic, it was brioche not cake.
    Mr Hunt would have found it!

  4. You can't get much loonier than the US gun lobby. Oliver Burkeman lists some of mental of the pro-gun groups arguing that school shootings aint school shootings.

    1. meant "mental gymnastics"

  5. How to piss off the good citizens of Alabama. Clarkson, Hammond and May nearly get lynched.

  6. "the business advisor of a man who believes in transubstantiation and cannibalism and the sipping of blood and the gorging on flesh is out and about yet again"

    Yep, Newman is irrational, and his religionist client, the mad pommie monk Abbott, is one who in addition to arbitrarily being able to reject reason and evidence is also one to arbitrarily believe when and as it suits. He won't believe he's caught between a rock and a hard place.

  7. OK,this may seem a bit dull. But when the President of the Qld Bar Association resigns in protest over the appointment of a political patsy to the post of Chief Justice I think we should take notice.

    Newman is going down the path of Bjelke-Petersen. Jobs for the boys, stacking the legal institutions, and blatantly parading political self-interest.

    It's disgusting.

    1. No, it's not dull, yes it's appalling, but what can any Mexican south of the line do, except look north and be astonished at the folly?


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