Tuesday, July 01, 2014

In which the pond kits up for some extreme weather events, and not just in the weather ...

There was, it turned out, nothing new in the Four Corners episode looking at the whole sorry saga of the Murdochian lust for power, available online for review here.

But it did remind the pond of some of the great moments, the hits and memories of complete shamelessness, not least the speech by that shooting star James Murdoch, and its rousing conclusion:

...people value honest, fearless, and above all independent news coverage that challenges the consensus. 
There is an inescapable conclusion that we must reach if we are to have a better society. 
The only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of independence is profit. (the full speech remains online in many places for your reading pleasure, including here)

Was it only in August 2009 that Murdoch paraded that level of delusionalism?

He might just as easily have said:

The only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of greed and corruption is profit.

And then there's the sorry question of actual profit.

How to fit the loss-making machine that's the reptiles at The Australian into the Murdochian formula? The rag doesn't make a profit, and doesn't look like making one in the near future, and is kept alive for the voice it gives to Murdoch interests.

So must we reach the inescapable conclusion - if we are to have a better society - that the reptiles should be made to experience a taste of the Australian welfare system, and the sooner the better?

What was remarkable in the speech was Murdoch's implied belief that  by saying it was so, he would make it so.

There's often an uncanny belief in the power, in the magic, of words, amongst journalists and politicians.

Sure enough, this little number caught the pond's eye:

Now the pond loves word games, a taste cultivated early in life by a healthy overdose of the Lewis Carroll kind.

Nobody is following me. Why would Nobody be interested in following you?

Well it was actually put this way:

'I see nobody on the road,' said Alice. 'I only wish I had such eyes,' the King remarked in a fretful tone. 'To be able to see Nobody! And at that distance, too! Why, it's as much as I can do to see real people, by this light!'

And so on, and apologies to Carroll, who also liked to photograph young girls, but that's a different moral panic.

If you read Extreme weather official advice rewritten to remove climate change link, it might seem inconsequential:

The government has been accused of significantly watering down its official advice on extreme weather after removing mention of links between climate change and events such as bushfires and heatwaves. 
A document on the Department of Environment’s website, aimed at informing the public on how climate change is influencing dangerous weather, has removed an explicit reference linking the two.

But it takes on a little more relevance when it's remembered that it chimes perfectly with Tony Abbott's oft-stated climate science denialism:

Tony Abbott has not been afraid to use blunt language when asked about a link between climate change and this week's bushfires. 
"Complete hogwash," is what the Prime Minister said in response to a question about the connection by News Limited columnist Andrew Bolt. 
This came two days after an interview on Fairfax Radio, where Mr Abbott said United Nations climate chief Christiana Figueres was "talking through her hat" for linking climate change and bushfires while there were large blazes across NSW. (Tony Abbott should never say 'never' about climate change bushfire link, forced video at end of link).

It reminded the pond of that tidy graphic:

(found here)

The public service denialism captured by The Graudian was also pure Lewis Carroll:

Asked why the advice was changed, an environment department spokeswoman said: “During the past few months, we have been finalising the transition of content from the former climate change website to environment.gov.au. 
 “The Department of the Environment’s website is constantly updated. The change you identified was made by the department to ensure the website information remained consistent with the approach taken by the IPCC in its fifth assessment report.” 
The IPCC assessment (in pdf form), released in March, stated there was a “medium to high confidence” that extreme weather events are “projected to increase in many locations” in Australia.

So what have the Carrollians accomplished with their word magic?

Well it's decreased the chance of a gotcha moment. Whenever a bit of denialism slips from Abbott's lips in an unguarded moment, no tricky journalist will be able to reference the connection between climate science and extreme weather events.

That's where the magic thinking comes in.

If you say it isn't so, then to all intents and purposes it must not be so.

Unfortunately, the pond is of a different school. A tree might fall in a forest and nobody hear it, but if the tree actually falls, you can go into the forest and check that the bloody great lump of wood is lying on the ground.

Even the Buddhists sometimes get maligned as holding to meaningless nonsense, refuted by one of the pond's favourite koans:

Yamaoka Tesshu, as a young student of Zen, visited one master after another. He called upon Dokuon of Shokoku. 
Desiring to show his attainment, he said: "The mind, Buddha, and sentient beings, after all, do not exist. The true nature of phenomena is emptiness. There is no relaization, no delusion, no sage, no mediocrity. There is no giving and nothing to be received." 
Dokuon, who was smoking quietly, said nothing. Suddenly he whacked Yamaoka with his bamboo pipe. This made the youth quite angry. 
 "If nothing exists," inquired Dokuon, "where did this anger come from?" (here)

Indeed. Abbott's thought police might think they can cleanse the public service and documents, and so arouse the ire of George Orwell and his followers, but in the end, none of it matters, if the reality is the bamboo pipe of climate science giving you a whack across the chops.

Speaking of Orwell, if you follow the link above thoughtfully provided by the Graudian, you cop this:

It had the pond rolling Jaffas down the aisle in delight.

A stronger Australia. Pivot! Disrupt!

Strength is of course a favourite motif of all sorts of politicians:

Oh okay, there's a few schillings for the Godwin's Law swear jar.

In the old days, a Department of the Environment mission statement - yes in the old days there were missions - might have said "a clean environment is a jolly nice and decent thing" but these are not the old days ...

So what else?

Well just as the barking mad Islamic fundamentalists have announced a caliphate for the ages, so have five barking mad members of the Supreme Court announced that companies can be religious:

"Any suggestion that for-profit corporations are incapable of exercising religion because their purpose is simply to make money flies in the face of modern corporate law," Alito wrote ... (here)

Yes, companies are people too, they kneel, they pray, they heal, they hurt, they bleed, they take holy communion and they suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. Take it from one who knew from childhood:

Why if a company wanted to set up a caliphate, who in their right mind could argue against it?

But the pond long suspected the United States was fucked in the head, and the decision by the Supreme Court is just the most recent example of it.

Instead the pond would like to draw attention to the lonely pilgrimage of Hedley Thomas, once more at the top of the reptile digital page.

Up to now, reading Hedders, the pond had come to understand that the Chinese hated Clive Palmer, feared and loathed and reviled him, and were in deep dispute with him about sundry matters, and took legal action to teach him a lesson.

Now it turns out that the Chinese are allegedly deeply involved in stuffing Palmer's party with cash.

The  question, it seems, revolves around whether the Chinese were willing.

Who knows, but the pond just loved that new heading.

It's no longer just an EXCLUSIVE.

It's been REVEALED.

Hedders is now the source of REVELATIONS.

Look, Hedders even scored top billing in the tree killer edition:

Has Hedders finally nailed the wicked beast?

Gaily bedight
A gallant knight
In sunshine and in shadow
Had journeyed long
Singing a song
And examining the data
In search of a Palmer Eldorado. (and so on, here)

Who knows, all the pond knows is that this year it looks like it's going to be a very bumpy ride in federal politics, and so the pond has buckled up in anticipation of turbulence.

Of course there might be other Palmer matters in the air, which might even help explain why the Murdochians and Hedders have gone into overdrive just at this moment in time.

At least if you follow David Rowe, and there's always more Rowe here, and David Pope, and there's always more Pope here.

What is that rough beast slouching towards Bethlehem?

Oh yes:

The only reliable, durable, and perpetual guarantor of extreme weather events and societal insanity is profit.


  1. And who can forget this (bit like the Libs on climate change - it isn't there! but please make it go away)

    Yesterday, upon the stair,
    I met a man who wasn't there.
    He wasn't there again today,
    I wish, I wish he'd go away...

    When I came home last night at three,
    The man was waiting there for me
    But when I looked around the hall,
    I couldn't see him there at all!
    Go away, go away, don't you come back any more!
    Go away, go away, and please don't slam the door...

  2. The US does some on-line dating with it's middle eastern girlfriends, but, but...it's complicated.


  3. Unbelievable! No, I do mean outrageously duplicitously unbelievable: http://www.climatechange.gov.au/international/actions/australias-contribution

    Tell 'em lies big and often, eh?

  4. " 1) Clean energy is growing worldwide. But fossil fuels have grown even faster.
    As the world grows, it keeps using more and more energy. And fossil fuels still supply the vast majority of that energy. Oil remains the dominant source of fuel for our cars, trucks, and airplanes. And coal and natural gas are the leading sources of electricity.

    The world added twice as much coal last year as renewable energy

    All told, fossil fuels made up 87 percent of the world's energy consumption in 2013. By contrast, low-carbon sources — including nuclear, hydropower, wind, solar, and biomass — made up just 13 percent.

    That ratio hasn't changed since 1999, as the University of Colorado's Roger Pielke Jr. points out.

    So, yes, clean energy sources have been rising over time. That little yellow sliver showing renewable energy is growing at rapid clip. But coal, natural gas, and oil have more than kept pace."
    Consider that above and that coloured yellow in this bar chart then know why Palmer can't stop smiling and lost nothing by his "concessions" and turnarounds last week. He kept on smiling all the way to the bank after suckering the ACF-Don Henry/Climate Reality-Al Gore farce.


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