Friday, August 08, 2014

In which the pond goes full body contact, full blown Chicken Little, but the good news is that the sky is only falling on the Abbott government ...

(Above: Yes, First Dog is at it again, but you'll have to head off to the Graudian here to get the remaining panels).

There's just no way around it.

The pond has been forced to wear the Chicken Little costume beloved of the commentariat. The nation is in complete crisis and chaos. The pond has been running around in circles all night, so that now the pond looks like the markings in a corn field designed to welcome the aliens.

It started yesterday with the unemployment figures.

Talk about a disaster, a catastrophe (and talk about it on PM they did, here), and what was that doddering Eric Abetz's response? Oh he mouthed the right words:

ERIC ABETZ: Well the youth unemployment rate is very concerning because what it means is young people are not getting the sort of start in life that we would want them to have.

Uh huh. So what sort of start in life would we want them to have?

ERIC ABETZ: The measures that we have in place will see a lot of the young people accept that they are able to do the sort of work that literally tens of thousands of backpackers and seasonal workers are currently undertaking in the Australian economy as we speak. And it is my hope that a lot of younger Australians will take on these jobs that the backpackers are more than willing to undertake, but unfortunately we aren't engaging sufficient young Australians in some of these tasks, which are vitally important for our community and for our economy.

Yes, breeders, that's the lot of your spawn. Seasonal work as fruit pickers and weeders and checkout chicks and fast food servers and suchlike. That's the sort of start in life we want them to have. Transported to live in tent cities in rural enclaves where the banjos ring out loud (well at least they're in tune in Tamworth).

Let's not have any idle blather and chit chat. But what of the future, you ask? What of Bill Gates saying People Don't Realise How Many Jobs Will Soon Be Replaced By Software Bots. What about the AEI - hardly a bunch of lefty ratbags - furiously scribbling How to avoid the coming middle-class meltdown?

ERIC ABETZ: ... Our task as a government is not to try to predict the future... (here)

Yes, so get out in your field of dreams, dole bludgers and welfare cheats, and let Eric turn his laser-like mind to more important matters:

Freedman: "What about the fact that one of the speakers at this conference promotes the factually incorrect statement that abortion leads to breast cancer. Do you believe that?" 
Abetz: "I think the studies, and I think they date back from the 1950s, assert that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer." 
Freedman: "It is conclusively and scientifically incorrect in the same way that linking immunisations and autism are incorrect. So when this scientific non-information is being put out there, how can you be comfortable being part of something that promotes this non-science?" 
Abetz: "Well I don't know what your scientific expertise is to be able to run that commentary, I must confess I don't have that... Freedman: "It's not me. It's the Australian Medical Association." 
Abetz: "Well there are other organisations that have differing views as some of these speakers are clinical professors..." 

Oh noes, the dumb dingbat. Sticking up for a bunch of ratbags assembling in a conference dedicated to rabid ideological zealotry.

What say you, AMA?

The president of the Australian Medical Association (AMA), Associate Professor Brian Owler, says Senator Abetz's comments are irresponsible and are based on a personal ideology. 
 "I think he should stay out of these debates if you're quoting evidence from the 1950s, I think that's in line with the attitudes he's putting forward," he said. 
 "It's not the sort of thing that he should be putting out and certainly not the role a senior Government member should be taking on what is an important health issue. (here)

Oh dear, so while the dole bludgers were heading off to their Eric Abetz designated field of fruit picking dreams, the leader of the government in the senate was in full-scale retreat back to the 1950s.

Did he really say that, did he want have another story and another meme go viral? Yes he did, he did:

And then there was the matter of immigration, with Fairfax having a field day:

Oh dear, Scott "Tongues" Morrison off with the boats and the pixies, and completely forgetting that he's got a department to run, and finally someone dares to point out what everyone has known all along, which is that if you're well-heeled, the best way into the country is via plane. That's if you're a fancy economic refugee.

Chances are, if you catch a boat, you're probably some desperate, pathetic refugee, willing to risk a dangerous voyage on a leaky boat, and so you deserve a decent bit of Christian persecution.

Can it get any worse? Well yes, after the Brandis and Abbott follies, the hapless wretches have had to send out big Mal to explain what they were really on about, and big Mal has had to explain how the government is on a journey through digital time and space (and who knows, might yet end up in the twilight zone).

Oh big Mal went on air to ensure that big brother wouldn't be perusing browsing histories, but let's face it, it was a bridge too far for even the reptiles.

Clearly someone forgot to ship the daily dose of kool aid or it happened to be the weaker brew:

Oh noes, not the bouffant one! Is nothing sacred? Is there no area where the chaos and confusion won't find fertile ground for dissent and dismay?

...Once The Australian revealed Mr Turnbull’s forceful (and prophetic) declaration to his colleagues that it was “strange” he had not been involved in the in-principle decision and they would be “embarrassed” as a result, the political focus has been on policy confusion and budget process. Labor was able to pounce on the report as a demonstration of a dysfunctional cabinet. Opposition Treasury spokesman Chris Bowen knows something of this. He was a member of two Rudd cabinets that were dumped for being dysfunctional and who resigned from a Gillard cabinet because it too had become dysfunctional. Yesterday, he said: “We were promised a government of grown-ups. The Australian people were promised a government who would have proper cabinet deliberation, of cool and calm decision-making, of proper consultation. 
“We’ve got dysfunction in the cabinet processes of this government which is very worrying and disturbing. And for the Communications Minister not to be included, and for him to read about it in the newspaper, an important decision in his own portfolio, I found extraordinary,” he said without a smile. The debate within senior levels of government is now whether Mr Turnbull’s complaint that he was excluded from the NSC discussion on metadata retention as a counter-terrorism measures was a “hissy fit” or “sage advice”. 

Et tu reptiles? Et tu bouffant one? Well let's jump past the technical points to cut to the real chase:

There is a real fear that Mr Turnbull was not excluded on a technicality but because of paranoia stemming from his former leadership, his ongoing leadership ambitions and a tendency towards publicity that serves his purposes. 
There is also a well-founded concern that Mr Turnbull is reluctant to ardently prosecute issues politically if he is philosophically opposed. 
The NSC was making an in-principle decision on data retention, which has proved contentious in Australia and overseas, is extremely complex and needed to have a strong and positive start to succeed. The fact that the in-principle decision leaked from the nation’s most secret council — without Mr Turnbull in attendance and ensuring it became the prime topic of debate — defeats the argument that Mr Turnbull was kept out because of leaking fears. What’s more, with Mr Turnbull not given a role in initially selling the complex idea, which Labor is lining up to block, those not well-equipped were exposed to withering media examination and found wanting. 
If Mr Turnbull was excluded for technical reasons, it was a misjudgment. 
If he was excluded because of paranoia, it was not only a misjudgment, it was also self-defeating and destructive.

Say what, a self-defeating, destructive, paranoid government inclined to misjudgment and found wanting? By, of all people, the bouffant one? Chief hagiographer and knob polisher?

And that Sky News interview was withering? You mean asking a goose to cackle and flap its tongue, and the goose obliging, is withering?

Could it get any worse?

Say what? IPA supporters pour in cash to fund anti-Abbott as as race discrimination act fury boils over.

Is there any good news? How about the valiant attempts to Americanise the health and education systems?

After all, there's nothing like reading Rachel Aviv's New Yorker piece Wrong Answer, in an era of high-stakes testing, a struggling school made a shocking choice (outside the paywall at the moment) to see how the American education system is flourishing and teaching students all the right values. (Sadly the Homeric MOOC is inside the NYRB paywall)

Is there a poodle in the house?

A back down in the making?: Bruce Chapman and Tim Higgins appear to have done Christopher Pyne a favour by coming up with viable alternatives to slugging students the bond rate on their HECS. Though let’s be clear, students are unlikely to be dancing in the streets at having to pay a 25 per cent surcharge on top of their loan. The cleverness of a surcharge is that it is not only fairer, it provides an incentive for parents to pay fees upfront. It’s laid the ground work for Pyne to back down on his truly dumb idea to charge the bond rate; dumb that is if you give two hoots about equity and not just the purity of free markets. The question is why Pyne didn’t talk to Chapman and his cronies before coming up with its policies?
Look over here: Asked whether the bond rate on HECS had been chucked in by Pyne as a diversionary tactic to draw attention away from deregulated fees, a senior higher education figure responded: “I generally think that cock-ups are much more likely than strategy.” That is kind of reassuring, and also not. (the reptiles again, here)

And how does all this affect jolly Joe, who's been wanting to introduce a budget that punishes the poor and the young? Who has wanted to introduce a contractionary, punitive budget?

Sorry, all he's got is bleating and whining, because he knows he has to keep trying to sell a bad budget to the Senate, and that's worse than herding cats.

Yes, we're in a total budget crisis, we're in a complete and utter economic meltdown and future generations will have to sell their children to the gypsies, so in debt will they be ... so let's have some tax cuts ...

This is the man going to sell the budget to a recalcitrant Senate?

There's nothing else for it. Either the entire front bench has to be sacked right here, right now, or we need a double dissolution. There's no way we can carry on in this state of chaos and confusion, where natdtering negative bloggers don the disguise of Chicken Little and announce the end of the world as we know it ... perhaps the result of spending too long in the company of Tony Abbott when he was opposition leader.

But as always, the pond doesn't want any stray reader to go away down hearted and depressed. There was Guy Rundle yesterday in Crikey embarking on a classic rant about 18C (may be paywall affected), and along the way he came up with this:

This strain of self-pitying, self-satisfied white guy whining that presents as its opposite has been at the heart of the 18c push from the start — inevitably since it was constellated around Andrew Bolt, who embodies that European petit-bourgeois whining self-pity so absolutely, you’d think there was just a pile of clothes and a permanently on air horn where he sat. 

The Bolter as an permanently on airhorn ...

Oh the pond will be smirking for the next week ...

(Below: the pond loves Rowe. Every time the pond experiences yet another burst of Fairfax fear and loathing, the question arises. Who will take care of Rowe? There's more Rowe here, but this one is a doozy of the first water. It's probably the main reason the pond doesn't run advertising, so we can claim his clever abuse is just fair use)

And let's not forget Pope, the other David in the two Davids:

What a wag he is. Could anyone come up with a funnier comment about the federal government's intertubes policies? And as always more Pope here.


  1. Jeez, Louise, are we in for a run of "leader's calls" from Abbott? On to Stalingrad!

    1. That did make me laugh! Thank you.

  2. Abetz: "I think the studies, and I think they date back from the 1950s, assert that there is a link between abortion and breast cancer."

    So what is Abetz’s explanation for males who are diagnosed with breast cancer?

    1. eric denies ever linking abortion and breast cancer .. or so he said just 10min. ago on the wireless.

    2. Then Abetz is another lying rodent of the Liberal party, proven here:

  3. DP - as you mentioned fruit pickers and seasonal workers -

  4. DP - thanks for the link to poemhunter. There's a lot of Judith Wright there, she of course being an Armidale lass, a neighbour of yours, and my favourite. I can't find the poem "with gilded breast and wing" there but I'll keep searching.

    And the Lorrikeets are still visiting the garden, plus the occasional kangaroo.


    1. I am loving these tidbits on lorikeets and Judith Wright. Could I possibly come and live in your garden (in a very non-creepy fashion)?

  5. Another slow car-crash interview. Irvine (of ASIO) on ABC 24.

    He digs his hole deeper.

  6. If I may, DP :) I will expound on my "captain's call" theory. Abbott may well jump the shark, soon-ish, in desperation. Let's say, hypothetically, he has a brain-wave that he will kick-start the push for the Treaty. (Thanks to previous caller who linked to Yothu Yindi.) He takes his idea to Cabinet. How does he put it out there, how is it received by his colleagues? I can hear mumbles along the lines of "Oh fark" and shuffling of feet. Abbott proposes a Treaty Commission to do all the grunt work, headed by a Minister with special qualities, so Abbott can scoop up the glory. A Minister who is enjoying popular appeal and who has the legal background. All eyes swivel onto Turnbull. The perfect fit for the task. Inoculated with the SacksOfGold virus and with an eye for the main chance. Yards of consultants to be gifted with millions of taxpayer $$. Deals done to expedite extraction of mineral wealth. Pass that shit sandwich and to hell with charisma.

  7. Have I got this right? You employ someone with a passing expertise in an area, you give him an office, a desk and a name-tag that says "Communications Minister".

    But.....he turns out to be somewhat well-liked and respected by some elements of the community.

    So, you sideline and hobble him, and send Bookshelves out to run his policy line.

    Bookshelves stuffs the whole thing, lock stock and digital barrel.

    And the, AND THEN, the bouffant one suggests "leaving Turnbull out a bad call."????

    Sainted mother of mine.

    As Abbott said a year ago, "a mature, reliable government. a government without surprises."

    Only thing was, he was not referring, clearly, to his own government.

  8. Rundle's description of Bolt was absolutely priceless. The whole piece was brilliant, although it will no doubt be dismissed as typical leftist rubbish - despite Rundle noting his own reservations about 18C.


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