Saturday, August 23, 2014

In which the pond tries to find market-based solutions for the reptiles while contemplating more serious matters, like child abuse, prisons, Scott Morrison and Tony Abbott...

(Above: pick the prison. Clue: one is at Glen Innes. And if you'd like a survey of NSW prisons, go here).

Over the years the pond has been inside a number of working prisons in a number of states, from minimum to maximum security, and for all demographics, male, female and juvenile, though some of the latter were back in the day when they were given the quaint Orwellian name of "homes". (In the old days, Tamworth had the toughest "home" for boys doing the rounds and it's still a hell hole).

The pond hastens to add that the visits were generally for anthropological, cultural, social and professional reasons, though they also helped scare the pond straight, and conform to the rule to beware of any business involving "P's" - priests, psychiatrists, psychics, psychologists, prison guards and politicians for starters.

But it helps explain why the pond found Scott Morrison's political explanation of prisons and a comparison of Christmas Island detention centre to Long Bay so offensive and disingenuous.

Did he mean to compare Christmas Island with the minimum security facility of Long Bay or the maximum? Does he think that there is only one form of prison in Australia and it is the default, de rigueur hard core maximum kind?

The point of the detention centres run by Morrison is to deprive the inmates of their liberty, of the freedom to move around at will, in exactly the way a prison of any kind does - it might even be argued that some minimum security prisons offer more freedom than Australian detention centres, since a prisoner classified C3 in NSW qualifies for day leave programs, and there's not many inmates who go out and about on Christmas Island or Manus Island.

Now Morrison might squawk that detention centres aren't prisons, but if it looks, smells, clucks and struts like a prison, it's likely either to be a chook or a de facto prison.

Anybody - yes Morrison has supporters inclined to pedantry - who tries legalistic evasions and distinctions will get short shrift from the pond. That's not an emotive statement Mr Bowles, that's just the reality. Live with it.

Technically, the pond was informed on good authority last night watching this parade of dissembling, arrogance and lies, that there is a difference between a punch to the balls and a kick to the balls, but the effect can be remarkably similar.

Unfortunately in the interrogation, the smug Morrison felt hat he'd got the better of Triggs with his dissembling, disingenuous response, but thankfully and possibly for the first time, he had to contemplate and admit the notion that locking up and torturing children, in a bid to prevent children dying at sea, was so much pathetic humbug.

There will be a reckoning down the track on the human rights abuses both sides of the aisle have perpetrated on children.

Morrison is in the business of institutional child abuse, up there with Cardinal Pell's trucking institution - how much it says about Pell that he resorted to that metaphor. And how much does it say about Morrison that he pretends to be a tough guy, jailing refugees, when it suits him, only to turn around and squawk 'but it isn't a jail' when it suits him ...

Meanwhile, and for a complete change of pace away from the reprehensible, allegedly Christian "Tongues" Morrison, this is the day that the pond ritually avoids reading John Birmingham.

Sorry Mr Birmingham, it's nothing personal, it's just that someone who did read you selected this as a highlight:

- Extract. "Coalfinger". 
Clive Palmer would make an excellent Bond villain, don't you think? 

Oh dear, the pond still thinks it's a shame we'll no longer be reading patented references to Lord Downer of Baghdad, and the lords and ladies that have followed in his wake (go on take a walk, A journey into Downer's dark past, it'll be relevant down the page).

So instead the pond settled down to catch up with Crikey, and what fun it was to read Anon's advice to the reptiles, Chris Kenny, barista? How The Australian can become profitable (paywall affected):

Oh dear. The pond usually disapproves of Photoshop - it's the sort of cheap and easy device beloved of the reptilian Murdochian Molochians - and yet somehow it seemed just right, just so and thus, in this particular case.

The advice was simple enough. Confronted with a loss-making endeavour, what to do? And then applying all the usual economic advice of the dries that litter the free market pages of the lizard Oz like desiccated coconut.

The likes of The Australian’s Judith Sloan, Henry Ergas, Chris Kenny and Adam Creighton have been writing about how labour market flexibility, in its optimal form, should result in wages cut when firms are doing it tough and losing money. They advocate that in addition to a pay cut, workers should become more productive — that is, doing more for a given level of pay. These gurus of free-market labour markets would, when aiming to boost productivity, suggest an extra column per week from the insightful Christian Kerr or yet another two made-up exclusives each day from Hedley Thomas or another look at the Rudd/Gillard tensions from Troy Bramston. Maybe for Troy, they can print the same column every other Tuesday, just above the fee-free ad for the Car and Gadgets column in The Weekend Australian. 

There is, as a reader noted, a flaw in this advice. A glut in stupidity just results in a glut and even lower prices for a failing, useless product nobody wants to buy now. All the same, the suggestion that Kenny go barista was great fun:

If the worst happens and everyone at The Australian were to lose their jobs, the current writers could try their hand in the high-wage, high-labour-cost food and catering industry. Sloan, Ergas, Creighton and Kenny have all bemoaned, at one time or another, the crippling nature of weekend penalty rates in the food sector and how cafes and restaurants have to shut on Sundays because of these wages and employment conditions. 
Well, if conditions are so wonderfully good in a cafe, we can look forward to stumping up to the funky local breakfast place one Sunday morning and see Henry Ergas raking in an excessive salary as he makes eggs florentine. Of course, Chris Kenny would be thrilled to be a barista making a carbon-free decaf soy latte while Judith Sloan beavers away on the home-made baked beans, poached eggs and cous cous infused with a hint of Atlantic salmon. Adam Creighton would be on the juicing machine — trying to get the market to determine the right mix of raspberries, strawberries and blueberries in the ideal smoothie. 
The end game, of course, is that The Australian is not practising what it preaches. It is bleeding money, and the wage rates appear ridiculous.

Indeed. The pond fell off a convenient log when it heard this tidbit:

...the average worker on the Oz is paid substantially more - $178,000 a year - than those on the more profitable metropolitan dailies. (here)

Knock the pond down with a feather. 178 clicks for writing drivel? And that's the average worker?

How soon can the pond get on board?

Sure enough, this very day the reptiles ran the usual guff which proved the rag was impervious to satire, irony and self-awareness.

Indeed, indeed Dame Groan. Yet still the handouts keep flowing to the reptiles. And point taken Grace, but who would want to buy the Oz, with its poor culture and its long road to reform?

As for the rest, it was entirely predictable. Instead of making a decent living as a barista, there was the predictable Chris Kenny banging the Islamic fundamentalist drum:

How much do they pay this twit to make a thin, bitter coffee from the dregs?

The bottom line is that Kenny attempts to defend the indefensible, the likes of Col Allan and the New York Post, and the Currish Snail and the Terror using the death of a human being to sell newspapers, and to what avail? To make the world aware of the barbarities of fundamentalism, terrorism and war?

In the old days, conservatives would have talked of proprieties and seemliness, and valuing sensitivity above nose in gutter behaviour, and treating victims and family survivors with some respect and dignity. 

The sort of thing you'd expect of a man who took legal action about being shown fucking a dog ...

So now we know that dog fucking is beyond the pale. But everyone should have their noses rubbed in a brutal execution to teach us a lesson.

Which raises a question for the pond. How is it that Kenny is apparently hauling in a squillion to defend the indefensible, when he should be reading New York post front page photo of James Foley causes widespread anger. (forced video at end of link)?

As for the rest, it's the usual bunch of jihads by the domestic jihadists. There's the bouffant one banging on yet again about Clive Palmer:

There's Chris Merritt banging on about Julian Disney and freedom, which presumably means the freedom to be nauseating, but not the freedom to take a look at Murdochian accounts.

Joined the other side?

Such a simplistic black and white, rabid ideological view of the world, and day after day, the reptiles want to be paid a fortune to trot out the bile and the juices of an acid spleen.

And instead of Troy Bramston sobbing over memories of the Ruddster, there's Paul Kelly, still back in the old days, reliving the past, because truth to tell, time spent with Tony Abbott and the gang is just a bridge too far for the reptiles at the Oz:

Next week, Paul Kelly reminisces about the two conscription referenda in the first world war, and Billy Hughes being expelled from the Labor party for his role in the campaign ... in an excitingly new and contemporary addition to Australian political analysis (go on, you can ADB Billy here).

Meanwhile, in other worlds, you can read in The Graudian, not about days of yore with the Ruddster, but Team Australia needs a captain who is prepared to listen to all the members.

Or to go full circle, Inquiry into children in detention hears Scott Morrison talk in circles.

Or perhaps for a light hearted variation:

Oh dear, where did all that talk of a double dissolution go? Is it lost, is it hiding? And now suddenly the psychic Tony Abbott has probed the pond's mind like a Martian and deduced the pond has no desire for an election?

Strange, the poll result accompanying that story here saw 96% in favour of a double dissolution election.

Well you know what they say about psychics, psychiatrists, priests and politicians ...

Which brings us back to the over-paid reptiles regurgitating much that's already been proven a failure in the marketplace. A veritable flood of Edsel words, a Blockbuster video of new Coke crap:

Writers don’t seem to write all that much, so the cost per square centimetre of copy (productivity, in other words) is dismally low. 
The Australian needs to turn things around turn. If it is to follow its mantra to government and other industries, it must deliver massive cuts to the wages of its staff, getting them to write more. It needs to show flexibility so Henry Ergas could be the culinary writer and Adam Creighton can prepare the crosswords and Judith Sloan on cartoons. 
Dennis Shanahan could have a satirical column on the Newspoll results each fortnight. To the team at The Australian  — you know what to do. 
It makes sense, so go to it. Flexibility, flexibility, flexibility.

Wise words, except for that glut in the marketplace ... glut, glut, glut.

Maybe they could be turned into truffles and buried deep in the ground so that wandering pigs could sniff them out ...

(Below: meanwhile on another planet ... and more First Dog here, including a discussion of the cartoon. The pond would usually dissect the cartoon and run only a piece as a way of promoting the Dog, but this one needs to stay whole, and this is where that Downer reading comes in handy).

Yes and the pond doesn't need an Aboriginal skeleton or a head as a reminder of what happened, though if you happen to be Chris Kenny, no doubt you'd like to wander off to the J. L. Shellshear Museum at the University of Sydney ...


  1. Mummy! mummy! Can I stay up late PLEASE to watch the new Doctor Who at 4:55 am on ABC?


    1. No, absolutely not, you'd be rewarding a sensible strategy to avoid piracy, and that would make Graham Burke very, very angry.

  2. Well Dot, really the Oz has long been a vanity publishing job, much the same as self published second rate poetry. Except for the much deeper pockets of the publisher, of course!
    How long after Rupe karks will it survive?

    1. The pond hopes to live long enough to find out the answer GlenH, and figures that won't involve hanging around too long after Rupe follows Hearst into infinite infamy ...


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