(Above: oh yes it's been bloody cold in Canberra and it serves them bloody right and more from the freezingly ascerbic Pope here).
The pond is confused.
As usual, profoundly, hopelessly confused. And a day doesn't go by that doesn't add to the confusion, or even the double negatives ...
There, for example, was jolly Joe explaining how certain figures presented in a report arising from Treasury figures were "deliberately misleading". (Joe Hockey anger, forced video at end of link)
Uh huh, but the report reported Treasury figures.
Now in the pond's humble world of logic, that means that Treasury has been devising and concocting deliberately misleading figures, betraying jolly Joe and the entire Australian population.
Well the pond knows the answer. What's needed is a show trial, and the installation of a ducking stool handy to Treasury. These duplicitous, misleading, cardigan-wearing fat cats must be shown the taste of Lake Burley Griffin water. Who cares if it's cold in Canberra? Duck 'em ...
But hang on, you say, where's the pond's innate sense of fairness? We're big on fairness this week ...
What happens if jolly Joe has been deliberately misleading about the deliberately misleading figures?
Worse, what if some renegade bullies and statistical thugs take the side of Fairfax and Treasury?
A former Treasury official, who did not wish to be named, said he had ''no reason to expect Treasury's figures are wrong''. ''And I have no reason to expect these figures will go away, either,'' he said. Stephen Koukoulas from Market Economics said the government would have known that its budget was going to hit lower-income households hardest.
''The way that all these policies are actually costed and analysed, there is almost always an income distribution effect, particularly on these sorts of policies when its obvious there's going to be some sort of impact,'' he said. (here, forced video at end of link).
Varlet, transport jolly Joe to the ducking stool forthwith.
And then there was the peculiar matter of George "the bookshelf and lots of books to go with it man" Brandis v Big "let me fuck up the NBN even more" Mal, which you can read in George Brandis contradict Malcolm Turnbull over piracy crackdown payments.
The problem here of course is that Brandis doesn't have the faintest clue and big Mal is at least aware that he should somehow hint that he has at least the faintest clue, including what the High Court has already said.
What to do, what to do? Must the pond stay trapped in logic limbo land?
Well as always the pond felt the need of a kool aid fix, and where better to turn than the reptile hagiographers and knob polishers at the lizard Oz, and is there a better knob polisher in the land than Chris Kenny?
Could anyone else scribble Budget debate must be about our future, inside the paywall because you can get the bible for free but you have to pay to read Kenny.
Thank the long absent lord Kenny knows how to focus the mind. The trouble is all this blather about fairness, which frankly is just so unfair.
To win the budget debate, Tony Abbott and Joe Hockey need to change it.
They are stuck in a fairness argument they invited upon themselves but can never win.
Yes, they blathered on about fairness. Fair go mate, fair suck of the sauce bottle, the pineapple and the vegemite-laden spoon. You know, all that Adam Lindsay Gordon nonsense about a fair go:
Question not, but live and labor
Till yon goal be won,
Helping every feeble neighbor,
Seeking help from none;
Life is mostly froth and bubble,
Two things stand like stone:
Kindness in another’s trouble,
Courage in your own
But everyone knew the government was being unfair, the budget was unfair, life was unfair, unfairness was all around.
So what's needed? Perhaps a Reverend Marsden approach? Get out the whip, courtesy Kenneth Slessor?
My cure of souls, my cage of brutes,
Go lick and learn at these my boots!
When tainted highways tear a hole,
I bid my cobbler welt the sole.
O, ye that wear the boots of Hell,
Shall I not welt a soul as well?
Now that sounds damned fair (and the rest of that vesper-song here). Whip the wretches into shape, punish them, berate them, blame them for the losers and the tossers they are, leech them until the bllod flows upwards to the rich ...
Oops, the pond might have gone a bit too far.
You see, only a few lines after denouncing the concept of fairness, Kenny lets fly with this one:
Sure, you don’t want an unfair budget. Governments must be seen to be fair.
Sometimes Kenny sounds so dumb you could almost believe he thought that Chaser cartoon was a realistic portrait rather than a satirical thrust and parry.
Even worse, having completely confused jolly Joe by explaining that fairness didn't matter, except it did, Kenny then decided to snatch away the kool aid:
In Madonna King’s recently released biography, Hockey is reported to complain about a lack of “enthusiasm” from this newspaper in coverage of his 2012 “age of entitlement” speech in London. Apparently he complained to proprietor Rupert Murdoch.
“I said, ‘what the hell is The Australian doing?’ He was appalled,” Hockey said.
However, you don’t just deliver a speech, give an interview to your ideological enemies at the ABC and expect your arguments to take off, or complain to the boss.
You brief media, explain your aims, garner third-party support and do a series of interviews, articles and speeches.
You make your case. And you do it relentlessly — especially if you are a Coalition politician — in case most of the press gallery is antipathetic.
Abbott and Hockey have put themselves behind in the budget debate. Yet they can prevail if they reframe it away from Labor’s dollar-for-dollar fairness test and start a conversation with the public, and the Senate.
Uh huh. So what's that conversation likely to be about?
Why it's about how life's unfair, and everything should be unfair, and forget your bloody pay packet, go over the top and catch that bullet for the nation lads and lasses:
The budget should be about protecting the nation’s future and enhancing opportunity, not equalising pay packets.
Yes Marsden was right. Enough of this idle chatter about fairness. Jeeves, bring that whip ... but hey the pond will be terribly conversational between the lashes. Oh yes we can explain how it's all for their benefit, and their correction and their improvement, and no doubt in a few perverted cases, for their pleasure ...
Well today is of course Nick Cater day, which is to say whinging and moaning and whining at the moon and howling like an agitated dingo in an ABC promotion:
There's just one problem here. Ipso facto, in a prima facie way, and even allowing for the pond's penchant for syllogisms, it would seem that the Press Council remains as useless as a wet lettuce leaf ...
Because it hasn't shut up Nick Cater or the rest of the commentariat scribbling for the lizard Oz, has it?
Or the Bolter. Or the She-Bolt ... or any of the rest of the hounds of hell ...
And as for conformism why Cater marches in lock step with the rest of the reptiles, which, if we may mix metaphors, show all the conformity of a bee hive, a termite heap or a mound of angry red ants ...
Here's how that termite mind-set works:
Yes, right at this moment, the rag and the government are still obsessed with the Labor party and the NBN, and so celebrate the way the current government has pissed money against the wall on useless reports exhuming the past and Stephen Conroy.
The muffin Conroy muffed it, and wasted a lot of time wanting to censor the internet and punish ISPs.
Oh dear, we asked for George Brandis to step outside. Now he'll get ideas ...
Meanwhile, and right now, there is a new government in power, and has been so for a considerable time, such that it can no longer be called new, and Brandis doesn't have a clue, and nor does Abbott, except perhaps Conroyian ones, and in the meantime, Malcolm Turnbull is comprehensively fucking up the NBN, such that the nation will pay more than for Labor's roll-out, and at that for a poorer service to fewer people.
But what's the chance of a headline saying "Abbott government's fucking up of NBN 'rushed, chaotic'"?
Or how about "Big Mal's muddied muddle of technologies a right old stew of delay, obfuscation and failure"?
And sssh, don't mention the elephant in the room, to which Bill Scales once belonged. Let's just give it a nice pet name, like Telstra ...
Yes, the pond knows, the pond knows.
What the reptiles are doing is called living in the past. What the government is doing is returning yet again to the glory days of opposition, when nattering negativity was all that was needed and there was no need to get involved in the tedious business of actually doing something.
The money wasted on that report - which at least delivered the conclusion the government and the reptiles wanted, unlike that wild card Twiggy - could have been spent on something useful, instead of cheap and idle point scoring. You know, like "ten simple ways to fix up the NBN being fucked up by big Mal and the Abbott government".
But back to Cater for a moment. If you like, you can of course evade the paywall to read the Caterist Grand inquisitor tortures the truth.
It starts with high - some might think obscene comedy - by comparing the fate of reptiles such as Henry Ergas, the Bolter, and Akker Dakker to the fate of Galileo at the hands of the Holy Roman Inquisition.
All this serves to demonstrate is that Caterists are so far up themselves and so rampantly deluded that there's not much point reading a word they say ...
Never mind, it all builds to this splendid point:
Disney’s dictum that commentators must, in effect, abide by the conventional wisdom puts opinion editors in an invidious position since the accepted view is, as Galbraith points out, “highly predictable,” and therefore is inclined to be dull. Its articulation is “a religious rite … an act of affirmation like reading aloud from the Scriptures or going to church”.
The council’s new rules put opinion editors in a difficult spot. They could conform, as some do, and publish a dull and unsurprising page, or commit an act of civil disobedience and make a useful contribution to the debate.
Disney, before exercising his new powers, might care to consider the advice of John Stuart Mill. “The peculiar evil of silencing an opinion is that it is robbing the human race,” wrote Mill in On Liberty.
“If the opinion is right, they are deprived of the opportunity of exchanging error for truth.
“If wrong, they lose what is almost as great a benefit, the clearer and livelier impression of truth, produced by its collision with error.”
Which, when you think about it for a nanosecond, is even higher comedy, complete with two bizarre notions.
The first is that the likes of the Bolter makes a useful contribution to any debate. For that, you have to believe that he's the world's greatest climate scientist ...
Or that any of the other reptiles make a useful contribution to the debate, as opposed to wailing like dingoes in an ABC promotion, and howling at the wind ...
For fuck's sake, the daily monotonous stupidities of the News commentariat is up there with Galileo?
Holmes’s logic is not dissimilar to Caccini’s argument that Galileo’s proposition was false because it was “regarded as discordant with the Catholic faith by very serious writers”.
And then there's that second monstrous stupidity, the notion that you can gain a clearer and livelier impression of truth, arising from collision with the daily errors, lies, frauds, misrepresentations, and dissembling misinterpretations to be found in the Murdochian commentariat.
All you get is an even clearer and livelier impression of the lies ... starting with the bizarre notion that the Murdochian commentariat and other fog-bound rabid right wing ideologues are up there with Galileo in the rigorous pursuit of scientific truth ...
But at least it helps explain why the pond is eternally confused ...
Jeeves, a little more kool aid please ...
But hey at least the Twitterati have been having fun this morning with this delightful juxtaposition featuring Dame Groan:
And that mention of the Pope - the Pope Pope, not the Canberra Pope - allows the pond to dust off a recent Spooner and give it a run:
Substitute Fairfax and the ABC for religion, and you can how the Caterists can yelp at the moon ...