Tuesday, September 30, 2014

In which outrageous suggestions are all the go ...

Speaking of making suggestions, and often quite outrageous suggestions, it was impossible while watching Media Watch last night - the show is on catch up under the header Telling tales of terror -not to think that the Daily Terror is in a competition with the reptiles at the lizard Oz to be the worst newspaper in Australia.

There were many ironies on view, not least the contrast between this front page:

 And the cheeky, bald-faced, insouciant denialism at source ...

You have to be a sublime pedant of the first water to propose there's no causality in that EXCLUSIVE and that the Terror was merely reporting two entirely unrelated events ... prisoners rioting and jail cancelling Muslim prayers ...

In the real world it's called mendacity and humbugging ...

It's easy enough to see why the reptiles continue to hate on Media Watch. It's one of the few places where you can actually find the Murdoch media called to account (and since the Fairfaxians and the ABC, influenced by the Murdochians, are on the same downward spiral, they get dishonourable mentions in despatches too).

Naturally the Bolter was right on to the job this morning (no links, screen cap):

Yes, always with the deflecting and the dissembling, always with the in-house monolithic party line, never surrender and never admit error.

But then you'd expect an hysterical, neurotic, fear monger, who has built a career out of loathing, to defend the house of Murdoch.

It's clear enough what's driving the rags to foment fear - the shrieking headlines are seen as some sort of business plan, a complement to the sort of click bait that Media Watch trolled through with its three-breasted woman report (which inter alia allowed Media Watch to show as many views of the three breasts as you might find in a Daily Mail report).

There's probably only one way the situation will change, and that's with the death of Rupert Murdoch, and a sudden realisation that the business plan shouldn't be about alienating consumers with distortions and lies, but actually attracting paying customers ...

You'd think they'd wake up at some point that it's easier to sell news than ideology, but there's Ten, still down the toilet, with its main channel just a bee's knee ahead of the ABC (10.9% to 10.8%, Crikey here, paywall affected), and yet the Bolter's figures remain wretchedly low, with 110k for the first screening and 133k for the repeat, and he still can't reach the Insiders, which scored an aggregated 277k, with 202k on the main channel and 75k on News 24.

That's precious content money wasted on ideological far right wing ratbaggery but presumably it keeps Gina happy, and it's easy to see why the Bolter and the reptiles are tormented by the ABC. People prefer to watch Barrie Cassidy to the Bolter. Amazing scenes.

Right at the moment the desperation is palpable.

Click on reptile stories at the lizard Oz and you still get this pathetic begging letter:

Naturally the pond hits the 'back' button right away, so such tasty treats such as these spin into the void:

As a result, the pond is in something of an existential crisis.

Is reading the Caterists indulging in Ming the merciless ancestor worship really worth the effort? Were the Caterists actually in country during the campaign to ban the Communist party and McCarthyism ran riot?

Yes, conservatives have always used fear and fear-mongered and Ming did it with the comfort of the newspapers of the 1950s ...

And were the Caterists on hand when the alleged natural managers of the economy managed to produce the great 1961 meltdown and Ming got back by a seat?

As for Maurice Newman, what to make of him turning student radical and taking to the streets?

Shouldn't he be writing another denunciation of climate change?

This very day the mischief makers are out on the streets, with press releases here, and links to the actual science here, and already it's part of The Conversation with Human hands are all over Australia's hottest ever year.

And the cheeky sods have even whipped up a poster (click on to enlarge):

Have the scientists begun to realise that if you can't go through the Murdochians and their Morrices, then you may as well go around them ...

Never mind, if you really want to irritate the reptiles, why not start reading the editorals?

You see, the hapless wretches like to have their voice heard, so they rarely put the fickle gold bar of fate over the editorials, nor do they hit stray readers with screeching, beseeching ads that warn readers off by blather about the need to pay for special exclusive content, such as the dribbling of the Caterists and Morrice ...

So you can read Aunty should remember it's our ABC and our cash, a classic example of the paranoia, resentment and passive aggressive rage that infests the reptiles.

The piece starts by resenting what Quentin Dempster gets paid and then resenting Quentin Dempster for daring to supply content to the ABC, and resenting Barrie Cassidy being highly paid.

Which reminds the pond, what does the Bolter get paid for fucking up Ten's Sunday? Don't bother asking the reptiles - we know where that challenge ended, with Barry vs Bolt: I'll show you my salary now you show me yours ...

Never mind, it's all about resentment and bitterness and envy, and you don't even have to flip the following to get the sense of insecurity that gnaws at the reptiles like a rat at cheese (or maybe peanut butter if you're having trouble with the rats):

In commercial media we understand all too well the anxiety created by cost-cutting, but the ABC does itself a great disservice by pretending that it is a special case. And its paranoia about the motives behind recent decisions says more about its disconnect from reality than it does about the government’s agenda. “It is apparent that the ABC has lost the politics in Canberra,” ABC host Dempster wrote about the ABC on the ABC’s site. “Admittedly, it has been up against aggressive Murdoch newspapers which have been urging the government, through editorials and inflammatory commentaries, to strike hard at the ABC.” Heaven forbid that instead of a political conspiracy there is just a government trying to live within its means. The ABC’s Peter Lloyd puts the push for restraint and efficiency more simply: “it’s just f---ing dumb.”

Can't you just hear the wheedling, grovelling self-pity in that line about knowing the anxiety of cost-cutting? Now that the truth about the lizard Oz and its lack of profitability and the retrenchments - denied and hushed hushed for years - is now out on the open.

But as for the rest?

A government trying to live within its means?

So that's what an extravagant PPL scheme is ... living within means.

And that's what haring off to war on an exercise that was self-admittedly budgeted as starting at half a billion and rising ... (and let's not worry about the cost of the JSF or alternatives, here).

Never mind, there's just time for a final bout of righteous hectoring and indignation:

It is not only churlish but deeply irresponsible for the ABC to resist implementing cost-saving measures while it awaits the declaration of a funding envelope from Canberra. Its task each and every day should be to deliver its services as efficiently as possible; not to offer productivity only as a bargaining chip in a haggle for funds. Whether it turns Peppa into a pigskin political football or threatens to send politicians to bed a half-hour earlier by axing Lateline, Aunty’s posturing is transparent. Perhaps it could shed some of its spinmeisters and middle managers and save money without a single program feeling the pinch. Contrary to the paranoia of Dempster and others, The Australian supports an efficient, pluralistic and mainstream ABC. We have never wanted to see it privatised. But it should be capable of spending its money wisely without resorting to cheap stunts and special pleading at taxpayers’ expense.

Ah yes Peppa. Well we know who turned Peppa into a weird deviant political pigskin with weird feminist tendencies. Thanks Akker Dakker:

But the real laugh, the reason for reading the editorial at all, is to read that smug last line:

We have never wanted to see it privatised. But it should be capable of spending its money wisely without resorting to cheap stunts and special pleading at taxpayers’ expense.

The Murdochians are too cunning to come out and say it, not after James Murdoch's bruising when he did his BBC bashing in his spectacular own goal speech...

So they circle, and cross their heart and swear to die before they want the ABC privatised.

Degutted, neutralised, run down, diminished, rendered toothless ... well that's another story.

The reptiles see themselves in a war with the ABC (and foolishly they also have a second front, against the Fairfaxians), and they see the ABC's free model as a major threat.

It's clear enough what with all the current begging and beseeching that the reptiles are hurting, which is why they want the ABC to just lie down and expect the ABC to take its licks and cuts without a fight.

They don't have to say they want to see the ABC privatised. They just have to give space to the friends of Murdoch, the IPA, proposing that the ABC be privatised. And they just have to encourage others who want to turn the ABC into the sort of pathetic, totally irrelevant part of the scenery that the PBS has become in the United States ...

Which brings why the Murdochians think they can get away with doing a humbug Br'er rabbit routine. What, throw the ABC in the briar patch? Us? No, never ...

They can just let the likes of Tom Switzer, do the job, presenting sundry bits of tosh in Quadrant:

On climate change, much to the chagrin of its former chairman Maurice Newman, the ABC has jettisoned all semblance of impartiality; it campaigns with a consistent stream of doom-and-gloom stories. Yet it devotes very little attention to Climate-gate scandals, any scholarship that challenges the warming orthodoxy, and the UN’s consistent failure to reach a binding global deal to reduce emissions...
How then to fix the public broadcaster’s entrenched group-think? (here)

Uh huh. Why not apply the same routine to other science?

On Newton's laws, much to the chagrin of its former chairman Maurice Newman, the ABC has jettisoned all semblance of impartiality; it campaigns with a consistent stream of doom-and-gloom stories about apples falling on heads and inertia leading to ruin. Yet it devotes very little attention to gravity-gate scandals, any scholarship that challenges the Newtonista orthodoxy, and the UN’s consistent failure to reach a binding global deal to reduce the harmful effects of gravity...
How then to fix the wilful stupidity of Tom Switzer and the Murdochians entrenched group-think?

In this context, Malcolm Turnbull is the perfect quisling, willing to do down the ABC with death by a thousand cuts, and give the reptiles the hope that, with the enemy removed, the one that points out just how fucked the Murdoch tabloids are, their business plan just might be made to work and they can be saved from the scrapheap ...

As usual, while the media wars proceed under a Turnbull anxious to please the private sector, Gina, Tony, and the Murdochians - even if he'll never get to be PM, even if that's now just a chimera and a dream - we can expect a little collateral damage, as the pond was reminded when it settled down to watch the Six O'Clock Serial rather than waste time with news services on commercial networks that manage to outdo the ABC news service for ambulance chasing ... and lordy, lordy, that's mighty hard to do ...

Up popped an ad showing mean men in action. And who could argue with that?

There's little doubt big Mal wants to kill community TV based on specious notions that he has made the internet safe for television streaming, which is a fraud and a lie:

If the original fibre-to-the-premises National Broadband Network was going ahead then moving community television to the internet would seem more practical. Even if the government's new-look NBN-lite was further down the track then you might be able to make the argument for shifting community television across – even though end user speed guarantees have been scrapped so promises of at least 25 Mbps are meaningless. 
It will be many years before every home currently in the metro broadcast footprint will have an internet connection suitable for watching community television online. It will also be many years before every home owns the equipment required to watch internet video on their television, like a traditional broadcast, rather than watching on a computer or handheld device. (and a lot more here)

(Below: eek, what nasty looking men and maintain the rage here)

Monday, September 29, 2014

Goodbye to all that? Not if you're Fairfax or a bunch of war criminals ...

Who knows why Peter Gearin felt inspired to scribble European 'right to be forgotten' ruling should not make people disappear online  just a few days after a monumental Fairfax error.

Indeed with just a jiggle of the search engine you can turn up images that have the potential to embarrass Fairfax forever.

Oh well played pond.

Yep and you can discover photos with the faces intact just as easily (and we just had to leave that mug shot of George 'the bookcase man' Brandis in the mix, any search engine dredging up a photo of Brandis is just demonstrating the many shapes and forms of embarrassment available on the full to overflowing intertubes, especially for men who stare at their hand like Macbeth or a teenage boy).

Meanwhile, it's as if Gearin decided to write a brief for the man falsely identified as a jihadist and a terrorist a few days ago.

Could anyone begin to sum up the enormity of the damages required, to offset the enormity of the permanent, ineradicable damage done, in better style?

Ill-chosen words now have a half-life longer than uranium. Long-forgotten misdeeds can appear as if they happened today. 
It's a fact of modern life that we can't escape the far-reaching tentacles of internet search engines. They can find anything said, done and regretted since the web was born and bring it back to life, unencumbered by context. 
What is generated by a name search on Google, Yahoo! or Ping has the power to embarrass you forever. A misguided political comment written at 2am on Twitter, a starstruck note on a fan forum or a photo taken with a dodgy workmate at a Christmas party can haunt you for as long as a search engine's claws can snare them. 
It's even worse if that cringeworthy reference appears in a story on a reputable news website. The story in which you're named will stay close to the top of your name search while it's "live" (and you can only hope it hasn't been copied onto one or several news aggregation sites). That's the way it works

Indeed. Indeed. Or even the front page on a Fairfax publication.

So when the story has been copied onto one or several news aggregation sites, as that one was, and so destined to come back to life unencumbered by context, you're tarred for life.

But is Gearin apologetic? Well no, not really. Shit happens and it's vital to have a record of the shit:

Each situation is considered carefully but The Herald rarely agrees to delete or alter a published story. There are exceptions – a court ruling might make an article either misleading, incomplete or incorrect. There have also been cases where a story exposes someone to danger or harassment, or its appearance on search engines is having a long-term detrimental effect on someone's mental health. The simple fact is publishers must do whatever they can to protect the integrity of the public record. Just as you can't go to the State Library and chop out a page of The Herald from the bound copies to permanently erase its existence, stories found on the website should not be amended or deleted without good reason. 
The Herald regards its online archive as an important resource. It represents the collective work of our journalists who strive to get it right, every day. 
It should not be an easy thing to whitewash history.

Indeed, indeed, but if the victim abused by Fairfax on the front pages of The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age decided to sue, the pond reckons that Gearin has just provided his lawyer with reasons to double the total on the tape.

Not only are you tarred for life, the Fairfaxians are proud of it, because you shouldn't whitewash history, or amend or delete the rich fruitiness of the error.

It was around that point that the pond could sense the lawyer's pocket calculator going into meltdown mode. You know, so the size of the settlement helps protect the integrity of the public record ...

What else? Well the reptiles are still running their wall-to-wall 'subscribe to the digital lizard Oz' campaign, which in its own small way is a blessing to the pond.

The pond is so over the reptiles, so tired of their predictable ways, that not being able to link to the kool aid drinkers produces a vast feeling of relief.

Instead the pond has been beguiled by stories today getting anxious about the need to settle a legal framework to justify going to war in Iraq.

Look, there's the man, in deep consultation with legal eagles:

Oh it's not dressed up as war, it's called a limited military action, or air strikes, with a framework, or some such twaddle, but nobody much minded when the war criminals still in parliament organised their first war in 2003, based on lies, deceptions, sexed up texts, and sundry bits of pompous and righteous twaddle.

It'll be a little more complicated devising reasons to bomb Syria, but no doubt it can be done.

Julie Bishop, as adept as selling war as the health-giving properties of asbestos, was at it in The Graudian:

Bishop said it was “a different situation in Syria” when it came to the legality of engagement. 
“The US is going in under article 51 in relation to a collective self-defence of Iraq,” she said of the justification for air strikes now being carried out in Syria. 
“It’s a different legal framework. Australia has been asked to support the Iraqi government. That’s what we’ve been requested to do and so that’s our mission,” she said. 
“Should there be a request in relation to Syria, we would consider it. We would also consider the legal framework that the US is relying upon in order to go into Syria but we would make our own judgment about that.” 
Bishop said she agreed with the view “that it is ungoverned space in eastern Syria”. 
“We wouldn’t be working with the Syrian government anyway; we don’t recognise that as a legitimate regime but we also know that there are different questions that arise,” she said. (here)

Uh huh. In the very same edition there's another story, Barack Obama says Syria is 'ground zero for jihadists around the world'.

How long before the Australian government is asked to venture into ground zero?

At that point the legalistic contortions will be wondrous to behold. There'll be strutwork and frameworks and foundations and ...

Oh look one reference to the reptile top story today won't hurt, especially if there's no link to the propaganda machine:

Yep, work with a dictator routinely denounced these past few years as a tyrant intent on the destruction of Syrians ...

And what's that you say? Australia is now effectively on the same side as the PKK, which at one time it designated a terrorist group (Greg Hunt it here).

The pond gives it three months before the Australian government is asked to join the hunt in Syria, and all the huffing and puffing about Assad is put to bed.

As for how useful and effective the "limited military action", which is to say war, might prove to be, the pond suggests giving it a decade or so.

At that point, there are likely to be more melancholy tales of the kind penned by Benjamin Busch  in the October edition of Harpers.

The story, "Today is better than Tomorrow" is behind the paywall, though you can catch a whiff of Busch's conclusions in a short interview here.

Busch has led an eclectic life - including a stint on The Wire - and writes in the clipped tones of a Hemingway, as he heads back to the village of Jassan where he was stationed and where "Major Busch" is remembered, though no one can associate that figure with the bearded American who has returned to contemplate what was wrought.

As required in this form of writing, irony is dominant, as Busch heads back to the airport to leave:

The main route to the airport was closed to allow Shia pilgrims to walk without the threat of car bombs, so we had to take the long way around to the south and then head west. As we passed a sign that said RAMADI, FALLUJAH, and ABU GHRAIB, I was reminded that I was crossing an invisible line between religious sects and into a part of Iraq where most stories about Americans are grim. On the long road to the terminal, a single word appeared in polished silver letters raised on a curve of concrete: GOODBYE. It was in English, without translation into any other language. No one else is bid farewell from Baghdad. We probably paid to have the sign installed, wishing ourselves away ...

Busch gets a note letting him know his guide escaped a car bomb, then provides a coda on the advance of the butchers of ISIL:

... Iraq ... seems a place far from itself now, its own ruins mostly distant, Iraquis in the east viewing Mosul and Ramadi as foreign places few have ever seen, the desert separating everything with sunlight. ISIL has gotten to within a few miles of the capital. They drive American military vehicles and they carry American weapons. Some now wear our uniforms. We have sent troops to guard our embassy and the Baghdad airport. The embassy is the last piece of ground we own, kept out of touch with Iraq in the International Zone, and the airport is the only way out. We are defending the silver sign that says goodbye.

Unsurprisingly, Busch, who does a tour of foreign war graves in his region - headstones have sensibly been recycled for paving in the ruined roads - emerges with a jaundiced set of impressions:

We spent our occupation complimenting Iraq on its sovereignty, its bravery, never believing it. What was most surprising, seeing our total disappearance, was that 1.5 million Americans served in Iraq. We were 5 percent of the country's population averaged over a decade; 4,486 of us died there; none of us are buried there.
I have now seen Jassan's old walls falling, its children eternally standing there only in my photographs. Jassan will continue to exist, its name still on maps exactly where it was, but it will not be the place the elders remember. It will not resemble their stories of it. I am already unrecognizable to the people there, part of Jassan's past life and not part of it at all. Why should I have expected us to be real to Iraq, to be lasting, when Iraq is starting over again every day without us?
We sought for years to define the Iraqi people, give their nation one cogent label that would allow us to administer a cure. But Iraq has every disease there is; its mind is deranged with too many voices, its organs corrupted, its limbs only long enough to tear at its own body. "It was religion that did this," one man I met shortly after I arrived told me. "It is religion fighting. Iraqis aren't themselves. They were an invention by the British. Me, I'm Sumerian." I asked how he knew. "I just do." When I asked whether he favored Iraq's division, he said, "No.That won't help. The three parties would be ruled by the outside countries, and they would fight." Several men I met said they were proud to be Shia, but they didn't think Iraq meant anything anymore. "It is just a place. Since Babylon it has just been a place."

But while it might be religion doing the fighting now, it wasn't religion that did it in the beginning or that started the fighting in 2003, unless you count that as a crusade by the other Bush, who lost the "c" in his name.

It was war criminals, who dressed up their behaviour with all sorts of legal finery. The third Howard ministry - handily listed for Greg Hunters here - were part of the conspiratorial cabal of war criminals.

Now Howard admits to being "embarrassed", as opposed to profoundly ashamed and deeply mortified, and full of contrition, in lieu of a period in jail for his war crimes and the consequences arising therefrom, as the result of replacing a tyrant with an even madder set of tyrannies ... just because they could, and just because cruel countries like North Korea were too tricky.

Many in that war criminal cabinet are now long gone, but a few survive - yep, there's Tony Abbott and Warren Truss and Kevin Andrews.

Now Greg Hunters, take a note of the Abbott ministry, and lets see where their legalisms and splitting of hairs gets them when we're down the track a decade or so ... and other Hemingways are writing their memoirs ...

Ah well, in due course, it'll be goodbye to all that ... (and while remembering the first world war, why not remember Robert Graves with a few Greg Hunted quotes here)

But before we go, the pond can at least celebrate a different kind of criminal, one given to drinking champagne with dictators, thanks to David Rowe, and more Rowe here

Just as well he doesn't notice what's in the bottle. Cheers!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Don't worry about taking heed, just be happy to be deceived by the speakers in tongues ...

Thanks to community television - get it while you can brothers and sisters before big Mal wreaks havoc - and this being a time of pestilence and war, the pond's text this Sunday morning is Luke 21:

And they asked him, saying, Master, but when shall these things be? and what sign will there be when these things shall come to pass? 
And he said, Take heed that ye be not deceived: for many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and the time draweth near: go ye not therefore after them.

Yea, verily, and there's Scott 'speaker in tongues' Morrison drinking champers with dictators and generals and devising Satanic schemes to punish innocents while claiming to be a Christian aware of the story of the good Samaritan ...

Does anyone need any more evidence that there will come ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing, dissemblers, fear mongers, power mongers who cultivate and foment confusion so that they might keep power?

Well yes, and let's put it another way:

Oh dear, that's a killer headline. Tony Abbott at the head of a pack of fundamentalist Islamic Wahhabists? Say it ain't so so ...

But if you read The Saudi Arabia of South Pacific at Slate, you'll be reminded how fundamentalists can use the language of fundamentalism to turn on science:

Abbott and his allies haven’t just turned the public against environmental regulations with threats of economic doom. They’ve also worked hard to shake the public’s trust in climate science. And they’ve done it in a way that would surprise most Americans: by comparing environmentalists to religious kooks. 
Green politicians, climate change activists, and even scientists have been painted as modern incarnations of a hated early-20th-century Australian archetype: the holier-than-thou, anti-gambling, anti-alcohol religious wowser. Someone who, according to professor Ken Inglis, “prayed on his knees on Sunday and preyed on his neighbours the rest of the week.”

The article doesn't stop there - it provides chapter and verse, with Abbott labelling the Ruddster theological and evangelical about climate science, his business advisor talking of church, papacy and global priesthood, and John Howard blathering on about substitute religions.

The piece also notes the role that the Murdochians have played in giving climate denialism heart and space and oxygen, while denigrating the science with negative coverage.

There's only one false note in the piece:

Let’s hope that the rapacious policies of the current government represent only a temporary bout of insanity. If the Australian people cannot recover some of their earlier regard for their environment, they may find in time that their great land is no longer merely apathetic toward their residence there, but openly hostile.

In your dreams, Slaters, because the thing about ravenous wolves is they have no problem, when it suits, of outright, barefaced lying.

This is best done by dissembling, and the way you make that work is to pretend that you actually give a fig about climate science, and are doing your level best.

Toiling away at the coal face, bringing the target down by 5%, and let's not wonder if that's enough, and if we miss the target, why, heck, we gave it a bloody good shot, what with all those yuffs wandering around taking direct action.

Of course your words and deeds might betray you at every point, and at every failure to attend a conference in New York, or take seriously the need to participate in an international approach, but all you do then is cheerfully and shamelessly continue to lie.

It doesn't matter if people call you out, or draw attention to the Emperor's lack of finery. You're the ones in power, you've got the Murdoch press at your back, and you can go on your merry way.

Now it might seem cheeky for Americans to start criticising Australia in the matter of climate science, given that country's own dismal record, but thanks to Tony Abbott and crew, even the Americans are starting to look like advanced thinkers.

You see, it's all part of the form for a second rate pugnacious boxing blue who's idea of how to deal with a pesky TV reporter is to glare at him endlessly in a sulky silence.

If the world gets uppity, given them the stare too, and never mind the consequences:

"The Chief of the US Navy's Pacific Command, Admiral Samuel Locklear, recently said that climate change is our single greatest security threat," said DiCaprio.  
"My friends, this body – perhaps more than any other gathering in human history – now faces that difficult task. You can make history, or be vilified by it." 
The speech was well given and well received, but it turned out that his prediction was not entirely correct. 
Australia did not have to wait for history, it was vilified for its stance on climate change on the spot. On Sunday the Foreign Affairs Minister, Julie Bishop, told members of the Major Economies Forum at a side meeting that Australia intended to stick with its low target of 5 per cent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. This, she said, was an ambitious target, and she noted that Australia was responsible for producing only 1.5 per cent of the world's greenhouse gasses. 
"I'm disappointed but not surprised with Australia," Pa Ousman Jarju, Gambia's Climate Change Minister, who represents the 54 least developed nations at UN climate talks, told the Responding to Climate Change analysis website later. "What the Foreign Minister said was as good as not coming. It's nothing … as good as not attending." (and more at Australia's climate stance savaged at UN summit)

Which is why Abbott sent Ms Asbestos to make the official explanations ...

It doesn't matter how many others pick up on the government's behaviour or the Slate story, as in Australia Called 'Worst Polluter' In The World.

Abbott's had his carbon tax victory. It might have been a hollow one, built on meretricious arguments with the assistance of fraudulent supporters - as outlined in Glenn Dyer's Brickworks wasn't hurt by carbon tax - in fact, it thrived (behind the Crikey paywall).

It worked, power was gained on the back of a scare campaign, and now Abbott's setting the tone for the rest of the world, as noted in the NY Times in President's Drive for Carbon Pricing Fails to Win at Home:

...a major new declaration calling for a global price on carbon — signed by 74 countries and more than 1,000 businesses and investors — is missing a key signatory: the United States. 

The declaration, released by the World Bank the day before Mr. Obama’s speech at the United Nations Climate Summit, has been signed by China, Shell, Dow Chemical and Coca-Cola. It calls on all nations to enact laws forcing industries to pay for the carbon emissions that scientists say are the leading cause of global warming. 
The United States, which is under growing international pressure to price carbon, is missing from the declaration for a key reason: conservative opposition to Mr. Obama’s climate change proposals, specifically a carbon tax. The opposition will only intensify if Republicans win control of the Senate in November and the new majority leader is Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, where coal — the world’s largest source of carbon pollution — is the lifeblood of the state’s economy. 
“It’s time for the global elites to face facts,” Mr. McConnell said in a statement. “President Obama’s war on coal won’t have any meaningful impact on global carbon emissions. What it will do is ship American jobs overseas, raise the cost of living substantially for middle and working-class families and throw thousands more Kentuckians out of work.”

Note the language of the snapping turtle, which is straight out of the Abbott/Murdoch playbook.

"Global elites", it's coal, coal coal for Kentucky, and why should the United States do anything when it's everyone else's fault, that's assuming there's a problem in the first place ...

It simply doesn't matter how many people, like Gareth Hutchens, scribble pieces like A tip for Tony Abbott: decarbonising the economy to tackle climate change will create more jobs, though it has to be said that Hutchens tickled the pond's history funny bone big time with his opener:

In 1914, a radical labour union started a newspaper in Sydney to educate the working class and promote the cause of socialism in Australia. 
The union was an offshoot of the US-based Industrial Workers of the World, which hated the wage-labour system, and it used its paper to try to convince Sydneysiders that they had "nothing in common" with their employers. 
"Get wise, and organise for your own emancipation," its first edition instructed. "The few who make up the employing class have all the good things of life." 
You know what the newspaper was called? Direct Action. 
Whether the Abbott government knows it or not, it has been trumpeting an old socialist slogan to promote one of its main environmental policies. I like that. 
It's like the decision by the German bank Sparkasse Chemnitz to put a picture of Karl Marx on its new credit card in 2012.

Indeed, and the irony perfectly suits a government with centralist socialist inclinations, if the fig leaf Abbott was offering was in any way going to be remotely meaningful and effective.

It's actually designed to work like that earlier direct action plan:

Oh dear, click to enlarge, and that's from the Portland Guardian 18th June 1919, thanks to Trove.

It doesn't matter what Hutchens says in favour of a post-carbon world economy and how it and Australia's economy might be made to work to advantage.

It doesn't even matter that Peter Hartcher - routinely caught at Fairfax infatuated by the sight of the Emperor's clothes - recently decided to express doubts in Trouble comes in threes as Lucky Country reaches a crossroads:

The boom started to fade gradually a couple of years ago, but now it is in full retreat. This week the speed of the fall in commodity prices created new alarm. 
The price of Australia's biggest export, iron ore, hit its lowest in five years this week. China's slowdown is adding new pressures. Dozens or iron ore mining firms are suddenly uneconomic. Two years ago iron ore peaked at $US149 a tonne. This week it traded at under $US80 a tonne. Even the third biggest of the Australian miners, Fortescue Metals, has only about $US2 a tonne margin remaining between profit and loss, according to analysts. 
The other big ingredient for China's steel furnaces, coking coal, is also in trouble. Coal's situation is exacerbated by the fact that it is becoming a dirty word among some in the investment community. Because coal burnt for energy emits high levels of carbon and dirty particulates, it's falling out of fashion with the climate change community as well as with China's air pollution regulators. 
The bank HSBC early this year estimated that the market value of coal assets owned by major Australian firms could be cut by about half, or $20 billion, because of the rising risk that they will become "stranded assets." Coal is Australia's second biggest export.

Meanwhile, childishly, petulantly, Abbott clings to his pet entitlement project, a wildly generous PPL scheme, and other entitlement schemes, such as a medical research fund designed to cement his legacy as some sort of science research visionary and guru.

But all of these things have pointed out before. Everyone in recent days noted Rockefeller family to sell oil investments to reinvest in renewables, one of a number of symbolic shifts away from fossil fuel assets that's been occurring in recent times ...

South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu, an anti-Apartheid figure who has been a strong voice on the need for economic divestments, will call for a freeze on all new fossil fuel exploration leading up to the UN summit. 
"We can no longer continue feeding our addiction to fossil fuels as if there is no tomorrow, for there will be no tomorrow," he said. 
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that August 2014 was the warmest on record, 0.75 degrees Celsius above the 20th century global average of 15.6 degrees.

But that doesn't matter. It's all water off a ravenous wolf's back. You see when you're a religious fundamentalist who believes in pie in the sky bye and bye, you always have a plan B, and never mind that the plan postulates an imaginary heaven, populated, according to some by virgins waiting to be of service, or alleged by others to contain the world's top one hundred golf courses ...

Meanwhile, Abbott will go on demonising Islamic fundamentalists, having already reduced the country to a nervous wreck where airports are shut down, ordinary Muslims cower in their homes and schools in fear, and paranoid Australians worry about attending a football match or catching public transport.

It's the perfect storm of confusion and chaos, and if Abbott has his way it will reach apocalyptic levels.

And the same scheme is at work in dealing with the alleged terrorist threat as it has been with climate science. Just as you nod and smile at the climate scientist and assure you're taking his religious convictions seriously, tell everyone to be calm and not to panic and to get along, and to be multicultural, while every breath you take and every dog whistle you make is designed to produce the opposite result. In dissembling lies political salvation, in fear lies the path to remaining in power ...

Is there any saving grace to all this?

Well yes, it means the pond can run the Mitch McConnell turtle meme.

One small step for the pond, one giant step for memes, and humanity can just get lost in the Saudi Arabian wilderness with Tony Abbott ....

Saturday, September 27, 2014

When the pigs leave Animal Farm, they love a glass of colonial champagne with gaily decorated generals ...

Yep, let them drink champagne.

Is there a more shameless, shameful, shaming, embarrassing, woeful and appalling federal politician doing the rounds at the moment?

Excluding Team Idiot, the ones on the fringes.

This one has the power of life and death, humiliation and betrayal. This one is allegedly the guardian of helpless children ...

So how's Nauru these days?

How's Manus Island going?

On one level of course it's just a comedy of errors, an inept colonialist out and about hobnobbing and drinking champers with assorted scrambled eggs of the military dicatorship kind ...

You can have a laugh reading Refugee deal triggers awkward moment for Scott Morrison in Cambodia, at least if you don't mind your comedy fully sick:

Diplomatic embarrassment ... walked in 20 minutes late to a ceremony with one of the world's poorest and most corrupt nations... champagne glasses crashed to the floor and things went from there ... storm of criticism ... refusal to answer any questions ... growing heckling ... pretended to toast a line of generals ... walked out with Sar Kheng leaving Cambodian journalists gobsmacked ... convoy returned to luxurious Raffles hotel having requested the Cambodians call off a press conference ...

And so on. A tin pot politician on a tin pot colonialist journey ... with a glass of champers to swill ...

It's a measure that champagne swilling should have been the metaphor in a country which carries this set of statistics:

Well "democracy" is what the fact file at the ABC here says, but it's very much a democracy of the Putin kind, with Hun Sen managing some 25 years at the top of the tree, and calling himself Samdech Akeak Moha Sena Padey Decho Hun Sen, meaning "Lord Prime Minister, Supreme Military Commander Hun Sen".

Or so it says if you Greg Hunt here.

Heck, let's just call him Chief Pooh Bah and be done with it, and dictator supreme ... Joh Bjelke-Petersen is rolling in his grave with envy.

So what's it all for? What's the fact file say about that?

As few as four or five people could be sent from Nauru to Cambodia under a deal signed by Immigration Minister Scott Morrison in Phnom Penh today.

A cool forty million, and counting, in the pockets of the generals, just to relocate a few people because they've been driven mad by Morrison in their tropical hell?

So how's it helping Australia's image abroad?

Official people trafficker.

And who could argue with that?

For a moment, the pond thought it had lost its mind.

Why wasn't Australia shocked and ashamed? Had the Islamic terrorist jihad of the Abbott government, the Murdochians and the Faifaxians worked? Was everyone watching the football while locked safely in doors?

Well, no, even the reptiles had to print Scott Morrison's refugee deal with Cambodia branded 'immoral' by former judge (sorry, no link, that would just lead to shrieking, pleading, begging reptiles).

Amongst the words that popped into the story about Alastair Nicholson's opinion of Scott Morrison's deal: inappropriate and illegal.

But elsewhere Nicholson's language was even stronger, as on The World Today:

Unfortunate ... reprehensible ... demeaning... inhumane ... unacceptable at international law ... very concerned ...

And so on. Nicholson has been down this path before, and a speech he made back in July 2014 as published under the header Asylum seekers: my country, my shame.

The hand-wringing has already begun, in stories like Fears for refugee children in Morrison's Cambodia deal (forced video at end of link), with the irony that Morrison is supposed to be a guardian to young refugees ... you'd need a Dickens to evoke the level of irony involved in that ...

Then there's Tim Mayfield with Cambodia deal: another stain on our reputation:

... consider this: on January 28 this year, Australia publically castigated Cambodia (forced video at the end of this typo link) at the United Nations for human rights abuses, "particularly the disproportionate violence against protestors, including detention without trial". Less than a month later, Julie Bishop was in Phnom Penh proposing the plan that is about to come to fruition. 
I seriously doubt the world will be hearing from Australia on Cambodia's deteriorating human rights record again anytime soon.

Forget the typo, just marvel at the cartoon offered by that link:

Mayfield's conclusion?

While our actions in Cambodia, India and Sri Lanka may be justifiable in the pursuit of short-term tactical victories over people smugglers, they represent a potentially damaging shift away from Australia's traditional emphasis on multilateral organisations such as APEC and the ASEAN Regional Forum. 
Australia will no doubt continue to participate enthusiastically in these gatherings and advocate the merits of regional consensus on matters such as trade and security. However, our partners in the Asia-Pacific will be taking note of the disparity between our words and actions. 
The message here is that Australia's domestic interests, including the maintenance of secure borders, can be achieved without unnecessarily championing cynical bilateral relationships over multilateral engagement. Cutting a deal with Cambodia, one of the poorest nations in our neighbourhood, only serves to damage our reputation abroad. 

Well that's suitably diplomatic language but being a tabloid blog heavily influenced by the Murdochian kool aid filtering through the air, the pond prefers to move beyond 'damaging', to shameful, disgraceful and appalling, and with consequences:

Yes, they're so poor, they can't even avoid decent protest signs.

So how do the Murdochians feel about this ilnternational shame and embarrassment?

Cue the Currish snail here:

Mr Morrison is a realist and pragmatist who is not hung up on aiming for a good result if his ideal is unachievable. This is the kind of practical politics that the Government could do with a bit more of, especially in key negotiations for higher education and health and Medicare changes.
Mr Morrison has made great progress in fulfilling the pledges he gave to Australian voters... 

Yes indeed, and if the pond may indulge in a little Godwin's Law, Mussolini is alleged to have got the trains running on time, and Hitler arranged for the building of very good autobahns ...

Well fuck that for a joke.

Absolutely no sense of shame. Not a jot or a tittle of it ...

Could it get any more demeaning or embarrassing?

Well on a symbolic, as opposed to a human level, yes. It came with Abbott shamelessly pilfering, filching, stealing and purloining not just Ben Chifley's phrase, but Chifley himself.

Now there's a light on the dung hill, because it would be a disgrace to use Tony Abbott as a shoelace on one of Chifley's boots ...

No doubt Chifley is rolling in his grave.

Poor Ben. Used by Abbott as a cloak to hide his immoral conduct.

Is there nothing left sacred? Is there the slightest sense of shame in Abbott?

Where's Bull Shirtless when he's needed?

Is there anything else?

Well yes, speaking of the toothless Bus Flirting, or Babs Stilton, there is, and it features in First Dog's impeccable cartoon, which is extremely moderate and temperate, even when a comparison of Tony Abbott to Joe McCarthy would defame and demean McCarthy.

Think more of Stasiland as you see what Australia's valiant freedom fighters are introducing. No wonder they like swilling champagne in the company of scrambled egg generals, while suggesting the peasants stay quiet and eat their cake.

As usual First Dog is in cracking form - impotent rage might have a hand in that - and more First Dog here:

Friday, September 26, 2014

Celebrating the festival of the boot - what emergency where - by kicking the media can down the road ...

So it didn't take long for the rabid hysterics and the over-the-top hysteria to produce an absolute clanger.

Yet these images remain widely available on the full to overflowing intertubes, and without the pond blotting out the face of the victim.

So where's the front page apology to said freely acknowledged victim on the front page of today's wretched rags, with the same prominence as most notably deployed by The Age?

You're dreaming, right?

Yes, they're still banging on about teens and terror and radicals but the real terror is being caught in the snare of the Australian mainstream media.

Even on the digital page of The Age, the Fairfaxians show their sense of balance and proportion by putting the error second, and even then it's with an angle that promotes Fairfax Media radio station:

Yes it's not so much an apology as a promotional opportunity for Fairfax Media radio:

It's only when you click on the link in that story that you finally get to this:

Yep, an apology which contains a lie.

It's been withdrawn from circulation where that circulation is under the control of the Fairfaxians.

Meanwhile, it's freely and widely available on the intertubes - a reason why the pond routinely warns young women not to upload assorted images that will return to haunt them some time down the track. (If the man wants a shot of someone sucking his dick, teach him flexibility and hand him a camera).

Never mind, let's hope the young man featured on the front page knows that old Cruel Sea song:

And the occifer said 
Better get a lawyer son 
Better get a real good one 
Better get a lawyer son 
Better get a real good one 
Get yourself a suit and tie 
Get your hair cut way up high 
Get yourself a lawyer son 
You're gonna need a real good one 

It reminded the pond yet again of the absurd notion of "due prominence", peddled by the Australian Press Council, itself a victim of sustained bashing by the reptiles:

The Council interprets "due prominence" as requiring the publication to ensure the retraction, clarification, correction, explanation or apology has the effect, as far as possible, of neutralising any damage arising from the original publication, and that any published adjudication is likely to be seen by those who saw the material on which the complaint was based. (General statement of principles)

So the Fairfaxians today have space for footballers of the thugby league kind, and of the aerial ping pong sort, but not the space for a grovelling, unreserved apology to the victim, while the image continues to be available online?

Sad to say, neither the media nor the Australian Press Council have the first clue about serious apologies ... and prefer the Grabthar Hammer approach of "never give up, and never surrender except to the point where you hope you might get away with it".

Meanwhile, it's a light day for the pond thanks to the reptiles at the lizard Oz, who are maintaining their relentless assault on the pond's sensibilities.

Yep if you click on one of the featured commentariat you are confronted by this continuing, ongoing bludgeoning attack on the purse or the hip pocket:

How long are they going to maintain the rage? Who cares? There's no point in providing a link to this sort of shouty Murdoch propaganda. What if someone visiting the pond went off on a visit and became an actual digital subscriber?

How mortifying ...

Anyway, the pond wouldn't link to Gra Gra "Swiss bank account" Richardson even when hell does finally freeze over ... or the reptiles admit that there might be something to climate science ...

It reminded the pond of an offer made by Crikey to bring the pond back into the fold ... a free copy of Kim Williams' book ...

And second prize was a dozen copies?

Well so long as Crikey goes on celebrating big Mal's plans to degut the ABC, SBS, community television, the NBN, and all the rest of his follies, as with its story on transmission and MPEG-4 (here), they can keep Kim. The MPEG-4 aspect of the story was covered weeks ago, for example at ZDNet here - and like everything big Mal touches not everything is sunshine, especially if you're poor and have to upgrade your gear, all so big Mal can sell off more spectrum or the commercial networks can fill up the space with even more nauseating infomercial shit. (And when will anyone notice that poor old NITV is forced to run ancient Film Australia biographies in its prime time slot? When will big Mal turn on the blacks?)

Not to worry, it leaves the pond footloose and fancy free, and in a position to recommend Jill Lapore in The New Yorker doing The Last Amazon Woman Woman returns, which happily right at this moment is outside the paywall.

With the greatest respect to Gal Gado - someone's got to do it, and the pond understands that working actors must work - the one certainty is that Hollywood will fuck over this latest incarnation of Wonder Woman, and the sneak pic that was released only confirmed the pond's misgivings:

The fan boys immediately started drooling, but the pond just left the spittle and the foam on their pitiful lips.

As Lepore reminded the pond, the original Wonder Woman was part of the war effort (click to enlarge):

And then came the great betrayals and persecutions of the 1950s, whether women's rights, gays or those of an alternative political persuasion, and the original intent of the comic was shelved and forgotten, and WW was driven behind a picket fence, and given a John Howard mind set.

And then, much later, the bizarre internecine warfare, which pace Lepore, had its bizarrely amusing moments:

In May, 1975, the Redstockings held a press conference and issued a sixteen-page report purporting to reveal that Gloria Steinem was a C.I.A. agent, that Ms. was both a capitalist manifesto and part of a C.I.A. strategy to destroy the women’s movement, and that Wonder Woman was a symbol of nothing so much as feminism betrayed. “Wonder Woman also reflects the anti-people attitude of the ‘liberal feminists’ and matriarchists who look to mythical and supernatural heroines and ‘models’ while ignoring or denigrating the achievements and struggles of down-to-earth women,” they charged. “It leads to the ‘liberated woman,’ individualist line that denies the need for a movement, and implies that when women don’t make it, it’s their own fault.” Steinem rebutted the allegations. “Although it seems bizarre to have to write this obvious sentence,” she wrote, “let me state that I am not now nor have I ever been an employee of the Central Intelligence Agency.”

Never mind, there's more to life than reading the Murdochians or the Bolter and that's why the pond still reads actual tree killer editions of decent magazines as a way of avoiding brooding about the current follies...

Sure, the pond could go on yet another rant about speaker in tongues Morrison, busy shipping refugees to Cambodia. But the comics take care of that too, and more Rowe here:

Of course Rowe could have shown Morrison consorting with a dictator and doing a shameless despicable deal with a poverty-stricken country, but traducing Australian traditions will do ...

And sure, the pond could have gone on a rant about the budget and the mess and the emergency and the enormous stupidity of allegedly tackling the crisis in medical health by using a new tax to set up a research facility, or sticking to an expensive PPL scheme through thick or thin, but another comic takes care of that, and more Renaissance Papery here:

Of course the budget emergency has receded thanks to the new emergency, and new hysteria, designed fortuitously to allow Fairfax to demonise innocent bystanders ...

And mais naturellement, the pond could go on about Team Idiot, headed by George Christensen, but that's already been covered here:

It's hard to see why the rabid ratbag fringe keep on wanting to change 18C, when Team Idiot and the Murdoch press routinely demonise Islamics, and the Fairfax press can demonise an innocent bystander ...

Of course the real sting in that tail is the story just below Team Idiot, the one about the rejection of a federal ICAC (yes Graudian, caps are required), and never mind the Australian Wheat Board and the going to war on a lie in 2003, and Royal Commission now please ...

But that's the job of the useful idiots, to distract attention while the nasty idiots go about their business, including but not limited to shamelessly filching phrases from Ben Chifley, because there's bugger all light in their own heads ...

Sadly Abbott only won the Clinton in the latest round of the Ernies, always the second rate Oxford don, even at insults, but before the festival of the boofhead begins this weekend, please allow the pond to do a Fairfax, and borrow some copy, so that the awards bounce even further around the internet, like a Fairfax front page.

Well done Poodle, you've made scribbling the pond light work throughout the year, well played Akker Dakker, better luck next year - have you thought about snorting a little coke to go right out of your tree? - and have you thought about denouncing John Oliver for singing with puppets about prisons in the United States?

And well played Miranda the Devine - have you thought about acknowledging your debt to greenies, bicycles and Clover Moore for the way they've sent you barking mad?

But are you satisfied with a dead heat? Hmm, heart not quite in it, could do better, recommended treatment, scorpion bite before breakfast, and bite from rabies-infected dog just before retiring at night ... and a generous serving of Murdoch Kool-Aid with all meals ...

And so in honour of Wonder Woman, and better belated than never, and before the festival of the other boot gets going in earnest:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Old dogmas get another chance to pee on the post ...

An excellent question, and luckily the pond has the answers.

For starters, it doesn't do to be gay or TG, you just can't trust them:

He also questioned, in a book published in 2004, whether gay, lesbian and transgender teachers should teach sex education in schools.

And it should be a nation of smokers:

Dr Donnelly has previously attracted controversy for designing an anti-smoking program funded by tobacco company Phillip Morris for Australian and New Zealand schools.

Well at least it should be a nation of quislings who take money from big tobacco and never mind the damage or the harm tobacco does to the health of the nation.

And it certainly should be a nation in love with violence and physical punishment:

"What would you, as you've been involved with this for so long, describe as the best punishment you can come across even if it is one that has gone away?" asked 2UE host Justin Smith. "I'm not alluding to the strap here. I don't think you would ever resort to that. You would never advocate bringing that back surely?" 
Dr Donnelly responded by saying, "Well" followed by a pause – an answer that surprised Mr Smith. Dr Donnelly continued: "I grew up in Broadmeadows, a housing commission estate in Melbourne, and we had a Scottish phys-ed teacher. 
"Whenever there were any discipline problems he would actually take the boy behind the shed and say, 'We can either talk about this or you can throw the first punch'. 
"That teacher would probably lose his job now but it was very effective. He only had to do it once and the kids were pretty well behaved for the rest of the year." 
Dr Donnelly went on to say "those days are gone". But questioned further on the merits of corporal punishment, he said: "If the school community is in favour of it then I have got no problem if it's done properly. 
"There are one or two schools around Australia that I know where it actually is approved of and they do do it. I'm sure they only do it very rarely." 
Dr Donnelly contrasted corporal punishment with "time out" zones which he said do not work because children can relax and avoid class work. (the rest here, with forced video)

Yes you certainly don't want a nation of relaxed children enjoying life.

Better to take them down behind the shed and give them a taste of the biff and the what for, so they can learn about power imbalances for the rest of their life, and how to physically bully someone into conformity and ...

Yep, that was the illustration to Jacqueline Maley's Kevin Donnelly on a hiding to nothing, in which she invoked Roald Dahl's school daze ...

Meanwhile, what do you get if you can be bothered clicking on Donnelly's doddering How to teach what it means to be Australian?

Well it's wreathed in dreams of long ago, and memories of Empire and the British, and yearning for long lost times ...

Now that Islamic State terrorism has arrived on our soil it's time to ask the question: what does it mean to be Australian? 
There's no denying that during the 1950s and 1960s the prevailing mood was nationalistic and pro-British. When I was at school, for example, every Monday morning at assembly we neatly lined up in rows, saluted the flag and sang God save the Queen. With our hands on our hearts children would then recite the oath of allegiance and promise to "cheerfully obey my parents, teachers and the law". 

Who knows what school Donnelly went to, or when, but here he commits the sin of omission.

The standard routine in NSW public schools was "I honour my God, I serve my Queen, I salute my Flag". (Trust the monarchists to remember it aright, and to yearn for the days when there weren't any "brawny females" and "sissified males" here. Oh the horror of sissies. Thank the long absent lord Prof David Flint is no sissy.).

Never mind, the marching and the flag waving and the god talk was a fine example of indoctrination. It was rampant religious fanaticism, rampant worship of a foreign Queen and rampant worship of jingoistic imperialism, with a Protestant twist that saw Catholics as likely Fenian deviants.

And that's what Donnelly yearns for, as its swept away by the wicked socialists and that flamboyant Al Grassby with his hideous ties (yes there are two "s's" in Grassby, Greg Hunt him here, which just goes to show the dangers of historians rabbiting on about spelling):

The world map on the back of our workbooks was covered in red, proving that the sun never set on the British Commonwealth. 
Fast-forward to Al Grasby (sic) and the Whitlam government in the early 1970s when multiculturalism was born and everything began to change. Against the background of Vietnam moratoriums and the counter-culture movement, what Geoffrey Blainey described as the "three cheers view" of history became superfluous and representative of a bygone era. 

Yes just like spelling someone's name correctly.

Australia had to cut the umbilical cord to Westminster and assert its independence. As a result of waves of post-war immigration we were now a nation of diverse cultures where those who came to live here were free to celebrate and hold on to what makes them unique. 
Governments spent millions resourcing classroom materials and programs to celebrate diversity and difference. Saluting the flag was jingoistic, the bronzed ANZAC a caricature (or, at worst misogynistic) and British settlement an invasion. 
At its extreme, multiculturalism championed the view that all cultures are equal and that embracing tolerance and respect meant that it was impossible to discriminate and argue that some beliefs or practices are un-Australian. 
Initiatives like the Howard Government's Discovering Democracy and Values Education programmes, where children were taught to appreciate the institutions, values and beliefs that make us unique and bind us as a nation, were derided as conservative, Anglophobic and binary. 
The result? Generations of young people are ignorant of the nation's history and fail to see why democracy, for all its limitations, should be preferred before all other forms of government.

It's the stupidity of these mournful conservatives that they don't have the first clue - about Gallipoli as a military exercise, or red ragger Simpson and his socialist donkey, or the result of their desire to put religion back into schools, the way that once free and secular education, has now become radicalised by government funding, and turned into contending religious forces. Education as a tower of religous babel ...

Yet when it comes to the crunch, these days these conservatives always resort to secular values to support their case:

Cultural relativism, like the argument put by the Green's Senator Peter Whish-Wilson that it is wrong to use the word "terrorism" as it demonises people, also fails the pub or barbecue test. 
Forcing child brides to marry, female circumcision, refusing to accept the division between church and state and believing that anyone not of your religion or faith doesn't deserve to live are cultural practices that Australians reject. 

Well abusing gays, supporting corporal punishment or doing the dirty work for big tobacco doesn't cut the mustard either, but it's always pick and choose when it comes to the secular values that attract conservatives.

Celebrating diversity and difference is only feasible when there is a willingness to commit to and protect the values and beliefs that underpin and sustain tolerance and accepting others.

Except of course that it's the conservative way not to underpin and sustain tolerance and to accept others but to blame the likes of Gough and that Grasby man,

Oh heck,  just take them down behind the shed and give them a good thumping.

...such beliefs, values and institutions have not developed by accident or in a vacuum. 
They are associated with a unique form of government that has evolved from Westminster, a legal system based on common law and a moral code of behaviour drawing on Judeo-Christian beliefs and significant historical events like the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

And there you have it. The standard confusions and conflations.

No mention of the ancient Greeks, just Westminister, no mention of Roman law, just common law, no mention of the weird and wonderful mix that sees Christians celebrating pagan festivals at Xmas time ... no coherent understanding of the way the Renaissance helped end the sort of failed understanding offered up to the world by a genocidal god and a delusional garden of eden ...

Just the usual nostalgia for lost empire and the British, as if those days will ever come again in these rapidly changing days that we live in ...

As for Judeo-Christian beliefs?

Enough of that jibber jabber. Off to Cambodia with you, and think yourself lucky for peddling that codswallop about the good Samaritan ...

But then what would you expect of a man who signs himself off as a Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Catholic University?

Well there's a good reason why the pond rarely bothers with Fairfax opinion pages these days, and there it is in a nutshell:

If that's what it means to be Australian these days, it seems it means silly old buggers rabbiting on, with Sheehan doing his jihadist stuff, and Donnelly boxing the ears of the newcomers, just like the proddies used to box the ears of Irish Catholics in the old days.

Well, if that's what it means to be part of Team Australia, count the pond out ...

As the immortal real Dorothy put it, you can't teach an old dogma new tricks ...