Friday, October 31, 2014

In which the police state, ably supported by the Murdochians, mounts a war on the intertubes and climate science at the same time, and never mind what Napoleon and Hitler discovered about war on two fronts ...

What the pond loves about the full to overflowing intertubes is the way it can be a learning experience.

Thanks to a pond correspondent, the pond was off to a site here to learn more about Christopher Pyne than the pond ever wanted to need or know, the suppurating sense of self-entitlement flowing from the poodle's paws.

And that site, in good and honourable form, provided a link to a piece in Junkee, here, which provided a link to the 1985 edition of On Dit, here, and then knock the pond down with a feather to discover that there are over a thousand records of On Dit online, here.

At that point, fearing mental seizure, the pond moved on, but there's probably rich rewards for any researcher wanting to trawl through the poodle's student days.

As it is, the pond was already satisfied that the poodle was some sort of changeling, full of devious hypocrisy, saying and promising anything at any time to any particular audience, in the relentless quest for his precioussss .... what a pity the preciousss is to fuck over tertiary education, no doubt as payback for long forgotten wounds Pyne suffered in student wars ... (is there a Freudian in the house?)

The point about Pyne is that when really dumb Murdochians rabbit on about elites, they never speak of the likes of Pyne, yet he's a professional politician of the first water. He started in student politics, and after a few years of work experience, he plunged into professional politics full-time, and has been a full timer ever since. After his free tertiary education, he's never experienced anything outside blinkered legalisms and blinkered Liberalisms ...

It's important to remember this sort of history when confronting the latest assault by the Abbott government on the internet.

Again the pond is too fagged to do original research, but there were plenty of ways to learn how big Mal has taken centre stage in a big government police state operation, which has the potential to intrude on private lives, in much the same way as the digital record of the Poodle Pyne reveals what a hypocritical goose he is ...

Here's one of the tasty bits in Paul Farrell's piece on Metadata retention for The Graudian on the matter of whether government agencies need warrants to access metadata:

No, they do not. One of the key criticisms of this entire regime is that telecommunications companies are being asked to hand over vast swaths of Australians’ phone and web data without a warrant. The current bill does nothing to alter that or heighten the threshold for access to telecommunications data. Australia’s approach to this type of retention has sparked global condemnation from privacy and press freedom organisations.

There's a lot more in Farrell to get the paranoia in the pond going, but it was the hapless Andrew Colvin who belled the cat and sent it jingling down the hallway:

Asked whether metadata could be used to target illegal downloads, Colvin said: “Absolutely. Any interface, any connection somebody has over the internet – we need to be able to identify the parties to that connection – not the content, not what might be passing down the internet. Illegal downloads, piracy, cyber crimes, cyber security – [in] all these matters, our ability to investigate them is absolutely pinned to our ability to retrieve and use metadata.”

Indeed. But where does the pond send its bill for the hour and a half of a totally wasted life watching the Warners/Roadshow effort Into the Storm. Will Graham Burke accept liability for the mental suffering, and the loss of at least ten IQ points?

Big Mal, close bosomed friend of Big Brother, tried to hose down Colvin, but the geeks knew whereof Colvin spoke, as recorded by Josh Taylor at ZDNet in Mandatory data retention to be used to fight piracy.

No ifs, or buts. At some point there will be a show trial arranged for Burkie's benefit, even though he refuses to take the pond's calls or acknowledge the way his films are a conspiracy designed to reduce the capacity of the west to fight the good fight against fundamentalism ...

Now even some buffs of the pond's acquaintance mocked Senator David Leyonhjelm for saying the cheapest cloud storage was in China, but what do you know, he was just echoing Steve Dalby:

iiNet's chief regulatory officer Steve Dalby said on Wednesday that telecommunications companies could look for the cheapest cloud storage option for retaining the data for the two years, as required under the legislation. He indicated that this would mean that the private Australian customer data could be kept in cloud storage services in China. 
Turnbull said that the responsibility of the security of the data would lie with the telecommunications companies, but additional legislation would be brought in over the next 18 months to outline a carrier's responsibilities under the scheme.

Truth to tell, Turnbull has put in process a half-baked, half-arsed proposal, with all sorts of problems in relation to its useful implementation, with storage, and who will pay for the costs of the scheme not sorted, as legislation rushes through parliament ...

Big Mal has been back-pedalling as quickly as he can, at least in the matter of piracy, but there's a smell of the Godwin Greches about this effort.

Of course in the real world there's VPNs, but as you'd expect, the plods have a view on that too, as outlined by Josh Taylor in 'Camouflaged' internet concerns the Australian Federal Police.

You can bet that in due course the plods will be yowling for action about VPNs.

And if you've made a submission to the Federal government, forget it Jake, it's Brandis town, as the prolific Josh explains in Attorney-General's Department censors public view on piracy.

Is there comedy amidst the paranoia? Why yes, thank you Josh, here:

The Australian financial regulatory agency that accidentally blocked 250,000 websites due to a lack of technical knowledge is now pushing to have the power to intercept telecommunications information to investigate financial crime.

The tragedy is, the federal government won't cop any flack from the hacks at the Murdoch press about any of this.

In generality, the tribal policy of the kool aid drinkers is to fear the intertubes, to downgrade it, and to punish users who don't pay full quid to the chairman for his products.

There are very few who stray beyond the party line, let alone any who actually have any sense of how the intertubes currently works, or its potential - except as a source of damage and disruption to their business model.

But at least we have Pope, and more Pope here:

What a foolish fop he is. When contemplating Turnbull, the pond is routinely reminded of that arch facilitator and fellow traveller, Albert Speer, pleased to fool around with infrastructure while around him the world burned ... but that's enough of Godwin's Law for the day ...

Which happily brings the pond to a classic example of the reptiles' logic, and a dose of distilled essence of kool aid.

Anybody within cooee range knows that the federal government's direct action policy in relation to climate change is a dog and a fraud and an ineffective waste of money, a flourish for that other Speer, Greg 'walri' Hunt.

So how do the reptiles start their editorial on the matter?

The wild contortions of Clive Palmer are a curious national spectacle, often employing convenient or hapless props to captivate a fawning media pack from the ABC and Fairfax Media.

Uh huh. Already with the ABC and Fairfax, but it's actually the wild contortions of the reptiles that appealed to the pond.

There's all the usual nonsense about the dangers of the carbon tax - disproven before it was dismantled, yet still being trotted out - and China, along with this sort of specious clap-trap:

The Australian supports a market mechanism as the best, least-cost method of achieving the bipartisan commitment of reducing Australia’s carbon emissions by 5 per cent in 2020, as long as we don’t move ahead of the rest of the world. A cap-and-trade scheme is vastly superior to taxpayer-funded adventures, especially if it is properly designed and policed.

Uh huh. That's what you cop in the editorials.

What you cop in the copy is Maurice Newman and Graham Lloyd and Bjorn Lomborg and the rest of the denialist pack. When Newman's not rabbiting on about international conspiracies at the UN, you get Dame Slap talking up Monckton and explaining how climate science is an excuse for the UN to impose world government ....

Ye ancient cats and dogs of paranoid conspiracists ...

So let's cut to the chase, and let's not take a detour trashing renewable energy, the ABC, Fairfax, or getting ahead of the world, as if Australia has ever been ahead in this matter of action on its emissions, whether domestic (top of the world ma) or exported coal (top of the world ma):

Let’s be clear: Direct Action is not a panacea. Nor is it world’s best practice. Like any major government program, it runs the risk of being wasteful, rorted and mismanaged. Give us the free market over the dead hand of Canberra any day.

Say what? So the ABC and Fairfax are right, and Tony Abbott's direct action policy is comprehensively fucked and misguided?

Sorry, you reckoned without the power of the kool aid:

But if the aim of the policy is to actually achieve some carbon dioxide abatement, in our country, Direct Action is the best hope on offer, any time soon. 

But that's only because the country has a climate denialist as a PM, intent on offering a sop or a fig leaf - take whichever metaphor you prefer, though in the age of budgie smugglers, you might prefer the fig leaf to some bread soaked in red wine.

If that's the best hope on offer, then there's no hope. The planet's fucked. But do go on:

We may even get ancillary benefits such as improved agriculture and reduced soil erosion. The RET is a form of direct action (albeit a costly one). As business groups argue, it’s vital that industry has certainty on climate change policy and that the emissions reduction fund is properly audited and administered. Mr Abbott’s deal with Mr Palmer now provides a way forward.

And there you have it. A rag which started out mocking Palmer as a buffoon and a clown, indulging in a circus with Al Gore, by the end of the piece has turned to celebrating the way the buffoon has offered, with Abbott, a way forward.

Yep, a buffoon denialist doing a deal with a buffoon coal baron provides a way forward ...

Only in Murdochian la la land.

Okay, the pond only repeats the obvious every day - that the Murdoch press is irresponsible, and will say and do anything to support a mendacious government even while it notes the mendacity of the policies being implemented.

In not holding the government of the day to account for costly, useless government policies,  the Murdochians commit many more crimes than the ABC or Fairfax. There will be a reckoning one day, but in the meantime, is there anyone who still rewards them with a subscription?

As usual, the pond reverts to the one good thing about the Fairfax press, and that's the work of David Rowe, which luckily happens to be on topic and which says more than the turgid Oz editorialist in a single image (and more Rowe here):

And finally as a bonus, the pond has been having tremendous fun observing the wild-eyed gyrations and hysteria at the Currish Snail as December looms, and honest citizens plan to protest at the state of the world and the visit of Vlad the Impaler.

It will be recalled that a couple of days ago, the reptiles were talking tough, strutting strong, rutting hard, and ready to take down the ferals:

It only took a couple of days, and the reptiles were reduced to a quivering blob of tremulous jelly, black helicopters overhead, searchlights rivening the sky, and precious, oh precious Brisbane, its bright lights reflected in its beautiful river, under attack from a meteor assault of ferals.


And it's not even Halloween, though we'll be at the witching hour soon enough, dancing in pagan black through the streets of Newtown ...

For the absent lord's sake, harden the fuck up Currish Snails ...

Fear not toads, the pond is standing by, ready to assist. There will be no protests against Vlad the impaler, not while we have valiant troops on stand by, waiting to defend Brisbane's honour:

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Another day in buffoon land where scientists show off the power of one hand clapping ...

As always, the pond was standing by, breathlessly waiting for the commentariat to denounce the latest shocking and outrageous leaking of personal emails ...

This time of course it was by the Murdochian press, rather than New Matilda doing a Spurr, and sad to say, there doesn't seem to have been a whimper.

Why is the pond routinely surprised by life and hypocrisy and the wretches who drape themselves in its splendid cloth?

It was only at the start of the week that Media Watch contemplated the matter of Spurr, here, with mixed feelings, but who can forget that immortal desiccated coconut Henry Ergas getting his knickers in a knot (it was Jonathan Holmes who pinged Ergas for hypocrisy in Hacked controversial emails spur furious ethical debate).

Hey Henry, there's a hole in your bucket ...

And there were plenty of others lining up, like Lily Yuan Wang's somewhat creepy love letter to Spurr in Spurr a scapegoat of those who would shut down free expression (pleading, begging letter from the paupers of the press at the end of that link)

As Holmes noted, views of leaked emails tend to revolve around political bias. So will the assorted authors who lined up to damn New Matilda now be given abundant space so they can line up to condemn Limited News ...?

What else?

Well there was this delicious moment in Jacqueline Maley's explanation  - bear with the pond - of how Julie Bishop's idle chatter about Tanya Plibersek undermining Bill Shorten had drawn attention to her own ambitions (Julie Bishop sparks own Coalition leadership rumours):

And when asked on television who should be our next PM, senior Coalition front-bencher Christopher Pyne committed an embarrassing pronoun spoonerism which did nothing to quell the chatter. 
 "I want her to be Prime Minister for 10 years and after that people can worry about the next thing in 10 years," Mr Pyne told Channel Nine. 
He meant "him", of course, him being the Prime Minister, Tony Abbott. 
Luckily the transcript later sent out to journalists corrected the slip, which was in no way Freudian, quite as though it had never happened.

Which led David Rowe to this, and more Rowe here:

Frankly the pond can't get enough of the poodle and will be shattered when he departs the scene. In the meantime, of course, he will have thoroughly and comprehensively fucked the education system, but surely this is a small price to pay for the ongoing pleasure he provides ...

Normally the pond has limited tolerance for ankle biting, humping, yapping little dogs, but there are exceptions to any rule ...

Leadership speculation is now proving a good game for the reptiles as a stocking filler (remember, less than two months to Xmas).

Niki Savva tried a half-hearted celebration of Scott Morrison, while wiping the floor with jolly Joe Hockey, before coming out with this:
The man who built his leadership on the destruction of a great big new tax and, with it, three Labor prime ministers, one twice, appealed across the dispatch boxes for a mature, sensible debate on expanding a great big old tax, sticking out his chin for people to give a good whack, which they did. Talk about predictable. 
Pretty soon there will be sniping about Julie Bishop. Either that or she will be written out of the script. Oh wait, that could be happening already. The deputy leader, the only female member of the cabinet and the (now) obvious successor to Abbott, was left off the invitation list for the launch by the Prime Minister last night of a new group set up by his chief of staff, Peta Credlin, designed to mentor and promote female ­Coalition staff, including getting into parliament if they want. 
The snub to Bishop was not personal but it was calculated. No other female MP — backbencher or minister, including Michaelia Cash, the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women — had been invited, and boy (or girl) were some of them miffed, their miffedness not abated by prime ministerial invitations to another function today to celebrate “women of the future”. Talk about short-sighted. If the plan is to get more women into parliament, separating them from the women already there sounds counter­productive. And a bit weird. (oh just google it, no need for another begging letter from the paupers of the press).

Meanwhile, the pond's award for "most brazen and shameless politician of the month" goes to the Man himself, leader of Team Abbott, when he turned up at a gathering of scientists - presumably because there's no science minister in the government available to handle the wretches.

Here's the pond challenge. Read the entire speech to the scientists here, without nausea or laughter, and as first prize, you get to join Team Australia. I was walking to the Great Hall this evening I was thinking to myself, what does Australia need more, who does Australia need more of? Do we need more lawyers or do we need more scientists? Do we need more politicians or do we need more scientists? I have absolutely no doubt what the answer to those questions would be – so, scientists of Australia, go out and increase!

Actually the pond needs its blithering idiots to get through the day, and that's as good an example of blithering as might be found. But the speech doesn't give the full story, nor does the official tweet quite capture the mood:

Uh huh. The real fun came when the blithering idiot asked for a pat on the back for being a blitherer:

Yes that "desultory applause" was something to hear, and of course it came in the context of the current shameless deal-making with Clive Palmer to piss money against the wall on a useless scheme.

As always, the pond these days turns automatically to the hagiographic Pravda of Holt street to judge how this sort of cavorting should be viewed:

Ah yes, it's climate action à go-go, a man on the move, a Palmer backflip, and never mind the mind-boggling spectacle and hypocrisy of a government setting up a review into a scheme it has sworn for all eternity never to implement.

Well enough of reading the reptiles, there's only so much hypocrisy and stupidity that the pond can swallow on any one day, no matter the post-modernist ironies and jollies to be had from the cavorting of fools like Greg 'Walri' Hunt, who wouldn't know most days how to wiki his fundament.

A few readings.

First remember all that blather about the NBN and the need for rigorous scrutiny and cost benefit analysis and review before setting big schemes in motion?

Deep concerns about the adequacy of the policy remain. The government has not modelled whether the fund has enough money to meet Australia’s minimum 2020 target to reduce emissions by 5%, with Abbott saying during the election campaign he preferred to just “have a crack”...

Have a fucking crack at it?

Separate modelling by Sinclair Knight Merz/MMA and Monash University’s Centre of Policy Studies, commissioned by the Climate Institute, which used assumptions more generous to the Coalition, found it would need at least another $4bn. Abbott has said if Direct Action falls short he will not allocate any more money. 
Hunt would not reveal what advice he had to substantiate his “hope, belief and expectation” that the target would be achieved, but said Australia would be helped by the fact that the decline of manufacturing was reducing electricity emissions and that abatement might be purchased more cheaply than he had originally anticipated. The government must reveal by early next year what post-2020 target it is willing to adopt, and is under strong international pressure to agree to much deeper cuts, but few observers believe the “direct action” policy could achieve them. (here)

And thanks to a link in the Graudian, you can be magically transported by carpet back to 2010 and that consummate fop and hypocrite, big Mal, speaking in the House, here:

All of us in this House know that industries and businesses, attended by an army of lobbyists, are particularly persuasive and all too effective at getting their sticky fingers into the taxpayers’ pocket. Having the government pick projects for subsidy is a recipe for fiscal recklessness on a grand scale, and there will always be a temptation for projects to be selected for their political appeal. In short, having the government pay for emissions abatement, as opposed to the polluting industries themselves, is a slippery slope which can only result in higher taxes and more costly and less effective abatement of emissions. I say this as a member and former leader of a political party whose core values are a commitment to free markets and free enterprise. The Shergold report went on to say this about this very issue: 
Financing subsidies and specific project-based interventions also impose costs on society from their use of taxation. If these approaches were to be used extensively to achieve large-scale abatement, the economy would suffer losses in economic and administrative efficiency. In contrast, market-based approaches to emissions abatement involve the explicit pricing of emissions, allowing the market to determine the cheapest source of emissions reduction.

It routinely amazes the pond that big Mal can manage to look in a mirror ...

So now a climate denialist prime minister has done a deal with a coal baron to piss money against the wall, because it's cheap - it will only cost $2.5 billion over four years, and when it turns out to be a dud, ineffective, an empty gesture, there'll be a shrug of the shoulders, and that's all ...

No wonder there was the sound of one hand clapping at that gathering of scientists ...

Is there anything more hypocritical than this spectacle? Well yes, there's the bizarre sight of a climate denialist newspaper, home to Maurice Newman, applauding the direct action PM ...

Meanwhile, the loons in the government continue to frolic and play, and cultivate conspiracy theories - Nationals MP George Christensen calls for weather bureau inquiry - while the real business goes on, and the mates get down to looting and rorting the government and the country - Australia for sale: Investment bankers cashing in on Tony Abbott's infrastructure push.

How do the commentariat handle all this?

Who do they blame?

Well your Bolter provides a classic example:

Yes, it's all the fault of the buffoon Clive Palmer.

But the Bolter in that very report mentioned a couple of other buffoons - like Greg "walri" Hunt and the entire Abbott Government and its fearless leader ...

You'd have to be a buffoon to selectively berate only one buffoon when confronted by a gaggle of buffoons ,...

(Below: more Nicholson here)

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

What this country needs is a sense of humour, because they're certain to tax the tears ...

(Above: yup, and more Moir here)

Machiavelli would surely have approved.

It is, at least if you're of a Machiavellian bent, a wholly admirable, perfect political ploy.

Increasing the tax on petrol ticks all the boxes. It can be described not as a new tax, but as an adjustment of an old one. It avoids parliament, where supposedly the rights of people can be considered by their representatives, and instead empowers the executive. It is part of a high taxing, big spending agenda, ostensibly with the big spending going on roads, but actually going on whatever passing fancy the government might have, provided it doesn't involve renewable energy ...

And it's a delicious political wedge, not just for the Labor party, but most especially the Greens. It is, in its own way, a carbon tax, and the greenies had already developed a fit of the wobbles internally about whether to support it.

But the best of the wedge comes if parliament, way down the track, decides to over-rule the regulation. The money won't go back to the punters, it will go to the oil companies.

Motoring associations have blustered and blathered about keeping receipts, but that will never happen, and Labor and the Greens will be tarred with giving the oil companies a free kick, and never mind that it was Abbott and Co that dished out the coathanger in the first place (that's a technical term best understood by thuggee boofheads like Abbott who like to talk of mature political debate, while kicking punters' heads in the mud).

And the move also conforms to all that's best for Liberals by way of taxation, in that it disproportionately punishes the poor who might dare to use a motor car. Not that they should, or that they should travel far. Yes, we've already been down that joke with jolly Joe:

But all this is obvious enough, and has been canvassed by many others. The real titillation for the pond was how the tree killer editions of the morning rags covered this brazen bit of stupendously cynical and hypocritical politics ...

The Advertiser, true to its navel-gazing parochial form, allocated a little space on the left, but saved all its indignation for the local Labor party, with a touch of Nova scandal:

The Currish Snail, in its own inimitable way, decided to go bog Queensland fascist:

Welcome to Brisbane ferals?

Couldn't they have found an even better image? Like:

Nothing like Nazi zombies to stir the hearts of Queensland Murdochians. The joke is, the Currish Snail wouldn't have the first clue how deeply fascist a rag it is ... or what an excellent image they provide for Campbell Newman's Queensland (up there with Mayor Daley's vision for Chicago, for anyone watching the Sixties on SBS).

The Fairfaxians were relatively predictable:

At least the story made the front page, along with other distractions. Poor old Denis.

But speaking of distractions, the pond's pride of joy this day is the Daily Terror:

Not a mention. Oh sure you can cede the gutter press a juicy sex scandal, but there's not a single mention anywhere else on the front page, not even a break out box. Instead you cop a shark feeding frenzy and "runway to wrinkles", a story on hospitals and germs, and a soccer supporter ...

It's a clean slate for Tony.

Surely that's a masterstroke of Orwellian presentation (no, nothing for the Godwin's Law swear jar if it's so obviously true).

Not a hint, not a word, not any sign of a Photoshop of Abbott, say in Machiavellian pose. Surely they could have done better than this?

In fact the HUN quite forgot itself, forgot it was a Murdoch rag, and down the bottom of the page did deploy a little Photoshop:

Well it's not up there with the hey day of the Murdochians in the Rudd Gillard years, but it has to be acknowledged as a solid effort, especially as it also offers a demeaning image of a princess in pink as a way of celebrating gambling ...

But the pond's winner for the day is, as usual, the reptiles at the lizard Oz, who have produced a splendid effort. Please allow the pond to blow this one up a bit so we can all admire the ingenuity:

There, you see. The HUN's petrol bandit is majestically and magisterially transformed into a waving statesman, with the headline reinforcing the image: PM waves goodbye to $2.2bn roadblock.

Nothing sordid like Ratbag petrol thief and taxing hypocrite deguts punters' purses of $2.2bn in epic shakedown with new tax that disproportionately punishes the poor ...

Which brings the pond to the capper, which is totally wonderful, and it comes right next to that image with Economic elite back Murdoch's inequality fears.

Yes at the very moment the rag puts its best foot forward for the tax, it has the cheek, the brazen hypocritical cheek, to run a yarn about the 'leets getting their knickers in a knot about inequality ...

In polite psychiatric hospitals, it's talked about as Murdochian schizophrenia ...

The reptiles' digital edition kept the routine going:

Yes, there he is triumphant, a Senate smasher with magisterial hand wave, a veritable Caesar ...

And just to ensure the distraction was complete, there was that pompous potentate of blather all in a rage about Labor:

The pond has some good money down on the absolute certainty that the Murdochians will join in the current campaign to expand the GST, a regressive tax which affects the poor disproportionately, while offering yet more sanctimonious crocodile tears from Chairman Rupert about the horrendous suffering of the board members of major banks ...

What else?

Well Kevin Donnelly raises some serious concerns:

But the pond has a simple answer. Pound that bloody Judeo-Christian western tradition into all the aberrants identified by Barry Spurr - let's not forget Murdoch's 'Do As We Say Not As We Do' - and if they don't like the taste of Christian steel, then let's give them a taste of leather or bamboo, with a damned good whipping or caning.

Now the pond will leave the choice of weapon to the experts, like Donnelly, or any decent Catholic order, say the Christian Brothers, or the Marists, but never let it be said that the pond isn't in lockstep with Kev as we march back to the 1950s and the glorious days of Empire and a decent Catholic education for the micks...

And a Wednesday wouldn't be complete without Dame Slap getting herself into a lather of terrorist hysteria.

What's most disturbing about reading Dame Slap?

Well yet again the pond is forced to admire the thinking of a man who stood up in parliament and celebrated smokers and smoking, an almost unimaginable feat.

You see, Leyonhjelm dared to call a Bankstown jihadist a dickhead and a clown (here, beware the Fairfax forced ad) and that sent Dame Slap into a slapping frenzy:

NSW senator David Leyonhjelm was wrong to say jihadists are simply idiots and easy to catch. Some jihadists are deluded. Others are evil. The fake imams and slippery sheiks who radicalise young men are both smart and difficult to catch under existing laws.

Uh huh. You can catch a full blown whiff of paranoia, hysteria and fascism in Dame Slap's outburst which concludes thusly:

In 1915 even progressive judge Henry Bournes Higgins said parliament was entitled to entrust a minister with “extraordinary powers during the present extraordinary war”. We are in the midst of another extraordinary war that requires extraordinary powers because without security, liberty is a meaningless Pollyanna dream.

Truly ruly, that's what she wrote.

We're in the middle of a new first world war, which the AWM here summarises this way:

For Australia, as for many nations, the First World War remains the most costly conflict in terms of deaths and casualties. From a population of fewer than five million, 416,809 men enlisted, of which over 60,000 were killed and 156,000 wounded, gassed, or taken prisoner.

Mature, rational, sensible debate? We're in the middle of a third world war? Exaggeration, hyperbole much?

It can either be taken as an obscenity - to misuse the dead of the first world war in Dame Slap's rhetorical way - or simply an absurd, monstrous stupidity, but as usual, all the pond can say, is forget it Jake, it's Dame Slap town ...

The point of the exercise - for those who want to take up the pond challenge and actually read Dame Slap from beginning to end, and for that you'll have to google - is to crank up the hysteria in support of the major parties' valiant attempts to introduce more elements of a police state into Australia, with Leyonhjelm one of the few questioning the need for an actual police state to deal with a few fundie Islamic ratbag.

That it comes in the context of Abbott pleading for more mature debate, along with urging for everyone to get on board the Team Australia team, and play a team game for the good of the team, just adds to the pond's sense of fun ...

Any reader can be guaranteed an undiluted dose of hysteria from the terrorists in Murdoch land, whether they be Dame Slap or the Bolter ...

And meanwhile, the taxes on the poor go up and no doubt the inequalities will continue to widen and no doubt the reptiles will show Chairman Rupert wringing his hands ... and just as in 1984, they'll expect everyone to pay for the kool aid they serve up on their front pages in lieu of actual news and insight ...

As usual, only a cartoon can provide some respite.

The pond attempted to find Dame Slap somewhere in the Rowe below,  and more Rowe here, but sadly she seems to be cowering behind all the other clowns. And by golly what a lot of clowns there are, as we sing 'don't worry, they're here':

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

In which an ever weirder Chairman Rupert speaks out of the side of his mouth on inequality, while the reptiles go about the business of enthusiastically supporting increased inequality ...

The pond hasn't had many rich, satisfying horse laughs since the halcyon Tamworth days ...

But this one was a doozy.

Top of the digital page ,courtesy the reptiles of the lizard Oz:

It had the pond rolling around on the floor.

It was perfect in every way. The gold bar, the EXCLUSIVE, the faithful portentous and pompous hack, Paul Kelly, transcribing the thoughts of the media robber baron  on the matter of inequality ...

The pond's immediate thought was to wonder whether the nonsense had made it to the front page of the tree killer edition of the rag.

It had, it had:

The caring billionaire!

So how does the caring billionaire propose to fix things:?

The significance of his nine-page speech is his argument about the limits to both monetary and fiscal policy and the imperative for a new approach based upon the need “for government to get out of the way”. 
Mr Murdoch called for: labour market reform; lower and more competitive corporate taxes; a crackdown on multinationals — naming Google — for not paying taxes where they make their profits; a rethink on excessive bank regulation, warning “you would have to be mad to join the board of a bank these days”; and recognition that high taxes and over-regulation were damaging economic growth and the public interest.

Yes, because lower taxes, and labour market reform stripping rights from workers will really fix that inequality thing, and as for the long suffering board members of banks... oh the charity and the pity and the kindness ...

I mean, right there, you have a keen and deep understanding of the suffering of the masses. You'd have to be mad to want to join the board of a bank these days ... there they are, dragging themselves off to work, with barely enough  cash in paw to cover the required corporate dress of sackcloth and ashes ...

Oh it's pitiful, the suffering of board members, the inequality, the unfairness, the plain injustice and wrongness of it all ...

Luckily Chairman Rupert was able, in a fair, unbiased way, able to pinpoint the precise source of the problem of unfairness that litters the universe:

The chief of News Corporation, ultimate owner of The Australian, told European and US leaders in the intimate setting of the dinner that many of their policies were a “tremendous disincentive to innovation and risk-taking”. He confronted them saying high taxes and overregulation “goes to ­extremes in many European countries and several US states”. 
He said an “easier” problem to tackle was that posed by Google in Australia. “Google harvests nearly $1 billion annually in Australia — by pirating the copyrights of local taxpayers,” Mr Murdoch said. “While I am sure they are not the only offenders, as the chairman of a company that is continuously financially wounded by that piracy, I feel quite justified in calling them out by name.”

Yes, it's piracy that causes all the unfairness. How can Foxtel shear the sheep in a seemly, tidy way if the sheep are off frolicking with pirates?

And there you have it in a nutshell. If only News Corp could gouge the punters without the likes of Google getting in the way, fairness and equality would be restored throughout the world ...

Provided of course that crazy corporate taxes were reduced, and governments could just piss off - especially that dreadful David Cameron - so that there'd be no need for any pesky, irritating regulations of the kind that led to the News of the World disaster ...

The funny thing is, the more Murdoch moves closer to the grave - the ultimate apocalypse that afflicts us all - the more he's become apocalyptic in his thinking. Take this tweet of a month ago:

Well it's as coherent as the blather faithfully transcribed by portentous Paul Kelly, but what's interesting is the schizophrenia - the reference to elites, as if Murdoch wasn't part of the billionaire elite - and then the fear, of a backlash, which takes on a paranoid Marie Antoinette hue ...

Don't target me, comrades, I'm not one of your 'leets ...

Meanwhile, it's business as usual. Alarums and fears:

Yes, because Republican wave will surely revive equality throughout the land, and if not overnight, then certainly within a week.

Meanwhile, the real work remains to be done. Sow's ear, silk purse.

Now you don't have to read Anne Summers' Tony Abbott's Team Australia entrenches inequality alone to discover the sow's ear, because she might be accused of bias.

You might just prefer to listen to the great man himself:

"in the end, we have to be a productive and competitive society and greater inequality might be inevitable". (Tony Abbott's vision of society as a market)

Yes, you know things are getting weird in the joint when even the utterly gormless Peter Hartcher could scribble Joe Hockey's budget beyond the Australian concept of fair. (forced video at end of link).

As for that inequality? 'Missing' figures show poor are hit.

And so on and so forth. Any one from Tony Abbott down agrees that his budget and his policies are designed to enhance and improve and widen inequality, and to punish the poor, just so bank board members don't have to suffer in ways that would be too hideous, disturbing and unsettling to contemplate ...

Which is why on a daily basis the reptiles at the Oz go diligently about their business,  turning that sow's ear into said silk purse.

Let's see what's on offer today:

Yes, it's a sympathetic study of the visionary Abbott, that Tenterfield saddler fresh from delivering his epic Tenterfield address right up there with Sir Henry Parkes' Tenterfield oration (you can Greg Hunt that one here, but watch out for walri that might have strayed up from Antarctica).

What's astonishing is the bald-faced way that Shanahan attempts to present Abbott's transmutation from gutter brawler to statesman:

Abbott’s own appeal is for all Australians to consider what must be done about the health, education and tax systems into the ­future and to do so maturely and not simply yell at each other. 
 “I hope that just for once it might be possible for us in this parliament, one side and the other, the national government and the state and territory governments to have a mature debate rather than a screaming match,” he said.

What? Like this?

Well bugger that for a joke. When you're dragged into the gutter, it's not so easy to get out.

But do go on:

Abbott is not announcing a proscriptive policy, a surprise plan or an emasculated tax review: he wants to start the debate as the federation and tax white papers ­develop. 
Philosophically, Abbott has ­always been keen on federal-state reforms, although he’s changed his view along the way. He’s right to put the big idea ahead of the retail politics. 
But even on the politics of the issue, Abbott may find conducting such a debate and addressing such reforms gives his government a definition and a destination that appeals.

Yes, it's just more wretched forelock tugging and apple polishing and shameless abasement at the feet of Mr. Inequality.

This sort of blather is of course a distraction from more immediate issues. Like the budget and its burden, like the 'reforms' to health and education and all the other proposals designed to punish the poor or the unemployed or the powerless ...

Even Shanahan, diligently polishing the apple, had to note the bleeding obvious:

As a Prime Minister leading a first-term government that is in disproportionate political trouble, Abbott has staked out a large claim on reforms just as Howard did in 1997 in similar circumstances with the GST proposal. 
The Abbott government’s momentum on reform through the commission of audit was checked politically by the West Australian Senate election re-run and there will be problems as Victoria, NSW and Queensland all go to the polls with incumbent Coalition governments. 
But sensible approaches from Colin Barnett and Campbell Newman yesterday suggest Abbott has time, now that he’s started the debate, to flesh out his ideas next year.

Campbell Newman? He's a dead duck walking ...

Time for a first-term government in disproportionate political trouble to flesh out its ideas, which will inevitably lead to a suggestion that GST be increased and widened?

Truly, it couldn't get any funnier, could it?

What else have the reptiles got to offer?

Well there's the Caterists trashing Whitlam:

Yes, like universal health care and free education and an end to conscription and the right to die in Vietnam for armchair generals ...

And then there's an urgent plea for the right to universities to be able to gouge all-comers:

See how it's all about "catering to needs". Just don't mention the price tag for the catering, especially if you want fish eggs with that ...

And then there's just pure, sublime, undiluted, barking mad nonsense:

Oh not the black helicopters and the world conspiracy of a one-world government again ...

So how did Newman get past the door bitches and into the party?

Why he's Tony Abbott's business advisor, and that's the sort of paranoid advice Mr. Inequality gets in his bid to run a mature debate about the future of the federation ...

Barking mad. So there's your mature debate. A screaming match about a one-world government.

And remember, this is where we came in.

The pond will now revert to the floor for another burst of hysterical laughter.

This might put the pond in the company of Clive Palmer, but the day Tony Abbott becomes a statesman, that's the day the senate joins the pond and Caligula in voting a horse's ass as emperor ...

(Below: thanks to Master Marles, and David Rowe, and more Rowe here, the pond might go sailing with as fine a ship of fools as has ever graced the ocean's waves. Aye aye, me hearties, ahoy on the poop deck of policies)

Monday, October 27, 2014

A Monday potpourri, though it's a pity the the fragrance carries evocative hints of blowflies and traces of loon ...

(Above: one of a number of weekend triumphs for the Abbott government, and more Wilcox here).

Today is Amanda Vanstone day, as Monday often is ... a blight on the mind at  the start of the working week that's roughly equivalent to the effect of the fungus, phytophthora infestans, on tomato plants ...

You can, if you're of a profoundly masochistic nature, find infestans Vanstone scribbling belatedly about Gough Whitlam for the Fairfaxians, and later today she will no doubt turn up yet again on the ABC.

So here's the pond challenge.  See if you can listen to Theodore Dalrymple on last week's Counterpoint without wondering if you've just dropped a tab of acid ... then if you survive the test, why you're free to listen to Vanstone today and join in a rant about idle, wretched youffs ...

Meanwhile, the pond indulged in another test. On the weekend the fearless leader announced he'd changed his mind. No surprise there, he's such a relentless flip flopper, he could be mistaken for casual foot wear. But the subject was the enormously tedious quagmire of federal-state relations.

Now in the old days, only a faithful party organ like Pravda would routinely headline the thoughts of the chairman of the presidium, and this seemed like an acid test. Who would put the thoughts of the current chairman at the top of the page?

Only one rag came through. Come on down reptiles of the lizard oz, so the pond can drape you with the accolades that befit a Pravda down under:

Well played reptiles and a bonus for featuring the University of Sydney's claim that higher fees will lead to more scholarships, and the poor and the helpless throughout the land will rejoice. 

It reminded the pond of the way the proposed reforms will shift the tertiary system into the wretched patronage system that bedevils tertiary education in the United States, and that timeless seasonal cartoon:

Sad to say however, the reptiles were gazumped in the front page stakes by a most excellent entry from the Currish Snail:

Yes, DON'T PANIC. It's an evil worm that gets inside you and eats your brain and makes your body explode and kills you in the most vile and unimaginable way, like a zombie apocalypse, but DON'T PANIC.

Naturally the first reaction of the pond was to flee the computer in a state of blind, irrational panic.

It would have been a more complete experience if the paper had a couple of hands attached to it that could slap readers like the pond on both cheeks, but as a first class shouty use of shouty fonts, it's still a tremendous tabloid effort ...

Only in the state where dunking a penis in wine and showing the feat to the world is seen as a fitting qualification for giving pre-selection another go ...

Sadly the pond had to mark down the Fairfaxians, though not because they trotted out Richard Marles all at sea in a bold bid to prove that Labor can out flip flop Tony Abbott any day of the week ...

No, it was the blatantly obvious way that the Fairfaxians attempted to wrest the title of climate denialism from the Murdoch tabloids.

You see, it's routine that, whenever it comes to a mention of unseasonal or even seasonal heat, the first response of the Murdoch tabloids is to show punters having early great unseasonal or even seasonal fun in the sun, preferably at the beach.

The coverage relentlessly conformed to the pond's golden rule: "sssh, whatever you say or do, please don't mention climate change or climate science".

Now the Fairfaxians played a solid hand on the front page. And on the inside digital page they maintained an astute stance certain to win pond approval:

Excellent stuff. Look at the fun they're having. Diving in the lens flare, basking in the warm glow on the beach.

Not just one, but two illustrations of the fantastic fun to be had from a little early in the season warmth from the loving sun ...

And the copy was excellent too, with three authors contributing to Sydney's scorcher set to continue; global records could tumble (forced video at end of link)

Well it started out excellent. There was talk of records being broken in Sydney, and coverage of fire danger, with news of total fire bans, and the talk of global warmth happily focussed on a super El Nino, and then the wretches had to ruin it:

What is unusual about this years potential to break the temperature record is that it will not be a "super El Nino" year, where sea temperatures in the equatorial Pacific rise significantly above average. The last super El Nino ended in 1998, the hottest year ever recorded - a year frequently cited by climate change skeptics who claim that the planet has not warmed in 18 years. 

Oh dear, sssh, whatever you do, don't mention climate change. It will only get the Bolter agitated and upset.

Even worse the link in the story led to that namby pamby Peter Hannam breaking the golden rule:

The hottest years on record were in 2005 and 2010, which just pipped the "super El Nino" year of 1998 - a year often used by climate change sceptics to claim global temperatures haven't increased in as long as 18 years. 
The fact 2014 may challenge for the hottest year even with at most a weak El Nino is one reason climatologists warn action must be taken to curb the rise of greenhouse gas emissions that trap ever more heat from the sun. 
The bureau's Dr Watkins said heat records could be broken even without a "full-blown El Nino" because of the planet's broadscale warming. Sea-surface temperatures in the central Pacific, for instance, had increased by about 0.5 degrees since the 1950s. 
"You get the warming signal on top" of any El Nino, he said.

The pond was startled and immediately looked for advice from the world's leading climate scientist, George Pell, but he was busy in Rome repressing gays and women ...

What to do, what to do?

Sadly the only other leading climate scientist in the land was busy denouncing the Daesh.

Now it's not for the pond to urge the Bolter to adopt the name the perfidious French favour but here's how it's done, link courtesy of Washington Post here:

How does the Bolter start off?

The savagery of the Islamic State is pornographic and absolute.

Indeed. It's state with a capital "S".

And the story in the New York Times, here, is indeed graphic, disturbing and heart-wrenching.

Amongst many sickening incidents and events, this one caught the pond's eye:

They also began waterboarding a select few, just as C.I.A. interrogators had treated Muslim prisoners at so-called black sites during the George W. Bush administration, former hostages and witnesses said.

Uh huh. So where was the Bolter when it came to that use of torture?

Why here he is in Bush: waterboarding saved lives ...

Waterboard three suspects up to the ears in al Qaeda, or risk the deaths of possibly hundreds of civilians? The critics who shy at answering this stark question are guilty of intellectual cowardice at the very least. Kipling knew their type well, as Orwell explained: 
Kipling was a Conservative… He identified himself with the ruling power and not with the opposition. In a gifted writer this seems to us strange and even disgusting, but it did have the advantage of giving Kipling a certain grip on reality. The ruling power is always faced with the question, “In such and such circumstances, what would you do?”, whereas the opposition is not obliged to take responsibility or make any real decisions.

Admirable. A triple play, Kipling, Orwell and Bush.

And here's the Bolter doubling down:

Waterboarding worked?

There's a more than passing irony in that header.

Back in the day, Waterboarding used to Be a Crime.

Yes, National Review, We Did Executive Japanese for Waterboarding. (and the Politifact finding is here).

But for the Bolter, back in the day it was all the way with Cheney and with Bush, and the sordid, sorry history outlined in detail in this detailed survey of waterboarding ...

Conservative ratbags like the Bolter helped sowed the anarchistic seed and now reap the fundamentalist ratbag Daesh whirlwind ... which explains why the pond often broods about what happens when fundamentalists get their hands on a decent set of drones ...

The Bolter should get back to climate science. Fucking up the planet is a noble and urgent task, and more seemly than indignation about the pornography of waterboarding and executions...

And to end on a lighter note, this one is dedicated to Optus.

There's also Hume, Nelson Goodman, Heidegger and Buddha in the joke, and if you never suffered philosophy, there's an explanation hidden at the bottom of the cartoon. The full cartoon and plenty of other philosophical in-jokes are here at Existential Comics: