Thursday, November 27, 2014

In which the pond goes on a journey to the end of the mind ...

(Above: David Rowe, as always in touch with the zeitgeist, and more Rowe here).

Of course if you run the pitch for Das Boot through the translation machine:

Eine Reise ans Ende des Verstandes turns into 'A journey to the end of the mind'.

We're surely on that journey, but the pond is always on the look out for a laugh, and this induced a good old fit of the cackles:

Now, I have to say to you that in politics the ultimate cop out is to propose nothing and oppose everything. 
Sooner or later this kind of tactic will be seen for what it is: not clever politics but economic vandalism. 
Putting short term political interest ahead of long term national interest, talking down our country to score political points.

Yes, he really did say that last night, as you can read here, and it reminded the pond that hubris in politics is always great fun.

Yes, he really did moan and complain about a "chorus of complaint". Even his whine about the whiners only manages to be a three word slogan.

Yet this was a man who became a master of nattering negativity, who opposed everything in opposition, and when he proposed something, it was always to tear it down. There was a reason he earned the nick-name of Dr. No ...

The result was an opposition leader so deep in vandalism that innocent bystanders had to look back to the days of Malcolm Fraser to discover bigger acts of political bastardy and negativity. The result for Fraser was that during his days in power he was confronted with a sullen resentment. Yes, the Whitlam government had gone off the rails, but yes, what Fraser did was cynical, unscrupulous and devious.

He who gets the throne this way suffers from Macbeth syndrome, and sure enough, Abbott is showing all the same signs of delusion as the Scottish king.

The pond has no idea how the folk at the Commerce and Industry Annual Dinner copped those lines without bursting into laugher. And sure enough, Abbott immediately went on to bag Wayne Swan and the previous Labor government....  as you'd expect of a nattering negative naysayer still with that the main arrow in the quiver ...

Wayne who, the pond felt like asking, it felt like so long ago ...

Just how long into a new government can you get away with bagging the previous one? The answer of course, is until the twelfth of never, but at the same time it seems the punters are expected to forget the behaviour of Abbott in opposition.

Meanwhile, the news trends bad.

There's the out-flanking that seems to be leading to the dropping of the seven dollar co-payment.

Then there's the impending blow out, a warning shot across the bow, more explosive than a Dicke Bertha, that the budget is stuffed. And a whining, moaning jolly Joe will have to officially confirm it in  mid-December, as noted in Tony Abbott budget to blow out by billions more than expected.

Note that headline - magically it's become Tony Abbott's budget. Jolly Joe who?

Then in the coming months, Abbott will be revealed yet again as a backward looking conservative of the old school, incapable of responding to changing attitudes, and all because a libertarian with a crazy attitude to smoking is promoting a personal bill, Tony Abbott not happy about gay marriage bill, says senator (forced video).

Tony's not happy. And teh gays should care?

So, since we're watching a war film, how is it going with the kool aid drinkers, always going over the top, always charging the enemy lines, impervious to pain, ready to die for Team Australia?

Oh dear, it seems there are mutinous rumblings:

Poor old Niki, lordy lordy, la di dah, did she get out on the wrong side of the bed, or what:

When his government was travelling through another bad patch recently, Tony Abbott told unhappy senior Liberal figures they had a choice: him or Malcolm Turnbull. 
Leave aside that Julie Bishop would now trounce Turnbull in any ballot (not that one is being contemplated), the sentiment the Prime Minister expressed was designed to frighten disappointed conservatives into staying true to him. But it also showed that leaders operate in a perpetual state of vigilance when it comes to their survival. 
It surfaced on Monday when Abbott addressed the annual dinner of the Pharmacy Guild of Australia, arguably the most powerful and successful industry group representing the most respected professionals in the country. 
As a former health minister, Abbott has had a long association with the guild, yet one word in a complimentary introduction from its national president, George Tambassis, sliced like a razor. Tambassis did not mean to imply anything or make any kind of political point when he introduced the “current” Prime Minister. 
It did not go unnoticed, either by the Prime Minister or his colleagues, who later expressed surprise Abbott couldn’t let it pass. Abbott drew laughs when he acknowledged “yes, I am the current Prime Minister”, then expressed the hope his currency as Prime Minister would be as long and stable as that of the heads of the guild. 
That depends largely on the Prime Minister and how he conducts himself in the next little while. It is not as if he hasn’t been warned publicly by his friends, even more vehemently by them in private, that unless he changes, or unless changes are made, he risks becoming a one-term wonder.

Not a one term wonder!

But Savva was just warming up, with dire imprecations and warnings:

You only had to look at the faces of those behind him on Monday to realise how bad it is. One of them later described that question time, where Abbott refused to even accept ownership of his own words, as the worst of the government’s period in office. Others confessed their anguish in having to listen.


Now she did try to balance things by having a go at Gillard - ah such ancient pleasures - but then she returned to the business of stirring the newt and bat-laden pot:

One stupid line at the end of a long campaign shouldn’t be enough to hang someone — unless they behave even more stupidly later by refusing to make a simple admission: I stuffed up or I was wrong to say what I said, or circumstances forced me to make a difficult choice. 
Abbott undermined an eminently defensible case for cuts to the ABC, shredded his credibility and forced his colleagues into humiliating verbal jousts with journos to cover for him. They despair.

Despair! Black clad white-faced EMOs in the house:

South Australian Rowan Ramsey bravely sent Abbott a public message, ever so gently, that he had to stop it because he had put the government in a difficult position and hindered the prosecution of the case against the ABC. 
At one point in Tuesday’s Liberal Party meeting, it looked as if Abbott got it. While defending Barnaby Joyce from an attack by Bill Heffernan, Abbott said his Agriculture Minister probably gave a “dud answer” like others had given “dud answers”, including himself to SBS. 
Then NSW backbencher Craig Laundy, using a folksy analogy to drive it home, said he had promised his wife before the election they would go away for a holiday in January, but when the time came he realised he couldn’t do it, so he sat down and explained why. “She wasn’t happy but she understood,” Laundy said. Hint, hint. He went on to say that they were all behind him, they wanted to fight, but warned: “People don’t like verbal gymnastics.” Hint hint. 
Abbott’s reply showed he hadn’t got it at all. While he congratu­lated Laundy for his contribution, he added: “There’s been no verbal gymnastics.” MPs watched with a mixture of bemusement and relief when a couple of hours later he admitted the bleeding obvious in parliament: that he had said it and regretted saying it. 
They eagerly await the barnacle removal program. The paid parental leave scheme and the Medicare co-payment are getting makeovers. 
Insiders also know Abbott’s future wellbeing depends on people as well as policies being thrown overboard. Previously he was ­inclined to leave major changes until next September, preferring to deal with Scott Morrison and a homeland security portfolio as well as Arthur Sinodinos after the NSW Independent Commission Against Corruption reports in January. 
It would be absolute folly to simply tweak and bumble along with chronic underachievers for another nine months. Jaws dislocated when Kevin Andrews lectured cabinet colleagues recently to stop jockeying. That is one horse in need of a knackery. David Johnston, despite Abbott’s energetic defence of him yesterday, and Ian Macfarlane are also prime targets. It’s no longer a question of whether he dares act but if he can afford not to.

There ought to be blood, there should be blood. And Julie Bishop would take Malcolm Turnbull to the cleaners, not that we're talking about Julie Bishop knifing Tony Abbott in the back (though you read it first in the pond). That would be just too Chairman Rudd ...

Strange, that name brings us to another conspirator ...

Speaketh, oh sombre polisher of the knob, oh bouffant tugger of the forelock:

This is more than a gaffe or a slip of the tongue, which would not justify ministerial censure. Johnston’s long-term standing is mortally damaged. 
He has lost the confidence of his cabinet colleagues and his comments have been publicly disowned by the Prime Minister. Notwithstanding ASC’s past difficulties, Johnston has made a huge political mistake. 
The remark itself is bad enough: the Australian government may want to sell its share of the ASC and the responsible minister has trashed the brand; the minister who has to make a decision on Australia’s biggest procurement project appears to have a preconceived opinion; and other nations are confused about his thinking. What makes it worse for Abbott is that the lack of a public strategy on the submarines and warships, and the mixed messages of hope and despair for workers and Liberal colleagues in South Australia and Victoria, represent a wider malaise in Coalition management. Abbott is suffering from Ruddophobia, where he fears any change, and the regimentation discipline, so essential in opposition, is preventing him from acting quickly and flexibly to cut off damaging distractions.

Ruddophobia? Not the dreaded Ruddophobia?

David Johnston is holding on to his position as Defence Minister for three reasons: Tony Abbott is loyal, stubborn and manic about his government not appearing as unstable as its Rudd-Gillard-Rudd Labor predecessors. 
But the Prime Minister should act quickly, shift Johnston and cauterise not just the wound the Defence Minister has opened but wider self-inflicted wounds of political management. 

Of course the actual analysis is meaningless. Whatever you might say about the former chairman, he loved change, any and every form of change, and often at the expense of good sense, and without regard for managerial skills.

But still, to invoke the notion that Abbott is suffering from some kind of Ruddster infection, and howling for ministerial blood ... let there be blood ...

Of course in the good old days, this sort of treasonous talk would have seen the dissenters taken out the back and shot, and only a few hand wringers would watch Kubrick's Paths of Glory, shedding tears at the waste and the injustice ...

But wait, what about the solitary soldier, the obsessive navel gazer that wanders away from the front, talking to himself? Perhaps a case of Sassoonian shell-shock?

How bizarre does that get?

Well the pond offers just a few opening lines:

Barack Obama’s implicit attack on the Abbott government over climate change will do more long-term damage to the US-­Australia alliance than is commonly thought. There is no need to rehearse the gratuitous nature of the speech, Obama’s failure to tell his Australian hosts what he was going to say in advance — as the most elementary courtesy, much less alliance solidarity, would require — the bad manners of not acknowledging the Governor-General, and the determined effort to embarrass his hosts by referring so crudely to the Australian debate and using, and misusing, iconic elements in that debate. 
All of that is more or less accepted by all serious analysts in Australia and the US.

Poor possum. In the old days, someone would have put him down, as a kindness, wandering behind the lines, gibbering like that, thinking he's in company with all serious analysts in Australia and the US, as if all serious analysts think Tony Abbott is right on climate change ...

What Sheridan does show however is the sort of paranoid narcissism now running through the government, which leads Sheridan to conclude yet another bout of Obama bashing with these lines:

In reality, Australia will now behave as the grown-up in this ­relationship, continuing the strategic co-operation in the face of political provocation. But Obama has provided powerful new evidence for those who argue American presidents don’t take us seriously and can’t be relied on. 

Sheridan and Abbott as the grown ups dealing with the reef and climate change.

Now refuse to cackle at that if you will, but it made the ponds day.

At least one of the commenters kept things on a proper military footing:

Now come on Greg, after your perceived hero’s performance entertaining the G20 LEADERS with his personal management failures, who in their right mind would follow your hero anywhere that required proven relevant strategic and tactical high command performance?

Oh brave Barry, to venture amongst the kool aid drinkers ...

So what's to be done?

Well today the reptile editorialist let out a cry of pain, a howl against the universe that would have had Allen Ginsberg green with envy.

Warning: a strong stomach is required to handle the bile, the bitterness, the hatred, the fear and the loathing, which the pond presents ungarnished, because no amount of garlic could hide the reptile agenda:

And that's why every day in every way the pond is enjoying life.

Sure, the country might be fucked, the budget and strategies surrounding it might lie in ruins, the government is a ship of fools, but when you get the reptiles in their gulag or their bunker - think of it how you will - in Surry Hills, railing at Surry Hills, we really are at the last gasp of delusional Murdochian empire ...

How the army of angry old white men, clutching to print, hate the young, and the modern, and any hint that the new digital age is upon them, and like Mister Jones, they know that something's happening here, but they really don't know what it is ...

Finally, speaking of a ship of Surry Hills fools, by golly that David Pope is also in touch with the zeitgeist, and more Pope here ...

Now there's a secret weapon. No wonder the Americans are quivering in fear. Let the barnacle-free winged keel lead Team Australia to victory in the America's Cup in '83!

What's that you say? It's 2014? Not for the Murdochians or that marvellous winged keel ...


  1. There's also an interesting account of Gollum's little rorts and secrecy surrounding the donors to his 'Institute'.

  2. Do they ever wonder how come these 'dud answers' just slip out? Where do they come from if not from a dud understanding of the question?

    Thinking back to Freud who did seem to understand these sexually repressed, emotionally deprived, spoiled little boy/men who don't understand 'manly', it would seem that these dud answers are Freudian slips that reveal their 'real' thoughts and desires and are not meaningless things that just get said in the heat of the moment.

    If people are being rational and that is the mantra of the market men - then where does the heat of the moment come from?

  3. Don't mean to be sacrilegious to a talented writer like R. C. Sherriff, but there's a great play about WW1 troops waiting to die called Journey's End which has some parallels.

  4. "There ought to be blood, there should be blood."

    So right, DP. I'd love to see Abbott, the ass, cry.

    " Plainview: Stop crying, you sniveling ass! Stop your nonsense. You're just the afterbirth, Eli.

    Eli Sunday: No...

    Plainview: You slithered out of your mother's filth.

    Eli Sunday: No.

    Plainview: They should have put you in a glass jar on a mantlepiece..."

  5. Sheridans comments are simply bizarre and plainly stupid, and that's why I'm enjoying this..

    1. "Loon of the Year award" +100.
      Actually,Sheridan sort of spooks me out a bit, and that is even disregarding the fact that Abbott is his one true Bestie Bro.

  6. That's quite some keel haul!

  7. One thing's for sure, Gillard never got away with giving a dud answer.

  8. There's a rich vein of government ridicule in the comments sections of the media this week.
    Barnacle Bill Johnston gets a right going over for his stupid remarks but the best was a comment regarding Abbott.T captain of Team AustraLiar, what a hoot.
    The Murdochians must realise, when comedy passes to ridicule there is no hope.

  9. El Soltero EfímeroNov 27, 2014, 11:35:00 AM

    I wonder if Greg Sheridan and fellow travellers consider John Howard's statements about Obama in 2007 ("I mean, if I we're running al-Qaeda in Iraq, I would put a circle around March 2008 and pray as many times as possible for a victory not only for Obama but also for the Democrats") to be a blow for the Alliance as much as a speech on climate change is.

  10. "Brandis hides his own metadata" SMH and ZDNet

    "Disclosure of the personal information in the document is unreasonable," Mr Brandis' chief of staff Paul O'Sullivan said, adding that who the minister called was not relevant.

    "I am not persuaded that the personal information is of any demonstrable relevance to the affairs of government. Indeed, I contend disclosure of the personal information may cause stress or harm to a number of third parties."

    Mr O'Sullivan also said releasing a complete list of who spoke to Senator Brandis was not relevant to democracy.

    "I consider that personal information from an individual minister's telephone bill is unlikely to contribute significantly to promotion of Australia's representative democracy," Mr O'Sullivan said.

    It would instead "prejudice the protection of an individual's right to privacy".

    Yeah, tell that to Slipper, Thompson and a few dozen others who have been the subject of vindictive selective leaks about metadata to the lizards.

  11. Dolores Umbrage is living up to her reputation today, 18 Labor members were thrown out, which is a federation record.

    Perhaps she should be reminded that partisan and subversive speakers have been arrested and imprisoned in the history of the Westminster system. Just Google 'speaker arrested history'.

    I think a Royal Commission is called for.

  12. Wow! The Australian editorials of the last couple of days really sound like the howling of a seriously wounded prehistoric reptile after maybe having a sharpened iphone jabbed into it's right eye.Loving this madness that is Australian politics.

  13. Which dies first? The Australian or this government?

  14. You better watch out
    You better not cry
    You better not pout
    I'm telling you why
    Santa Claus is coming to town

    He's making a list,
    Checking it twice;
    Gonna find out who's naughty or nice.
    Santa Claus is coming to town

    He sees you when you're sleeping
    He knows when you're awake
    He knows if you've been bad or good
    So be good for goodness sake
    Santa Claus is coming to town

    Scott Morrison and the Assistant Immigration Minister Michaelia Cash have spent nearly $120,000 monitoring the media for mentions of their names and the immigration portfolio

    They're watching us!


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