Friday, February 28, 2014

Has anyone got a mop?


(Above: a guide to Murdochian editors or an old internet meme dug out of the ground and once more doing the hoary social media rounds? The pond merely reports).

Some days the pond is grateful that it covers the right wing commentariat rat bag dead beat night beat side of the street for the daily ...

Watching Bill Shorten make a fool of himself getting it wrong, or watching Stephen "let's have a great big intertubes filter" Conroy blow his stack, and thereby distract from the way the government is shamelessly using the military and the navy as a shield to avoid scrutiny of their policies. Patriotism, the first refuge of the scoundrel ...

Or marvelling at Tony Sheldon advising that there'd be union action to bring Qantas to its knees ... presumably because Alan Joyce hadn't done a good enough job...

Yep, let's have a strike right now and really restore customer faith in Qantas services ...

That said, is there anything more bizarre or surreal than Alan Joyce attempting to mount a charm offensive and save himself by flinging himself at government?

As if the abortive excursions into Asia should just be dismissed as a genial folly. Joyce was advised years ago he was on a Don Quixote windmill hiding to hell, and only now do we read Qantas pulls back from Jetstar's Asia expansion.
While also we read, long after crashing into mountains in Antarctica and oceans of debt, Air New Zealand profit leaves Qantas in the shade.

The bloody kiwis. You can't even do an Alan Joyce Kiwi sheep joke ...

What's astonishing is that Joyce is still in his job. Five years is way long enough to remove the Dixon curse, though lordy lordy there surely was a Dixon curse ...

Here are the real villains of the piece, the really inept people responsible for all that's gone down ... the Qantas Board of Directors. They picked the wrong man, who devised the wrong strategies and even worse was allowed to implement them, and now through thick and thin they've stuck with him. Come on down Leigh Clifford, AO, Maxine Brenner, Richard Goodmanson, Jacqueline Hey, Gary Hounsell, William Meaney, Paul Rayner, and Barbara Ward ...

It was too much for a loon to bear, and the pond desperately needed a laugh.

Quick, where else to turn than the Daily Terror, the least trusted newspaper in Australia.

And here's why it can wear that badge with pride, and maybe that St Andrews notice should be put up in its inner city elite toilets:


Number one on the digital rotating faraway tree splash of doom, and at the bottom this is how Kurti is identified: Peter Kurti is a Research Fellow at The Centre for Independent Studies.

Head off to the CIS here, and you discover what it should said: Peter Kurti is a god botherer with skin in the game ...


Now Kurti is entitled to his special pleading for his special pet god bothering projects, like keeping all sorts of gods in the classroom, but it surely helps to know where he's coming from. If only the tag had been true to label, and read along the lines Peter Kurti is a god botherer at The Centre for Independent Studies..

Then if you went on to read Don't expel God from our children's classrooms, you'd expect to cop this sort of gibberish:

Kevin Donnelly, a leading conservative education commentator, says there should be more religion, not less, in our public schools. He wants to see our kids better informed about the world’s great religions. Being taught what to believe about God — best done at home or in places of worship — is very different from being taught what others believe about God and how those beliefs shape society.

You can see how this sort of Ponzi scheme works. Religion's a problem, so we all need to spend more time discussing the problem of religion:

Western countries are working hard to hold Islamist extremism in check but we have already seen placards calling for beheadings carried through the streets of Sydney. 

Meanwhile, on the basis of fair dibs for all, the federal government funds Islamic schools, some with a fundamentalist streak, Scientologists, Exclusive Brethren and so on ...

We have a duty to teach our children diligently about religion so they will be better equipped to respond when religion turns bad. 

Uh huh. So now we need classes to correct the funding model of the federal government by explaining how they're funding religions that can turn bad.

It is because Australia is a secular country with no religion favoured or imposed by the state that the classroom is the best place to learn. 
We should be encouraging teachers to give religious and non-religious students alike the very best opportunity to learn about different religions. 
Don’t boot God out of the Australian classroom.

And which god is that?  Shouldn't that be don't boot out all sorts of gods, and L Ron Hubbard from the Australian classroom ...

Oh okay, it was starting off by talking about secular elites that got the pond going.  That's a bit like Alan Joyce saying he's got a business plan ...

Is there anyone else around who can prove that the floors are in serious danger in Murdoch la la land on TGIF day? Easy peasy:


Yep comedy gold, and scribbled direct from the bunker where Chris Mitchell runs the fortress and cultivates a mentality and a climate science denying cult right up there with the Branch Davidians.

If you drink the kool aid, you're likely to be exceptionally paranoid about inner city, sneering secular elites, Fairfax and the ABC. This is how it runs, with Miranda the Devine here channeling the Caterists:

Cater’s thesis, formed during the 2010 election, is that Australia has become increasingly polarised, not between right and left, but between people he calls the insiders and the outsiders. 
A new ruling class of university-educated “progressives”, “sophisticates”, “elites” and “latte-sippers” have emerged as an un-Australian clique trying to lord it over everyone else. Controlling media, law, education and the political class, they threaten Australia’s great egalitarian democratic project: “For the first time there were people who did not simply feel better off but were better than their fellow Australians. 

Yep, a parrot reciting the insights of a macaw as both fly in ever diminishing circles before disappearing up their fundament ...

So if we head off to circumnavigate the lizard Oz paywall, like modern intertube Magellans, and read Geoffrey Luck's In hiding, ABC only increases the suspicion of bias, what do we find?


Ah Joseph Goebbels for an opener...

The first refuge of the Godwin's Law breaking scoundrel who doesn't even deign to offer a dollar to the Godwin swear jar.

But that's this you say? On the actual article, Goebbels seems to have done a bunk, taken a powder, disappeared, perhaps even snatched the swear jar:


Was the Goebbels reference too much, too naked for the reptiles? Or did they feel the need to goose up Luck's offering?

No matter, these minor mysteries are sent by the Murdochians on a daily basis to intrigue and delight the pond.

Just as much to the point was the delightful way that Luck has clearly imbibed the kool aid:

This red herring, straining the truth, enabled him to deflect the senators’ questions about recent contentious broadcasts and news reports: the navy’s torture of asylum-seekers; the “sicko garbage” and smutty stuff of the New Year’s Eve broadcast; the vulgar Chris Kenny dog skit; and the unchecked damaging Media Watch statement on this newspaper’s finances.

Now there's a nice dose of humbug and moral outrage, replete with the current crop of reptile complaints and grievances against the ABC, but the richest was that little word "damaging".

Clearly Media Watch's statement on the lizard Oz's finances was damaging to Chris Mitchell running his fortress, no matter that it was only an argument about the size of the loss, never revealed by the reptiles, as opposed to the rag routinely making a sizeable loss. What a sensitive flower and petal he is, with a nice touch of paranoia to boot.

But who else might find it damaging, at least outside the fortress? The stock exchange? Investors? Readers?

No, it's just a bunch of navel gazers busily gazing at their navels as hard copy newspapers continue their slow inexorable slide into complete irrelevance, and finally to tree-saving nullity.

But the pond hopes that all the same, Luck gets a gig at amongst the reptiles. He surely has all the necessary style.

Scott is given to anodyne answers, Paul Barry is a recalcitrant presenter given to mischievous reporting, the ABC and Scott are given to weasel words and neat quibbles, and there's an entrenched policy of denial and evasion, rights of listeners and viewers whittled away ...

Fortress ABC, built over three decades, now can and does repel complaints about all but the most outrageous breaches of editorial policies and the code of practice. 
The increasingly legalistic tests applied mean that the overall impression of a report or program cannot be examined; lack of objectivity is often in the whole, not the part, and the ABC refuses to see the wood for the trees. 
The irony of the ABC’s defensiveness is that it increases suspicion of its biases, even among those who support the concept of a national broadcaster.
 If it will not reform itself, transparency must be imposed through the creation of a properly independent external body. This could be a prime task for a new Dix inquiry, now long overdue.


Indeed, indeed, shocking and outrageous stuff, and so damaging to the national psyche.

Does Luck pause for a moment at any point to consider the way the Murdoch press handles complaints and buries them in the back pages and ignores the complete uselessness of the Australian Press Council?

Sorry, none of that sort of nonsense in Fortress Australian when it's Fortress ABC that does it all wrong.

Waiter, we need another magnum of kool aid.

And there we were thinking that we'd like to lodge a complaint on behalf of Joseph Goebbels to Fortress Australian.

Forget it Jake, the floors need a decent scrub, and remember, it's Murdoch town ...

(Below: meanwhile, the pond is trying to whip up a campaign to see Alan Joyce awarded a medal, the order SC, or Services to Cartooning, because he's done bugger all for Qantas staff and former regular Qantas customers. And more David Rowe here, and Pat Campbell here, golly do they owe Alan Joyce big time).






Thursday, February 27, 2014

Living in the new age of entitlement ...


(Above: and more Moir here)

So the age of entitlement is over ...

Except perhaps for Alan Joyce.  Drive a business into the ground and you're sure to be rewarded.

And except for farmers, god bless their agrarian socialist socks. Praise the long absent lord and Her fickle way with climate science, Barners has delivered. Is there a climate scientist in the house, thanks to a pond correspondent?



And except for Fiona Nash, and never you mind Fiona Nash has been poor, the PM must be worried.

And except for Cadbury chocolate eaters, no matter that it seems to be a murky kind of compound chocolate, as you can read in Abbott and axed man at Cadbury photo op, with contradictions in the story all the go.

And except in due course, it still seems, for well off women, who will be rewarded for adding to the stock of top notch private school good Christian soldiers.

And except it seems for the militarists anxious to make use of said Xian soldiers. Yes, the pond reeled at this EXCLUSIVE from Greg "bromance for the ages" Sheridan:


Oh sure, the pond can understand the impeccable logic.

It's only right and proper, having alienated and offended the Indonesians, we should get ready to bung on a do. If you're going to be a half baked colonial militaristic peacock strutting the Pacific, best do it in warlike militarist style. None of this concealed carry down under. You give 'em free lifeboats and still they whinge and moan ...

Speaking of entitlement, the pond was almost moved to tears by Media Watch's adjustment of its claims over the losses currently being endured by the reptiles at the lizard Oz (here at The Graudian).

It turns out that the reptiles might be on course to lose $15m. this year, and might have lost $30m. in 2012-13. How dare the cardigan wearers get the size of the loss so wrong, when Christ Mitchell runs about every day boasting about every penny down the gurgler.

But then the rag has long been rumoured to be a loss maker. Which is why it's as prime an example of corporate welfarism as you could find, sustained only because Chairman Rupert wants an ideological weapon, a handy tool populated by useful fools.

Yep, all those members of the commentariat scribbling about the free market, and creative destruction, and Adam Smith and Ayn Rand, are living off welfare, and immune to the conventional forces of capitalism, which would have seen their business model - offend a substantial part of the potential readership up hill and down dale - go out of business years ago.

As for Chairman Rupert's indulgence?

Why should he care? He's now nearing the end of his tether - if all this talk of god is a guide - and he can keep on following Citizen Kane, nee Hearst, for as long as he likes:

THATCHER: I happened to see your consolidated statement yesterday, Rupert. Could I not suggest to you that it is unwise for you to continue this philanthropic enterprise - (sneeringly) this wretched reptile feast you call The Australian - that is costing you fifteen million dollars a year? 
THE CHAIRMAN: You're right. We did lose thirty million dollars last year.  And maybe fifteen million dollars this year.
Thatcher thinks maybe the point has registered. 
THE CHAIRMAN: We expect to lost fifteen million next year, too. You know, Mr. Thatcher - (starts tapping quietly) at the rate of fifteen million a year - we'll have to close this place in sixty six point 66 repeating years, assuming I've got a lazy billion to spare.

Or some such thing. Apologies to Orson Welles and Herman J. Mankiewicz (and the rest of the screenplay here).

Meanwhile, the subsidised welfarists at the Daily Terror, the least trusted newspaper in Australia, go about the business of reycling the Bolter, in lieu of a business plan.

Here, if you haven't got a baseball bat or a hammer handy, hit yourself with these for your daily dose of ignorance, bile and rage:



Yep, it's yet another outing in relation to Manus Island which studiously wants to avoid discussing what actually happened on Manus Island. For that you might have to read a story like Asylum seeker Reza Barati died from 'multiple head injuries', PNG police say.

And then there's this the very same day, because Xmas comes every day with the Bolter:


Actually, explaining why the Bolter is still the guru of the denialists is the hard one.

Actually, it's not so hard.

When speaking on One Plus One, the Bolter explained that in his youth he was an alienated introverted outsider, rootless and restless, and that he was stubborn, intractable, unpleasant and pig headed, or as the Dutch would say, eigen wijze. (eigenwijs if you will and you prefer to be cocky, like a screeching cockatoo).

Eigen wijze!

Of course the idea is to disarm people from calling the Bolter pig headed because that's what he calls himself.

Inter alia, the Bolter announced proudly "I'm not a scientist", which of course means he's eminently suited to make grandiose statements about science and scientists.

He also confesses to being didactic, a preacher and a wagger of the finger. Which surely are all the basic skills you need to become a top notch climate scientist. The very same ones that Cardinal Pell seems to possess in abundance.

Perhaps the most revealing moment came when the Bolter talked of loyalty. It wasn't loyalty to ideas, or loyalty to a notion of truth, no matter how subjective that might be. It was loyalty to his readers, which is to say the cultists who routinely drink the Bolter kool aid.

Bizarrely the Bolter used his quest for a Dutch identity to explain how you can in fact chose your "racial identity", without for a moment considering how that might play for someone who doesn't look like like an angry one-time Dutch identifying white male.

But do go on, black people, the Bolter says its terribly easy to chose your white Dutch identity ...

Enough of the cheap paperback Freudian analysis - you could spend a lifetime analysing the seething mass of neuroses that make up the Bolter's psyche and he loves the exhibitionism in a painfully narcissist way.

Instead, this week there's been a more interesting ongoing rumbling about fundamentalism and the havoc it wreaks:


Oops, so sorry. The pond has been off at the Bolter's comments Twitter feed here, soaking up the crazy.

It's part of the more general craziness which, in lieu of not  having a Republican party and a bunch of Tea Partiers (the crazy there is very strong in Arizona at the moment), must be supplied by the Murdochians and the Bolter.

It's well known that the Bolter provides a forum for denialists, creationists, and anti-science luddites. And well, it has to be said, assorted crazies and weirdos. Here we go, more climate science:


Which is a good enough cue for the subject of dinosaurs, which have turned up again, though strangely never mentioned in the bible, not even their bones:

Once, I had no issue with it. My son was receiving Special Religious Instruction at school, just as I had in the '70s. I believed it was innocuous enough - he would be learning about such things as being a good friend, being a good person and colouring in pictures of Jesus. No big deal. And it was only half an hour a week. 
One day, at our usual conversation at the dinner table, my son exclaimed, ''Mrs Smith* said that there was no such thing as dinosaurs!'' What? He went on to say that when he said that there must have been because there are dinosaur fossils all over the world, she responded, ''God put them there''. My son was confused. He had read countless books that told him dinosaurs roamed the earth millions of years ago, long before humans. While I did feel a little touch of pride that he had questioned her claim, her response was unpalatable and unacceptable to me. (here)

There you go, twenty first science teaching for the new millennium at work in Australian schools.

The Bolter loves to present himself as a sceptic, and a doubter and a questioner and as an archetypal scientific type, but in the end, it's conservatives like him, and the whole Murdochian tribe working in support of John Howard and Tony Abbott, who have helped cultivate and maintain the teaching of Christian fundamentalism and creationism in schools.

You won't see the Bolter getting agitated about this sort of thing - must stay loyal to the readers and not offend the demographic - but poor old Marion Maddox has been banging on about this sort of thought crime for a long time - her last outing came with Teaching children that dinosaurs didn't exist: how public schools fail their brief.

Conducting surveys and interviews in 23 public schools in NSW and Queensland between 2009 and 2012, education researcher Cathy Byrne found that SRI volunteers “preferred significantly more conservative approaches” to their subject than parents, principals or professional teachers. 
For example, asked whether they thought the Bible should be taught “as fact” and therefore “accepted without too much questioning”, parents and education professionals favoured questioning, whereas SRI volunteers tended toward “biblical inerrancy,” the view that the entire text of the Bible is free from error of any kind. In almost a quarter of the schools, Byrne found teaching to the effect that students or their families or friends would “burn in hell” if they did not believe the volunteer’s version.

Burn in hell?

Oh let's keep the age of entitlement rocking along for a little longer ...

But wait, you say, this is surely pond lite.

I still haven't had enough surreal existential absurdity for the day.

Well you can always trot off to read the late, profoundly unlamented Kristina Keneally saying farewell to the late, profoundly unlamented Cardinal George Pell in George Pell The view from the pew ...

Talk about Pepé Le Pew not being able to smell ...

(Below: and more Cathy Wilcox here)


Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Chairman Rupert and the quest for compassion ...


It's easy enough to see why the Murdochian press down under is barking mad, what with Chairman Rupert having returned to top twittering tweet form ...

No, not the one about Pell. That's just two of the world's top climate scientists showing respect for each other, Chairman Rupert tipping the lid to a top notch bureaucratic apparatchik and never mind the pleasure of some that he's gone (Coming out of Cardinal Pell's shadow).

It's the one about Son of God - you can do a Greg Hunt and wiki it here.

Son of God? Is the Chairman getting religion and thinking about having to explain all his sins to his Maker? Is he expecting some compassion and forgiveness?

The show, in its original miniseries form, attracted attention for having a Satan who looked like Obama. Satan's been cut from the feature film form, as you can discover by heading off to The Hollywood Reporter here.

Of course there were all sorts of denials, but have a look at Satan up against Obama and Christ:



Yep, the pond can see where that's heading. That damned Kenyan socialist atheist Muslim ... why only Emperor Palpatine is worse ...

Meanwhile, Chairman Rupert's climate science skills had been given a solid outing:


Naturally everyone focussed on Chairman Rupert's very wise insight into climate science - there's none so blindly ignorant as those who blithely assail others for their blind ignorance - but the real killer for the pond was the bizarre sight of the owner of one of the major Hollywood studios dissing the movie business, and the cost of movie going.

So you want the pond to be gouged by going to see Son of God? Wouldn't it be better to wait and pirate it?

Yep, you can see why the supine Murdochians down under are inclined to go barking mad, and happily today shows the way the hive mind can sing in unison.

Over at the the Daily Terror, the least trusted newspaper in Australia, you get a real dose of frothing and foaming from Miranda the Devine:


Sorry, the chance to juxtapose Miranda the Devine with Calvin Kleins was irresistible, but never mind, if you read The hypocrites of the left, you'll see the Devine in exceptional barking mad form

“A young man came to our doorstep seeking our help and we killed him. That is what happened on Tony Abbott’s watch and Tony Abbott now needs to show some principle and sack Scott Morrison.” That single quote from Greens MP Adam Bandt sums up the emotional flatulence and sanctimonious hypocrisy that has been spewing from the Establishment Left all week. 
If by “we”, Bandt meant the Greens and the rest of the opportunistic bleeding hearts who have been parading their compassion all week, then he would have been correct.

Compassion? The Devine won't have any talk of that bleeding heart stuff.

Her favourite word of abuse seems to be "compassionistas".

Bizarrely, the Devine on other days fancies herself as a Christian, but you do have to wonder how she'd react to Christ returning to earth.

Don't you wander around here with your bleeding heart compassionista crap, you emotionally flatulent and sanctimoniously hypocritical son of god. Bugger off and take your claptrap about love somewhere else ...

It is of course just a ploy to defend the indefensible, namely Scott Morrison. The Devine, full of bile, anger, hysteria and invective, rails at everyone in sight, the compassionistas, the greenies, Conroy, a music festival beheading of an effigy of Abbott - sssh, don't mention those 'ditch the witch' posters - and sundry other social media crimes against humanity.

You'd almost forget Morrison and Manus Island existed. There is one minor aside, so small it might even be counted as a footnote:

Yes, Berati’s death was tragic. And if there are lessons to be learned about how to manage Manus Island, the government will need to heed them.

Don't you love it? Yep, even at this stage in proceedings the Devine can phrase it "if there are lessons to be learned" as if there's some major doubt that there might be any lessons to be learned.

The Devine's favourite trick is to juxtapose past drownings with the current death and injuries - sssh, don't mention John Howard and Siev X, the sort of moral equivalence tidily captured by Steve Bell:


But wait, we haven't seen the Murdochian hive mind at work and in full cry, and for that we need to turn to Dame Slap in the lizard Oz:


If you can bother getting around the paywall to read Dame Slap - a tedious exercise with zero rewards, except to deny the Murdochians revenue - you'll find that very nasty term of Devine abuse in the header:  Compassion junkies back on their choice fix.

You see? Compassion is a filthy, vile, softie disease ...

No doubt, somewhere back in the mists of time - if you'll forgive the breach of Godwin's Law - there was a conservative German newspaper columnist furiously scribbling Compassionate Jew lovers back on their choice fix, and never find the strange wording of your 'fix of choice'.

Truth to tell, the coalition must seriously be feeling the heat if they need to trot out both the Devine and Albrechtsen on the same day, screeching and squawking like two parrots who learned the same words of abuse, though it is clever for Albrechtsen to pose as an intellectual while smoting and smiting anything and anybody in sight.

There's more talk of boat drownings, and a gloss of hard-headed realism, and talk of hyperbole and hypocrisy, and talk of parallel universes, because let's face it, what's a riot and a death and sundry injuries.

It is necessary when embarking on these exercises to drag in all sorts of other grievances - just as the Devine did with the music festival and social media.

Happily Dame Slap has a Christmas stocking that seems to be the size of a very large pillow:

For the poorly named progressives, to question multiculturalism was akin to being racist. Never mind that the Left’s version of multiculturalism encouraged tolerance for those who detested our most basic values. To question the value of signing Kyoto was treated as supporting environmental vandalism. Never mind that Kyoto was meaningless gesture politics.

Multiculturalism? Climate change? What's this got to do with Scott Morrison's handling of Manus Island?

Why diddly squat, but when doing a feather display, you need to bung on a real do. From there, it's just a short step to berating Christians for being soft in the head:

These where the halcyon days for the unthinking Left. A week before the 2004 election, the outgoing head of the Anglican Church, Peter Carnley, sermonised against the West on the “so-called war on terrorism” and described Australia as a “nation hell-bent on a course of disturbing questionable morality.” Resorting to lazy and dangerous moral relativism, he described Saddam Hussein as “morally suspect”.

That's as opposed to the wonderful success of the war in Iraq.

Never mind, you won't find Dame Slap in this piece reminding the world that more than 600 people have been killed in Iraq since the beginning of February and over 1,650 killed since the beginning of the year (here), while on the 1st January this year it could be reported that Iraq's annual death toll highest in five years.

The commentariat long ago left that building, and no, whatever the store's signs say about paying for breakages, all you have to do is walk out the door ...

Could it get any weirder?

Why of course, it's a Murdoch rag, and so Dame Slap concludes, not just by praising Scott Morrison, and never mind his bungling and mishandling of matters this past week, but by rehabilitating Philip Ruddoch:

The return of a conservative government in Canberra under Tony Abbott has reminded the Left of their retreat from reality. And just as they detested then immigration minister Philip Ruddock, they have targeted Morrison as their new bete noir. 
Derided as a war criminal, accused of committing crimes against humanity, described as the minister for racism, Ruddock’s ministerial eye remained fixed on the long-term objective where border protection was integral to building long-term support for increased immigration. 
Ruddock dealt in outcomes, not empty gestures. Morrison is the same. No wonder a sense of deja vu has set in. Now, like then, the conceit of the Left cannot be ignored as merely dim-witted and harmless. Now, like then, when compassion junkies enter the national debate, there needs to be a health warning that their drug of choice is dangerous for the country.

The real deja vu is to see the hive mind in such splendid form, so reluctant to take a step backward, so determined to follow the six hundred, no matter which valley of death they might want to ride into...

Of all the hysteria offered up by the Devine and Dame Slap, it seems to the pond that Dame Slap had the winner:

Never mind that plenty of Australians choose to work hard so they can live in bigger houses than the shoe-boxes of their childhoods.

Because you deserve to live in a MacMansion ...

Or perhaps snap up the humble top four flours of a condominium tower near Manhattan's Madison Square Park for a humble US$57. 3million. (Rupert Murdoch snaps up four-storey New York penthouse)

Yes, yes, it's got nothing to do with a rigorous examination of Scott Morrison's handling of Manus Island, but remember that's the entire point.

Which brings us back to where we started. Climate science sorted, soft Christian fuddy duddies pissed on from a great height, and Scott Morrison as noble as Philip Ruddock.

What else to say?

Well you could read Ross Gittins scribbling Under Tony Abbott, political principles reach an all-time low (forced video at end of link):

The man who set new lows in negativity and obstructionism in opposition is now taking us to new lows in government. In a more godly world, Labor would resist the temptation to sink to the level of misbehaviour set by its opponents, thus giving substance to its repeated claims of moral superiority. But so intense is the competition between the parties that this seems unlikely. Last week Bill Shorten promised to lead a constructive opposition and not oppose everything for the sake of it. It's a wonderful resolve - one which, if lived up to, many voters would find attractive - but I fear it's another take from Tony Abbott: almost tearful promises to sin no more, followed by an immediate resumption.


Uh huh. Of course Gittins could just as easily have written:

The commentariat, who set new lows in negativity and vile abuse when the Liberals were in opposition are now taking us to new lows now the Liberals are in government ...

But then you wouldn't be in Murdoch la la land where the hive bees can only hum in unison, and compassion is a dirty, alien, foreign, stinking, word ...

Irony?

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. (Luke 10:30-35, and more quotes on compassion here)

Oh sure you can rush off to see the movie Son of God, though it's a bloody expensive exercise in being gouged, but don't take that Christ business too seriously.

Just put on your hard hat and kick the shit out of somebody. It's even better if you do it in the name of the Australian Government and the Australian people ...

And never mind if it's pulling the wings off flies.

Remind you of anyone?


Uh huh. That sets us up nicely for a David Pope cartoon, and remember more Pope here.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Keeping the irony to a healthy level as the busy bee hagiographers go about their business ...

(Above: that's an EXCLUSIVE? How EXCLUSIVELY silly can you get? It's just news, or just jolly good news if you like)


What a great way to kick off a Tuesday, with the news that one of the world's leading climate scientists is heading off to Rome.

Rome's loss is Sydney's gain, with the Pellists losing their figurehead to the world stage.

Sydney's and the pond's gain, the Vatican finance ministry's and the world's loss ...

Or some such thing, as you can read in Cardinal Pell named by Pope Francis to head Vatican finance ministry.

It's devastating news for the Sunday Terror - presumably there'll be no more Pellist tracts and homilies - and for climate science, but somehow the world will struggle on.

Meanwhile the Fairfaxians are continuing their pursuit of the clap happy speaking in tongues Minister for Gulags:


If you read Mark Kenny's  Scott Morrison knew he was wrong on brawl death (forced video at end of link(, you cop this as an opening par:

Border Protection Minister Scott Morrison has confirmed he knew a week ago his initial statements about a fatal brawl at the immigration detention facility on Manus Island were likely to have been wrong but has refused to say why he waited to correct the record until Saturday night.

And Kenny also offered up Tony Abbott's plain speaking on Scott Morrison descends into nonsense, (forced video), wherein he argued being a strong man might not be the best characteristic for a man given to zealotry.

Oh come on Mr Kenny, it's well known Mussolini made the trains run on time, and never mind a few policy slip ups along the way.

Say what?

...did Mussolini really do it? Did Il Duce, in his 20 years of absolute power, really manage to make the railway service meet its timetable? The answer is no. 
Like almost all the supposed achievements of Fascism, the timely trains are a myth, nurtured and propagated by a leader with a journalist's flair for symbolism, verbal trickery and illusion. 
In 1936 the American journalist George Seldes complained that when his fellow-countrymen returned home from holidays in Italy they seemed to cry in unison: 'Great is the Duce; the trains now run on time]' And no matter how often they were told about Fascist oppression, injustice and cruelty, they always said the same thing: 'But the trains run on time.'
'It is true,' wrote Seldes, 'that the majority of big expresses, those carrying eye-witnessing tourists, are usually put through to time, but on the smaller lines rail and road-bed conditions frequently cause delays.'  (and more here on how Mussolini and the Italian war effort stumbled over the reality of the railway system)

Oh dear, distracted once again, and Tony Wright's 'No Wimp' Morrison a man of few words in Manus death climb-down (forced video)

Wright makes the point that the hapless Richard Marles and the opposition are impotent because of their own grubby behaviour - to the point where the blustering bully could threaten to get them involved in the blame-sharing game - which leaves it to others to point out the quiet irony of the likes of Kevin Andrews and Tony Abbott lashing the ABC and its relationship with words like "what goes around comes around"(forced video).

Yep, karm's a bitch, and it's funny how the righteous flinch when the lash of "constructive criticism" is applied to them.

Naturally in the tough times, it's time for the tough and the strong to get into the kitchen and handle the heat, and what better knob polisher and hagiographer could be found than Greg Sheridan?


What a stout-hearted trooper the man is. And how predictable. As reliable in his logic as an Italian train.

Hmm, how about the task at hand? Well blaming the victim is always a reliable gambit, and if you head behind the paywall to read Sheridan's Calls for minister to resign are just absurd, you'll see how to do it in spades:

Whenever people are held in custody against their will, there is some danger. There is a particular danger in the case of asylum-seekers because among their number is a very tough group, substantially though not entirely Iranian, which is determined to make the centres unworkable and break the government’s will, in just the way that the will of the Gillard and Rudd governments was broken by riots at Australian detention centres.

Yes, and don't you go worrying about whether the danger turns out to be inside or outside the gulag. Petty irrelevant details.

It turns out that the Iranians are part of an Australian conspiracy:

They are well schooled by their friends and supporters in Australia about the exact political effect of their efforts. Indeed, their Australian supporters make such incidents more likely by their hysterical reaction. The desire is to polarise Australia to the extent that the Abbott government’s policies become unsustainable. The highly personalised attacks on Morrison are part of this.

It's hagiography at its best, a gem of the finest water, which takes in the Yes Minister excuse of "I am advised" and washes away any suggestion of blood on hands, and never mind any actual blood on hands.

Blame the victims, blame anyone who might care, and adopt a high horse stand denouncing absurd and morally offensive and unrestrained and cynically opportunistic rhetoric that demeans the entire situation.

Unlike the cynical idea of publishing a clarification in the dead quiet of a Saturday night.

And then comes the comedy kicker, the one you always want if you're building up to a cascade gag:

However, there are still some lessons in this whole business for Morrison.

What a great Colonel Blimpism.

A riot and a death and serious injuries? Why that's this whole business. Could the pond suggest on the hagiographer's next outing it be improved? "Damned nasty business, wot wot, with those bloody Iranians an intractable lot, wot wot".

You see a possible murder is just impossibly tedious. People do go on, oh how they make a fuss and clamour, and yet:

...this was a minor communications error and a million miles from a cause for resignation.


Naturally the pond felt an overwhelming desire to promote Comrade Sheridan to Knight garter in the order of lap dogs, while awarding him equerry status in the lickspittle guard, and medal with bar for services to running dogs ...

What else this Tuesday morning?

Well not all the hagiographers and knob polishers are cheerful. It seems that Dennis "the bouffant one" Shanahan needs an ostentatious visit from a self-glorifying Jeff Kennett blue bus as he sees the May budget looming and scribbles Tough changes to test Tony's resolve (inside the paywall to test your resolve to google).

It's going to be tough for everyone going into the May budget, the bouffant one muses.

The Coalition is riding into the valley of polling death as it prepares the ground for a tough budget that could hit its staunchest supporters and has raised the spectre of a further change and charge to Medicare. 
Just as Tony Abbott and the Coalition were beginning to settle down after a clunky beginning - even winning voter endorsement for a tough line on not handing taxpayer-funded payments to troubled manufacturers - tough-talking Joe Hockey’s message is beginning to have an effect. 
Apart from destabilising talk about party leadership, the next issues that are most likely to have an immediate impact on polls are suggestions of a change to Medicare to introduce a means-tested co-payment, and a scare campaign over possible changes to pensions or retirement. 
This is the beginning of the test of the Abbott government’s resolve to actually make the tough changes it says are necessary to restore economic growth to 3 per cent and beyond.

Oh dear. Quick grab your silk ties and fine wool suits while you can ...

But really there's no need for gloom, because today we have Nick Cater ready to fix up everything in the trucking game, by celebrating Campbell Newman and casting gloom on the federal government's national scheme, which apparently is all the fault of Chairman Rudd.

This will come as a surprise to those who thought the Ruddster departed the scene many months ago, and is now heading off to Harvard University as a senior fellow researching United States-China relations. Yep it's Harvard's, the USA's and China's loss, and Australia's gain ...

The Caterists are in top form in Delay ahead: Rudd truck regulator's road to ruin, and what makes it most exceptional (inside the paywall because you need to keep the Caterists from having to do an Ayn Rand and go on social security).

What makes it exceptional is the way the Caterists so neatly sidestep sordid stories of the new federal government actually being in charge of operations. Sure Albo might tweet from the sidelines, and things might have started rolling under Rudd, but what part of 'gone, left the building, no longer with hands on the wheel' don't the Caterists understand?

And how sweet to ignore the trucking industry's own lax behaviour, of the kind recently highlighted in stories like 'Plenty of fuel' left in Victoria after Cootes trucks grounded (outside the paywall to encourage the panic buying of petrol).

Of course the pond would never hope that the odd Caterist was hit by an out of control Mack truck with faulty brakes, but it would keep the irony level at a healthy quota.
 
Meanwhile, that first class clown George Brandis has crept back into the headlines.

The competition for clown of the month is hotting up, with only a few days to go.

Brandis distinguished himself with Second George Brandis bookcase costs $15000 after first was too big to move, but the pond most admired his maintenance of a cult of furtive secrecy in George Brandis refuses to back up claim that Snowden put lives at risk.

Could it get any better? Well yes, there's the bizarre Chris Mitchell sending a legal letter to Media Watch and threatening it with ACMA, and in the very same breath acknowledging that the lizard Oz isn't making a profit. (Media Watch here)

Naturally it called to mind that old joke "What kind of loss-making woman do you think I am?" and the response "We've already established that. Now we're just haggling over the size of the loss". (And if you want more of that, head over to Quote Investigator for "Now We're Just Haggling Over the Price").

Weird times in Murdoch la la land, but thanks to George Brandis, it's time to mention David Pope, who has a fine Brandis cartoon this morning, available here before tomorrow it heads down the rotating lands of his faraway tree gallery.

The Pell-free Pope noted, it seemed to the pond that David Rowe caught the mood in hagiographer land. By golly has he caught that sneering, sinister, motley crew in oils or what? As always, more Rowe here.


Monday, February 24, 2014

Dogs in search of fleas ...

When the work of the hagiographer gets tough, the tough hagiographer gets going.

What to do, between a Minister making a fool of himself on the weekend and a Minister covering himself in glory?

Go for the glory mais naturellement: 


Yep, celebrate a talk fest that puts out a communique and makes a pious statement about growth and after the festivities and the junketking, everybody heads back home and confronts the realities of their world ...

2%? Most polls these days have a bigger margin of error. The result is a modest pie in the sky proposal, verging on the completely meaningless, and if, like all the domestic blather about a million jobs in five years, it fails to rise like the average Hockey souffle, who will care?

As for the other?

Well if you still lived in the age of tree killers, you'd see an entirely different spin by the Fairfaxians:



That splash was backed up by stories demanding attention be paid, amongst them Michael Gordon's Scott Morrison's comments and conduct need examination (forced video at end of link)

Morrison might think he can sell the pup of correcting himself in the dead of night on a Saturday, by explaining he's just keeping the public informed of changes in his understanding of what happened. Staying in touch, keeping everyone posted hour by hour, a regular update man ...

But when you've behaved in a condescending, arrogant, furtive and secretive way, it's hard for that pup to fly.

Who can remember the days - they seem so distant - but it was only in January when the world copped Morrison stops weekly briefings on asylum seekers (forced video at end of link).

Well it certainly showed the Fairfaxians that you could attract the attention of the demographics with Morrison's current folly:


Here "most popular" might also be seen as looking "most like a fish gasping for air".

Right now Abbott is standing by his man, on the strange basis that he's not a wimp, as if bashing the crap out of refugees is a way to certain glory.

Then, just as the pond thought matters couldn't get any more surreal, this news story took top place in the Fairfaxians' digital edition:


If you read Australia asks Cambodia to take asylum seekers amid violent crackdown, you realise it might not be a Monty Python sketch.

It might even be true that this is a government that will consort with dictators and extend its colonial attitude to anyone in Asia who will listen. Not satisfied with ending the rule of law in Nauru and painting Papua New Guinea as a dark place where all the bad stuff happens outside the fence - when it seems that the bad stuff might have happened inside the fence, now we're alleged to be seeking to spread the colonialist mindset to Cambodia.

While sucking up to a petty, vicious dictator.

Hun Sen, a significant figure in the Khmer Rouge and at one time a puppet of Vietnam when it mattered, has maintained his long career as a dictator by a heady mix of corruption, brutality, violence, and an ostensible ballot-rigged democracy that would make Vlad the impaler Putin go green with envy. Go on, do a Greg Hunt, wiki him here.

Head off to The Phnom Penh Post, and you can read PM lauds military for handling of protests, wherein you'll find the usual George Orwell  "war is peace" jargon:

The armed forces, Hun Sen added, must continue defending human rights and respecting democracy. “In this spirit, [we] must join together to defend the constitution, our independence and our full sovereignty and guarantee our national institutions,” he said. 
Hun Sen also hinted at more confrontation, saying that in the event of further attempts at “violence and unrest in society”, the armed forces must take “action according to the law”. 

And that action?

Since September, six civilians have been shot dead by security forces. The government has yet to take action against perpetrators of the incidents.

And that's just the dead ones, not the ones that have been locked up.

The pond could spend the entire post detailing Hun Sen's misdeeds and the corrupt and violent way he's mis-ruled Cambodia, but enough misery on a Monday already.

In these circumstances, what should be at the top of the agenda?

Before the visit, Human Rights Watch urged Ms Bishop to put rights abuses at the top of her agenda in meetings with Cambodian leaders, saying under Hun Sen's rule, ''basic rights, such as freedom of expression, assembly and association, are under regular attack, while corruption is rampant, severely affecting the enjoyment of basic economic and social rights by a very poor citizenry''.

Instead, what do we get?

The Abbott government wants to send some asylum seekers to Cambodia, at a time when the country's strongman prime minister, Hun Sen, is overseeing a brutal crackdown on dissent in one of south-east Asia's poorest nations. 
Facing growing opposition after decades of authoritarian rule, Hun Sen last month authorised a violent crackdown on anti-government protesters and striking garment workers that left five people dead and dozens injured. 
A request on Saturday by Australia's foreign minister, Julie Bishop, for Australia to initially send a small group of asylum seekers to live in Cambodia comes amid the strongest challenge to Hun Sen's rule since he took power in 1985, becoming one of the world's longest-serving leaders, with a reputation as a wily operator who destroys his political opponents.


And this cosy snap of Julie Bishop smirking as she shakes the paw of a dictator:



She's been gathering a real collection of dicators, up there with collectors of Tamagotchi Bandai Trading Cards ...


What's remarkable is that Bishop and Abbott would give Hun Sen and his government a veneer of credibility and respectability, while at the same time proposing to exploit a poverty-stricken country and abuse asylum seekers by displacing them into a poverty-stricken dictatorship.

As for Hun Sen's record on refugees? 

Well it's off to The Phnom Penh Post again, back on 8th January scribbling UN's refugee office in Cambodia shrinks:

The number of people seeking refuge in Cambodia has dropped precipitously from 250 in 2008 to just two last year. Rights groups have pointed to the dip as evidence of poorly implemented asylum policies, which have seen political exigencies put ahead of refugee conventions. In 2008, for instance, just 16 per cent of those 250 people were granted asylum. 
 Most who were rejected were Montagnards who faced ethnic and religious persecution but still found themselves forcibly repatriated to Vietnam. Two years later, the government labelled 20 Uighur asylum seekers “illegal immigrants” and sent them back to certain death in China just days after taking over registration duties from the UNHCR. 
The government’s unwillingness to adhere to basic refugee conventions is a possible explanation for the downsizing, said Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch.

And so on. But the pond takes it all back. It seems that Tony Abbott and Hun Sen are a perfect fit, a wondrous meeting of minds.

As for shame? No sense of shame at all, it seems. 

You'd hope that it was a scurrilous press rumour and that it would be denied - with scorn and indignation - by Bishop and Abbott, but they're so obsessed by the need to demonise boat people and carry out their three word slogans, and bail out the inept Scott Morrison that they'll stoop to anything. Even if lying down with dogs means getting up with a multitude of fleas ...

But it's Monday, and a long week stretches ahead, so let's not be gloomy, and instead let's celebrate with jolly Joe, who seems to have found a new love:

Earlier yesterday, Mr Hockey praised Dr Yellen for her "superb" work as head of the US Federal Reserve. "It appears to me that Dr Yellen is exactly the right person at exactly the right time for the US Fed," Mr Hockey said. 
 "At a time when there are sensitivities associated with tapering, I think her handling of this is superb." (here, behind the paywall, because true teen love should be kept private)

Naturally David Rowe was right on song, and remember more Rowe here:





Sunday, February 23, 2014

Can you think of a government programme that actually killed people?


(Above: Cathy Wilcox channelling speaking in tongues, clap happy Scott Morrison of the Shirelive church. More whimsical Wilcox here)

You could have knocked the pond down with a feather.

There as bold as brass, as cheeky and as insouciant as a parrot drunk on cherry blossoms, came these immortal lines:

We've established a Royal Commission because we want to get to the bottom of the most incompetently managed programme in Australia's history. Can any of you think of a government programme that actually killed people? (Joint Press Conference with Will Hodgman, MP, Hobart)

This only a few days after an actual government programme had actually killed a person, and actually injured a good many more.

But it's tremendously revealing, an insight into the way Abbott doesn't actually think of the people trapped on Manus Island as people.

They're out of sight, out of mind, an irritant, a block to his grand slogan of stopping the boats, and so a death doesn't count, doesn't cut it as a direct consequence of his actions, and his government's policies.

Of course it isn't so easy for the hapless Morrison.

He's just starting to discover that furtiveness and secrecy isn't any kind of guarantee that the mushrooms will stay in the dark:


Like a rabbit in the headlights, which isn't quite so bad as someone on Manus Island in line for attention from security ...

Australian security staff will be investigated over their role in the Manus Island detention centre riot that left one man dead and scores injured, Immigration Minister Scott Morrison has conceded. 
In an extraordinary statement issued late last night, Mr Morrison admitted that much of the information he had given to the Australian public since Monday’s riot was now in doubt. 
The most explosive admission is the revelation that most of the violence probably took place within the detention centre's fences, rather than outside its boundaries, as Mr Morrison had previously claimed. 
“I wish to confirm that, contrary to initial reports received, I have received further information that indicates that the majority of the riotous behaviour that occurred, and the response to that behaviour to restore order to the centre, took place within the perimeter of the centre,” the minister said in the statement. (Scott Morrison admits information he gave on Manus riot was wrong)

Morrison probably hopes that by dropping the news on the weekend, it'll be gone by Monday. And anyway:

Can you think of a government programme that actually killed people and not some bloody foreigner?

Morrison is now in the business of blaming security staff and G4S and anyone else within cooee, but here's the thing.

The buck stops with him (and if you want to hand out further bucks, you can hand them first of all to the Tony Abbott and the rest of the Abbott government, and then to the Labor party, who in opposition can't say or do much, except cluck cluck and tut tut, because they set it all running to try to save their own skins).

The question now, is how long will Morrison last before he's gone? Already there are the obligatory calls for him to resign, with Bruce Haigh setting the pace in Scott Morrison all at sea over asylum seeker solution. And then there was Bipartisan brutality is morally bankrupt.

And so on. It isn't going to go away as Morrison discovers, like any number of ministers of defence, that the department of Immigration is a millstone around the neck of ambition, and that soon enough he'll be gone. Day after day, the goose is being cooked, and day after day Morrison manages to be a stumble bum.

Who could, in their wildest surrealist days, imagine this kind of header? Tim Wilson says Morrison response to asylum seeker data breach 'undesirable'.

'Undesirable'. Oh what a wise, masterly bureaucratic understatement, worthy of a line in an episode of Yes Minister.

And what about $13.3 million hotel bill for Manus Island staff?

But is there any good news? the stray reader might ask.

The pond always seems to be dealing with loons that produce chaos, anarchy and disaster into the world ...

Well yes, it seems that the little gauleiter of the north, the strutting bantam Campbell Newman, has had a tail feather well and truly plucked.

Was there anything astonishing and remarkable to glean from the substantial swing against the bantam, which he naturally tried to deflect on to Scott Driscoll?

How about this?

Mr Newman faced a hostile reception from unionists, Labor Party members and other protesters, who all subjected him to a barrage of abuse. 
While Mr Newman defended the right to protest outside the booth, he described the confrontations as“over the top and quite inappropriate”. 
“That's their right, that's their democratic right,” he said. 
“I don't believe that's how we should carry on and I don't believe that's the way civilised, decent human beings should treat each other, even if they don't agree with their political views. (here)

This from a gauleiter who thinks it's right and proper to dress prisoners in pink to humiliate and demean them, in a bid to strip them of their masculinity, because there's nothing worse than being thought of as girlie, or perhaps gay, or heaven forfend, maybe tranny or TG?

The premier, Campbell Newman, explained why he agreed with the idea to switch to pink. 
"They are bullies. They like to wear scary looking gear, leather jackets, they have the tattoos, they have their colours," he told reporters on Monday. "We know that telling them to wear pink is going to be embarrassing for them." (here)

And now the bully who wants to bully bullies is saying we should all be civilised, decent human beings who should treat each other with respect and decency?

What a futtock, what a prize gherkin ...

Naturally the bantam ate a little humble pie and spread a little corn to the chooks:

"Change is difficult, often complex and it comes with impacts on people and communities. 
"We understand. That many of you felt that perhaps we haven't listened enough, that we perhaps moved too quickly, that we haven't consulted you." 
He said the message had been received. "We hear it, we acknowledge it and we will do things differently as we go forward," Mr Newman said. (here)

Which is code for, sheesh, who'd have thought it, if I keep on acting like a prize gherkin, alienating any and all who get in my way, we could actually lose government at the next election ...

And finally the pond would like to celebrate at the news that 2GB's Ray Hadley has been off the air, and will likely stay off the air for some time to come, but truth to tell, it makes not a jot or whit of difference to the pond, since the idea of listening to Hadley or any other shock jock for a nanosecond never crosses the pond's mind. Yep, root canal therapy would be a better bet.

You can read Ray Hadley off air for a week after application for AVO, but really it's just another example of a public figure revealing that "do what I say, not do what I do" is the basis for a lot of the blathering that goes on in the public space. A Ross Cameron of the air waves, so to speak ...

Hadley is part of the 2GB machine, which is owned by Alan Jones and John Singleton and others (you can read about it at Crikey, with Unsackable: why Alan Jones can say what he likes, paywall affected), and routinely is on view scribbling in the Daily Terror, the least trusted newspaper in Australia.

Hadley routinely impersonates an hysteric to the right of Genghis Khan, always in favour of the Abbott government and all its policies.

This wouldn't have been so bad when his hagiographic hackery was limited by signal to the Sydney region, and to a newspaper only of use for fish and chips the next day, but now thanks to the intertubes, Hadley gets to drop his poison pen and poison mouth all over the place.

You know the form. Pick a few examples of foreigners, whip up fear, and who knows with a bit of luck, you might be able to mount a riot in Cronulla.

Here's how the hack haddock did it recently for the least trusted newspaper:

2. It’s hard to imagine the naming of 10,000 asylum seekers on the Department of Immigration’s website was simply a mistake. It appears to have been done from the inside to cause the most embarrassment to the minister Scott Morrison. 
 3. The ABC was at its brilliant best on Wednesday night. They found an interpreter, who had spent a week on Manus ­Island, who had some startling claims to make about the riots that led to the death of an Iran-ian man. Azita Bokan claimed PNG locals employed by the security company attacked people with rocks and mach-etes.Ms Bokan then confirmed she did not actually witness the violence. Hopefully the ABC will now find someone who actually witnessed what happened. 
 4. Immigration Minister Scott Morrison is not weak-kneed when it comes to dealing with people granted visas by the former government when they are convicted of crimes. Two blokes were convicted this week. A Sri Lanka national copped a suspended sentence for an inde-cent assault on a woman at Parramatta last year and a man from Bangladesh has received 15 months for an indecent ass-ault on a blind woman in 2013. The Sri Lankan man is at Villawood awaiting deportation and the other bloke will also be heading out the country after he’s served his time.

Uh huh. The pond suspects that Hadley is a deeply angry and unhappy man, in much the same way as Alan Jones is deeply angry and unhappy.

It's easy enough to understand why Jones is so unhappy - that's what happens when you're forced to deny essential truths about yourself - but it's less easy to work out why the likes of Jones and Hadley should be encouraged by listening to them, or to paying any attention to them.

Now if you happen to listen to the ABC, you will discover that Azita Bokan did claim to have witnessed violence:

On the day after the first riots Azita witnessed seven G4S guards assault a detainee who was pushing an injured man in a wheelchair towards the medical compound. (and the rest of that interview here)

But then Hadley is right up there with others adept at denialism:

Can you think of a government programme that actually killed people and not some bloody foreigner?

A pox on all their houses, and if karma's a bitch, and the hate comes back around, you won't see the pond shedding a tear ...

(Below: it's about time to catch up with the inestimable David Pope, and remember, more Pope here)


So many ways to fuck up a meditative Sunday ...



(Above: some tasty Biblezines for you, and plenty more to google)

At last the mainstream media is paying actual attention to what's going on in public schools, with The Age leading the way, even getting this meditative Sunday off with an Oz style EXCLUSIVE at the top of the digital page. Well it actually appeared last night but hey, it's a slow weekend:


Yep, Uproar at 'Biblezine' sex tips for kids is full of juicy bits, as sex rears its ugly head one more time, though in the usual way, the sex is featured is the bizarre kind you get with fundamentalist Xians:

The magazines, Refuel 2 and Revolve 2 – which intersperse the text of the New Testament with dating advice, beauty tips and music reviews – warn girls not to go bra-less because "your nipples are much more noticeable and a distraction and temptation for men", and not to wear tube tops and low-rise jeans because men are "sexually stimulated by what they see". 
"The Bible says not to cause anyone else to sin. Are you putting sexual thoughts about your body into guys' heads? If you are showing a lot of skin you probably are," it states. Advertisement The material, produced by the News Corp-owned Nelson Bibles, America's largest Christian publishing house, also "exposes the lie of safe sex", claiming that condoms condone promiscuity, and urges those who think they are gay never to act on it. 
In response to an agony aunt-style question about, "How far can you go before you are no longer pure?", the document reads: "Let's put it this way: How much dog poop stirred into your cookie batter does it take to ruin the whole batter."

That's the kicker, right there. The News Corp-owned ...

Yep, Satan himself is pumping out Christian literature ... and never mind the injunctions about the sanctity of marriage. Hey, the bible approved of slavery and divorce.

Now imagine if a fundamentalist Islamic of the Taliban kind was roaming around pumping fundamentalist nonsense about sex into the minds of impressionable young people.

Oh wait, they are, and the Australian federal government is funding the schools ... and the ones that do Scientology and the ones that do Exclusive Brethren and the ones that teach creationism and the ones that ...

Okay, it's an old, old, ancient grey haired loon pond riff, but how pleasing to see The Age slowly coming to some kind of awareness.

The sweet old Pravda on the Yarra even delivered an editorial harumph today, under the header Children do not deserve this kind of religious instruction:

Zealotry is alive and well in Victoria. Its targets, however, are not anyone or any group who can bring their life experiences to bear in coping with its attention. The zealots are those who believe it appropriate to peddle their interpretations of the New Testament. The targets were grade six pupils at Torquay College. 
The strand of religion is not the point of concern. There is no argument against the Christian faith. It is the manner of its delivery and the content of its message that deserves opprobrium. It is fundamentalist claptrap masquerading as some sort of moral Christian code that will lead to a virtuous life. It is nothing of the sort. 
It is blinkered and prejudiced; in effect, a tract of negativity that can only stunt a young person's growth to maturity that should be based on inclusiveness and compassion towards their fellow human beings.

There are of course plenty of arguments against the Christian faith, but The Age is a slow learner, and then there's the business of offending the demographics ...

But at least the sweet Pravdans have started to pay attention, starting with a story they ran five days ago, Primary school principals shut down religious education classes (forced video to keep that Fairfax share price on the rise).

Inter alia, that story offered up this insight:

Joe Kelly has been principal of Cranbourne South Primary School for 15 years, and acknowledged that until two years ago he had been "blindly supporting" Access Ministries' presence. That was until he took a closer look at the actual classes and curriculum. 
"It is not education," Mr Kelly said. "It has no value whatsoever. It is rubbish - hollow and empty rhetoric … My school teachers are committed to teaching children, not indoctrinating them."

Good on you Joe Kelly, you're a pond hero first class.

Naturally Access has flinched with all the attention being paid:

Access Ministries says it did not approve the Biblezines, or their content, and they were a graduation gift from local churches, which normally donate traditional Bibles. 
In a statement, chief executive Evonne Paddison said: "This year there was a huge rush for the Bibles and, for reasons we do not yet understand, it seems as though 15 copies of Refuel 2 were handed out. Students were asked to return them on the day . . . Our agreed curriculum teaches the basic beliefs of the Christian faith and does not stray into areas of sexuality at all. We are extremely disappointed that this has occurred and will continue to investigate how it happened." 

Yes, because Refuel 2 looked so innocuous and so ... so decently Ixian:


How to attract godly girls?

Oh you poor pimpled hapless squeaky voiced hamburger flipping nerds ...

Meanwhile, in associated reading, The New Yorker's Margaret Talbot provided an exemplary insight into the fundamentalist mind set, when caught between castigating sex. women and contraception, and actually reducing the number of abortions.

You can read it all in Reading the Numbers, currently outside the paywall, but the pond feels so righteous, here's a long slab of the opening:

Last week’s report about the declining abortion rate in the United States was potentially good news for everyone, especially, one would think, for right-to-life groups. Most of them, though, weren’t cheering. A statement from Americans United for Life called the report “an abortion industry propaganda piece short on data and long on strained conclusions.” One problem was that the groups didn’t like the messenger. The report, which showed that between 2008 and 2011 the rate of abortions had fallen to its lowest level since 1973, came from the Guttmacher Institute. Guttmacher produces scrupulous research on reproductive health; it also supports abortion rights. But the bigger problem was the message itself, because the report made a persuasive case that the right-to-life movement cannot take credit for the decline in abortions. Since 2008, states have enacted more than a hundred laws related to abortion, most aimed at limiting access to the procedure. The researchers, however, concluded that the new laws, with few exceptions, had had little impact on the number of abortions. Instead, much of the decline is probably attributable to more effective contraception, some of it available through the federal funding—“Uncle Sugar,” in Mike Huckabee’s creepy coinage—that Republicans like to rail against. Right-to-lifers could be promoting contraception and touting its success in averting unwanted pregnancies, but that doesn’t seem to be news that they want to hear, let alone spread.

Let's see if we can do a formula:

Contraception + sex - abortion: bad
Sex - contraception + abortion: good

There can't be a better example of the failed mindset of the fundamentalist and sex than Australia's current PM.

There he was, at one moment, dedicating himself to a life of chastity, and the next thing you know, vows forsaken, he was out and about fornicating like a rabbit, and without contraception. How do we know? Well he fathered a child out of wedlock didn't he, or at least, he thought he did, because he didn't take precautions.

It turned out it wasn't his, and someone else had been fornicating without contraception.

Now the pond doesn't have any issue with fornicators, having religiously and with some fervour been at times a fornicator. But the old days, when you could fornicate without too much worry about STDs, provided there was some penicillin handy, are long gone, and it goes without saying that the easiest way to prevent an unwanted pregnancy and the abject pain of an abortion, is to use contraception.

And yet fundamentalist Xians and Islamics join together to assault condoms (yes they do, head off to the BBC for Islamic views on contraception).

All this has got the pond as mad as hell, so it's just as well that the fatuous, profoundly tedious Cardinal Pell spends this Sunday in the Terror - the least trusted newspaper in Australia - brooding about Cardinals and celebrating the Pope turning up on Rolling Stone. Yep, along with Boston Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Janet Jackson celebrating the joy of sex, Britney Spears, the passion of Kanye West with crown of thorns, Charles Manson, and semi-nude Red Hot Chili Peppers ...

When the Pope strips, that'll be the time to talk about an enormous bounce ...

And by the way what on earth does the header Pope tells cardinals they need actually mean? It's not even a bloody sentence ...

Meanwhile, the whole sorry story of blame-shifting and guilt in the Catholic church continues apace in stories such as Church claims lies, collusion on scandal, and Principal lied over claim that church was to blame for abuse (behind the paywall to keep the innocent pure).

Bottom line? The rats are blaming each other as the ship continues to sink ... and the bowl needed to wash away the sins is getting larger than Sydney harbour ...

And if that's not enough, just as you'd expect, the angry Sydney Anglicans, and Phillip Jensen in particular, chime in right on cue with Unmarried Mothers and the Science of Marriage.

The Jensenists really do know how to come up with stupid headers. Science of Marriage?

Yes, you see, that policy of blaming women and unmarried mothers had nothing to do with the god botherers and the bible bashers and the tub thumpers, it was all the fault of scientists:

...the thinking behind the practices of the 1950’s and 60’s was not that of moral conservatives but progressive, professional, best practice, science. 
Between the World Wars unmarried mothers were viewed in eugenic terms as “feebleminded” or “sexual delinquents”, whose children needed protection. WWII made the community wary of eugenics and so environmental factors were blamed and Freudian concern about early childhood experiences led to the ‘clean break theory’. The social workers, doctors, lawyers and psychologists followed the modern science of human behaviour. Unfortunately for the mothers and their children, like all utilitarian science, it took a generation to discover the full impact of the error. 
Sadly we Christians, having more confidence in modern professional best practice than the word of God, shared in this mistreatment of women.

What nauseating hypocrisy. What a stench of humbug.

So it was all the fault of eugenicists and shrinks that the Anglicans at Grafton abused the children in their care?

Suddenly the bowl of water needed to wash away the sins of the wicked and their apologists takes on the side of the Indian ocean.

Well if you can find eugenics and shrinks and science at work in the story Anglican Church offers compensation to NSW victims of abuse at children's home in Lismore, let the pond know.

There's more, lots more, equally offensive and hypocritical, and after the blame shifting and the guilt avoidance, where would we be without a bit of gay bashing:

Just before Christmas Sir Paul Coleridge, a long serving judge in the Family Division of Britain’s High Court, received an official, formal warning of judicial misconduct for airing his views that gay marriage is a minority issue affecting 0.1% of the community compared to the “destructive scourge” of divorce and family breakdown, which he has likened to an epidemic involving 3.8 million children in the family courts every year.

Gay marriage? How about mere gay survival in Africa, where the angry Anglicans and other fundamentalists have helped to build a world of hate and woe?

The Jensenists got the pond so agitated it threatened to ruin a peaceful Sunday morning, so instead, how about a few old Doonesbury cartoons?

The pond likes to keep a few Doonesburys to hand, like an axe in case of fire or an encounter with an Anglican or a Republican, and these made a nice series. Click to enlarge if you like:





And finally the pond has hit on some novel literature that might be circulated amongst Victorian schools.

You'll have to be an old hand to remember Flirty Fishing, but in the usual way, you can do a Greg Hunt and wiki it here.

The moral of the story?

So many religious loons, so many ways they can fuck with the minds of the young and fuck up sex, love, life and, it turns out, a meditative Sunday ...