Saturday, February 21, 2015

In which the pond encounters a Churchillian hero squatting in his bunker, and an abundance of moral superiority ...

 (Above: Moir sets in train dreams of great future moments, and more Moir here).

Saturday is the finest day, as all the reptiles come out on parade. Why, it's a veritable boulevard of broken dreams, worthy of an Edward Hopper painting  ...

There's Michael Pascoe scribbling Scary Joe Hockey has cried wolf too often, (forced video at end of link) and who can argue with his thesis that no one is listening to jolly Joe any more?

If a government really wants to plan for the future, limit tax pain later while continuing to provide our desired level of a social safety net, it needs to invest in Australia's productivity now. 

Commonwealth 10-year bonds are trading with a yield of 2.5 per cent. Right now, the government could borrow as much as it can dream of for very little, invest it in infrastructure development with a double-digit rate of return, improve the nation's productivity, overcome some of the shorter-term challenges of our structural adjustment, reduce unemployment, end its over-reliance on monetary policy and restore some of the inter-generational balance that has been lost by public sector investment falling to its lowest level in generations. 
But that would take leadership and trust and confidence in the leadership – not a boy who's been crying wolf.

Uh huh. And then other Fairfaxians realised that Julie Bishop wasn't going to save the day, and who to point the finger at for that?

Yes, it seems Hartcher, usually ambivalent, occasionally fawning, has turned in Tony Abbott plays the wrong card. Hartcher discusses a number of recent plays by Abbott, desperately using national security to shore up his failing, flailing leadership. 

You can follow the link to read what Hartcher has to say about submarines, David Johnston, and the relationship with Indonesia - all largely negative - until we come to homegrown terrorism:

One of those leaders says that an attempt to ban Hizb ut-Tahrir "would feed into the narrative of those that are disenfranchised – that Muslims are being victimised and persecuted," says Samier Dandan, president of the Lebanese Muslim Association. "We would be fuelling the fire to say that freedom of speech applies to one group but not another. I am not afraid of them because I have the intellectual narrative to overcome it. 
"Do you shut them down or do you negate their narrative? You need a voice of reason to overtake their voice of ignorance." 
And on a very practical level, a security official observes, a ban might not only strengthen the group by vindicating its message, it would also drive them underground. It's much harder to monitor an underground group than one operating in the open. 
If Abbott's government goes ahead with an attempt to ban the group, it will be more about political posturing than a true security measure. Abbott will not always be prime minister. But the security threats will endure. He has made enough unforced errors and bungled security matters too many times. No more.

Indeed. If the pond might turn conservative and cunning for the moment, in the 1950s Ming the Merciless made an incredible mistake attempting to ban the Communist party. Instead, when the people told him to sod off, the conservatives followed a different course - spy, infiltrate, confound, and do all the sordid things that reactionaries do in pursuit of their dream. And soon enough, as news of Stalin's mass murders, and Mao's brutal killing fields filtered through, communism lost steam of its own accord.

It's so much simpler to keep the ideological or the fanatical in plain sight. Of course it requires intelligence agencies ready to get down and dirty in the field, rather than head off into ivory towers of metadata, pursuing pirates for Hollywood studios, but there you go, there's where security under Tony Abbott is heading.

But Hartcher's shriek of 'no more' was trumped by the reptiles with their top of the page story this day:

Yes, here it is in the digital edition:

There's any amount of titillation to be had in John Lyons' piece - you know how to google - and the pond will settle for this excerpt:

Dear sweet long absent lord, could it be? Sitting alone reading Winston Churchill, and planning bold colonial military adventures where a few brave Aussie lads singlehandedly defeat the Islamic death cult?

The rest of Lyons' piece is a long, never-ending rant about the role of Credlin.

It covers all the blunders - hence the substantial length - of the chaotic PMO, and rehashes every crime from the car industry to Medicare and the astonishing insight that Tony Abbott isn't John Howard. Sir Duke and Arthur Sindinos make an appearance, as does an outraged Julie Bishop.

Oh okay, let's do a spoiler and show off the ending too:

Inside the bunker? He's gone from being Churchill to being Hitler?

Does that mean YouTube is going to be saturated with spoof videos showing off the broken pencils, and the nervous office and lickspittles, and the maps and the nervous tics?

Meanwhile, there's another ideological warrior at work this day in The Australian, currying the sort of ideological paranoia and religious zealotry that seems to have helped reduce Abbott to a meandering, paranoid bunker outlook on life.

Come on down Brendan O'Neill and lay it on us:

Now the pond has to admit that it generally doesn't consider itself morally superior to anyone.

Part of the problem came from being brought up Catholic, with Catholics at the time in Tamworth (and elsewhere) taught to consider themselves morally superior to everyone, and to look down on others as pagans and heathens.

Of course twits like Martin Amis and Brendan O'Neill have no problems considering themselves morally and ideologically superior to everyone.

That's how the British empire got to export its class system and its ineffable sense of superiority around the world, looting and plundering in highly civilised style - if you didn't count the murders and the wars - and then leaving troubled hotspot all over the globe.

Brendan O'Neill, in particular, is the sort of twit, the insufferable "right" and righteous man who always thinks he's right about everything, and therefore has no need for relativism.

What's particularly insufferable is the way the likes of O'Neill always trot out 'gays off buildings' and the whipping of women as exemplars.

Yet what do we get when we look at O'Neill scribbling on the surely harmless and inoffensive subject of gay marriage? You'd surely have to be Taliban or Daesh in your attitudes to oppose it?

How about Gay marriage: the fastest-formed orthodoxy ever? Sub-headed, in a way designed to appeal to Taliban readers, It is scary how quickly gay marriage became dogma.

No one likes to be a party pooper. But as the champagne corks rocket through the air and politicians slog it out to see who can be the most effusive in their celebration of the legalisation of gay marriage in Britain, there remains one awkward question about the whole thing, an elephant in the fabulously decorated room. And it’s this: how did this all happen so quickly? How did we go at such speed from a situation where gay marriage was a rather eccentric concern of small numbers of professional activists and lawyers to a situation where to oppose gay marriage is treated as an eccentricity, and a wicked one at that? How did saying ‘Let gays get hitched’ go from being fairly outr√© to utterly orthodox in about the same amount of time - I’m saying around five years - that it takes most modern campaign groups to design their headed paper? 
It isn’t surprising people are reluctant to ask this question. For to do so, to give this conundrum some serious consideration, might just reveal that our society is not quite as tolerant, or as free, as the gay-marriage campaigners and their influential backers would have us believe. It might just show that the true driver of gay marriage up the political agenda, at a pace unprecedented in the modern social-issues arena, has been less a new civil-rights vibe and more a kind of soft authoritarianism - a largely media-driven momentum that has turned gay marriage into social demarcator par excellence, where those who accept it are Good, and those who oppose it are Bad, bigoted, ripe for being mauled and ideally silenced by the strangely intolerant promoters of tolerance for same-sex unions.

Oh go join the Taliban ... and maybe throw a few conspiratorial, soft authoritarian married gays off a building somewhere ...

There's a lot more Taliban-style scribbling on the subject by O'Neill ... pace Why gay marriage is a very bad idea:

spiked absolutely supports the right of people to live their lives as they see fit, within or without ‘respectable’ institutions such as marriage and the family, and free from any state interference. But the gay-marriage campaign has nothing to do with liberty and equality. Rather this is a cynical campaign of opportunistic moral grandstanding on the part of the cultural elite, which will end with gays being fobbed off with a pretty meaningless form of ‘marriage’ and married couples simultaneously finding the ancient institution they have signed up to being further drained of meaning. Just say ‘I don’t’ to gay marriage.

You can hear the soft, but generous applause of the Taliban and like-minded fundamentalists coming from the wings ...

There are a lot more ineffable stupidities on parade in O'Neill's Oz piece:

The axis of weevils, yet again? WMD and the Iraq war?

That's the problem with morally superior British twits - they just keep on with the 'bombing people to civilisation' routine without half a clue of its effects or consequences.

They just want more and more, and the next thing you know there's Tony Abbott devising colonial military adventures in Churchill mode ...

But then there's nothing like zealotry to forgive the sins of your own, and berate the sins of others:

No, all it takes is an ability to remember history, or perhaps experience the poignancy of Billie Holiday singing Strange Fruit and remembering all the bigotry she copped for doing so ...

But that's the trouble with rabid fundamentalist zealots. They can never keep two competing ideas in the noggin, or use experience to moderate their fundamentalism ...

Well yes, but there's one big but, billy goat, and it's this ...

The pond doesn't  think much of living in a world where gay marriage denying Brendan O'Neill somehow thinks he's the embodiment of Enlightenment thinking, and - while allegedly espousing Marxist notions - somehow always ends up on the side of the most deeply fundamentalist conservative thinking.

There's a bunny as confused and incoherent as your average barking mad Daesh or Taliban terrorist ...

And that way you end up with a PM who is threatened by gays and who can only find room for a couple of women in cabinet ... and sits in his bunker, planning Churchillian forays into middle eastern adventurism, which show we don't seem to have learned much from Gallipoli.

And there's your fundamentalist problem. A little less moral superiority all round would go a long way. That way O'Neill wouldn't so easily dismiss the treatment of blacks in the American south. It's too easy to forget the American Civil War while denouncing fundamentalist ratbags who sprang up in a region fucked over by a western alliance of fools and fellow travellers ...

And that way the Taliban could lose their sense of moral superiority in spades, and O'Neill could be explaining to them that in a live and let live world, where's the harm in gay marriage, if love is what matters ...

Yes, without all that saturated moral superiority - worse than the cholesterol in butter -  Brendan O'Neill and all the other judgmental ponces who run so free and wild with their sneering rhetoric about the different and the other might actually just shut the fuck up for a while, and let others get on with the business of enjoying life ...

For the record, the pond and partner would be killed on sight in the lands controlled by fundamentalists ... but, and it's a big butt, billy goat, to have to endure the stupidities of Brendan O'Neill is also a kind of suffering ...

What else?

Well the pond loved this one.

Yes there's a nicely groomed, seemingly well dressed, eminent, coiffed, handsomely entitled loon carrying on about entitlement being engrained  in the psyche ...

Get thee off to a coal mine, Mr Salt, get down into the pits, or maybe put in a twelve hour day as a farm labourer, or work as a shearer for a time, and then come back to the pond to talk about entitlement ...

Enough already, time for a cartoon, one seemingly designed for Brendan O'Neill, and as usual, you can find more Wilcox here:


  1. Shirt fronting Iraq!?!?
    Retrospective genius.

  2. Ms Pond
    The Naval flags on the Good Ship Budget '14 read
    "I am operating astern propulsion" and "Man Overboard"
    but of course you knew that.

  3. Ah! Walter Moers.
    Shades of shell-shock, how about WWI centenary: Horse-drawn 18-pounder artillery piece and gun carriage to be restored in Anzac commemoration. Maybe one of those schoolkids will ask what happened when one of those shells landed in a trench.

  4. "That's how the British empire got to export its class system and its ineffable sense of superiority around the world, looting and plundering in highly civilised style - if you didn't count the murders and the wars - and then leaving troubled hotspot all over the globe."

    So true, DP, and from this class system obnoxious weeds such as Abbott continue to sprout and utter their bosh of British white-man pre-eminence:

    Abbott: “As we look around this glorious city, as we see the extraordinary development, it’s hard to think that back in 1788 it was nothing but bush and that the marines and the convicts and the sailors that straggled off those 12 ships just a few hundred yards from where we are now must have thought they’d come almost to the moon”.

  5. Why can't the ABC pronounce Nhulunbuy correctly?

    It's Null-um-boy, not Nulimbinbee. Ten seconds on Google will tell you this.

    Lazy racist bastards.

  6. If the NAB were a trade union Abbott would initiate another Royal Commission wherein its lead lawyer will probably be paid the astronomical sum of $1,000,000 for just under two years’ work at the inquiry.

    What! There is a lead lawyer who has been paid $3.36m for just under two years’ work in a royal commission into trade union corruption?

    What’s the adage? Oh, yeah: justice at any cost is not justice at all.

  7. "Commonwealth 10-year bonds.. Right now, the government could borrow.. for very little, invest it in infrastructure development with a double-digit rate of return, improve the nation..."

    But not liblab, DP. No, not on your Nellie. Never. Both sides of the bosses' party are neoliberal sell outs to vested one-percenter foreign interests. Elsewhere, things have shifted: - Norway, Singapore, China, Indonesia, and South Korea "have quietly abandoned the Washington Consensus by investing massively in infrastructure projects ... this pragmatic approach proved to be very successful"."

    ..and the best of all infrastructure investment anyone anywhere could have is ?


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