Wednesday, February 25, 2015

In which the pond roams from bludger tests to Dame Slap in paranoid hysteria mode to modern medievalists ...

The Currish Snail notes today that it has an EXCLUSIVE that dunces are teaching your children.

Naturally the pond has its own exclusive, which is that fuckwits are writing your Murdoch papers.

Take a look at that the tired rhetoric and profound stupidity embedded in that giant headline, Bludger Test, and the get-tough plan to force slackers to work.

It's as if the Four Corners report into the rampant corruption in the jobs game, which aired only a few days ago,  had never happened, yet there it is in the transcript here:

There's a lot more in the Four Corners report of course, but what bit of that 780,000 unemployed competing for only 150,000 job vacancies don't the fuckwits at the Currish Snail understand?

Does anyone imagine that the federal government is suddenly going to produce a zero unemployment rate, when in fact the unemployment rate has been inching up the other way?

The pond has been waiting for some response to the Four Corners' report on the endemic corruption within the system, another classic example of what happens to a reduced number of uninterested public servants delegated to supervise a rampantly out of control private sector, but as usual, there hasn't been a cheep or a beep ... just more blather about the benefits of deregulation and the private sector.

Along with more useless rhetoric about dole bludgers, the sort of myopic logic that would propose that the unemployed starve on the streets for six months because that's what they deserve ...

Enough. All the pond wishes on the Murdochians is that they experience treatment by a jobs agency at least once in their lives before ending up under the light rail overpass in Wentworth Park ... (though the pond does admire the way those homeless folk have shown initiative in making a tent city for themselves).

But enough already. The pond has some important points to make.

Firstly let it be known the pond never reads any reports which it clearly recognises are partisan.

There's something in the way the molecules in the report vibrate that immediately lets the pond know that the report is hopelessly corrupt. Call it an Ian McDonald 'magic crystals' awareness if you will ...

Secondly, when the pond makes an inducement, it is not an inducement, it is an offer. Which is not to say that it's really an offer, it's an approach.

The pond only does this when it has totally lost confidence in a person, but yet retains full confidence in that person and their ability to do a job. Call this a Walt Whitman-esque, or if you will George Brandis-esque capacity to contain infinite multitudes of enormous stupidities ...

Naturally the cartoonists were having a field day, and the pond was torn between the two Davids, with David Rowe in good form (and more Rowe here):

Of course being Brandis book ends is a worthy alternative career - what an inducement to serving the country in a noble career - but in the end, the pond had to go with the other David, the unholy Pope (and more Pope here).

You see, the pond had never thought of Brandis as a Bond villain before, but it surely fits. The egotism, the pomposity, the sneer.

Get make up to add a scar, throw in a cat and a decent frock, take away the four eyes look, and it could work:

Okay George, let's lose the glasses, and try on a real Donald Pleasance sneer:

By golly, that's real Stanislavsky stuff George.

Never mind, the folly produced the usual sort of headlines the pond has begun to associate with this ship of fools:

Sadly, the pond's duty is to ignore the fun, and instead go on the lonely beat of the reptile watch.

And today the news is that this is Wednesday, which makes it Dame Slap day, and while she delivers a splendid slapping of greenies, she has been slow to catch up.

She's still banging on about security, which is so yesterday, because bashing dole bludgers is so now ...

She's also banging on about the greenies in a way which reminds the pond that Godwin's Law is there to be broken, since the good Dame manages to sound like the sort of crypto-fascist apologists that paved the way for Hitler's secret police and the East German stasi and Stalin's KGB and what at heart still remains Maoist China when it comes to the way they run the internet ...

Let's cut to the end of her discourse, which holds up metadata as the solution to all weevils:

Let's count a few of the errors.

In fact Monis didn't walk into a cafe in Martin Place with a Daesh flag (the pond never recognises IS). 

It was widely reported at the time that he asked for a Daesh flag, and Sydney Muslims were asked to find one. (at Fairfax here).

That's what happens when you get into frothing and foaming and hysteria mode, and try to make over a crazy person into a Daesh warrior. You trip over the details.

Like that line about metadata foiling an attack on Sydney army barracks.

If you read the account of the trial, here's what you'll find:

Fattal was covertly videoed walking along the perimeter fence at the army base in what the jury, based on their verdict, believed was in preparation for an attack. The jury found them guilty following a trial lasting more than five months in which multiple listening devices were played outlining their plan and detailing their extreme religious and political views...

...On resuming her sentence, which lasted almost two hours, the judge described their crimes as "anticipatory offences" which were stopped by law enforcement authorities before they were carried out, only after undercover police successfully infiltrated the group.

In short, the pond's favourite methods of investigating teh crazies ... surveillance, use of video and other listening devices, and infiltration of the group ...

What about that beheading plot? (at the ABC here)?

The court was told the charges against Azari stemmed from a single phone call intercepted earlier this week and police made their move this morning to disrupt a group of mostly Afghan Australians 48 hours after that phone call, concerned at how close it was to going ahead.

A good old fashioned phone intercept!

What about that planned attack on the electricity grid?

Well that was back in October 2003, and the pond bets that metadata had bugger all to do with it, up against the actual physical evidence that architect Faheem Halid Lodhi assembled for the cops (at Fairfax here):

As evidence Lodhi was planning the attack, the prosecution relied on several documents seized during ASIO raids in October, 2003, at the Lakemba home where Lodhi lived with his wife, Aysha Hamedd, and from his desk at his workplace in the city. 
They included a so-called "terror manual", a 15-page, handwritten document in Lodhi's native Urdu language with numerous recipes for explosives and poisons that he had obtained from the internet. Lodhi said he was just curious and had paid little attention to it. 
The prosecution also produced a list of chemical prices Lodhi had sought, maps of the national electricity grid he had bought and aerial photographs he downloaded from the internet of three Sydney defence sites, Holsworthy Army Base, Victoria Barracks and HMAS Penguin at Mosman. Police also seized DVDs and CDs of jihadist doctrine and terror training. 
The prosecution also alleged that Lodhi was in close contact with French terror suspect Willy Brigitte while the latter was in Sydney and had used a false name to open a mobile phone account to call Brigitte.

What about the MCG plot, where a bunch of inept crazies decided they'd do a sequel to Black Sunday?

Well there were ironies there when it became clear that two cells were working together (at the ABC here):

An off-duty officer came across Abdul Hasan at a Sydney hardware store as he ordered acetone and methylated spirits.

As for Operation Pendennis?

Professor Barton says building positive social networks and bridges is now a key focus of government agencies and police. 
"This Operation Pendennis we're discussing here today ... [was] only possible because of community tip-offs and that's a promising thing in itself," he said. 
"But it also speaks to the extent to which extremists like Benbrika struggle to find acceptance among Muslim communities in Australia and how difficult it was for them to put together a small motley crew.

That'd be the Muslim communities the barking mad Abbott government has managed to alienate profoundly, ably assisted by the barking mad commentariat right wing loonies ...

By the way, all this talk of plots reminds the pond of this excellent headline:

Yes, the pond hears transcripts routinely ...

Are there any more ironies? Well yes, that Dame Slap should call for sensible debate, in a column filled with misrepresentations, inaccuracies and hysteria. This is what she started out with:

In late 2003, when releasing a British discussion paper about where to draw the line between liberty and security after the September 11 terrorist attacks, then British home secretary David Blunkett said: “I am the custodian of civil liberties, but I do not own them.” Blunkett said the question of how best to balance civil liberties against the increased need for security was, ultimately, a matter for the people. 
In other words, citizens must be part of the critical debate about how to protect society from the threat of terrorism. While the Tony Abbott’s national security statement on Monday morning was short on details, it kicked off an overdue debate about where to draw the line between liberty and security. Sensible, thoughtful reaction will signal our maturity in a world where, as the Prime Minister said, “The terrorist threat is rising at home and abroad, and it’s becoming harder to combat.”

What followed was a stream of incoherent rhetorical abuse of greenies and Christine Milne and Scott Ludlum, and an abundance of lickspittle servile praise of Tony Abbott.

It's come to a pretty pass when the devotees of softening 18C now go around berating greenies for daring to propose that civil liberties should only be given up for the clearest of reasons, and backed by evidence rather than rhetoric.

Even worse, all this talk of metadata as a panacea and a cure-all is likely to distract from more conventional but effective policing methods - which can be as wide ranging as an off-duty cop noticing something funny going down to an old fashioned phone tap.

Does Dame Slap understand the difference between metadata and a phone tap?

It's all a bit like the attempt to ban hate speech, when we might be better off having the crazies out and about, making it clear exactly who they are, and therefore who are worth observing.

Now the pond knows that Dame Slap is a little addled and soft-headed. How else to explain the way she accepted Lord Monckton's talk of climate science as a way for the UN to advance world government?

But surely she should avoid suggesting a sensible debate when all she's got to offer is paranoid hysteria ...

As for the pond, like many others, we want to be able to walk down the street without being troubled by fundamentalist religious loons of any kind. Generally, in return, the pond attempts to leave the religious loons alone, though the temptation to lash out at the scientology school up the road, or the crazy Anglicans currently turning Moore Theological College into some kind of urban blight angry Anglican Taj Mahal is strong. The pond also tries to hold a tongue when Islamic cultists stop pedestrians and attempt to beguile them into fairy land, while the pond sometimes asks to be put on leash when walking past the 'speaking on tongues' mob that infests the Newtown community centre on a Sunday.

Sadly it's not likely that barking mad fundamentalist religious loons are going away any time soon, but equally sadly, Dame Slap in her paranoid greenie bashing rant provided not one solid detail as to how metadata would save the day.

Sensible debate? In Murdoch la la land? You must be kidding ...

And finally the pond would like to pay tribute to Guy Rundle in Crikey yesterday, scribbling "we are watching the throes of a dying government, and it is so good" (behind the paywall).

First this sentence is surely a winner:

Yes, what is it about the deadbeat-teenage-dad-Oxford-blue-failed priest-mediaevalist-who-lives-in-the-police-college that could possibly have suggested difficulties in adjusting to changing realities?

Though he did leave out monarchist Sir Duke and a few other bits of teh crazy ...

And then Rundle proved that the pond wasn't alone. Others trudged the lonely, bizarre beat of the crazed right wing columnist:

Of course there's a schadenfreude embedded in all this, in the form of Zinger Bill. What a price to pay ... but at least the pond feels others are trapped in Edward Hoppper's nighthawks diner ...

There they laugh together over a late night drink at front pages like the one for today's lizard Oz:

Fairer, simpler and sustainable?

So that's the new genteel set of code words for the BLUDGER TEST!!!!

That's the rhetoric, with "Fairness" the cry.

And they expect mug punters to swallow that crap?

Which just leaves time to celebrate the situation in NSW, where Mike Baird is proposing to de-gut the inner west, so that people can drive cars from one gigantic snarl to another, transforming the inner city into one gigantic slow moving car park, so that in the end the city will function in the way LA does, which is to say, not at all.

Yes, even the tar and cement infrastructure man - why have a community when you can have roads - is now a little afraid of the bogeyman (and more Moir here).


  1. Brandis with egg on his face...I dwell in idle contemplation as to which should be considered more disgraced ; The Face or the Egg ?

    1. You really should feel pity for the Egg ...

  2. Fair go! DP, any 'slender blonde' is, by definition, a person who commands attention from grey blokes. Fox or faux, it doesn't matter, and a glimpse of thigh ....
    As for partisan reports, any piece of reportage that's decorated with superlatives like "skyrocketing" and "tsunami" is, clearly, weighed down with Peta's Talking Points and floats to the top of the scum.

  3. You're right of course, anyone who accepts Lord Monckton's talk of climate science should be hung up from the nearest light pole. I'm sure slapper will be there before my time is up.

  4. Steven Scott from the courier obviously has a plan to create 10 of thousands of new jobs. What a goose he is...

    1. DP wrote: ".. but what bit of that 780,000 unemployed competing for only 150,000 job vacancies don't the fuckwits at the Currish Snail understand?"

      That's by THEIR liblab figures, of course. The unemployment calculation has been jiggered some 52 times since Keating's fix in 1992. By the 1992 calculation the unemployment rate is somewhere north of 15%, then there are the underemployed, the turned off, etc. to add to that 15%!

      Then add to that total, now somewhere north of 25%, the 650,000 imported non-citizen workers on dodgy 457 visas. Then add the 200,000 non-citizen never-to-be-citizen working visa overstayers plus the 100,000 or so "backpackers" looking to extend their visa by working (usually in very dodgy underpaid sub-standard employment arrangements). Then perhaps add 350,000 Kiwi job takers...

      There you go - deal with those figures appropriately and there will be something of a real labour shortage in Australia. The trouble with fixing the problem is that it would not get past the bosses' and foreign capital's liblab political sock-puppets.

      On that last, has Blib Snooter said anything on the matters arising from the 4Corners unemployment scams coverage? Any questions fired off in question time? Any zingers intended at the expense of Abbott, Abetz, or Morrisson?

    2. Figures given for those taking jobs in Australia from Australian citizens as of a few years ago were:

      Skilled workers (so called) and their family members on 457 visas 190,000
      New Zealanders 630,000
      International students 330,000
      Student graduates on post-study visas 41,000
      Migrants on bridging visas 118,000
      Working holiday-makers 170,000
      Total to do the locals out of jobs and conditions 1479000

      One 457 job taking non-citizens, never-likely-to-be-citizens article by Peter Mares in 2013:

      The chart and table now missing from that webpage may still be seen in the archived page. Here's the first archived save of it:

    3. How to Help the Unemployed by Henry George. The North American Review, Volume 158, Issue 447 February 1894

      An approving line there - "This is not "mere theory." It is theory to which all experience testifies. New Zealand is to-day the one country which enjoys anything like prosperity in the midst of a universal depression" - is often heard lately albeit in a contrary context from the likes of South Australian ABC loon Vandstone. Wakefield too would approve the line in the past 40 year neoliberal NZ/South Australian/Australian context where "we hear no longer of "scarcity of labor." We hear now of "scarcity of employment."

  5. It seems to me that Dame Slap belongs in the tradition of "useful idiots" - for talking up something that is completely sinister and which has an out of control momentum that nobody can, or will be able to, reign in. Something straight out of 1984 but almost infinitely worse.
    She ought to read the essay available on TomDispatch by Alfred McCoy titled The Unwritten American Rules of the Road, particularly the last section sub-titled The War on Terror.

  6. Turnbull is befriending the friendless Triggs, Julie Bishop is running through her repertoire of emoji mimicry. What a day!

    1. Turnbull..always there with the band-aids...and sometimes with the blade to do the cutting!

  7. I have this "picture" of the Oz. journos', having been given their "assignment" for the day (th' Dame's being "get stuck into the Green/Reffo' wimps), going about their domestic duties whilst dictating into the iphone on the granite kitchen bench-top...; peeling the spuds ( "...those fantasists Greens have no..."), marinating the pork cuts ("...render the Greens irrelevant...") and beating an egg or two...but you get the idea...: Lots of rhetoric standard, a dash of peppered vitriol and finish off with a splash of soy light...stop, replay , edit, send to the typing pool..."Ok kids!...time for swimming lessons..."...tomorrow being another day. Could almost do it now with their eyes shut..oh, wait!

  8. Gillian Triggs vs Tony Abbott - cartoonist Shakespeare sums it up well

  9. Is there a possibility, just a wild, pie-in-the-sky notion, that The Australian newspaper may be top-heavy with opinion? I'm just throwing it out there, the same way Malcom is throwing his support for Prof Triggs out there.

    1. Whoo..dunno..dunno, coll's...could be drawing a long bow there...

    2. And where's timmey wilson on all this ......?

  10. Such a wealth of targets, DP, that it must be hard to know where to start. You are wise to go for the reptiles primarily, despite such a riches of political idiocy. Senator MacDonald provided evidence that even Abbott can occasionally get one right, which he did when omitting him from the ministry. There was some comedy in the Senate when the bully-boys got it served up to them from Griggs and the two Pennys. It proved also that Abbott and cronies' fear of intelligent women was justified.

    Why on earth should the tabloid News Ltd lot go after the Dole Bludgers? [They haven't yet abandoned Abbott despite their big brother determined to get rid Credlin, the closest he has to any insider with brains.] The downward spiral in his approval ratings is only arrested by him coming the bully-boy. Both the Boat People and Islamic fanatics are starting to wear a bit thin. Who else is around for a spot of Fear and Loathing? What about Dole Bludgers? Trouble is, it was done to death in Howard's day, and now we've got real unemployment.

    Most people can do the maths, and 750,000 unemployed doesn't fit into 150,000 jobs. The same was true in Howard's day, but he had more of the media onside and he massaged them well. Abbott in contrast has had to be nursed and protected by the media. And it can't be controlled so effectively now, with social media in the way.

    But really, you wonder how it got by in Howard's time. The maths were the same. Were our politicians really so dumb that they believed that unemployment could be solved by competition and incentives? Why was the CES made the scapegoat for labour market failures? It is an economic not administrative problem. It's like shutting down the Weather Bureau because they don't like the weather.

    Or was it that the rent-seekers saw an opportunity of rorting the public purse? An apologist for Job Services Australia (the successor to the Job Network) made the point that a lot of it is more "gaming" the system than fraud, but the boundary is so vague that there is little difference. In each case, the purpose of serving jobseeker needs is defeated, as we saw in the 4 Corners program.

    It is a great pity that Labor made little or no effort to change the system back. Partly that was due to Rudd's softly softly dithering and then his sabotaging of the 2010 campaign, leaving Gillard and co to walk the tightrope. Sadder still that we've now got IPA and Tea Party loonies now running the country and some of the best infrastructure in the NBN, education, training and health has been abandoned.

    It's an issue dear to my heart as once I was an Employment Counsellor for DEET/CES. I've catalogued some of my case study stories, for which I'll one day find a publisher.

    1. GD, we could, imagine it for just a moment, ignore the catalogue of shameful idiocy from the Abbott govt, and settle, even if for just a few days, on the 4 Corners Job Network programme.

      Therein, writ large is the abject idiocy and patent lack of initiative or vision of every govt since the decision to privatise the employment sector. It's a great tap leaking cash to grey, anonymous corporates for nothing but patting people on the head, and faking documents.

      IT needs a Senate enquiry, not pink batts, not JG, not Triggs - IT needs a Senate enquiry to make the facts clearly visible to anyone that pays taxes.

    2. GD, with respect, you overlook two things: 1) unemployment is reckoned a necessary component of their financial system; 2) where the Krudds got their government contracted rentier employment agency millions. Regarding that first point, the reserve bank has two targets to keep within mandated ranges: inflation and unemployment. They suppose that higher unemployment keeps inflation down. Of course it's all armchair stuff based on assumptions plucked from thin air, but it suits the ruling class to have cheap desperate labour and cheaper acquisitions.

      vc, there'll never be a Senate initiated enquiry, at the least I shan't be holding my breath... the neoliberal COALition and Labour parties are owned and dictated to by the one percenters.

      In another thirty years when Australia drops well beneath the top 20 OECD economies, as predicted in the recent PWC report, there still will not be such a Senate enquiry, however I expect a few onepercenters and their apparatchicks shall adorn the odd lamp post after that transition and the consequent mob initiated enquiry.


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