Tuesday, March 31, 2015

In which the pond contemplates parochial issues, the wayward greenies, and the Caterists in full Ayn Rand mode lathering up the Stone Age fear ...

(Above: and more Moir here).

Think dull. Now there's a motto for the ages ...

But try as it might, the pond still thinks funny.

For example, the pond has, for its sins, recently taken to visiting Sydney's domestic airport at odd hours.

6 am Monday is a real doozy, though it has to be said that on any Friday, 6 pm is just as great. Desperate kamikaze drivers hurl themselves at traffic lights and other vehicles for a little advance over the tarmac. It's trench warfare with cars ... and with springs of steel that'll hurl the driver as fast as a leopard a good few inches each change of lights ...

Now your average politician, blessed with driver and car, doesn't have a clue about the trench warfare. Like Bill Hunter, they're in the tent listening to Bizet's duet In the depths of the Temple, from The Pearl Fishers, as the lemmings rush off to die ... (yes, it's heading towards that time of year).

But that's why the pond laughs so merrily, so gaily ... especially when WestConnex pumps out this sort of guff ...

Oh bliss oh poop said Toad ... lucky 2031 dwellers ...

But okay, after you've saved that twenty five minutes getting from Burwood to the airport, what happens to the fifty minutes you piss away ... battling the hordes on General Holmes drive as they hit the intersection, getting into the airport, sitting in the traffic jam and then escaping with relief, knowing that you've survived the Johnny Turks behind their wheels to live another day?

Which is why the pond chortled with glee to see this being paraded by the reptiles in the lizard of Oz:

Not a clue.

Not the foggiest, not the faintest idea, not even the understanding of a blithering idiot.

Come on Albo, join with the pond on a trip to Sydney airport at 6 am on a Monday, without benefit of chauffeur and government car and a stint in the lounge ...

Naturally the Caterists are out in force today, warning of the dangers of the greenies, and revealing their reading habits in the process:

...Wilderness Society boss Alec Marr set about fulfilling Ayn Rand’s 1970 prophecy of the forthcoming anti-industrial revolution. The old Left merely wanted to take over the factories; the new Left wants to destroy them.

Yes indeed, the Caterists are solid factory workers - see their soiled, begrimed hands, look how they toil at the ink-stained keyboard ... let's hope that in their dotage they don't have to end up like Rand on welfare under an assumed name ...

These days the punch drunk Caterists are still fighting the battle for the Franklin river:

Because, you know, saving the Franklin was a disaster, and there's still time to dam it now.

What a stupid revisionist man he is, long on possum pelts and short on sense, and never no mind the actual facts of that matter. Just the usual stone age rhetoric up against:

There was some concern, however, among economists and academics that an increase in power output would not necessarily strengthen the economy, nor decrease levels of unemployment.

Yes, a bit like saving 25 minutes to get to Sydney Airport, so you can waste 50 sitting in the mobile car park once you get there ...

These days of course Parks Tasmania are working the tourist riff:

The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area conserves a diverse array of both natural and cultural features of outstanding global significance. As one of only three remaining temperate wilderness areas in the southern hemisphere, the region provides pristine habitats for a range of plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the world, including many rare and endangered species. For a number of animals which have become extinct on the mainland in recent times, the area offers a last refuge. The World Heritage Area is the Australian stronghold of temperate rainforest and alpine vegetation. Its landforms are of immense beauty and reveal a rich and complex geology. Aboriginal occupation extending back beyond 36 000 years, combined with nearly two centuries of European settlement, have created a legacy of humanity's interaction with the wilderness. 
The Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area offers all people, for all time, the opportunity to seek joy and inspiration amidst the untrammelled grandeur of nature, and refuge from an increasingly artificial world. It is waiting for you to discover it, and, perhaps, discover a part of yourself. (here).

You can just imagine the Caterists sitting in their clubs, hunkered down, denouncing this sort of stone age rhetoric, this idle romantic blather.

It's roughly equivalent to all the idle rhetoric about the wood chipping business without a viable business plan ...

Dam it, burn it, turn it into wood chips, pave it, and let's have a six lane motorway so it only takes five minutes to get to the airport in Hobart ...

Yes, there's plenty of guff, as only the Caterists know how. Tasmanians are on the march, Tasmania is on the move, and it's all thanks to the Liberals as the dark days are swept aside and all this talk of Tasmania being a nice place is swept aside with dreams of hard working serfs slaving for a living:

And there you have it, the ineffable stupidity of the Caterists, celebrating the success of Tasmanian's primary producing industries, which like New Zealand can trade off on the notion, especially in polluted China, that the state is pristine, with clean, safe plentiful supplies of good stuff to eat.

Where are your wood chips and coal mines now?

Not to mention the way the Caterists gloss over the history of what actually happened in Tasmania during the Franklin dam days, not least the peculiar notion that tourism jobs don't matter ... the same sort of rhetoric which would see the Great Barrier Reef plundered for oil, because who cares about heritage sites or tourism ...

Which explains why the Caterists are experts on the Stone Age ... mentally that's where they dwell, armed with a club ...

Cartoons aside, the Labor party would be unwise to rely on the Caterists to interpret the recent NSW poll results.

While CSG might have been an issue locally, there were other issues at work in Newtown, like the proposal to destroy the King street shopping centre with motorway madness, and the way the Labor party, long accustomed to treating the area as a fiefdom, routinely ignored the interests of locals ...

But if the Caterists are clueless, then what about the Labor party itself, and the pair - the absent Albo and his partner, whose idea of helping was to turn up on the ABC's election coverage - who presided over the Marrickville/Newtown debacle?

Cue Troy:


What, with actual popular policies that appeal to the populace? As opposed to rolling over and going doggo with the metadata men?

Well we can't have that, can we?

Well no Troy, that's what basket weavers might think, and they might claim Balmain is the oldest branch of the party, but actually, though perhaps long forgotten in certain quarters, Labor tradition assigns the birth place of the Labor party to a meeting of striking pastoral workers underneath a ghost gum ("The Tree of Knowledge") in Barcaldine, Queensland in 1891 ...

But do go on ... hit us with a chunky gobbet of paranoia ...

Stop right there Troy. 

Nifty and the doofus Carr are suddenly heroes? Carr, the man who ignored Sydney's aching infrastructure needs and went with panem et circenses and the Olympics? He's the hero ... but isn't he the one who came out in favour of selling off the poles? (here at the Daily Terror Labor party hate site). Shouldn't he be expelled? (Though frankly no one would miss Martin Ferguson carrying out the orders of his industrial masters).

And Luke Foley, the man who voted against gay marriage, is going to lure in progressive voters?

Why this is wondrous stuff, do go on:

Stop right there Linda. In the interim, post-Eddie, the Liberals had about ten parliamentary members fall on their ICAC swords. Everyone knows both the major parties are corrupt and in the thrall of Sydney property developers.

In Newtown there were more important issues than Eddie Obeid. You should know that.

Stop right there Linda. Are you suggesting that the selfish buggers in St Peters and Newtown and Enmore selfishly opposed the destruction of their suburbs so that a few ponces from Burwood could cut a few minutes off their airport travel time, and never mind what happens when they hit the airport?

Why how outrageously selfish of them ... but how poignant it makes these closing thoughts sound ...

Damn right, try again in four years time ...

But enough of parochial issues.

Time to rejoin the larger cosmic federal circus and it seems that the poodle Pyne was out and about last night, and in fine, frisky poodle form, mounting any object or person within sight.

So how goes it in poodle land?

Oh dear, and there was jolly Joe out and about yesterday, doing his level best to set up an increase in the regressive GST - which affects the poor much more than the rich, just see sales tax at work in the United States - so that he might save the rich from arduous exposure to income tax.

It was an epic performance, and it had the pond salivating in poodle style at the thought of the impending budget.

As usual, the knavishly incisive Pope summed it all up in a single image, and more incisive Pope - careful, the surgeon's knife cuts - can be found here.

Monday, March 30, 2015

In which little Timmie Bleagh produces a personal crisis in the pond, and Amanda Vanstone, purporting to offer a deep discussion of policy, produces an even deeper existential despair ...

It seemed innocuous enough, little Timmie Bleagh venting about the greenies ...

Well a petrol head's gotta do what a petrol head does, and spew out those exhaust fumes ...

But in a moment, the pond's usual equanimity was snatched away with a single revelation.

No longer could Newtown be likened to the here and now real life version of the beautiful fields of Elysium where tattooed hipsters, chosen by the gods, could live a blessed and happy life sipping coffee and enjoying the world's best icecream ...

Here it came, like a baleful ogre stumbling towards the ruination of Bethlehem ...

Little Timmie Bleagh lives in Newtown!

Why that's like discovering Barners represents that once great centre of the known universe, Tamworth ...

It was bad enough when Alan Jones indulged in a warehouse lifestyle at the north end of Newtown, while railing at the latte swilling set, but how does Bleagh live with himself? Why, he's miles and miles from Eastern Creek.

As for the actual thoughts he laid down, calling them thoughts turned out to be a polite exaggeration:

That's it? He's promising to become a useless gnat, a flea in the ear and a pain in the arse, an irritating and infuriating component of political life?

So what's new? Is that all he's got to say? A confirmation of the long bleeding obvious?

What we can determine is that living amongst the greenies has atrophied the Bleagh writing style. You could hardly call it a column, let alone a witty one. If he was writing at a penny a word, he'd be starving in a garret singing Questo Mar Rosso:

Questo Mar Rosso 
mi ammollisce e assidera 
come se addosso mi piovesse in stille, 
Per vendicarmi, 
affogo un Faraon!

By golly that's about as useful as the Bleagh piece:

This Sea of Red passage 
makes me shiver,
I feel as if it were flowing right over me 
droplet by droplet. 
So in revenge 
I'll make Pharaoh drown!

Yep, the same childish petulance, the same adolescent thirst for revenge ...

Well here's a solution for little Timmie. Leave Newtown at once. Flee to Penrith and join the footy club. You'll be much closer to Eastern Creek. Or be bolder, head to the north coast and stand in a northern electorate, clutching your CSG prospectus. See how many votes you get, like Barners' mates did. Or better still, head off to Darwin and write for the NT News. They need thinking journalists like you to churn out croc stories ...

Enough already, because really that's just a pleasantry.

You see, this morning the pond was confronted by a deep existential and ontological issue, which is beyond ordinary thinking ...

Why does Amanda Vanstone exist?

Well no doubt on a personal level she leads an entirely pleasant life. Perhaps that should be rephrased. Why is it that Amanda Vanstone exists to keep droning on, in Fairfax and Radio National?

Which brings the pond to an admission, an acknowledgment of a life change, because the the pond has stopped listening to RN.

The new programming doesn't suit. Sorry, that's it, done and dusted.

ABC FM has been the winner, though it has to be said that their programming during the day seems designed to treat music as a form of valium. Noisy, upsetting music from the twentieth century? Forget it, put another jolly composer of tunes on the pedestal and bliss out ...

But back to Amanda.

You see the reptiles are in a state of euphoria, wildly excited about the Mike Baird win, and Tony Abbott leading everyone out of the wilderness and a new world order established, and the smell of blood and victory in the air, as the hounds tree the fox ...

So who's the pond to trample on dreams and be a spoilsport this bright Monday? Why point out the first bit of carbon on Baird's rings? (Metaphor pre-approved by little Timmie).

Where's your greenie rage now Mr Bleagh? Send 'em off to the killing fields, but keep them out of the pub until they turn 21 ... what would Warnie say to that?

Yes, it's going to be interesting times in the upper house with a barking mad fundamentalist Christian throwing his weight around.

But okay, the pond admits it. We've been delaying the existential issue, the ontological crisis.

Here it is:

What follows is a desperate attempt to entertain, a piece of fluff as substantial and as insightful as the lint in a clothes dryer, and as useful ...

It reminded the pond of that Leunig cartoon the other day (and more Leunig here):

Oh sure, it's an old riff ...

But it does offer a clue as to why Vanstone exists. Sadists need their masochists and masochists need their sadists.

Could there be anything more sadistic than this sort of bold thinking?

Take the issue of pensions and how we are going to manage their enormous cost for years to come. It seems almost impossible to have a sensible debate about this without being accused of wanting to make all pensioners eat cat food.

Cat food?!

This in a piece ostensibly deploring the light weight media offering entertainment rather than incisive policy analysis? Wholegrain food for the brain rather than lightweight cat food?

The rest of the piece is equally brainless and trivial. Cue this presentation of the alleged problem:

Take the issue of pensions and how we are going to manage their enormous cost for years to come. It seems almost impossible to have a sensible debate about this without being accused of wanting to make all pensioners eat cat food. With more people pension age, living longer and staying on the pension longer, you don't need to be a rocket scientist to work out that the age pension bill is going to keep going up. The leave-things-as-they-are option has one thing that does change dramatically: the cost. Perhaps we have become so used to focusing on the cost of new proposals that we simply forget to focus on the cost of maintaining commitments. 
We have another problem pushing up the cost too. Can you honestly say you do not know anyone who has arranged their affairs or that of their parents to ensure they get the pension? When I was a kid the pension was there for those unlucky enough not to have been able to provide for themselves. Now we have great swaths of our middle class using top-notch accountants and lawyers to shift their assets around in such a way as to ensure they get you and me to pay them the pension. They can do this because we do not take the family home into account in the assets test. So Mary in Mosman can live in a house worth squillions that she doesn't want to leave because the garden "keeps her alive" and still get the pension. At the other end of the spectrum, Michael, who lives in a modest home in a country town, may have squillions in shares and playing around with them keeps him alive, but he can't get even a part-pension. It isn't fair but if anyone talks about including the family home in the asset test for the pension, we will see lots of old women in the media looking like everyone's favourite granny and getting all glassy-eyed at the prospect of having to sell the family home and leave their garden. It is, of course, poppycock. She does not have to sell the family home, she can get a reverse mortgage and live there. Look behind her and there will be some avaricious children who want the rest of us to pay her a pension so she can stay in the family home they hope to inherit. They don't want her selling their inheritance and going to live in Michael's country town as she lives off her investments. 

Um okay, so the rich are getting access. What to do about that?

Yes, yes, the pond knows. Ask a question like that and what do you get?

Here's the Vanstone solution, and what do you know, it sounds like current federal government thinking, and in the process, she's turned into Helen Lovejoy:

Then there is the rate of the pension. A pension indexed to the CPI so that it retains its real value seems fair. Our pension indexation is more generous than that. If everyone else's earnings go up more than CPI, the pension rises by more than CPI. Nice, if you have a constant mining boom and not too many new pensioners. But put that policy into a world where there is a tsunami of new entrants to the pension, a mining boom that is over and an uncertain price for our biggest exports and you are playing Russian roulette with our kids' future. 

Yes, yes, speaking of Russian roulette, hundred thousand dollar university degrees seem much fairer. When will we ever achieve the nirvana of the United States and New Federal Data Show Student Loan Borrowers Suffering More Than Previously Believed?

Where's the poodle when he's needed?

But back to the deep thinking debater:

Don't expect to see a sensible debate about all this. It isn't the stuff entertainment is made of. Entertainment usually requires a good guy and a bad guy. Oddly, the good guy in real life is the one who wants to make the pension affordable and sustainable into the future. That may mean not cutting the real value of today's pension but merely not allowing it to increase more than that real value. Watch out for the conjuring conman, he will be out there telling the world that the good guy is really evil. Why? Because we want our news to be entertaining.

Did you just read that? A bubble headed booby deplores the way debates are reduced to simplistic notions of good and bad, and then reduces the actual discussion to the wheeling out of a "conjuring conman"!

It doesn't get much more risible than that, especially when you consider Vanstone had set the scene for her pension "debate" with this sort of guff:

...we will pay a price for this indifference to substance. Arguably we already are because our desire to be entertained leads to theatrical one-line politics, the biff-biff attacks and responses, and the desperate desire for journalists to have a "gotcha" moment. Indeed, it could be said to feed all the things we say we dislike about politics. Ask for a circus and expect to get one. Ignore the diligent if perhaps dull politician and expect to see more people who are prepared to entertain.

This from the land of three word slogans and nattering negativity ... along with a persistent refusal to tackle the perks of the rich, instead insisting on a collective punishment for the poor.

There was plenty more of this sort of righteous twaddle as if there was some golden age when dullness was a virtue and personality didn't matter:

More and more we see media coverage of what one might call the game of politics. It focuses on the way in which the participants go about their business. Was the budget well received? Is the minister a good communicator? Does this or that person have the right approach or the right demeanour? These are all the sorts of questions we see asked and answered every day. 

In their place they are important questions because they may explain something about how crossbenchers are thinking and thus whether a specific policy will be able to pass through the Senate. These things may also affect how we the public thinks and thus how we might vote at any election. What they don't tell us is anything substantive about policy. Yes, we may learn that it was considered too harsh or unfair, but that is a comment about its popularity, not its substance.

And so after setting the scene, it was on to the populist rhetoric about cat food, won't someone think of the children's future, and conjuring conmen ...

And at the end of it all?

Well it only took the first comment out of the block to point out Vanstone had dressed herself in the emperor's policy clothes for the day ...

I agree with that it is far too easy for relatively wealthy people to arrange their affairs to get the pension. 
But your solution doesn't tackle that - you want to reduce it for people who do deserve it. And this is the big problem with this government, the proposed solutions don't match the rhetoric.

Done and dusted in a couple of lines, and all the Vanstone blather so many hot air balloons ...

Which doesn't solve the pond's existential and ontological crisis.

Why does someone as dumb as Vanstone keep getting space in Fairfax and the ABC?

Why not give commenter Glen a go?

Well he's more incisive and to the point, and without all the tedious rhetorical bluster ...

You know, blathering on about meaningful debate avoiding the distractions of the game of politics ... so we could have have a calm, considered, unhysterical, rational, non-populist and substantive discussion about policy matters ... and then conjuring up an Australia that's playing Russian Roulette with the lives of children ... like a dire Cimino movie:

Okay, at last the pond gets it...

Here you go kiddies, here's the pond's contribution to the substantial, substantive policy debate:

But that doesn't offer an answer to that ontological issue. Why Amanda why? Or speaking of the Simpsons, should that be The Amanda The, in German?

Sunday, March 29, 2015

In which Fairfax killed quality journalism, and Netflix might well kill big Mal's fraudband ...

Is 2015 the year of the stupid, click-baiting, trolling Fairfax splash?

Yes, see above.

Actual story headline?

See below...

Difference between 'killed' and 'set to change'?

The difference between quality journalism and Fairfax, now so mired in click anxiety that almost every story has some stupid click bait angle attached to it ...

2015: the year Fairfax killed off quality newspapers?

Well it makes as much sense ... and has as much credibility as its report of a conference at which the usual players push their usual bandwagons ...

Damned if the pond will spring for a link to it.

But at least the pond can add the splash to its extensive collection: the cinema killed the theatre, and while it was at it, the novel and poetry, television killed the cinema, and while it was at it the novel and poetry, and television also killed the radio, and comics killed teenage morality, and while they were at it, the novel and poetry, and the internet killed them all, except the intertubes seems to be full to overflowing with novels, and poetry, and films and the odd bit of television ...

Well here's another angle. Netflix might kill big Mal's copper pipe dream.

Now the pond isn't bitter about having to wind back its streaming to the lowest setting available to watch a two minute trailer, as a way of avoiding the whirling, spinning death wheel of buffer doom ... and that's using a HFC connection ...

The pond treasured this advice - more here:

Uh huh, what fun.

But what if Netflix still manages to catch on at SD or lower?

Why we could end up in a North American situation.

How about Netflix takes up 9.5% of upstream traffic on the North American internet ...?

What about Netflix Is Now a Whopping One-Third of Peak Internet Traffic?

Uh huh. And where does Australia sit in terms of the Ookla Speed Index, here?

Behind New Zealand, of course, cruising at 28.09 mbps, but also behind the United States, which manages 34.18, while thanks to big Mal, Australia manages a grand average of 16.87 ...

Not so long ago, Tom Wheeler and the FCC decided to redefine broadband:

....the FCC recently voted to redefine broadband as a minimum of 25Mbps down and 3Mbps upstream—a significant boost from the previous standard of 4Mbps down and 1Mbps up. 
 Because the population is concentrated in metropolitan areas that typically offer better service, 83 percent of Americans already have access to Internet connections that meet the new definition of broadband. Wheeler stressed, however, that one in six Americans does not have access to 25Mbps Internet service, and rural and tribal areas are being disproportionately left in the broadband dust. (Forbes, here, with forced ad).

Meanwhile, on another planet, for the pitiful few that have it, the pitiful NBN is still offering as its first speed tier, 12mbps down and 1mbps up (here).

That's not broadband, that's not even a small pocket knife, that's fraudband ...

But at least, big Mal might say, our average is better than Chile, Madagascar, Belarus, Faroe Islands and Puerto Rica ...

Big deal, eastern suburbs fraudster and ponce ...

Now these figures don't have that much relevance to boots on the ground, or video in the tubes, but if the streaming services do catch on, the splash won't be that the internet killed TV, or even that video killed the radio star, since the last time the pond took any interest, old farts like John Laws and the parrot could still be found burbling away on AM...

No, the splash will be that streaming killed the internet down under, or at least the fraudband being peddled by that merry trickster and prankster, big Mal ...

And so to a cartoon reminder that you can get that old timer, Geoff Pryor at the Saturday paper, here, wherein big Mal is shown taking care of cellulite, and Burke and Wills are preparing the budget:

In which the pond meditates on a greenieocalypse, and sundry branches of religion, not least the angry Sydney Anglicans, before discovering a false messiah prone to lying ...

(Above: and the full story with hot links at the ABC here).

Oh no, not Newtown.

Not sweet hipster, tattooed, toilet bearded, 1950s dress-wearing, Newtown, suddenly part of the greenieocalypse ...

And oh lordy, long absent lordy, what will it mean for the upper house?

Now will anyone in the commentariat notice, or more to the point, will either of the major parties notice and pay attention?

Or will they simply set up border patrols to try to isolate the disease?

Will it surprise Mike Baird, as his explicit intention is to destroy Newtown, courtesy of a motorway?

Will anyone notice the way the inner west has turned on both major parties, given their rampant indifference, and the way they routinely shrug at the latte sipper stereotype while trampling over the inner west?

Probably not. What's it matter how gulag dwellers vote?

But enough of politics, because today is meditation day, and it's time to get the show off with a bang, thanks to Melbourne priest apologises for derogatory comments about Jill Meagher.

Now the pond usually tries to refrain from displays of feminist outrage. Women's shows, like men's shows, have little appeal, as opposed to people shows.

But every so often, the complete contempt for women within the church and within the legal system - in this case in Victoria - gets too much to bear.

A Catholic priest has sparked outrage at a primary school in Melbourne's west over controversial comments he made about Jill Meagher's death at an end-of-term service. 
The priest reportedly held up a newspaper with Adrian Bayley's face on it, before mentioning rape and murder to students, staff and about 100 other parishioners at St Christopher's Primary School at Airport West on Friday. 
The 3AW Drive program, presented by Tom Elliott, was told the priest then said that if Ms Meagher had been "more faith-filled" she "would have been home in bed" and "not walking down Sydney Rd at 3am" when she was raped and murdered by Bayley in September 2012. (3AW here).

Okay, the pond routinely expects that sort of monstrous stupidity from the church, trying to instil fear in impressionable young minds.

It's the legal system in Victoria that really got the pond going, with news that Bayley had been done for some twenty crimes of rape, and yet the legal system - women in that system included - bent over backwards to keep him in the streets, because after all, sex workers aren't real women ...

Two of his victims, a Dutch backpacker and a St Kilda sex worker were raped just months before Bayley murdered Ms Meagher. He was on parole at the time after serving eight years in jail for a string of rapes of sex workers in 2000. Bayley has more than 20 rape convictions.

Now the pond isn't usually in the 'lock 'em up' brigade of punitive solutions,  but surely someone within the system might have noticed the predilection, instead of favouring Bayley with a number of secret trials ...

But what's the bet that consideration of the issues within the Victorian legal system will be downplayed, because after all, it's only women and really they shouldn't be out in the streets at 3 am. That's asking for it. They should have been in bed at 9 pm after doing their wifely duty by their hubbie, and all will be well in the world ...

But enough of the anger. How about a bit of humour with Marcus Bachmann Refused Service in Indiana, Store Owner Assumed He Was Gay?

Oh sure, it's a spoof, but we can all dream a little ...

Meanwhile, the pond has in recent times paid little attention to the angry Sydney Anglicans, and how remiss that is, because the Reverend Mark Thompson, the principal of Moore Theological College, which is currently turning its Newtown bunker into a gigantic fortress, has delivered a most splendid denunciation available on the angry Sydney Anglican site here.

So angry and stern and denunciatory - and let's face it, with a tinge of the barking mad - did the good Reverend sound, that at the end, the good Reverend felt the need to withdraw a little from his extremist rage:

The first edition of this article concluded with a quote from Gal 1.9 and Paul’s anathematising of anyone preaching a false gospel. On reflection, quoting this verse may have created the impression that anyone who has expressed something similar to or touching upon a gospel of inclusion or unity or cosmic renewal or social justice was henceforth anathema. This was not at all my intention. Paul opposed Peter in Galatia because Peter was in the wrong on a gospel issue — this did not render Peter immediately cursed!

Oh dear, what a cop-out. But everyone knows, good Reverend, that only angry Sydney Anglicans know the wise and true theological path to eternal bliss, and that everyone else must be damned heretics, worthy of anathema, and eternal life in hell.

Surely there's no point in fudging the point! They're all cursed, let them rot. Enough of this inclusionary nonsense, let's have some decent sound exclusion ...

The gospel of inclusion has swept many parts of the United States. According to this gospel, there are no grounds on which anyone could be left outside the kingdom. No matter what background, belief or behaviour — all must be recognised as belonging in the kingdom, because no one is excluded. The grain of truth in this view is the simple fact that according to the New Testament the gospel does cross what many in the first century considered insuperable barriers and so includes the outcast, the marginalised and the foreigner in the blessings first promised to Israel. All who come in repentance and faith are welcomed. But this is not everyone and it does not disregard persistence in immorality of whatever kind. In the end, this view of the gospel requires some imaginative exegesis of vast swathes of the New Testament (not to mention the Old Testament). How does it square with the picture of the end, where amongst those outside the city include ‘the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practises falsehood’ (Rev 22.15)? Not everyone is inside. The gospel excludes those who, tragically, will not come (Mk 4.11–12; Matt 25.41–46).

And as only Sydney Anglicans are inside, and routinely are known to come, only Sydney Anglicans will be saved. QED.

And won't that come in handy when we look at the sins of politicians, who love and practise falsehood ...

But with the Catholics and the angry Anglicans ticked off, that leaves the pond without a mention of the infidels who call others infidels.

These days fundie Islamics are really beyond satire, or comprehension, but right at the moment, the pond is reading Mark Litta's appreciation Slouching Toward Mecca,  the third of his articles on Michel Houellebecq's Soumission, which handily is outside the paywall here, at least for the moment.

The logic of Rediger (the name is a play on a real academic reviled and ruined by Islamists) in the book should appeal to the likes of the good Reverend Thompson:

At a certain point he (Rediger) couldn’t ignore how much the Islamists’ message overlapped with his own. They, too, idealized the life of simple, unquestioning piety and despised modern culture and the Enlightenment that spawned it. They believed in hierarchy within the family, with wives and children there to serve the father. They, like he, hated diversity—especially diversity of opinion—and saw homogeneity and high birthrates as vital signs of civilizational health. And they quivered with the eros of violence. All that separated him from them was that they prayed on rugs and he prayed at an altar. But the more Rediger reflected, the more he had to admit that in truth European and Islamic civilizations were no longer comparable. By all the measures that really mattered, post-Christian Europe was dying and Islam was flourishing. If Europe was to have a future, it would have to be an Islamic one.

Why yes, that's very Catholic in its attitude to women, and worthy of angry Sydney Anglicanism.

And so it's back to the patriarchy:

The Roman Empire lasted centuries, the Christian one a millennium and a half. In the distant future, historians will see that European modernity was just an insignificant, two-century-long deviation from the eternal ebb and flow of religiously grounded civilizations. 
This Spenglerian prophecy leaves François untouched; his concerns are all prosaic, like whether he can choose his wives. Still, something keeps him from submitting. As for Rediger, between sips of a fine Meursault and while his “Hello Kitty”–clad fifteen-year-old wife (one of three) brings in snacks, he goes in for the kill. As forbidden music plays in the background, he defends the Koran by appealing—in a brilliant Houellebecqian touch—to Dominique Aury’s sadomasochistic novel The Story of O. 
The lesson of O, he tells François, is exactly the same as that of the Holy Book: that “the summit of human happiness is to be found in absolute submission,” of children to parents, women to men, and men to God. And in return, one receives life back in all its splendor. Because Islam does not, like Christianity, see human beings as pilgrims in an alien, fallen world, it does not see any need to escape it or remake it. The Koran is an immense mystical poem in praise of the God who created the perfect world we find ourselves in, and teaches us how to achieve happiness in it through obedience. Freedom is just another word for wretchedness. 
And so François converts, in a short, modest ceremony at the Grande Mosquée de Paris. He does so without joy or sadness. He feels relief, just as he imagines his beloved Huysmans did when he converted to Catholicism. Things would change. He would get his wives and no longer have to worry about sex or love; he would finally be mothered. Children would be an adjustment but he would learn to love them, and they would naturally love their father. Giving up drinking would be more difficult but at least he would get to smoke and screw. So why not? His life is exhausted, and so is Europe’s. It’s time for a new one—any one.

Indeed. The Story of O as a guide to religious thinking ...

 ... so the continent is adrift and susceptible to a much older temptation, to submit to those claiming to speak for God. Who remains as remote and as silent as ever.

But let's not be gloomy that She remains as remote and as silent as ever.

She works in most peculiar ways, and through some strange vessels, including the good Reverend Thompson, railing at those who practise falsehoods.

Which brings us, as a closer, to Tony Abbott. As the angry Sydney Anglican reminds us:

We are not at liberty to redefine it for a different age or introduce a ‘full gospel’ as if the gospel as it was preached by Jesus and then by his apostles was deficient in some way or other. We have no authority to omit part of it for any reason, least of all that we are uncomfortable with it. We have a responsibility to pass on what we have received, undiluted and unaugmented. It is not our message, it is God’s message to us.

Uh huh, except of course that the angry Sydney Anglicans always preclude the old testament as a message because of its sundry tricky passages about stonings, dietary habits and other comical absurdities ... ah Leviticus, Leviticus ...neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee ... not to mention drip dry shirts and skirts ...

....because the authentic word of god must be diluted to taste, and augmented to hellfire and brimstone, by the angry Sydney Anglicans... though the pond offers to be the first in line to stone the architects and builders of the monstrosity at the end of King street, currently rising like a tower of Babel ...

Never mind, let us remind ourselves what Revelation has to say about liars, along with others:

... as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death. (Revelation 21:8).

Indeed, indeed. Is there an exemplary liar in the house?

That's in the Graudian here,  and so sinners can continue to slouch towards Bethlehem, or at least towards the delights of the budget, and the subsequent backflips ...

Yep, you don't have to head off to mathematicians to realise Tony Abbott is a liar: It's a mathematical truth.

You can just enjoy the memes instead:

So like all liars it seems he's off to hell for all eternity, unless the Catholic confessional really does work and the Pellists have a special dispensation to lie for political advantage and personal gain.

So where does that leave us? You know, eternal damnation is all very well, but what about the present? The here and now?

Well if you listen to the angry Sydney Anglicans forget about the present. Instead you'd better watch out for a really bitter, angry, judgmental god.

Is She fucked in the head or what, though it seems there might be hope, and some pie, or at least some porridge, in the sky in the bye and bye ...

The salvation the gospel brings is salvation from the judgment and wrath of God before all else. All other things, social disintegration, ecological catastrophe, political tyranny, economic loss, dashed hopes in so many areas — all other things pale in the light of salvation from the judgment and the holy, justified anger of the living God. We are not simply the passive victims of sinful structures and forces outside of us; we are sinners who are active and responsible for the sins we have committed. The absolutely right and just and pure wrath of God at sin is exactly what we all deserve. Yet because of Jesus and his death and resurrection, those who are his are saved from ‘the wrath to come’. That is the good news of the gospel.

Wrath, holy anger and so on and so forth, and the rest doesn't matter?

Ah well, the pond will just have to settle for the promise of an election in which liars are judged, along with a couple of golden oldie cartoons:

Saturday, March 28, 2015

In which the pond does a cut-up Burroughs style and challenges readers to guess the reptile ...

(Above: an oldie but a goodie Moir, give him a click here).

The pond divides city dwellers into two kinds of people, the New York and the LA kind.

The pond is in the New York camp ...

Driving in New York is a nightmare, but in compensation there's a great subway system.

Getting around in LA is a nightmare, full stop. Taxis are useless, public transport a joke, and perforce everyone still drives. An hour spent on the 101 in peak hour can produce a zen understanding of life, or at least a realisation that the more roads shuffling cars from place to place, the more a city's roads can resemble a gigantic car park.

As a result, the city, as Raymond Chandler once noted, has the personality of a paper cup, though really it should be the personality of an exhaust pipe ...

New York went through a great change in the 1960s with the defeat of Robert Moses, and his Lower Manhattan Expressway  and his Mid-Mahattan Expressway, along with other re-thinking of the city's attitude to transport.

You can still see Moses' vision in the Cross Bronx Expressway, which degutted the south Bronx. Needless to say, driving on it is a nightmare, a very LA experience ...

All the signs are that today NSW will elect a new Moses, and all the signs are that he will do a Moses, but regrettably not of the biblical kind.

No doubt he's an amiable pup - he shows a remarkable enthusiasm - but luckily the pond will be dead before he manages to kill vast swathes of Sydney, while facilitating motorways and the motor car ... turning the town into a large mobile car park ...

Luckily for him, he's opposed by a completely clueless ALP ...

And with those cheerful thoughts out of the way, it's time to get on with reptile watch, and lordy lordy, what do you know?

The reptiles have abandoned the digital whirling commentariat finger of doom, the rotating whirlygig splash at the top of the digital domain.

Yes the reptilian magic faraway tree promising new lizard pleasures each day has gone. Packed its tent and stole into the night, as Longfellow used to say:

Then read from the treasured volume 
The poem of thy choice, 
And lend to the rhyme of the poet 
The beauty of thy voice. 
And the night shall be filled with music, 
And the cares, that infest the day, 
Shall fold their tents, like the Arabs, 
And as silently steal away. (and the earlier stuff here, from the days when vacuous rhyming really meant something).


Instead of the whirling digital finger of doom, the reptiles have substituted a 'latest news' feature, and none of these stories carries a gold bar signifying a Murdochian ransom must be paid to access them.

Now it would be cynical of the pond to suggest that the reptiles are hurting and that they badly need some clicks to justify their advertising, or to propose that the reptiles, for all their ratbag ideological zeal, have finally come to understand a commercial reality - you'd have to be a loon to pay to read their rabid reptile commentariat for pleasure, and it's a lot easier to click on free news, just like you can on the click bait, trolling mad, sister publication, the entirely free portal to Murdoch la la land, news.com.au...

You can still get the Oz rotating 'opinions from hel'l feature, but now it's on the opinion pages, where you can, at the same time, see all the opinion pieces laid out in linear fashion, like corpses on display in a mortuary.

At the same time, the opinion pieces on visible offer seem to have lightened a little. There's Jeremy Clarkson - oh how Chairman Rupert loves the man - and Nikki Gemmell and a piece of fluff called P Adams reminiscing about Waggers ... as a kind of artificial sweetener for the punters wanting to avoid ideological rage ... you know, that angry white man thing ...

Yes, he looks Islamic.

Incidentally, the pond's readers are slow to catch on to the Islamic threat.

Didn't they realise Hitler was an Islam lover and wanted to establish a grand caliphate? Or some such thing, if you can be bothered to read Muslim Brotherhood & Hitler.

Of course Stalin was a great supporter of Islam and Sharia law too ... Stalin on Islam. In fact the pond is aware that almost every public figure on the record is somehow tainted by their desire to bring about the caliphate ... look at Mike Baird and his caliphate of motorways ...

So many loons, so little time.

Back the pond scuttles to the safety of the reptiles ...

It seems, pending the day's election results, that there's still a great deal of anxiety in the air. Even if things go well today, there's still that pending budget looming,

Which leads the pond to a challenge.

You see, the pond has always been a lover of the William Burroughs' trick of cut and paste. Well Burroughs called it the "cut-up method" and deemed it a most satisfactory form of divination.

Okay, let's start with a clue. Here's the openings for the dog consorter and the bouffant one, both deeply concerned about the future, worried about the budget, jolly Joe, and determined to read the runes:

Phew, feel like a break?

Okay, the pond has played fair thus far.

But now for the cut-up. Which bits of what follows forms what part of which column?

Eyes starting to blur? Feeling a little dizzy?

Perhaps you need to head off to a diner for a relaxing sandwich?

Oops, that went a little wrong.

And sorry the challenge to scale the everest of words has only just begun. Which party wrote which of these words?

It's cruel isn't it?

If that doesn't cure the most hardened political junkie, the pond frankly doesn't know what will do the trick...

So much blather, and so little time ...

But there is a moral to the story.

And as usual it involves that wise Papist, the Moses Pope, and more Pope here.

You see, you can cut through a swathe of reptilian blather and here it is:

Now remember to wave at everybody if you attend a polling booth in Newtown today. You might be waving to the pond.

After all if the passengers of the Titanic could display a little good cheer ...

Friday, March 27, 2015

In which the pond goes swimming in the pool of tears with Malcolm Turnbull, Minister for Terrorism Advice, world's leading climate scientist Maurice Newman, and the Ministers for Copper and Direct Action ...

(Above: and more Popemobile humour here. Go on, give him a click).

Dear stray passing terrorist, this important message from the Australian government:

“If you have a device, and if I call you just through the mobile phone network, then there will be a record at my carrier that I’ve called your number,” he told Sky’s David Speers. 
“If on the other hand I’ve called you by Skype, or a voice call on Viber, I send you a message on Whatsapp or Wickr or Threema or Signal, you know, Telegram, there’s a gazillion of them. 
“Or indeed, if we have a Facetime call, the telco can see that I have made a connection to a Skype server or a Whatsapp server, it doesn’t see that I’ve had any connection with you.” (here, with more handy attitudes).

Oh and stray passing terrorist, remember this handy hint:

"Your web-surfing history is a matter for you," Turnbull said. "You've all got VPNs (virtual private networks) anyway. 

"All of you appear to be somewhere in Iowa when you go online ... I know that ... anyway, I won't go on," he said with a smile. (here, with more handy attitudes and tips).

Yes, the man who's supervising the slow roll out of fraudband - slower than the original proposal, and at the same or greater expense as the original proposal - to deliver a service that will immediately need an expensive upgrade if Netflix is ever to pose a real threat - is now the Minister for Terrorist advice ... (and you don't need Clarke and Dawe to send up the blithering ponce here).

Now please, stray passing terrorist, can the pond suggest in the politest way, that you piss off and go about your business in peace and quiet, because we have some very important business to attend to, and it's all there in No limits: rights holders could potentially block hundreds of piracy websites in Australia with a single strike.

The pond no longer wonders why it's down the rabbit hole with Alice ... it just goes swimming in the pool of tears with the mouse, while listening to its harrowing tales of monumental misdeeds ...

And now maestro - since traditionalists flinch from maestra - could we have a modest drum roll, and perhaps a little organ music, building up in ever so gently for an important public announcement:

Oh okay, enough already, sheesh, talk about going over the top in a most peculiar Germanic way.

But wait, the fanfare was important, because this day the pond is inordinately pleased to present the further thoughts of arguably the world's greatest climate scientist.

Now Moorice's qualifications and extensive research and many, many publications for the reptiles at the lizard Oz are widely recognised and world renowned.

It seems incontrovertible to assert that he has made many invaluable scientific advances, and is considered by many as a notch above the invaluable scientific work performed by the likes of the Bolter and Lord Monckton.

Yet routinely Moorice hides his light behind a bushel - which incidentally is a phrase with a biblical inspiration, as can be found in Matthew 5:15:

Neither do men light a lamp, and put it under a bushel, but on a lamp stand; and it gives light unto all that are in the house.

Indeed, indeed, and it therefore seems shocking, outrageous that the reptiles at the lizard Oz persist in refusing to make the lamp available to all, so that all might see and understand, and instead put Moorice's scientific papers behind a paywall.

This is scientific sacrilege, so it's the pond's sacred duty to help out. Let her rip Moorice:

Now that's the sort of seminal scientific advice that the pond loves.

Where else would you get a better description of CO2?

Following Mr Newman's advice, the pond is going to fill a room with the lovely gas and sit in it for a couple of hours, before dissolving an extreme amount in water, and then having a bath.

You know that old chestnut, the surest way of spotting a denialist, that carbon dioxide is a lovely gas. The next thing you know you'll be swilling down coca cola like a Dennis Jensen because coke is really good for your teeth ...

As for all those other impeccable bits of cherry picked hand me downs ... why the pond was gobsmacked with awe and admiration ...

Talk about science ...

Now let's not hear any dribble from NASA, like Research Links Extreme Summer Heat Events to Global Warming.

Why that's old 2012 news, and everyone knows that NASA is really a bunch of pinko commie perverts out to help the UN establish a world government.

So do go on Moorice: 

And there you have it. Better to help fuck the world than do anything in our own nest.

And of course the views herein expressed are not just those of Maurice Newman. They are the views of Tony Abbott, and they are the views of many in the federal government, and they are the views of the editorial team at The Australian which routinely prints denialist tracts, and they are the views of chairman Rupert, himself a wondrous expert on climate science:

Oh yes, there's some knockdown science for you ...

Is it any wonder this is doing the twitterverse rounds?

And finally the pond is in despair.

What sort of reader would blithely suggest that the pond head off to Auspol on Twitter to keep in touch with the loons?

Why the next thing you know, the pond might have given up science class with Moorice and returned to brooding about broadband in big Mal's technology class, which favours exactly the same sort of technology as was deployed in the great overland telegraph.

Telegraphs were cheap to install, the main cost being the copper wires. No heavy engineering was involved, and the telegraph machines themselves were cheap and easy to manufacture. By 1858, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide were connected. Tasmania, not far behind, was connected in 1859. The telegraph provided a means of exchanging messages between the distant cities and towns of Australia, thousands of miles away in the mere space of minutes. The reality of connecting people so immediately enhanced the desire to connect Australia in a similar way with the world. News from afar came on the Royal Mail Ships, but it typically took sixty to eighty days to reach Australia from Europe in the 1850s, reduced to about forty days in the 1870s. (here).

You see? It's all in the magic of copper, and by golly what was good enough for our Victorian ancestors is damn well good enough for today's mob of peasants. Oh sure the uppity Chinese might be doing it differently, but what would they know?

All you get with Auspol is restlessness ...

And there's a lot more of that subversive, some would say treasonous rubbish on that hashtag.

Why you can even cop a link to this sort of treacherous greenie nonsense:

And so on. Of course, you can read Lenore Taylor here if you like, but enough of this twitter nonsense, the pond is off to have a kool aid sherbert with the reptile lizards of Oz.

Om, om, Moorice good, Chairman Rupert great ...

And so to a cartoon from David Rowe, more Rowe here, and for a little background reading, why not disinter the Warburton report, available here?

Au contraire ... everything's fine in the pool of tears.

Waiter, another kool aid kocktail if you will, and make it a double ... and then we'll be off for a swim in carbonated water ...