Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In the lull before the budget storm, there's just time to celebrate Singapore, and establish Stasi land ...

(Above: Bishopgate rolls on thanks to Pope, and more Pope here).

Look at that pensioner scarper from Mathias, dropping his cane while he runs. Run pensioner run ... what fun it is to mug a pensioner as a way to start the day and get the budget into shape...

But the chortling with glee led the pond to a sickening realisation.

You see, the pond spends so much time covering the howling, whining, moaning commentariat that there's rarely time to take pleasure in a useful piece of scribbling. Each day is usually a din of noise worse than a dog kennel, with all sorts of dog consorters barking at the moon.

Come on down Ross Gittins, you old curmudgeon, please the pond:

It's here at Fairfax and what a blast from the past it is.

Ever since the 'funding religious indoctrination is good and just and right and proper and so' got accepted by both major parties long ago, there's very few in the mainstream media that bother to put their head above the parapets and bother the god botherers, for fear of having their head knocked off.

Why immediately there'd be charges of sectarianism, with the charge being led by the likes of that prattling Polonius, Hendo.

Few dare challenge the Ponzi scheme that is the Catholic church, or its acquisition of property, or the way its voracious appetite for taxpayer funding is matched by other schools, some of a deeply fundamentalist persuasion.

Yet the points that Gittins makes are unexceptional, more the bleeding obvious:

If you were a pollie, which would you choose: risk being preached against on the Sunday before election day, or be photographed beside a beaming archbishop as you sign the deal?  
Recognising the Catholics' superior bargaining power, the other religious and independent schools tend to ride on their coat-tails. 
Late last month the Catholic Education Commission announced that in the NSW election campaign it would "play an advocacy role in the interests of students, parents and teachers in the Catholic education sector". Catholic schools are leading the charge in asking for more public funds. Catholic schools are leading the charge in asking for more public funds. 
Its "key policy issue" is that, in the light of the expected growth in the number of schoolchildren, the state government "must increase its capital funding to Catholic schools to help Catholic schools enrol their share of this growth".

By article's end, Mr Gittins expresses the pious hope that NSW politicians won't fall for the pleas of Catholics out for yet another grab of taxpayer funding:

For religious or other groups to say they have school facilities they wish to make available for the education of kids - kids of their own choosing in locations of their own choosing - is one thing. For those groups to argue governments have an obligation to subsidise their provision of additional facilities so their share of the overall school population doesn't drop is quite another.

But both the contenders for the NSW crown have yammered on at length about their faith-based approach to policy-making.

So good luck with all that Mr Gittins. What's the bet the pollies will glad hand the Catholics and in the process feel obliged to fund all the other fundamentalists with their begging bowls?

Every so often the pond feels that the best late career strategy might be to set up a Free Church of the Flying Pastafarian, and demand government subsidies for helping free the minds of children. Healthy minds and healthy stomachs, and a free bowl of mystical spaghetti a day ...

How about it Mr Gittins, feel like chipping in to fund a chaplain or three? Oh never mind, we'll just approach the federal government, Tony's sure to understand.

Meanwhile, back in reptile la la land, the reptiles were shocked and appalled that the ABC hadn't joined in the universal reptile celebration of the joys of a soft dictatorship designed to turn a town into a nice little family shop.

How the reptiles shed tears - they routinely shed them for all the tin pot dictators doing the rounds of Asia, no doubt inspired by their very own tin pot dictator, the Chairman:

Shocking stuff, Oz editorialist. How right you are to be indignant and outraged.

The pond was frankly appalled that when listening to the ABC, all we could hear was this sort of shocking tribute, reproduced under the outrageous headline Lee Kuan Yew Warned Australia Could Be the White Trash of Asia:

Mr Lee was a much loved figure in Singapore, but Professor Cotton said his legacy remained a mixed one. 
"There's absolutely no question that he and his people dominate the show completely," he said. 
"I mean, ask any Singapore taxi driver — the standard expression that they have for Singapore is 'Lee Jiating dian', which means 'the Lee family shop'. 
"They'll use that expression and they'll usually burst into laughter, because it captures the reality of Singapore more than anything else."

The pond would love to burst into laughter, but then always remembers that Singtel owns Optus, the ISP the pond uses, and surely it's the most half-assed, useless ISP doing the rounds, with the always grand exception of Telstra.

One of the more wondrous routines in Australia is to deplore the way inefficient governments hold on to assets, and to praise the efficiency of the private sector holding said assets ... then selling them off to an allegedly private sector company which is in fact a front for a foreign government.

But if you point out the bleeding obvious - like Optus being owned by Temasek Holdings, which is the investment arm of the Singapore government - you're immediately accused of racism, rather than indulging in a whimsical 'Alice down the hole' observation of the bizarre realities of Australian politics ...

Roll on Chinese government business fronts ... Australian assets await your benevolent private sector efficiencies ...

Meanwhile, there's a nervousness and skittishness in the air at reptile la la land.

There's the election in NSW and while it seems like a shoo-in, you never know, and the only poll that counts is the poll on the day, and while the pond will maintain its policy of voting for the Happy Birthday Party, who knows what the rest of the great unwashed might do.

Already the alarmists are rushing into print warning of the dangers:

A letter from John Howard? That's guaranteed to help the pond make up its mind ...

And then there's the impending federal budget with all its difficulties and dangers, and what with it being master-minded by jolly Joe and the Terminator's assistant, it could well turn into a major clunker.

Well it'll either do nothing about the blow out - what fun can be had with all the old talk of budget emergencies and a budget crisis of unimaginable proportions - which have suddenly and amazingly turned into promises that absolutely no horses will be startled, and all will be dull and well, and never you mind about irreconcilable contradictions.

Well let's face it, pensioners are too old and silly to be startled by the news that they'll be shaken down to save the day for jolly Joe ...

The reptiles have responded by wheeling out a one time cynic to express contrition and hope:

If you're googling you'll find it as Dreadful Newspoll numbers no doubt, but there's hope for PM.

True to title, van Onselen goes through the poll figures finding nuggets of joy and gems of hope, and the Oracle ends up seeing hope in the runes:

Be still beating heart, don't flutter those tremulous wings just yet, soon enough, soon enough jolly Joe will get to his feet and bring the glad tidings to the nation.

Oh sure the business of the last budget isn't complete.

Oh sure the federal government is about to introduce Stasi land without having the foggiest about how much it will cost, except for the absolute certainty that ISPs will charge the taxpayers more for their fraudband, and the government will also help them out, by splashing taxpayer cash at the ISPs.

What's hundreds of millions, except a little spare change?

Aren't we lucky we'll be able to store all the data cheaply on an Asian server, perhaps somewhere deep in China?

Yes, the pond for its sins was out and about last night listening to ABC's news radio and the committee sessions in the Senate on the Stasi land bill, featuring gorgeous George, his bookcase and library, responding to the questions of Senators Leyonhjelm and Ludlum with his typically barely suppressed hints of arrogance, impatience and condescension ...

There was, for example, the question of which agencies might access the metadata, and what uses they might make of it.

And when it all was boiled down, the answer was 'trust us' and trust the agencies to make decisions based on the prioritisation of their resources and tasks of the day.

The notion of trusting George Brandis, or big Mal, or any of the other Ministers doing the rounds in this area suddenly filled the pond with a deep distrust. Thank the long absent lord for the trusty, reliable VPN ...

Meanwhile, we can expect a lot more stories along the lines of the Graudian's Greens' Scott Ludlam provides tips on how to hide metadata from government.

Who knows how it will play out today, but the pond is routinely shocked that it seems only the likes of a libertarian or a greenie dare to ask the government sensible questions, and for their pains get stonewalling and insouciance ...

The upshot? The pond reckons the main result of the government's attempt to turn Australia into Stasi land, with the connivance and assistance of zinger Bill and his cohort, will be an increasing sophistication and awareness on the part of those using phones and the full to overflowing intertubes.

Now not everyone need adopt the pond's policy of only using cash. Let the supermarkets get their big data from other mug punters, there's no way that they're going to be able to track the pond's consumer habits with their totally useless card schemes.

But if you're not a paranoid like the pond, aware of the facts of the big data manipulations going down these days, at least users should think twice before giving details to anyone about anything.

Enough already.

You see the pond has been recently having much trouble with its Optus service, and this morning's post has only been put together courtesy of a little barbed wire, a stocking, string, sealing wax and an elephant's ear.

So we'll have to cut short the celebration of the reptiles celebrating the way the federal government is moving Australia a step closer to Singapore in terms of its supervision of its unruly citizenry.

How the reptiles will dance and clap hands with glee.

And now there's just time, and enough sealing wax and string left, to end with a Moir cartoon, and more Moir here:


  1. Howard's 'full-frontal' in the article box of "Foley and fluke", shows his head tilting toward that oh so familiar pose of ;'I am about to lie like a pig in shit" look.

  2. Replies
    1. It's a very interesting point UC.

      Batty is near sainthood at present, and Abbott is a confused bully presently rated worst PM in Australian history. Admittedly his time is not up, he may find a way to sink below that bar.

      If he doesn't get a real scent of the wind on domestic violence as oppossed to the endless bloody foment over "terr'ism", it's going to be another very nasty elastic band snapped back in his face.


  3. Is that a "Stun Gun" in Mathias' left hand?

  4. Sad to hear of the pond's ongoing patronage of 'Lee Jiating dian' via Lee's Optus.

    Some put their mouth where their money is:

    Henry A. Kissinger: The world will miss Lee Kuan Yew

    Drink Up Thy Zider (1967)

    1. Kissinger is seen here putting his mouth and his monika where his money will be: West Papua: The Secret War in Asia ...Not bad that, got him a seat on the board of Freeport.

      The Yanks, and liblab Oz! Ya just gotta love the "free" in that deal - with a capitol "F" too.

  5. The UK Mirror lives up to it's gutter press traditions.

    "Huge asteroid capable of wiping out entire country is on near-collision course with Earth!"

    Only problem is that the rock's closest pass will be 2.8 million miles away.

    1. The Mirror used to be an OK paper for the masses under the control of Hugh Cudlipp but went downhill after he retired.

  6. Turnbull has given some handy hints about how to avoid metadata retention. So he's undermining the very laws that he is promoting. He's not stupid, so I think we can read this as a not-so-subtle attempt to whiteant Brandis.


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