Friday, April 10, 2015

In which the pond dons its black 501s to look at a movie-mogul government in penny-pinching chaos ...

(Above: thank the long absent lord Pope is back, and what a lovely way to end the week, and give the peddlers of Popery a click here in thanks).

By golly hasn't the gravel-voiced wonder put the pedal to the metal, let the rubber hit the road, and otherwise gone full tilt in his brave attempt to be crowned King of the Luddites ...

Why if the good folk of Bogan land (we loves ya Bogan Shire, you're almost Tamworth) want a minister to launch their statue, surely he's da man ...

In the process, da mandoesn't mind any bumps or dingles, even when Cabinet ministers disagree over Australia's oil reserve.

But it's hardly surprising that Julia Bishop - as the pond has come to think of her - carries a few memories of what a doofus Macfarlane can be. Please enter the time machine and go back to Dudfella: Liberal hitman botches the job:

When the gravel-voiced Ian Macfarlane walked into Julie Bishop's Parliament House office on Wednesday afternoon, it started out as the delivery of a political death threat. 
But Mr Macfarlane's call on the deputy leader of the Liberal Party quickly exposed him to be a lousy mafioso.  
"Andrew Robb wants to be the deputy leader," he told Ms Bishop, "and we've got the numbers." 
Ms Bishop, famed for a death stare which the satirists of the Chaser depicted as powerful enough to explode a garden gnome, had a one-word reply: "Really?" She was unimpressed.


As threats go, it was a joke. If the Mafia were this bad at delivering death threats, they'd have to get out of the crime business.

Now Macfarlane's one of those useful idiots, the attendant lords you need to carry a hatchet and look in the rear vision mirror. So many politicians down under make T. S. Eliot sound like a visionary:

No! I am not Prince Tony Hamlet, nor was meant to be; 
Am an attendant lord, one that will do 
To swell a progress, start a scene or two, 
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool, 
Deferential, glad to be of use, 
Politic, cautious, and meticulous; 
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; 
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous – 
 Almost, at times, the Fool.

But such fools, blindly following the party line, can be dangerous. After listing all the mobs against Macfarlane (a considerable number) Tristan Edis in Business Spectator offered this in RET Wars: Macfarlane now on his lonesome (may be paywall affected):

Macfarlane in an interview with ABC Radio said today: 
 “32,000 [GWh] is the top limit that we can move to and still be confident that the renewable energy scheme is sustainable. If we go higher than that then we put at risk the ability of the scheme to actually build the amount of generation that’s required and therefore make the high likelihood that the scheme will default, both costing consumers dearly and pushing the price of electricity higher and also causing the scheme to collapse.” 
This is a new form of logic from the government. 
Previously they hinted they’d need to abolish the scheme because it was putting “significant pressure” on power prices.
Then their own review found it wasn’t. So they shifted to, ‘we’ll need a real 20% target because electricity demand hasn’t grown as much as everyone thought' (which we knew anyway back in 2012 so why hadn’t they explained this before the election).
Then, when this got them nowhere, they said 'we’ll go to 31,000GWh for the large-scale scheme because the small-scale solar scheme grew far more than expected and so we need this adjustment to bring it into line with the original Labor 2007 election commitment of 45,000GWh'. Then Macfarlane shifted again to 32,000GWh telling industry representatives behind closed doors this was the best he could get out of his Cabinet colleagues and was already a hard sell to the Liberal partyroom. 
Now we hear that 32,000GWh is the upper limit because nothing more could be achieved in the time available.
This is extremely odd, because Macfarlane himself proposed making the target harder, not easier to meet in the very short term, while reducing it in the longer term. In an interview with Sky News a few weeks ago, in addition to acknowledging he’d shifted his offer to greater than 30,000GWh, he also said: “I’ve offered them [the renewable energy industry] a scheme where we will deal with the overhang of credits in the market”. This would presumably involve increasing the target in the interim years of, say, 2016 and 2017 to levels higher than currently legislated.

And so on. You see, he's not the sharpest sheep in the back paddock when it comes to an argument ...

But Edis makes a fundamental mistake, providing graphs and all sorts of stuff.

You see, he goes looking for logic and considered decision-making. It would be a lot simpler to go looking for raw, bleeding emotion. Like we hate wind farms, sooh ugly, we hate solar, we hate the RET, we hate, hate, hate renewable energy, but we love, love, love coal and old-fashioned power stations and steam engines and privatisation and all the joy that brings our buddies and our mates ... and climate science, why that's just crap ...

Meanwhile, the pond marvelled at yet another folly.

So many budgetary pressures, and yet the time and the money to piss money against the wall, as can be read about in Australian government spends $4 million on 'stop-the-boats' telemovie.

Actually it's $4.1 million, but what's a loose, lazy 100k amongst chums?

Now don't get the pond wrong. There have been some splendid movies made by government:

Okay, that's the Godwin's Law business out of the way for the day, and as it so happens you can watch Olympia on YouTube, starting here, and Triumph of the Will here, and go ahead, breach the Nazi government's copyright and see if the pond cares ... and while you're at it, why not do the same for the House of Mouse for their abuse of copyright laws?

The Immigration department turning film producer - and what a hearty budget it is for a telemovie! - especially as it's a prime example of how, when in government, politicians turn to aping their predecessors - yes, there's the story in Fairfax, Public servant 'had to obey' Labor government over controversial asylum seeker ads.

If it was stupid then, how is it not stupid now?

Now the pond, having had a passing acquaintance with the film industry down under, understands the motivations of Trudi-Ann Tierney. Swallow scruples, take the money and see what you can do with it, and who knows, maybe something interesting can emerge, even if her main track record seems to have been making soapies in Kabul (you can hear her blathering away to Richard Fidler here).

But you can't do government propaganda and you can't do truth, they just don't rub up together that well, and at some point either the propaganda or the truth suffers ...

The Refugee Council of Australia has condemned the move, with President Phil Glendenning telling Lateline that it was unlikely to be a deterrent for desperate people fleeing persecution. 
"I don't think the government understands why people are on the move if they think a TV drama will be a deterrent," Mr Glendenning said.

Indeed, indeed, but meanwhile what fun marvelling at the useful fools and cardigan wearers turned into Don Simpsons down under - now remember guys, you can only wear your black Levi 501 jeans for two washings and then you have to throw them out because they won't be black enough, and please, don't snort, but discreetly sniff (and if you don't believe Don Simpson said that about his Levis, head off to Newsweek here).

(Lateline twitter here).

So Neighbours and Home and Away are a proven way to deliver a complex message?

And you wonder why the pond has such an affinity for Alice in Wonderland ... though the pond should admit we didn't even catch the nuanced, complex depth of Scott and Charlene's wedding ...

And so on ...

But what really gets the pond is that every time the government seeks to remind the public that they're in a state of budget emergency, or at least budget hysteria, they come up with this sort of nonsensical, whimsical discretionary spending ...

No wonder Lateline made a meal of the yarn here:

One possible plotline involves asylum seekers drowning at sea after paying people smugglers. At the same time, other asylum seekers who stay behind and register with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees get visas. The Immigration Department says the storyline will realistically portray the challenges facing asylum seekers. Not everyone is convinced. 
WILLIAM MALEY, ASIA-PACIFIC COLLEGE OF DIPLOMACY, ANU: The risk we run is that we'll end up funding the most expensive fantasy film since The Lord of the Rings. ... Ordinary Afghans in a place like Pakistan are well aware that something like three quarters of applications for resettlement through bureaucratic means are unsuccessful. 
MARGOT O'NEILL: International Afghanistan expert Professor William Maley wonders if the plot will reflect the rapidly deteriorating security situation in many countries because of the advance of Islamic State and a resurgent Taliban. It's prompted the worst global refugee crisis since World War II.

And then this:

WILLIAM MALEY: There's actually quite a famous photograph from September, 2011 which shows a bomb blast in Mizunchowk (phonetic spelling) in Quetta with body parts everywhere and in the background there is a sign put up by the Australian Government saying, "Don't try to come to Australia by a boat". Now, if the risk that you face is being blown to pieces, blown to smithereens by a bomb, the threat that you shouldn't get on a boat is not necessarily a particularly credible one.

But what's truly reprehensible is this:

The Government has refused to say if its name will be seen on the production credits, despite bankrolling the TV show.

Guys, you finance it, you own it, your name should be on it. And remember only wash your 501s twice ... because you love to piss money against the wall.

But with all this going down, the pond has to confess shamefacedly that we've failed in our reptile watch duties.

So there's just time to report that the multinational international business personally owned and run by an American is humming along, and there's the fat owl of the remove doing his level best to service his American master:

What's it like being humped by a fat owl? Vaguely distasteful, you'd have to think, and possibly even worse than being humped by one of those little yappy dogs ...

Is there something weird about Akker Dakker wheeling out JFK? Something shameless? Well no, because Akker Dakker has no shame, and clearly he doesn't have the first clue about the way business can now use tax havens to avoid all taxation whatsoever ...

But at least he's honest, and reveals the real Murdochian agenda - no taxation for struggling Murdoch businesses ...

As for the reptiles at the lizard Oz, they've settled down for the weekend, but for reasons of sheer perversity, and in view of the budget emergency, and a lazy $4.1 million to hand, the pond was titillated by this story:

Here's the nub of it, which revolves around a much heralded sweeping and long promised inquiry into Australia's financial system, a "root and branch" examination by an eminent panel of experts from the top ranks of business and finance, which would provide a blueprint for the nation's financial future, with a cornerstone fact-finding mission to US and Europe the grand beginning:

But wait,  there's more with your steak knives:

In short, it's another leak against Abbott, jolly Joe and Credlin, and it confirms that tensions are bubbling along nicely in the run-up to the budget.

And why not, because on the one hand there's penny-pinching chaos and on the other a really stupid attempt at government propaganda involving the pissing against the wall of $4.1 million on an expensive telemovie ... which, if you believe it could possibly be effective and useful, means you could rival Conan Doyle's belief in fairies and ectoplasm ...

Yes it's always been a source of pleasure to the pond that the creator of the fearlessly rational and logical Sherlock could have also been a half-baked, credulous mystic:

And speaking of fairies, that brings the pond to the sad, strange case of Bill Leak.

Ever since the reptiles have liberated Leak from the golden bar paywall, the pond has been tracking the cartoonists efforts with the fascination you'd expect watching a slow-motion train wreck.

Oh the Kool Aid is strong in this one:

More narcissist, defensive navel-gazing.

Worse, it's not funny, it's not clever, all it does is follow the kool aid line, and it left the pond thinking that just maybe the fairies had a point to make about the delusional pixies slurping on their soda ...

Poor Bill. Maybe living day to day in a propaganda house can turn you into a dullard party follower ... maybe Bill should put in a tender to make a movie about penny-pinching Canberra movie moguls who wear their 501s until they don't have to rip a fashionable hole in their jeans, it's already there ...

On the other hand, the Cottingley fairies ... now they were funny ...


  1. Every time I see that fat-faced pic of Pliers Ankleman staring out dull-eyed from the page, I think of someone who has a secret stuck up his arse and is daring YOU to find it!...
    Saw that Lateline "expose' " last night, and thought that American director was the epitome of the "sold-out artiste" who , although now only a tool of the establishment, has convinced himself that HE, not them, is controlling the message and delivery of the meme.....god help him!

  2. Perhaps Lee Kwan Yew was right all along. No, no the "white trash" bit, that's so much a given, a defining aspect of the saintly Anzac Spirit. LKW was correct on how whistleblowers, do-gooders & nanny-staters are threats to harmony of the body politic and must be stamped out with exceptional vigour. With the kind of anti-Roxon hatred of accountability so nicely captured by Bill.

    1. Small wonder LKW was an hero of our Human Rights Commissioner, Tim "cry freedom" Wilson. Very similar views on "Freedom", i.e. freedom to speak in support of your master but water cannons (or worse) for dissenters

  3. Didn't Bill Leak sustain a serious head injury a few years ago? Maybe he doesn't need to sip Kool Aid.

  4. I think Bill Leak is suffering from that affliction of ; "When it seems too damn hard to sustain moral and ethical courage, you simply sell out to the dark side".

  5. Hi Dorothy,

    "The Government has refused to say if its name will be seen on the production credits, despite bankrolling the TV show. "

    Maybe they could use the moniker "Alan Smithee" instead;


  6. Crotchetty old man with gravelly voice bluntly refusing to accept common sense or logic? Mr McFarlane, the Roald Dahl estate have called, and want their comic caricature back please.

  7. Losing my religion for equality

    by Jimmy Carter - it's changing, actually. Never to late to change... but a change equals a rest?


  8. The fairies, reminds me of the pale man scene in that most excellent Guillermo Del Toro movie "Pan's Labyrinth".
    Maybe Tone's should ask Mr Del Toro to make them a very scary ultra-violent "stop the boats" movie, probably cost a tad more than the 4.1 mil, but wouldn't it be a ripper.

  9. Penny pinching.

    The below pasted from first comment here

    "Joe Hockey has set the standard: "The age of entitlement is over and the age of personal responsibility has begun. . . Everyone has to help do the heavy lifting here". Here's rent-seekers' chance to help:

    Class A - utter waste of money:
    > ...owner-occupier c g tax discounts.......... $23.3 billion/yr over FY16-18
    > ...c g tax discounts for indiv ... trusts... ....$9.1 billion/yr over FY16-18
    > ...fossil fuel subsidies.........................................10 billion
    ................(24 TIMES car industry subsidies @ 200,000 jobs + $30b)
    > . Abbott's Direct Action replacing Julia's Great Big New
    ............. Carbon Tax.................. 4 billion (per year for 4 years)
    > ...mining industry subsidies.... .............4.5 billion (fuel $2 billion)
    > ...negative gearing....................... .....................6.4 billion
    > ...superannuation tax concessions... ...................$36 billion in FY15

    Class B - bloated subsidies of private profit:
    ...¢...First Home Vendors Grants............... ......................1 billion
    ...¢...child-care rebate (incl to states).............................8 billion
    ...¢...private education......................9 billion ($36 billion over 09-13)
    ...¢...Private Health Insurance Rebate................................6 billion
    Class C - given away but recoverable
    ...¢...owner-occupier c g exemption...................19 billion/yr over FY16-18
    ...¢...1.5% company tax cut in FY16..................................2 billion
    ...¢...transnational tax evasion................................... $8.4 billion
    ...¢...excessive tax cuts to richest...............................$15.8 billion
    Class D - increasing taxation to OECD average
    ...¢...extra tax revenue.............................................$85 billion
    Class A+B+C Total: 93 + 24 + 44 + 85 BILLION = $245 BILLION ($A245,000,000,000)
    Private education can be paid for entirely by those whose children enjoy it. Direct public provision of services such as health and child care would be far less costly and allow better service."

    1. Try $287 BILLION ($A287,000,000,000) - Mr Raven hasn't listed there some $42billion in government waivers and payments to, and taxes not received from the religionist rent seeker entitlement.

    2. BIG BUSINESS TO-DO LIST - Matt Golding cartoon

      Life after loopholes leaves Luxembourg scrambling to preserve tax-haven status - NZ Herald

      - and now

    3. The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists: Luxembourg Leaks: Global Companies' Secrets Exposed


    5. There ya go, Mr Raven's comment has been deleted by Limited News

  10. I agree with your dissing of Chainsaw Macfarlane, albeit with some sadness. The Cabinet was uninspiring enough even before they got down and dirty, where they have shown everyone that they are wreckers as well as idiots.

    I'd held modest hopes for a little sense from Sinodinos, Turnbull, Hunt and Macfarlane. Alas, how dreadful that has turned out. Sinodinos, with either memory failings or obfuscating before the Royal Commission on Corruption, was soon out of there with no prospect of returning. Big Mal and Walrus have long been dealt with here as having some intellect and ideals but among the first to surrender to the Abbott wrecking, and now as zealous as the second-rate ideologues like Pyne, Brandis or Morrison.

    Chainsaw was never any great shakes intellectually but was among the more 'reasonable' of the Howard ministers. In addition, he separated from the pack during the floods and cyclones in Queensland by actually caring about the impact in his electorate and cooperating with PM Gillard. The standard script at the time was to condemn everything she did, attempted or did not do during that emergency.

    In Question Time he differed from his other opposition frontbenchers by managing the odd wry smile when a Minister humbled him in a reply. The others, notably Abbott, Pyne, Hockey, Bishop and Dutton, had a habit of storming off in a hissy fit when their clever Gotcha attempt failed. So I had some hopes for Chainsaw.

    Alas, he has disappointed as badly as the rest. Firstly it was the mad zeal with which he pursued Coal Seam Gas rights to all and sundry. Now it is such a simple topic as renewable energy targets.

    It may be a bit unkind to blame the decline in manufacturing entirely on him, with Cabinet so much in the thrall of clueless young IPA graduates. But that will be his legacy, which is as sad as this government's contempt for science, which is also under his umbrella.

    Who else is there? Josh Frydenberg gave a nice speech at Zelman Cowen's memorial and hasn't said anything sensible since. Sussan Ley, if she could just give up on Medicare co-payments, might be OK, but being a woman in this ministry is not a good start.

    Zinger Bill definitely does look OK in comparison.

  11. The Oz must be offering free Kool Aid and Michael Danby has taken a sip

    Michael Danby MPVerified account ‏@MichaelDanbyMP
    Senators Milne&Hanson-Young should stand up for science, not only #climatechange, but for infant vaccinations #auspol

    sarah hanson-young ‏@sarahinthesen8 44m44 minutes ago
    I'm a strong supporter of vaccinating kids; I just wish there was a vaccination against douchebags like @MichaelDanbyMP talking nonsense

  12. I think Christine Milne must have drawn blood....

  13. 'Jane Annie' - a little-known collaboration between J. M. Barrie and Arthur Conan Doyle, Intended to be the 'Elisha' to Gilbert and Sullivan's 'Elijah'. (He was the bloke that inherited Elijah's cloak when if fell from heaven after he was 'translated' - and no that isn't to do with language.)

    But unfortunately it was a complete flop.

    Seems like Abbott trying to emulate Howard. Doomed to failure.

  14. My God. Are the bright young things in advertising too young to understand what 'pull' means in Strine? Now I am being asked to buy fast food products with 'pulled beef', and 'pulled pork'.

    I am sure this is in breach of the Obscene Publications Act.

    They are pulling themselves.

    1. It figures, anon, especially with News Ltd dominating our MSM. A generation back the battling Lizard The Australian (yes it has a long history on the poverty line) made a pitch to advertisers under the lead
      "More Pulling Power". Many reporters thought that for once they were accurate.


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