Sunday, July 12, 2015
In which the pond spends a meditative Sunday with good old Polonius ...
It being Sunday and time for a reflection, surely the best moment for the faithful came during the week with a reminder of how evangelicals of the Hillsong kind still cultivate the sort of prejudices that the Catholic church sustained for hundreds of years. (Fairfax it here).
Speaking of prejudices, there was another medievalist out and about, doing the long absent lord's work, faithfully tilting at windmills:
Treasurer Joe Hockey and Finance Minister Mathias Cormann have issued the so-called green bank with a directive to change its investment mandate, prohibiting new wind funding. It's understood the directive was issued without the approval or knowledge of Environment Minister Greg Hunt, angering the minister. (Fairfax it here, if only for the Golding cartoon).
Relax, Greg Hunt is such a gormless worm, with his head always sucking up the information in wiki world, that the anger will soon pass, and he'll find another gigantic coal mine to approve, though only if it can disrupt prime agricultural activities, land and water tables.
Now let's see how the politicians commented on the story:
A major international renewable energy company told Fairfax Media the decision would add to perceptions Australia was not a safe place to do business.
"This adds to the negative message being sent to international investors," a senior source at the company said. "Why would an international investor want to put their money into wind energy in Australia when you have both the prime minister and treasurer saying they're ugly, a blight on the landscape? There are a lot of other countries where they can invest."
Senator Cormann declined to comment. Mr Hockey is on leave and could not be reached.
Well yes, it's the weekend, and after helping kill off an industry, on the seventh day all mortals must have their time of rest ...
As for the rest, it's a quiet day in the reptile tabloids - it must be the weather, and the way the chill slows the blood and sends the reptiles scuttling to the warmth of their hot rock.
There's an abundance of attacks on Bill Shorten - his odds are lengthening - but that's only useful for the pond in discussions with the useless Billistas in the family, because the pond is dedicated only to reptile watch.
So the pond decided to take another look at the reptiles of Oz, just to see how the hysteria and fear-mongering about the war on terror was progressing.
You see, it's the steady drip drip drip of stories and yarns that are required if the level of terror in the community is going to be sustained, and there were a couple of prime drips at work:
Well there's an eeny meeny choice, though the pond prefers to keep that old rhyme clean by catching a wombat by the toe.
The dog molester or prattling Polonius? And they say the pond's not overflowing with abundance, a veritable cornucopia of commentariat ratbaggery.
It took a toss of the coin to give the nod to an old pond favourite, the man who manages to make Polonius himself sound concise and coherent.
Yet the old fire seems to have gone from Polonius. It might have had something to do with Hendo's Sydney Institute inviting big Mal to deliver his heresies right inside the temple.
If you shelter a heretic, give succour and space and a hearing to a heretic, aren't you a heretic yourself?
What's revealed isn't insight so much as old animosities of the commentariat kind - please, step forward Hugh White:
Well of course she did, of course she exaggerated it, of course it was a pose down with, and a smack down of, the useless big Mal.
Polonius, so thin is his prattle, so lacking in substance, so obviously partisan, is then forced to deploy what can only be called these days "the Tim Flannery ultimatum" or if you will, "the Tim Flannery Supremacy", because no one much remembers that other film, "the Tim Flannery legacy":
And at this point, we must pause to consider the issue of logical fallacy.
Does it follow that if A asserts nukes are a threat is wrong, that B is therefore right asserting barking mad fundies are an existential threat bigger than filthy commies and the cold war?
Well in Polonius's world, it does, especially when academics dare to run up against Polonius while in a fit of Bishop worship and fear mongering:
What's interesting here is Polonius telling a porky of exactly the same kind as he accuses White and Dibb telling, just so he can make his contrast sound better.
It turns on the notion that neither Japan nor Germany successfully engaged local terrorists to support the war effort. But Polonius has long railed against trade unionists and communists for their treasonous treachery and traitorous activities during the second world war, especially on the waterfront and especially in the first couple of years.
Back in the day, Polonius was an enthusiastic supporter of the war on Vietnam, proud and defiant and convinced that communism was an existential threat non pareil, and the dominoes were falling, or about to fall ...
You don't have to look far for the evidence on Vietnam - you can Spectator it here if you have the stomach).
And you don't have to look hard for much talk about the wickedness of the collaborators:
Yes, Menzies was an appeaser in 1938. But he became a warrior in 1939. Unlike the pro-communist Left—which effectively collaborated with the Nazis during the first two years of the Second World War. This is something which is seldom dwelt on in, say, a Stuart Macintyre history. Indeed the impact of the Nazi-Soviet Pact on Australia does not even rate a mention in either Macintyre’s A Concise History of Australia or his The Oxford History of Australia: Volume 4: 1901–1942. (Quadrant it here if you dare).
That was followed by this wonderfully comic line:
The Left and the social democrats are invariably better at writing, and re-writing, history than the political conservatives.
But it's true in one sense. Polonius only carried on the noble tradition established during the war years:
No trouble with the writing then, it's just that bit about the re-writing that's amusing ...
Now you can find alternative views on the existential threats, and life and death issues - even amongst the reptiles of Oz - and even occasional evocations of the stupidities of conservatives, who have done their level best to cultivate terrorism by their ill-judged interventions in the middle east.
These naturally require hasty revisions and the extensive re-writing of history.
Here's Jack the insider a few days ago on existential threats:
The frequent calls on social media from Islamic State troops and supporters for lone wolf terrorist attacks in the West constitute a serious threat to security but this threat needs to be understood in its proper context. And that context is that Islamic State is for almost every one of us a threat in the abstract rather than an existential one. That is not to say that the threat is not real but we need to discuss and seek the right balance between dealing with that threat and preserving the freedoms that are inherent in an open democracy.
Similarly the focus on Islamic State is unhelpful because it ignores the threats posed elsewhere from other Islamic extremists. It is as if we have bundled up all fears and put them at the blood stained Nike footwear of IS.
Jack also had a few words to say about getting into bed with certified terrorists, citing a piece by Jonathan Spyer noting that it is the Shiite militia, funded and armed by Iran rather than the Iraqi Army that is doing the bulk of the fighting on the ground against IS:
Spyer writes: “The leadership of three of the four most powerful militia bodies is linked to Iran. The militias in question — the Badr Organisation, the Kata’ib Hizballah group and the Asaib ahl al-Haq — receive direct assistance from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. The fourth, the Saraya al-Salam militia of Moqtada al-Sadr, is also pro-Iranian and aided by Iran but maintains a greater degree of independence.”
The militia at the pointy end of the conflict, doing the real dirty work on the ground against IS is Kata’ib Hizballah — a listed terrorist organisation both in the US and in Australia.
So what he have is two listed terrorist groups fighting against each other in Iraq with Iraq itself split into pieces and where the prosperous oil soaked south is firmly under the control of Iraq’s Iranian masters.
And if we move further to the northwest in Iraq and in northern Syria, IS is fighting against the Kurds and the Kurdish militia is armed, funded and with troops on the ground coming substantially from the Kurdish Workers’ Party, which is also a listed terrorist organisation in the US and in Australia and has been responsible for a spate of bloody bombings in Turkey over the last 20 years.
The enemies of our enemies are not our friends.
With Labor refusing to act as an opposition should on this issue, we have reached a very dangerous situation in this country. Our hard won freedoms are constantly being chipped away. We have coughed up a lot in the last decade and we need people in authority who are prepared to question any further state control of the citizenry based on a loathing of a bunch of murderous men in black pyjamas running amok in the Middle East using extreme violence as a form of propaganda.
So when the question is asked, what is Malcolm Turnbull up to? The answer is not that he’s stirring the pot of division within the government. Rather he is promoting the interests of the citizenry. God only knows, someone’s got to do it. (Google some sample text if you want the rest).
Now the pond can forgive Jack his hagiographic worship of big Mal. A broken clock can get it right twice a day, except when the broken clock is intent on breaking the internet ...
The point is that the current government - and Julie Bishop and Tony Abbott - and the dog molester and prattling Polonius are, at the same time as they blather about existential threats, in bed with terrorists fighting other terrorists.
And before that they were in bed with Saudi Arabia, a bunch of Wahhabist ratbags using state funds to incite Islamic fundamentalism and terrorism around the world in a way that Daesh can only dream about ... with the Saudis still maintaining a fierce attitude to women's rights and to bloggers who dare to disagree and to whippings and to beheadings and so forth and etcetera ...
And yet the dog molester and the prattling Polonius and all the rest expect everyone to forget history, or to re-write it in the approved manner, and end up with simplistic chants and endless fear-mongering, so that more stupidities and follies can be enacted ...
It takes a peculiar imagination on the part of prattling Polonius to introduce climate science into a discussion of middle eastern terrorism, but so be it, because Tony Abbott is the classic example of a man wanting to tilt at all kinds of windmills, with a pugnacity that allows for no nuance, subtlety or sign of intelligent life.
So once that genie's out of the bottle, and climate science has been mentioned, there's no going back, and we must contemplate this portrait of the windmill tilter:
text, ruined below):
Just then they came in sight of thirty or forty windmills that rise from that plain. And no sooner did Don Tony see them that he said to his squire jolly Joe, "Fortune is guiding our affairs better than we ourselves could have wished. Do you see over yonder, friend Joe, thirty or forty hulking giants? I intend to do battle with them and slay them. With their spoils we shall begin to be rich for this is a righteous war and the removal of so foul a brood from off the face of the earth is a service God will bless."
"What giants?" asked jolly Joe.
"Those you see over there," replied his master, deep in his captain's pick, "with their long arms. Some of them have arms well nigh two leagues in length."
"Take care, sir," cried jolly Joe. "Those over there are not just giants but even more threatening and fearful windmills. Those things that seem to be their arms are sails which, when they are whirled around by the wind, turn the millstone and allow electricity to leak into the air and infranano sound waves, and grind people into ill-health and ruin the landscape and each time I see one I suffer from nausea and migraines and a sense of aesthetic imperfection".
Or some such thing, and now having laboured mightily to turn nouns into verbs, the pond was wandering through the archive the other day, and came up with an image which it humbly offers up to angry Sydney Anglicans:
You can Trove it here in the Sydney Truth on 10th March 1936 if you don't mind the mis-use and abuse of nouns and Talibanish angry Sydney Anglican attitudes to women ...
Posted by dorothy parker at 7/12/2015 08:48:00 AM