Wednesday, January 03, 2018

In which the pond remains in mindless holyday mode, and the lizards of Oz help maintain the vibe ...

Over the break, the pond noticed a trend at the lizard Oz, what might be called the increasing Trumpification of the rag ...

The WSJ, once proudly conservative in the original sense of the word, has been long gone, fully Trumpified and pathetic, in keeping with the Chairman's desires, and now it seems the lizard Oz, as it recycles its American cousin, is heading down the same path, in keeping with the Chairman's pandering to the Donald ...

Listen to yourselves reptiles.

Is the best argument you've got revolve around the Donald not being a full-blown fascist and autocrat? Is that how you taunt progressive elites, as if making a nice little earner at the WSJ or the lizard Oz doesn't put you in the category of forelock-tugging, supine elites?

What if he's just Putin's puppet, a con artist who scored the biggest trick in his life, conjuring a country of marks and johns so that Ivanka could continue selling her fashion label and the hotels and golf resorts could do even better business?

Truth to tell, the Donald is a dud, a fizza, a lemon, a clunker ... and as a result the pond heads elsewhere for analysis, such as The New Yorker, featuring outside the paywall for the moment Evan Osnos's excellent Making China Great Again ...

This very day comes news that South Korea has decided on direct talks with North Korea, no doubt unnerved by the elephant Donald clumping around and invoking the spectre of nuclear war ... and adding another feather to Osnos's original thesis:

...Under the banner of “America First,” President Trump is reducing U.S. commitments abroad. On his third day in office, he withdrew from the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a twelve-nation trade deal designed by the United States as a counterweight to a rising China. To allies in Asia, the withdrawal damaged America’s credibility. “You won’t be able to see that overnight,” Lee Hsien Loong, the Prime Minister of Singapore, told me, at an event in Washington. “It’s like when you draw a red line and then you don’t take it seriously. Was there pain? You didn’t see it, but I’m quite sure there’s an impact.” 
In a speech to Communist Party officials last January 20th, Major General Jin Yinan, a strategist at China’s National Defense University, celebrated America’s pullout from the trade deal. “We are quiet about it,” he said. “We repeatedly state that Trump ‘harms China.’ We want to keep it that way. In fact, he has given China a huge gift. That is the American withdrawal from T.P.P.” Jin, whose remarks later circulated, told his audience, “As the U.S. retreats globally, China shows up.”

There were statistics aplenty ...

By some measures, the U.S. will remain dominant for years to come. It has at least twelve aircraft carriers. China has two. The U.S. has collective defense treaties with more than fifty countries. China has one, with North Korea. Moreover, China’s economic path is complicated by heavy debts, bloated state-owned enterprises, rising inequality, and slowing growth. The workers who once powered China’s boom are graying. China’s air, water, and soil are disastrously polluted. 
And yet the gap has narrowed. In 2000, the U.S. accounted for thirty-one per cent of the global economy, and China accounted for four per cent. Today, the U.S.’s share is twenty-four per cent and China’s fifteen per cent. If its economy surpasses America’s in size, as experts predict, it will be the first time in more than a century that the world’s largest economy belongs to a non-democratic country. At that point, China will play a larger role in shaping, or thwarting, values such as competitive elections, freedom of expression, and an open Internet. Already, the world has less confidence in America than we might guess. Last year, the Pew Research Center asked people in thirty-seven countries which leader would do the right thing when it came to world affairs. They chose Xi Jinping over Donald Trump, twenty-eight per cent to twenty-two per cent.

Where's your talk of an autocratic fascist now, reptiles? You've scored a loser dropkick who looks ugly up against Xi Jinping?

And there was a final sting in the tail of the story ...

Late one afternoon in November, I went to see a professor in Beijing who has studied the U.S. for a long time. America’s recent political turmoil has disoriented him. “I’m struggling with this a lot,” he said, and poured me a cup of tea. “I love the United States. I used to think that the multiculturalism of the U.S. might work here. But, if it doesn’t work there, then it won’t work here.” In his view, the original American bond is dissolving. “In the past, you kept together because of common values that you call freedom,” he said. Emerging in its place is a cynical, zero-sum politics, a return to blood and soil, which privileges interests above inspiration. 
In that sense, he observed, the biggest surprise in the relationship between China and the United States is their similarity. In both countries, people who are infuriated by profound gaps in wealth and opportunity have pinned their hopes on nationalist, nostalgic leaders, who encourage them to visualize threats from the outside world. “China, Russia, and the U.S. are moving in the same direction,” he said. “They’re all trying to be great again.” 

That's more than enough analysis and insights for the pond. Too much pain.

This year the pond should probably just recycle intelligent analysis, but that's not in the pond's mission statement, and so with a sorrowful sigh - so many disappointments so early in the year - it's back to the reptiles, though the pond can only manage to dip a toe into the day's headlines.

Speaking of dropkicks, the pond had a hearty laugh at Erica the other day ...

Huuugge? We're all talking Donald now? Shouldn't it have been a yuge success?

Well what do you know?

Erica was right. You see, when not pandering to the Donald, the lizards of Oz like to pander to the onion muncher - it seems they're determined to keep him at the top of the pond, proudly leering out at the world from his perch in the banner ...


And along with the onion muncher being front and centre on both the tree killer and digital edition, there came the resident climate science confusionist offering an insight of such astonishing banality the pond couldn't proceed any further with it ...

The pond had a vision, or perhaps a surreal dream, or a nightmare, featuring Lomborg gradually disappearing beneath an acid wave still blathering about the need for R and D ...

What else? Well there was the usual lock 'em up, throw away the key and "let God sort 'em out in Her infinite wisdom" mob on parade ...

Can someone give Peter Faris an autographed copy of Dirty Harry's magnum? 

Jail? Blow 'em away, that'll sort 'em out ...

But the pond did enjoy the idea that it had nothing to do with colour and that it was all about young criminals ...

Sure, and the Bolter isn't a racist ...

Along with the 'get off my lawn, young punk' mob, there was the "bung on a do with the Iranian mob and let the Donald sort them out" strutting their stuff...

... because everything that the United States has tried in the middle east has worked out spiffingly well, though that illustration did catch the new world of the reptiles ...

Demonic or what?

The "bung on a do" mob sounded of a piece with some standard Muslim bashing the previous day ...

Sherry Sufi? That name rings a bell ...

A former Liberal federal candidate who has said Indigenous recognition would "divide the country" and linked same-sex marriage to polygamy has been elected chair of the Western Australian Liberal Party's policy committee. Some senior Liberals have expressed concern at the result, five months out from the State election. Sherry Sufi, who was forced to resign as the Fremantle candidate over his comments, beat retired Senator Alan Eggleston in a vote for the position at the party's State Council on Saturday. (ABC here)

Ah, just your standard publicity-seeking sandgroper fuckwit, usually more at home amongst the Speccie mob, or blathering about Australia Day and lamb ... (at least until the lizard Oz decided it needed to out-Speccie the Speccie mob ...)

By the way, how did it work out for the Liberal party with this loon at the policy helm? Say what?

In the aftermath of the election, the WA Liberal Party appeared to be in shock at the magnitude of the defeat (seven ministers had lost their seats). No one seemed prepared to put themselves forward as leader, and there were recriminations as to how the campaign had been run, how the party had been performing, and how the Government had handled some of the big issues. Former Corrective Services Minister Joe Francis fronted the media three days after the election, saying: ‘...there’s a void right now from the Liberal Party where people are either [in] denial about the magnitude of the victory of the Labor Party or in denial about what went wrong, or in denial about what the future may hold ... (much more here).

Not to worry. The pond is still in holiday mode, and deep analysis is a tad difficult ... and there didn't seem to be many other issues troubling the reptiles.

Oh wait, there was one ...

Fortunately Troy was standing by to join in the general reptile hand-wringing, clucking and tut-tutting ...

Yes, the man who gave the country the hideously deformed and completely grotesque NBN - no doubt soon to become the privatised monopolistic PMG 2.0 - decided to have a flutter on another postal vote, presumably voluntary, and as useful as sticking a wet finger into the air.

Feeling frivolous, the pond decided to join the onion muncher and the reptiles in a bit of Malware bashing ... after all, where's the harm?

Malware's a sleeping bear, and when prodded awake, rises to alarming height in a towering rage?

 Oh, it's a satirical thrust ... so let the thrusting continue ...

Not least boosting productivity and competitiveness?

How about Islamic bashing, racial fear and embracing the inner Trump as the new way forward?

That'll do wonders for productivity and competitiveness, not to mention world harmony ...

Of course the reptiles cunningly skipped a generation with all their satirical thrusting, but the cold dead heart of the Panahi turned up in the Terror this day ...

King Chuck? Courtier, is there a bucket handy?

Stick Malware with a Keating fork, just to see if he's done ...

Yep, he's done alright, the big sook and the even bigger race-baiting hypocrite ... so afraid of doing or saying anything on his own in the way of policy that he resorts to a useless postal opinion survey at the drop of an eastern suburbs toff hat ...

And now what a relief, as it seems that the Pope has returned from his holydays and is already on the prowl, with more papal insights and benefits here ...

Indeed, indeed, time to end clerical rule ... but can it be done?

Hucksters, hustlers and snake oil salesmen are everywhere, and at the top of the WSJ and the lizard Oz pages, and the scamming and the delusions never end ...

Worshippers who streamed into the doors of New Destiny Christian Center in Apopka, Florida on Easter Sunday got the surprise of their lives when their senior pastor offered them an opportunity to cheat death, the Christian Post reports. For a little over a thousand dollars, folks could purchase a “resurrection seed” she told them was set by God. Like the “resurrection stone” out of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, this seed would presumably resurrect anyone who has died. “I don’t know what is dead. I don’t know what the enemy sent a death to. I don’t know what decision that caused death to come upon whatever the situation you’re facing, but I do know that God has sent me to you to bring resurrection life,” she told the crowd along with scripture on Lazarus. 
“To tell you that I believe that as we put our faith together before Easter Sunday on March 27, there’s gonna be resurrection life in your life.” She told the audience that she doesn’t generally get so specific about money, but it was God that gave her specific instructions on the dollar amount. “There’s someone that God is speaking to, to click on that donation button by minimizing the screen. And when you do to sow $1,144,” she told the crowd. “It’s not often I ask very specifically but God has instructed me and I want you to hear. This isn’t for everyone but this is for someone. When you sow that $1,144 based on John 11:44 I believe for resurrection life. You say, Paula, I just don’t have that, then sow $144. I don’t have that. Sow $44 but stand on John Chapter 11:44.” 
Then like an infomercial proclaiming “but wait! There’s more!” White promised those buying the “resurrection seed” that they would also get some special prayer cloths that might cause “miracles, signs and wonders.”

Miracles, signs and wonders? How about a little cuddle?

Oh it's going to be a long, long year ...


  1. It turns out that Paula White, Trump's 'spiritual advisor' and occasional snugglebuddy, has a (tenuous) Ozzie connection.

    Putting aside the fact that she is twice divorced and remarried, and thus a double adulterer according to the Bible (Luke 16:18)... It turns out that Hubby #3 is the similarly twice-divorced-and-remarried adulterer/musician Jonathan Cain.

    The Ozzie connection is that he wrote the Baaarnesy classic, Working Class Man. Seriously; you couldn't make this stuff up.

    1. :)³ As an adulterer the pond loves this sort of connectivity ...

  2. Osnos's Chinese professor: “China, Russia, and the U.S. are moving in the same direction,” he said. “They’re all trying to be great again.”

    Ok, China had just a tiny moment of greatness back in the days of Admiral He's fleet (late 1300s to mid 1400s) and the imposition of suzerainty on a bunch of more or less neighbouring states, but that was just about it - and even that was really just a last gasp follow-on from the Mongolian Yuan dynasty.

    But when exactly was Russia "great" ? Sure, it was a medium power enagaged in The Great Game but that was about it. Or would anyone like to nominate the years of the Cold War as the time of Russia's "greatness".

    And thankfully, nobody is actually trying to make Britain, France, Germany, Italy or Austria "great again". Though perhaps Poland and Hungary - and maybe Turkey and even Iran/Persia - have some ambitions, it seems.

    Can we look forward perhaps to India wanting to be "great for the first time" - and will it surpass China fairly rapidly ?

    DP: "This year the pond should probably just recycle intelligent analysis..."

    Well if you ever manage to find any, DP, you will tell us where, won't you ? I'd like to read some occasionally, too.

    1. Such a short memory GB? You do remember the 1950s when Russia was the great Russian bear threatening the world, putting satellites into space and sending the US off into the moon race? You do remember which army actually contributed most to the German defeat? You do remember when the fear sent certain countries into spiralling paranoia? You do remember the time when Russia controlled a substantial part of Europe and rigorously crushed any attempts at dissent or revolution?

      You do understand metaphor? You do appreciate that Putin is reaching back to a mythical time, much as Eisenstein reached back to Ivan the Terrible to pander to Stalin?

      You do appreciate that Indian nationalists fervently believe that there was a time before Britain when India was great - indeed, the font of civilisation - and might yet be great again?

      You have heard of golden age thinking? You might perhaps even see a little golden age thinking at work amongst folk marching behind the Donald, Putin and Xi Jinping ...

    2. Sure I remember post-WWII Russia, DP, and sure there were some accomplishments for a very short while, but that hardly equates to the traditional 'empire founding' formula of greatness, does it. If Russia was 'great' then what about Japan ?

      And sure the Indus Valley Harappa 'civilisation' existed in north-west India/Pakistan thousands of years ago, but is that what the "metaphor of greatness" is all about ? Surely it's all about imposing conquest on others, not on being continually conquered itself ? The Hindu numeral system is great though.

    3. New Russophobia
      In 1885, some 200,000 people of a total Sydney population of 300,000 turned out to farewell a contingent of volunteers departing to support Britain's imperial war in the Sudan. Soon afterwards, Britain moved troops urgently to protect India's north-west frontier 'against the designs of the "Unspeakable Russian Bear"' in Afghanistan.
      With 'Russophobia' rampant again, rumours circulated in Sydney that a Russian fleet intent of invading the colony was on its way. Under the blunt heading 'War', the Town and Country Journal explained that '[Russia's] tactics, it is believed, includes sending a flood of privateers, backed by a squadron, to loot the colonies'. But it added comfortingly, 'Britain is ready and willing, all the world over, to give her [Russia] the chastisement which her encroachments and sneaking policy so richly deserve.'

      'Sir Galahad', in the same newspaper, warned that 'before we are a month older [we] may possibly hear the unwelcome roar of Russian cannon along our coast'. And, looking at what he saw as the defenceless state of Sydney, he continued:

      although the harbor of Port Jackson is probably amply defended with its double line of batteries and sunken torpedos, yet on the coast side, save at the South Head and La Perouse, not a solitary gun could be brought to bear against a fleet. Consequently a hostile fleet could lay at its leisure, and bombard Sydney from the safe shelter of Bondi or Maroubra bays, holding the city to ransom, or destroying it, as suited the sovereign will of its commander. Or again, a force could be landed at Coogee under cover of the ships, and seizing the water works, starve the city into submission.

      The threat was taken seriously by the colonial government in Sydney. Cabinet ministers met with military and naval advisers, in what was described as a 'council of war' from 31 March 1885, and continued to meet almost daily to prepare a complete plan of defence for the coast and chief harbours.

      Coogee under dire threat! But at least we got Fort Denison out of the fear of the unspeakable Russian bear.

    4. Well sure, the Russians had 'ambitions' for some period of time and the Anglo colonials in The Great Southern Land reacted with the usual hysteria. As they also did in response to The Yellow Peril Mk1 (Chinese) and Mk2 (Japanese some time later). But both France and the USA also got honourable mentions as potential invaders so you can see that defensive paranoia was the way of the times.

      We even had some panicky responses in Victoria (not then, as you know, yet a part of non-existent Australia) with the Volunteer Rifle Brigade formed in Melbourne during the Crimea War and there was also the fort at Point Nepean (I think one or two of the old cannon might still be there as 'tourist attractions').

      But the Russian ambitions subsided and in 1905 the Russian Navy couldn't even beat a 'yellow peril Mk2' navy in the battle of Tsushima.

      What the Russians were "great" at was mathematics, physics, classical music composing and writing. Plus incredible amounts of golden kitsch. And they still are pretty good at mathematics and physics ... and rocket science (Soyuz anybody ?) and military weapons. However, the Russian nuclear armoury didn't make them great, it just stopped anybody else becoming great at their expense.

  3. Three days in and the year is too long already.


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