Monday, April 22, 2019

In which the pond thanks the long absent lord for the bromancer ...


The pond ignored Easter, but today, with the passion spent, seems the right time to do an Easter retrospective, thanks to the bromancer blathering on about "the whole truth", which in classic bromancer alternative reality way, means "what I believe to be" ….

There's no point in arguing with true believers … rather the pond presents this special lunch-time outing  with bemused pleasure, as a way of reminding stray readers that this is the man whom the reptiles have chosen as their foreign editor … and who in recent years, seems to have returned more and more to his adolescent silliness ...


Look, a lot of people believe all sorts of things …


Pew here.

Heck, quite a respectable minority (if respectable is the word for fraudulent) believe in Scientology and all its Thetan bunkum, and the bromancer himself often shows signs of faith in the Donald ...


Oh go tell that to the angry Sydney Anglicans and their blather about Adam and Eve and their offer of complimentary women …


The pond suspected that the time was right to simply throw in a cartoon here and there …


The bromancer began to remind the pond of all those clap-happy, totally wet, C. S. Lewis reading, EU types who used to wander around campus in search of victims for an ear-bashing ...


Obviously they are biased? Well they're also confused and conflicting, and over the subsequent centuries, heavily censored …with all sorts of texts and canons and cults and interpretations and schismatics and splitters, and doubting Thomases dismissed from the record, written out of history …but why argue?

After all, if a cruel, indifferent God can mightily smite Notre Dame, then no doubt She's responsible for many things ...


Never mind, it's always a long haul in the company of an EU type, or even worse, one of those Opus Dei cranks that confuse cilices with their taste for sado-masochism ...


Here's a thought that came to the pond when it was walking past the Little Turtle in Stanmore road, a vegetarian restaurant open for business on Easter Sunday. How do vegans cope with eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a human?

The pond promised it would check out the answer on the intertubes, and came up with this answer to the "whole transubstantiation thing" …

...Logic would seem to confirm that participating in communion is certainly not vegetarian/vegan, and that it goes beyond merely carnivorous to cannibalistic. After all, what else would you call literally consuming human flesh and blood? But logic doesn’t apply here. Thanks to the same magical thinking that turns wafers and wine into flesh and blood, and a trinity that is at once a mortal man and his own father who is immortal and a third component that is a holy spirit, one can just wave the wand and declare the flesh and blood to be beyond animal or human: Holy Spiritual. So eat, drink and be merry! (here

Yes, the answer is that vegans are completely clueless about Catholic theology, "the whole transubstantiation thing" and what it actually means … it's the body of Christ you dumb vegan goose, not the body of the Holy Ghost, shut up and eat your flesh and drink your blood, and bloody well like it or lump it, like coeliacs have to do when their only alternative is a gluten-laden wafer ...

Here have a cartoon to go …


...as the pond regrets that it must now spend a little more time with an acknowledged cannibal ...



… says a ratbag scribbling some rather silly literary criticism, for a book built on cliff hangers and Hollywood plot lines that would make a de Mille salivate at the mouth …



And so to the ripper conclusion ...



Miracles, loaves and fishes and restored lepers and blindness solved, speaking burning bushes, resurrections, eternities of hellfire, limbo until it went, purgatory though it's never mentioned, transubstantiation though it's preternaturally weird, and assorted much other judgemental mumbo jumbo and blind irrational bigotry and prejudices, often as outlined by men who ostensibly keep their cocks to themselves but rarely manage to do so, and the bromancer wants an element of common sense? 

What, like Xians who fawn all over the Donald, apparently unaware of what it all means?


And now the pond should also acknowledge the lizard Oz editorialist, who delivered a standard reptile homily early in the proceedings ...




It was typical of the reptiles that their Easter message simply couldn't put aside all the various ways they themselves want to do a Folau about assorted parts of the world they dislike …



How weird did it get? Well the reptiles couldn't resist doing yet another bit of fawning about the alliterative Robert Thomson, apparently not realising that the long absent lord is a jealous God, and She resents the reptiles when they abase themselves beneath the tin-eared god of Murdochian avarice ...



Happy 'far right climate science denialist ratbaggery' might have been a more realistic and honest wish for the holiday season … but never mind, soon the holidays will be over, and already the reptiles have turned back to their usual forms of tub-thumping, selling their souls to the Murdochian empire…









In which a trio of humble reptile superheroes shows off News Corp's legendary bias ...

It might be a holiday, but there's no rest for the reptiles as Pravda down under cranks up again in high gear, and the digital edition is littered with fear and loathing, mostly aimed at Comrade Bill …

 

And so on and on …

Of course it's to be expected of the Caterists - when not scribbling about flood waters in quarries, they have to do something to justify government cash in the poor - and there's also the ongoing yearning of the reptiles to keep EVs as an issue.

Of course Dame Groan took aim at Malware, but there's no airbrushing of the wicked, evil, demonic comrade Bill in all the reptile stories, while elsewhere SloMo speaks with the angels and sings to imaginary friends …


Why make such an obvious point about the editorial slant in the climate denialist, coal loving, comrade Bill hating, SloMo imaginary friend loving lizard Oz?

Well the dog botherer has been clamouring for attention, and today he came up with a ripper which stole top place in the reptile parade of loonery, and won the pond's heart …


Now the pond won't unpack all the bizarre elements in that first gobbet - the dog botherer, a veteran climate denialist, denying that he and his fellow reptiles aren't climate science denialists … it was after all his son who suggested "he's been known to argue for stubborn, sightless inaction on climate change" (Junkee here).

The very notion that the reptiles aren't bitterly biased and savagely opposed to Comrade Bill was such a delight that the pond wondered if the reptiles would ever recognise themselves in a mirror …or was it more Dorian Gray syndrome?


How funny is this? Well the tabloid version of Pravda down under has been handed out for free in the onion mucher's seat, so guaranteed is it to toe the party line and support the onion muncher, and slag off Steggall and comrade Bill… (Graudian more here).


Actually the pond would prefer to wipe its arse with pine cones rather than use the Terror or the lizard Oz, for fear of rubbing its bum against the comedy stylings of the dog botherer, and thereby catching a syphilis of the mind ...


It was a splendid effort, but even better the pond's great favourite, the world's greatest climate scientist, and team leader of the Captain GetUp mascot, was out and about, showing the dog botherer how to do bias …


Moorice is one of the great cheerleaders and political coaches combined, and his skills were on display, especially as he didn't start with an obvious attack on comrade Bill, but instead built up to it, by reminding everyone of the hideousness of Malware ...


Patience, gentle reader, it will soon become obvious that Malware isn't the only person involved in thought crimes, deviance and perversity ...


Oh the shock and the outrage that anyone should support EVs, even as the pond finds itself tootling around town in a hybrid that really does save a fair bit of money (sadly only on loan, and not so good out on the highway). But immediately any talk of EVs arises, naturally Moorice's nostrils flare, and he draws himself up to gnomic height and delivers a great spray, because apparently deficiencies in Malware's thinking are are genetic ...


And so at last to a warning about comrade Bill, and a reminder that the current pretty pickle is all the fault of Malware ...


Oh dear, that's a strangely gloomy note on which to end, but then Moorice has always been an enthusiast for the apocalypse, and perhaps prays for the rapture to save himself and the reptiles, knowing that they'll have SloMo to speak in tongues and bring down the long absent lord to save the day …

Meanwhile, the Major Mitchell was more in thundering preacher style …


Of course "Truth and the Major" seems more like a title for a wacky big screen comedy, or perhaps an endlessly running sitcom than a newspaper story. Perhaps it would have been simpler to head it "Time for a little more reptile bias on Adani".

You see, in usual reptile fashion, just below the Major the reptiles had another story, so that the message could be reinforced …


How come the reptiles are in bed with the dreaded CFMEU?

Well because any port in a storm, and any friend of decent clean dinkum Oz coal, oi, oi, oi simply can't be the enemy,  and any climate denialist and coal lover is welcomed at the lizard Oz, and the Major deep in his heart is as radical a ratbag as any unionist ...


Think about the reptiles' climate science denialism carefully? What's the point of that? It wasn't by coincidence that the top letter in the reptile pages this day was headed …


It's distilled essence of reptile climate science denialism … and the Major took up the siren song ...


The pond could recite this sort of Major column like a parrot, because the Major himself is a top-notch parrot, and never looks beyond the blinkers of his love of coal, and his misrepresentation of matters abroad …

But then as a man who never did find that Order of Lenin medal, why would the pond expect anything other than the 'Polly want a cracker' denialism of the Major?


In fact, Adani has over the years, shrunk in size and significance, with the railway shrinking and capital required less than a fifth of the amount first announced. The project is littered with lies and deceit, which no doubt helps explain why the reptiles and the Major love it so … but best of all is the sight of the Major in bed with the CFMEU and the capper with which the Major ends ...


Yep, don't give a fuck about the reef. It's sink or swim for the corals as sea temperatures don't just change, they rise … adapt or go away, lost reef, it's a never no mind in the reptile la la land of the Major ….

And the same goes for humans too. Don't do anything about climate science, and if people can't handle the result, let them die, because survival of the fittest is the mantra of the News Corp dinosaurs … or at least survival of the luddites cheered on by the Major Mitchell …

And now since Moorice has at last come into view in the lizard Oz, the pond would like to celebrate because people have been having such fun, thanks to him and his team …(the grabs below are taken from reptile stories,  which the pond refuses to link to, but the video can can be seen elsewhere, for example here, or on Twitter here, with Moorice's mascot rubbing himself up against the billboard in a way seemingly designed to get himself off).



But who is this mask billboard wanker, this inspiration effort by Moorice and Co.? Well thanks to the ABC and Junkee here, the truth has been revealed …



Head off to Junkee for the hot links …because the pond is content with this quote:

“In my stage career performing Shakespeare and Moliere, I’ve inhabited some incredibly complex and flawed characters,” Humphries says at the start of the sketch. “But none was as complex and flawed and just fucking dumb as my current role, Captain GetUp.”

It could be worse of course … imagine playing a reptile, as simplistic and flawed and fucking dumb as Moorice, the dog botherer and that sublime parrot, the Major Mitchell …


Sunday, April 21, 2019

In which the pond does its ritual Sunday dance with prattling Polonius ...

 

Did the reptiles just mark down the bloviating bromancer from extreme hysterical triumphalism to a milder form of delusional scribbling?

Of course there are other versions of the "triumph", as by Maureen Dowd, a scribbler who did the Donald a few favours back in the day when it mattered, but unleashed recently in the NY Times here

The First Narcissist’s all-consuming blend of braggadocio and insecurity has turned Washington and its rickety institutions into a dystopian outpost of his id. 
President Trump obstructed on nearly every page of Volume II of the Mueller report, even though Robert Mueller was too lost in legalese to throw the book at him. The report counts as the Worst Exoneration Ever, replete with incrimination. 
And Trump’s motivation for trying to subvert justice and turn the White House into a writhing nest of liars? His ego...

And so on, and so it goes …

And today the reptiles decided to brush the bromancer aside, with his blather about victory, and get an alternative WSJ version, though coyly refusing to acknowledge the source in the top of the page digital splash...

It suggested that the bromancer had stopped researching after he'd seen the front page of the New York Post ...


The pond has a few quibbles. Might not the piece have been headed Mueller shows a frequently bankrupt businessman living on his daddy's dime, a born liar and an inveterate coward?

On and on it went, right down to the capper:

When Mr. Trump sought in January 2018 to have Mr. McGahn dispute an accurate press report, he had a question for his White House counsel.

“Why do you take notes? Lawyers don’t take notes. I never had a lawyer who took notes,” Mr. Trump said, according to Mr. Mueller’s report, which cited an interview with Mr. McGahn.

Mr. McGahn told Mr. Trump that he is a “real lawyer,” and that notes created a record, according to the report, to which Mr. Trump shot back: “I’ve had a lot of great lawyers, like Roy Cohn. He didn’t take notes.”

Mr. Cohn was a hard-driving attorney best known for his role in GOP senator Joseph McCarthy’s 1950s anti-Communist hearings. He was disbarred in New York in the 1980s for unethical conduct.


Some lawyer, some tribute to Joe McCarthy, some victory. 

But enough of reliving yesterday's lizard Oz and the bromancer found wanting, it's time for an annual ritual which pleases the pond, as it joins yet again the prattling Polonial dance …


This is how it goes: Polonius prattles on at some length about Gallipoli, and the pond honours Polonius's dedicated service.

It's not easy conducting war from the comfort of a leather chair in the Sydney Institute and the pond never forgets to be impressed by Polonius's dedication to duty. Conscript a bunch of country folk and send them off to Vietnam to participate in a doomed and completely meaningless war? Polonius was born for exactly that kind of service. 

Now some might think this is a sorry kind of service, but the pond appreciates the way that Polonius remains steadfast and true, and never revises his thinking or expresses regrets for the odd death along the way. Heavy is the burden if the leather chair seated warrior, light is the crown of righteousness that graces Polonius's brow …

And so to another ancient war, as the ritual ordains and requires …


As frequently happens with Polonius, the cure is sometimes worse than disease. Seeking to strike down dissenters, and ne'er do wells, what's the best that Polonius can come up with for an interest in Anzac Day?

The full to over flowing intertubes and genealogy!

And yet bizarrely, the piece is headed "We march to honour Anzacs' unfashionable truths." It seems passing odd then that apparently "we march for a growing fascination with genealogy, thanks to the intertubes" …

Is genealogy an unfashionable truth? Who knows, these are the deeper kinds of mysteries that beset the pond whenever it steps into the murky world of the armchair general, and so the pond pressed on for the next Polonial koan …


Well, yes, it goes without saying, except in the world of armchair warriors, where words must do the killing, that an army is by definition a gathering of professionally trained killers, equipped to go about the business of professional killing …

This produces some interesting complications ...

"Once the bullets start flying, most combatants stop thinking with the forebrain (that portion of the brain that makes us human) and start thinking with the midbrain (the primitive portion of our brain, which is indistinguishable from that of an animal)," writes retired Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, a former U.S. Army ranger and West Point professor of military science who coined the term, on his Web site killology.com. "In conflict situations, this primitive, midbrain processing can be observed in the existence of a powerful resistance to killing one's own kind. ... This is an essential survival mechanism that prevents a species from destroying itself during territorial and mating rituals."
The only thing that has any hope of silencing the midbrain, he argues, is what influenced Pavlov's dogs: conditioning.
The need for new drills became apparent once researchers noted that a majority who had been trained in other ways to kill, surreptitiously refused to do it.
In World War II, when U.S. soldiers got a clear shot at the enemy, only about 1 in 5 actually fired, according to sensational and controversial research by Army historian Brig. Gen. S.L.A. Marshall. It wasn't that they were cowards: On the contrary, they performed other perilous feats, including running onto the battlefield to rescue fellow soldiers, and sometimes they even placed themselves in greater personal danger by refusing to fire. And yet at the moment of truth, they just couldn't kill. (here, in The Science of Creating Killers)

Killing, after all, is what it's all about, it's in the job description and people are trained to be killers, a process which requires losing a few conventional inhibitions while building an immunity to the sight of death:

Humans have natural inhibitions about killing, as Dave Grossman describes in his book, On Killing. According to Grossman, we have become good at training people to kill as a reflex and creating cold-blooded killers. The key to this is conditioning through desensitisation in training.
A brutal method of removing inhibitions was practised in World War One already, as shown by a photo from the US Army from 1917: killing with a bayonet.
A soldier of the Royal Fusiliers described it as follows: "This great big sack was hung up on a string and we had to assume that it was a person. You had to push it in, you were told how to twist it and pull it out again. That was the part of the training when you really began to think that you've got to beat a man in front of you." (here)

Of course in war, all sides are trained to be killers, and the question then is whether sending off people to kill or be killed involves considered decisions, or instead, the bizarre paranoia of domino-driven armchair generals sitting far away, and happy for others to do the dirty work … as in the case of Vietnam, where people of a certain ideological bent were quite happy to sit in the armchairs, while others waited for their marbles to turn up …

But now the pond comes to the most sacred part of the ritual ...


For once, the pond will gingerly step around the causes of the first world war, which aren't as clear cut as Polonius routinely insists …writing as he does as a British-empire loving partisan hack squatting in his bunkered leather chair. All the sides involved have a share in bringing about that momentous folly … and to blame the Germans alone is simplistic, with the British ready to go the biff too and thinking teaching the Hun a lesson might be a jolly good romp ...

Instead the pond would like to concentrate a little on the bizarre notion that the Dardanelles campaign was a perfectly valid act of war, when in reality it was a perfectly valid act of folly, in keeping with Churchill's inclination to adventurism …

Churchill showed an inclination to this throughout his life …with the pond recently reviving its interest in the disaster in Norway that started off the second world war. 

This whimsical description is as good a way as any to start:

Amid the shambles that was the Anglo-French campaign in Norway in April and May 1940, a French officer observed that ‘the British have planned this campaign on the lines of a punitive expedition against the Zulus, but unhappily we and the British are in the position of the Zulus’. (here)

As for the conduct of the campaign itself, Greg Hunters can go here,  but this gives more of a feeling for Churchill's contribution:

...Winston Churchill awarded the campaign 50 pages of his 3,000-page history The Second World War; Shakespeare gives it a full 150 pages. They make uncomfortable reading for those who like to think of Churchill as a born war leader. Imagine an English village cricket team turning up for pre-season training to find themselves facing a professional squad already match-hardened by early fixtures against Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland – and you have the campaign in a nutshell.
Shakespeare lists one disastrous decision after another taken by the British Cabinet’s military coordination committee (fittingly, the “MCC”): Churchill, its chairman, changes his mind repeatedly over whether the main thrust of the counter-attack should be toward Narvik or Trondheim; troops embark, disembark, then re-embark in new ships without their original equipment; German troops have snowshoes, the British none.
Churchill had warned about Germany’s air power for five years, but the threat he had in mind was of German bombers above British cities. Neither he nor military planners had anticipated that local air supremacy would transform naval and land engagements. The Luftwaffe operated at will over Norway; when the British belatedly sent 30 Gladiators from an aircraft carrier to land on a frozen lake, their carburettors froze on the first night. The Luftwaffe finished them off the next morning.
“A second Gallipoli” was the phrase on many lips. “Considering the prominent part I played in these events,” Churchill conceded years later, “it was a miracle that I survived and maintained my position in public esteem.” Shakespeare clearly agrees. He has little time for Churchill’s own defence of it, set out in The Gathering Storm, the first volume of his war history. There Churchill claimed that Britain’s “machinery of war conduct” was quite unfit for purpose: for example, although chairman of the MCC he could not issue orders to the chiefs of staff of the Army or Air Force; and endless layers of consultation had consumed precious time. Seen in this light, Norway provided the short, sharp shock that any democratic society needs before it can abandon its normal habits to compete at war on equal terms with a totalitarian enemy.
Shakespeare is more convinced by the testimony of contemporary diarists such as General Ironside, the head of the Army, and Admiral Godfrey, who witnessed Churchill at close quarters in the Admiralty. According to Godfrey, the “battery of weapons” that Churchill used to get his way in the conduct of the campaign included “persuasion, real or simulated anger, mockery, vituperation, tantrums, ridicule, derision, abuse and tears”. (here)

By one of those singular strokes of luck, this singular act of folly saw Chamberlain cop the blame and Churchill reap the rewards.

The same couldn't be said for Gallipoli.  Everyone knew it was a dud, and everyone knew it was Churchill wot did it, and he subsequently sent himself off to battle and spent a long time in the political wilderness.

There was very little prospect, even if the Dardanelles had gone swimmingly, that it would have achieved its aims and shortened the war. It was a desperate throw of the dice, conceived in folly and executed in folly:

...He wanted to be both general and politician, something the British constitution, happily, does not allow for.
This cast of mind was shown in the plan, inspired by Kitchener but executed with enthusiasm by Churchill, to sail a fleet through the Dardanelles to Constantinople, inspire panic in Turkey and cause that country to withdraw from the war. But the naval attack failed; a military operation to support it was a disaster; Fisher, whom Churchill had brought back as first sea lord – though he was then 73 and mildly unhinged – resigned and left Churchill exposed. The operation cost 46,000 lives, a quarter of them Australians and New Zealanders: one of Churchill’s biographers, Paul Addison, has described it as “a cross to which he nailed himself”.

And in turn, in minds other than thosewith a Polonial hue, considering that epic failure should lead to some genuine insights about the man, his flaws and his successes …

Despite a record of failure and misjudgement that in any other politician would offset even the most considerable achievements, Churchill in death has become largely untouchable by all, apart from those who are dismissed as mavericks and sectarians. The myth keeps us from an honest interpretation of our history in the first half of the 20th century. The false and romanticised picture we have of him, created by his reputation from 1940-45, is a huge obstacle to true understanding.
Despite a record of failure and misjudgement that in any other politician would offset even the most considerable achievements, Churchill in death has become largely untouchable by all, apart from those who are dismissed as mavericks and sectarians. The myth keeps us from an honest interpretation of our history in the first half of the 20th century. The false and romanticised picture we have of him, created by his reputation from 1940-45, is a huge obstacle to true understanding. (here)

Uh huh, but in the Polonial world, it seems having the best of intentions is sufficient, though if the best of intentions was all it took, why the pond would have solved world hunger, sorted climate science and produced world peace by yesterday ...


Well the pond likes to remember all aspects of war, because it's an ugly business, what with professional killers going about their work on the killing fields, so perhaps it's time for an unfashionable truth, the messy business at Surafend, to be remembered.

Most assume the massacre was the work of New Zealanders alone - Greg Hunters can see the details here  - but there has long been suspicion about Australian involvement:

...At the time the destruction of Surafend was occurring, the YMCA was screening a movie which was watched by many men of the Anzac Mounted Division. On hearing reports about the fighting, the Anzac Mounted Division Headquarters ordered the division to "stand to" with an immediate roll call to be taken and every man's location accounted for at that moment. The result of this roll call was that the location of most Australians were accounted for. In addition to the rolls, police pickets surrounded the village, finding many Australians viewing the burning houses. These were ordered back to their units. No police report indicated the presence of Australian soldiers in the village.

That being so, involvement of Australian soldiers in the massacre at Surafend had been assumed, but never proven. Historian Henry Gullett's volume of the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918 mentioned that New Zealand troops had conducted the massacre and the destruction of the village, but with the "hearty support" and "full sympathy" of the Australians.

In 2009, journalist Paul Daley was researching a book, Beersheba, and discovered an audio recording in the archives of the Australian War Memorial in which Australian former Light Horseman Ted O'Brien described how he and his comrades had "had a good issue of rum" and "went through [the village] with a bayonet." O'Brien described the actions he and his fellow Australians as "ungodly" and "a real bad thing."

Of course your average armchair general jingoist sitting in his leather chair at some institute or other, far from the action he has ordained as right, just and proper, rarely acknowledges the details of what might take place in the killing fields, including the needless and senseless deaths of civilians … an art form of chemical warfare and bombing that reached some sort of arcane peak in the Vietnam war …

But perhaps more attention should be paid … especially as our prattling Polonius furiously scribbled away but then failed to come up with a closing line which honoured his argument:

"Nevertheless, defying Bogle, increasing numbers still march in honour of the genealogy that litters the full to overflowing intertubes."

And so to a footnote on a recent reptile obsession, together with a reptile cartoon … so quickly the world changes in the days of our lives …