Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Featuring some news deemed not fit for the lizard Oz, and Mein Gott, just "Ned" and Mein Gott to do the groaning ...


The pond has started to whine about the things it misses out on as a result of its herpetology studies. 

The pond does try not to whine - it's so reptile - but tries to slip in the odd mention of. things happening outside the hive mind.

Minutes arising from the last pond meeting.

Diligent readers will recall the pond noting the bromancer yesterday trying to craft a column out of SloMo's memoirs launch. It was pathetic, feeble stuff.

What a difference a day makes. Cue Catriona Menzies-Pike in Crikey (sorry, paywall):

...That Morrison is not a gifted prose stylist will come as no surprise. Repetition, cliché, malapropism, daft diction, plodding syntax, more cliché, and bucketloads of sentimentality? This book has got it all. As James Ley wrote of the former PM’s rhetorical abilities in 2022, “He has never shown any interest in what words actually mean, or even the conventional ordering of their syllables.” If you prod Morrison’s aphorisms hoping for a sign of life, they fall apart.
Have a go with this one: “God is not a vending machine where we insert our faith and expect to receive the comforts of life in return. We don’t always get what we want, but we do always get God.” A careful reader might baulk at the transformation of faith into a coin here. I don’t think Morrison did. The Scottification of Biblical stories is one of the expected discomforts of Plans For Your Good: 
“In the last chapter we talked about Daniel and his experiences in Babylon. He wasn’t the only one to face trials and persecution there. He had three really good friends who came with him from Judah. In Australia, we would call them Daniel’s mates.”
I suspect this book was not written at all, but rather recorded and transcribed. Read a few sentences aloud and you can hear the cadences of sermons and the influence of Morrison’s pastors. You can also hear, well, Scott Morrison — without all the bothersome interruptions and interjections from an audience who wishes to hold him to account. 

Oh there's a whole lot more and sadly the pond can only do another sample ...

...Usually, when Australian authors take a book to the US market, they’re asked to make changes so that local usages can be grasped by American readers. The edition of Plans For Your Good that I read retained Australian spellings, but otherwise no deference is paid to Australian readers. A sheep station is a bit like a ranch, you see, and we say, “how good is such and such” when we want to say how good it is. It’s a sign of Morrison’s indifference to his Australian readers, and to the expectations of the office he once held, that he didn’t insist on removing this stuff for the local edition. Presumably Harper Collins Christian Publishing anticipated selling sufficient copies of the book in Australia to make it worth releasing but the numbers weren’t there to mandate small editorial changes for the local market. 
To say that Plans For Your Good is a patchy account of Morrison’s political career is an understatement. There’s naught here about Morrison the minister for Immigration and border protection, the architect of the punitive Operation Sovereign Borders regime, not even a smug little joke about the disgraceful “I Stopped These” trophy he reportedly kept in his office.
The one-time minister for Social Services has nothing to say about welfare, is silent on poverty, and when he uses the term “social justice advocates”, it is to deride his critics. He does not mention robodebt. We hear nothing about either climate change or Morrison’s loyal support for the resources sector. Nothing about the 2019 bushfires. Morrison showers himself with praise for leading the nation through the difficult years of the COVID-19 pandemic — and yet there is not one word in this book about the secret ministries palaver. Morrison is a marketing executive at heart and he’s trying to reach a new audience with Plans For Your Good — why would he bother surfacing these old accusations?

But the pond must close yesterday's minutes and go on to the business of the day, noting that if you just rely on the top of the lizard Oz's digital edition for the news that matters or splatters, you'll rarely find a mention of Ukraine, where things are getting ugly, or the actual details of the messy genocide going down in Gaza, and you certainly won't find a mention of the trial of the century (thus far, and if only because it's the first US prez to go before the beak).

The pond has also been titillated by examples of the orange Jesus slipping into dementia - it was on Morning Joe and on endless rotation on MSNBC for awhile and the likes of Colbert had a go at it - but there's no way you'd find any mention of it in the lizard Oz.

It came as a relief to find that Jonathan V. Last had the same sort of gripe in The Bulwark, only this time it was The New York Times and Hannibal Lecter ...

...On Saturday afternoon, a former president who is currently the defendant in one criminal trial while facing three other felony cases, gave a speech in Wildwood, New Jersey.
This man—who leads most polling and is at least a 50-50 shot to be the next president of the United States—spoke for 90 minutes. Here are some of the things he said:
"Silence of the Lamb. Has anyone ever seen The Silence of the Lambs? The late, great Hannibal Lecter is a wonderful man. He oftentimes would have a friend for dinner. Remember the last scene? “Excuse me. I’m about to have a friend for dinner.” As this poor doctor walked by. “I’m about to have a friend for dinner.” But Hannibal Lecter. Congratulations, the late great Hannibal Lecter. We have people who are being released into our country that we don’t want in our country, and they’re coming in totally unchecked, totally unvetted."
Surely this is newsworthy, because it suggests that Donald Trump is either suffering from aphasia or is non compos mentis. And at the risk of belaboring the point: This man could well become president.
Here is the front page of the New York Times—the nation’s paper of record—on Sunday morning:

There's no point replicating that front page, it's nicely large at the link, and it featured the solar storm and a story about the mango Mussolini's disputed accounting and assorted trivia, and it set Last off ...

Ahhhhh, the Northern Lights. Gorgeous, gorgeous. Also, I’m very sad that the Chuck E. Cheese band is being retired. And how good of the Times to inform casual readers that Ross Douthat appears on Page 2 of Sunday Opinion.
But the once and future president tumbling into nonsense about Hannibal Lecter?

So it goes and all the pond can add is ... Jimmy Connors, because Last didn't mention the Times' yarn about Mormons sharing the gospel getting a revival nor other orange Jesus tidbits, which meant they missed out on the news that Jimmy Connors had once been the president of the United States. Instead: 

'Later on, Trump did his usual schtick about windmills “killing all the birds,” while also doubling down on a previous false claim that offshore ones are killing whales.' (Beast paywall)

Another thing. The pond has sworn never to indulge the reptiles in their talk of cancel culture, woke and such like, but it's worth heading off to Popular Information to read Judd Legum's The real cancel culture.

It also features the NY Times and Bari Weiss and NPR and Uri Berliner, and a scoundrel by name Chris Rufo, and NPR CEO Katherine Maher and it will all seem familiar to anyone who has watched the reptiles incessantly assault the ABC for thought crimes. A sample:

...Later in the lengthy piece, Rufo admits there "is no way to discern whether Maher was an agent, asset, or otherwise connected with the CIA." But Rufo claims this is irrelevant because Maher "was undoubtedly advancing the agenda of the national security apparatus." 
Having acknowledged that his core claim about Maher's connections to U.S. intelligence is pure speculation, Rufo then turns his attention to unsubstantiated gossip about Maher's personal life. In her 30s, Rufo writes, Maher "had her sights on powerful men in the tech sector." But Maher "considered finding someone lesser as she approached 40." This, according to Rufo, somehow helps prove that Maher is "a vessel for power, with few original thoughts." 
The incoherence of the argument underscores the reality of the political moment. There is a relentless right-wing operation seeking to inflict pain on their ideological adversaries. Some, like Rufo, are the political equivalent of street brawlers, willing to say or do anything to achieve their objective. Others, like Weiss and The Free Press, give the movement a more journalistic and professional sheen. But no one involved is a supporter of free expression or an opponent of cancel culture. Rather, they are the cultural force aggressively pursuing cancellation.

And so to today's digital edition of the lizard Oz to check out the reptiles' assorted errors and omissions and cancellations this day.

As expected, it was budget obsessed, with Mein Gott on the far right, and a pompous montage of portentous pundits parading in a reminder of just how pathetic the once proud graphics department has become ...

The pond looked at the pontificating pundits, and was startled. 

No sign of Dame Groan ... and down below the Groaner also went missing ...

The pond was shattered.

What on earth did this portend? Why had the old chook gone missing, and instead of her tributes to Hanrahan about us all being rooned, why was it left to the usual braying of the in-house loons to pass comment and wind?

Speaking of things missing, here's another one ...

And for a bit of light entertainment, what about this one as images of King Chuck proliferate on local coinage? (Beast paywall)

What about news of Georgia or the trial of the century (so far)?

Sorry, those are links to the Graudian, not to the navel-obsessed reptiles.

One contemptible thing had been present since yesterday ...

Still blathering on about the freedom to protest, insisting that there should be freedumb for some, but not for others?

Moral courage would actually involve noting what was currently going down in Gaza ... or at least the current action in the ICJ regarding same ...

The pond was reminded of a note from an esteemed correspondent ...

What changed it (Biden's mind) were the grotesque actions of Israel itself. A campaign of indiscriminate bombing. The casual slaughter of thousands of civilians. Complete destruction of Gaza's buildings and infrastructure. The routine murder of journalists and aid workers. The forced starvation of Gaza's people. A plan to continue doing all this in Rafah with no apparent goal other than bloody revenge. And all of it without even a rhetorical pretense that Israel gives a shit about 21st century humanitarian concerns in the slightest way.
No one needs a bunch of protesters to draw their attention to any of this. It's all in broad daylight. Any decent person—and Joe Biden is a decent person—would be having second thoughts at the very least by this point. The reality of what Israel is doing changed both public opinion and Biden's mind. Protests likely had nothing to do with it.

The problem is the idea that broad daylight can change minds by exposing the canker at the core. 

Some keep blathering about moral courage, without the slightest hint og giving a shit about humanitarian concerns or showing the moral courage required to admit there's a genocide going down ... so it's a red card for Dame Slap ...

And with that the pond supposes it should at least pretend to care about the reptiles' budget hysteria,  perhaps in the same way that Melania cares about her orange Jesus.

The pond selected only two reptiles for the budget coverage.

First up is "Ned", as usual running around like Chicken Little, shouting at the way the sky is falling ...

There were a couple of novelties ... the first being that the old codger didn't even warrant a snap at the start of his hysterical meltdown ...

The second will become apparent to anyone who makes it through the first gobbet ...

Nah, don't worry about that note, the reptiles are just up to their old tricks. 

That was the web version, this is the web version.

What's truly astonishing is that "Ned" had only one more gobbet of fear-mongering in him ... sure it was relatively long, but two gobbets?

That's not a "Ned" Everest, that's a leisurely stroll up the boardwalk to the top of Kosciuszko ... be careful not to step off the boards and get tangled in the mush and verbal slush ...

Surely there should have been a joke about a conga line of Chicken Little reptiles, but never mind, here's an infallible Pope as consolation ...

Yep, there's a yarn you won't see featured in the lizard Oz ... because we love our war criminals, we really do ...

And so to Mein Gott, simply because he's there ... and it's notable that the reptiles favoured him with an opening snap ...

Mein Gott the pond has endured a lot in its herpetology studies, but this is pushing the limits, but please, spare a thought for those left out in the cold ... shareholders for Coles and Woollies.

Think the pond is kidding?

Once again the pond was tempted to look elsewhere for news of the day ...

Sheesh, the pond is still in the lock-up with Mein Gott, but up against a five year stretch, it doesn't seem so bad ...

What's funny about Mein Gott ranting about the government and unions and the budget? 

As promised, in the last gobbet he turns socialist and demands action ... not government action, but corporate action, the kind that sees Scrooge, haunted by the ghosts of Xmas past, tamed and exuding charitable love ...

Relax, that note is just the reptiles playing funny buggers, that version is the web version, it just suggests it's not the web version, so you go searching for the web version ...

Just enjoy the way that Mein Gott ended a cry of pity for the shareholders in the big chains, and the suggestion that perhaps they might do the socialist thing themselves and spread the joy among suppliers and customers and shareholders, and perhaps to Xians and atheists and ... 

...and if you can swallow that one, the pond has a copy of Das Kapital to sell you for a squillion ...

Oh sheath the feral claw of money-grubbing and spread the charitable joy ... in Mein Gott's view that's all that's needed ...

And so the immortal Rowe of the day ... featuring news banished from the lizard Oz ...

And speaking of banishing, the pond saw another cartoon, which required a little lead-in ...

Clarence has of late been providing great fun ...

Such as Dean Obeidallah's Clarence Thomas has had enough of ‘hideous’ DC. The open road is calling the justice ... reviving an old joke, a running gag ...’s the great news for the beleaguered Thomas. This past Monday, Oliver appeared on “Late Night with Seth Meyers” where he re-upped his offer. As Oliver stated directly to Thomas, in case the justice was watching, “If you want to get in touch and open up the negotiations again, I still have the contract in the drawer in my desk, and I’d be willing to do that.”
And Oliver said he was not kidding. It even has legal experts talking about whether Oliver can make such an offer. “Honestly, I’d open it up again,” Oliver said, adding, “As long as he gets out before they’re doing the June decisions. I would be willing to open discussions again.”
This couldn’t have come at a better time for Thomas. On Friday, Thomas even said he liked to visit other places where people “don’t pride themselves in doing harmful things merely because they have the capacity to do it.” Well, what better way to visit these other places than in the brand new $2 million-plus RV with $1 million in your pocket?!
As Oliver stated on his show in February summing up his offer to Thomas: “A million dollars a year and a brand new condo on wheels, and all you have to do in return is sign the contract and get the f–k off the Supreme Court.” For the good of Thomas’ psyche — and for the good of America — let’s hope he takes it.

What an inspiration to the five years in the clink tribe for daring to mention war crimes ...

And again ...

...The Atlantic’s Emma Green noted in 2019 that this vast network of clerks may be one of Thomas’s most lasting legacies: At that point, roughly one-fifth of all people who had ever clerked for him had served in the Trump administration or been nominated to a federal judgeship. It is telling that when Ginni Thomas’s involvement in January 6 first became public, she apologized not to the American people but to the close-knit fraternity of former Thomas clerks for having “likely imposed on you my lifetime passions.”
Ginni reportedly had used the clerks’ email listserv to share her pro-Trump views during and after the election, angering some of them. “My passions and beliefs are likely shared with the bulk of you, but certainly not all,” she wrote. “And sometimes the smallest matters can divide loved ones for too long. Let’s pledge to not let politics divide THIS family, and learn to speak more gently and knowingly across the divide.”
The Thomases do not eschew public life; they relish it. Thomas is not a reluctant participant in D.C. politics; he enjoys being the hub around which it revolves. Thomas’s votes in cases on voting rights, partisan gerrymandering, campaign finance laws, and anti-corruption cases have helped make American politics meaner, crueler, and more partisan over the past three decades. And along the way, his billionaire patrons have allowed him to enjoy a lifestyle far beyond what he could otherwise afford on a justice’s salary. This is not as heartwarming or inspiring as the mythology that Thomas prefers—and that is exactly why he prefers it.

And so to a closing, celebratory cartoon, one of many items not mentioned in the lizard Oz ...


  1. Couple of possibilities for Dame Groan. One is that she is so prostrated by the budget lock-up, that she requires another day or three to recompose herself, sufficiently to tap out a column. The other is that she is waiting to see what 'the vibe' is across those leading economists referenced on 'Sky', but seldom actually named - so she can join the pile-on. Her version of writing on economics has regressed to trying to find what the opinion is on the right, and joining that, hopefully with a reference so something she wrote a few weeks back that allows her to claim that she is now the intellectual leader of this week's 'vibe'.

    1. Yair, one always has to wait until the 'delivered wisdom' has actually been delivered. Otherwise one risks committing heresy.

    2. There's something deeply sinister going on here. Is it time to drag out a dinkum conspiracy theory? By the end of the week talking about the budget will be as stale as cold vomit, and only of interest to the reptiles. Why didn't Dame Groan feature while the iron was hot, while every other reptile expert in Xendom was featured in the montage and in the comments section?

      More to the point why did the reptiles downplay her contribution? The pond later went looking and found a short write up that was almost benign ...

      ...A central feature of this year’s budget is the projection of four substantial budget deficits over the forward estimates after this year’s modest surplus of $9.3bn. The size of these deficits ranges from $43bn or 1.5 per cent of GDP in 2025-26 to $24bn or 0.8 per cent of GDP in 2027-28. Under normal circumstances, most governments would be embarrassed to put forward this set of figures – four years of payments exceeding receipts by substantial amounts.

      But the government has clearly decided that balancing spending and revenue is not a top priority; indeed, it doesn’t seem to be a priority at all. Even Wayne Swan, when he was treasurer, had a set of rules that included balancing the budget over the cycle as well as keeping the growth of real spending to 2 per cent per year. The fact that he didn’t achieve this doesn’t take away the importance of having fiscal rules.

      Chalmers is not having a bar of any binding fiscal rules. The budget papers set down a series of platitudes such as “improving the efficiency, quality and sustainability of spending” and “focusing new spending on investments and reforms that build the capability of our people … and support action on climate change.”

      There is not one specific number contained in Chalmers’ “fiscal rules”. Without the discipline of tightly specified, well-considered rules, we should expect ongoing fiscal sloppiness where nearly every plea for more funding is agreed to.

      This year’s budget heralds a new era in which balancing spending and revenue is seen as old hat. By the same token, spending must conform to the values regarded as central to the Labor cause. The hope is that it will be sufficient to Hoover up enough votes to retain government without imposing too much economic harm.

      A splendid Hoover joke and yet it was hidden from view? You shouldn't have to ferret around in the chook shed to discover there's a chook clucking away in the corner, hidden from sight.

      There's something rotten at the core of this Denmark ...

    3. Missing is, how is it that no fine, sanctions, incarceration has been instigated by our governments against Rupert "$1.2bn" in "confidential settlements" Murdoch?

      dorothy parker
      May 15, 2024, 10:27:00 AM
      "There's something deeply sinister going on here. Is it time to drag out a dinkum conspiracy theory?"
      1) Lying Rupert
      2) Frank Gaffney Konspiracy King.
      "... the discovery processes in these 1600-plus cases have put mountains of material on the public record, all of it ignored by most of the media but explored in Prospect by Davies."

      Inside Story story via dogged Nick Davies in "Exposed: How powerful newspapers hacked phones during Leveson

      "According to astonishing new court papers, illegal interception took place for five years after the first phone-hacking arrests—and even overlapped with the inquiry into press ethics"
      By Nick Davies
      May 06, 2024

      Nick Davies at Prospect.
      "the judge found evidence that MGN deliberately misled parliament and Leveson in 2011"
      "and by redacting the small number of records that it did disclose. “What is clear is that MGN did not want Sir Brian Leveson to have a full picture of the extent to which PIs were being used by its newspapers.” 
      "he found “a serious and culpable failure to give disclosure” and “a shocking failure by a large organisation with in-house lawyers and a leading external firm of lawyers to comply with their disclosure responsibilities."
      "Based on the internal records that have now been disclosed, the claimants have told the High Court: “It is to be inferred that News International deliberately withheld from the Leveson inquiry details of numerous further private investigators"
      "the new evidence suggests that such behaviour was taking place even as the Leveson inquiry was sitting from November 2011"
      "The evidence to Leveson was, the claimants say, “grossly misleading, to such an extent that senior [Murdoch] executives would have known that was the case.” 

      Inside Story.
      "Hacking’s victims fight back
      "Fresh revelations suggest that the scandalous behaviour at London-based Murdoch newspapers was wider and deeper than previously believed
      13 MAY 2024
      'Rebekah Brooks had directed News technicians to “eliminate in a consistent manner… emails that could be unhelpful in the context of future litigation.” 
      "Eight filing cabinets belonging to Myler and another editor had been removed. They have never been recovered.”

      In your link DP, "Popular Information to read Judd Legum's The real cancel culture.", says "Waller works for the Center for Security Policy, a far-right organization founded by Frank Gaffney."

      Who employed Gaffney?
      "... Garrett was employed by Rupert Murdoch's Fox News for a eight year period. His articles have also been published in The Weekly Standard which is owned by the powerful Philip Anschutz. Anschutz Foundation is a donor to right wing organisations such as Frank Gaffney's Center for Security Policy.
      "... Murdoch’s tabloid, the New York Post, was instrumental in “making” Donald Trump through showering him with publicity when he was otherwise relatively obscure.
      “I would actually sit there where (Roy Cohn) would have a ( New York Post ) reporter on the phone, and he would be dictating the story, dictating word for word: ‘Donald Trump made a billion-dollar deal with the Saudis today, period, paragraph.’ You know, it was extraordinary.” – Roger Stone

      A Raquet. And the "infallible Pope as consolation'. I'm not consoled.

    4. DP - thank you for that piece of ferreting. Ferrets are misunderstood creatures, a bit like hyenas, which actually show characteristics which could be easily anthropomorphosed.

      My companion in life planned to go into 'town' this morning, and asked if she should buy a copy of the 'Flagship', to find out to what utterly peculiar circumstances Anthony Keane could construct an 'interactive calculator' to 'reveal' that some citizens could be '$9k worse off' as a direct result of this budget.

      I declined, politely, suggesting it would be in the same category as the people from my working life who would stand up at meetings and drone on, to show that what we were proposing to improve their environment or industry could, by chain of circumstances, ineluctably lead to the death of someone, and it would be on my head. And I used to get those homilies at no cost to me, nor, more importantly, for any profit to Rupert.

    5. The pond couldn't resist ferreting a little more Chadders. This in the Daily Terror thanks to this variant keen Keane with lots of graphs and a 2 minute droning video clip ...

      Federal Budget
      Don't miss out on the headlines from Federal Budget. Followed categories will be added to My News.

      The federal government’s tax pain point has arrived for high-earning Australians, leaving some households more than $9000 worse off than they would have been if Labor had not changed the stage three tax cuts.

      However, the fact that the July 1 tax cuts for higher-income earners remain well above what most taxpayers receive in dollar terms means many are keeping quiet about the cuts to their cuts.

      The budget papers confirm that a dual-income couple with both partners earning $200,000 or more will see their combined 2024-25 tax cut reduced from $18,150 to $9058 after Labor scrapped the previously legislated stage three tax cuts and replaced them with cuts for every taxpayer.

      But only the highest earners are hit hard, with a couple each on $150,000 salaries missing out just $492 a year under Labor’s changes, while a couple on dual $100,000 salaries will be $1608 better off annually.

      Behavioural economist and author Phil Slade said many wealthier people were “almost pre-conditioned to think they’re not going to get anything”.

      “They compare it to their own expectation, which was zero, so therefore they’re winning,” he said.

      Mr Slade said as a whole Australians had not followed the tax cut developments “as closely as they should”.

      This meant any tax cut was viewed positively, even if it was less than the previous Coalition government legislated, he said.

      “They look at the situation and think ‘I get some money back, so giddy up for me’.”

      Peoples’ perception of fairness also played a role, Mr Slade said, and many low and middle income earners have been struggling.

      “There’s a lot of working poor – people who are working jobs that are not enough to pay their costs,” he said.

      “This will help them survive. One just hopes the cost of living doesn’t rise because of inflation.”

      One just hopes while contemplating the endless suffering of the rich ...

    6. Oh my, we'll have to do some serious crowdfunding to compensate those poor people who aren't going to end up quite as rich as they thought they might.

  2. Ok: "'God is not a vending machine where we insert our faith and expect to receive the comforts of life in return. We don’t always get what we want, but we do always get God.' A careful reader might baulk at the transformation of faith into a coin here."

    I dunno, I'd reckon representing "faith" as a vending machine - complete with the required tithe - is a very effective way of characterising the views of a great many religious "believers".

  3. The other Dame - Slap - offering to lecture us (the ‘many others’?) on ‘the important distinction between law and morality in a free and civilised society.’ seems contrived at best. I rather thought that the conservative view on ‘the law’ was that it reflected morality, through the long, long sequence of findings by learned judges, provided such judges acknowledged what all their predecessors had written on the same issue, and showed how their most recent decision took account of what the illustrious predecessors had written.

    I write ‘took account of’ rather than ‘follow’, because, if your personal circumstances, or employment, have required you to work through cases heard in your lifetime, you will find that often there is a little - shall we say ‘modulation’? - of actual precedent, usually done by those on the bench who most assert their ‘conservative’ credentials. In those cases, there is still no doubt in conservative legal minds that the ‘law’ as so defined absolutely aligns with morality.

    Strange that a ‘Juris Doctor’ would claim otherwise - but best not to confuse the minds of readers here.

  4. Just a quickie to start with: our Neddy: "In this budget Jim Chalmers aspires to secure an election win..." Wau, that's surprising, isn't it: JimC wants to secure an election win rather than a loss. Radical, radical ... not sure that it'll ever catch on.


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