Monday, September 01, 2014

A qualitatively historic post ...


It probably depends on how you define historic and qualitative.

It could mean many things to many people.



Who knows quite what it means, though you can read this Crikey story here.


By golly, that's it.

The pond was trying to work out a good synonym for "qualitative" journalism, and it was staring the pond in the face all along.

Uxorial ...

As you'd expect from a bro-mancer in his prime ...


Amanda Vanstone and Sharri Markson and Chris Mitchell and Murdoch hack activists a threat to journalism ...


(Above: more Wilcox here).

Australia beaten by Zimbabwe?

Say it ain't so, and thank the long absent lord it wasn't in a significant international sport, like tiddly winks.

But thanks to the Julia Gillard principle - she was responsible for everything that went wrong - surely this is Tony Abbott's fault?

Hang on a tic. Zimbabwe?

So Mugabe's gone and all's well in this troubled land and Tony Abbott can take the credit?  Not really, not if you read Mugabe wins at Beijing bingo.

Since Mugabe’s disputed election win last year, foreign investment has plunged, hundreds of manufacturing companies have closed and unemployment in the country stands at an estimated 80%. The Mail and Guardian reported last week that Zimbabwe would allow China to bypass the normal State tender process for major projects in return for quick funding. 
Mugabe is subject to sanctions by the United States and the European Union and was one of only a handful of African leaders not invited to Barack Obama’s US-Africa summit in Washington earlier this month.

Thank the long absent lord Australia is willing to be thrashed by minnows so they can feel better about themselves. Is this the land of the heroic, sacrificial warrior or what? By golly, and soon enough we'll have sorted out Iraq, just like the Howard government did ...

What else? Well it seems the magic water man has abandoned his slot in the Monday Fairfax, so in urgent need of a troll to do some trolling, the Fairfaxians naturally turned to Amanda Vanstone, usually the resident twit on ABC on a Monday.

Vanstone does one of those "what if?" numbers that are entirely meaningless and speculative, and only suitable for snide asides, as you can discover if you can summon up the strength required to wade through the tripe that constitutes Imagine if Tony Abbott had been accused ...

No it's not the revised lyrics for a John Lennon song, it's imagine if Tony Abbott had been accused of rape:

There has been a good deal of restraint exercised by both the media and members of Parliament in the lead-up to and since Shorten's wise announcement. It stands in something of a contrast to the frenzy surrounding the apparent revelation that many years ago Tony Abbott had punched a wall very near a woman's face. 
That contrast invites us all to speculate what would happen if a similar complaint as was made against Shorten were made against Abbott. 
I think I know what would happen: The handbag hit squad would be out there fanning the fires with every bit of hatred they could muster. Does anyone seriously think the media commentary would be as restrained? Even if you backdate the question to when Abbott was opposition leader, you still get the same answer.

Vanstone, a bear with very little brain, shows an ongoing taste for cliches and stereotypes - handbag hit squad will do nicely - but the rest shows the sort of paranoid thinking that is currently the state of mind of Liberals, Tea partiers, and Murdochians everywhere...

Actually if the police had investigated and decided there was no case, the likelihood is that commentary would have been muted, but let's play this game.

Imagine if there had been a complaint made against Julia Gillard's former boyfriend twenty years ago for corruption ...

The pond thinks it knows what would happen: Amanda Vanstone would be out there calling for the fires of hatred to be extinguished, right?

You know, on the fair dibs principle:

Shorten has had a rough time of it. He can be grateful for the decency shown all around. Perhaps he will insist the same courtesies are extended by his team on future occasions. But don't hold your breath.

Yeah, sure. Julia Gillard can stop breathing now ... and head off to the Royal Commission aimed directly at her. Oh yes, they play dirty pool and then talk about the common courtesies ...

Meanwhile, the pond was pleased to note how Vanstone slipped in that remark about the "apparent revelation".

Just as well she was cautious. Not so long ago the Bolter was the latest in a long line to turn up with an apologetic grovel in relation to the matter, as recorded in Richard Ackland's Andrew Bolt the latest to apologise over Tony Abbott's wall punch.

The Australian and Michael Kroger had previoiusly grovelled, as did Alan Jones ...

Could Vanstone get any more offensive, with her loaded "what ifs" and her stereotypical abuse? Of course she could - that's why she's in Fairfax, to troll and score trolling hits:

Courts have rules of evidence, for very good reason. These rules have been developed over many years and are designed to ensure that judges and juries make the fairest decision possible. The problem is neither we, nor the media, follow any such rules. That means that bits and pieces of information about each of us – parts of the story when there might be many versions, often completely untested – are passed on every day. In normal daily life we call it gossip. 
Sadly, some investigative journalists get away with being paid to publish this sort of stuff, irrespective of whether innocent people are damaged along the way. They would say they are only doing their job, working to shine a light on bad things that do happen. When they do in fact shine that light and wrongdoers get their due, we should all cheer. The trouble is that often, in digging to find the dirt and shine the light, they chuck a fair bit of mud.


What a chain jerker (yes, in the old days, the pond lived with a chip heater and a toilet operated by jerking a chain and learned about chain jerking ...)

There's Vanstone shedding crocodile tears about the persecuted fate of an imaginary Tony Abbott, as opposed to the gentle kid glove handling of Bill Shorten, and flinging around mud in fine style, without even the courage to name Barbara Ramjan but instead referring to her as that woman making apparent revelations, while at the same time chucking a a chunk of mud at an amorphous handbag hit squad, which, seeing as how it's not otherwise limited, refers to every woman in visible possession of a handbag ...

The truth is, no one needs an imaginary rape case to observe that Tony Abbott in opposition behaved on a daily basis like a boofheaded thug with a steel capped toe, and in government has proceeded in much the same manner, and on an almost daily basis has provided the stuff of what in daily life we call gossip ...

Except of course that the gossip is reported and tested. There's actual video footage to hand of Abbott upsetting Warren Mundine yet again, though curiously the pond doesn't mind Mundine getting agitated, on the principle that if you lie down with dogs, you should have to expect to scratch when bitten by fleas ...

Vanstone routinely provides a black hole on radio, only occasionally enlivened when the likes of barking mad apparent Marxist Brendan O'Neill turns up to explain that it doesn't matter about the honey bee, heck we can just do pollination by hand, perhaps by exhuming Chairman Mao to run the five year plan (Europe update).

But enough of the activist ex-politician, the pond was inspired to visit bubble headed booby Sharri Markson in her native Oz home today, after her appearance, to express her opinions and views, on the rabidly right wing, ratbag Bolter report,  ...

Only to find this profoundly ironic header, which makes irony sound like post modernist satire ...


It's an EXCLUSIVE? No, not really, it lost that tag somewhere along the line:



Surely then if not much of an EXCLUSIVE, it must be an epic joke?

Is Markson actually bemoaning journalistic activism in that rabid, ratbag home of ideological zealots, and activist reporting, the house of Murdoch?

Is her piece going to turn into an assault on Murdochian madness and mayhem, and editor Chris Mitchell in particular, or more generally the feral crusading tabloids dominated by people like the totally off the planet Paul Whittaker, always ready with Photoshop and a jihad of the day (currently the Islamics are the top of the hit list)?

In short, is Markson going to dish it out to the reptile manor known as the lizard Oz? And all the rest of the raptors?

You really must stop day dreaming ... try ice cubes on the nipples. It works for the pond ...

How wonderful it would have been.

Markson attacking the very same rag that in recent days issued a fatwah and embarked on a jihad against Julian Disney and the Press Council. Just like its ongoing jihad on climate scientists and its jihads on the ABC and Fairfax. And these are just a few of the many, many jihads, crusades if you will, the reptiles have launched in recent years ...

All the pond can do is suggest to anyone interested in high media-related comedy that they circumvent the paywall and read Markson's Activism a threat to journalism, which starts out by quoting Eric Beecher and getting very alarmed about social media trends.

Mr Beecher, the founder of Private Media, said journalists, who once were strictly impartial, now frequently expressed their views on social media and television. “There is a clear need for newspapers and other media platforms to have a policy about how their writers and their big name talent use Twitter,’’ he said. 
“Are they tweeting as individuals or are they tweeting on behalf of their newspaper? I would have thought it’s implied, particularly when you’re tweeting about a subject or story, that you’re representing your masthead.” 
Asked about his own organisation, where Crikey’s political editor, Bernard Keane, often ex­-pressed strong views on Twitter, Mr Beecher said there could probably be greater clarity around guidelines for his company’s editorial staff.

Oh that wicked Bernard Keane, what a shocking, awful man he is, always shooting his mouth off:


Oh okay you can see where this is heading.

Markson has drunk deeply of the Chris Mitchell kool aid.

How deeply?

This deep:

Editor-in-chief of The Australian, Chris Mitchell, said the greatest threat to journalism was not the internet or governments and press councils trying to limit free speech, but the rise of the activist journalist over the past 25 years and the privileging of the views of activist groups over the views of the wider community. 

About that point the pond started rolling the jaffas down the aisle.

Let's not focus on the shoddy English ... though the pond was curious as to whether Markson really meant to say that the internet was trying to limit free speech ...

No, let's just marvel at Chris Mitchell, rogue ratbag running a loss-making concern allegedly dedicated to free market principles, but in reality heavily subsidised so it can stay in the business of launching assorted fatwahs and jihads ... and then having the cheek, the gall, the presumption, the indolent eye-jabbing hypocrisy to blather on about activist journalists...

The man who waged a war on Manning Clark, based on an allegation he could never prove ...

Physician, heal thyself.

So who's to blame if you read Mitchell la la land with a glass of kool aid to hand?

Why the ABC and activists, at least the activists who aren't reptile activists, and academics of an activist kind who by necessity aren't the tame activist academics who turn up in the lizard Oz's pages:

"Listen to ABC current affairs any day and you find the majority of stories are driven by comments
from activists about federal or state government policies or about social phenomena activists either oppose or support,’’ he said. 
“Why for example are the views of Ian Rintoul and Australian for Refugees given so much currency when voters for both the Labor Party and the Coalition overwhelmingly support strong border protection? 
“Why are the views of environmental activists privileged above the role of economic growth, which inevitably creates better ­environmental, employment and social outcomes for the wider community?” 
Mr Mitchell, who has edited newspapers for more than 20 years, said media academics who were vocal about ideological issues on social media were part of the problem. 
“This is at the heart of my disdain for modern journalism academics. And anyone who watches their Twitter feeds as I do will know I am correct,’’ he said. 
 Tens of thousands of people, including journalism students and those starting their career in the industry, follow media academics Jenna Price, Wendy Bacon and journalist Margo Kingston on Twitter. All are opinionated on political issues. 

Whereas Sharri and Chris simply have no opinion on political issues, none whatsoever. And Chris Mitchell isn't opinionated. Oh no, not even about Manning Clark

Oh scrub the irony, what's really interesting is this example of what the pond likes to think of as the fascist mind.

The fascist mind can't stand alternatives, different ways of seeing the world. The fascist mind demands conformity. Only one line can be heard, only one line followed, and the rest drowned out by righteous abuse.

This isn't an original observation:

The fascist mind, the ideological mind is a state of mind that permanently adopts an unchanging rigid argument that cannot and must not be altered, and this argument defines it. An example would be: ‘In the War On Terror you are either with us or against us.’ It logically follows that if you object to the War on Terror, you are potentially a terrorist and should be subject to certain kinds of punishment. Any reading of Australia’s right-wing columnists will discover dozens of these kinds of statements. They’re very common. (here)

Now let's see this in action, courtesy of Markson:

The Ten Network’s contributing political editor, Paul Bongiorno, has in recent weeks expressed his personal view on the NBN, saying it was “being trashed”. 

Well yes, and Markson twittered her personal twittish view that Paul Barry is being paid handsomely to conduct a war on News Corp.

The difference? Well Bongiorno can quite fairly argue that the NBN is being trashed and that in due course much more expenditure will be required to upgrade the current roll out - in ten years time, the copper lines in the ground in inner city areas will be in even worse condition, and so will the HFC cables, and right at the moment Turnbull hasn't begun to think about delivering decent broadband to the inner suburbs of major cities, having commissioned a bullshit report that projects entirely useless speed and band requirements for the next couple of decades ... as if anyone in 1994 could imagine where we've already reached in 2014 ...

But the fascist mind doesn't want to hear alternatives or objections. The fascist mind requires that everyone drink the kool aid and fall into obedient line and be shocked and horrified that Bongiorno dared to express his mind, and never mind that day in day out, the ferals at the lizard Oz have organised, promoted, conducted and waged a relentless war against decent broadband, both in the opinion and in the news pages.

What else?

Former News Corp chief executive Kim Williams said he had noticed, particularly in relation to reports on the conflict between Israel and Hamas, that opinion had overtaken facts. 
 “People seem to adopt opinions first and discovery is the very poor cousin of getting to the core of the information. It’s been an ignoble period,’’ he said. 
 In relation to the decision by Fairfax Media to suspend former columnist Mike Carlton for abusing readers, Mr Williams said “it goes to the heart of the difference between professional journalism and the blogosphere”.

Uh huh. And what are the facts this very minute, courtesy Haaretz: Israel appropriates massive tract of West Bank land. (slow to load, inside the paywall but can be googled):


Israel’s Civil Administration in the West Bank yesterday announced the takeover of 988 acres (3,799 dunams) belonging to five Palestinian villages between the Etzion settlement bloc and Jerusalem. The move clears the way for construction of a new settlement named Gvaot...  
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told IDF Radio last night that the timing of the announcement was inappropriate. “Israel now needs to be recruiting the world to prevent steps being taken against it, and to work together with those moderate forces” she said. “Anything that can turn attention toward us and arouse criticism against us hurts the very things we are trying to achieve.” 
Palestinian officials did not seem very surprised last night by the Israeli cabinet decision. Immediately after last week’s cease-fire, Haaretz reported that senior officials in the Palestinian Authority were turning to the United Nations and the European Union warning that Israel was taking steps whose goal was to strengthen its hold on territories beyond the Green Line. 
 “It’s been proven that this government has no intention of moving forward with the peace process,” one senior PA official told Haaretz.

Yep, that's getting to the core of the information.

As to the difference between professional journalism and the blogosphere, on a daily basis the reptiles in Murdoch la la land routinely abuse their readers, especially the intelligence of readers who don't automatically, reflexively shriek in fear at the sight of an academic, or think there are alternative views on theMiddle East to hand, or understand that one of the reasons that The Australian does so badly in the marketplace of ideas (let alone sales) is that it's being run by crazed, climate science denying, NBN hating, right wing zealots and ratbags ...

It was Williams himself who explained that working at News Corp was like working in a feudal empire ...

And Markson is just one of the more diligent serfs ... but if she keeps on celebrating her serfdom this way, the difference between professional journalism and the blogosphere will be confused and conflated from the moment she turned up yesterday on the Bolter's platform and indulged in twittering ideological abuse and ratbaggery like a damned activist journalist ...

Meanwhile, speaking of Tony Abbott and Warren Mundine, yet another corker from David Rowe and as always, more Rowe here:




And as always, the pond is delighted to present the original, E. Phillips Fox, on the subject of Captain Cook landing at Botany Bay:


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Like minds ...

This ...


And then here this, and much more:


So there you go.

It seems the consensus is just to lie down and take it ...

Meanwhile, on another planet, here, with forced video:


Uh huh. So with traditional marriage all the go in traditional Victorian England, and traditional India and traditional China and in many other traditional countries, poverty was ninety per cent solved?

No, silly, Indians can't have traditional marriages ... they're heathens, don't ya know ...

But there you go, that's the bit the Bolter conveniently snipped from his piece:

"We have to find the truth, and the truth says that statistically there is no better place for a child to be," said Mr Jacobs, the congress' managing director, and an ardent supporter of Russia's anti-gay laws. "Ninety per cent of poverty can be solved simply through the affirmation of marriage."

Now why would he leave out that last infinitely stupid remark in his defence of the right of others, apart from himself, routinely to sound infinitely stupid?

Quite possibly because the Bolter is routinely dishonest, and will say and do anything to appeal to the prejudices of his audience, even when he knows that it requires him to be fundamentally intellectually dishonest.

That's the price you pay when you're a demagogue.

It's the intolerance of the intolerant refusing to tolerate the intolerant, or some such bullshit ...

The only clear cut result from this gathering of fundies?

Why everyone from the Bolter to Helen Razer goes barking mad ...

And that's before we get to the actual participants.

Paul Hanrahan, the executive director of Family Life International Australia, used his speech to suggest abortion was worse than terrorism in Syria. 
"Many people lately have been upset at the terrible atrocities being committed in the name of religion in Iraq and Syria and other places. Terrorists and terrorists' kids holding severed heads is certainly gruesome. Answer me this: how is it worse?" he asked. 

So a surgical procedure authorised by a woman in control of her body is as bad as a beheading in the street, and kids carrying around a head as a trophy?

So much for women's rights, so much for gays in Russia, so much for gays in Africa, and in the meantime, so much for the likes of Bolter and Razer as they disappear up their fundaments in search of ways to tolerate the intolerant because it's intolerant not to tolerate the intolerant ... or some such nonsense ...

And speaking of the Bolter, here's how to approach an interview in an unbiased, balanced and objective way:


Thank the long absent lord that should be a short interview:

Dickhead: So it's absolutely useless?

Dick: Yes it's absolutely useless ...

Dickhead: That'd mean it's completely useless ...

Dick: Completely and utterly useless. But I should mention $22 billion

And also on the same show, that bubble headed booby Sharri Markson, is apparently reviewing the media.

Thank the long absent lord the pond will be busy on nose picking duty staring endlessly at the receding horizon ... or perhaps watching paint dry ...


Well it's as exciting as watching the Ten network with its breaking news:



Do be do be do ...



So apparently this interview has been doing the rounds in hipster circles on Facebook this past week, as they read Playboy for the articles and the interviews and they catch up on crooners like cranky Frank:

Playboy: Are you a religious man? Do you believe in God? 
Sinatra: Well, that’ll do for openers. I think I can sum up my religious feelings in a couple of paragraphs. First: I believe in you and me. I’m like Albert Schweitzer and Bertrand Russell and Albert Einstein in that I have a respect for life — in any form. I believe in nature, in the birds, the sea, the sky, in everything I can see or that there is real evidence for. If these things are what you mean by God, then I believe in God. But I don’t believe in a personal God to whom I look for comfort or for a natural on the next roll of the dice. I’m not unmindful of man’s seeming need for faith; I’m for anything that gets you through the night, be it prayer, tranquilizers or a bottle of Jack Daniel’s. But to me religion is a deeply personal thing in which man and God go it alone together, without the witch doctor in the middle. The witch doctor tries to convince us that we have to ask God for help, to spell out to him what we need, even to bribe him with prayer or cash on the line. Well, I believe that God knows what each of us wants and needs. It’s not necessary for us to make it to church on Sunday to reach Him. You can find Him anyplace. And if that sounds heretical, my source is pretty good: Matthew, Five to Seven, The Sermon on the Mount. 
Playboy: You haven’t found any answers for yourself in organized religion? 
Sinatra: There are things about organized religion which I resent. Christ is revered as the Prince of Peace, but more blood has been shed in His name than any other figure in history. You show me one step forward in the name of religion and I’ll show you a hundred retrogressions. Remember, they were men of God who destroyed the educational treasures at Alexandria, who perpetrated the Inquisition in Spain, who burned the witches at Salem. Over 25,000 organized religions flourish on this planet, but the followers of each think all the others are miserably misguided and probably evil as well. In India they worship white cows, monkeys and a dip in the Ganges. The Moslems accept slavery and prepare for Allah, who promises wine and revirginated women. And witch doctors aren’t just in Africa. If you look in the L.A. papers of a Sunday morning, you’ll see the local variety advertising their wares like suits with two pairs of pants.

George Pell and the angry Sydney Anglicans as witch doctors? Who can argue with that.

There's plenty more of cranky Frank here along with standard methodist objections that he was a drinker and a fornicator, but it has to be said that at least he wasn't a child molester - unless someone's determined to count Mia Farrow a child ...

There's nothing novel in Sinatra's arguments but they're well rehearsed and articulated, and they seem to have caught the hipsters by surprise - presumably the new age lounge lizards are only now catching up Sinatra's darker material, done in the late 1950s with the likes of Nelson Riddle (you can Greg Hunt Sinatra here).

Never mind, Sinatra serves this meditative Sunday well:

Playboy: But aren’t such spiritual hypocrites in a minority? Aren’t most Americans fairly consistent in their conduct within the precepts of religious doctrine? 
Sinatra: I’ve got no quarrel with men of decency at any level. But I can’t believe that decency stems only from religion. And I can’t help wondering how many public figures make avowals of religious faith to maintain an aura of respectability. Our civilization, such as it is, was shaped by religion, and the men who aspire to public office anyplace in the free world must make obeisance to God or risk immediate opprobrium. Our press accurately reflects the religious nature of our society, but you’ll notice that it also carries the articles and advertisements of astrology and hokey Elmer Gantry revivalists. We in America pride ourselves on freedom of the press, but every day I see, and so do you, this kind of dishonesty and distortion not only in this area but in reporting — about guys like me, for instance, which is of minor importance except to me; but also in reporting world news. How can a free people make decisions without facts? If the press reports world news as they report about me, we’re in trouble.

Which brings the pond to a favourite theme which is to do with Saudi Arabia and Islamic fundamentalism and Wahhabism, and the immense, enormous stupidity of the Bush years and those who chummed up with the fundamentalists that run the oil-rich country - aided and abetted by press reporting of the place, which has helped get the west into such a bloody mess in its middle east interventions.

Following the beheading of a western journalist, western news outlets finally began to pay attention to beheadings in general, and what do you know, even news.com.au found space for Beheadings at 'record levels': Saudi Arabia executes dozens in deadly August.

What's more, these beheadings aren't necessarily carried out discreetly, behind closed doors, but rather in the manner of a good old fashioned hanging Victorian-era style, with watching mobs:

“That people are tortured into confessing to crimes, convicted in shameful trials without adequate legal support and then executed is a sickening indictment of the Kingdom’s state-sanctioned brutality,” Mr Boumedouha said. 
“It is clear that the authorities are more interested in threatening victims’ families to shut them up rather than putting an end to this grotesque phenomenon.” 
A deadly August is just the tip of the iceberg for Saudi Arabia which executed more than 2000 people between 1985 and 2013, figures provided by the human rights group reveal. 
According to them, trials in capital cases are often held in secret and defendants are given no or insufficient access to lawyers. 
And people in Saudi can be executed for a range of crimes including adultery, armed robbery, apostasy, drug-related offences, rape, witchcraft and sorcery. 
Most executions are done by beheading and many take place in public. 
In some cases decapitated bodies are left lying on the ground in public squares as a “deterrent”.

Now you don't have to head off to the loathsome RT, propaganda arm for and supporter of Vlad the dictator, with his talk of Nazism, to find that others have been paying attention, as in The Independent, with Saudi executes 19 in one half of August in 'disturbing surge of beheadings'.

And in the process it's not hard to work out where ISIS might have found some inspiration for its brutal tactics.

So what about the rest of the package? Which is to say the role that the Saudi government has played in exporting Islamic fundamentalism around the world?

Well here it's handy to have a read of Nesrine Malik's piece for The Graudian, Islamic State requires Saudi Arabia to rethink its support for extremism.

Now it's easy enough to be irritated by the surface nonsense that ensures the pond will never visit Saudi Arabia - the activities of the religious police, the refusal to allow women to drive, or to have any other rights of the kind assumed as normal elsewhere.

Malik goes lightly on Saudi salafism, but Wahhabism is a particularly virulent and dangerous sect - you can Greg Hunt it here.

For years, decades really, Saudi Arabia has gone down its peculiar path to fundamentalism, supported all the way by the likes of Bush and his cronies, and the Howard and the Abbott governments, who treated the state as a useful ally in the war on terrorism, ...when it's been as guilty as any country in middle east of the most appalling things and the most appalling fundamentalism.

Cue Malik:

Saudi Arabia is increasingly feeling the heat of the Sunni hardline blowback. While the Saudi government technically doesn’t sponsor Isis, it has promoted a fundamentalist Salafi interpretation of Islam that has encroached into the mainstream Sunni space. This has created the conditions, inside and outside the country, for extremism to breed. 
The clergy is a powerful force in Saudi Arabia. Its influence derives from the fact that the royal family has entered into a formal pact with the sheikhs, under which the understanding is that the House of Saud can hold on to political power, while the religious establishment gets to dictate the national character of Saudi Arabia, one that has remained doggedly extreme. This vision has also been exported abroad by both state and non-state actors, the former as a clumsy substitute for a coherent foreign policy, by which the Saudi government contributes funds for mosques and charitable organisations in Muslim countries as a way of purchasing influence; the latter via personal wealth and the zeal of private citizens. 
Osama bin Laden was a perfect combination of the two, a personally motivated non-state actor, radicalised in the schools and mosques of Jeddah, who managed to also rope in the Saudi establishment by selling a religious mission to them – pushing back the Soviet invasion – in the guise of a political project. 
But it seems even Saudis are beginning to see the foolhardiness of this arrangement. In a searing essay in the Saudi newspaper Al Riyadh last week, Hissa bint Ahmed bin Al al-Sheikh, a member of one of the most influential religious families in Saudi Arabia and a relative of the grand mufti, rails against the “farce of fatwas” in the kingdom, and records a litany of extremist measures introduced since the 1980s that have stifled public life and glorified a culture of “hatred and death” that she recognises in Isis. This is a culture disseminated via state media, the national curriculum and public order laws – legislation that many Saudi intellectuals warned against. 
The Saudi establishment has sacrificed its people, and the wider Muslim world that lies within its influence, in return for immunity from religious revolt of the type that threatened Mecca in the 1970s. While the immediate focus vis-a-vis Isis needs to be on practical counter-extremism measures, the west can no longer afford to turn a blind eye to Saudi’s internal contradictions. These have spawned a decadent and west-friendly royal family that preside over a society where clerics run amok, where imams rant against infidels, religious minorities are oppressed, education is heavily slanted towards religion and where people are beheaded for sorcery. As far as containing the radical Islamic threat, the status quo is increasingly no longer working – neither for the Saudis, nor the western governments who support them.

Unfortunately that link to the "searing essay" leads to a script foreign to the pond, and to a risible and pathetic Google translation, though you can catch the drift that Hessa Al-Sheikh isn't happy, and in that unhappiness might lie some hope ...

Nonetheless, Saudi Arabia is a symbol of just how ham-fisted and misguided western intervention the region has been in the past, and how it is unlikely to change in any significant way while the ham-fisted Tony Abbott begins to fancy his chances as an international statesman, shoring up domestic support by indulging in war mongering on the world stage.

If there was any better ironic guide to this incompetence, it surely had to come with Captives held by Islamic State were waterboarded.

Suddenly The Washington Post and other US outlets had no problem with the notion that waterboarding was a form of torture, and not the kind of "enhanced interrogation" that Bush and his cronies blathered about, while also running this line of defence:

“ISIL is a group that routinely crucifies and beheads people,” said a U.S. official, using one of the acronyms for the Islamic State. “To suggest that there is any correlation between ISIL’s brutality and past U.S. actions is ridiculous and feeds into their twisted propaganda.”

Yes, and Saudi Arabia is a state that routinely beheads people and leaves bodies in the street as a warning ...

And when will the Americans pay attention to the way this state feeds and funds twisted Islamic fundamentalist propaganda?

So what did Frank expect by pointing out the ratbag ways of fundamentalists, whether in Saudi Arabia, or assembled in Melbourne to demonise women's rights and gays, or clustered in angry Anglican churches or working in Cardinal Pell's trucking country?

Playboy: Are you saying that . . . 
Sinatra: No, wait, let me finish. Have you thought of the chance I’m taking by speaking out this way? Can you imagine the deluge of crank letters, curses, threats and obscenities I’ll receive after these remarks gain general circulation? Worse, the boycott of my records, my films, maybe a picket line at my opening at the Sands. Why? Because I’ve dared to say that love and decency are not necessarily concomitants of religious fervor. 
Playboy: If you think you’re stepping over the line, offending your public or perhaps risking economic suicide, shall we cut this off now, erase the tape and start over along more antiseptic lines? Sinatra: No, let’s let it run. I’ve thought this way for years, ached to say these things. Whom have I harmed by what I’ve said? What moral defection have I suggested? No, I don’t want to chicken out now. Come on, pal, the clock’s running.

Yes the clock's ticking, and Tony Abbott is working out how fear and war mongering just might help keep him in power ...

What's the bet more follies will follow?

Do be do be do ...


Saturday, August 30, 2014

Things get Mike Carlton Blanche Clark Chris Mitchell Tony Martin News Corp HUN personal, before they get really weird ...

Sorry John Birmingham, this is the day the pond goes off in search of Carlton arcana.

While it was pleasing to see Carlton turn up in Crikey with Gaza is Israel's Vietnam, with Hamas victorious,  (behind the paywall), designed to stir the possums and lordy lordy were they well stirred, Carlton has also turned into a keen observer of News Corp on his Twitter account here.

Carlton's an extremely handy pointer to the absurdity of the brand, and frankly the pond needs every hand on deck - to plough through the entirety of hogwash produced by News Corp would be a bigger job than Hercules faced labouring in the Augean stables.

And so it was that Carlton produced this fetching tidbit:


Yes, who can argue, but that's a screen cap, so here's the paranoia in its original home. 

Better yet, here's the paranoia on the pond laid out like a patient etherized on a table as the yellow Melbourne fog clings to the window panes:


Yes fear stalks Collins Street, torsos carry strange bulges, all around are menacing stares and faces. 

Victorians! Worse still, wicked, evil Melburnians. 

But do go on Blanche. Tell us how we shouldn't rely on the kindness of strangers.

Wait, that's cruel, unfeeling.

Is there a hero in togs who can placate Blanche and make her feel safe?


Uh huh. What to say? Cue Mike Carlton again:


Indeed, indeed, it's a corker and a ripper.

But we shouldn't overlook this:

Everyone is downplaying it. Am I being paranod?
In other parts of the world it's not propaganda or paranoia.

The pond was going to suggest a Bex and a good lie down but perhaps after Bex powder killed more than pain, it's better to stick with the plonk, the paranoia and the nibbles.

There is one other suggestion. Blanche has clearly been reading too many News Corp publications lathering up fear, loathing and paranoia. Maybe she should get her reading matter from Aldi. Nothing to get anyone worried there.

And so to the culminating corker:


A terrorist attack could occur!!

Yes, yes, and a tram could run over the pond, and the pond could be in a car crash, and the sky could fall in, and chicken little, while running about, could trip over and fall face down in the mud and drown, and the cat could scratch the pond, and the pond could die of cat scratch disease or could at least get a fever, and fuck the pond dead, what else???

Why an engine could fall off a plane coming in on the third runway and could land in the lounge room, or the pond could just have watched too many movies, and instead it could be that a meteor takes out Sydney, and Hollywood could race around wondering if Scarlett Johansson could be the right actress to play the pond, who could be seen defiantly shaking a clenched fist at the tidal wave on the beach that could sweep the pond to oblivion and beyond ...

Or someone with a tattoo could give the pond a very nasty stare on King street in Newtown ...

Perhaps worst of all, the pond could work for Rupert Murdoch and could waste money on rags peddling paranoid tripe.

It just got personal?


Happily, the pond hasn't yet heard of an explosion on Collins street that took out Blanche and sundry bystanders, caught up in a vile bombing on an intrepid HUN journalist. Though it could have happened... in the town of the could have been champions ...

But take no comfort from this. Maintain the fear, maintain the rage, look under every car, and before you kick over the ignition, did you remember to put on your bomb suit?

You may resume your latte-infused lax attitude towards national security, but only for as long as it takes to sip the coffee and the chardonnay.

Once that's done, remember the price of freedom is eternal vigilance of a HUN paranoid kind, and if that means going barking mad, and waking fearfully in the middle of the night, starting at shadows, it's a small price to pay.

But speaking of paranoia, Carlton also kicked some other rumours down the road.


Oh dear, is it true that a paranoid is a person in possession of the facts?

Is Mitchell about to experience a fate almost as bad as a Collins street bombing?

Could this be true?

And Carlton also linked to Tony Martin, bearing the good news for Monday:


Sorry John Birmingham.

There's already a lot of fun in the world ... and if you head off to Tony Martin twittering away, here, you cop a link to Herald Sun Half-Wits, dedicated to the idiotic and occasionally awesome comments and letters in the HUN, which demonstrates why Blanche likes to howl at the moon:


Shit got personal? More like shit got really weird. Thanks Mr Carlton but now could the pond be excused?




Go team Terra Australis ...


(Above: and more Rowe here).


You take your joys where you find them.

Hits and comments are way up on the pond compared to the grim old days of yore.

Much the same applies to the cartoonists of the land. Are they having fun or what as the magnificent men take to the air and never mind cost of buying a failed fighter from the good ol' USA?

And why is that? Well because we're in the golden days of lead, when the unbelieving mob can't believe their ears and eyes, as daily there's a fresh bout of pure comedy gold.

Take this epic effort by our very own true Brit:


The Graudian must be dancing in the street.

Well over five hundred comments, and counting, for a classic bit of Abbottonian loonacy, Tony Abbott says first fleet arrival is the defining moment in Australian history.

You see how it works? The Pom PM makes a remark and the Pom press makes out like comments bandits ...

Now the pond can't steal the Graudian's thunder - it's a fair and full report - but what was astonishing was the way that Abbott delivered such a wonderful suck on the Murdoch sauce bottle, and sure enough the reptiles took a hearty chomp on the raw prawns:

Mr Abbott said any attempt to nominate a defining moment would be contentious, but recognised the project would help to popularise important episodes in Australia’s history, including, he said, the landing at Gallipoli in 1915 or even the launch of The Australian newspaper in 1964. (First Fleet; Australia's 'defining moment', says Tony Abbott, behind the reptile paywall, because you have to pay big for defining moments).

Yep, there you go, Rupert's rag mentioned in the same breath as Gallipoli, and with nary a hint of shame, unless you count that "even" in "even the launch" as a bizarre form of modesty ...


Look, a man deeply embedded in Australian history, and don't you go worrying about The Bulletin when it comes to reviewing the history of tree killers.

You can Greg Hunt it here, but remember it only ran from 1880 to 2008, and so isn't in the race with Rupert, even if it proudly took the Abbott line:


Sorry, the rag didn't employ Tony Abbott, and so the rag just doesn't count, no matter how PC it is.

This latest effort followed hard on all the fun of the fair that surrounded Team Australia:


(and more Wilcox here)

That led the Murdochians to offer up things like Australian citizenship test: Can you pass it?

With this sort of question: name the missing state:


And then failing the pond for answering "the state of delusion", "the state of hysteria" and "the state of ignorance".

But at least the latest fuss about a Pom PM who's British to his bootstraps has also seen a revival of birtherism in Australia.

Right at the moment doing the Facebook rounds have been all sorts of questions about Tony Abbott being a British colonising invader who isn't really Australian at all here ...

There is no FOI proof that Mr Abbott has renounced his British citizenship. It seems he has stood for parliament on 8 occasions as a dual national, well aware that doing so is in contravention of the constitution. This goes beyond forgetfulness into the realms of possibly intent to defraud the Commonwealth.

Oh indeed, and he's still banging on about the Pommy invasion and how good and right it was... (did he once fly over Kenya, the pond has begun to wonder, on his way down under)...

No doubt there will be indigenous folk coming out of the woodwork upset at Abbott - perhaps Warren Mundine will feel the need to talk to the radio, and hose down Abbott's British to the bootstraps ways ... wait, this just breaking, there he goes ...

It seems the likes of Mundine are simply incapable of understanding that Abbott is the sort of old fashioned British colonialist who just wants to keep on keeping on with his colonial ways and airs ...

Luckily the NLA has the perfect costume on stand by for Abbott when he retires, and the way he's going that'll be soon enough, so it's just as well they're prepared:

(There's a pdf by the NLA here about this wondrous Cinque Ports gear).

Talk about a stinker in hot weather ..

But enough already. Every so often there's an alarming outburst of sanity in certain remote parts of the country which, it has to be said,  the pond finds very disturbing and tranquility-threatening.

Like this story:


JOY BURCH, ACT EDUCATION MINISTER: I think there is the potential of 24 counsellors to lose their positions at the end of this year and that just denies support to our students and denies the right to chose what is the best for them. 
JOHN STEWART: At Dickson College in Canberra, the school has a secular councillor. The principal says some schools prefer a non-religious staff member to help their students. 
KERRIE HEATH, PRINCIPAL, DICKSON COLLEGE (2006): Our community really was committed to finding the person who was absolutely the best fit for our school. And so, we actually have - ended up with someone who is not a chaplain. We have a youth worker in that role at our school. (Lateline, here)

Outrageous stuff. Secularists! A bloody youth worker!

Where will that sort of loose talk end? With Satan stalking the earth? The Empire shut down and turned into a pathetic Commonwealth?

Luckily the Islamics have worked out how to join in the shakedown:

The new funding arraignment is not just for Christian chaplains; other faiths are also included. Some Muslim groups say that having Islamic counsellors in schools in disadvantaged areas will help reduce the risk of young people becoming radicalised.

Yes, hand over your cash or the radicals will get you.

JOHN STEWART: But Silma Ihram says that not all Islamic preachers are suited to the role. 
SILMA IHRAM: Well unfortunately a lot of our imams have religious knowledge, but they have very little understanding of the Australian environment. We'd actually like to propose and we're looking at a proposal to organise an appropriate qualification which covers the complete gamut of understanding Australian history and counselling skills, as I said, and women's issues.

Women's issues? What's so hard about a woman learning to walk three paces behind her husband?

And there you have it.

Tony Abbott, while yearning for Britain and empire, and boasting of his Murdochian master's role in history, up there with Gallipoli, is actively circumventing the High Court so he can fund chaplains, and doing it in such a way that he'd rather fund Islamic preachers than dangerous and heretical secularists and youth workers.

How much more weird and wonderful could it get?

And you dared to wonder why the pond and the cartoonists were having such fun standing in it?

Go Team Terra Australis ... and the more terra the better ...


(Below: and more Pope here).



Andrews pulls out ... but does the withdrawal method work?


It should go without saying, but the pond will say it anyway.

What a day of infamy, what a day of betrayal. The pond is shocked, outraged, appalled and ashamed ...

It's one thing to be a raving, ratbag fundamentalist, but entirely another to be a craven, cowardly, raving ratbag fundie ...

Poor pastor Danny.

What's that you say, the pond expressing sympathy for a raving ratbag fundamentalist?

Well yes, because the cowardly Kev blamed pastor Danny for pulling out of the weekend orgy of hate in Melbourne, at least if you read Politicians pull out of conservative World Congress of Families conference

Or if you head off to Kev's site and read this mealy mouthed guff here, straight from the cowardly lion's mouth, under the truly pathetic header My Stand for Tolerance:

Tolerance is a critical value in a western liberal democracy like Australia. It was for this reason that I intended to address the World Congress of Families meeting in Melbourne tomorrow. 
The calls for me not to attend demonstrate the intolerance of the Greens and the left -instead of arguing their case in the public arena they seek to shut down debate. Equally, I cannot support intolerance from other quarters. As I have been informed today that the event is now to be hosted by Catch the Fire, I have decided not to attend. 
I will release the speech I planned to give at the event. 

Here's the thing Kev. You're not making a stand for tolerance, or even intolerance. You left the field of battle, as we used to say in the old days in Tamworth, like a cowardly custard or a gutless wonder.

You see, Pastor Danny and lots of other raving ratbags have always been associated with the event. All he did in addition was offer a venue and suddenly you get a hissy fit and pin the blame on him?

You would have been mingling with him and his ilk and like minds, and then the heat came to the kitchen, and you left the kitchen.

Now it's true that you weren't the only cowardly custard, the only gutless wonder. Robert Clark also gave up the ghost, and so did Bernie Finn, and Cory Bernardi's office said he'd decided to do a runner back in July and Eric Abetz claimed he was never in the running, so it's passing strange that it was reported that Abetz at one time was listed as a participant here:

Senator Abetz, who is openly anti-abortion, is involved with this year's "World Congress of Families" event to be held in Melbourne this month. One of the topics to be discussed is abortion and breast cancer.  

That only leaves the Rev Fred Nile standing as a politician with the guts to maintain his hate-filled fundamentalist rage, willingness to stay true to his comrades and his vileness.

I mean, how fair is it that we now have to hear half-baked second hand reports of your speech filtering into the media, because you've been mighty slow releasing the planned speech?

Is this true?

A spike in the number of Australians who are divorced or in de facto relationships is contributing to slower economic growth and rising carbon emissions. 
This was what Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews was planning on telling the controversial World Congress of Families conference in Melbourne today, before the senior government minister cancelled his opening address at the eleventh hour.

Well that's what it says at news.com.au here, along with this:

Mr Andrews released a copy of the speech he was going to deliver to the right-wing pro-families conference, in which he says the “retreat from marriage has had profound economic consequences”, including a ballooning of welfare costs. 

“The growth of a non-married and less child-centred society slows economic growth,” Mr Andrews planned on saying. 
He also planned on citing US research which concludes the “separation and divorce has led to less efficient use of energy and resources and bigger expenditure on utilities, largely as a consequence of the increased demand for additional housing”. 

So what you're saying - not to put too fine an Aldi point on it - is that sluts with their sluttish ways have led to climate change? Or made it worse?

Don't hold back, Kev, keep us all in the loop. For example, is this true?

The fundraiser Prime Minister Tony Abbott attended that sparked a furore over his use of entitlements was held for cabinet mInister Kevin Andrews, Fairfax Media has learned. 

Mr Abbott skipped a traditional dinner with government senators to attend the fundraiser, held in Melbourne on Monday night. His trip became front page news when he admitted to his partyroom that he booked a visit to a cancer centre early the next morning, so the interstate trip could be justified under entitlements. 
Mr Abbott stunned his colleagues with the comment because although it is a common for MPs to combine official and party duties on trips, it is rare for a politician to admit to the practice for the purposes of entitlements. 
Mr Andrews refused to comment when asked for details about Monday night's fundraiser including how much it raised. (here)

Fled the field of battle, despite the sluttish Satanists causing climate change, except there's no such thing, and then got Tony "climate change is crap" Abbott into trouble because he honestly admitted he was a dishonest rorter?

By golly Kev, when the rapture comes, and the four horsemen gallop about and the trumpets sound and the seventh seal is opened and all the rest of the guff, some will be judged more harshly than others.

You mean, as defenders of an absurd faith, you've left the hard yards to Pastor Danny, who's usually busy raising people from the dead?

"I am aware that Kevin Andrews has basically pulled out because the building is Catch the Fire Ministries," Mr Nalliah told AAP on Friday. "I think that is, frankly, an absolute cop-out."...

...Mr Nalliah said the politicians' withdrawal showed they "have no guts", and the venues who refused to host the conference were "cowards".

Well yes.

Who could disagree?

As excuses go, it's as feeble as it gets ...

Waht's worse, everybody knows you're still a loon Kev, and by the sounds of it you would have produced a remarkably loonish speech.

But now we also know you're a cowardly loon willing to turn tail at the sight of a fellow barking mad true believer...

If you'll just cast your mind back a little you'll remember that Pastor Danny at one time formed a climate denialist team with screaming Lord Monckton. You can read more here, and you can see that you and those two are right on the same page as you when it comes to all kinds of emissions ...

Epic fail Kev, epic fail.

There are few die well that die in a battle.

Truth to tell Kev, you're looking a bit furtive and shifty at your home page:


When you get around to maintaing your stand for tolerance - no, no, don't pack up the stand and hide in the wings - and your site socks it to us with that speech which makes a stand for tolerance before you flee the stage displaying a fit of pique and intolerance, have you thought of an image update as well?

The pond is always standing by, eager to help:




Friday, August 29, 2014

Gone with the wind indeed, with Tony Abbott belching lies and broken promises, and Greg Hunt as methane-affected as your average moo cow ...

(Above: the scrunched up letter tendered in evidence, sensitive details deleted)

The pond was forced to retrieve the above letter from the waste bin, where to it had been flung by the pond's partner, scrunched up and pulverised, and accompanied by a flurry of vile oaths about the liar Tony Abbott ...

By way of contrast, the pond had greeted the letter with a calm Zen wisdom, which on reflection might have been profoundly irritating to anyone who thinks politicians should say what they mean and mean what they say, rather than lie their way into power, and then live a life of lies ...

Suffice to say that for those who can't be bothered getting past the scrunched up nature of the document, it says that there will be an "estimated savings for an average New South Wales customer of $158 for electricity and $35 for gas over this 12 month period", with an * that explains this is an estimated difference between the old and new average residential tariffs, being a weighted average calculated across all tariff zones and average usage.

No matter the technicalities, it's a peculiar document, especially when put up against the documented lies of Tony Abbott, as at the ABC here quite recently on 7.30 (yes, yes, it's blighted by Chris Uhlmann and is currently unwatchable but we're talking June), in relation to the repeal of the carbon tax:

The Government has promised the move will save the average family $550 a year, but it's a hotly contested claim. So just how much can you expect to save? Political correspondent Sabra Lane has been crunching the numbers. 
TONY ABBOTT, PRIME MINISTER (Aug '13): We will scrap the carbon tax so that your family will be $550 a year better off. 
TONY ABBOTT (last week): It's a $550-a-year hit on the average household's costs. 
TONY ABBOTT (Saturday): It's costing the average Australian families $550 a year. So it must go. SABRA LANE, REPORTER: It was the twin-sloganeering riff that partnered the promise to scrap the carbon tax: that average families could expect to save hundreds of dollars each year, up to $3,000 over six years when the tax was abolished.

Now the pond has always been poor at maths, but buggered if it can make $193 a year, on average, amount to $550.

Now the canniness in Abbott's pricing was that it included vague, unspecified amounts, not just for electricity and gas, but for other items such as food, but even at the time when the $550 figure was led by the consummate liar and breaker of promises to the Rooty Hill mob at a forum back in August 2013, it was fact-checked and judged to be "outdated", a polite ABC word for a politically convenient lie. (Tony Abbott's claim households will be $550 a year better off without the carbon tax is outdated).

In the meantime, the pond wonders how many will receive this letter and judge Abbott a liar and a picker of pockets?

That seemed to be behind Crikey publishing an SA letter from Energy Australia assuring average South Australian customers that they'd be receiving an average saving of $136 over the twelve month period (Tips and Rumours, here, paywall affected).



That leaves $414 still to go from the $550 that Prime Minister Tony Abbott promised we’d save when the tax was repealed. Is Energy Australia scrimping on passing on the full savings, or did Abbott overestimate the amount of cash we might save?

Did Abbott tell a porky, or is that a flying toaster?


Does any of it matter? Were there mugs who really believed Abbott?

Are there mugs who believe notorious climate sceptic Dick Warburton's report on the RET is an honest and balanced accounting of issues confronting the sector?

It was, of course, long ago that Sir Humphrey set up two key rules of government: never look into anything you don't have to, and never set up an inquiry unless you know in advance what its findings will be (and Jonathan Lynn has other quotes from the series here).

It reminded the pond of a wonderful moment when Warburton showed Jesuits and angels how to dance on the head of a pin:

NAOMI WOODLEY: In 2011 you told Lateline Business that you were a climate change sceptic, not a denier, but you did believe the science isn't settled, and that was why Australia shouldn't be pursuing a carbon tax. Do you still believe that the science isn't settled, and will that have an influence on the way that you conduct this review? 
DICK WARBURTON: Yes, let's qualify the terms. I am not a denier, nor a sceptic actually, of climate change per se. What I am sceptical is the claims that man-made carbon dioxide is the major cause of global warming. I'm not a denier of that, but I am sceptical of that claim. (here)

Uh huh. I'm not a climate denier or a sceptic, I'm just a climate science denying sceptic.

In the old days in Tamworth tricky Dick would have been called a bullshit artist, which is to say a dissembler, too dishonest to say what he actually means and thinks because of his perception of the political fall out that would surround plain speaking ... but no doubt a perfect candidate for Sir Humphrey's world on reports and inquiries, and now it seems he has now produced the perfect Sir Humphrey report ...

Naturally the pond turned to the Murdoch press for an insight and accurate analysis of the devilish work of the denialist and his misleading aggregation of statistics - yes, in the manner of his master, Warburton has reduced his report to just one figure, reported over and over again, ad nauseam, $22 billion, $22 billion, like a sulphur-crested cockatoo, and never mind subtlety or nuance.

So what say you Daily Terror?



Sob, so that's the way the world ends, not with a bang but a foo whimper ... hmm, how's that business plan working out for them?

You had to go elsewhere to get a heading which explained how the country had been Warburtoned, a sub-genre of Abbotted, a polite way of saying fucked:


Of course the bottom line to all this is that the RET is useless and expensive, direct action is a useless and inexpensive Soviet-style boondoggle, and the carbon tax or any sort of price on carbon is an outrage, and now we're shod of it, the price of electricity will plummet, except it won't, and we're taking climate science terribly seriously, and doing everything we can to help the planet, except what was that problem again?

And what's behind this farrago which in the good old days meant either a student rage or Latin for mixed cattle fodder? 

What's the inspiration? Well you just have to tip the hat and wink the nod to Tony "climate change is crap" Abbott ... 

But life is going to get ugly for the government because more promises will be broken, as shown by the feud that has erupted around the quisling Greg Hunt:

"Before the election he [Mr Abbott] was committed to renewable energy, he was committed to the RET, he was committed to a million solar roofs," Mr Grimes said.
"After the election, promise after promise broken, million solar roofs gone, the RET he wants abolished - he and Joe Hockey are working hard for that outcome. 
 "Moderate voices like [Environment Minister] Greg Hunt have been sidelined in the Cabinet. 
 "This is just not what the people were voting for, and certainly not what they want."

Greg Hunt a moderate, as opposed to a seat warmer, a time server and a forelock tugger and a facilitator for denialists and reef wreckers?

Kind words indeed.

But as the feud proceeds, seats are being targeted, and things will get ugly, and hey, after the stoush Grimes v Hunt reported in Australian Solar Council attacks Prime Minister's 'broken promises' on renewable energy support Hunt wasn't sounding like such a moderate voice, but more like an angry, dissembling fop:

"Mr Grimes should be utterly ashamed of himself today - he is somebody who says one thing in private and another thing in public.
"We are committed to the long-term future of renewable energy in Australia."

Which left Grimes with an obvious retort, which the pond feels obliged to provide for him:

"Mr Hunt should be utterly ashamed of himself today - he is somebody who says one thing in public and another thing in public.

And never mind the lies, the broken promises, the hypocrisy and the inconsistencies involved ...

Meanwhile, even the reptiles, always busy scribbling hagiographies and knob polishing, could see trouble ahead, as noted by that quintessential reptile environmentalist Graham Lloyd in Bad news for renewable power (behind the paywall because if you really think Lloyd contributes to an understanding of climate science, you really should be made to pay for your silliness):

Big wind and solar projects will find little comfort in a scheme that extends new permits on a year-by-year basis depending on ­increases in electricity demand. 
As a result, the $15 billion pipeline claimed by industry for big new wind and solar projects will remain blocked. 

Yep and Jolly Joe won't have to be offended by the sight of more wind mills being built on the road to Canberra. Now there's a real plus for the planet.

But do go on:

The review did not buy the ­argument of sunrise industry ­employment. It said renewable energy jobs cost jobs elsewhere. This will be a hot-button issue for vocal lobby groups. 
But the more dangerous retail politics is likely to come from the army of rooftop solar users being assembled into a vocal grassroots campaign force. 
Recent meetings in marginal electorates has shown people are prepared to speak out for the green energy revolution that is transforming suburbia. The RET review has effectively told the Abbott government to close up shop on subsidising rooftop solar and solar water heaters through small-scale renewable ­energy certificates.

Uh huh. And right now people are getting letters explaining they've been sold a dud (it's hard to say sold a pup these days, given all the PUPs doing the rounds) about electricity price savings and the carbon tax, and any chance of making genuine savings by embracing solar energy will be dudded by the Abbott government, acting on the advice of a climate sceptic too afraid to admit he's a denialist ...

Oh it's wonderful times, great days indeed.

Who could imagine a government so incompetent and inept that it followed Yes Minister's advice and got the answer to the enquiry that they expected, only to discover that the answer was guaranteed to get them into solar hot water and an ongoing feud with a substantial section of the community? With more charges of broken promises and lies and hypocrisies, and not even a fig leaf for a cover when it comes to a response to climate science, except overt and explicit denialism ...

You couldn't make stuff like this up, except that by living in the Abbott era, we now see what happens to people who make stuff up all the time, along with promises destined to be broken...

As usual, the pond has to turn to David Pope for insight (and more Pope here).


Eek, Dave, what have you done?

Tony Abbott as Rhett Butler? Tony Abbott as Clark Gable? That seared the pond's eyeballs like a savage splash of citric acid. Quick, waiter,  bring help and a soothing image ...



That's better, but please, Dave, no more eyeball terrorism. There's only so much the pond can take.


Thursday, August 28, 2014

Let the official season for weekend mockery, mirth and ridicule be declared open a few days early ...

(Above: and more First Dog here).

And so the mockery and the mirth begins.

What a pretty pass it's come to when even news.com.au runs a story 'Please don't go to the bigot conference' (or when you get to the actual story, a more staid header reading World Congress of Families: Kevin Andrews urged to cancel, and beware the forced video - the site first had a go at this story with World Congress of Families conference firebrand figures).

So who is Kevin Andrews keeping company with?

Where to begin, but there's as fine an assortment of fruit loops, fruit cakes, salted nuts and cashews -don't forget the dried muscatel grapes and almonds the pond used to love - as could be imagined, including but not limited to Danny Nalliah, the man who can raise people from the dead and who shares Kevin Donnelly's fondness for corporal punishment,  the Evangelical Salt Shakers, the Memucan Institute (which called the push for women's equality a jihad),  Cory Bernardi, Robert Clark, Fred Nile and Bernie Finn. Oh and Eric 'cancer man' Abetz ...

The SOP in such matters is always to bemoan the way liberals, do gooders, cardigan wearers, most likely Fairfax readers and ABC listeners and viewers and clickers, always target Xian fundamentalists fighting the good fight and ignore barking mad Islamic fundamentalists.

The problem of course is that barking mad Islamic fundamentalists are a very small minority in this country, while Kevin Andrews is ostensibly and allegedly the Minister for Families in the federal government, and some of the other names mentioned above are also a conspicuous part of the political elite governing the country ...

Which reminds the pond of that wondrous award Kevin Andrews named 'Natural Family Man of the Year' by Christian Group.

Natural?

Are we all singing along with Lou Rawls?

So when ya see me cyclin', won't ya notice that proud look in my eyes 
My feet are on the ground and my soul is searchin' for the sky 
 'Cause I want to be happy and free 
Livin' and lovin' for me I want to be happy and free 
Livin' and lovin' for me 
Just like a natural man (just like a natural man) 
A natural man (just like a natural man) 

Not really. 'Natural' is of course a dog whistle of the basest kind, and by way of contrast, everybody else is 'unnatural'.

Now the pond is inclined to bristle when called 'unnatural' ...

Does Andrews ever wonder or have even the slightest awareness of what a destructive bunch of bigots he cavorts with?

Well it seems his spokeswoman might have had some doubts:

A spokeswoman for Andrews initially denied the minister had won such a “prize”, but subsequently confirmed the minister had received the accolade. Organisers said it was likely it would be officially presented at an international conference on a date to be announced.

Ah denialism, the natural state of the Abbott government ...

Now some have tut tutted about Andrews attending - such as Claire Moore with Families Minister should govern for all families.

But the pond sees an upside. It's good that all the fundamentalists, the bigots, the vile prejudiced jihadists should gather together in a forum of hate so that they can be observed and analysed in detail.

It's good to learn that Andrews uses his power to facilitate fundamentalist bigots, as you can read in Kevin Andrews books out parliament room for anti-gay marriage conference.

When was the last time an boofhead Islamic fundamentalist had the chance to strut his stuff in the corridors of power?

And the even deeper irony? Why barking mad Islamic fundamentalists would share many of the philosophical points of view and outlooks of the barking mad Christian fundamentalists intent on their jihad against the 'other' and the 'different' and the 'unnatural'.

And make no mistake these are hate mongers and bigots of the first water, as you can read in New HRC Report Exposes The World Congress of Families (slow to load), active around the world at hot gay hate spots, but also with a deep political agenda at work in the Abbott government.

And what evidence do we have that the jihadists are at work in Australia? Well they certainly fear, loathe and persecute secularists:


And so on. With Abbott driving the agenda.

More of that story here, which does Julia Gillard and the Labor party no good, because they too facilitated the jihadists.

But the pond was beguiled by the photo attached to the photo - the cold glint in the eye, the gleaming bespectacled image of ideological and theological fanaticism which lurks right on the surface of the Abbott government ...

And that's the problem with your average right wing ratbag member of the commentariat.

They will, like little Timmeh head off to Lakemba to give Islamics a hard time, because of a few fundamentalists roaming in the wild and in a bookstore (and never mind Stormfront online), but they never seem to worry about the barking mad fundamentalists deeply embedded right at the top of the tree in federal and state governments.

Yes, you can cop this form of hysteria in the Murdoch tabloids:


But in fact the jihadists and the natural terrorists are already within the halls of power, and conducting their jihad of prejudice and bigotry quite freely ...

Which is why the congress of the jihadists on the weekend is going to do a tremendous amount of good for middle of the roaders and cardigan wearers  - or, to put it another way, a tremendous amount of harm for a government of fundamentalists already adept at shooting itself in the foot ...

How adept?

Well the headlines just keep coming:


That travel record was helped along by Abbott's gratuitous flight to escape the budget heat and visit the Dutch, for no real purpose than the magician's art of distraction.

And then there was that other story that's just kept bubbling along, the Melbourne junket, with its latest manifestation Abbott snubbed his senators for Melbourne fundraiser.

That snubbing is in addition to the snout in the trough angle, which saw Abbott being supported by the chief PUP, who sees nothing wrong with a little rorting ... and with friends like that ...

How deep does the malaise run?

Well even the kool aid gulping reptiles at the lizard Oz are having a hard time swallowing the soda, as shown by Niki Savva in Loose lips try to sink Abbott's leaky ship (behind the paywall because you have to pay to board the leaky ship). 

With this handy illustration by Sturt Krygsman:


And some gloomy Savva text, including this:

For some it was the media’s fault, namely Fairfax and the ABC. There was criticism of the Prime Minister’s own department. Others admitted there had been a few own goals, with loose language. With refreshing frankness, ­Attorney-General George Brandis admitted he could have expressed himself better. 
Indeed. As could the Prime Minister. Whatever possessed Abbott to say what he said served only to revive memories of the old Abbott, especially when he ­arrived late at the National Press Club debate during the 2007 election, then swore at Labor’s health spokeswoman Nicola Roxon. 
If voters hate anything more than smelling even the faintest whiff of misuse of entitlements — and the only person to have ­hinted at that is the Prime Minister — it is when they smell it as they are being asked to cough up more for visits to the doctors or cop less in family benefits. 
Many politicians, including those on the Labor side, do what Abbott did and tack on a legitimate function to cover what could be seen as a questionable one; however, few of them blurt it out in a brain snap in front of a roomful of people, not all of whom are well disposed towards them. 
Interestingly, Paul Kelly’s book on the Labor years, Triumph and Demise, has not only revived memories of Labor’s dysfunction but prompted thinking within senior echelons of the Abbott government about parallels with its own operations, and where all that may end up. The main one that they volunteered had sprung to mind was the centralisation of power. Strictly speaking, what happened with Abbott was not dysfunction. It was a moment of madness brought on by poor planning, extreme tiredness and provocation. His colleagues could only watch, despondent and defensive, as they claimed defective hearing or simply blamed Macdonald. 
Labor didn’t have to say or do much. The story ran all day before being challenged for prominence by news of expanded counter-terrorism measures at airports, plus the US seeking Australian support for military action in Syria. 
Opposition Leader Bill Shorten focused on the other most damaging aspect to the disclosure, which was that it was made by Abbott’s own MPs. Anyway, their ramping up the issue of entitlements could invite scrutiny of their own behaviour. 
Last night Abbott’s office hosted drinks in the government party room to welcome back staff after the winter break. They would have needed a few stiff ones.

Brain snap? Moment of madness?

And so to the weekend, when the crazed jihadists and fundamentalists in the Abbott government will come out to play.

By golly, no wonder David Rowe, like the pond, seems to be a fan of Air Crash Investigations. So many crashes for El Tonio 747, so many investigations, and so many more Rowe cartoons here.