Saturday, May 31, 2014

In the company of a chenius this Saturday ...




There's now no doubt that Tony Abbott, the government and the entire country is in crisis.

You see, Dame Slap has bravely doubled down, and lifted her workload, and shifted from her usual slot to provide intellectual meat for a Saturday, by scribbling The real Tony Abbott struggles to come across for the reptiles at the lizard Oz.

Yes, it's a bit like the Queenslanders still reeling in shock from their defeat ... the head coach has had to rush down to the bench and give detailed coaching advice to the Man, before the cockroaches sweep the toads away for good (those who live in the real world can keep on blithely ignoring what that nonsense means).

It seems at one point Tony Abbott was a genuine Ivan Reitman, a real genius. A chenius ...

Oh what the heck, it's a Saturday. Remember The Late Show's joke about Reitman? No doubt he never heard it, but like most of the visual world, it's on YouTube. The sketch was hopeless, but that notion - of chenius - got a real work out in the pond household ...:



Sorry, where were we?

Why in the middle of a gushing which sounds positively uxorious:

Abbott doesn’t lack intellectual oomph. True, he is a hardened warrior, but one who holds convictions, an especially rare commodity during the Rudd-Gillard-Rudd years. 
Around the Howard cabinet table, he was a naturally fluent and incisive contributor. A Rhodes scholar who has outlined his political philosophy in his book Battlelines, Abbott has a depth of knowledge rare in Canberra, spanning history, religion, culture and politics. 
He often quotes Malcolm Fraser’s eloquent description that the art of government is to weave together the liberal and conservative strains in the community to find “that creative balance between the forces of freedom and the forces of continuity which allows a society to advance”.

Why the man sounds like a positive chenius!

Wait a second. Malcolm Fraser! Does that mean Abbott's going to turn into a barking mad leftie in due course?

One of the problems is that Tone faces challenges lesser men never had to face:

It’s too simple to put it down to the pressures of a 24/7 media cycle, cameras in radio stations, relentless social media catching hold of every stray wink and loose utterance. To be sure, Winston Churchill, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan didn’t have those pressures. Even for Bob Hawke and John Howard, the political cycle moved in a lower gear.

Yes, Churchill might have fronted Hitler, Kennedy the cold war and the Cuban missile crisis, Reagan might have demanded walls be torn down, but that's nothing, nothing Dame Slap tells ya, up against camera and mikes and social media.

It's too simple? So why did she bother to scribble it, and in the process of trade off and associate Abbott with names like Churchill, Kennedy and Reagan?

What a risible, pathetic and meaningless strategy. But hey, Dame Slap is just cranking her comedy stylings into high gear:

When Abbott gets it right, he hits it out of the ballpark, like the speech he gave at the 70th anniversary of the Institute of Public Affairs in April last year. Here Abbott drew on his impressive knowledge and passion for the history of freedom: “From the Garden of Eden to the Exodus, Athenian democracy, the Roman senate, Magna Carta, the glorious revolution and American independence, the story of our civilisation has been the story of freedom and our struggles to achieve it.” The audience was spellbound.

Spellbound? Isn't that an Alfred Hitchcock film featuring characters tortured by grotesque Salvador Dali images?

So you just have to gabble a few meaningless, even contradictory, catch words like the Garden of Eden, Athenian democracy, the Roman senate, Magna Carta etc etc, and the crowd is spellbound?

Yes you goose,  because you see, in his element, Abbott is a Ciceronian master.

Read this and weep Shakespeare:

In question time on Wednesday, Abbott displayed his natural mojo. Answering a question about cuts to unemployment services from Labor MP Julie Collins, Abbott said: “The shadow minister opposite is unhappy about the changes to the funding of certain programs. I say to her: she is responsible. We had to save money because of the debt and deficit disaster that members opposite created … We have not run away from the difficult decisions the way members opposite did consistently for six years … This is a political party which is more interested in expanding the welfare system than it is in expanding the wage system. This really is one of the reasons why no one can take this Labor Party seriously.”

Oh Keats, that you could have wasted your time on poetry when confronted with this kind of natural verbal mojo. Kneel, bow your head, ask to be blessed by the verbal flourishes of Abbott ...

But look, forget all that. The silvertails are in trouble. Mosman is sliding into the harbour! At one time Abbott was the go to man but now the coach has to think about benching him.

The coach has listed all sorts of major flaws:

Ever since he became opposition leader, Tony Abbott’s public persona has moved further and further away from his private one...

Uh oh ...

Wooden responses, sound bites and slick messaging are now driving voters, young and old, and even those on the cusp of voting, to distraction. 
It’s the early signs of the Gillard disease where a stifling caution is wringing out the best of the Prime Minister’s personality.

Oh dear ... not Gillardism. Why that can be fatal. Next think you know you're a wicked witch, or even worse, a femnist.

When Abbott gets it wrong, the audience is left flat. Like the speech Abbott gave last month at the Sydney Institute annual dinner. It was a doleful stump speech that ­betrayed the private Abbott, the intelligent, warm, amusing man full of intellectual curiosity and convictions. 

Oh noes ... doleful, which is possibly one step short of going on the dole.

Is there any hope at all?

The next morning Abbott was interviewed by Alan Jones on 2GB radio and a few minutes later by Marius Benson on ABC News Radio. His message was deflated by a flatness of language, a failure to hit the heights of persuasion with argument and numbers to match.
With Jones, Abbott discussed the fact the deregulation of universities would see new money flowing in trade support loans to tradies, to electricians and plumbers and so on. It’s a brilliant message of building equity into our education system for a broader range of people. So say that. 
With Benson, Abbott tried to justify the co-payment by explaining that the Medicare levy covered a fraction of the cost of healthcare. Tell us the number. It’s mind-blowingly low, covering 7 per cent of the nation’s total health spend of $140 billion, and adds heft to the unsustainable spending story. 

Yes, and best of all, explain how the seven dollar co-payment designed to set up a medical research future fund has anything at all to do with that mind-blowing number ... and therefore has anything to do with the cost of healthcare.

Hmm, that's a hard one, eh coach?

Never mind, the message is clear. Abbott is useless, he's hopeless, he's fukt, the team is losing game after game, the toads are down, the cockroaches are rampant, well at least the cocky cockies in the western suburbs, and it's all up to the captain to do something about it ...

What to do? What to do?

Well like any top notch coach brimming full of ideas, Dame Slap has a lot of great schemes and strategies.

First off, it seems Abbott needs to hire a decent speechwriter. Then he needs to take acting lessons and turn himself into Ronald Reagan, though some might think this has as much chance of flying as Sheldon taking acting lessons from Penny ...

Hey maybe we could do a little improv, kick it around like Ronnie:





And maybe Abbott could learn from John Howard to do talk back radio, unlike that prawn sauce Ruddster.

But even with all that, there's a problem, a sticking point.

...what worked brilliantly as opposition leader hasn’t translated so well as Prime Minister. 
There is a transition. New skills are required. Doing the hard work to repair a budget ballooning with structural deficits is a big story that requires a coherent and passionate sell.

Gasp. We were sold a pup? The man's a dog with a deficit in skills and training? Should he spend six months seeing what's like to earn or learn?

To be sure, counselling a politician languishing in the polls to loosen the straitjacket of sound bites is a common refrain from armchair pundits. But at a critical time when there is a big story about repairing the budget, Abbott risks losing voters with stilted performances and a caution that saw off Julia Gillard.

Sheesh, not Julia Gillard. Not all the way from Ronnie Raygun to that wicked witch?

Come on coach. Usually at half time, there's a rousing cry about how the toads are giants astride the earth, and the cockies need crushing.

Please coach, for the love of the long absent lord, give us hope:

That said, Abbott has the upper hand. He has a sensible story to tell and believes in it. Whichever way you look at it, the budget needs fixing. The numbers are there, the budget measures are there and a foundation of support for reform has been there in the past. It will be there again if the PM can sound more comfortable having a compelling conversation with voters. 

Ah water boy, make sure the team all drink that Dame Slap approved kool aid before they take the field again. And can we have some fries and a rhetorical trick to go with it? Sure thing:

Abbott must work on what Cicero called the “graces of persuasion”. Trust voters. As you told your partyroom during the week, they’re not mugs. Trust yourself. Play your own game. Throw off the micromanagement that prefers caution over candour. Sure, you will make a few mistakes along the way. A wink here. A stray word there. But the power of honest oratory means more people will sit up and take note, listen and learn; they may frown, they may smile, and more may walk away with a new understanding of what needs to be done to kick-start a new era of economic reform.

Take the ball up the gutz, turn yourself into Obama - a Kenyan socialist background might help - and the Red Sea will part, and we'll all march off to paradise, just like in the movie.

The pond must confess to warming to this significant Saturday appearance by Dame Slap. Talk about the very best comedy stylings:

Abbott must work on what Cicero called the “graces of persuasion”.

Could it get any funnier. How many more Jaffas can you roll down the aisle in a single read?

Cicero?

Has Dame Slap been hanging out with Dale Carnegie and the 'closer' crowd, who are fond of quoting Cicero as saying If you wish to persuade me, you must think my thoughts, feel my feelings and speak my words, though whether he actually put it that way is another matter.

But Cicero did say this:

For every man’s nature is concealed with many folds of disguise, and covered as it were with various veils. His brows, his eyes, and very often his countenance, are deceitful, and his speech is most commonly a lie.


Perhaps that's the problem. Perhaps when you lie your way into power, and then cheerfully break all the promises you made, you develop an image problem.

Has the coach thought about this? Will her man think those thoughts, feel those feelings, speak those words of promises broken, and of easy betrayals, and behaviour which in the nineteen century would have seen the man denounced as an unfeeling cad and a bounder?

No doubt she has, no doubt she's a chenius, like her diligent student ...

As is always the case, the wonderful David Pope has a most apposite cartoon, and more Pope here:




First kill the pig, then hire Tim? Bleagh ...


Amongst the fall-out in the controversial, perhaps catastrophic Peppa Pig crisis, the pond barely noticed a murmur of hope:

It was Senator Zed Seselja asking the questions yesterday, but it could have been The Australian, with the Liberal ACT Senator leaning heavily on the paper’s analysis to grill ABC managing director Mark Scott at Senate estimates. 
Coalition senators peppered Scott with claims the ABC leant left-wing, or anti-government. But Seselja did see one ray of light, asking Scott whether the rumours he’d heard that the ABC was considering a new show hosted by a prominent, right-wing commentator were true. 
Scott responded: “It’s pretty important not to flag our intentions too early… Wait and let the chefs cook. We’ll see if it passes muster. But as I said here before, audition tapes are always welcome.” 
Seselja asked if Daily Telegraph columnist Tim Blair’s name had been floated. Scott was enigmatic. “I couldn’t possibly comment.” (Crikey, here, may be paywall affected)

Blair himself linked his presence on the ABC to a death threat against the pig. Clearly he has an interest in the ABC disposing of the runt, even if he does attempt to shift the blame to Fairfax:


Yes it's that twittering twit Sharri Markson at the head of Blair's piece but let us note that Blair's recycling of the Fairfax image shows some sign of intent. 

The pond is only running Blair running the terrible, traumatic image, because we urge viewers to SAVE THE PIG (unless a bacon shortage strikes).

Anyhoo, the whole thing strikes the pond as yet another example of Tim Wilson syndrome. You know, you shout and howl at the moon, revile an institution, routinely parade your fear and loathing of it ... and then you take a job with it, and laugh all the way to the bank.

Here's Blair on Radio National:

... let’s provide Mark Scott with some useful suggestions on how he might trim his bloated budget. 
He could start with Radio National — the only station in Australia with more staff than listeners. It would reach a greater audience if presenters shouted at the street from their balconies. Close it. Or, even better, sell it. (here, freshly minted only a day ago at news.com.au)

Close it? Sell it? 

Even better, sell it?

What a stupid man. Who would buy it?

But would any of those opinions stop Blair from accepting a gig on RN, should Scott and others be stupid enough to offer it to him?

Of course not. The Tim Wilson paradigm says you must take the job, and do your best to white ant away.

Amongst the other targets for a Blair closing are ABC News 24, and Media Watch. It is of course predictable, the sort of kool aid drinking you find going on daily in Murdoch la la land ... partly because they realise their own popularity is inclined to be fukt and their commercial future is in dire straits.

Of course there's a reason for Blair's ongoing anti-ABC activism. He was at one time given a brief gig on RN on Friday nights in the graveyard slot at 9pm, and the show was a spectacular flop that wasn't renewed.

There were many howls of rage, and much weeping and gnashing of teeth at the time that the fix was in, that the pair had been set up for a fall, but Imre Salusinszky later bounced back, and became something of a fixture hosting - with Michael Duffy - at Counterpoint on RN. 

Here's the pair all in a twitter about Bob Dylan back in 2004 (there's a transcript there).

The pond sometimes suspects that the pair inveigled ABC management to put Amanda Vanstone in the chair and then persuaded her to chat with Brendan O'Neill, so that listeners could sigh deeply and gaze off nostalgically into the twilight zone, and say 'remember the good old days of Imre and the Duffster'?

Anyhoo, the point is that Blair wasn't much chop, and he's sensibly stuck to blogging most of the time. 

There's a vast world of commercial radio he could explore - Miranda the Devine has shown the way for the Terror commentariat - and if Blair had the interest and the desire he could have disappeared off into the babbling throng.

Now the pond would rather the exploding heads Mars Attacks! solution of listening to crooning yodelling country music than endure a nanosecond of commercial radio, but why is it always assumed that the ABC should pick up and dust off the dross and give them a gig as a token conservative voice?

At vast expense, the pond dug up the images below, showing how Salusinszky and Blair pitched themselves in their dud outing.

Presumably Blair contributed to, or had a say, in how he was presented as a mindlessly stupid and offensive petrol and rev head, no doubt on the principal that he was sticking it to all the hairy-armpitted feminists ...

But THINK GLOBAL, ACT STUPID?

Did he really scribble that? Was he even then posing as a mindless gadfly?

Well it's true Blair follows that motto on a daily basis in his blog, and in the pieces he scribbles for the Terror. Write stupid, stupid.

But why on earth would anyone want to dig this Frankenstein's monster out of the ground, and put the vampire back behind a microphone?

Oh we love to mix our metaphors, because who could imagine a world in which Cardinal Pell is invited to dissect footy fever?

The ABC might be in a continuing crisis, but why does Blair need to do a Tim Wilson?

Can't he go fruit picking in New Zealand with Erica Abetz?

(Below: screen caps, no links, just the continuing crisis)




Friday, May 30, 2014

And so to improvisation on the run ...


(Above: the poodle that keeps on giving. More Moir here)


For years, Tony Abbott in opposition - and the reptile commentariat in Murdoch la la land - had an easy ride, with one of the favourite chief crimes of the former chairman Rudd being his indulgence in policy-making on the run.

Now anyone who had even a remote sense of how the narcissist Rudd operated his office would attempt to deny the Ruddster's many crimes and inconsistencies - it meant that Paul Kelly had an easy target back in June 2013 when he furiously scribbled For Kevin Rudd, it's policies on the run. (inside the lizard Oz paywall, because you have to pay to get the runs).

Kelly even managed to double down and accuse the Ruddster of "improvisation on the run", which presumably is somehow different to "improvisation on the spot".

That's just one of many examples of Kevin abuse. Here's Abbott in a door stopper:

...I want to say again the Coalition is totally committed to giving the motor industry a fair go. We don’t want to make it harder for the Australian motor industry, we don’t want to make it harder for the Australian motor sector. These are tough times generally because there is a lot of uncertainty in our economy, uncertainty over the election date means that investment decisions, employment decisions and spending decisions don’t get made. That would have a big impact on the car industry at the best of times but these aren’t the best of times because of Mr Rudd’s latest kick in the guts. I want to make it crystal clear as far as the Coalition is concerned we will oppose this in opposition and we would never do it in government because we just don’t believe in the kind of policy on the run which is typical of Mr Rudd. (here, back in July 2013)

Ah man and policy on the run, and the Abbott standing firm on motor cars.

Ah mammaries, misty water-colored mammaries light the corners of my mind, as the pond's crude, oafish uncle would sing before making a joke about testicles, wallet and watch - and you dare to wonder why the pond is traumatised.

So what about the current bout of policy-making on the run?

First it was the poodle Pyne, a bear of little brain, having a policy brain-snap. And then jolly Joe Hockey, perhaps to prove he's still a macho towering pile of political brawn, no matter the student video doing the rounds, piled on.

And then - in just thirty minutes - Abbott over-ruled them, realising it wouldn't be long before harrowing stories of widows and young children littered the media ... you know the kind, how having unexpectedly lost their partner and father, the poor possums had to be taken to the poor house after the estate collapsed under its HECS' burden.

So Abbott had to point out that Pyne and Hockey were over-reaching fools, but Abbott himself emerged with no glory, because just like them, his own instant veto, driven by a modicum of political awareness, was policy-making on the run.

(and thanks to Crikey, more Decoder jokes in the archive here, may be paywall affected)

And then came the imponderable sight of big Mal off dining with Grendel himself, and sharing a Peking duck ... Yes, the buffoon hasn't caught up with the notion of Beijing as he and big Mal embarked on chopsticks diplomacy and got found out, and left Bill Shorten with an obvious joke ...

Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says the dinner leaves Mr Hockey looking like a "goose." "Malcolm Turnbull was eating Peking Duck last night, Joe Hockey is left looking like a goose this morning, and we've got a lame duck budget with a lame duck Treasurer," he said. "Joe Hockey didn't even know what Martin Parkinson was doing there last night. Joe Hockey was left looking like a goose, he doesn't even know what his other ministers and Treasury secretary [are] doing." (the ABC doing a full report here).

Leave the animal jokes aside. The cat's away and the mice are at play ...

And it got worse, as a senior US naval officer belled the cat, which is to say the bullshit, which Abbott himself unwisely took to flogging back in April, delivering advice without substance on the matter of MH370:



At the time the signals were picked up, the Australian prime minister, Tony Abbott, said he was “confident that we know the position of the black box flight recorder to within some kilometres”. (and more at The Graudian here)

Improvisation on the run!

The pond warned at the time that Abbott was over-reaching when staying silent was the wiser course, at least until something more substantive came along. Now Australia's posing and posturing as search leader has been exposed by a man who casually dared to speak the truth of the matter ...

So where's Paul Kelly this morning, berating the Liberals for improvisation on the run? Off in Murdoch la la land ...

Instead what you get offered by the reptiles is the sort of chunder only an Adam Creighton can manage in Freebians can afford to pay (inside the paywall so you don't have to imperil your mental health).

Here's the dimwit goose's opening gambit:

A furore has engulfed the curious but wealthy nation of Freebiana, where lunches and haircuts are free. Not free for the country’s taxpayers­ but free for any Freebian who visits restaurants or salons that “bulk bill”; that is, receive payment from tax­payers rather than directly from the customers.

Yes, because attending a salon or a restaurant is directly parallel to attending a doctor with a life-threatening condition.

Is it possible to imagine a more stupidly meerkat opening to a policy discussion? (Oh they're so cute, those meerkats, some mugs might even use them to buy a health policy).

Did Creighton imagine he was being a witty Dean Swift, with a savage satirical thrust up there with the venerable Dean's A Modest Proposal, regarding the efficacious eating of children?

It seems so, because if you bothered to evade the paywall, you'd see the clunkhead kept on pounding the clunky metaphor:

In the 1970s, Freebiana became caught up in an intellectual fad that insisted haircuts and lunches be free at the point of service because they were important. 
Now the new Freebian government wants to trim payments to bulk-billing hairdressers and restaurants to encourage them to charge a small fee. It says borrowing money — Freebiana is in chronic deficit — from foreigners to pay for haircuts and lunches is foolish when its citizens, among the world’s richest, could easily ­afford to make a contribution themselves. 
More frank observers say the system is utterly bonkers, pointing out that privately owned firms provide other goods and services efficiently without public complaint and that citizens were just as nourished and well groomed in the 60s. Freebiana now has more hairdressers per head than any other country. More than unmoved, the country’s Left is enraged. Its slogan, “Lunch is life; haircuts are happiness”, has galvanised support around the country, prompting a collapse in the government’s popularity. Less emotional opponents are predicting Freebians will refuse to pay on principle, preferring go hungry from breakfast to dinner and never shave, foisting medical and public hygiene costs on taxpayers that far outweigh any immediate savings. 

So attending a doctor to check on a perhaps life-threatening illness, that mole or sunspot on the face, is the same as having a hair cut or a nice lunch in a Melbourne lane-way? It seems so:

 Freebiana is a weird place but it is little different from Australia, where “free” visits to the doctor are similarly contributing to a rising tax burden and distorting the jobs market. 

The pond doesn't know that much about Freebiana, but it does know about poverty, and it does know about life-threatening illnesses and it does know how hard it is for poor people to afford decent health care, and the only conclusion it can reach is that the Creighton who lives in Australiana la la land is fucked in the wombat head ...

Of all the ways to promote the seven buck levy ... comparing health to a hair cut, or a meal of Peking duck in a Canberra restaurant, and then following it with a dry set of economic arguments and expecting mug punters to swallow it, and in a supremely ironic argument, charging others with failing to see that the system is utterly bonkers...

Can there be anyone more bonkers than this honking, bonking goose? Here he is, this is what The Australian's Dean Swift looks like:


Stick to the Beijing duck Mr Creighton. 

Give big Mal a call - Clive claims he didn't pay for the chow down, so there you go, the Liberal party does seem to believe in a free lunch, and a free slap up dinner ... and let's hope that's a passing bowel problem and not a kidney stone ...

Meanwhile, the desperate reptiles felt the need to try another EXCLUSIVE angle in a bid to sell the unsellable:


It wasn't an EXCLUSIVE at all. If you can bother to get around the paywall to read Labor championed doctor co-payment fees, it's just a tired beat up, a recycling of old news.

After invoking Jenny Macklin as the mother of the co-payment, a recycling of a desperate Abbott of yesterday, and memories of Brian Howe in August 1991 - watch out next week for a story on Chifley nationalising the banks - tireless historians McKenna and Balogh dragged a washed up Queensland premier, one Peter Beattie, into the "they wanted it too game", concluding with a harking back to what Dr Andrew Leigh wrote in an opinion piece in 2003.

It's not journalism of course, just ideology spiced with zest and a dash of Beijing duck ... and it has sweet bugger all to do with what is happening right here, right now ...

Right here, right now,
Right here, right now,
Waking up to find your Abbott's a tool
Right here, right now.

Usually the pond apologises for such cheap boy shots, but should the pond apologise to Fatboy Slim or to Norman Cook?

Never mind, it does provide a segue to a piece by Waleed Aly, Joe Hockey's change of mind not proof of hypocrisy (irritating forced ad at end of link) which is ostensibly about the childishness of holding people to ideas they once held, since it's the right of all adults to change their minds in the face of reasoned, inexorable arguments.

It reminded the pond of the most irritating thing about Aly's radio technique, which might be dubbed the legal disease.

When interviewing anyone, Aly can change his mind on a dime. In favour of the seven dollar levy? Let Aly marshall all the evidence for the prosecution. Against the seven dollar levy? Let Aly marshall all the evidence for the defence ...

No wonder he's happy to allow Joe Hockey to endlessly change his mind, and in the process, by arguing for the right of people to do it, ignore entirely the context - it's perfectly fair to point out the irony of Hockey bleating about a $250 fee up front, when right at the moment, he's proposing an interest-laden burden of $100k or so, some fees less, perhaps a few more ....

And as for the other improvisation on the run, that came from a thought bubble by the Grattan Institute back in April which you can read about at Fairfax in Plan to collect dead students' debt, or in the Oz -behind the paywall because you have to pay for deadbeat think tank ideas - at Grattan Institute plan to recoup HECS debt from death duties. (Crikey once memorably described the Grattan Institute as the Centre for Ruddist Thinking, may be paywall affected).

But back to Aly, and why the pond was gob-smacked yet again:

...we should be awake to backflips of convenience. Certainly, we should be holding politicians to account for them, particularly where the political calculations are so short-term and transparent. But not all changes of mind are equal. Not all are poll-inspired and politically cynical. What we need is the capacity to distinguish between the two. 


So Hockey's apparently off the hook.

But Aly himself is the master of radio interviewing backflips, and this is just a transparent re-run of the old "teach the controversy" routine, where relativism, subjectivism, and chimerical changes of mood and opinions can be all the go, and if pushed hard enough, you end up in the land of Macbeth and "nothing is but what is not":

A public culture that rushes to judgments of hypocrisy, that fails this test of discernment, is an impoverished one destined for an endless cycle of adolescent sparring that masquerades as a policy debate. It’s a kind of gotcha politics that is more entertaining than edifying. Politicians should be allowed to be people whose positions swing and evolve. If we have inhuman demands of them, we might just find that inhuman brutes, impervious to thought and reflection, are the only ones capable of meeting our requirements.

Uh huh. But that's exactly what the reptiles did when they trawled through Labor attitudes to co-payments.

Okay we can agree that the reptiles are impoverished and indulge in adolescent sparring that masquerades as policy debate. But that's also exactly what Aly does on radio, cutting guests into tidy segments, keeping things on the move, taking stands against whoever comes along.

And where has it led us, this carefully balanced kind of ABC impotence, up against the reptiles at the lizard Oz, so strident in their certainty?

Why to inhuman brutes impervious to thought, reflection, contradictions, or hypocrisy, and arrogant in their manner ...

Well assuming that the last few lines by Ali are a judgment on Tony Abbott's boofhead way with verbal fisticuffs ...

But we'll l never know of course, because Aly always dodges and weaves and feints like an artful legal boxer ...

Here's how it's done:

That doesn’t mean there isn’t crass hypocrisy and opportunism in politics. Of course there is. It’s possible we saw an example of it this week when Martin Hamilton-Smith, a Liberal stalwart and former party leader, stunningly joined the South Australian Labor government with no prior warning and scant explanation. 
 It’s possible we saw it in the previous federal Labor government on asylum seekers when it first insisted boat arrivals had nothing to do with domestic policy, then shifted dramatically to a policy not merely of offshore processing, but offshore resettlement. 
 And it’s also possible we’ve seen it for years in Tony Abbott’s position on climate change policy, where, as Malcolm Turnbull has so famously put it, he “in the space of a few months held every possible position on the issue, each one contradicting the position he expressed earlier”. Read more:

It's possible? It's only bloody possible?

What a fatuous goose ... It's more than bloody possible, it's bloody likely and no amount of fey irony and whimsical rhetoric will get around the need to call a spade a spade, and Joe Hockey a bloody hypocrite, and Tony Abbott a complete waste of time on climate change and science in general ... to the point where a climate denialist like Dennis Jensen ends up sounding more sensible and  ...

Well it's all just foxes and improvisation on the run ...

... and here's David Pope showing how it should be done (and more Pope here):




Thursday, May 29, 2014

A cornucopia of chaos ... so why not sort it out over a meal at a Chinese restaurant?


(Above: every day is a good day for David Pope, so perhaps the Canberra Times should fix his gallery, here. Come on guys, that's no way to treat a star, and if it's not fixed by the time this blog is published, beware the outraged citizenry who'll launch a DOS attack on your site)

Where to start? Where to start?

Oh pick one, pick one, says an excited donkey, any one will do, in a cornucopia of chaos ...

Well there's the derelict and nasty, about which a lot more will be heard, but which is just breaking at the moment and will run and run: PNG police slam Australian report into riots at the Manus Island detention centre.

So now the PNG police, Robert Cornall, and the two governments responsible can argue up hill and down dale about who did what to whom, and yet the over-arching bottom line - that Australia exploited a still developing country, in classic colonialist style,  to dump its perceived problems elsewhere - will result in an ongoing, festering sore, and sweet FA by way of justice.

It gets the pond going, so perhaps we should pick the merely delightful, and sure enough, the Fairfaxians dug up actual footage of that shockingly entitled gent, jolly Joe Hockey, being a student radical, as you can read about and actually see in Hockey video from 1987 shows Treasurer protesting against university fees. (forced video at end of link).


It won't change anything, but it's a cheerful reminder of the hypocritical stench that surrounds jolly Joe, not least his absurd attempt to defend the inexcusable:

"We obviously were concerned about the fact we were paying fees upfront which no student has to do now," he told Channel Ten.

That'd be a $250 fee, as opposed to the $100,000, with interest, thank you very much, or who knows how much for a common and garden fee.

And now the ghouls are seeking to extract the debt from estates if the students haven't done the right HECS thing before they kick the bucket, and die with the debt still outstanding ...

Yes, that was the poodle Pyne: Christopher Pyne suggests collecting HECS debts from dead students as way to help budget (forced video at end of link)

The poodle as tomb raider:

Federal Education Minister Christopher Pyne has floated the idea of collecting student debts from the dead as a way of boosting the budget bottom line. 
Mr Pyne told Fairfax Media on Wednesday he had no "ideological opposition" to collecting debts from the estates of former students who died owing money to the government.
"[If] an elderly person passes away with a HECS debt, they wouldn't be able to say to the bank, we're not paying back our mortgage, yet they are at the moment entitled to not pay back their HECS debt," Mr Pyne said.

The ghouls are in power and they'll pursue you beyond the grave.

Congratulations to the sub at The Age who came up with this header. Oh you might have been a New Zelunder, but you nailed it:


The pond alternates between laughter and contempt at the way student politics has always been a training ground for rabid fundamentalists, so that the likes of jolly Joe can learn in their youth how to argue that black is white, only to turn around in later life and argue that white is black. The late unlamented Christopher Pearson was a classic case - rabid supporter of Communist dictators in youth, rabid Catholic high Tory in later life, and jolly Joe is not far behind in the white is black stakes ...

The best jolly Joe can offer? Why it's to keep repeating how jolly it is to be burdened by a substantial debt:

Mr Hockey said, in response to the unearthed footage: "My involvement in student rallies is well-documented and well-known and there was no HECS scheme at the time. We had to pay upfront without any loan scheme."

Yes, because $250 was a huge burden upfront but repaying a mere $100k or more with interest over decades is just paying back a loan, and it's a doddle ... because you know the average arts graduate is a powerhouse of salary advantage ...

You see, jolly Joe is doing everyone a favour.

The tragedy in all this, is that thanks to the likes of jolly Joe, people routinely confuse and conflate politicians with government.

Government does useful things, especially when administered in a balanced and fair way and without the sort of festering corruption cultivated in NSW by both sides of the aisle.

Politicians exist mainly to fuck good government up, in much the same way that student politicians fucked up student life ... though it helps explain why this current mob, who spent most of their time in student days protesting and whining about this that and the other, are now so intent on persecuting the current crop of hapless young people, who can only dream of the indulged, entitled lifestyle that Tony Abbott and jolly Joe lived ... and still live ... (anyone got a scholarship handy, for the right and chosen people of course?)

And then came George Brandis's discomfiture at the support given to his reforms. Yes Holocaust deniers are right on side with gorgeous George:


Did the bookcase and library man pause for a nanosecond to wonder whether it's nutty George that has attracted a fellow nutcase?

"He is a nutcase, N-U-T-C-A-S-E, nutcase. He has nothing to do with this debate," he said. (here, but with forced video attached)

Now only a nutcase could offer that as a sensible defence, because the entire point of Brandis's work is to allow nutcases to roam wild and free and say whatever they like ... because nutcases, and the Bolter is a classic example, have every right to be even more offensive than Lee Rhiannon, on the basis that everybody can ignore the likes of Murdoch, Brandis and the Bolter and refuse to be infected by their repellent views ... so they can abuse anyone they like in as many offensive ways they can manage, especially in relation to race or ethnicity, and it's all hunky dory ....

The most important thing is that Adolf Hitler should feel free to be able to scribble his support for George Brandis and not experience any sense of shame or legal restriction ...

Or some such thing. Yes, it sounds just the sort of nutty thing you'd expect a N-U-T-C-A-S-E to say ...

The real problem for Brandis, given the pressure he's under from ethnic communities, is how to retreat with some sense of grace and style, away from the howls of the IPA about breaking an election promise (as if that should be a problem for this government - doesn't it just get added to a neverending list?).

Oh yes, it's great fun to watch the pompous George dangle in the breeze and reel and writhe, in IPA urges Tony Abbott and George Brandis to stick with 'flawed' race law changes.

Meanwhile after all the posturing and posing, guess who came to dinner? (And we're not talking about a nice Sidney Poitier):


Uh oh. And never mind the politicisation of the public service, as you can read here.

Just chow down over a Chinese meal and all will be well ...

Meanwhile, The Graudian has remarkably discovered, courtesy of Margaret Simons, that the Daily Terror has lost touch with its readers.

It's a poignant piece, because Simons seems to accept that there's still a business proposition in being a tree killer. You know, if the rag would just get back in touch with its readers.

But this is just a recycled nonsense spouted from the mouth of Ozymandias himself, and that changes according to the weather (sssh, don't mention climate change) and the time of day - back in 2012 it was Rupert Murdoch predicts newspapers could die out in 10 years. 

And yet what's most interesting about the Terror - beyond even the rabid way editor Paul Whittaker tries to outdo Chris Mitchell in erecting a paranoid castle built of gutter offal - is the way it has revised its online persona in a bid to out-fox the Daily Mail.

As a result, the commentariat have been dropped way down the list. You really have to hunt out the rabid hounds to get a decent whiff of fundamentalist grape-shot, so hidden is it by all the click bait and the trolling ...

Online the Daily Terror makes news.com.au look like a respectable attempt at news reporting and intellectual curiosity. Yes, the pond almost fainted at the bizarreness of that notion ... but surely what Simons should have looked at was the equally bizarre transformation of the Terror's online presence. It's not tree killer circulation figures that matter - the Terror is now thrown away in all sorts of places - nor the front pages on the tree killer editions. It's the digital afterlife that matters, and in that arena, the Terror knows it's in deep doodah, and it's attempts to chance course are marvellous to behold ...

Yep, talk about a cornucopia of wonders, and all this before the pond even got near the reptiles scribbling away at the lizard Oz this unseasonably warm late May morning ...

 And by golly that's a whole new cornucopia.

It seems we must prepare for war with China, because a few decent diggers will sort out those bloody uppity Chinese:


Is it time for a new Brisbane line? Surrender the toads, and stand firm at Tenterfield? (Surely we must do it to save Peter Allen, because it might be too hard to save Rolf Harris).

Which reminds the pond that it's been yonks since we linked to How I learned to love Tony Abbott A bromance for the ages.

And it seems Tony Abbott has to sort out Clive Palmer in a showdown:


Wouldn't it be simpler to shout him a meal big Mal style in a Canberra Chinese restaurant, and explain how easy it is to fuck over the NBN in the process?

Yes, big Mal and his acolytes continue to alienate the geeks, and rarely a day goes by that delimiter doesn't discover yet another astonishing bit of befuddlement (Federal MP misleads Parliament with NBN motion).

So there you go.

A cornucopia of delights, or chaos and incompetence if you will ... and with a bonus bunch of Chinese spring rolls, against which we need to mount a powerful independent defence ... unless it happens to be Clive and then devious back room deals and a nice set of assistants might be all the go.

Phew, this is going to take some selling, as that master of understatement Tony Abbott told the miners last night.

Tony: And what if you don't close? 
Jolly Joe: I will close. 
Tony: What if you don't close...?  
Jolly Joe: I will close. 
Tony:  What if you don't? Then I'm fucked. You see...? Then it's my job. That's what I'm telling you. Jolly Joe: I will close. Tone, Tone, it's close or a lifetime on super. I can get hot. You know that... (with apologies to David Mamet, his script for Glengarry here)

Take it away Moir, remind us of how the day began, watching a doofus student politician disappear up his fundament and reappear as Australia's Treasurer ... (and more Moir here)


Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Talk about a piñata of muppets, puppets, Dame Slap, Dennis Jensen and clowns ...


(Above: Cathy Wilcox doing some spade work for Dennis Jensen, more of that anon, and more of Wilcox here)

It almost slipped through to the keeper, but the pond is vigilant, and determined to acknowledge, reward and celebrate the finest in weather reporting:



Yes Tanya Smart - twitter her twitterings here - managed to get through her entire story, Sydney to register hottest May day in 95 years with a picture of Sydney harbour in glorious sunshine, and a picture of youngsters among the throngs enjoying the weather at North Bondi beach, and a very brief chat to a meteorologist and a lifeguard - the locals are loving it and the rips are running... and a note on the temperature and ...

Not once did she fall for that UN black helicopter international conspiracy regarding climate science, and accordingly she wins the inaugural pond trophy for  "sssh, don't mention climate change" reporting ...

Well played Tanya ... the Murdoch press and the world need more intrepid, boldly scientific reports like yours ...

Speaking of delusional, didn't Kevin Andrews deliver a ripper when he said he believed the recent federal budget had been "well received". Which makes the need for an "information" service somewhat bizarre and a complete waste of money.

In other news from planet Mars ... there's the Bolter and Terry  McCrann advising the world that there's no surprise and no savagery in the budget, here. Maybe that's news from Io, Pluto or even Uranus?

And then came this little oddity:

So the boxing boofhead cycling rugger bugger blue, if the pond may use the local argot, did go the chicken ... with a cluck and a passing of the buck ... scared off by a few Marcusians and Trotskyites, perhaps fearing he might become one of those Russian sailors so lamented by Gerard "prattling Polonius" Henderson, now the country's most esteemed literary critic ...

And then came this:


Why there's more of the sound of "bwaaking" around the land ...

The Fairfaxians dubbed George Brandis forced to rethink discrimination act changes an EXCLUSIVE, but the pond is distraught.

What will the Bolter say if it comes to pass?

And besides, the pond was taught to hate by Abbott and Co. and by golly the hating is good. Even the head prefect couldn't induce hate the way this bunch has managed (well he could point to the Khemlani loans affair, and the absurdity that Rex Connor not only existed, but was in a position of power, and that's before we even mention the hypocrisy of Jim Cairns).

Meanwhile, it seems that the crow-eaters are in uproar, but the only result of the fuss for the pond was to remind it how popular co-joined and hyphenated names are in the ruling class in South Australia. For a final touch, it really should have been Hamilton-Smythe ...

Go on, check it out for yourself ... oh Adelaide, Adelaide, and all the great  aunts insane or dead, and is the wisteria still blooming, and how is the Kensington Road turnpike working out? (And if you've never heard the Paul Kelly song, what are ya?)

Anyhoo, everything seems to be conspiring to produce a crisis for the reptiles at the lizard Oz.

How to fill the front page? Oh there's a little space for the turncoat treachery in Adelaide, but once again it's Clive whacking day, and no matter that he loves Van Morrison:

Who could have thought it? One man tearing apart Australia's relationship with China and absolutely wrecking the Australian economy.

It reminded the pond of this recent portrait of reptile editor Chris Mitchell:


But look, as anyone knows, today is also Dame Slap day, and the news from Planet Janet (much further out and far more whacky than Homer Simpson or Uranus) is grim:


That's as opposed to the "Get Clive" show that routinely clogs the front page of the lizard Oz.

Oh wait, if you click through, it turns out that Planet Janet is singing from the same song sheet, and has got her lines down pat in The real story is Clive and his puppets ... (inside the paywall, because hating Clive and his puppets doesn't come free)

Golly will anyone ever write The real story is Chris and his magically agreeing muppets?

You see, the real story is how Chairman Murdoch and his muppets joined together to traduce and trash Labor, and - since Tony Abbott has always been on the nose and always will be - created space in the political landscape for the populist buffoon and his followers ... In much the same way that John Howard gave Pauline Hanson room to move, until he sent off Tony Abbott to impersonate a hit man with a slush fund ...

But back to Dame Slap. Naturally she's indignant at the greenies and Sarah Hanson-Young, and Jon Faine for raising his eyebrows, and for ridiculing Abbott's wink as some kind of private school boy reaction to the word sex.

Of course it's a sniggering private school boy reaction, but isn't that one of the benefits of a privileged upbringing?

Then it's on to the unseemly bashing of Abbott's daughters, the one in Geneva and the other offered a scholarship, because (a) it's just not fair, and (b) Tony Abbott kept his daughters carefully hidden throughout his campaign. Like this:


Real daughters offering real solutions. Almost like that reality TV show The Real Daughters of Mosman ...

And then, while bemoaning personal attacks in politics, Dame Slap shows how to do a damned good slapping:

When it comes to fringe politicians, Lambie is yin to Hanson-Young’s yang. One from the populist and shallow Right; one from the trendy, equally vacuous Left. Both stoop to personal attacks on Abbott. Both rise up to bash big business for being, well, big. Both have demonstrably failed to heed the glaring lesson of the global financial crisis that the only thing worse than a profitable bank is an unprofitable bank. Neither understands the flow of capital: people and business will move elsewhere when a country imp­oses punitive levels of taxation. 
Worst of all, both are entirely clueless about the fiscal realities of running a country where spending outstrips revenue, where an ageing population is supported by a shrinking pool of taxpayers, and where overall spending on health education and welfare has gone from 20 per cent of total government outlays 40 years ago to 58 per cent today. In a nutshell, it’s all about cost.

Yep, which is why we have to strip seven bucks off the poor to fund a twenty billion dollar medical research fund. It's all about cost!

As for taxing the banks, why that's as outrageous as taxing hapless, struggling souls like Gina Rinehart. 

Fiscal and political realities demand a cut to income tax rates, and preferably within this term as the government tries to get rid of the stinking albatross carcass it managed - without help from anyone else - to drape around its very own neck ...

 But wait, Dame Slap, Chris Mitchell and the rest of the reptiles are standing by:

Hence it’s high time the media turned the spotlight on Palmer’s party, both leader and members. Don’t be fooled by Palmer’s claims that he loves being on the front page of The Australian. Fringe parties love publicity but hate scrutiny. Former Greens leader Bob Brown lambasted News Corp newspapers as the “hate media” for daring to dissect his policies when the Greens held the balance of power. Likewise, the Queensland businessman turned politician has arched up against analysis in The Australian of his business interests, his party and his policies. 

But here's the thing. The Australian has been punching - or flailing - away at Clive for months, and what sort of analysis have they received?

Show us how to do it Dame Slap:

With due respect to each of the senators-elect, they are Palmer’s puppets.

Uh huh. Which is why, with due respect, Dame Slap deserves her permanent place on the pond as one of Chris Mitchell's muppets.

Oh she goes on to dress it up a bit, but irony of ironies, she does it by borrowing from Sarah Ferguson's interview with Jacqui Lambie on the ABC. Sssh, don't mention the ABC ...

You see, the reptiles at the lizard Oz have so alienated Palmer and his followers that they won't go closer than a barge pole to the rag, and so the scrutiny is remote and ineffective, dirt digging that's done no damage to date, and has been water off a duck's back to Palmer.

That's the trouble when you run an ideological rag populated by zealots. It would have been easy to learn way too much about Palmer and his team by getting him, and them, to do interviews, but The Australian is forced to glean its insights from interviews done on the ABC.

And then it's on with the abuse. Lambie lives in Utopia, (or perhaps worse, comes from Tasmania) and she's a loon ... and so on ...

Now in the pond's admittedly limited experience, when you call people brain-dead mindless puppets hailing from Utopia, you tend to get an adverse reaction ...

Which is why Dame Slap's "conclusion" is so comical:

Rather than peddle salacious bits of nothing, the media would serve the public interest better by reporting on serious stuff. More scrutiny of the PUP senators-elect is a start. For now, at least, they may be Palmer’s puppets, but they also hold the future of budget repair in their hands.

Say what? The twenty billion dollar medical future research fund might be in jeopardy? The pond might not be able to enter Elysium and live to be a hundred and fifty, on the backs of the struggling poor?

Ah well, them's the breaks, but here's a tip for Tony Abbott. If you take Dame Slap's attitudes into negotiations with Clive Palmer and his puppets, you really will be fukt ...

Meanwhile, it's hard to keep up with all the good news:

Voters are passing an angry verdict on how Tony Abbott measures up against almost every leadership attribute, according to the latest Essential poll, which shows Labor’s lead over the Coalition unchanged at 52% to 48% in two-party-preferred terms. 
Tony Abbott’s score on almost every negative attribute has jumped and on every positive attribute has declined since the questions were last asked on 15 April, before the federal budget. 
More than two-thirds of respondents (67% – an increase of 11 percentage points) said Abbott was “out of touch with ordinary voters”, 29% (down 11 points) agreed he was trustworthy, 41% (down nine) agreed he was a capable leader, and 63% (up five) said he was arrogant. (The Graudian here)

Surely the most disliked PM in the western world ...

And Dennis Jensen has decided to pour calming Coca Cola - it's got harmless carbon dioxide in it don't ya know, go on have a drink - on troubled waters:



A Liberal MP has blasted the Abbott government's defence and science policies – including the budget centrepiece of a $20 billion medical research fund. 
In a speech delivered in Parliament on Tuesday night, West Australian MP Dennis Jensen described the government's science policies as "foolish" and incoherent. 
Dr Jensen, a former research scientist and defence analyst, criticised the government for cutting funding to the CSIRO and Australian Research Council while creating a medical research fund. 
''There appears to be a lack of understanding of how science works,'' Dr Jensen says. 
''Where is the coherent, co-ordinated approach to science policy?'' 
Dr Jensen said he has serious doubts about the details of the medical research fund. 
''Is this funding to medical research going to be general, or specifically targeted at cancer, Alzheimer's and the like? How are we going to source those researchers? 
''They don't grow on trees, and the training required is long and arduous, and very long lead times are required. 
''What is this saying to those who might want to become mathematicians, physicists or chemists, hard sciences that are already in crisis?'' Dr Jensen says it is ''foolish to have such a policy disincentive, while at the same time massively incentivising medical research''. (here)

Sadly Jensen can't be entered into the "sssh, don't mention climate science" competition:

Dr Jensen saidPrime Minister Tony Abbott asked him to provide a list of recommendations on improving Australia's science policies. 
One of his recommendations, published on his website, include de-prioritising research into politically "hot" issues such as climate change. 
''I know of researchers who are sceptical on the 'consensus' position [on climate change], but still use the 'key phrases' to enhance the probability of winning a research grant,'' he says.

Yes, you wouldn't want to go funding an international UN conspiracy where the grant money is spent taking black helicopters for a spin ...

Or put it another way, in a kind of Dame Slap/Chris Mitchell way...

When a muppet can point out how fukt the puppets are on the matter of science, and the medical research fund, built on scoring seven bucks off the poor while the Bolter pisses thousands against the wall on dog care, talk about a circus run by clowns ...

Which just leaves time for a David Pope cartoon which is remarkably on topic (as always more Pope here):


Tuesday, May 27, 2014

A dog's life for some ...


Some things are best left unsaid.

At a time when the conservative commentariat are slavering about the need for the poor to fork over seven bucks a GP visit to fund medical research, and yowling at the need for the young to live for six months without any assistance whatsoever, as punishment for their derelict ways, and those who lived through the age of entitlement now gnaw at the bone, and demand students to pay unseemly amounts of cash plus interest for an education, it was too much information to read the Bolter getting all sentimental over a dog.

Well actually a bit more than sentimental. Hundreds at first, then nearly $5,000 and then thousands more ...

Lucky dog, and you can read the rest of A dogged loyalty is for richer or poorer to understand that the Bolter really has no understanding what it's like to be poor, or to break open a can of dog food to get by in the lucky country.

It reminded the pond of the way Hitler had a favourite precious dog, Blondi. It didn't end well:

Hitler expressed doubts about the cyanide capsules he had received through Heinrich Himmler's SS. To verify the capsules' potency, Hitler ordered Dr. Werner Haase to test them on his dog Blondi, and the dog died as a result. Hitler became completely inconsolable.

But the larger point applies, and it was part of the National Socialist devotion to animals and animal protection laws.

Remarkably, as soon as the Nazi Party came to power in 1933, they began to enact scores of animal protection laws, some of which are still operative in Germany. (See here for the 1933 legislation.) For example, in Nazi Germany, people who mistreated their pets could be sentenced to two years in jail. The Nazis banned the production of foie gras and docking the ears and tails of dogs without anesthesia, and they severely restricted invasive animal research. The Nazi Party established the first laws insuring that animal used in films were not mistreated and also mandated humane slaughter procedures for food animals and for the euthanasia of terminally ill pets. (The Nazis were particularly concerned with the suffering of lobsters in restaurants). In addition, the German government established nature preserves, a school curriculum for the humane treatment of animals, and they hosted one of the first international conferences on animal protection. (and a lot more at Psychology Today here)

It's a peculiarity and a contradiction, as explored in an article currently behind a paywall here.

Hard men can find all sorts of objects on which they can lavish a sentimental and emotional outpouring, without fear of contradiction or condemnation, but the safest of all are mute and pleading animals. (It used to be women before the uppity things decided they could live without that sort of suffocating sentimentality).

Naturally if you do a Greg Hunt you can find material on Hitler and vegetarianism here, and more on animal welfare here.

Now it's not for the pond to understand or reconcile these diverging strands. The one thing the pond has learned in life is never to stand between someone and their pet, even if the bloody thing just bit you.

After all, if you've got the money you can spend it on anything you like ... heck, you can even save taxpayers' money while playing Van Morrison:



If you haven't got the money, why then it's your duty to go to hell, or at least go fruit picking ...

But let's do a segue, because it was actually this piece in news.com.au that made the pond think of the Bolter:


Despite the pond's repeated demands that News Corp not mention climate science - ssssh - it turns out that there is one online area of the company that is willing to drag it into view, as you can read in Records melt across country as capitals experience weeks of unseasonably warm weather.

Worse, the heretics even dare to drag in an actual climate scientist:

Climate Change Research Centre research fellow Sarah Perkins said Sydney was experiencing its longest heatwave on record. 
People usually associate heatwaves with summer, but if you use the definition that a heatwave is about higher temperatures relative to the averages for that time of year, the warm spell Sydney is experiencing smashes previous records. 
Sydney has had nine days above the “extreme threshold” of average temperatures for May. The next longest heatwave was over four days in January of 1910. 
Dr Perkins said climate scientists were seeing more of these unseasonably warm spells. 
“From a climate science perspective, unfortunately, it’s no surprise,” she said. “I can understand why people are enjoying the warm weather — it’s lovely — but if I put my climate scientist hat on it’s a little bit scary. 
“It is pleasant, but we have to remember these types of extreme events have adverse impacts that aren’t really felt until three or four months down the track.” 
These include drier soil, which is damaging to crops, and higher fuel loads, which can add to bushfire risk.

It's shocking stuff.

No, that that the planet's fukt, that's not news, it's that any part of News Corp would dare to drag climate science into a weather report.

And worst of all, it's happened at a time when the world's leading climate scientist is clearly distracted by his dog.

Happily a Bolter comment drew together the righteous anger at bludgers and at greenies:

Greens are toxic - they are the ones who enjoy Australia’s prosperity due to hard working business people and yet they think all business people as enemies. Greens’ aim is: Let’s all be poor - then they will shut up. Labor is not much different from the Greens - they just hate business people too - unnecessary class war, just distribution of wealth rather than increase of wealth and creation of jobs - jobs that have created so far is just many government organisations, or government related/affiliated organisations - nothing to do with business, production ... etc ; except only to help the lazy marginalised people - it does not help them, either in the end - only spoil them and make their abilities eroded as time goes by. Just object for the objection purpose, no alternative policies at all. Please be honest and grow up.

Yes, never mind the incoherence, damn them and their indolent, spoiled ways. Next thing you know they'll be jibber jabbering about animal welfare.

And now news.com.au, prepare to experience the wrath of the world's leading climate scientist!

Happily Cathy Wilcox has proposed a solution, which might also fix the Bolter's dog (and more Wilcox here):



Let them all become fruit pickers, but let Scott Morrison, Sharri Markson, Nick Cater and Eric Abetz go first ...


(Above: and more David Pope here)

Sorry, the pond is too angry at the way the contemptible Scott Morrison has ducked and weaved and avoided responsibility for his part in the Manus Island matter, aided and abetted by a derelict, guilt-laden Labor party.

And that's before we get on to the contemptible way Morrison is getting into bed with the Cambodian dictatorship to use one of the poorest countries in the world as a dumping ground, having already got into trouble by using PNG as a dumping ground.

Questions are being asked already - the report settled nothing - and the issue will become a festering sore, a canker at the core of this ostensibly Christian government ...

Robert Cornall's report on the violence on Manus Island tiptoes around the main failures of the Abbott government and avoids a conclusion on whether the policy of indefinite detention in such a remote location is fatally flawed. 
The wishy-washy set of recommendations belie the gravity of what unfolded inside a place where Scott Morrison maintained, even after the carnage, the safety of inmates could be guaranteed as long as they behaved. (and so on, here, forced video at end of link)

A kindly reader provided a link to the report in pdf form, here, but how many will be interested in reading the output of quislings and lackeys?

No, all that does is get the pond into a rage, and it's too much for a Tuesday, when we should be able to look at the lighter side of life - like Bronwyn Bishop rorting her way through life with nary a jot or a whit of balance or fairness.

Now that's how to do a kerosene bath in style (Forgotten? Try Parliament hears kerosene bath led to death).

And speaking of comedy stylings, there was Crikey doing a pitch to lure the pond back to a subscription. Purportedly, it was a special, pleading message from Tony Abbott PM:

Well, winker I may be but I also love a fight, which is what I get from Crikey. They still believe in facts and cogent argument and I've always loved history myself. 
As for those ‘independent journalists’ over at News Corp, they get my goat. What’s the applause of a bunch of sycophants really worth anyway? 
I know I’m PM and all that but I still struggle for meaning. Thinking of my enemies gets me out of bed in the morning. How else could I face Malcolm Turnbull? 
I sum it up like this: Crikey keeps me on my toes while Chris Mitchell washes my smalls. That’s a pretty good reason to subscribe to Crikey Insider I’d say.

And then the coda:

P.S. Chris, if you’re reading this, can I have a bag wash on my cycling gear ready by Wednesday?

It was a good pitch, but it was wrong. It turned out that it wasn't Chris Mitchell washing Abbott's smalls that caught the pond's eye, it was Sharri Markson washing Rupert's feet, as an eerie angelic glow emanated from his prophetic brow.

Remind us Guy Rundle:

Ain’t that good News. There are few things more joyful in Australian media than seeing how many twists News Corp can get into reporting on itself. Thus, Prince Rupert announces that his papers would be printed for “decades” more to come, which is covered breathlessly by The Australian, after which media editor Sharri Markson writes a comment (behind the paywall) about the story about Rupert talking about the paper she’s writing in. It’s difficult to know what is more gobsmacking about Markson’s report. Is it her Google Translate version of English prose — “reports to talk it down are exaggerated”, “he has proved correct” — or her mixed/incorrect metaphors, with the observation that “[Channel] Ten’s flailing ratings do not sign the death-knell for free-to-air television”? Neither. It’s this, which would raise a blush in the cheeks of the editor of the Pyongyang Times: 
 “Being engaging and innovative in the digital space, while still selling millions of newspapers, is critical to the success of News Corp, unlike its one-time Australian competitor Fairfax, and is a reflection on Rupert Murdoch, the most successful publisher the world has ever seen. Murdoch has proved himself a visionary in a media industry largely populated by lesser executives who show more reservation than courage, more anxiety than insight and more uncertainty than solutions.” (and more behind the Crikey paywall here)

After pointing out the many ways the visionary chairman Rupert had done a MySpace flop, and still pissed money against the wall on his Australian newspaper empire, Rundle hailed Markson's imperial flattery as potentially unveiling the next Rebekah Brooks.

Now you might think Rundle was being unfair, but truth to tell, he was discreet, and avoided showing the depths of Markson's shame. Hers was an astonishing effort for a rag which doesn't make a profit, with a gloating and a preening and a promenading that was beyond unsightly.

The truth is that not only are newspapers alive and kicking, but the media organisations that will suffer in the digital age are those that reverse-publish, such as Fairfax, taking its news cues from the twitterati and internet ephemera. By failing to invest in the quality of its newsrooms and newspapers, Fairfax will become one small player in a large online pond occupied by others, such as the BBC and The Guardian, with far greater global audiences. 
Fairfax’s confused and self-destructive strategy can be seen in its use of columnists such as Clementine Ford as “clickbait” to boost its online audience — a dumbed-down audience that has little appeal for advertisers seeking AB readers and that will never be able to match the scale of a free site, such as the Daily Mail. 
It’s a hopeless halfway house. 
 “Hywood is simply plunging into the bottom of the toilet as sure as the famous scene in Trainspotting,’’ The Australian’s editor-in-chief Chris Mitchell said of the company’s direction. 
News Corp is heading in a different direction, armed with facts that show newspapers command robust circulation and a healthy financial future.

Has Markson ever heard of hubris? Vanity, all is vanity ...

Well at least it gives us an idea of the shitty metaphors that Chris Mitchell loves ...

The pond was so astonished and delighted that there was an immediate and urgent need to track down Sharri Markson, and here she is as she appears in her Twitter account:



The Twitter account contained some wonderful gems. Like

... you know Murdoch Derangement Syndrome has taken hold when they dispute the "visionary" tag. Genuine lolz.

The pond was lolzing around, rolling Jaffas down the aisle.

Oh sure, a few tried to point out the bleeding obvious, like Fairfaxian Bevan Shields tweeting peak satire had been reached (here), which led the pond to this:



But most of all the pond was reminded of the good old days when Markson scored the job as reported in mUmBRELLA: Sharri Markson named new media editor for The Australian, vows to bring more 'attitude'.

'Attitude' is the new word for pitiful forelock tugging, servile abasement, and a kool aid drinking party?

A host of generally negative comments could be found attached to that mUmBRELLA story, including this last one at the end"

Seriously Sharri – you sound like a silly young schoolgirl

Oh Stan, that's so cruel and sexist. She's just a member of Chairman Rupert's youth party ...

And if nothing else, Markson reminded the pond of the monolithic culture that now exists amongst the reptiles at the lizard Oz.

Sure enough, what do you know, come on down the Caterists this very day:

Yes, if you can be bothered getting around the paywall, or if you duck down to wherever they're throwing away the rag for free - it's the only way to keep the circulation figures half-way respectable - you can read Cater doing his very own comedy impression in Aunty's inquisitors turn on the heat.

It's a supremely childish, petulant piece, right down there with Markson, and it shows its colours right up the front.

Instead of Chris Mitchell's dunny speak reference to Trainspotting, Cater opts for a children's horror film:

In the movie Godzilla, mankind’s punishment for upsetting the balance of nature is meted out by a hideous, gargantuan monster on a primeval mission of retribution. 
Tony Abbott’s comeuppance for disrupting the politically correct equilibrium of Australian cultural life is administered by the ABC. 
It is an ugly sight on or off the screen. The two monstrous hulks have grown meaner over the years, and neither will be deflected from their vengeful path by reason and persuasion.

It's bizarre. Anyone with an imagination might conjure up Cater at night reading a story about monsters to terrify the children. Or maybe the 10-15 demographic. The illustration captures the tone perfectly:


Really? Guy Rundle made reference to the Pyongyang Times, but you'd swear we were in a life and death struggle:




Yet what's the ideal the Godzilla-wielding futtock wants to deploy?

QandA started with great promise seven years ago, but in recent years has become a caricature of a discussion program. The BBC show from which it was copied, Question Time, shows it does not have to be this way. Firm and yet ever courteous and polite, its host David Dimbleby insists on discipline and decorum from the panel, and the audience responds in turn.

Firm and yet ever courteous and polite? Discipline and decorum?

From a man who starts off by quoting a crappy Godzilla movie?

What a futtock the man is, what a click-baiting, trolling stirrer, deserving of Markson's wrath if she had half a brain or half a clue. Well just to save any stray reader the trouble, here's how the Caterist ends his piece:

It will be consolation to Jones and his producers to know that they have succeeded in splitting the Right in half. 
On one side there are those who, out of a sense of civic duty, are prepared to brave the stacked panel, discourteous host and a crowd that thinks it’s been invited to watch the punishment of a ­medieval witch. 
On the other side there is a growing group of politicians and commentators who do not regard a slice of cold pizza and a warm beer in the green room as sufficient recompense for watching your knuckles turn white for an hour, clinging to a ducking stool on national television. 
Does it matter? Probably not. Abbott has already demonstrated that the ABC world view is not impregnable. 
 His policies on border protection, the carbon tax, the mining tax, gay marriage, renewable energy, preventive health, school and hospital funding and a whole lot more were considered “totally inappropriate” by his cultural opponents. 
 Yet he won the election anyway. Now there’s a good topic for Faine’s next The Conversation Hour.

Astonishing stuff.

The pond didn't think anyone could cause the pond to feel a shred of sympathy for Jones and Q and A, but somehow Caterists can manage the job.

The upside? Well it did remind the pond of Guy Rundle's great smack down of Cater in What Nick Cater's book gets wrong about Australia (basically everything) (may be Crikey paywall affected)

And yet after he achieved fifteen minutes of fame for getting everything wrong, here's Cater conflating all sorts of issues, lumping them together, and talking about them, as if it's only a matter of Abbott's "cultural opponents".

Like this?


Eeek, it's a winking Godzilla, and the Washington Post is part of the vast ABC-UN-climate science international conspiracy ...

Meanwhile, the hagiographers and the knob polishers are out and about, and still they're banging the drum of a budget crisis, a national emergency:



Oh yes, it's a suicidal disaster in a hostile world, no doubt about it.

Except why are there all these rumours of the Abbott government trying to buy its way out of trouble with income tax breaks, and a sudden discovery of cash in the meat safe? Pass Go and you'll collect a bonus?


You couldn't write a better comedy about contradictions and hypocrisy, unless you happened to be Moliere, or left Cleo to become the media editor of the lizard Oz ...

But here's the thing. The moment that Abbott tries to buy his way out of trouble, and back to favourable polls, all that Newman and Reithian blather will be used as a reminder of Abbott's own rhetoric.

Is it possible to make a mess of bribing taxpayers? Just watch Abbott weave his magic ...

And finally the pond has just enough room to squeeze in an honourable mention for Eric Abetz's "let them all become fruit pickers ..." (that should give them enough money to be able to afford cake), as outlined in Young and without work? Take up fruit picking, says Liberal senator Eric Abetz.

There are some wonderful precedents for the good Senator to turn to:



Don't listen to all the gloom mongers and the naysayers, the Hon Abetz, of the kind you can find in Fruit industry not 'babysitters' for jobless, farmers warn Abetz.

Indeed as any proper nationalist socialist knows, there's a good instructional, lyrical, and inspirational video on hand, ready to inspire all Tasmanians: