Thursday, September 30, 2010

Hal G. P. Colebatch, and yes, feel free to mention that John Lennon and Mick Jagger have ruined England in the way the Nazis ruined Germany ...

(Above: no, not a leisure game moment in Call of Duty, but leftist zombies trying to conduct an argument with rational folk).

It's been a long time since we dropped in on the always reliable Hal G. P. Colebatch, and his scribbles for the American Spectator.

He provides infallible entertainment, and is sadly missed from the pages of The Australian, as are such other luminaries as Michael Costa.

Lately Colebatch has been in the grip of a tremendous burst of creativity.

If you're in catch up mode, perhaps you might like to start with Don't Be Scared of Godwin's So-Called Law, wherein the valiant Colebatch asserts the right to go on making comparisons to Nazis and Hitler as often as he likes. It seems giggling wicked leftist pseudo intellectuals are to blame for invoking Godwin's Law, as if it's some kind of rational argument.

Perhaps we could have a new term for those who lead with pseudo? Perhaps a Pseudo Law?

Colebatch also scores well by bringing in Orwell. There's never enough use of Orwell when talking of Orwellian matters, even if it might make poor Eric Blair roll in his grave:

Personally, I don't intend to be intimidated by chants of "Godwin's Law" or any other infantile slogan, used to smother debate in a way reminiscent of something from George Orwell or, if you'll excuse me saying so, a Nuremberg Rally. I have come up against echoes of Nazi thought-patterns and arguments many times and not only am I not going to be bullied into keeping silent about this, I believe every civilized person has a positive duty to speak up about it whenever appropriate.

Yes, lickspittle fellow travelling Nazis and Hitler worshippers, watch out. Colebatch is on your trail, and ready to disarm any argument you might come up with, by pointing out that your tendency to wear black leather puts you just one step away from the SS. And you thought you were just going to a party, you fascist leftist goon ...

The hapless Colebatch doesn't seem to have caught up with the Stalinist corollary however:

The same goes for Stalinist communism and the predictable parrot-cries of "McCarthyism!" or, more commonly in Australia today, "Reds under the beds!" They are simply forms of intellectual bullying. At best, they can smother the serious discussion of issues, at worst they can be used to conceal and/or justify genuinely murderous and totalitarian thought.

Yes, the parrots can speak only one cry with genuine indignation. In no way is Hitler! in any equivalent to parrot crying McCarthyism! Remember that you lick spittle pseudos ...

Next in line is a wonderful rant The Thief Prime Minister, in which the learned Colebatch explains that Julia Gillard is a thief (where this might leave George Bush, we'll leave others to wonder about). Reading his righteous indignation is a wonderful tonic for the system even if time has moved on ...

Quickly, no time to waste, because then we're on to Cultural Suicide, and a favourite theme of the master, explaining how England is utterly ruined. It has such a wonderful opening that I feel inclined to quote it at length:

The collapse of England's traditions and values had been marked by a series of increasingly grotesque milestones: the MBEs for the Beatles back in Harold Wilson's day (John Lennon being both a supporter of the IRA and probably the English-speaking world's premier icon for the drug culture), the Knighthood for Mick Jagger of notably dissolute and selfish life (something Shakespeare never received), the ad 2000 military tattoo dissolving into the pacifist slop "Where have all the flowers gone," the final ceremony of "Beating Retreat" boycotted by the Queen in a typically ineffectual or possibly imaginary Royal Protest, the official announcement that Britain can no longer defend itself and is likely to lose another 20,000 men from its already desperately overstretched armed forces, as well as one or both of its projected new aircraft-carriers (although billions have been spent on them already) are a few others. A bishop offers homosexuals counseling and in interviewed by the police for having thereby both committed a hate crime and failing to celebrate diversity. Basil Brush, a cartoon fox-puppet on children's television, is similarly interviewed and cautioned for having made a joke about gypsies.

Indeed. Doomed. Ruined.

But strangely no mention of how a professional virgin, one Cliff Richard, scored an OBE but refused to do anything to sustain the troubled isles by way of marriage (happily these days he lives with a priest, here). Is it a clue that the despicable John Lennon once said that before Cliff and the Shadows there was no British music worth listening to? As for the outrageous fact that Sir Reginald Kenneth Dwight scored an OBE, is there any deeper or darker indication of Britain's tragic decline? (The name Sir Elton Hercules John shall never stain this blog's pages). Why they hand out OBE's like confetti ...

Colebatch is a wonderfully forgiving humanitarian, but it's fair to say he's a tad disturbed at the way the lunatics have taken over the asylum. He manages to evoke, in no particular order the picts, Bukharin, Bolsheviks, a Bramscian project, and Homo Britannicus, before sharing his caring side:

The latest milestone in Britain's government-sponsored deliquium is a service at St. Paul's Cathedral to celebrate the life of Alexander McQueen, a frock designer who committed suicide by hanging himself. He had made a great deal of money and like many degenerates, he was fascinated by skulls.

St. Paul Cathedral! This, where a procession of fashion-freaks and coke-snorters trooped, had previously seen the funerals of, among others, Nelson, the Duke of Wellington and Sir Winston Churchill. It was the site of the Jubliee celebrations for Queen Victoria and services marking the end of the first and second world wars. At its building it had both shown Britain's architectural genius to the world and shown its recovery from the great fire which had just burnt the heart out of London and nearly ended the British Empire before it properly started.

Oh dear. The thought depresses me so much I feel a tad suicidal. Is this why I've developed a fascination for skulls? Every so often lately I've dreamed of fondling Michael Costa's balding pate. It's a deep and disturbing sickness.

Not that we're suggesting that it should happen, but Colebatch quite rightly observes that suicides were once buried in unconsecrated ground, at night, with a stake in them ...

Has the dropping of this commendable practice contributed to the complete decline and fall of British and perhaps western civilisation?

Colebatch makes a wonderful ascetic and stern critic, denouncing Christians who might offer some sympathy to disgraceful suicides flinging the absent god's great gift of life back in her face, and is particularly hard on all that passes in dumbing down Britain to a ...

... swamp of dimness, superficiality and triviality of thought and feeling, in which rubbish, or at best ephemeral entertainment, is exalted to the status of a great spiritual event.

Damn you lady Di, you candle in the wind, damn you Prince Charles for embracing a flickering candle, damn you Queen Elizabeth for consorting in bed with that damnable Philip and producing such an emasculated heir. Once more the monarch has ruined Britain, and turned it into the kind of frivolous farce last seen in the days of Charles II. Bring back Oliver Cromwell, and bring him back now ...

And to think that brave man Nelson, who once had a mistress, is now so maltreated and forgotten in these sceptred isles ...

And finally, let's just touch on Colebatch's latest offering, Now Obama Offends Australia.

Colebatch is rightly indignant at the way the fiendish Obama has flown over Australia (or nearby) on his way to Indonesia, and in the process of soundly trouncing and denouncing the wimp, who so forgets his friends, makes this compelling point:

Talk of Australia looking to a new protector in China can be dismissed as sensational fantasy, although of course there is always an adversary-culture Left ready to exploit reasons for anti-Americanism, real or manufactured. Already these are commentators wondering loudly why Australia is sacrificing soldiers’ lives in Afghanistan on behalf of an ally who evidently doesn’t take it seriously.

Could this be a reference to that adversary culture Left exemplified by Paul Sheehan in Lives lost currying US favour?

Did we get it all wrong? Has Colebatch teased out a haunting truth?

Could it be that Paul Sheehan is in fact an evil double agent, and his pose as a right leaning commentator is simply a disguise, as he trolls this country towards leftist defeat and a very British slide into ignominy, corruption and despair?

Serious questions.

Still I was moved by Colebatch's advice regarding abuse while conducting a debate, and pleased to see, in the responses and comments to his latest piece, that his defiant advice regarding Godwin's Muslim Law had fallen on fertile ground:

He's a MUSLIM. He's a Muslim, he's a Muslim, he's a Muslim. The only ones who's *SSES he's kissing, are the MUSLIMS, the MARXISTS, the SOCIALISTS, and the COMMUNISTS. Why?
"And I saw the BEAST rise from the SEA. And he was given a MOUTH, to speak Haughty and Blasphemous words. And he was allowed to exercise authority for forty two months." Revelations 13-5.
He only likes the Countries that Free People consider to be EVIL. Open your Eyes. There's no other explanation. The Mayan Calender ends Dec.21, 2012. Barack Hussein Obama's reign, ends Jan. 21, 2012.

Well as another noted Obama's term actually expires Jan 20/21, 2013, the precise moment dependent on your level of pedantry, and give or take impeachment, an assassin's bullet or other unforeseen event, but these are mere details, schmetails, because everything will surely end badly ...

The Nazi left and their Goebbels Goering goon squads and SS rabble will see to that ...

I must say after this splendid way of wasting a lunchtime, I did wonder if they were putting too much fluoride in the water in Sydney ...

I wonder what the level of fluoride is like in Perth?

(Below: Sarah Palin giving a satanic sign? Or merely proving she loves that good hard edged American rock in preference to the appalling soft core pop music emanating from Britain, which once almost ruined American and western civilisation, having already ruined the empire. Damn you George Formby, damn you and your banjo ukulele plucking to hell).

Of a bigger and better mining tax and weeping billionaires and the NBN and Malcolm Turnbull and a bloody nose for a rich Potts Point fantasy life ...

(Above: there are so many delicious ironies on The Oz front page that it deserves to be preserved in amber, so that down the track it can be used to discover the DNA of the house of Murdoch, and used to create new dinosaurs).

You could have knocked me down with a feather.

There it was as bold as brass, like a bad smell in the room, or at least a header at the top of the digital front page in the deadened heart of Australia, The Australian.

Labour facing storm clouds: International Monetary Fund, it shrieked, and I knew there was trouble afoot, perhaps even a giant dog yowling as it roamed the moors looking for victims.

The International Monetary Fund yesterday praised the government's management of the global financial crisis and its strategy for returning the budget to surplus.

Phew. Just some Marxist socialist communists doing their European thing.

What's that you say, the IMF is headquartered in Washington D.C.? Well yes, but they have offices all over the place, and (a) why would we accept advice from the United States about how to manage the economy, unless of course it's to accept Tea party insights or alternatively (b) it's possible to be based in the United States and have European tendencies.

So what did the wretches have to say?

... its preliminary report on the Australian economy, following a pre-election visit, said the growing dependence on resources raised new challenges, with the economy more vulnerable to extreme swings between boom and bust.

It said the government should aim for a bigger budget surplus and do more to reform tax than its limited response to the Henry tax review earlier this year.

"Tax reform can play a key role in allowing Australia to take full advantage of the mining boom," the IMF said.

In particular, the fund praised the Henry review as a "comprehensive blueprint for tax reform issues", saying the resources rent tax was a step in the right direction and that "consideration should be given to broadening the coverage to other mineral resources".

Dear sweet absent lord. Won't someone think of the weeping billionaires, and the pitiful way they were forced to riot on the streets to protest the outrageous Marxist Socialist mining tax.

And now these socialist fund managers with a European outlook are suggesting that the tax is a step in the right direction, never minding the weeping and the moaning and the groaning of the whining of the billionaires!

I was so startled I headed off to the IMF for confirmation. Surely The Australian got it wrong, or did they imagine printing any criticism of the government on its front page was enough, and never mind the content.

And there amazingly there it was, with a September 15th date on it, which I guess is "yesterday" in The Australian speak, since a fortnight is like a nanosecond in the timeless land of the blowflies, under the more sedate header Australia - 2010 Article IV Consultation Concluding Statement:

15. Tax reform can also play a key role in allowing Australia to take full advantage of the mining boom. On that front, we welcome the recent review of the tax system as it provides a comprehensive blue print for tax reform issues. The planned introduction of the mineral resource rent tax is a step in the right direction and enables a reduction in the company tax rate. The resource rent tax also strengthens the automatic stabilizers in the budget, but we note that it is less effective in that regard than the original proposal. Consideration should be given to broadening the coverage to other mineral resources. Another objective of tax reform should be to facilitate the reallocation of resources so that Australia can fully benefit from improved terms of trade. We would therefore welcome more reliance on consumption-based taxes. This would allow for the elimination of inefficient taxes at the state level that impede labor mobility and allow for reductions in federal personal income taxes that would encourage increases in labor supply and saving.

Damn you, damn you heartless socialist international bankers with European tendencies, and a desire to tax our hapless billionaires, damn you all to hell.

Well the pond won't stand for it, and has immediately issued a black helicopter alert for any stray innocent mining billionaire who might stumble on The Australian printing this kind of heresy.

Sure it's criticism of the government, a kind of general FUD beloved by The Oz - storm clouds ahead - but did they have to print this sort of criticism on the front page?

Happily there was a billionaire in town ready to give the NBN a serve, and the media loves its billionaires, and he's not just an average weeping mining billionaire, so there was a good chance to spread fear and doubt in that area. The Australian put it on the front page as usual:

It's campaign against the NBN is ceaseless and unrelenting, and you can find that story here.

But because after all he is the world's richest man and we love our billionaires the Herald picked up the story and ran with it too:

World's richest man doubts broadband value said the more restrained Granny header.

No one actually bothered to quote Slim saying that he knew nothing about telecommunications in Australia - Mexico yes, and in Australia did somebody mention $7,000 a home? Those qualifying remarks turned up on Radio National's breakfast this morning, and will no doubt be listed here, before falling off the page in due course.

Still, it got me piqued. Surely it must be true, him being a Mexican billionaire and the world's richest man, and so canny and not inclined to shake out the redback spiders in his wallet for any nation building nonsense. (Sssh, nobody mention the drug cartels or the Mexican wars).

So I stayed up very late to watch the heavyweight battle between Stephen Conroy and Malcolm Turnbull on Lateline - which, if you came in late, you can find here in transcript and catch up TV formats.

First a disclosure of prejudices and bias. Apart from disliking Conroy's policy on the filter intensely, I also find him kinda creepy on television. A bit like a pale mackerel flapping about in an ungainly way. Awkward, spasmodic.

And I like big Mal. I once spoke to him on the telephone and he was ever so gentlemanly and of course I'm never averse to the charms of multi-millionaires with an eastern suburbs loft ...

I'm also open to the notion that the NBN might better be facilitated by partnering in a way that might avoid the inefficiencies that arose because the PMG nee Telstra had a monopoly on its copper pipes, and over time developed mind numbing inefficiencies ... which we still suffer from today.

But sad to say, Turnbull got done over by Conroy, and worse Turnbull knew it, and sat sulking and glowering at the end of the interview, and didn't deign to match Conroy's cheerful close "thanks very much, Tony" with any words at all. Just a glower and sulk ...

It was only a win on points, but I scored every round a win for Conroy (yes, yes, it's a boxing metaphor, but ever since I heard an Irish teaching nun stopped the class to cheer on Cassius Clay to his first nationally broadcast victory, I learned to love Muhammed Ali and on much rarer occasions, Norman Mailer).

Here's a sample, relating to those household costs:

TONY JONES: Well, hang on a sec! Hold on, hold on, hold on. You've raised the question of the costs per household, Malcolm Turnbull. Now, I think you've written it'll be $4,000 per household. Tony Abbott say it'll be $5,000 per household. The visiting Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim Helu say it'll be $7,000 per household. Who's right?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, I mean, you can just work it out. You can divide through the number of households by 40 - divide the number of households into $43 billion and you get the answer.

TONY JONES: Well, no, you don't. We actually did that. Your figure, your $4,000 figure multiplied by 8.57 million households comes out at $34 billion, so I'm wondering how you came up with your figure to start with.

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, I'm not sure whether that - where that figure came from, but it's $43 billion over around - over around nine million households and businesses. So ...

STEPHEN CONROY: But that's a completely false representation. This is investing in an asset that will last up to 40 years. If you take even Malcolm's $4,000 and stretch that across 40 years, it's about 13 cents a day.

So it went. Turnbull got caught up in the cost - was it $26 or $27 billion or $43 billion, and would private money come in?

His attempts at point scoring were poncy and pompous, a bit like the language at the pond. A mere bagatelle, he pronounced at one point, and of course Conroy went for the jugular, which is to say that Turnbull was living a rich Potts Point fantasy life ...

And truth to tell when it came to talking about how Australia was getting by just fine with ADSL2+ and how copper still had juice in it and how the old HFC cable could be dragged out and given a spruce goose dressing, Turnbull copped a deserved reprimand: Malcolm Turnbull keeps claiming he's a techhead ... Malcolm knows better ...

That came about because Turnbull tried a little sleight of hand when asked the obvious question by Jones:

TONY JONES: OK, very briefly then, will you freeze the project there so that there are two Australias - the one who got the rollout and the one whose didn't? The ones with fibre-to-the-home and the ones who don't have it? Or will you continue the project?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, Tony, you'd have to assess it. Let me just give you a little fact that is important to bear in mind. About 25 per cent of Australians are passed by cable, you know, that's used for pay television, was built for pay television at the moment.

And that's how Conroy could suggest that Turnbull knew better or perhaps was indeed a technical dunderhead. Because truly what Turnbull was suggesting was something only a technical dunderhead could buy ...

It never got any better for Turnbull at any point, and as it dragged on, it became clear that Abbott had in fact sold Turnbull a first class dump. Yes, I know that's a rugger bugger rah rah metaphor, but ever since the nuns pointed out that private school boys with splendid lofts played rugger, I've done my best to learn the lingo.

Abbott, that splendid rugger bugger and one man dumping machine, dressed up Turnbull as a one man wrecking machine, a person who would demolish the NBN, and again it led to an obvious question:

TONY JONES: ... So what are you going to do if you come to office after that? Are you going to dig it up? Are you going to re-incorporate it into some sort of private plan? What is your plan? What's your policy for what to do with what's already been put in place?

MALCOLM TURNBULL: Well, Tony, that's a - that will depend on how much has been built, where it is and what its value is. The fact is that - look, I'm not interested in demolishing the NBN. I'm interested in exposing the hollowness of the Government's justification for the NBN, and that, I suppose, will demolish their shabby and empty argument.

But as far as the infrastructure is concerned, whatever has been built, if we come into government, we will obviously have to make the very best possible use of it.

So he's not interested in demolishing the NBN. And the opposition will accept a fait accompli and the independents will get their pork barrels and Turnbull will look uncomfortable, knowing that he knows better, but can't run with them, constrained as he is by Abbott's luddite gibberish ...

Because he should be arguing about how the NBN could be done more cheaply and more efficiently, and not over muddied costs per household or cost benefit statements or the rest of the nonsense he peddled last night ...

By bout's end, Turnbull had come across as ill-informed, uncertain about his numbers, ignorant of basic technical facts, and placed in a no win zone where he came not to demolish the NBN, but to demolish a hollowness in the justification for the NBN ... while meanwhile the NBN was being built, and would become a reality, and suddenly negative posturing from opposition had become a very hard sell ...

And so at the end, all Turnbull could offer was a glower and surliness, and a putting away of things and a fiddling with his earpiece as he gave away the game ...

Perhaps it was because he's only a multi-millionaire and not a weeping mining billionaire or the richest man on earth come from Mexico to advise a quivering, quailing media pack, but it was a weak outing for the man who would destroy Conroy ...

And then came news that the NBN was about to be rolled out in Brunswick. Useless bloody Tasmania and now bloody Brunswick. Of all the wasted bloody useless places. The only good thing to come out of Brunswick was Death in Brunswick ...

If you're listening Anthony Albanese, get that bloody broadband rolling out in Newtown and Camperdown quik stix, or the Greens will get you ...

(Below: a grumpy Turnbull disconnects).

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Peter Costello, and a member of the inner city elite gives the inner city elites another masochistic drubbing ...

(Above: or is the punchline gold diggers for BKK?)

Sometimes there's an air of unnerving predictability that hangs over the pond like a pea soup fog.

What can be done to freshen up the stale musty thoughts of Peter Costello? He is so unnervingly predictable, and banal with it, that he must look into the bathroom mirror each morning, and think, hmm, a column for the Fairfax Media is required, and as sure as that's Peter Costello staring back at me with a smug, smirking air of self-satisfaction, so once again I should scribble about the Greens ...

Oh the utter tedium, oh the complete predictability of The green label is just a clever marketing tool.

How can we freshen it up? Make it palatable, fit for human consumption? Add lots of chilli and garlic? Throw in a hearty dose of Szechuan pepper?

I confess, I got bored and distracted and wandered down to the comments section.

More smarm, from the smirk, scribbled Ljc, and suddenly the mood lightened.

Okay, so Costello's got nothing new to say, and so there's nothing new to say about Costello, but simple old fashioned abuse is always a cheerful, cheering way forward ...

These days Costello gives every sign of a bear who doesn't want his slumber distracted by actual thinking.

His first flourish in his latest effort is to wave euthanasia in the air. Eek, a boogeyman. The Greens want euthanasia, it must be bad.

But actually when the Northern Territory government passed its bill back in 1996, it was controlled by the Country Liberal party, and Shane Stone was the Chief Minister of the Territory (and you can catch a whiff of those times in The Abuse of History: The Use of the Nazi Analogy in Contemporary Euthanasia Debate. Take plenty of coins for the Godwin's Law swear jar).

Simple minded knee jerk responses to a complex issue?

Phone Peter Costello any day of the week ...

The Greens have a funny attitude to people. They care about them, of course, but they worry that there are too many of them and that this will choke the environment. They say we need a "sustainable relationship between humans and the environment" that involves a lot more birth control and a lot less use of natural resources.

Which reminds me that Peter Costello has a funny attitude to people. He cares about them of course, but he worries that there won't be enough of them, and so we must encourage people through handsome payments, and socialistic practices, to ensure that Australia plays its part in getting the world up to a handsome nine billion or so population by 2050.

When we get there, let the poor buggers around at the time worry about a sustainable relationship between humans and the environment.

Who can forget his valiant efforts at keeping Australia growing?

We introduced a number of pro-family and pro-baby policies, including a baby bonus and increased family payments. I also gave moral encouragement to families to have more children - “one for mum, one for dad, and one for the country.” (here, at Treasury, where the master's thoughts are preserved in amber).

Moral encouragement? What on earth does that mean?

Meanwhile, since sustainable is such a filthy word - spit it out now, it might have germs on it - it's hey ho, hey nonny no, on we go with unsustainable habits, sustained by government subsidy, as we do the right and patriotic thing, and breed ...for the country, or the Catholic church, or the military, or Hillsong, or whatever cause you fancy is a reasonable thing to breed for ...

Unsustainable. That has such a lovely ring to it. How does it go? I love the smell of unsustainable in the morning. You know, that gasoline smell you get when you think about peak oil. Smells like victory ...

Then it's on to abortion:

The Greens are the only political party committed to abortion on demand. The other parties leave it to the conscience of each MP to decide how to vote on abortion. Labor has members with differing views as do the Liberals. Not the Greens. Their position is spelt out in their policy platform.

Lordy, how shocking. How horrible. Personally I'd much prefer a party where members have a conscience right to campaign for a return to the good old days in the nineteen fifties, so that backyard abortions performed with a coat hanger or other devices can once again become all the rage, and a way forward. A new paradigm ...

No doubt Costello is vastly shocked by the way the Labor party has announced it will vote as a bloc in the matter of gay marriage, rather than allowing a conscience vote ...

Why I can already hear his piteous cries pleading with them to leave it to the conscience of each MP to decide how to vote on gay marriage ...

Then it's on to taxes - the Greens should be called the Tax Party - ho, ho, ho - as opposed to say a party you might call the Tax and Give it to the Babies and the Families party.

And then of course, long forgotten is Henry Ergas's paen of praise to the inner city elites, in Bush subsidies a romantic folly.

No, it's back to the utter predictability of the politics of envy and sneering with a smarmy smirk by a member of the city elite chattering about other elites:

Imagine taking a journey from the GPO to the state border. The Green vote is highest where you start - in the inner-city terraces and converted warehouses. In the seat of Melbourne, the Greens polled 36 per cent and in the seat of Sydney 24 per cent.

As you move out through the suburbs to the quarter-acre blocks, the Green vote declines. When you get to semi-rural and country areas, it falls even further. In Gippsland, it is 7 per cent and in Parkes (New South Wales), it is 6 per cent.

Imagine that. By the time you get to Toorak, the vote for the Greens must be pretty healthy. I mean all you have to do is move from Richmond and its inner city terraces and converted warehouses and its splendid Asian shopping street, cross the Yarra, and there you are amongst another bunch of inner city elitists ... smirking and smarming ... as the Mercedes bash at each other in a tribal ritual designed to test superiority and survival and life skills in the supermarket car park (but by golly they do good Japanese take away at Yuki Tei).

And then of course comes the cheeriest hypocrisy, delivered by a man who last strayed in to the outer west of Sydney to go clap happy with Hillsong:

As you take that journey, you will notice that families live in the suburbs where it is cheaper to buy a house with a garden for the children. They do not see their children as a threat to ecological sustainability but as their greatest contribution to society.

Notice anything peculiar about that logic? You know, the inherent presumption that a person with green tendencies might see their actual children as threats to ecological sustainability, and so top them, do them in, despatch them, and send them off to become fertiliser? And if it's too late for abortion, thank the lord that euthanasia is available for mercy killing the tiny tots ...

Does Costello ever begin to wonder about the smug supercilious implications of his thought bubbles?

Well who knows. Maybe in time Solyent Green might be seen as more prescient than Costello when it comes to sustainable farming practices ...

Meanwhile, Costello's still out there - in a metaphysical way - being clap happy with the Hillsong crowd:

If you travelled on Sunday, you would notice, as you move out from the inner-city to the outer suburbs, that the church services attract bigger crowds. Conventional religious belief is stronger. This explains why these electorates do not warm to the Green agenda of euthanasia, abortion, gay marriage and adoption.

Uh huh. So all this sordid Green stuff comes from gays and atheists, and matters like euthanasia, abortion, gay marriage and adoption, are strictly the business of the Greens. While people of conventional mindsets are somehow in the conventional world of Costello following convention with a mindless compulsion ...

The fascinating thing about Green supporters is that their natural habitat is not open spaces or pristine forests but the crowded cafes and asphalt alleys of inner-city living.

Actually the fascinating thing about Costello supporters is that their natural habitat is not the outer suburbs, nor even the semi-rural country areas, and certainly not the actual countryside, but rather like most Australians, clustered in cities, and usually not quite the inner city, but as close as you can get while avoiding the places where the Victorians stashed their workers and riff raff.

You know, the leafy handsomely lofty positions - the toffs and the Catholic church love hilltop plots - with good views, in suburbs like Toorak and Woollahra, and in associated clubs, usually somewhere in the city ...

You know, like the Melbourne club (Collins street) or perhaps the Savage Club (Bank street) if you're inclined to walk on the wild side ...

I'm not quite sure what that proves, just as I'm not sure what point Costello is making about inner city elites who happen to live and work in the city.

Why lordy I see that BKK Partners Australia has its Sydney offices at Level 42, 1 Macquarie Street, in Sydney, and when in Melbourne, you can do a corporate consultation in Level 20, 101 Collins Street, Melbourne. And what do you know? They have trendy Green wind farms as part of their corporate image.

Make sure on your way to see these greenies that you drop into a nearby crowded cafe as you trudge the asphalt alleys searching for the office. .

There's a couple of nice ones in Little Collins ... like as not, you'll find rampant trendies at Cafe Vue ... Unless you prefer the handy near by clubs ...

It must be sheer torture for Costello to make his way through the crowd of lefties surging around him on his way to the office ...

Of course, the inner-city areas were the traditional fiefdom of the political left. And they still are. But the political left has found marketing itself under the label "Green" has a much better appeal.

True. What a pity that the political right hasn't yet found labelling itself as silly Git or pompous Ponce, or prattling Poseur will result in much better marketing appeal ...

They are also taking a lot of support from people who think that Green is a description of environmental policies. It is much more than that. It is a clever marketing label. Beyond the label is a fully formed agenda of radical positions on tax, economics and foreign affairs.

It pays to look carefully before buying the product.

Yes, but sadly it doesn't pay to read Costello's musings carefully, because they're sloppily scribbled in a fear mongering way, designed to pander to those who can't be actually bothered to think about the issues to hand, and seeking refuge in such stereotypes as inner city elites ... as scribbled by yet another member of inner city leets apparently full of masochistic self loathing and the deluded idea that they have much in common with the citizens of Kellyville and Craigieburn.

The only good news? Costello's time as a politician is long past, and now he's just another hack, scribbling out his prejudices for the Fairfax media ...

Which is to remind us all once again that it pays to look carefully before buying the product.

If you can't get the Herald free in physical form - how are those a circulation figures holding up? - you can always get it for free online, until of course they bring in a paywall, and then you might be confronted with a crucial consideration. Paying for the thoughts of Peter Costello ...

Just remember, if you're a member of the inner city elite, and you're not getting the Sydney Morning Herald for free, you're either (a) not very observant, (b) not an actual member of the inner city elite, or (c) mistakenly think Fairfax is a charity deserving support ...

(Below: or is the punchline because I have a parliamentary pension?)

Janet Albrechtsen, The Australian, and a series of provocative questions ...

(Above: Oscar Wilde, Lady Windermere's Fan, here at Project Gutenberg, and cheaper than a copy of The Australian. Like ... free).

There's nothing like a series of compelling, provocative questions to start off the day.

Janet Albrechtsen shows how it's done, in Sexual harassment circus raises thorny questions.

The pond is always in favour of grasping the nettle - who knows you might end up with a Shakespeare reference on an Aesop fable or a Sean O'Casey quote - and we certainly approve of grasping the thorn, or tackling thorny issues, or raising thorny questions, since then you might end up in an Oscar Wilde fairy story like The Nightingale and the Rose, available here at Project Gutenberg along with the others in his Happy Prince collection.

It always helps when speculating in this way by not knowing the full facts of the matter, so that the questions can remain truly speculative and thorny. It's also helpful if the matter is before the courts.

Then you can scribble about being intellectually curious - usually enough to get you on a charge sheet as knowingly being or acting in the manner of a member of a dangerous elite - but here a good excuse for a column. And of course since actual knowledge is not the issue - as opposed to a series of provocative questions - a waiver, or a disclaimer right up the front is important.

Not to defend the retailer or McInnes. We may never know exactly what happened in this she said-he said dispute. But one thing is certain. This case warrants plenty of legitimate questions, no matter how uncomfortable that may be to some.

Happy? Got a few thorns nearby?

Good, because then you can spend the rest of the column attacking Kristy Fraser-Kirk and her "clever" legal team by asking a series of questions. All in the guise of an aforesaid curious intellectual - how we hate that elitist tag, abhorrent to everyone when all that's needed for the asking of provocative questions is curiosity and scepticism:

Indeed, a curious and sceptical observer could ask a series of legitimate questions about the Fraser-Kirk claim.

Indeed. While some might think curiosity means nosiness, we think it at the heart of scientific inquiry.

We could even ask a series of informed and informative, let alone legitimate questions, if we'd sat in the court room actually listening to the evidence unfold.

We find curious scepticism such an exemplary methodology that we were moved to a series of incisive provocative questions.

Why is it that Janet Albrechtsen consistently writes through her hat?

Why is Janet Albrechtsen using a matter before the courts to recycle common legal gossip? Common, you ask? Well I suppose you could call this uncommon:

The case comes on the heels of a very public split within Michael Harmer's high-profile legal firm in which his managing partner Joydeep Hor departed, reportedly taking with him 125 clients. The Fraser-Kirk publicity was a neat reminder that Harmers was still in business. The home page of the media-savvy firm provides a one-click link to the Fraser-Kirk case with a collection of news stories favourable to Fraser-Kirk, a hotline number and online form for others to pass on information about "inappropriate behaviour at David Jones" to the law firm.

Nothing wrong with that. But it's a reminder that there's more to these cases than meets the eye.

Well there's nothing wrong with that. But it's a reminder that there's more to these columns, and to provocative questions, than meets the eye.

But remind me again, why is Albrechtsen scribbling about a matter before the court? And why does she think it's okay to tilt the machine while playing pinball?

In the end, after raising as many provocative questions as can be managed, inevitably it's time to reach a conclusion:

If companies are going to be dragged into the courts even after they do the right thing, they may just do the wrong thing by women in future.

Say what? How does Albrechtsen know what happened in negotiations between lawyers, the complainant and the company in question? How does she know they did the right thing? And how will companies seize on this particular example as an inspiration for doing wrong by women in the future?

And does she think they will, or is this just an obligatory muttered incantation, of the kind once summoned by the Delphic Oracle? Does Albrechtsen think she's the Delphic Oracle?

Sometimes it's better simply to stick to asking questions than to resort to rhetorical blather to provide a generalised point and a summary indictment as a way out of a column ...

And as we know very little about the actual matter to hand, we'll leave it there, in much the same way as we're content for the courts to deal with rugby league footballers and their sexual escapades on what seems like a daily basis ...

Of course we could ask a set of provocative questions, which allow for all kinds of innuendoes and implications and muttered asides, but that would see us applying for a job as columnist at The Australian.

Speaking of The Australian, we've been asking a series of provocative questions about Jack the Insider, an anonymous blogger who's found shelter from the storm at the rag. You can catch Jack here, where he's described thus:

Jack the Insider is a highly placed, dedicated servant of the nation with close ties to leading figures in politics, business and the union movement.

By golly, we're standing by for a righteous denunciation and unmasking by The Australian. You see, as the rag explains in A storm on the internet, the House of Murdoch is fiendishly dedicated to honesty and transparency, whenever it can pull its head from its bum:

Our writers can be held to account and we can be sued for anything we publish.

Um, actually the most anonymous of bloggers can be sued for anything they publish. And any blogger who imagines that anonymity provides them with refuge against defamation would be well advised to take legal advice.

So really this is just a pompous sentence by a pretentious preening prat who confuses anonymity or a nom de plume with accountability and liability and defamation:

We take seriously our responsibility to be fair and accurate as well as courageous in our journalism.

Which is such a nonsense, I immediately felt like asking, in Janet Albrechtsen style, a series of provocative questions about the NBN and climate change. And the rag's reporting of same.

And we value transparency. For example, we allow letter writers anonymity rarely, and when we do, we in effect are asking readers to trust we have checked the writer's credentials and made an informed decision about the material.

Uh huh. So that's the letters column. Any other anonymous comments within the tent?

The net is a different beast but that does not mean it is exempt from scrutiny.

QED, it's time to go around the intertubes unmasking wayward and presumptuous bloggers who possibly might get more hits than the preening ponces hiding in the House of Murdoch.

The reality of The Oz's "exposure" of Greg Jericho is simpler. It was a "good story and good for the internet". Suddenly The Oz knows what's good for the internet. What a pile of horse manure, as we used to say in the good old days in Tamworth. It leads to even funnier nonsense - anonymity is even less valued in the internet age than ever.

What on earth does that mean? Take a look at any of the House of Murdoch rags, and they're full of comments trading under assumed names, tags, pen names, call them what you will.

Indeed some of the more outrageous right wing blogs associated with the Murdoch tabloid rags - such as Andrew Bolt, Tim Blair and Piers Akerman - are profoundly reliant on anonymity, so that the hits keep coming and the clowns can scribble outrageous assertions while sheltering like mushrooms on the Murdoch pages.

While sometimes blathering about anonymity, Australia's most cheap assed conversation The Punch, would perish overnight without it.

The reality is that the Oz acted with spite, and malice, and meanness and more than a tad of envy, in exposing a blogger, when the exposure revealed zip in relation to breaches of duty or anything actually newsworthy.

Instead the envy is clearly on hand by the rag citing 1000 readers a day, exposure on The Drum, influence at the ABC, and shock and outrage, the actual chutzpah of a blogger attending a blogging conference, and being surrounded by twitterati. The result? Mr Jericho is fair game ...

But if The Australian cares so much for transparency and deplores the use of pen names, why does it encourage the frivolous nonsense of Jack the Insider? Surely if you're going to be a righteous sanctimonious prick with your head up your bum, such posturing should be avoided?

For fear that other bloggers might get the idea that it's okay to be a high level dedicated public servant scribbling furiously for the House of Murdoch under cover of anonymity, by deploying a pen name ...

I keed, I keed. At least when Random House published The Insider's Guide to Power in Australia by Jack the Insider, they had the honesty to provide the tag "As told to Richard Fidler and Peter Hoysted".

But hang on, Fidler and Hoysted are layabout tossers who work for the ABC - indeed you can catch Fidler's conversations hour here on 612 Brisbane.

Is that why Jack the Insider must remain anonymous? To hide the way that The Australian has been infiltrated by insidious cardigan wearing members of the ABC? To disguise the truth that one of the few consistently jolly segments in The Australian is written by wretches working outside the paranoid fortifications of The Oz?

Thorny provocative questions indeed.

As usual, if you want an interesting analysis of the how and the why and the what of The Australian and its mean spirit and its lame, petty minded justifications, you're better off not reading The Australian. Why not instead try Margaret Simons here.

And now, since we mentioned Oscar Wilde, here's the tree advising the nightingale how to embrace the thorn:

“If you want a red rose,” said the Tree, “you must build it out of music by moonlight, and stain it with your own heart’s-blood. You must sing to me with your breast against a thorn. All night long you must sing to me, and the thorn must pierce your heart, and your life-blood must flow into my veins, and become mine.”

“Death is a great price to pay for a red rose,” cried the Nightingale, “and Life is very dear to all. It is pleasant to sit in the green wood, and to watch the Sun in his chariot of gold, and the Moon in her chariot of pearl. Sweet is the scent of the hawthorn, and sweet 48 are the bluebells that hide in the valley, and the heather that blows on the hill. Yet Love is better than Life, and what is the heart of a bird compared to the heart of a man?”

Yes, yes, silly deluded nightingale. The Australian is more righteous than life, and what is the name of a public servant compared to its relentless campaign to purify the internet and destroy anonymity, a campaign more noble and laden with honour than even Stephen Conroy and his filter, and infinitely incomparable to the anonymous heart of a man in the bloody film department who just liked to scribble, and not get his blogging and his work duties confused.

End result?

“You said that you would dance with me if I brought you a red rose,” cried the Student. “Here is the reddest rose in all the world. You will wear it to-night next your heart, and as we dance together it will tell you how I love you.”

But the girl frowned. “I am afraid it will not go with my dress,” she answered; “and, besides, the Chamberlain’s nephew 55 has sent me some real jewels, and everybody knows that jewels cost far more than flowers.”

“Well, upon my word, you are very ungrateful,” said the Student angrily; and he threw the rose into the street, where it fell into the gutter, and a cart-wheel went over it.

“Ungrateful!” said the girl. “I tell you what, you are very rude; and, after all, who are you? Only a Student. Why, I don’t believe you have even got silver buckles to your shoes as the Chamberlain’s nephew has;” and she got up from her chair and went into the house.

“What a silly thing Love is!” said the Student as he walked away. “It is not half as useful as Logic, for it does not prove anything, and it is always telling one of things that are not going to happen, and making one believe things that are not true. In fact, it is quite unpractical, and, as in this age to be practical is everything, I shall go back to Philosophy and study Metaphysics.”

So he returned to his room and pulled out a great dusty book, and began to read.

Ah the frivolity of women. Almost as problematic as the frivolity of The Australian. Constantly converting lives lived into cockie cage liner.

Time, perhaps, to ask some deep, penetrating questions of the kind you find in the curious intellectual elite. Deep thorny provocative questions.

You buy The Australian? Is it time to think. again?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Nikki Savva, Gerard Henderson, and forget the group hug ... bring on the grapefruit ...

(Above: between banning Galaxy Quest and group hugs, or banning The Australian and Nikki Savva, the pond always opts for the latter).

It's obligatory at moments like this to provide a link to the blogger Grog's Gamut Spartacus no more while at the same time avoiding any links to the House of Murdoch's rambling incoherent petty minded rationalisations and excuses for outing him.

If you suffer the preening offensive righteousness and the hob nailed boots and the piece of 4 x 2 as the thuggees go about their dobber business , at least you should get as many hits as you can muster ....

But then pleasure in taking a vindictive, vicious baseball bat aspproach to proceedings, rivals, enemies and anyone else within range is also handsomely on view in Nikki Savvas's offering Just bring back the biffo:

Federal parliament is no place for namby-pamby cry babies or sooks. Nor should it be.

That brought back fond memories of playground bullies jeering and sneering about cry babies and sooks. It seemed to conjure up the mentality of some knee capping politicians and the bullying ways of the House of Murdoch, especially The Australian, all in one sweet sentence.

Savva proceeds to offer up the mentality of the NSW Labor right as proper thinking:

Neither is it a place that offers solace to rats. The side from which they rat despises them and sets out to destroy them, and the side to which they rat also despises them and never trusts them.

Rodents might roam the corridors of the press gallery with impunity, but it would be about the only place in that building where rats were given refuge.

Yes, yes, and next week a thought piece on the ugly nature of the NSW Right and its sordid ways with rats in the ranks. Forget that blather about a more gentle polity. That was just another lying scumbag politician of the lowest water ...

Savva spends her entire piece celebrating that kind of baseball bat 'Balmain boys don't cry mentality' without pausing to wonder how the independents and the Greens have now ended up holding the balance of power. And why Abbott, who might have won a majority, now writhes just a bare toehold away from power ...

What precious will actually do with the ring and the power is another matter altogether ...

So when parliament sits tomorrow, after the formalities of today, it will not be beautiful, and promises to get very ugly.

So what? Parliament should be robust and boisterous and occasionally disrespectful. It is the place for people to fight over ideas, not roll over.

Fight? In the manner of Chinese burns and wedgies and yah yah yer hair's on fire? As opposed to reasonably rational and coherent discourse, sensible policies with a positive - dare we say it forward looking - tinge, and the odd display of humanity?

... parliament's first act should be to outlaw group hugs. Hugs have a place, maybe at kindergartens or on sports fields (although the sight of grown men embracing and getting teary whenever they kick a goal is enough to make grown women cry), but should not be encouraged just because politicians agree on something.

There's plenty more in the piece scribbled in ferocious support of a ferocious bullying workplace environment and culture - the NSW Labor right must be chortling with pleasure at the way their approach to politics has seeped into The Australian and in to the Liberal party - but it made me wonder why anyone bothered with this kind of superficial ditzy tough moll in a film noir routine. Savva seems to think she's in a Raymond Chandler novel, where it's obligatory to slug the dame with a gat ...

I'm not big on group hugs, but it brought back sweet memories of Galaxy Quest.

I suppose Savva would prefer James Cagney smashing a grapefruit into girlfriend Mae Clarke's face as a way forward in relationships ...

So naturally it was pleasing to see that Abbott will act like a playground bully and lout when it comes to arranging a pair for Julia Gillard - if you can stand visiting The Australian a couple of times in a day, you can read all about it in Tony Abbott gets tough on pair for Julia Gillard. Yes, the ongoing reduction of politics and the media to the standard of a playground fight is proceeding well, and promises ongoing greatness for the lucky country ...

But it's Tuesday, and that means we always take a look at our favourite prattling Polonius, Gerard Henderson, this week as he flings The power of one is all Labor needs out into the marketplace of ideas ...

Henderson purports an even handed temperament and bias, and opens by tut tutting about old fashioned hyperbole and exaggeration in relation to the current political situation.

As is usual, Polonius reverts to history in his quest for reassurance, as he explains the ship of state will continue to sail on its stately way ...

This is the same majority as that achieved by Robert Menzies when he formed a United Australia Party-Country Party government, with the help of two independents, after the 1940 election ...

Um, the parliament which resulted lasted just thirteen months, from September 1940 to October 1940 ...

Sure, there was a change of government in 1941. But there was no constitutional crisis and democracy was never endangered.

Uh huh. You can see where this is heading, though in a more nuanced and subtle style than Savva.

Henderson spends the rest of his piece berating the independents, those rats in the ranks. First rat to be given a clobbering is Tony Windsor for comparing the Nationals to cancer ... clear evidence of Windsor's hostility to the Nationals, of which he was once a member. Rat.

Then Oakeshott is clobbered for running a line that was embraced by anti-Catholic sectarians, which dared to suggest that Abbott could not be fully trusted because he is a traditional Catholic. Sectarian rat.

So I guess we should all welcome Cardinal Pell's ongoing behind the scenes contribution to Australian politics.

As usual, in the Henderson way, he disremembers that infamous bit of disremembering by Abbott back in 2004 on Lateline:

TONY JONES: Tony Abbott on another matter, have you met Archbishop Pell during the election campaign?

TONY ABBOTT: Not that I can recall.

TONY JONES: Not that you can recall, because we believe that you've had at least one meeting with him quite recently? You don't recall that?

TONY ABBOTT: Well, when? Where?

TONY JONES: At the presbytery in Sydney.

TONY ABBOTT: Ah, actually now that you do mention it, I did met with Cardinal Pell. So what?
Why shouldn't I meet with Cardinal Pell?

TONY JONES: Why couldn't you recall meeting him, I think, 10 days ago?

TONY ABBOTT: Look, whenever it was, so what? Why shouldn't I meet Cardinal Pell. Cardinal Pell is a fine man. (
there's more excruciating bits here)

Yep, couldn't lie straight in bed let alone on television. Meanwhile, an education funding system that doles out the cash to Catholic schools now hands out lavish sums to schools based on Exclusive Brethren and scientological principles ...

But back to Henderson, romping through the field, tagging Bandt and Wilkie as leftists, Windsor as a hater, and Oakeshott a distruster of Catholics ...

As for the way politics will be conducted? Well Henderson's already given a clue with his 'Phantom rough on roughneck independents' routine, but for additional clarity he wraps it up thus:

Those who voted for the Coalition should expect that Abbott will represent their views ... In other words, democracy as usual.

Yep, bring it on. The ferocious nattering negativity, the assaults on sooks and cry babies, the ratbaggery, the childish thuggee treatment of politics as a blood sport.

And Henderson? Why he's just Nikki Savva, with or without the manly well plumped up shoulder pads ... standing by, waiting for Mr. Abbott to slap around a few sooks with his gat ...

As for the pond? Come on down Mr. Cagney. Show us how it's done ...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Paul Sheehan, and waiter, bring me some magic water, so I can be completely contradictory with utter clarity ...

(Above: clear and positive proof that Obama has divided the nation between grunge and punk).

Does this sound familiar?

America needed a pragmatist and it got an ideologue. Only an ideologue would divide the nation along a racial fault-line to save his own political skin.

Remind you of anyone? Possibly Glenn Beck?

Obama has "a deep-seated hatred for white people or the white culture." After being reminded that Obama has numerous white staffers, Beck contradicted himself, stating, "I'm not saying that he doesn't like white people. I'm saying he has a problem," before going on to state, "this guy is, I believe, a racist." (here).

Beck later went on to explain that Obama was inspired by liberation theology. Ideology, theology, Chicago street pragmatism. Any slur will do when you want to whip up a storm ...

Perhaps the opening quote reminds you of the wacky theories of Christine O'Donnell? As well as masturbation and sex and chastity and the evil Obama administration, she has a thing about evolution:

O’DONNELL: You know what, evolution is a myth. And even Darwin himself –

MAHER: Evolution is a myth?!? Have you ever looked at a monkey!

O’DONNELL: Well then, why they — why aren’t monkeys still evolving into humans?

Actually I threw that one in just because I love it so much. It's why we love the Tea Partiers with a vast undying love here at the pond. They just keep on giving, and always when you think they've dipped down deep into the barrel of loonacy, they keep on giving more ...

And actually the first quote is from Captain Grumpy, aka our very own antipodean Paul Sheehan, who is most upset with Obama, apparently because Obama won't be coming to Australia before he loses the next presidential election campaign ...

That'll teach him, that'll learn him. Refuse to visit us, and he'll turn into a loser. Yippee, and then we can go dancing with tea partiers ...

The funniest thing in Sheehan's extended rant in Lives lost currying US favour is the way he purports that he once had faith in the Obama administration ...

The second funniest thing, if it wasn't such a mix of tragedy and farce, is that he's discovered that he's against the war in Afghanistan. Suddenly he's a pacifist and an isolationist and perhaps is even thinking of turning vegetarian.

After a solemn listing of Australians killed in the war, he gets down and dirty:

More than 3000 Australian soldiers and airmen have been killed or wounded in joint operations with the United States in Vietnam, Iraq, Iraq again, and now Afghanistan. There were many reasons for Australia deploying forces to these wars but the most important was to maintain the strategic alliance with the US, regarded as the ultimate safeguard of Australian security.

The cost of the alliance needs to be reviewed. The maintenance of the ''special relationship'' has become more like an obsessive-compulsive disorder in Canberra. This is the perfect week to step back, following the news from Washington on Friday that President Barack Obama has dropped plans to visit Australia.

Twice in the past year, a visit to Australia and Indonesia was proposed, then cancelled because of domestic political pressures. Instead, he is now going to Indonesia and India.

Yes, the bloody Kenyan Islamic is going off to Indonesia and Hindu India, and not spending a moment here with Australians having a beer and a barbie.

Talk about being taken for granted. Talk about the wall flower sitting in the chair waiting for a dance, and the smooth talking Islamic heading off to do a waltz with Indonesia instead.

Jeez, do we feel jilted, embittered, bilious and grumpy, or what:

I don't blame Obama for dropping Australia. Why on earth would he want to come here? We are not Muslims. We are not a billion people. We don't cause problems. We don't blow up Americans. Australia is the only country in the world that has sent its soldiers into battle beside American forces in every major war the US has fought over the past 100 years. The only one. Australia is such an iron-clad, implacably reliable ally that we can be taken for granted.

Yep, it's outrageous, it's demeaning, it's shocking. Taken for bloody granted, and spurned like a librarian casting hungry eyes on Paul Newman. Not that we were counting on it or hanging on it. Wallflowers are ever so humble and modest, and choose only to seethe on the inside, unless by grace of god, a column is granted to them ...

Waiter, bring me some magic miracle water, so I can recover my energy, health and good humour.

No doubt veteran readers of Sheehan will recall all his indignant columns railing against John Howard for involving Australia in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and deploring Howard's wretched waltz with the Americans for the entire decade of Howard's rule.

Oops, what's that? You went and googled?

And apart from endless rants and tirades about how the war in Afghanistan was just and necessary to save the women of Afghanistan you found Sheehan scribbling furiously to explain back in September 2003 Why we're all the way with the USA:

Why are Australians again being killed? We are an island continent in the South Pacific far removed from the world's major trouble spots. Australia has no traditional enemies, is a wealthy democracy with no history of political instability, and is best known for its tourism, sport and natural beauty. Put another shrimp on the barbie.

Why would a nation so far from harm be so willing to fight? Two basic reasons. Australia is an altruistic nation. It stands for something. With allies, it is willing to fight expansive tyrannies. As for the other reason, when Howard committed Australia to the American cause in Iraq, he did so for the same reason five of his predecessors went to war: the need to be aligned with a superpower that can stop an invasion from Asia, and did stop an invasion from Asia. (It is not improbable that in the future Australia will seek such an alliance with China on the basis of this ingrained diplomatic doctrine.)

Yes, yes, so sensible John. Do go on special cheerleader first class Paul Sheehan.

What's that you say? Oh yes here's Paul Sheehan in 2010 as we discover the new theme is bugger off Afghani women, if we're not worth a presidential visit, then you're certainly not worth saving :

If Prime Minister Julia Gillard wants to be taken seriously in Washington, she should reorder our symbols and priorities. When it is time for her first visit to major trading partners she should go to Beijing and Tokyo. Leave Washington off the list.

No, no, noooh. Say it ain't so. We need to do a deal with China to stop an invasion by an Asian power. What's that? The Chinese are the definitive Asian power? Perhaps we need an alliance with China to stop the Chinese ...

Quick, I'm feeling faint, put me in a time machine and whisk me back to sanity, back to when we knew where we stood:

The Prime Minister has a very specific threat in mind when he makes more deposits in the American bank of military goodwill. He is thinking about Indonesia, the world's largest Muslim nation, one of the world's most precarious democracies, and one of the most violent. Political reality, namely the overriding need to keep the peace with the Indonesians, dictated that Howard cannot say what the electorate tacitly understands, which is that we live next to a nation with 200 million Muslims, with a history of political violence, a tradition of political corruption, an increasing level of Islamic militancy, a place where scores of Australians and hundreds of Christians have been murdered, a nation that could fall apart, or under the control of Islamic fundamentalism, or both.

In short, we need a great and muscular ally if the satay hits the fan.

And now that bloody Obama has trooped off to Indonesia - how hard would it have been to drop by for an hour or two and shake Paul Sheehan's hand - and now the bloody satay or perhaps the great big bloody vegetarian gado gado has hit the bloody big fan.

Oh if only we were way back in the glory days when John Howard was the man of steel:

On foreign policy, governments make judgements, make choices and take calculated risks. People want leaders to lead. The public understands what Howard is doing. It also supports him on border security issues. He owns this territory.

Flash forward to Sheehan scribbling in the present:

... it is time to stop wasting Australian lives on oiling the wheels of American favour. There has never been a compelling case for Australia to engage in war after war in the Middle East, an area far from our sphere of influence or major trading partners. The image of Australia as an American surrogate no longer serves our national interests.

Even worse, we can be treated as a lapdog with impunity.

There's never been a compelling case?

You mean Sheehan spent years writing gibberish of the most rah rah kind, in support of John Howard and his adventurism, and never produced a compelling case? You mean all those faithful years as a devoted lickspittle lapdog were wasted?

Steady there Dobbin, we wouldn't want you to get the wrong idea:

These points are made not from any sense of anti-Americanism. My personal commitment to America remains extremely strong, having lived, worked and studied there for many years. I still maintain deep connections to the country. Anti-Americanism, per se, is a ridiculous cliche.

Yes, so instead Sheehan spends the rest of his column indulging in bite sized samples of tea party talking points about the Obama administration.

Which is where we came in ... and if you want to spend time reading about poor Arizona and the housing market and banking regulations and health care, and wonder where Sheehan was and what he was scribbling during the Bush years, feel free to read and google for contradictory nonsense as much as you like ... (we especially liked his outraged review of Michael Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11).

As for doing a thorough job, how many years have you got?

Why not spend more time with Christine O'Donnell? At least she was interested in witchcraft ...

The bottom line? That bloody uppity black refusing to drop in on us, and we've been ever so slavishly loyal. No wonder we're disillusioned ...

The third funniest thing? As I was googling away, I found Sheehan being quoted with pleasure in a Stormfront forum. The Race War of Black Against White, it was headed, and it was scribbled in 1995, and when I followed it up, I found it was all over the place in rabid right wing talk fests and forums. It's even attracted its own alternative commentary, as in Paul Sheehan's Dirty War.

Why do I mention this? Because for Sheehan to accuse Obama of dividing the country along the fault line of race is such a monstrosity, given his own record, that it makes him sound madder and loonier than Glenn Beck. And that takes some doing ...

As for the other contradictions, let me take the easy way out, and quote a Sheehan reader, one Redsaunas, a tad perplexed by Sheehan's change of heart, and his move into the isolationist camp:

Does this article mean we are no longer simply far-left anti-American fifth columnists working hand in glove with Al-Qaeda to undermine western civilisation and establish a world-wide Caliphate?

Or maybe it means that Paul Sheehan is now all of the above.

Shame Miranda Devine is no longer available on these pages to offer guidance on this thorny conundrum.

Sadly, to resolve this conundrum, you'd need to be an expert in string theory or alternate universes. And Mirand the Devine is resting before being launched on the world via the House of Murdoch so there's no hope there.

Can we just let the matter rest with this perplexing double barrelled question?

Why aren't monkeys evolving into humans right before our eyes, and by what magic has Paul Sheehan evolved - transformed himself - into a caring sharing vegetarian pacifist staunchly opposed to the American alliance?

If you can riddle that riddle, there's a guest spot in a Batman magazine for you, as the wiliest riddling riddler around ...

And if you answer that it's because Obama decided to fly past Sydney on the way to Jakarta, are we talking childish and petulant, or what?

Graeme Wood, Peter Martin, and that old abacus meme lives again with copper wire ...

(Above: the abacus meme begins).

When you conduct a war, you need to follow the Galaxy Quest injunction: Never give up, never surrender. Throw in a By Grabtharr's Hammer every now and then and perhaps offer up Buzz Lightyear with To infinity and beyond!

Which is why the header to Natasha Bita and Samantha Maiden's piece was so satisfying.

Web guru Graeme Wood joins attack on NBN and the piece that followed left no room for doubt.

Graeme Wood thought the NBN just a very expensive - $43 billion - hi-tech babysitter scheme. And then there was a panoply of other names: Andrew 'drop the NBN off a twig" Forrest, and Michael Malone and Dick Smith, and who the bloody hell is Marius Kloppers and why is he demanding a price on carbon.

It was such a splendidly skewed and spinning piece - not to mention the plaintive note from Andrew Robb about how the coalition had failed to sell its wonderful alternative scheme - that as a column it immediately entered the pantheon, emblematic of all that The Australian could offer in the way of biased coverage.

But soft, lo and behold what's this in today's rag? Why it's Graeme Wood, scribbling Staged approach better than a blanket NBN rollout ...

Here's the pitch:

Our appetite for broadband capacity appears insatiable; build a bigger pipe and we will find ways to fill it up.

Here's the opener:

In 2020 we will look back and wonder how we ever survived on a mere 100 megabits per second.

In 2020 we may also look back and criticise our political and business leaders of the class of 2010 for their indecisiveness and lack of boldness in positioning Australia as a key player in the global digital economy.

And here's the guru recanting his war:

This newspaper recently had me "joining the attack on the NBN" following a speech delivered at the World Computer Conference in Brisbane on September 20. Not quite!

It turns out that Wood wants the NBN after all. He just wants the NBN delivered first to universities, incubators, technology businesses and research hubs, and not offered up to the hoi polloi, and especially not rural dingbats so they can check the weather, and such like frivolous baby sitter uses, and certainly not the weather in 3D.

The second stage would see a rollout to the broader business community and to support improved health and educational services, but presumably there's no reason to include the hoi polloi and rural dingbats in the quest for better education and better health. Let them come to the city to live or let them wither on the vine. After all, the heavy lifting will be done by inner city elites, and they deserve the best first ...

Oh and it turns out that Wood is happy to be bought by government.

Sorry, that's wrong, let me rephrase that, he wants to put a hand into the taxpayer's pocket so that taxation incentives can be used to kick start new industries ...

You know, in the way that pissing money against the wall on the film industry via 10B and 10BA led to a tremendously successful and commercial film industry ... such that it's still heavily reliant on Australian taxpayer dollar subsidy (only these days instead of a 50-50 mix of government and private sector, most feature film budgets soak up 70% or so of taxpayer subsidy, and now they even offer P and A support for distributors to avoid any risk).

All Wood is after is a billion or so:

If investment in digital innovation became more attractive than, say, negative gearing on investment property, we might find investors scouring the country for the next Bill Gates or taking an interest in commercialising technology research projects. If we tossed maybe $1 billion out of the $43bn planned for the NBN into inspiring a step change in digital entrepreneurship, could we repay that investment many times?

Uh huh. Not content with copping $43 billion, Wood wants more subsidy. So much for the web guru declaring war on government ...

By the way, can we have a subsidy to fight the war?

Wood rounds it out with a plea for the internet - the fundamental platform on which most digital innovation is now based, accusing Australia of drifting into digital mediocrity. For this he blames Telstra, a lack of vitality in computer industry organisations, and political fumbling over the NBN.

I suppose it would have been impolite, seeing as how they've given him space, to wonder about the role of The Australian in spreading the FUD ...

The report card for the business and political class of 2010 will be a while coming but the effect on the Australian economy by 2020 will be profound.

Yes but what about a report card for The Australian, which managed to dish out its standard spin, and then bumped David Burchell's column so that Wood could be given a right of reply and clarification?

David Burchell? You mean there's no David Burchell in today's rag?

Oh no, now we have to wait a full day to learn what insights Herodotus can offer when approaching the complexities of the NBN ...

Meanwhile, the comedy capers continue.

Here's Peter Martin making a strenuous plea for copper, as he wonders why people suggest copper has had its day:

Fighting words, which would have seemed true 20 years ago, would have seemed true 10 years ago, would have seemed true 5 years ago. And people like Possum accuse people like me of lacking imagination. All the while we have kept coming up with new and better ways to use copper. It is indeed doing things it was never designed for, over and over again. It's an unexpectedly versatile material. It'll do even faster speeds soon, and it is already laid. Sure it costs money to maintain, but how much? Surely we wouldn't be planning to chuck it out without knowing how much?

Such gormless stupidity in the cause of economic rationalism. I suppose it's just picky pedantry to note that in the inner suburbs of Sydney, where the rain plays havoc with copper connections and Telstra realised long ago that the cost of effective maintenance came too high, we'd still be on dial up if Mr. Martin had his way.

A devotee of copper. Who could have imagined? He's such a rarity someone should put him in a copper lined display case and put him in a museum, possibly under a copper dome.

You can find him here in all his coppery glory.

It seems clear now that the NBN has become part of a religious war, and the arguments have little to do with an actual understanding of the technology to hand. You see it costs $300 million a year for maintenance of the CAN network, not to mention operational expenditure, and the c$550 million required to maintain regional communications under the so-called universal services obligation. (here).

And while looking around, I stumbled on this gem of a media release from the long lost Senator the Hon Richard Alston. Remember him? The good old days of the rabid ABC baiting ...

'Telstra plans to almost double its annual spending on capital equipment, from about $400 million to about $700 million. This should allow Telstra to upgrade those parts of its network which are badly degraded and are therefore subject to poor quality of service.

'Telstra acknowledges that the fault rate on its copper network is more than twice the international standard, and blames a past failure to invest sufficient funds in network maintenance and upgrade.

That was in 1999. Yep, the copper network was stuffed years ago, and Peter Martin thinks it's the bees knees and the way forward in the world of the intertubes. A billion or so a year to keep it up to speed, or get it back up to speed, or just get the arthritic joints to work, and still still a half assed, half baked service. Talk about visionary ...

Well here at the pond, we're maintaining the rage and demanding that the country switch back to the abacus for its mathematical needs, and to hell with all this pretentious talk of fancy computers with their show pony calculating tricks ...

If you can stand it, Bernard Keane also scribbled a piece for Crikey last Friday headed Admit it: people don't get the NBN, wherein he tries to sound reasonable and balanced.

But dammit, there's real suffering here. David Burchell held over for a day, when we could all be getting along fine on copper and a good dose of Tacitus or perhaps Thucydides ...

(Below: and now to continue the abacus meme. Yep, there's lots of nerds out there who can't get enough of abacus jokes. Google abacus cartoon in images and frolic. But remember only do it with ADSL and copper. Don't get bandwidth greedy for your babysitting or workplace bludging requirements).