Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The pond goes barking mad, and howls at the moon, Ben Cubby, Iberia, Campbell Newman and Mal Brough ...

(Above: Mars from Adelaide, found here at a nice Adelaide amateur astronomical blog).

There's a nice moment in Errol Morris's film, Tabloid - about an alleged porn starlet - there's a law suit in that sort of description - kidnapping, cuffing and fucking a Mormon missionary - where the term 'barking mad' is used, celebrated and then imported into the United States for further use.

'Barking mad' is a lovely phrase, conjuring up as it does a dog which once lived with the pond, which wasn't just barking mad, it was also a moon howler and a tune crooner and a grunter and a farter and an itcher and a scratcher and a digger and a biter and a chewer. A lovely hound.

But I digress. What we want to celebrate is the barking mad, and this lovely gem which turned up in yesterday's Fairfax piece by Ben Cubby, Climate sceptics unmoved by scientist's about-face:

''It does sound outlandish,'' Mr Roberts said. ''I, like you, was reluctant to believe it [but] there are significant things going on in Australia that people are waking up to. The UN's climate front is just a part of the overall UN 'Agenda 21', which is the sustainability program and the biodiversity program … But the biggest one's the UN agenda for global governance.''

Agenda 21? Too late Australia's already a signatory and we're doomed. What sane mind could possibly support sustainability and biodiversity? Talk about a devious plot to ruin the world, when what's most urgently needed is a complete lack of sustainability and biodiversity.

Even better is Mr. Roberts cogent scientific response to cogent scientific matters. Science? Let's talk about a global conspiracy, and world government.

You might lead with statistics, observations and scientific theories. Please allow the pond and Mr. Roberts to respond with a screening of Invasion of the Body Snatchers and the X-Files. They're out they're you know, they and the truth and a glowing Mr. Bynes.

There, that's the sort of hard, knock 'em down science you'd expect from a sceptic group, the Galileo Movement - oops, seems the UN has hacked and ruined the website - which not only boasts of Malcolm Roberts, former mining engineer and company director, as its manager, but which has Alan Jones as its patron, and Ian Plimer, Bob Carter and Andrew Bolt as "advisers".

Yes, you too can set up a two dollar company, claim a talking parrot as your patron, nominate a bunch of independent advisers whose advice you don't have to follow, and suddenly a Fairfax reporter like Ben Cubby will come knocking on the door, invite a quotation or two, and welcome you as a respectable part of the debate, with an insightful opinion or three on a vast international UN conspiracy.

Calling Mr. Cubby, the pond also has a lot to offer the debate:

''It does sound outlandish,'' the pond said. ''I, like you, was reluctant to believe it [but] there are significant things going on in Australia that people are waking up to. The NASA Mars probe is just a part of the overall NASA agenda which is the NASA sustainability program and the NASA biodiversity program designed to help maintain funding for the grant seekers of NASA … But the biggest one's the NASA agenda for global governance, which can be seen in NASA's relentless promoting of the myths of climate science.''

Now if you just slip in 'Martian' instead of 'NASA', the science really starts to cook, the jive joint really starts to jump, and soon enough you too can be howling at the moon in a barking mad way (unless you know how to spot Mars in the sky, and then feel free to howl at Mars).

Standing by Mr. Cubby, let's really elevate the discourse in the Fairfax domain.

Or maybe not. After all, even that notable scientist, Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen once put her toe in the water and blathered on about the UN world government being just around the corner.

Barking mad.

Speaking of the barking mad, it seems only right to note that the Iberians are suffering. Not a day goes by without talk of fresh calamities. Car parks are empty, retail is empty and suffering, public sector workers are profoundly insecure, sackings abound, bonuses are booted, programs are slashed, the quality of life pared away, airport delays get worse, buses are in the dark, there's talk of the unicameral leader using his power "for evil", caravan parks are being sold off and hundreds of residents put under the hammer, and "Can Do" has suddenly become "Can't Do".

You've guessed it. We're not talking about Spain.

The new Iberians are Queenslanders, thanks to Campbell Newman announcing that the state faced the same future as Spain, which outraged the Iberian tribe and produced talk of sangria in Madonna King says comparing Queensland's economy to Spain's serious slip of lip by Campbell Newman.

Fair dibs. The state has always reminded the pond of Iberia in the Roman days. It took the Romans several hundred years to tame the natives, and form Hispania Citerior and Hispania Ulterior, more than it took to bring the Gauls and the British into line (the Scots are another matter altogether).

But is Campbell Newman a latter-day Roman, the heroic Caesar he fancies himself to be, bringing peace and economic promise to the unruly natives?

Sensing that the Iberians are restless, the anonymous editorial at the Courier-Mail has felt the need to offer some sage advice to the new Caesar in Sell the future, don't look back:

Mr Newman , who chose poorly last week when he compared Queensland's economy to European basket case Spain, must do better than to tell those affected by the changes to "go and look up who the local Labor member was at the time (and) complain to them".
The State Government is ticking almost every box in the "what not to do" sections of the change management manual relating to consultation and inspiration. Selling the virtue and benefits of the destination would be more constructive than highlighting alleged horrors of what we are running from.

But what would the anonymous editorialist know?

It seems they don't have the first clue. It was only a few days ago that the anon barking mad editorialist led with LNP show Labor Party how a preselection should be done, along with this triumphant snap of Mal Brough which suggested a kind of megalomania:

Sending Mal Brough back to Canberra, arms crossed like a Roman conqueror, shows how it should be done?

The quisling editorialist even managed this line, though it was impossible to check whether tongue was firmly implanted in cheek:

The weekend's preselection result was, in summary, good news for Queensland because, regardless of political ideologies or preferences, the state's interests are best served by having talented and politically competent representatives in Canberra. Mr Brough is a proven performer, although one who may need to keep his ambitions in check from time to time for the greater good.

Good news for the new Iberians perhaps, but bad news for Australia.

If nothing else, the barking mad Courier-Mail reminds readers elsewhere of the need for alternative media and alternative views.

The ululating editor offers the pond a chance to tout the joys of Chris Graham's piece for Crikey, Brough is back, with a record of failure (sadly behind the paywall).

Graham gives Brough a rough time, charting an epic number of failures, from his ruining of CDEP and generating near record levels of Aboriginal unemployment, buggering up the land program HOIL, underspending the Indigenous Affairs budget, cranking up the woeful NT intervention, requesting extracts of Slipper's diary (no shame, no shame at all), telling million dollar porkies about drug deals, and after his gig, heading off to the Tiwi islands "seeking to make a profit from - and lend a hand to - the islanders".

If that's being a talented and politically competent representative ...

Brough is the classic example of a man who can't do anything much useful outside politics, and what's the odds, once he's back in the game he will revert to his old ways of high-handed arrogance and remarkable ineptness?

So for inflicting Brough on Australia again, and for the Courier-Mail presenting this as some kind of positive example for all to follow, the pond fervently hopes that Campbell "Can't Do Caesar" Newman continues to lay waste and ruin the province of Iberia.

Suffer Iberians suffer, because we too will suffer. First Barners, now the rough end of the pineapple Brough?

Barking mad.

(Below: a poignant cartoon about the new Iberia by Leahy, found here).

Monday, July 30, 2012

And now for a warm bath of salts and kowtowing fawning whateverists ...

(Above: doing the rounds on Face Book).

Every so often, the pond yearns to start off with "this is an awful column, do not read this column". There are better columns on the intertubes. Columns that are well written. Columns that portray lifestyles in Penrith accurately. Columns that don't romanticise Penrith lifestyles while abusively degrading the inner city lifestyles of urban elitists. And they're free. Google is your friend. Go forth and find good columnists. And good columns. Or at least good smut.

Put it another way. The land at the top of the magic faraway tree is always moving, and if the current land isn't to your taste, another one will come along. The pond, for example, never much mentions Gail Collins, but usually reserves one of its New York Times' slots for pieces by Gail Collins. Remarkably, for an American, she has a nicely understated laconic sense of irony.

And other columnists with exceptional insights abound. How about this sort of insight?

Put simply, the Catholic Church is a male dominated authoritarian institution where orders are issued from on high and are expected to be obeyed. Therefore it is not surprising that, from time to time, the Church has readily adapted to authoritarian regimes of one kind or another (with the exception of communist totalitarianism) and has tended to be ill at ease with pluralist democracies and modern Western economies.

Oops, sorry, that's Gerard Henderson, scribbling furiously about Clerical Errors for the Australian Business Monthly in November 1992.

Yes, in the old days Henderson was something of a polymath, dealing with cultural matters and the motes in the eyes of all sorts of people, even the Catholic church.

Where did it all go wrong for our prattling Polonius? How did we reach the point now where he's suggesting no decent Christian should talk to the perverted secularists at the ABC?

I know, I know, it's naughty to dig over past columns, and exhume them, and study them to work out when the serial killer of rogue thinking once struck.

Henderson is a columnist where mindless variations, pressed into ideological servitude, are particularly noticeable.

This week for example, we cop a tedious ersatz history lesson.

Could Henderson these days ever write about China without dragging in Mao Zedong, and the deaths at the hands of his regime, or fail to write darkly about the Tiananmen Square massacre?

These are essential ornaments if you're to deliver a study of Australia-Chinese relations which is positively uxorious and fawning about Tony Abbott and his correct thinking about the Chinese comrades, as in Abbott's realistic approach to China only offends fawners.

Strange when you think about the history lesson. Why not drag in the Lambing Flat riots and the White Australia policy to explain Henderson's routine hostility to China?

Never mind, it seems that this week, we're into bashing Clive Palmer, because Clive is a classic fawner. Poor Clive got quite upset, and jumped into print about Tony Abbott's speech to the Chinese, as you can read in Billionaire Palmer slams Abbott's warning to China, and Palmer seeks to steady China ship in wake of Abbott's warning.

What to say about Clive?

Once upon a time, Palmer was defended by Polonius as a beleauguered hapless miner, under siege from that rooster turned old treasury chook Wayne Swan, who seemed to think Palmer was a billionaire activist (Swan Attacks Miners in Monthly Essay). These days Palmer's true colours are revealed:

In any debate on China, the voice of the ''whateverists'' can invariably be heard. This term was invented to describe the position, over the years, taken by many Western academics and others (and rent-seeking self-serving miners like Clive Palmer) that we should all pay due heed to whatever it is that the leadership in Beijing is saying.

Oh sorry, we inserted that bit about Clive into Mr. Henderson's text.

After all, why should the usual Henderson suspects - academics, Greens, Bob Brown, journalists, leftists, even that right winger Phillip Adams pretending to adopt a leftist mantra - cop the blame when Clive is clearly a "whateverist" and fawner of the first water.

The point of this utterly tedious exercise by Polonius could have been reduced to a few simple words. Four legs and whatever Tony Abbott says about China good, "whateverists" and fawners like Clive bad.

Polonius was most excited by Abbott's direct, forthright manner with the orientals - perhaps his only complaint was there was no sign of a big stick or a gunboat - and he thought it admirably in line with the forthright manner of John Howard and former chairman Rudd:

If Abbott becomes prime minister, his realistic approach to China is likely to be as successful as that taken by Rudd and Howard. When nations are dependent on one another, a little hard but truthful talk is unlikely to do much harm

Say what? Kevin Rudd?

Would this be the same Kevin Rudd that Henderson accused of kowtowing to the Chinese?

Rudd did express concern for human rights in Tibet during his inaugural visit to China as prime minister. However, since the onset of the global financial crisis, he has appeared to be an advocate for China ....
... Over the past year or so, Rudd has depicted China as a solution but never as a problem. (here)

Ah memories, light the corners of our minds, misty watercolour memories of the way we were, scattered pictures of whateverists and fawners we left behind when evil Gillard became PM and Rudd now needs to be revered for his political triumphs, and called up as a proposer and seconder and follower of the Howard-Abbott line ...

In this topsy turvy upside down shook up old world, back then you could find deputy PM Gillard being quizzed about Rudd becoming an advocate for Beijing on the world stage (and defending him!), and that goose the accident-prone Joel Fitzgibbon being persecuted for failing to disclose the financing of trips to China. The lick spittle fellow travelling fawner!

And you could find this from prattling Polonius:

...China is much freer today than in Mao Zedong's time when Labor's Gough Whitlam and the Coalition's Malcolm Fraser were wont to kowtow before the dictatorship in Beijing.

Not a mention of 45 million dead!

These days of course thanks to the need to kowtow before the thoughts of Tony Abbott, there must be idle chatter about fawners and whateverists, and a reminder of the evils of Mao Zedong and the horror of Tiananmen Square, and the castigating of lick spittle fellow travellers who dare to castigate the heroic likes of Howard, Rudd and Abbott when they talk about residual human rights problems in China (especially as Australia has done so well with indigenous people).

Poor old Hugh White cops a serve, as an emblematic example of the whateverists:

The Australian National University professor Hugh White normally talks a lot of sense when commenting on defence. However, in his 2010 Quarterly Essay ''Power Shift'', White went close to saying that the decline of US power in the Asia Pacific entailed that Australia should distance itself from Washington and cultivate Beijing.

Close to saying! What a heretic, what a Clive Palmer acolyte.

Marvel at how Henderson has maintained the Stern Hu rage since the dark days of 2009:

...prevailing evidence suggests the two economies are inter-dependent. China needs Australia and Australia needs China. This should be the message of the Gorgon agreement to export liquefied gas exported from Western Australia to China. (here)

Sorry, enough fawning, we didn't want to get too close to saying that Australia should cultivate Beijing, do carry on Mr. Henderson:

This does not make much sense. For starters, many of Australia's allies and friends in the region have a genuine concern about China's power. Moreover, it is far from clear what China's future will be. History suggests that one-party states do not last forever. And China faces an ageing population due primarily to the regime's one child policy.

Yep, we're close to saying that China is on the downhill slide, a slippery slope Australia should avoid.

Instead it's all the way with Tony Abbott and four legs good. Alienate the Chinese, alienate the Indonesians, bung on a do with any uppity Asian neighbours, and all will be well, because what's needed is a firm hand and a firm stand. The future of China is dark, and plucky little Australia will stand up and show the Chinese how it's done. Oh and send a gun boat to remind them of who's top gun in the region.

Or some such thing. Whatever.

(Below: which reminds us of how Australia is perceived in the United States, our great ally and firm friend. It's been doing the rounds on Face Book, so you've probably seen it already, but a good joke is always worth repeating. When acknowledging Australia was the home country, the pond was more than once asked, in the mid-west of the USA, what the ski-ing is like in Austria. NBC has since corrected its site, so no link. Click to enlarge).

And now the latest update from Bolter TV ...

(Above: more Nicholson here).

Is there any fun to be had as the world hurtles towards hell in a handbasket?

Well you take your pleasures where you find them, and today there's another leak in the Bolter's climate denialist wall. Quick, all fingers to the hole!

But first a little pre-history. The Bolter was once inordinately fond of quoting Richard A. Muller.

Here for example he is, providing a link to Muller on YouTube:

Richard A. Muller, professor of physics at Berkeley, explains Climategate’s “hide the decline” scandal and the corruption of global warming science:
They’re not allowed to do this in science.

Indeed. That was in March 2011, but by October 2011, the scales had fallen from the Bolter's eyes.

Muller was a mere trickster (First, exclude the coolers), a warmist cad who ... gasp ... drove a Prius, and used compact fluorescent light bulbs, when everyone knows only tungsten delivers the pure cool light necessary for true believers, and who'd pretended to be a sceptic, but everyone knew he was a warmist all along (an ability to fling around abusive terms like warmist and denialist is an essential part of any discussion of objective science with the Bolter).

And even after all that, what Muller actually says is what few sceptics would argue with:
Global warming is real. Perhaps our results will help cool this portion of the climate debate. How much of the warming is due to humans and what will be the likely effects? We made no independent assessment of that.
And a few other missing pieces:
First, the reports have not yet been peer reviewed. Also, the BEST project conclusions were based solely on land data and did not include ocean data.
Don’t warmists usually scream “peer reviewed”? (Not a "denier" and nothing denied).

Oh dear, and now the treacherous Muller has completely jumped the denialist shark and nuked the rapidly warming ice fridge, because he's now talking about the warming being due to humans.

''Much to my surprise, by far the best match came to the record of atmospheric carbon dioxide, measured from atmospheric samples and air trapped in polar ice,'' Professor Muller said. ''While this doesn't prove that global warming is caused by human greenhouse gases, it is currently the best explanation we have found, and sets the bar for alternative explanations.'' Professor Muller said his team's findings went further and were ''stronger'' than the latest report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (Climate results convert sceptic: 'let the evidence change our minds')

Egad, the cad is now way worse than a UN conspiracy to establish a world government by this Friday at 5 pm.

As for 'warmists' screaming for peer review, what to make of this?

In an unconventional move aimed at appeasing climate sceptics by allowing ''full transparency'', the results have been released before being peer-reviewed by the Journal of Geophysical Research. All the data and analysis may be freely scrutinised at the BEST website. This follows the pattern of previous BEST results.

Perhaps even stranger is that Muller managed to collar US$150,000 from the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation, with the Koch brothers key players in climate denialism, and now find themselves in the business of funding a "convert" (use of religious concepts is an essential part of Bolter science):

Richard Muller, a climate sceptic physicist who founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature (BEST) project, said he was ''surprised'' by the findings. ''We were not expecting this, but as scientists, it is our duty to let the evidence change our minds.''
He said he considered himself a ''converted sceptic'' and his views had received a ''total turnaround'' in a short space of time.
''Our results show that the average temperature of the Earth's land has risen by 2½ degrees Fahrenheit over the past 250 years, including an increase of 1½ degrees over the most recent 50 years. Moreover, it appears likely that essentially all of this increase results from the human emission of greenhouse gases,'' Professor Muller wrote in an opinion piece for The New York Times.

And here it is, at the NYT under the header Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic.

Will any of this change the Bolter tilting at scientific windmills in best Don Quixote style? Is he up for conversion in the manner of a born again scientist?

Steady, let's not get too ambitious. Let's just ask some basic scientific questions.

Is there any possibility of humility from the Bolter, who dropped out of an Arts degree after a year, and then got his basic training in science by doing a cadetship at The Age, and scribbling about sports (and possibly the shipping news)?

Go on, wiki his screamingly peer reviewed science credentials here.

Is a love of opera and red wine a way to master the intricacies of climate science?

Can the Bolter match the extensive analysis of data allowed by a grant from Koch and Gates and sundry others which turns up a result most scientists had already accepted as the most likely explanation of world climate trends?

Variously, of course opera is a sound guide. La bohème could have turned out grandly with a bit of central heating.

And it's the unique genius of the Bolter that allows him to sample any handy, convenient, convincing data set to hand (leaving the other hand free for a tasty red).

That's the beauty of the Bolter, and the beauty of fanaticism in general.

It's part of the sublime human comedy.

Of course there's a downside.

The world is hurtling towards hell in a handbasket.

But thanks to the Bolter, there's always a chance of a laugh as we head on down the slide.

Thanks News Ltd. What an inspiration you are ....

(Below: an oldie but a goldie from First Dog. You need to be a subscriber to see his latest, Methane, youthane, we all scream for perfmafrost).

Oh it's a gloomy Monday, with a Hansonist Sheehan and a rough Mal Brough pineapple up your bum ...

Thanks to the free over the fence weekend AFR, the pond learned some interesting statistics.

Goldman Sachs estimates Australian will win 15 gold medals in London. Given direct federal funding of at least $589 million on the Olympic team over the past four years, that equates to a $39 million price tag for each gold, says James Connor from the University of NSW who has crunched the numbers. (outside the paywall here, perhaps because it also gets a run at BRW here).

The upside? Well if Australia wins fewer golds, they become even more rare and expensive. So each time you read about boil overs and palpable shell shocks and massive disappointments, just think how much more precious the gold medals won will become.

Oh and then there's this ...

Australian Sports Commission funding per athlete varies greatly according to the sport. The 47 swimmers in the Australian team have each been funded to the tune of $657,080 per athlete, while the 32 hockey players accounted for an impressive $708,676 each.

I know, I know, the pond wasn't going to mention the Olympics, but it's such a splendid example of "what do we want, small government, when do we want it, now", "two legs and East Germany and Russia and China bad", as opposed to "spare no expense, big government, four legs and East Germany and big government good", that the pond found it irresistible.

The pond calls on Campbell Newman to reject immediately any attempt by the Federal Government to fund Queensland Olympians. The state is broke, and there's simply no time for such fripperies.

Sadly the pond's Olympics ban means everybody and his dog has had a chance to chortle at the one day comet known as the Mittster, who briefly glowed in the London sky, and which led to a jolly old time on TV, as you can see in Romney Olympics: Joe Scarborough Laughs At Candidate's Gaffes in London.

And frankly this comedy gold is much more entertaining than the thought of attempting to read the puffed up poison of Paul Sheehan peddling The truth on refugees is worse than fiction.

Just reading the opening splash was enough to guarantee that the pond couldn't be bothered getting into the sewer of bile:

The viral email about Australia's generosity to refugees may be wrong in its details, but the truth is a story of government gullibility without end.

The truth is that this is yet another story of Paul Sheehan's eternally vicious way of kicking the refugee can down the street, right into the path of gullible Fairfax readers.

First he gets to recycle the errant viral email at great length, then he leads with his own figures, designed to shock, which proposes that people granted refugee status, earn a one-off package worth "up to" $9,850, and shock horror, education assistance up to $9,220, and so on and so forth.

This from a man who just recently boasted in My Plane My Way how he'd cruised around the world on a $30,840 a person twin share junket.

Hansonism will never leave the country, not so long as there's bloated indulged pompous prats like Paul Sheehan to stoke the fires of greed and envy and hatred and fear and loathing. What a poisonous key board he pounds.

Well played Fairfax, no doubt Gina thinks you're on the path to box office success at last. Just a final step ... you've got the tabloid mentality, now you just need the physical tabloid form.

Enough of Sheehan's Hansonism already, he's been peddling it for decades.

Instead the pond was pleased to discover that The Punch and The Drum were in fact peas in the very same pod.

Hare off to The Drum, and you could read John Lee scribbling Much to admire - and fear - about a rising China.

And then if fear and loathing of China had stirred you like a soy and honey sauce, you could head off to punch on at The Punch, where you could read John Lee scribbling China: The hidden dragon is no toothless tiger.

The prolific Lee had the grace to change the text for each outing, though the sentiments are much the same. What the repetition does suggest is that Australian online opinion sites are already as narrow as the shrinking world of newspapers.

These on line wannabe commentariat sites, which offer exposure as payment, the pea The Punch and the pea The Drum, are little more than echo chambers peddling much the same material about much the same set of issues.

Enough already, peas in a pod.

Speaking of Gina Rinehart, the pond remains fixated on the fortunes of the Ten network, supposedly the prime example of the way her skilled directorship will bring Fairfax out of the leftist shadows into the world of commercial reality.

The latest news - and here we have to confess to reading the Daily Terror - is that the Breakfast show, which imported a hapless right wing New Zealand stirrer and ratbag goose by the name of Paul Henry, is a disaster.

It's all there in Crisis: Is Ten's breakfast toast?, and since we started by wondering about the cost of gold medals, it seems right to close by wondering how much Ten pissed against the wall on this turkey.

The show started with 51,000 viewers back in February, has been averaging 40k, and sometimes hits 24k - while over at Seven, the breakfast average is around 400k and at Nine the breakfast show averages 300k.

Now the pond doesn't watch any breakfast television, but it's another reminder that Ten is a basket case at the moment.

If Gina is the future of Fairfax, and Jack Cowin gets them flipping burgers like Ten, get prepared for an obesity epidemic of bloated Paul Sheehan thinking. Would you like some refugee bashing fries and the Bolter with that?

Finally, the pond just has to note that the truly appalling, let's do it rough and tough with Mal Brough, copped the nod at the Queensland preselection round for Fisher, defeating several perfectly good candidates in the process.

The inept Brough, who personally organised the invasion of the Northern Territory to nil gain and much personal grandiose grand-standing, is poised to bring back his peculiar ideas of success to the Federal sphere.

At the press interview celebrating his success, the snake-oil dispensing Brough avoided any decent questioning in relation to the Ashby-Slipper matter, though even The Australian (behind the paywall) felt the need to make note of it. First there was this blather about trust:

"All that matters is that we regain the trust of the public here in Fisher. They deserve better than they've had," he said.

This from a man who lied, blatantly and nakedly, until he was forced to walk back from the lie regarding his role in the Slipper scandal.

Mr Brough received a standing ovation from party members and said he believed they understood his role in the Slipper scandal was to "help someone in need".
Court documents reveal Mr Brough had extensive contact with Mr Slipper's staffer James Ashby and colleagues in the weeks before Mr Ashby launched a sexual harassment claim against the then Speaker in April.

Help someone in need. Should we laugh or should we cry?

Remind us again, Phillip Coorey in Brough on road back to Canberra:

Mr Brough initially denied he had had any contact with Mr Slipper's chief accuser and former aide, James Ashby, but then admitted to at least three meetings. Subsequently, court documents have suggested Mr Brough had extensive involvement and frequent contact with Mr Ashby and with another of Mr Slipper's former aides, Karen Doane, as the case of alleged sexual harassment and Cabcharge rorting was formulated.

A proven liar.

Yep, in the contemptible Brough's Queensland, trust is the rough end of a pineapple up your bum.

It's going to be hard yards time enduring an Abbott government full of rogues and liars.

Now if someone could just slip the pond 500k for proper training, we promise to win gold, gold, gold for Australia at tiddlywinks ....

(Below: so if you've reached the end and landed here, you're probably depressed! On a Monday!

Never mind the pond belatedly presents another fruit of Gina Rinehart's splendid network Ten vision of ways forward for Australian television. Yep, it's the Bingle bump, episode seven, and now so deflated, the show turns up days late on pirate sites. Even the pirates don't care. But in a rough Brough Australia, suddenly Lara Bingle seems like a beacon of integrity).

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Time to get down and sordid in sexually sinful debauched Sydney, with the help of Sydney Anglicans...

(Above: photograph by a friend of Dorothy).

The pond happened to notice this bit of art work in Newtown square, a vibrant hub, always full of dynamic looking people going about their slacker hipster business ... as you can see.

The art's gone now, wrenched from its super glue moorings, perhaps by some passing Moore College student, outraged that a work of fiction should be labelled a work of fiction ...

That's the bad news, as once again Newtown artists and art suffer a kind of Beeldenstorm or iconcoclastic fury.

Or maybe an evil secularist prised it free, and it now lives in a loving new home.

Who knows, but the good news is that, after a lengthy pre-coital tease, Michael Jensen has broken his silence, and resumed his series on the Sins of Sydney with an epic part five, Smutty Little Secrets.

Jensen cheats a little by starting off his piece with the complete lyrics of Richard Clapton's Girls on the Avenue, a paean of praise about the joy of shopping for girls in big store windows.

What a pity he couldn't also find room to acknowledge Clapton's commitment to atheism, and his lyrics for Head Full of Rain:

In my youth I was an activist
Infant terrible and an atheist
But nowadays I've got my wife and kids
I've got to feed them everyday.

Bummer dude, should have stuck to shopping for girls on the avenue, but never mind, the real news is that Michael has discovered Sydney has brothels, and some of them are big, astonishing really, and setting Sydney apart from most big cities around the world (you know, like Amsterdam, which is just so elegant, with shop window boutiques).

How this is news we'll leave to Michael - since you simply have to read the advertisements in the back of the Daily Terror and the local free rags thrown over the fence to find a brothel - because the really exciting news is that the pond and he are kissing cousins.

Well not so much kissing, as Camperdown neighbours:

In May last year it was announced that Camperdown, less than a kilometre from where I live, was about to get Australia’s largest brothel ...

Less than a kilometre. Howdy doody neighbour, how's it hanging, as we once used to say in Tamworth.

The scale of the proposal shocked locals, but perhaps they should not have been so surprised: after all, there are a number of legal brothels operating not very discreetly in the same area, as they are all over inner western Sydney.

Well actually it might have shocked a few locals, apparently unaware that prostitution has a long and honourable history, since the days of Judah in Genesis 38, who mistakenly thought it was okay to do the double backed routine with his daughter in law - not knowing who she was -and got her pregnant.

Back then, as you can read here, the asking price for a harlot was a kid from the flock, but a surety of a signet, bracelets and a staff was enough to get things going. Once the whoredom was discovered, it was time to burn the harlot, while the man could just moan about the perfidy of women, in the approved Sydney Anglican style.

As befits this track record, Jensen is firmly in the 'no' camp, without wanting to actually say so:

Herein the problem: legalization ends up becoming endorsement. In the end the government becomes the pimps. No-one wants to go back to making prostitution a dangerous business for women. However, so successful has the campaign against wowserism and in favour of permissiveness been, that Sydney has lost the ability to say ‘no’.

No one wants to go back, but the Sydney Anglicans certainly don't want to go forward. Not that we want to send the harlots back onto the street, we just want the harlots to stop, because men don't know how to say no.

Well, tell that to Judah. He should have just said no, and lo, and so and thus and behold, the bible came to ruin Sydney by revealing that men and their dicks simply don't know how to say no, at least when they've got a signet and a staff, and a woman's willing to do the deal.

Moving along, Jensen zones in on one of the pond's favourite Sydney stories, the persecution and ruined career and social assassination of Sir Eugene Goosens, as performed by the smug, parochial, narrow-minded, bigoted inmates of the small town of Sydney in the nineteen fifties.

Goosens' wiki has more about the scandal here, and you can read more about Rosaleen Norton, the witch of the Cross, in her wiki here.

In other times it would have been a storm in a teacup, especially these days when suburban mums are given an approving tick by right wing ranting Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen for racing off to read the truly awfully written Fifty Shades of Grey.

Norton wasn't much of an artist either ...

...but who can blame Goosens for wanting an alternative way of fucking in Sydney in the dull, tepid, flavourless, tea with lots of milk and three sugars please nineteen fifties ... by importing a few masks, a few sex toys, and some porn snaps as a guide to a little bondage?

That's only about five shades of grey, with a little witchcraft for sauce. (There's plenty more Norton out there, just google her name).

Anyhoo, Jensen notes how Goosens' career was ruined by the disgrace, without noting that the real disgrace, the crying shame, was the sanctimonious cluck clucking and tut tutting by closed-mind prudes and wowsers.

Goosens was a better conductor than composer (you can listen to his Oboe Concerto on YouTube here and maybe disagree) but he was a breath of musical fresh air in a staid, stolid, dull town, and what was done to him was criminal.

These days most people understand Goosens' was treated contemptibly, and scattered around the Opera House - which he proposed and initiated - are little tributes to a man way better than the dullard, clucking town in which he found himself. To label what happened to Goosens as a smutty little secret is surely a way too smart smutty little put down.

Next Jensen takes us on to the Bogle-Chandle affair, and that too he treats as a smutty little secret, when killing two people - no matter if they were consenting adults having a fling - is hardly smutty, so much as grotesque, though whether it was the natural result of swamp gas or by a killer's hand will probably never be sorted.

Sad and unhappy, perhaps, but a smutty little secret? Well it isn't much of a secret, since it's been trawled over for decades, as outlined in its wiki here, and in 2006 it was given yet another going over in the Film Australia documentary Who Killed Dr Bogle & Mrs Chandler (featuring the swamp gas solution).

The case shocked the narrow-minded petty bourgeoisie of Sydney, which no doubt included more than its fair share of Sydney Anglicans, because it offered the nineteen sixties a chance to do a re-run of the persecution and crucifixion of Goosens in the fifties.

This time it was arty crafty, smarty pants intellectuals and leftists - and who knows, perhaps even perverted commies - in the firing line.

For a start, entrance to the party where things started to go wrong involved providing some kind of art work. Here's what Bogle provided:

(found at this detailed site on the Bogle-Chandler case which will tell you possibly more than you want to know).

Say no more. Weird modern art! Smutty debauchery.

Throw in pretty girls, Chandler and Bogle going off for a sexual adventure - and she a married mother - and Geoff Chandler heading off with his own fling and being associated with the Sydney Push, and you can see why the small minds set to tut tutting. The lad even wrote a cheeky defiant book:

And Michael Jensen is still tut tutting today, as if people involved in a casual, intellectual lifestyle deserve to be murdered, and the murderer(s) get off scot-free.

Even if it was the swamp gas wot did it, it's hardly a fair punishment for a house-bound mother wanting a little adventure, with her husband's approval. By golly, by old testament standards, they were totally tame - think of King David scoring seven wives for starters ...

And if they were murdered, is it okay to to kill fornicators and adulterers? Real people, who died before their time?

What's the bet that, on this criteria, the Sydney Anglican congregation would be reduced by a significant number of people? Even then, the pond would flinch from slotting them into a smutty little secrets file (especially if they'd spent weeks on the front page selling tabloids).

And so we come to an even more bizarre notion, that somehow the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras should also be included in Jensen's examples of smutty little secrets.

Calling what's become a vast tourist exercise (to the chagrin of some of the originals) a secret makes no sense, apart from the opportunity it provides for some befuddled musing about Sydney being a gay city:

... perhaps the most interesting thing about the Mardi Gras is not that it is gay, but that it is about open sexual freedom. In contrast to the stories of Goossens and Bogle/Chandler, which are tales about Sydney’s surprise at the debauchery in its own midst, there is nothing secretive in the least about Mardi Gras. It is out, and proud.

Open sexual freedom? Shocking, shameful ...

But another example of of debauchery? Oh wash out your mouth with soap Michael Jensen. There's nothing debauched about Goosens, or poor Margaret Chandler, or clever Gil Bogle.

By all accounts, Ms Chandler was a charmer, and a serious loss to her family and friends.

If she was debauched, what are we to make of real debauchery, like pissing $160 million of church funds against the wall in a capitalist gambling spree? Or Bob Askin with his brown paper bags? Or Abe Saffron, aka Mr. Sin? Or James Packer flooding the town with casinos?

And really, do gay people need this sort of ambivalent condescension, which somehow automatically associates their sexuality with debauchery?

At least there is an honesty to it.

Yes, according to Jensen, gays are out and proud debauchees. Quick, bring a bucketload of soapy water, we might be needing it.

Why on earth would anyone - even a Sydney Anglican - contend that to be gay is be honestly debauched?

And Sydney Anglicans sometimes wonder why gays go into a frenzy when they're forced to endure this sort of caricatured stereotyping (it felt like it needed a double emphasis).

Not content with this level of abuse, Jensen ups the stakes:

Is it the hedonism of Sydney? With the waves lapping the coast line and the sun glinting off the waves it is pretty hard to stay too buttoned-up. It breeds an easy-going attitude that means that Sydney-siders, however conservative and suburban they are, are easy to convince with live-and-let-live arguments. And the argument that it generates a lot of cash – which it does – was always going to be decisive.

Cash and hedonism and easy going debauchery, and easy going Sydney siders living with the debauchery, as if gay old Sydney is somehow different, as if no other city has mardi gras or gays, and as if somehow gays aren't found inland, they're bred on (or migrate to) the coast, like flies to the debauched honeypot?

It's pure tosh and humbug. For all Jensen knows, the average gay, after a couple of days of partying, might head off to resume work as a bank clerk or a public servant, leading a dull suburban existence, with a faithful companion, occasionally casting a yearning eye at the trannies on the avenue (well we all like to stretch the concept of gender every now and then).

The upside?

After all this, the pond still thinks Michael Jensen might be for turning to the dark side. He loves to quote the music of known atheists - not just Clapton, but the likes of The Whitlams and Paul Kelly (not that bore at The Australian, the engaging singer-songwriter who celebrates the great aunts of Adelaide).

And Jensen certainly knows how to give out handy tips to Sydney Anglicans, like how to spot a brothel on Enmore or Parramatta road:

A clue: any shop that has a prominent street number but no other signage is probably one.

That's probably handy for NSW Labor right wingers too.

And he's happy to get down and dirty with the rest of sexually sordid Sydney:

Christians have got to learn a way of speaking about sexual behaviour that both a) condemns sexual sin and b) locates us among the sexually sinful, not above them.

Ah yes, scratch a Sydney Anglican, and you'll find plenty located amongst the sexually sinful, but how do they repent? Have they thought about adopting the art of wearing a cilice and indulging in some corporal mortification?

You get to repent and you get a nice little dash of BDSM in approved Janet "Dame Albrechtsen" style.

Anyhoo, Jensen ends the piece with a fine flourish of paranoia:

What can a Christian, who is also a sexual being, do in such a town? It is a city which by turns parades its sex addiction and keeps it a secret.

A secret? Like the way David Campbell kept it a secret?

This town loves its sex, always has done, since the first Irish bride ship, the Red Rover, landed in Sydney in 1832 with a load of Irish women fit to be married. And when you think about it, how brave and bold those Irish lasses were.

It can’t find a way to articulate a thoughtful response to the world of legal brothels. The total victory of sexual permissiveness and the pervasive doctrine of freedom means that any discussion of sexuality has morality already framed out of it. It is only with the rigorous application of statistical data that any ground can be gained against the sleaze of the city. It only talks in numbers.

Dear sweet absent lord, he's proposing to use statistics to battle sex.

Good luck with that. In the pond's experience, statisticians are amongst the most perverted groups doing the rounds, right up there with tax collectors, mathematicians, IT geeks and other number crunchers.

Look at Kinsey, he spent his time perfecting the art of sexual statistics (there's a bunch of them here at the Kinsey Institute). But was he content to collect the data and brood about gall wasps? No way, he was rumoured to be up to all sort of mischief, as you can read here.

It's quite possible that the one group to exceed the sinfulness of Sydney Anglicans is statisticians.

But then there's a sign of hope, of possible redemption of Jensen:

One of the pathologies of the discussion of a society sexual behaviour is how easily it becomes framed as an us-and-them discussion. It is too easy to point to the Mardi Gras and say ‘ooo, there’s a man in a g-string walking down Oxford St and I don’t like it’ than it is to say, ‘you know, the way I as a male treat women as sexual objects is the problem here’.

Indeed. And it is too easy, the way Sydney Anglicans are inclined to treat hapless Eugene Goosens, and dead Gil Bogle and poor Margaret Chandler and the entire gay population having a party as smutty little secrets, scandalous indulgers in debauchery.

But please, enough of the easy regret about the way Sydney Anglicans treat women as sexual objects and home bodies, and refuse to give them equal status in the church.

There's a simple solution - give them equal status - but here it's used as a way of not finishing that sentence about the man in a g-string properly.

Can the pond help out? How's this for a go?

It is too easy to point to the Mardi Gras and say ‘ooo, there’s a man in a g-string walking down Oxford St and I don’t like it’ than it is to say, ‘you know, I deeply regret the way I and other Sydney Anglicans continue to crusade against homosexuals and continue to argue for withholding from them the dignity of shared human companionship and marriage, preferring to caricature them as Sydney beach-side debauchee hedonists, and that's the problem here, because I look at the g-string too closely rather than see the human being wearing it. I'm not sure why I look at the g-string too closely, but I should remember that there's a human being wearing it, and if they want to get married and settle down to dull suburbia, heck, why not.

Oh and Sydney Anglicans treat women as sexual objects as well, rather than allowing them equal status in the church, and I do so hope that the next Anglican Archbishop of Sydney will be a woman.

Or some such thing. Easy peasy.

All the same, what a corker of a column it was, well worth the wait, and so now the pond looks forward, with bated (and perhaps baited) breath to the next instalment.

With less of a teasing delay please! The pond can only stand so much neighbourly, sexually charged anticipation and teasing, instead of getting stuck right into it, with a thrust here, and a pulsating counter-point there ...

(Below: so here's how they decided to illustrate the sex in Sydney story at the Sydney Anglican site. With a soft, out of focus shot of the Harbour Bridge! They even left "smutty" and "sex" out of the title, refusing to admit that sex and the Lara Bingle bump sells!

Forget it Jake, it's smutty dirty old Sydney town, with men kissing women, or men, or women kissing women or men by the gas works wall near the old canal. So let the pond wrap it up with another Rosaleen Norton work, because this is the sort of thing you won't find on the Sydney Anglican site ...

Friday, July 27, 2012

As usual, the truth and the insights are limited ...

(Above: is that your bumper bar? Watch out for Mad Max Murdochians).

So the Daily Terror finally got around to reporting on the recent breaking developments in the Slipper matter by running an AAP report at 5.40 PM yesterday, under the header Govt attacks Abbott over Slipper, comically slipped into the "breaking news" section.

Long after the news actually broke ...

This is the graveyard time slot, beloved of politicians as the perfect time to put out a bad news story. Though perhaps not as ideal as Christmas and New Year's Eve, the Terror's readers would already be on their way to their thugby league game of choice, and not giving the first thought as to why the Terror buried the story. By today, even that note about Slipper had slipped off the digital front page.

The Terror going missing in action was noted in Crikey, under the header 'I think Steve Lewis would agree': Tele silent on Ashby case (may be paywall affected).

Naturally in the manner you'd expect of a free press, the editor of the Terror freely declined to comment on the matter.

Back in April of course the Terror was chomping at the bit and snorting like a thoroughbred, and you'd think - if a newspaper had guts, integrity or just a downright love of basic reporting and the telling of a story - that they'd be following the twisting winding road of a scandal, wherever it might lead, to a crooked sixpence or a crooked house or a crooked cat.

You'd think a tabloid with the class to print fraudulent naked photos of Pauline Hanson would be first at the feeding trough to keep the home fires and the scandal burning.

It makes all the guff about News Ltd being a beacon of fearless reporting sound like indulgent tripe, and gives that old saw "Is that the truth, or did you read it in the Daily Telegraph" fresh life. As well as a bit more life for that other old dog, "is that the truth or was your News Limited" (still available as T-shirt, bumper sticker and shopping bag).

Naturally the fearless Punch, punching on, maintained a strict and stoic silence too, perhaps wanting the world to achieve a Buddhist state of mind by meditating on ... the sound of crickets.

If you want a cackle, why not read the sanctimonious righteous letter to Julia Gillard by an assorted bunch of self-interested media proprietors, available on Crikey here:

Since the time of Magna Carta there has been a progressive empowerment of the citizenry in making those in power accountable, accessible and addressable. Central to that process over the last three centuries has been the operation of the media. Where societies have severe corruption, maladministration and distanced public policy determination and enforcement from the people it usually reflects heavy handed state intervention in the media. We implore you and your government not to let this happen in Australia.

Magna Carta! Are they up themselves or what?

The Terror couldn't summon up the courage to do a little forensic reporting on an abundance of material in relation to a matter, which - on its original slippery outing - was deemed worthy of shrieking front page headlines because it was such a grave scandal.

Sure back then the basic line between journalism, fair reporting, and conducting a raging crusade was blurred, but when's that sort of sandal-wearing delicacy ever stopped the neck-stomping, eye-gouging, back-stabbing Black Knights of Murdoch?

Who will guard the guardians? What happens if the guardians compromise themselves?

Who will present an alternative to the robber barons who forced King John to sign the Magna Carta?

Not Kim Williams, that's for sure ...

Bernard Keane got the tone right when scribbling about these pompous asses in A letter in the grand tradition of Australian media policy. Read it and weep, while remembering this and other front pages at the time:


Luckily there are still alternative sources for tabloid news - apart from Murdoch tabloid newspapers - still going around, so hey nonny no, it's on to other things, and what better other thing than that indefatigable pompous blimp Christopher Pearson beavering away in The Australian.

Does anyone who has moved beyond kindergarten think that Pearson has the best interests of the ALP at heart?

Yet there he is in today's Australian opening up Rudd's return is ALP's best bet (paywall blocked, consider yourself lucky) with this:

On Wednesday The Australian published a clarion call to the ALP's federal caucus by editor-at-large Paul Kelly. His theme was neatly encapsulated in the heading : "Labor's choice is Rudd or oblivion".

Actually that's what in the old days would be seen as Sophie's Choice, since Rudd will guarantee oblivion as well as anyone else. This is, after all, the man who has been consistently reviled by his colleagues, and now seeks the comfort and support of right wing commentariat hacks, women's magazines, his wife's gnomic utterances, and any other wretched bit back-stabbing from low renters like Joel Fitzgibbon as a way back to the throne.

Throw in the support of a no talent like Robert McClelland and you're well on your way to oblivion.

It's typical commentariat FUD, of the kind that worked so well with climate science and with talk that smoking might be bad for you.

Let the hares loose and watch them run. Was it only in August last year that Pearson was touting Crean as the safest pair of hands? Along with Ross Cameron ...

Others picked it up - you can find Mumble mumbling away in October 2011 about the chance of Simon Crean as nightwatchman?

The point of course is not who should become PM, the point is idle speculation and relentless destabilisation, which is why only a day ago, Crikey ran an approving lightweight piece by Rob Burgess suggesting Swan for PM? Bolt is onto something.

Bolt as an astute observer of what's best for the Labor party? Pinch the pond, it's dreaming.

What Bolt's on to, and so is Rob Burgess, is the blithe art of throwing out the names, and seeing if anything sticks. It doesn't matter who, it's more a matter of who have you got.

Burgess is also in the grip of nightwatchman cricket metaphors, seemingly oblivious to the notion that when you have to send in a nightwatchman, your team is playing like a bunch of Michael Clarke-led Australians who couldn't score off a lightly tossed lettuce salad (hat tip to partner, apparently this means something).

Naturally that Parramatta tosser, loser and conductor of affairs while married Ross Cameron is also on hand in Fairfax, rubbing his hands gleefully, in Rudd ambitions undimmed: just follow the dots.

At the same time fellow travellers like Robert Manne and Mike Carlton have done their best to amplify the FUD, with Carlton pronouncing last week PM must go or the party will be over.

He decided that Rudd would be a safe pair of hands to take the ball up the middle and do the hard yards (I'm told this means something), at the same time delivering a homily to Rudd:

If Rudd were to return bent on vengeance the whole exercise would be futile. If he has learned from his experience, as no doubt he would like us to believe, he must demonstrate that. Caucus must again be allowed to choose the ministry. Rudd would have to let those ministers get on with their jobs in the collegiate way that Bob Hawke managed his cabinet. He must forget, too, that mad urge to dominate the daily news cycle.

Former Chairman Rudd will suddenly turn into a swaggering matey Bob Hawke? Waiter, I want some of whatever that man is on ...

He'll forget the mad urge to dominate the daily news cycle, even though right now he's intent on dominating the daily news cycle with cries for his return? He must show he's changed? That's a bit like giving the scorpion a lecture on how to behave towards the frog.

This week Carlton has recanted, and has a new candidate. Guess who? Bob Carr ...

Yep, the man who spent a decade fucking over NSW, should be given the opportunity to perform the final ritual fucking over of the federal Labor party.

But why did Carlton reach this conclusion?

As well as having to endure the sneers of Janet "Dame Slap" Albrechtsen, and sundry Tories for his conversion to the Kevin cause, Carlton apparently received lots of responses:

The striking thing: in the hundreds of emails there was zero rank and file enthusiasm for the return of Kevin Rudd. None at all. Some thought a Rudd second coming inevitable - another shot of the good ol' detailed programmatic specificity, gotta zip etc - but they feared the explosive effect on cabinet and caucus, with Wayne Swan and other senior ministers heading for the exits.

Uh huh. Not only would Labor be saddled with a proven incompetent, incapable of handling relationships at the level required, but there'd be an internal civil war that would rage right up to the next election.

No wonder there's no bloody enthusiasm. Rudd is a gleam in the eye of himself, Christopher Pearson, and the hacks at The Australian, who just want the Labor party to go away, so the Daily Terror can keep on being an appalling tabloid without talk of government intervention or regulation, and there'll be no more idle chatter about climate science, and we can all forget actual benefit to nation of the running out of a well designed NBN - which is a serious threat to the likes of Foxtel, and why Foxtel wants private ports for its own whims and devices.

That's the current NBN they want as their private domain, as opposed to the half-arsed one being peddled by luddite Tony Abbott.

So we come to Carlton's ultimate solution:

The real eye-opener was a groundswell of support for Bob Carr as leader. Here was Labor's most successful campaigner, they said, a consummate media performer and an elder statesman respected on all sides.

Uh huh. Amazingly Carlton lives in Sydney, and so can see what Carr achieved. No doubt he's already booked his ticket to the rugger bugger match between the Wallabies and the Lions in 2013 (hat tip partner, who'd have known), and so thinks the ANZ Stadium is a triumph of planning.

Lesser lights, poor sods given the pain of a daily commute, know exactly what Carr did for NSW and its infrastructure. Yes, it's that Buddha thing again ... the sound of crickets.

Carr's already proven he's something of a Mittster by putting his foreign affairs foot in his mouth from time to time, but never mind, it's all academic in the end for the pond, since voting for either federal Labor or the luddite Abbott aren't viable alternatives.

But it's truly amazing how the sheep can be panicked and herded so easily, and even more amazing that Mike Carlton and Robert Manne can be counted amongst the sheep ready to be rounded up and shorn by the FUD Murdoch commentariat.

So now for your comedy item, though you can get it directly from the horse's mouth or the ass's arse:

So I thought this through. With an eye to history, Carr would be reluctant to climb a last political Everest. It would also be beneath his dignity and abhorrent to his principles to do the numbers and mount a challenge to Gillard. But if the party chieftains were to approach him on their knees, teary-eyed and imploring him to lead them from the abyss, he might be drafted.
Next problem: would the cross-benchers who back Gillard support him ? If no, bets are off. If yes, which I think possible, Carr would have to descend from the Senate to a winnable seat in the House of Representatives. That would be Kingsford Smith, his lifelong home and his power base as the state MP for Maroubra for 23 years. Peter Garrett holds that now on a slender-ish margin of 5.2 per cent, and he would have to graciously stand aside. The byelection would be furious and the risk would be huge with the Tories throwing the kitchen sink at it, but I suspect Carr could pull it off. Triumphantly. Think Honest Abe's second inaugural.
So there you have it, bingo, easy as that. Bob's yer uncle, our next prime minister, and the saviour of party and nation. Who dares wins.

He thought it through?

The tenacious Garrett steps aside - you can tear that ministry of doing nothing - except soak up the adulation - from my cold dead hands, the ALP bungs on a do and a by-election, the forces of evil fight hard but are vanquished, Carr picks up the seat, takes over the leadership, and becomes PM, all in time for the next election.

Iambics march from short to long.
With a leap and a bound the swift Anapests throng. (thanks Samuel, here)

Will someone, anyone, tell him Carlton he's dreaming, or wanking, right up there with Pearson wanking on about how former Chairman Rudd - a proven dislikable and incompetent leader - is going to be the best bet for the Labor party ...

Okay, okay, so now you're asking for the pond's solution to the leadership woes.

So here it is. Pay less attention to the thoughts of myrmidon Murdochians and make sure there's plenty of action in your figures. Stiff, awkward figures like the intensely disliked former chairman Rudd, though easy to draw, especially if you're a member of the commentariat, are best avoided.

And if you're going to draw an alternative action figure, for the love of the absent lord, at least make sure it's a reasonably feasible alternative, instead of constructing a cartoon full of FUD!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

And now let's hear it for the whingers and the whiners ...

(Above: but not too sorry).

It almost goes without saying that the pond is into wild ideas, and sometimes the wild ideas become reality.

In times past, the pond has often asked intimate acquaintances not unfamiliar with the art of sexual harassment to take the pond on an international junket.

Why not? How else can you be sexually harassed in exotic and attractive locales?

Now it should be understood that this is in no way a reflection on or commentary about the Slipper-Ashby matter currently before the courts, and noted in Ashby asked for trip with Slipper.

That would be improper, impolite, perhaps even injudicious, though it seems that even The Australian is thinking again this morning, as it runs with this header Exposed: James Ashby's double-dealing (behind the paywall, but you know how to google):

James Ashby actively encouraged Peter Slipper to resign from the Liberal National Party before the MP accepted the Speaker's role last year, but the media adviser continued to moonlight for the LNP despite Mr Slipper's fear that the party "was out to destroy him".

So let's just leave it there, and moving right along, now seems the right time to have a giant whinge about the whingers whingeing about the whingers.

In the spirit of the times, you can then have a gigantic whinge about the pond whinging about the whingers and the whiners whinging about the whingers whining.

If you want to get yourself into training for the event, why not read Caroline Wilson's Whinge, whinge, whinge Australia (warning, Olympic content within). It's a first class whinge about whingers, a gold medal effort, completely devoid of content, as we'd expect of any classy whinge.

Naturally The Australian, home to a first class team of whingers whining about everything, gets into the seasonal spirit of things, thanks to Judith Sloan's World-class whining defies reality on costs.

Please do not whinge and whine that this is behind the paywall, if you don't know how to be a google bludger, you deserve to whine.

In a prototypical dinkum Aussie way whiner Sloan awards the gold medal to whinging Poms, and in the process proves she has the nuance and understanding of an antipodean elephant:

With the Olympic Games about to begin in London, it looks as though the Poms have taken an early lead in the gold medal tally, winning top spot for whingeing.
Too many people, too much traffic, too many anti-aircraft missile devices on top of buildings, not enough pay for immigration officers and train drivers - the list of complaints goes on and on.

Actually in her usual superficial way, Sloan entirely misses the point.

The poor old Poms are in the grip of the longest double-dip recession for fifty years. Now you might expect The Guardian to brood about this, and whine about the austerity-mad George Osborne, and it does in pieces like George Osborne is no strategist, says former Tory chief whip, and The Treasury needs a new team to stop this slide back into recession.

But even The Sun has noticed, and if you can dig past the bikini girls and the fashion parades and the soccer, you might come to Sack 'work experience Chancellor' UK slump longest on record, which is blessed with one of the quaintest graphics the pond has seen in a long time:

It's only taken a couple of years for the ideologically impaired Conservative Lib Dem alliance made in hell to completely stuff the economy, so why wouldn't you have a whinge?

But before anyone down under chortles at the Poms and their gloomy smiley, and truncated vegetation, consider that the pond is tipping that within a year of an Abbott government getting to run the show, the whingers and the whiners who thought they'd found the Messiah will be out in force pronouncing him and his team a flock of naughty boys and girls. (Okay Bronwyn Bishop as a girl is a stretch). It'll be whinger and whiner heaven, and make the current whining look like kindergarten training.

Truth to tell, running a story about whingers and whiners is the easiest way to get a column together, which is why the pond is whinging and whining about the whinges and whiners whinging about the whiners this morning.

It's also the easiest way for dumb politicians to make a stand. Show us how it's done Boris!

Yep, there's Boris Johnson demanding Londoners stop whining about the Olympics, as you can read in Boris tells Londoners to 'stop whining' as Olympic chaos continues. Boris even invented a term - an advanced case of Olympo-funk to describe the condition:

"Cut out the whining. And as for you whingers, put a sock in it, fast", said the Mayor as he moaned about the whingers.

Bugger that for a joke. The pond has been whining about the Sydney Olympics ever since they and Bob Carr helped the infrastructure of the city into the mess in which it remains. The pond will stop the whining about the Olympics when you pry it from my cold dead hands. (The winner is ... white elephants).

I know, I know, the pond swore it wasn't going to mention the London Olympics again. Have a moan and a whine about it at your leisure.

The art of the whinge is deeply embedded in Australian journalism, and is notably present every day in Murdoch publications.

Take this splash for a story in today's rag:

The Greens have exposed themselves as just another political party?

This is an insight, this is an opinion piece? Matthew can see clearly now? Now that the rain has gone? Couldn't he just karaoke the Johnny Nash/Jimmy Cliff hit?

What a premise on which to base a whinge. Who on earth ever imagined that the Greens weren't a political party?

Come on Mr. Franklin, astonish us with another insight.

What's that you say, politicians and political parties lie and dissemble? Give that man a pink elephant for insights right up there with Wittgenstein.

When you see this sort of idle cant, this sort of feeble attempt to maintain the rage and have a whinge about the Greens, The Australian in bed with Paul Howes and the NSW Right, you can skip immediately to something else.

But be careful where you leap, because anywhere in The Australian, you can shift from the frying pan to the fire.

You might land, for example, on this piece by Peter Van Onselen:

This is the perfect, double play whine. Gillard can be criticised for rejecting a levy, since the memory of the epic whinging and moaning and whining about the Queensland flood levy is now long in the past (oh the good old days of PM Julia Gillard's flood levy runs into rough water).

On the other hand, if Gillard had danced to the tune of the whinging, whining, moaning Liberal state premiers, doing their 'more gruel' routine, and gone along with a levy, Van Onsolen would have been perfectly poised to bemoan and whine about another wasted opportunity by Gillard, pronouncing that her decision to prop up the state governments was yet another poor one.

Rule one: Gillard can't do anything right. Rule two: whine endlessly about it.

You can see how whinging "gotcha" journalism works perfectly as a binary system right up there with computing, and it almost goes without saying that right at the top of the food chain, there are two perfect whingers.

Alan Jones and Andrew Bolt.

Day in, day out, all they do is whinge, and they get paid very handsomely for it. Bolt for example is still in the middle of an epic whinge about blog moderation with his employer, and it's now reached the point of farcical trolling, as Bolt tries to restore relations with his Boltermaniacs, asking them for tips:
0 tips. Do you want freedom fries with that?

Oh okay, that screen snap was taken early, and there will be comments in due course - Boltermaniacs usually don't come out of their manly bear cave for a bit of breast-beating and whining before nine.

Now we could go technical here about the Bolter banning comments, and ending freedom of speech for his one-time faithful fanatics.

Is the Bolter doing just a first class dummy spit, as opposed to an epic whinge? But in the end it doesn't matter, because he's whinged endlessly about the dummy spit, explaining why he's hard done by, so using trinitarian theory, it's one and the same thing.

Bolt is an eternally long suffering whining dummy spitter, and lately in the grip of serious paranoia, which might be comical if you ever watched his flailing, failing television show, which does for ratings what even Video Hits couldn't manage. If you run a business as an ideology, don't expect to do good business.

So naturally this whinge caught the eye:

Hmm. The Labor and Green bans I understand, if not accept. But normally an Opposition is only too eager to explain and persuade.
Question: if the Liberals gag front-benchers who want to appear on my show when they are in Opposition, how accountable do they plan to be in Government?
This may be something for me to explore. I’m starting to feel uneasy.

He's starting to feel uneasy because they won't talk to him! Talk about a kindergarten dummy spit. Now all that's needed is a smily graphic.

You might think that's the Bolter being "fair and balanced", bleating and whining about being gagged by ... gasp, Liberals ... but in a ship that's listed so far to starboard, it's really just pure comedy gold.

Thank the absent lord, on a daily basis, whingers deliver comedy items of the first water, so the next time somebody has a whinge about whingers, make sure you send them a whinging, whining note of praise.

Remember each four years, whining and whinging reaches a kind of pinnacle of the art form ...

If you want to play, but feel you need a role model, need first class examples, or feel you need a little more training in the art, just keep reading the Murdoch press, and in no time at all, you'll be a first class whinger ...

They'll have you out of training wheels and whining about the Greens and Gillard in no time at all, and you might even begin to feel a little uneasy about Tony Abbott ...

(Below: and now since it's Friday, here's a little music by Alexander Mosolov. Mosolov got pounded by Stalin, but whenever the pond feels like doing a little Bolter and Murdoch iron foundry pounding, this is the music to do it with).