Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Tim Blair, Bjørn Lomborg, Michael Hanlon, Andrew Bolt, Bob Carter, and the need for sawdust ... lots of sawdust ...

(Above: eek, oh no, say it ain't so).

It's been awhile since we dropped in on Tim Blair.

We only like to hit our heads with a baseball bat on even numbered days.

What do do with a heretic, we wondered, roaming in the faith healing corridors of an expert journalist scientist? How to respond when confronted by apostasy in the troubling matter of climate change?

Way back when, you see, Mr. Blair was a lover of the works of Bjørn Lomborg and the way he took a baseball bat to the likes of the Stern Report:

Selective, flawed, fear-mongering, hastily put-together, sloppy, unlikely, problematic, unrealistically pessimistic, alarmist: Bjorn Lomborg reviews the Stern Report. (here)

That was in 2006. Funny that. Here's Lomborg in 2010, courtesy that pinko leftie rag The Guardian, in Bjørn Lomborg: the dissenting climate change voice who changed his tune:

Not unexpectedly, however, Lomborg denies performing a U-turn. He reiterates that he has never denied anthropogenic global warming, and insists that he long ago accepted the cost of damage would be between 2% and 3% of world wealth by the end of this century. This estimate is the same, he says, as that quoted by Lord Stern, whose report for the British government argued that the world should spend 1-2% of gross domestic product on tackling climate change to avoid future damage.

Great statisticians calculate alike? Not exactly:

The Stern report estimated that damage at 5-20% of GDP, however, not 2-3%. The difference, according to Lomborg, is that the two use a different "discount factor". This is the method by which economists recalculate the value today of money spent or saved in the future – or, to put it another way, the value today of this generation's grandchildren's lives. Neither is measurably "right", he says: they are judgments, albeit ones with a profound impact on subsequent analysis of the costs and benefits of spending money now to stop climate change.

Lomborg says false views of his position are held mostly by people who have never read his work. He says: "I keep trying to fight this, mainly because people often hear what I say through others." These intermediaries are often hostile critics, he adds.

Or perhaps through devoted cheerleaders with a patch over one eye?

Back in the good old days, Blair celebrated Lomborg's rise up the Amazon bestseller charts, and chortled at the consternation he created in the likes of Tim Flannery:

"I was all geared up to recommend this review of Bjorn Lomborg’s new book Cool It , written by The Weather Makers author Tim Flannery,” enthuses David Roberts, “but it turns out to be pretty bad. It’s kind of scattered all over the place ...”

One can appreciated Roberts’ alarm at a rash of Flannerisms, but even a whole page load of Flannery-style scatterthoughts won’t deter this brave site. Let’s take a look:

Bjorn Lomborg is a Danish statistician and darling of those who believe that markets should not be regulated and that concerns about the environment are overblown.

Flannery is an Australian paleontologist and darling of those who believe that concerns about the environment should be overblown. Certain of his opinions? Hell, yes!

Indeed, so compelling and entertaining are the grains of truth that adorn his latest book, Cool It, that you are certain to hear them soon in dinner table conversation.

Listen to those Flannery teeth grind.

Will Blair's teeth be grinding when he gets down to the job of reading Lomborg's latest outing, Smart Solutions to Climate Change: Comparing Costs and Benefits?

You see, Blair seems astonishingly certain that climate change isn't happening, and that even if the planet cools or warms a little, humanity has nothing to do with it, while Lomborg wants to discuss cost effective ways to fix the people-related changes to climate currently going down:

This result is where Lomborg is most vulnerable to allegations of a volte-face on the need to take action on climate change and the value of doing so. But he says circumstances have changed. The first Copenhagen Consensus considered only the predominant idea of cutting carbon emissions through a cap or tax. When the exercise was repeated in 2008, however, the team examined new ideas. Lomborg says he then challenged himself and selected economists to look at eight different "solutions" (comprising 15 policy suggestions). These included boosting R&D in technology, cleaning up soot and methane, which also contribute significantly to global warming, planting more trees, and climate engineering. Critics may argue he should have carried out this study before rubbishing climate policies.

Now there's a generous range of solutions to something that's supposedly not a problem. Climate engineering? Will that give more horsepower to a V8?

Way back when of course Blair loved to chortle about the way that Lomborg tore apart Peter Garrett, and caused Al Gore heartburn:

Al Gore disses Sceptical Environmentalist author Bjorn Lomborg:

Oh, I don’t think he’s taken seriously by the scientific community any longer. It was such a long and densely written work that it took them a little time to sort through it, but once they did, they found gross errors, surprising for a statistician.

Sounds like Al is up for a debate. Let’s see if he fares any better than did Peter Garrett. (here)

Meanwhile, there are other heretics, who need to be fixed to a stake and given a good warming.

What to make of, what to do with, Michael Hanlon scribbling of a change of heart in the Daily Mail, in The crack in the roof of the world: 'Yes, global warming is real - and deeply worrying'?

The foolish Hanlon took the very unscientific step of heading off to the Arctic to look at what was happening, when any Blair reader knows the answer lies somewhere in the motor of a V8, an F1 car or perhaps a NASCAR race. Here's Hanlon doing his flip flop:

I have long been something of a climate-change sceptic, but my views in recent years have shifted. For me, the most convincing evidence that something worrying is going on lies right here in the Arctic.

Because while across most of the world evidence for current climate change is often inconclusive and anecdotal, the huge ice sheet which sits atop this, the largest island in the world, appears to be cracking up before our eyes. And on a timescale of decades rather than the millennia many predicted.

Dearie me, what alarmist nonsense. Fancy actually going and looking at things. How peculiar, how unscientific. In complete contrast to Blair's excellent scientific method of assembling snippets in a blog!

As well as a couple of pose down snaps showing Hanlon amongst the melting ice, the Mail published this accompanying image, claiming it showed that temperatures over the Arctic have increased due to dramatic recent decline in sea ice cover:

Naturally I turned to Tim Blair, to discover his shock and horror, and to see how he deals with the disturbing news that are new heretics flaunting themselves, turncoats as bold as brass strutting the world stage.

After all, way back when, the likes of traitor Hanlon was approvingly quoted by the likes of Andrew Bolt as providing the boring facts that conclusively disproved global warming (and you can read Bolt's reassuring quotation here).

Surely Blair would have all the answers.

Oops, not a word on the traitors so far as I could see. Perhaps I needed a better telescope, or a stronger microscope. If only I were an expert scientist like Blair, I'm sure I'd have a decent Galileo vintage model ...

Never mind, I guess this is the way it's best done, banishment, perhaps a Cicero-like exile, where heretics can eke out a humble life, ignored by the insiders still in possession of the truth. Frowned upon, muttered about, forced to step outside the tent into the Arctic gale, and wander off, never to be thought about again ...

On the other hand, if you're perplexed about Pakistan cricket match fixing, head off to read Blair ... he's your man ... (Line Crossed).

Or perhaps you might be better off joining the cardigan wearers on ABC radio, and listen to Two prominent climate change sceptics have a change of heart, wherein Bob Carter roundly denounces Lomborg as a mere statistician who should just shut up and go away.

Funny that.

Way back when, in Bob Carter: British report the last hurrah of warmaholics, Carter found Lomborg's opinions exceptionally tasty:

The opinion of Bjorn Lomborg, writing in yesterday's Wall Street Journal, suggests that it is not just Stern's science that is flawed. Lomborg accuses Stern of cherry-picking statistics to fit the argument, such as massaging future warming cost estimates from the generally accepted 0per cent of gross domestic product now to 3 per cent in 2100 to figures as high as "20 per cent now and forever".

It seems that the economics of the Stern review is as shaky as the science, given that Lomborg concludes that "its fear-mongering arguments have been sensationalised, which is ultimately only likely to make the world worse off".

Talk about cherry picking arguments and people you like except when you don't like them. Of course that was before Lomborg became a heretic ... and needed to be shunned.

What a funny old world it is, what a funny old pond, and strange how there's all this talk of climate change being a religious faith ...

Unless you happen to be a true believer. On the other side. Talk about the Amish ...

Hey, that reminds me, with the warming weather, the pond is warming up nicely.

Time for a swim, and a chance to listen to the loons squawk about the water temperature ...

(Below: how to fix the fixers when the fix gets tricky, and climate change heretics roam the earth. Use sawdust ... lots and lots of sawdust. And a little shunning).

Gerard Henderson, Chris Gardiner, and get out your Doc Martens, there's a stomping coming on ...

It turns out it's easier to put a bet on the Pakistan cricket team winning a game than on veteran scribbler Gerard Henderson getting furiously upset in his Tuesday column about the way the Greens and independents hold the balance of power.

I never did understand gambling or poker machines, except to know the house always holds the odds, and sure enough the bookies would have done their dough if they'd bet against Henderson getting agitated in Coalition can lay blame at its own door.

There's a herd mentality that naturally flows through commentariat columnists, like a pack of dogs or wolves, as they seize on a topic and worry it to death, the only difference being how they tack into the wind. Phew, now there's a mixed metaphor ...

Remember Stern who? Long gone, and today the subject is likely to be the fate of Jason Wood, eminently Green Liberal candidate for Latrobe, or some sundry other electoral battle as the duopoly wrestles for the soul of the wary voter, and satanic independents try to trick the mug punters into the pit of hellfire.

Henderson's angle is to shift from prattling Polonius to stern headmaster, and lay about with the cane at the failures in the Liberal campaign. Greens candidate Adam Bandt's win is the fault of the Liberal party, the failure to do a deal with the Greens regarding preferences is the fault of the Liberal party, attacking retiring Kay Hull's Riverina seat is the fault of the Liberal Party, while Mark Vaile and the National party buggered up, and let Rob Oakeshott in the door, and that's all their fault.

There's a "series of errors", "a number of self-inflicted errors", "the dumbest political strategy ever", "incompetent behaviour", a failure to "act professionally", a wasting of "time and money", "errors on the National Party side", and a need for "both the Liberals and Nationals" to examine "their acts of folly and self-indulgence" which cost a "clear, albeit narrow, victory."

By the time I reached the end of the piece, I realised that the country had just managed to save itself from a bungling, inept, slipshod, incompetent, hopeless reign by a pack of clowns in Liberal and National party dress who couldn't run a campaign or a circus, let alone a country. Give them the reins of government, and we'd find ourselves with Napoleon or Hitler in Russia ... or perhaps with the Americans in Afghanistan.

I'm not sure if the prattling Polonius quite understood the implications of his stern dressing down - you there, Abbott, yes you boy, you with the funny ears, you've totally fucked the campaign, now get on with it, and fuck over the country - but in its own desiccated way, it was fun to read. There's nothing like a conservative lashing the conservatives ...

That said, it lacked a little pizzaz, and after a couple of tablespoons of desiccated coconut, the taste buds tend to yearn for some fizzy soda water to wash it down. What better than the header for Chris Gardiner's Vote Independent? Not if you believe in democracy.

The sublime stupidity of that header lifted me enormously and will likely see me through the week, which is just as well given the state of finances after all the ten dollar bets on commentariat columnists. Memo to self, these must be limited to a dollar in the future.

Gardiner spends the rest of his column explaining how a belief in democracy means that the sheep can only rush through two gates on the way to get shorn - yes, it seems like the intertubes, voting and democracy can only be binary - and then he ends with a mixed metaphor of such astonishing fatuousness that I wept in awe and gave the game away. When you see a master of mangled thinking, it humbles your own attempts at mangling thoughts in a masticatory way:

Let me draw on two popular TV shows to make a final point. The attraction of characters like Dr Greg House in the series House, or Dr Martin Ellingham in the series Doc Martin, is that we all dream of being the person who can be unrestrained when dealing with everyone we see as fools. The occasional House of Doc Martin is tolerable only because of their brilliance. But we all know that a society would be very unpleasant and could not survive with lots of Houses or Ellinghams. I think a Parliament with a critical mass of independents would have similar problems (and it’s not clear that our independents have the brilliance that would justify tolerance of their orneriness).

What to say? Democracy and Australian politics reduced to a couple of American television shows, and yet no mention of My Favourite Martian, F-Troop, or I Dream of Jeannie!

Even worse, no explanation of how these two shows might provide excellent guest roles for the likes of that devil Bill Heffernan, the affable Alby Schultz, or the splendid Wilson Tuckey, who hung around so long that the final death scene devised to get rid of him from the long running series was one of the great moments in serial plotting.

We got to thinking how we might spin an episode about jolly Joe Hockey turning up in the sequel to Fargo to sell used cars, blessed of course with Trucoat:

Customer: We sat here right in this room and went over this and over this!
Jolly Joe: Yeah, but that TruCoat--
Customer: I sat right here and said I didn't want no TruCoat!
Jolly Joe: Yeah, but I'm sayin', that TruCoat, you don't get it and you get oxidization problems. It'll cost you a heck of lot more'n five hundred--
Customer: You're sittin' here, you're talkin' in circles! You're talkin' like we didn't go over this already!
Jolly Joe: Yeah, but this TruCoat--
Customer: We had us a deal here for nine-teen-five. You sat there and darned if you didn't tell me you'd get this car, these options, without the sealant, for nine-teen-five!
Jolly Joe: All right, I'm not sayin' I didn't--
Customer: You called me twenty minutes ago and said you had it! Ready to make delivery, ya says! Come on down and get it! And here ya are and you're wastin' my time and you're wastin' my wife's time and I'm payin' nineteen-five for this vehicle here!
Jolly Joe: All right. I'll talk to my boss Tony. See, they install that TruCoat at the factory, there's nothin' we can do, but I'll talk to my boss Tony.
[Jolly Joe leaves the room]

Customer: [to his wife] These guys here--these guys! It's always the same! It's always more!

Sorry, I got a little lost there, contemplating all the colourful rogues and charlatans in parliament - so many, so little time - and wondering in amazement at Gardiner's simple minded notion that independents are in sole possession of political orneriness.

Let's return to him for one more piece of fatuous analysis:

Our two-party political process in Australia, with its dialectic between the dominant western political traditions of liberal and social democracy, and its success in forging and holding our politicians closely to a majoritarian centre, was one of our great advantages in the 20th century.

Dialectical!? Is this man some kind of socialist?

Yes sheep, proceed directly to the gate marked according to your taste, dum or dee, and you'll find yourself transported to the heart of democracy.

What, you thought democracy was about diversity, independence, robust thinking, a capacity for complexity, and a willingness to explore beyond a cozy duopoly? Sorry, sheep, two gates are enough, and don't you worry about that. If it's good enough for computers, it's good enough for you. Remember two parties good, and anymore colourful personalities baaaad:

It’s not one I think we should naively undermine in a vicarious identification with the Houses and Doc Martins of Australian politics.

Phew, thank the lord that leaves us to vicariously identify with Bill Heffernan as he vicariously identifies himself with the devil.

Another day of political scribbling, and the only response I can muster is to put on my Doc Martens ... Now should I go punk, or should I go goth?

Monday, August 30, 2010

Leo Shanahan, punching on, and in the land of the kool aid the Lotos drinker is king ...

(Above: a vision splendid and a splendid vision for the future).

Inspired by the 'exclusive poll' produced by Fairfax, Not ready for a republic? Well,we are amused, so columnists could produce poll driven columns proposing poll driven policies, Leo Shanahan obliges, and in a punch drunk way delivers up Admitting that you may be a monarchist is tough for The Punch, Australia's most rambling and incoherent conversation.

It seems that young Leo has become a faint hearted monarchist, having once been a fair weather republican:

Abbott’s arguments for maintaining a monarchy in Australia haven’t changed over the years. They are best summed up as “if ain’t broke don’t’ fix it.” At one point Abbott said to me: “I’m a Manly fan, becoming a republic makes as much sense as switching the team I go for.”

Gee, will someone tell professional footballers it's about time to stick with their teams, play with them until they die, and never mind the money when it's simple minded glory that's needed to keep the fans happy. But if barracking for Manly is the sign of a monarchist, why is my partner rushing over to the door with a sign over it saying Manly hating republicans, enter here?

Luckily, young Leo was once of the same mind:

Besides wanting to point out that Manly are team for tossers, it struck me that Abbott’s argument for not becoming a republic also summed up this man’s brand of conservatism. I disappeared into the night, smug in the assessment that my support for a republic was evidence of a more open mind.

That was then, when Leo was young and passionate and virile. Now it seems he's drunk the kool aid and is content to lie in Elysian fields sipping of the nectar of the monarchist gods, alienated, existential, but in a kind of numbed out bliss which is somehow cool, and also avoids him being linked to rugger buggers and readers of Fairfax:

Modern Australian republicanism always comes off as a group of people bored for a cause rather than a cause that people have any natural desire to flock to. You get the feeling that plans for an Australian republic are hatched on Saturdays by people watching Sydney club rugby and looking up from the pages of the Good Weekend, desperate to lay some claim to being disenfranchised.

Here’s the main point about a republic: I can’t bring myself to care about it. As someone who was taught to basically despise the English royals I find this apathy all the more confusing, but evidently I’m not alone.

Not alone?

Why young Leo has felt the force, and is at one with David Flint.

Bringing the full range of his intellectual powers to bear, Leo conveniently skips over the talking tampon and his consort, in the hope that a balding William will once again re-assert the beguiling charm of the monarchy:

Julia Gillard has also run with the line that we should maintain the monarchy until Queen Elizabeth is dead. But this is an odd kind of logic for a republican because it seems to accept that the current Queen and the system she represents are too popular to mess with. Who’s to say that if William and Queen Kate get on the throne afterward they’d be any less popular?

Such is the power of the lotus that Leo is happy to doze:

What kind of republican spirit for change does this nation possess if we accept that we’ll just put off the change until this Queen is gone? Australia’s tectonic plates are currently moving towards Indonesia at a faster rate than our timetable for full emancipation from England.

Emancipation? Why do we need emancipation, wrapped as we are in the heavenly bliss of the talking tampon's incisive mind as he saves the world from modern architecture? Soon his splendid vision will be ours to contemplate. It must reassure Leo no end:

The problem for Australian republicans is not necessarily the legitimacy of their argument (although given our current non-government status I find the idea of the royals being there strangely reassuring) it’s the lazy strength Abbott’s old argument: What’s the problem with the status quo?

Strangely reassuring that the royals are suddenly starring in the movie Being There?

Indeed most strange, but what a splendid thought that young in mind if not body Lizzie might charge out the antipodes and save us all if the fiendish independents make life too hard and threaten to overthrow democracy with their anarchist ways. How strangely reassuring to know they're lurking there ready to offer a helping hand and display British pluck. It worked so well at Singapore during the war ... back when they had crispy bacon ...

It’s this argument that appears to be wearing people down, and leaves me having to admit that, for all intents and purposes, I may be a monarchist.

Or perhaps, for all intents and purposes, a slack arse, couldn't give a fuck, stoner sitting on the couch of life rustling up a column - do you want poll driven fries with that - and worshipping the Dude as he goes about the business of having his rug peed on.

As usual, it's the comments section of The Punch that brings out the full on loons. There's a couple of resident rat bags - someone called Eric is always first out of the box with a loon conservative comment - but my favourite came from someone running the moniker Richard The Lionheart:

Can anyone name a declared Republic that didn’t end up with a civil war?

Can someone bring back Oliver Cromwell and chop the silly bugger's head off? It's almost enough to make me ask, can anyone name a declared monarchy that didn't end up with a civil war ... but there are a few examples. Why there's the Austro Hungarian empire and Spain and Russia and France and ....

And now make sure you visit this tidy collection of great quotes by that incredibly astute royal, Phil the Greek, here:

"Do you still throw spears at each other?"
- To an Aboriginal man on Australia's Tjapukai Aboriginal Cultural Park

And now as ennui takes hold, the last of a Tennyson poem, as we dream of slaves, with the first two verses here:

The charmed sunset linger’d low adown
In the red West: thro’ mountain clefts the dale
Was seen far inland, and the yellow down
Border’d with palm, and many a winding vale
And meadow, set with slender galingale;
A land where all things always seem’d the same!
And round about the keel with faces pale,
Dark faces pale against that rosy flame,
The mild-eyed melancholy Lotos-eaters came.

Branches they bore of that enchanted stem,
Laden with flower and fruit, whereof they gave
To each, but whoso did receive of them,
And taste, to him the gushing of the wave
Far far away did seem to mourn and rave
On alien shores; and if his fellow spake,
His voice was thin, as voices from the grave;
And deep-asleep he seem’d, yet all awake,
And music in his ears his beating heart did make.

They sat them down upon the yellow sand,
Between the sun and moon upon the shore;
And sweet it was to dream of Fatherland,
Of child, and wife, and slave; but evermore
Most weary seem’d the sea, weary the oar,
Weary the wandering fields of barren foam.
Then some one said, “We will return no more”;
And all at once they sang, “Our island home
Is far beyond the wave; we will no longer roam.”

(Below: exhausted by the dreaming, I feel the need for something green, something that will help save the planet, as indeed Australia might need saving from the greens, except the future monarchist is also green. Alack a day, where will it all end? Perhaps some 'erbal tea?)

Paul Sheehan, prostitutes, hookers, fishnet stockings, mini skirts, and the elevated political discourse of inner city elites ...

(Above: low flying aircraft have also been known to influence voters in relation to the way they might vote).

Memo for Anthony Albanese or whoever else might turn out to be grand pooh-bah, lord high executioner, and distinguished honourable minister for infrastructure, transport, regional development, local government, and Sydney airport.

Off to greet a visiting pooh-bah on QF2, cynically scheduled for 5.30 am arrival, which managed to land and be taxi-ing at 5.07.25 this very day, and I have a text message to confirm it.

The pooh-bah, while waxing rhapsodic about the upgraded Bangkok airport, mentions with bemusement the strange ways of an airport where the ground crew with the wavie thingie things seem strangely absent, and the baggage handlers seem to be either lost or asleep, compounded by the arrival of four aircraft (including QF 6 and BA codeshare QF 302) which have landed before 5.30 am.

6 am curfew? Tell 'em they're dreaming. Meanwhile of course what with the delays in the baggage and the waiting, Macquarie gets to clip a little more wool from the sheep who parked in the airport carport.

Let's face it. There'll always be an airport at Mascot in my lifetime, and likely right up until the start of the third world war, but there's only so much you can cram into a pressure cooker until you need to let off a little steam.

As a result, we hope that your department will devise an urgent concept in a ministerial note suggesting that an urgent review be conducted, with a view to reporting that action should and will be undertaken, with said report due to report during the weeks preceding the next election, so that promises can be made that urgent action will be undertaken, in due course.

Then you can add it to the joint taskforce report due whenever in the second half of the year, remind everyone of your vocal insistence that you need to take action, as in Sydney needs second airport - Albanese, and throw it all in the recycling bin.

Meanwhile, the long term financial planning at the pond has taken an upturn, since we had a Mary Gilmore on Paul Sheehan being certain to scribble about the independents, and sure enough up he bobs with Independents' support for Labor would betray rural folk.

We plan to invest the ten bucks in lotto, and with the winnings, financial security at last will be ours, and it's off to the big apple. Or should we make a plunge on a cricket team?

Back to Sheehan. There's only a couple of highlights in what is otherwise a predictable squawk, the first being the revelation that, as we long suspected, it turns out that Sheehan is, like many others in the commentariat, part of a chattering inner suburban elite:

The night I took Bob Katter to dinner at the Royal Hotel in Paddington was, I believe, the first time he had been to the gentrified inner urban bubble that is historic Paddington. He wore his large beige cattleman's hat. He ordered a steak. (I have never witnessed Katter not have steak for dinner.) At the end of the meal, carrying his hat, he disappeared into the kitchen to thank the staff. I would love to have seen their expressions.

Naturally as a member of the gentrified inner urban bubble, Sheehan manages to mystically divine what would be appropriate for independent members of parliament, and also for "rural folk" aka bushies.

It's at moments like this, as a Tamworth rate-payer, that I feel like saying fuck off gentrified inner urban bubble elite.

Sheehan spends a goodly amount of time lathering up the spectre of the Greens - tell a Liverpool plains farmer about the joys of the coal industry some time - and an equally predictable amount of time explaining why the independents should fall in line with Tony Abbott, never mind whether he uses KY jelly, and whether his bully boys might be using strong arm telephone tactics.

Oh steady you say that's a coarse, crude use of a sexual metaphor in a political context, the jelly bit. Surely the political discourse should be a little more elevated than that.

True, true, but you see what can you do when confronted by the musings of a master of elevated discourse?

These men are never going to be easy company for the Coalition, especially the Nationals, but their ultimate mission is to reflect the will of their electorates. So if either Katter, Windsor or Oakeshott throw their fate in with the Labor-Green alliance, they may as well buy themselves some fishnet stockings, follow-me-home stilettos and micro-miniskirts because, for many bushies, they will have become streetwalkers, the prostitutes of Parliament Drive.

Now that's the sort of temperate metaphor we expect from sophisticated inner urban elite pub crawlers.

Where to start? Defending the honour of sex workers, unfairly compared to politicians because in contrast to politicians they deliver a better service at a fair price? Put sex workers in charge of Sydney airport, and things would begin to happen. The johns would be processed in a trice, and feeling quite chirpy in the process ...

As for the rest, what makes Sheehan think that bushies, or Liberals for that matter, have a problem with fishnet stockings?

But once again, you have to think that Sheehan, along with Abbott, might be playing a deep double agent game.

Abbott deep in his heart knows that dealing with the likes of Katter will require more than the odd steak in an inner city elite pub, and that the poisoned chalice of power will come with a price, which is why he and his merry mob have been writhing on the hook.

How are the commentariat elite helping him to consummate an unlikely, desperate marriage, sure to bring grief and tears, and the NBN to the bush, and lots of pork barreling? A marriage it might be wise not to consummate so that the Pope can annul it a little way down the track when the polls suggest a second seduction of the electorate?

Dearie me, you can see how this kind of scribbling is catching, like a virus.

Because in the case of Piers Akerman aka Akker Dakker, it was to accuse the independents of succumbing to Gillard's flattery and playing footsie with a collectivist dark age, while simultaneously accusing Gillard of prostituting Labor, tugging her forelock, lacking dignity, and shamelessly trailing her coat. (Ambush by the Five Amigos)

What is it with commentariat commentators and prostitutes?

Now we have Sheehan blathering on about streetwalkers, prostitutes, fishnet stockings, miniskirts, and follow-me-home stilettos (sweet absent lord, from which deep part of the fevered, tortured soul did he drag that phrase, or is he a habitué of Urban Dictionary and a devotee of ask me out boots, and fuck me boots).

What is it with commentariat commentators?

You have to go elsewhere for actual insight, as opposed to simple minded slagging off as the commentariat use words in the way of pimps pimping their hoes. Try Phillip Coorey in Kind and gentle no more than words:

Abbott is portraying a Labor-Greens alliance as some kind of evil threat to the bush. But as Gillard pointed out in a pre-election interview, whoever governs will have to do so in alliance with the Greens because they will control the Senate from July 1. If Abbott becomes prime minister, he will be under the same pressure to ''green'' his policy agenda, especially now as he has agreed to a three-year term, meaning he cannot go early if the Senate does not co-operate.

Roll on the NBN. And a little more Coorey:

He also again spoke of the faceless machine men who dumped Kevin Rudd and called the Labor Party corrupted. Yet these men, including Mark Arbib, were MPs and senators. And when the push was on, the rush to join among the rest of the elected caucus became a stampede.

When Abbott knifed Malcolm Turnbull less than a year ago - the Liberals' third leadership change in two years - this too was driven by ''faceless'' MPs and senators such as Nick Minchin and Kevin Andrews. There was nothing kind and gentle about that either

Yep, those bloody faceless men with their aberrant taste for fishnet stockings, miniskirts and hookers. Could it be that the entire parliament is full of faceless men with a fishnet stocking fetish?

(Below: Alexander Downer showing how no politician need fear fishnet stockings).

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Piers Akerman, and how a double agent plays the iron bar game ...

(Above: the wild man of Wollondilly, still punching on since his last punch up was reported in the punch drunk The Punch, Australia's punchiest conversation, here).

If for a lark you spend too much time on the pond perusing the digital papers, likely as not perversity and cynicism will come to the fore.

There, for example, is the Sun Herald leading with a poll suggesting that support for a republic has slumped to a sixteen year low, in Not ready for a republic? Well, we are amused.

It turns out of course that quite a few respondents were following the line that it would be quite polite to wait until the current incumbent fell off the perch, dropped off the twig so to speak - we mean no disrespect or treasonous talk, since time and tide waits not even for monarchs - and when the talking tampon or one of his brood saunters to centre stage, things might be reviewed.

Even so, it's the kind of poll driven journalism that then allows Paul Daley to yammer on endlessly in Public passion for a republic is waning about the current role of Quentin Bryce, even dragging in the ghost of 1975, as if the situation was somehow comparable. Well we have to have the digital ether filled to overflowing somehow, and Public passion for a republic is waning does the job nicely.

Meanwhile, stand by for some journalist to scribble another negative attack on politicians for producing poll driven policies. Can somebody some day produce a column attacking poll driven columns?

That said, we're pleased to see that the pond's campaign to ensure the talking tampon ascends the throne of Australia is working well, unless fortuitously it turns out to be the polo playing militarist or the Nazi uniform loving younger chappies, who will no doubt do the job just as splendidly. Which is to provide the motivation for a debate on a republic, in preference to having the English elite rule the antipodes. Ain't it grand how the elitists who deplore elites just love their English elites ...

But enough talk of the royal circus, because you see, we don't need any help staging a circus, and thanks to Alby Schultz, the circus goes on, as reported in the Sunday Telegraph, another Sunday rag whose intelligence is in inverse proportion to its weight, in Angry Lib heavies king makers.

It seems Alby's idea of a negotiation - perhaps he's intent on taking over Wilson Tuckey's mantle - is to ring someone up and abuse the shit out of them. Pull your bloody head in, you mug rural lairs, he's reported to have said, or words to that effect, and a fine old result he produced:

"There's been some stupid stuff coming out of them," he said.

"Fancy talking about combining the two parties. I've never heard anything so stupid in my life.

"They've had their moment of glory. It's time to start thinking about where they stand and stop being a disruptive force.

Mr Schultz said he had spoken to two independents and followed up with a repeat call on Friday. He refused to say who he called, but Mr Windsor complained he had been threatened by a Liberal MP on Friday.

The threats prompted a quick apology from Mr Abbott.

Yes, in much the same way as the talking tampon campaign has alienated a few old chums, so I've become a reviled and belittled figure for suggesting that it would be quite grand to see Tony Abbott get into bed with the independents, and spend a year at the helm. Not that it seems likely, given the way Ironbar Alby is going about his business, and Abbott's own willingness to reach for the ironbar, and stop his costings from reaching the government, as well as the public. Yes there's nothing like honesty in budget to set a benchmark, provided no one sees the actual costings.

Naturally with these feuds festering it was time to consult the golden oracle, one Akker Dakker, known to the world in his ordinary Clark Kent guise as Piers Akerman, and sadly ignored by the pond during the election campaign because of his totally tedious, boring and predictable predictability.

Of course you've guessed it. Hot off the ether phone from Alby, channeling his thoughts like they shared ectoplasm in a very intimate way, perhaps dangling from their noses, what with all the frothing and fuming, Akker Dakker gets out the iron bar, the baseball bat, and the jemmy, and hoes into the naughty independents in Ambush by the Five Amigos.

It turns out, inevitably, that Julia Gillard is a slut, no let me re-phrase that, since she's a professional. It turns out that Julia Gillard is a cheap hooker:

Caretaker prime minister Julia Gillard has well and truly prostituted Labor with her premature leap to satisfy whatever demands the independents are making.

She has gone well beyond tugging the forelock in a manner quite unbefitting the dignity of the holder of the top office in the land and shamelessly trailed her coat to a group who represent an exceedingly small percentage of the nation as she tries to rescue whatever is possible from what was undeniably a disastrous election from her point of view.

That's no lady, that's a politician.

As always with Akker Dakker it's an elevated discourse, whether talking of tugging the forelock, or trailing the coat like a flirtatious Hollywood vamp baring the shoulder (we discount the alternative actual dictionary definition of inviting a quarrel by deliberately provocative behaviour, here, as words and phrases will mean what we want them to mean, thanks to Humpty Dumpty and Akker Dakker).

Naturally confronted with a professionally sluttish hooker, the feeble minded independents are likely to act like men on heat, cats on the roof top, cats with piles, and want to play footsie:

If they succumb to Gillard’s flattery and wish to play footsie with the ALP they should be prepared to endure the revulsion of those who have shown them support - for little return - over the years.

Play footsie! Like a Republican in an airport toilet!

As usual, it's all the fault of the electorate for not voting for team players, but preferring a masochistic devotion to outsiders, inept ones at that.

The current demands from the independents for information, much of it available during the course of the election campaign, reflects their disappointing indifference to their jobs.

Quite. Of course Tony Abbott made his costings freely available to anyone who cared to ask, except for those in the country who had the temerity to ask, because these prattlers demanding information didn't understand that releasing such top secret classified information would hinder a major police investigation.

But do go on Akker Dakker, about these wretched independents:

The bloc’s most mature member, Windsor, served 10 years in the NSW parliament and has spent nine years in Canberra.

Katter had eight years in the Queensland parliament and has been in Canberra since 1993. Oakeshott served 12 years as a NSW MP before going federal two years ago.

They have neither adorned nor disgraced the federal parliament, but they have not contributed anything of note.

Quite. I've always found the best tactic with men is to accuse them of being hopeless, wretched types with the character of teapots and always inclined to go after, in their mindless gander-like way, coat trailing sluts of the most hookerish kind. When it's put like that to a man - preferably after a bottle of wine has been downed - they become quite reasonable, and are inclined to do anything I tell them to do, the skirt chasing clowns.

Now they are united in their belief in stability in government. How admirable.

But they are making their pitch to a party riven with poisonous divisions at every level.

Yes, by crikey, and if they're not home from the pub or the club in reasonable time, they'd better be ready for a bloody burnt roast, overcooked potatoes, and beans stripped of all flavour after being boiled for an hour. By crikey, if I have to send Alby and Akker Dakker down to the pub to collect them, they should get ready for a good boxing of their tone deaf ears ...

Yep, it's impossible not to get cynical and perverse on the pond. The way the politics is being run, and way the commentariat commentators are howling, I've never seen such a fierce determined effort to herd the hapless indie chooks, amigos if you will, into the arms of ... Labor ...

It makes the likes of Akker Dakker, ranting about a new collectivist dark age and sluts and trollops and independent dummies and ganders who should just roll over and vote for Alby and Tony, seem like a finely placed double agent, determined to create as much mischief as they can while herding the sheep towards a new collectivist dark age ...

... the nation cannot afford to be delivered into the hands of those who would welcome a new collectivist dark age.

Dearie me, will someone give that paranoid a nice cup of tea and a good lie down. It's hard work herding the sheep towards a glorious future with Tony ... and Alby ... and Barners ... not to mention Jolly Joe and the whole jolly team who get along so well together ...

Which is why, no matter that it alienates friends and family, we must maintain our campaign for the talking tampon to ascend the throne, and Alby and Akker Dakker to be granted their deepest slutty desires, along with iron bar and gold leaf for elevated political discourse ...

(Below: and now, since the pond believes in elevated political discussions, here's some advice for the independents on How Flirting Works, and How to Play Footsie, thanks be unto Akker Dakker for leading the elevated way).

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Miranda the Devine, and how reading a conservative column is roughly equivalent to snorting crack or cocaine ...

(Above: a screen grab showing how to deplore lip smacking sensationalism ... by indulging in lip smacking sensationalism).

After reading Jon Lee Anderson's compelling but depressing After the Crackdown in The New Yorker, I got to brooding in the usual way about conservatives, and the conservative strain, and how as a virus it strikes people, often of a religious persuasion, world wide.

No doubt in Iran there are any number of conservative commentators of the Miranda the Devine kind scribbling furiously about inner city elites, the young, the indolent and their wicked ways:

The demonstrations, in his (an Iranian friend's) view, had as much to do with social class as they did with politics. Mousavi’s and Karroubi’s voters in the Green Movement were largely middle or upper class. The soldiers and the Basij who attacked them were for the most part Ahmadinejad voters, drawn, like the President himself, from the less privileged majority of the city’s population, based predominately in the south of the city. The Green Movement’s ability to put significant numbers of protesters—estimates range from hundreds of thousands to three million—onto Tehran’s streets sometimes created the impression that they represented a majority in the country. “They were wrong,” my friend said. “And their leaders misunderestimated—to paraphrase your former President Bush—just how savage the regime could be.” Adopting a mocking tone of voice, he added, “ ‘What, you thought that with your vote you’d get change? That you actually had a choice?’ ”” A friend of his had been detained and released after agreeing to sign a statement of repentance. “His interrogator told him, ‘This time you have no choice. You either submit or I’ll ram this stick up your ass. That’s your choice.’ ”

The hapless Iranian Green Movement has something of the quality of western secularist thinking, widely reviled by religionistas in western democracies for bringing down the intimate link between faith and politics:

In the cherry orchard, the Green Movement men were joined by their wives. One of the women spoke about Spinoza, whose writings had helped lead to the Enlightenment in Europe and the separation of what she called “mosque and state.” “We need a Spinoza in Iran,” she said.

Sadly she thought social media might provide a way forward, not understanding, in the Devine way, how screen culture could only lead to ruination in any society that embraced it. Even sadder, the thought that we might find a Spinoza in the Australian media to lend a hand is comical. Think Devine + the Pell or the nepotic Jensen heresies, not Spinoza.

Well it's easy to be light hearted in the lucky country, if it weren't for the truly depressing conclusion to Anderson's piece, but no spoilers, except to note that it's depressing.

Then, as if to compound the depression, there's Miranda the Devine, in her usual un-Spinoza way, scribbling Seven's weak tackle on Cousins:

Despite all the gratuitous public service announcements about the evils of drugs, Channel Seven's two-part documentary on AFL's most famous drug abuser, Ben Cousins, did more to glorify cocaine, ice and six-day-benders than any nightclub VIP room.

I have to confess I didn't watch the documentary and have only the vaguest idea who Ben Cousins is - something to do with eagles and tattoos - and I also have to confess that half the point here is to link Miranda the Devine with Ahmadinejad, so that if anybody Googles Miranda Devine + repressive Iranian president, they'll be rewarded (in much the same way as anybody who Googles Christopher Pearson + Eminem will discover that loon pond is their natural home).

As a result - life being short and ignorance is bliss - I don't care too much about Cousins, and even less about Miranda the Devine pursing her lips, and coat-tailing on his fame to cluck and mutter her disapproval.

Not long after arriving in Tehran, I attended a press conference held by Ahmadinejad—at which I was the only Westerner present—and not a single reporter mentioned the Green Movement. When I asked an Iranian journalist about the omission, he raised his eyebrows and asked, “Why ask about something that doesn’t exist?” Instead, Ahmadinejad took questions about the latest clerical demands for stricter dress codes. This is an important issue for many younger Iranians—in north Tehran, the streets are full of dyed-blond hair, spray tans, and Amy Winehouse-style beehive hairdos—and Ahmadinejad had angered conservative clerics by opposing their demands. A few days later, the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance published official guidelines for appropriate hair styles for Iranian men: pompadours were permitted, but not gelled, spiked, or overlong hair.

Amy Winehouse? Doesn't she do drugs?

Oops, sorry, somehow that slipped in from The New Yorker. Here's the Devine:

... the thumping soundtrack in the background as he snorts and sucks, his good looks, bad-boy charm, ripped biceps, killer abs and scantily clad girlfriends all combine to portray him as a cool, glamorous idol in some aspirational music video. It is like a drug recruitment ad for teenage boys.

By golly, that sounds like fun. Can I have some of that? Thanks Miranda for letting me know, it's rare that I read such a positive drug recruitment piece, though I do think you need to control the drooling over the killer abs, and the ripped biceps and the bad boy good looks ... though it's nice to hear you're gay enough to appreciate scantily clad girlfriends.

But where's all this heading you ask, since I have to confess that in my youth, I took all kinds of drugs, and even now abuse alcohol so it can abuse me? Well of course the Devine is just lathering herself up to a standard bout of indignation, and punishment, suggesting that Iran's treatment of hair styles might just suit her preferred way of dealing with drug takers:

Typical bad advice from the harm minimisation crowd who have captured the drug conversation. Moderation is meaningless to an obsessive, addictive person. Moderation and the drug-bingeing personality are mutually exclusive.

Uh huh, so he's an obsessive, addictive personality? What to do?

No more excuses for Cousins and others like him. It's not complicated. They are not afflicted by a "disease''. They are selfish narcissists who take drugs because it makes them feel good. They should forfeit any place of esteem in society.

That's right, shun them, ban them, lock them up, fling away the key.

Oh sorry, you thought obsessive addictive behaviour might have some psychological element to it, and the highs and lows might in some ways parallel the effects alcohol can have on the system, and how once addiction is ingrained, it can be extremely hard to shake (try reforming a smoker for that one).

No, no, that's just being a selfish narcissist - you know of the kind who imagine that because they're paid to prattle in columns in newspapers should be listened to - and they need to stop or they'll go blind ... or have a stick rammed up their ass. That's their choice. Yours too.

Now this sort of column wouldn't be complete without a little bit of mealy mouthed piety and bullshit good wishes:

We all wish Cousins well for the future.

Or a stick rammed up his ass. Sorry, sorry, got that wrong, we need to ram a stick up the ass of football:

But football has allowed a "recreational" drug culture to prosper when it holds in its power the ultimate sanction against young men vying to make it big. For the good of the game, and more importantly, for the young fans and future players following in Cousins's footsteps, there should be no more second and third chances. No more blind eyes.

Yes, ban them, shun them, lock them up and throw away the key. And while we're at it, let's turn Australia into Iran, and keep those young folk under control, so I don't to put up with their tatts and their hair and their insolent stares.

As for the self-serving statement Seven had Cousins read out at the start of the documentary, that he hoped his story would help save lives - that's as big a lie as his career has been.

And perhaps as mendacious as the Devine's column.

Phew, ever feel after reading a Devine rant, with the pious cant, and the negativity and the smug, know all, lip smacking, tongue clucking disapproval, that you need a good stiff drink? Or three ...

Hang on, hang on, does that mean that repressive conservatism is what drives the general populace to drink? If only it were true, because we could put the buggers behind the paywall and that would be the end of the demon drink, along with simplistic half assed half baked moralising about bad boys ...

And so, along with an apology to the Iranian people at being frivolous while mentioning their plight, now to end with a couple of quotes from a nicely functioning junkie, William Burroughs, so that anybody Googling Devine + Burroughs + junkie + addicted to conservative columnists rambling on about other peoples' lives - because it delivers a hit like a smack in the face like a whack of crack cocaine - they'll land here on the pond:

Most of the trouble in this world has been caused by folks who can't mind their own business, because they have no business of their own to mind, any more than a smallpox virus has.
William S. Burroughs

Our national drug is alcohol. We tend to regard the use any other drug with special horror.
William S. Burroughs

Christopher Pearson, and Club Sensible delivers a barrel of herrings ...

(Above: would you like a little pickle, onion, pickle and raw herring on bread with your Christopher Pearson column today? Or would you rather be in Amsterdam?)

It's time to hold the presses for some startling, shocking revelation, and here it is.

Club Sensible aka Christopher Pearson believes Tony Abbott is the way forward and spends an entire eloquently explaining Abbott at the helm offers one chance of stability.

Indeed - the stability of the discourse between Abbott and the independents regarding Treasury taking a look at his figures has been remarkable, and is tremendously consoling.

With that kind of stability, the pundits can look forward to a remarkably stable reign where commentary, speculation and innuendo will be made completely redundant. They'll be out of business within the first week of tremendously stable government. Remember, you read that paean to political stability, that fearless club sensible prediction first, here on the pond ...

Home of loons ...

This will be even truer when the Greens, should they ever join with Labor in the Senate, will hold the balance of power on any legislation Abbott might care to bring forward.

Naturally Club Sensible sensibly refrains from discussing the Senate ...

The Club is too busy counting the chickens that are about to be hatched, and prescribing dignified courses of action ...

When, as I expect, Abbott reaches a formal agreement with the rural independents, the most dignified course of action for Gillard would be to advise the Governor-General to invite him to form a government.

Insisting on hanging on until she's defeated on the floor of the parliament when it meets in November would be unseemly and likely to inflame public opinion.

Well if you want a preposterous proposition to which you can always provide a solution, Club Sensible is always the go ...

But then Club Sensible and Mark Latham have so much in common ...

Mark Latham was the first to say Gillard was destined for the departure lounge. On Tuesday the ALP president and Premier of Queensland attacked those in the party who believed leaders were disposable, saying the experiment had "failed miserably". Anna Bligh has her own agenda, of course, and no shortage of problems on her home patch. Even so, there can be little doubt that Bill Shorten, Tony Burke, Chris Bowen and Jason Clare will all be thinking Gillard has had her turn and it's time to move on.

Of course we love to quote Latham too, but then this is a pond dedicated to loons. Second thoughts, Pearson is equally at home here ...

It's always kindly and done in the right spirit when Club Sensible evokes the turmoil in the Labor party. His evocation of the state of former Chairman Rudd's mind is exemplary, as Club Sensible fleshes out the possibility that Rudd might have been after the Treasury:

Isn't it reasonable to conclude that Rudd believes the mining tax was responsible for his downfall, puts most of the blame on Swan and wants revenge? What form it takes is a work in progress, but seizing the Treasury and humiliating Swan is more in keeping with Rudd's sense of self-worth than settling for foreign affairs.

Um, yes, but with Club Sensible voting into power Tony Abbott, how is Club Sensible also going to satisfy former Chairman Rudd's insatiable demand for the Treasury?

What will jolly Joe Hockey say? Perhaps Club Sensible should offer X-Chairman Rudd the speakership of the house?

Such scenarios may well be delusional, but when has delusion ever stopped Club Sensible from speculating ...

Such a scenario may suggest that Rudd is simply delusional. Be that as it may, there can be no doubt he'd have the power to bring Gillard unstuck if she were somehow to cling on against the odds.

Further evidence of his ambitions came to light on Sunday, when he was reported to have spent Saturday afternoon ringing caucus members to discuss the possibility of a return to the leadership in the event that Labor was defeated.

The parallels he apparently drew were with Robert Menzies in the mid-1940s.

Few who saw Rudd's rambling victory speech televised last Saturday night could have doubted that he thought he was celebrating something momentous.

There are so many red herrings in that little piece of malicious innuendo and common gossip that we could feed Amsterdam for a week on raw herring (with onion and pickle in a roll thank you very much). A rambling speech celebrating something momentous, such as being delusional? And perhaps out of power? And so therefore entitled to Treasury?

Ah well, what's Club Sensible's advice to Julia Gillard, apart from rolling over to Tony Abbott, leaving in a meek and mild and dignified way, unless and except if it changes to hanging around to be ravaged by a delusional Rudd, and unless and except it involves being moved along by the likes of Bill Shorten, not to mention such front and centre key players and powerbrokers as Jason Clare?

She'd be better off concentrating on keeping some semblance of peace within the party.

Move along, hang about, get ravaged, and keep the peace? Well that's bloody easy for Club Sensible to say.

But y0u have to hand it to Club Sensible. It's a bloody magnanimous and condescending club, in its leather and port way, up there with the best of them ...

Few will doubt Gillard was dealt difficult cards and did her best with them, but the rush to the election to capitalise on the novelty factor of a female prime minister was a serious blunder and there were many more in the course of the campaign.

Interestingly, female voters showed little compunction in depriving her of a parliamentary majority.

I'm inclined to see this as evidence of an electorate more sophisticated than it's generally credited with being, and more swayed by issues than personalities.

Indeed. Perhaps the electorate is more sophisticated than might be imagined in the usual way by Club Sensible and commentariat commentators at large.

Which means, if I can work it out in a dialectical way, that Janet Albrechtsen was being tremendously unsophisticated and swayed by matters of personalities when she blathered Let's be honest about Julia's free gender leg-up:

Plenty of women will vote for Gillard because she is a woman. She will hate to admit it. And certainly the emerging media orthodoxy, a handy echo of the Labor line, is that gender will not play a role in the coming election. In fact, to listen to many in the media these past few days, the only voting bias they want to talk about is Tony Abbott trying to play some apparently unfair "family" card by mentioning his family, and, get this, appearing at a Brisbane childcare centre on Monday with his wife, Margie.

Labor women and their media boosters can't have it both ways. They can't support a gender leg-up for women such as Gillard in the form of quotas that helped the Member for Lalor into parliament and then claim that gender is irrelevant in the Gillard equation. If you play the first round using the gender ace card, relying on affirmative action quotas and the like, then gender talk will tend to follow you around. That, Labor ladies, is the price you pay letting the gender genie out of the bottle.

Actually commentariat ladies, that's the price you pay for letting Janet Albrechtsen stray into the Club Sensible tent, and promptly embarrass everyone with her pronouncements.

Yep, here at the pond, we're still brooding about the viciousness of that Albrechtsen spray at Gillard, not so much because of its outrageous bitchiness but because of its sheer arrant stupidity ...

Club Sensible might care to take it up some time with Club Janet. Perhaps they could club each other to death ...

Meanwhile, it's times like these that we like to recommend Gerard Henderson's Media Watch vicious hatchet job on Christopher Pearson Moralist, to show the harmony within the Club Sensible of conservative commentators ...

Oh and should Club Sensible get its wish and Abbott come to power, we'd only be too happy to be carefree about what we might wish for.

Oh to be able to leap forward in time and read his columns from July 1st next year, when the wretched Fielding has retired too pasture, and the Greens and the Labor party control the Senate ...

How did that old Eminem song go?

So this is it...
This is what I wished for
Just isn't how I envisioned it
Fame to the point of imprisonment
I just thought the shit'd be different
But something changed
The minute that I got a whiff of it
I started to inhale it
Smell it
Started sniffin' it
And it became my cocaine
I just couldn't quit
I just wanted a little bit
Then it turned me (in)to a Prime Monster
I became a hypocrite
Parliamentary debate after debate ...

Be careful what you wish for
'Cause you just might get it
And if you get it then you just might not know
What to do wit' it, 'cause it might just
Come back on you ten-fold

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Brendan Darcy and is it time for you to eat your greens as part of a balanced diet?

(Above: eek, Tasmania is full, or so Dick Smith told us).

Today nation we write of a most disturbing shocking and startling secret, a revelation which will shake the commonwealth to its foundation stone (or stones).

The last time Barnaby Joyce posted to The Punch was the 7th June 2010. (articles by Barnaby Joyce). Ever since we've been denied the pearls of wisdom delivered by the battler from the bush.

Worse still those damn independents and greenies who've been voted in by fools, mug liars and dupes, and who think somehow they've got the same rights and entitlements as Barners, have taken to calling him a fool or a piece of 'incredible unfortunateness'. (Key independents berate "fool" Barnaby Joyce).

How incredibly unfortunate. With Wilson Tuckey gone, and Steve Fielding soon to join him, but not before the serial pest makes a last useless stand, hasta la vista baby, no wonder this nation is teetering on a precipice, a cataclysmic disaster, and sweet Barners silenced and helpless to save the nation from its massive debts.

Meanwhile, The Punch has had to scour high and low for a scribbler to demonise the Greens, and luckily they've found Brendan Darcy, one time senior ministerial adviser to Kevin Andrews, such a fine and forceful Minister, who delivers a fine frothing and foaming in The Greens plan for Australia: A big Tasmania.

There's so many things that are appealing about Darcy's piece it's hard to know where to start.

Oh heck, why not where he starts, with Tasmania, gridlocked into genteel poverty by nasty greenies. Odds bodkins, but he fails to mention incest, dribbling idiots and apple eaters, settling instead for its population growth being "historically anaemic for many decades."

Strange, that's not how I remember it in Dick Smith's population puzzle opinion piece. Tasmania was as full as a goog and devouring Australia's resources, no doubt Darcy's ideal outcome for the apple isle. Why I have a dream of Tasmania as the world's new Manhattan, with fine subways criss crossing below the towering apartment blocks and offices, and many excellent art galleries, and once everybody congregates there at world's end, it might well come to pass ...

But of course the real problem is that Bob Brown comes from Tasmania, and if he's not a Satanist, then certainly he's a mix of 'Roussean' primitivism and old fashioned Puritanism, which given his open acknowledgment of his homosexuality, might make anyone with an actual awareness of Puritanism wonder what precise brand of Puritanism it is that Brown embraces.

Memo to Darcy. Capitals mean things. If you want to talk about Puritans, a member of a group of English Protestants who in the 16th and 17th centuries advocated strict religious discipline along with simplification of the ceremonies and creeds of the Church of England, use a capital P. If you want to berate someone for being puritan - one who regards pleasure or luxury as sinful, use lower case, and then please explain the concept of sin in relation to a homosexual atheist.

And while you're at it, please explain what you mean by 'Roussean' primitivism, since it's all too easy to suspect that it's just primitivist shorthand abuse as a substitute for a much more complex and detailed understanding of Rousseau. If I want generalised abuse of Rousseau, Edmund Burke did it much more elegantly, and with considerably more wit and knowledge, along with an equal amount of error. Perhaps the Rousseau wiki might help you out.

Let's not dally too long with Darcy's whale lover and Gaia and mystical nonsense abuse - that's only par for the course, let's instead get down to Darcy's political proposals:

The Greens are also concerned about what we eat, where it comes from and how we commute. This political party are desperate to make us feel guilty about it and to regulate our behaviours; hence the Greens’ policies to levy junk food, ban GM foods, to roll out electric cars that no one wants and to introduce ‘traffic light’ food labelling.

By which we can deduce that Darcy wants us all to choke on the vomit induced by force feeding ourselves crappy hamburgers, embrace chemicals and anti-biotics in our food, and roll out V8's and 4WD's until we use up every last drop of oil on the planet, and while we're at it, have a complete absence of food labelling so we don't have a fucking clue about what's going down our throats.

It's at that point that you begin to wonder exactly what point Darcy is making. Is it that coeliacs shouldn't know what's in food, by way of labelling, and instead of an amber or a red light, they should just tuck in, and then present themselves at the nearest emergency ward a couple of hours later, praising Darcy for the joys of traffic light free food labelling?

Don't know about coeliac disease? Try living with a sufferer, and see how you feel about Darcy's profoundly insensitive stupidity ...

Sure, there's a lot of gluten free wankers out there, but that's surely better than being a Darcy style brain dead wanker ... because, you see, food labelling, wherein you discover what is in the stuff you eat, in other words, information, isn't something to be demonised unless you happen to be a gherkin or someone fellow travelling with big players who think the pigs should just put their snouts in the trough and be silent ...

Let's skip over John Howard and Bob Brown valiantly battled together to save Tasmanian old growth forests, and were defeated by socialist Greens, since you can buy a copy of fairy stories to your taste at any major bookseller, not the independents long ago forced out of business, and just be quiet and drink your gluten-free wheat juice - so that we can get to the nub of the matter:

The electorate knows what is buying when it votes for the major parties. Their respective platforms are mercilessly blowtorched by a skeptical media.

Um, so what did we find out in relation to the matter of climate change from the skeptical, or even a sceptical, media? Why, either (1) that climate change is crap, but can easily be sorted by an army of 15,000 people doing useless cheap make work schemes, or (2) climate change is real, but needs 150 good and true citizens to gaze at their navels and work out what to do, since politicians are incapable of doing it.

Was it just coincidence that right at that moment my eye slid across the page to pick up this twittering tweet?

Join the club The Punch, by running a standard hatchet job on the Greens which only in the most indirect way acknowledges that climate change might be of concern to some.

How to solve this? Here's the solution for a brain dead media ...

Remember how they loved Susan Greenfield, because she's a baroness, and Monckton because he's a Viscount? Well now there's an actual Lord, one Lord Julian Hunt, scribbling Pakistan's lesson on global warming. Surely if he's a Lord, never mind the science, we should all pay attention?

This trend is fuelled by global warming and potentially by any intensification and alteration of the El Nino-La Nino cycle. To understand the reasons global warming is playing a role, look at the main climatic trends in south Asia. In addition to more extreme rainfall, there is also a reduction of ice over the Tibetan plateau and changing precipitation patterns, with less snow at higher levels, plus more rapid run-off from mountains.

How does climate change help explain this? First, the warming in temperatures leads to less snow. Second, the less stable atmosphere causes deeper convection and intense rainfall. The less stable atmosphere also leads to more airflow over mountains and less lateral deviation - so that the monsoon winds and precipitation can be higher in north-western India and Pakistan and weaker in the north-east.

Sorry, I got distracted there for a moment. The good Lord thinks there might be a little problem confronting the world, never mind the current 20 million made homeless in Pakistan by the flooding:

Given the stakes, not least because of the sizeable proportion of the world population affected, these issues need urgent study and also preparations on the ground by the affected countries. Unless this happens, including better flood-warning systems and water-management infrastructure put in place, societies and governments in the region will be unable to respond to the devastating combination of changing environmental stresses, growing population and geopolitical instability.

Naturally Darcy is seriously alarmed as well, and so gets down to the nitty gritty of the dangers of Greens policies:

Everyone should know the Greens want to close down zoos and increase the corporate and personal tax rates. Everyone should know they want to take State aid money from non-government schools, close down our mainstream immigration program and aim to reintroduce death duties.

Take money away from Scientology and Exclusive Brethren schools? Tax the rich? Steady Darcy, they don't need you proselytising for them, making their policies sound wise and sensible ...

That these policies are not widely known reflects poorly on contemporary journalism.

No longer an environmentalist movement, the Australian Greens is a political vehicle for ambitious wreckers.

The most effective tools of Green politics include middle class angst and hyperbolic catastrophism. The wealthiest, most educated parts of our inner city suburbs are especially vulnerable to this contemporary campaign of guilt-ridden millenarianism – exactly where the Greens’ polled best in 2010.

Yes, and don't forget that British Lords are also part of inner city gluten-free elite guilt-ridden by millenarianism. Shame on you British Lord, it's only 20 million people in Pakistan, which by current conversion rates amounts to perhaps twenty people caught in a flood in Australia ...

Meanwhile, Darcy continues to amaze and impress with the force of his logic. His best line of attack is that the Greens show a reverence for the natural world, and therefore deserve contempt for their mystical mumbo jumbo, but the mainstream parties also show a reverence for the natural world, and therefore deserve lashings of praise for their restrained, sensible Gaia love.

No contradiction is intended, for Darcy is bigger than Walt Whitman in his capacity for embracing contradiction and producing a profound synthesis:

I am shocked by how many Liberals and Labor campaigners are too afraid to attack the wrecking ball Greens, as if embarrassed by their own perceived lack of reverence for the natural world.

The truth is both the Labor and Liberal Parties have their own long positive narratives about environmental protection.

You see! Labor and Liberal are as reverent as the Greens, and surely therefore as deserving of Darcy's contempt? No way, Jose, because Gaia worship done the right way is good Gaia worship:

Think of the role Labor played in stopping the Franklin River dam and the Antarctic Treaty to halt the exploitation of its natural resources.

For the Liberals, Malcolm Fraser stopped sand mining on Fraser Island as well as whaling; Howard increased the marine protection areas of the Great Barrier Reef from 5 to 33 per cent; and Kennett stopped the destructive practice of scallop dredging in Victoria.

Stop it, stop it, I love the Gaia loving ways of the big parties.

I say to Labor and Liberal supporters: the Greens have no right to bully you! Stop apologising!

Yes, climate change is crap, yes we only need an army of workers to march out and do battle with it, yes 150 citizens putting on their thinking caps will sort it out. Why on earth apologise for that!

Now how about a bit of meaningless blather. I love a bit of blather in the morning:

Real policy wonks know environmental management is about balance, off-sets and evidence based science, not to the exclusion of human interaction, for material, recreational and health benefits. Real policy wonks don’t pretend there are no losers. Real policy wonks don’t promise 100 per cent renewable energy.

Yes, that's hard edged cutting edge wonky policy mean machine stuff, no doubt why they promised 150 thinking citizens and an army of 15,000 marching out to catch carbon in their butterfly nets ...

Now in a bipartisan way, let's hear it for the biggies ...

Economic management and national security are at the core of public expectations for our mainstream political parties. The parties that can manage our economy and our security concerns are not surprisingly the best to manage our environmental assets.

Yes, yes, no point in being independent, just tug the forelock and fall into line, since if Napoleon doesn't know best, then surely Farmer Jones does, and if they just sit down over an evening meal, once the riotous animals and their recent electoral indiscretions are put aside, everything can be worked out in a way that's best for ... Napoleon and Farmer Jones ...

But wait, Darcy has one last blinding insight:

As a first step, Australians need to remind themselves the Greens are just politicians and should be treated accordingly.

Is that why some people voted for them? Because they're just politicians and so should be treated accordingly, rewarded with a vote if you happen to agree with their policies, or perhaps just because you hate useless Toorak tractors ... and dumb scribbling by the likes of Darcy ...

Well here at the pond, we actually don't follow any party line, Liberal, Labor, Barnaby Joyce, or the Greens - since all by definition as politicians are honorary loons on the pond - but when we see someone like Darcy desperately scribbling away in a bid to demonise the Greens, it's easy to see just how inept the big parties and their political hacks are in dealing with the thought processes required by modern politics, and how it's likely Greens and independents will go on picking off seats so long as this is the best level of debate that can be put forward ...

(Below: eek, Tasmania isn't just full, it's devouring all our resources. Bob Brown, you fraudster you).

The Punch, Dennis Shanahan, and all the news that's fit to print from Murdoch land ...

(Above: forget the election result, it's back to the future with vinyl).

It's official. The election crisis is over. We can all get back to our daily business, our daily grind, our daily bliss, our daily bread, our daily whatever.

But how did I know? Did I poke my finger into chicken entrails? Look at tea leaves? Lose my mind and listen to Kyle Sandilands?

No, it's so much easier than that, because I went off to The Punch, Australia's most distracting, irrelevant conversation ...

Oh sure, there's Leo Shanahan at the top wondering What could Abbott be thinking?, but he's balanced by Joe Hildebrand trying to be funny in Revealed! The secret Bob and Julia tapes ...

Here's the closing patented Hildebrand punch line:

BOB: Those Mount Isa chicks. They could frighten the back end of a horse.

Groan. Next please. Those Punch scribblers, they could frighten the back end of a horse, and then pick up the result and fling around the pats as a kind of comedy routine ...

Then we get to the real meat. There's good old Dennis Atkins, proving his time in Adelaide on the Sunday Mail sleeping through movies comes in really handy when you want to prove that Nick Hornby is just a surface skimming poseur ponce, as he gets down and dirty with Quality vinyl: the top 25 side one track ones of all time.

Illustrated, as usual, by three YouTube clips, proving that all that talk of intellectual property rights in Murdoch land is just a blogger dream. Thanks to Chairman Rupert, we can all go on quoting our favourite songs and movies and still images until the cows come home ... All in the cause of fair comment and academic research of course ...

But if rarefied baby boomer referentialism in regard to vinyl isn' your thing, why there's Julia Thornton brooding about When it comes to women's fashion, size does matter ... and if you want to feel the real depths, why it's all rounded out by Miranda Ryan's shameful confession that she watches Neighbours, and likes it, in True confessions of a Neighours addict ...

It's okay sweetie, I'm a Rupert Murdoch addict, and the junk is sweeter tasting and with more kick than a horse's rear end or crack ...

Hey ho, feeling the need for astute political comment, we toddled off to Dennis Shanahan in The Australian, the dead heart of the nation, and in Forget three amigos, let's go back to polls, Dennis the menace confirms what we all suspected all along here at the pond.

You dumb Australian voters, you got it all wrong. It's F for you lot, which you can either take as F for epic Fail, or for F for fuckwits. You will now be detained after class at Mr. Shanahan's leisure and vote again and again and again until you get it right, which is of course to vote in Mr. Shahahan's preferred choice, a Tony Abbott government.

Alternatively, you can simply delegate your vote to Mr. Shanahan and he'll organise matters quickly and efficiently ...

That's the trouble with pesky democracy and these pesky bloody voters and all this sanctimonious nonsense about the people speaking and the people getting it right all the time in their infinite wisdom. What a bunch of bloody nongs, what a useless result, what a hopeless outcome.

The only man worth his salt is of course doing the decent thing, standing up against this wretched flood of independents foolishly claiming a mandate as if somehow a few voters might have thought Tony Abbott was a little on the nose:

Abbott's refusal last night to pander to the demand of the three independents to break the caretaker convention is right but will be used against him by an increasingly desperate government.

You see! Now let's all join in a verse of The Night they Drove Old Tony Down ...

The prospect looms of a minority Labor-Greens coalition government facing just as much obstruction and difficulty in parliament as a Liberal-Nationals Coalition government.

That's as opposed to a Labour government confronting a Senate where the Liberals found a natural ally in stampeding stomping slavering Steve Fielding.

It seems we now must - as a result of the unrelieved stupidity of Australian voters failing to heed Mr Shanahan - endure the worst of all worlds:

Indeed, a Labor government in formal partnership with the Greens in the House of Representatives facing a Greens-controlled Senate and the most successful opposition leader in Australia's history would be forced to face votes on troops in Afghanistan, another mining tax and a carbon price.

What a dire, hideous, predicament, and it's all the fault of Australian voters. Hang your head in shame you lot. Why it's getting worse than what Sol Trujillo and his three amigos did to Telstra, and we've already had a full astonishing five days of discussion, negotiation and contemplation, and the results not decided, and yet the fix is in, such is the devastating impact of devastatingly stupid Australian voters, and no wonder why Dennis stamping his foot and irate and suffering along with Tony Abbott, who never suffered fools gladly and now has to chatter to these insane rural gadflys as they babble about broadband, as if he was some kind of tech head or something:

The demands and claims from the cross benches -- the sitting MPs Tony Windsor, Rob Oakeshott and Bob Katter, as well as the incoming Green Adam Bandt and the truly non-aligned Andrew Wilkie -- are becoming more obscure and contradictory with every day spent in the limelight. The independents declared for days that their core aim was stable, long-term government but it now appears one of the real options of the three amigos is simply to refuse to support Labor or the Coalition and force another election. So much for stability.

Five full bloody days and no stability and no long term government by Tony Abbott, and they call this a bloody democracy! Back to the bloody polls, you F lot, we're jack of it.

Worse still, the puny minded electorate don't seem to realise that the UN might be involved, the black helicopters are certainly circling, and nefarious international funding - say no more, nudge nudge, wink wind, a nod is as good as a wink to a paranoid - is likely to ruin the sweet reasonableness of Australian democracy:

Bandt, as the first Greens MP elected at a federal election after taking Labor's seat of Melbourne and denying the party's legitimacy, has declared he's prepared to go into coalition with Labor to ensure they stay in power. Bandt is a member of a party that has a worldwide movement, a national structure, funding from overseas and a platform opposed to much of Labor's election policy. So much for it being safe for Labor voters to turn Green.

Et tu internationally funded greenies, denying the will of the people to vote Tony Abbott into power if only they'd been smart enough to understand that Shanahan's will is their will!

Windsor, Oakeshott and Katter are turning themselves inside out to accommodate having the power to decide who forms government and spruiking a new independent political "paradigm" while squeezing both sides for old-paradigm concessions based on power.

Dear me, it's all ruined, and it's all the fault of those wretched Australian voters and their perfidious ways. It's just another rort, utterly unknown in Australia until these last few days has finally introduced us to the concept of pork barreling. Who'd have thought such a quaint political Tammany Hall tradition would turn up in sweet old Oz, as we all know sand bagging only refers to ways to prevent vicious floods affecting susceptible electorates prone to flooding.

Now I hear that the 2 billion dollar Epping to Parramatta railway is being shifted up north to run from Tamworth to Werris Creek ...

I think it's time to end it all.

Hang on, second thoughts, thanks to the inspiration and fearless leadership of Chairman Rupert, I think I'll embed a video clip, so we can all sing along to a verse of The Night They Drove Old Tony Down, and coincidentally and beneficially drive Dennis Atkins a little further around the vinyl twist by running track 3, not track 1, from the album!

Pond devotees are invited to scribble their top 25 track 3 vinyl favourites, but please do it in the piracy of your home, and don't let anyone know you're doing it ...