Thursday, June 30, 2011

Bolshie And Bitchy

THE warm and caring, non-sexist Left. And the young victim's eloquent reply.

... of course if you're a conservative woman who's attractive it just must mean you "don't have a brain cell" and that you're a "tart". This is how the left think. Nevermind that Natalie (the girl in question) got elected by her peers as the  Vice-President of the University of Queensland Student Union. That she got into law-psych, a very competative field. That she has a brilliant record of political organisation. She's a conservative woman so she's apparently fair game for attack as "dumb"...

Bats, Beer And The Decline Of The West

A FREQUENT guest at the Billabong, a lady who would incline somewhat to the left if she cared enough to orient herself, observed the other day that the Professor is “basically a grumpy old fart.” She was making breakfast at the time and had the good grace to look up from the frying pan and flash an indulgent smile, so there was no perception of malice in the comment. Indeed, given that her host was picking through the Phage and Silly at the time, harrumphing with disgust and disbelief at the distorted prism through which those websites’ prefer to view the news of the day, she probably had a point. Our PM is a filthy liar! Hmmm. They care more about cows than pensioners! Urrgh.  Gillard is looking like an escapee from Madame Tussauds! Erk. Bob Brown will do to the economy what he did to Jimi Hendrix! Sheesh. There are few things that are not taking turns for the worse, it’s true, but it must be tiresome to hear that fact noted every 15 seconds or so.

And yet, how can one remain silent when the forces of what is laughably called progress persist in wrecking everything – even something so apparently innocuous as Yarra Bend Golf Course, where the Professor played for the first time in a decade on Wednesday? For those not interested in the Scottish torment, a golf course is a golf course is a golf course. Such ignorance! With its hard and fast rules, against which there is no appeal, golf is a game of absolutes. You move the ball, you add a stroke. No wiggle room there whatsoever. Fortunately the sport’s guardians have never been infiltrated by social engineers, so that principle is unlikely to change.

As to Yarra Bend, however, it is too late to save that particular venue from the meddling of nannies, greens and municipal planners, who simply will not leave well enough alone.

Start with the bats or, more correctly, the grey-headed flying foxes infesting what used to be the third hole. Back in the Seventies, the picturesque par-3 beside the Yarra was known as Bellbird Corner, and it was a delight. You teed off across a small, steep valley to an elevated green, and you did so in those days to the delightful accompaniment of the little birds who gave the hole its name. Then, in the Eighties, a few flying foxes came down from the north and took up residence in the Botanical Gardens, where they were first regarded as a precious novelty. Melbourne is, or was, at the extreme southern edge of the bats’ range, so they were seldom seen in these parts. Every few decades a few would turn up, get by for a while and then vanish, cold winters and the north-wind heat of summer being too much for the creatures, which generally prefer things moist and humid. But suburbia’s tasty gardens and a spell of warmish weather persuaded that wave of invaders to endure the privations and linger, which they have done with the active assistance of wildlife authorities. Within a few years they were doing immeasurable damage to the Gardens, so many highly paid environmental consultants were engaged to do something about it.

The sensible thing would have been to shoot, gas, club or poison the screaming, crapping pests, but that would have been too simple, especially as the conservationists’ perverse logic kicked in: As flying foxes don’t really belong in Melbourne, their numbers were small. Therefore they are “locally endangered” and every effort must be made to make their latest southern incursion a permanent success. So the colony was moved, at considerable expense, to Yarra Bend, which thousands now call home. They drove off the bellbirds in short order and have done gross damage to the trees in the small and overpopulated pocket of bush in which state-paid naturalists seek to confine them. Of an evening, they pour out to pillage gardens and carpet bomb homes in adjoining suburbs with a rain of poo. The third hole – sorry, what used to be the third hole before town planners altered the course – is now an ugly, blighted landscape of skeletal eucalypts, constant shrieking, and during summer it stinks like a Greens armpit, according to those who play the course often.

It gets worse. Having established themselves in Melbourne, flying foxes are now appearing in Tasmania. And, once again, local conservationists profess nothing but delight. One wonders if that joy will be quite so robust when the first cases of Hendra virus are reported.

Enough with bats and bellbirds. Now consider Yarra Bend’s flora. Planted at a time when oaks, elms, cypress and poplars were regarded simply as handsome trees, not sylvan imperialists to be shunned by lovers of native vegetation, the fairway verges were once a very interesting mix. Now, however, in an age when green officialdom regaqrds “exotic” trees as large and noxious weeds, almost all the foreign species have been rooted out. Yarra Bend is now a eucalypt domain, which has considerably diminished its visual charms.  For golfers it is a double curse. Old World trees permit very little grass to grow beneath their sun-blocking foliage. Eucalypts do the opposite, further complicating the hunt for a misdirected ball by littering the ground with dropped bark and limbs.

If exotic trees are doing it hard, they are considerably more fortunate than the cheerful ladies in the pie shop, who have been driven off forever. They were a happy crew – happy to serve a can of beer or something stiffer, they always kept the pie warmer full and the bain marie stocked with chicken cutlets, hot sandwiches and the like. But at some point – and this is only an educated guess – an official appears to have decided that golf is a healthy endeavour and, therefore, no alcohol should be sold. You can still get a drink on weekends, apparently, but during the week not a drop.

Yes, this post is the litany of a grumpy old fart’s laments, and it may seem faintly ridiculous to be fuming about bats, trees and beer ladies when there are so many bigger issues to consider. That said, when officialdom is serving up fowl manure and telling you it’s chicken salad, the only appropriate reaction should be anger.

In small ways the bastards ruin small things. Give them the chance and, as Gillard is proving, they will ruin the big things too.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

MIssing Link

MAJOR connectivity issues at the Billabong this morning, which is perhaps a blessing, as it means all thoughts of blogging can be set aside for the celebration of a glorious winter day in Melbourne.

After golf it may be possible to load the Google homepage in less than three minutes, which has not been the case so far. Pity, too, because Jo Chandler of the the Phage is manifesting disgust at her paper's decision to publish sceptic Bob Carter's thoughts on Monday.

Apologies for the lack of a link, but trying to open another page would be too much of a gamble.

LATE-AFTERNOON UPDATE: Here's a tip to keep your computer happy and speed those bytes and wotnots down the wire: When you have finished a nice feed of streaky bacon, googs, toast, jam and tea, do not place the empty brekkie plate on top of the router. This blocks the ventilation holes and leads to overheating, slow performance and many hasty words about the slackards at the ISP.

The plate has been washed, the router cooled and the Billabong is once again part of the 21st century.

As to the afternoon's expedition to Yarra Bend, 98 for 18 holes. Not bad for a duffer, but even allowing for several magnificent drives and a 25-metre putt to claim the 17th, it was not an altogether happy day. More on this after dinner, which definitely will not conclude with another plate being left on the router.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Voles Also Not Safe

AN old joke about the New York Times' editorial fixations imagines that paper’s front page headline on the day the world ends: New York Destroyed By Nuclear Bomb – Women, Minorities Hardest Hit

Things are just a little different at the Silly, where sequential tweets from green guru (and environmental editor) Ben Cubby reflect sympathy's new priorities.

Climate change, of course.

Baillieu Biffo?

WHILE all sensible Victorians were delighted last year to see the hindquarters of John Brumby, there has nevertheless been quite a bit of muttering in certain circles about the man who replaced him, Ted Baillieu. Not doing much and not doing it fast enough, that has been the complaint about Victoria’s new premier, who seems determined never to be mistaken for Jeff Kennett or any other exponent of the bold stroke. The voters want a sedate, make-no-waves government, critics are assured, one disinclined to spinning, stunts or sudden moves. Be patient, the line goes, we’re going to do this with small steps.

Some steps are little larger than others, however – and one of them is a very big leap indeed: the apparent defunding of Environment Victoria, an NGO that has been on the public teat through four decades of advocacy, lobbying and political activism. The Victorian National Parks Association, another mob of perpetually agitated greenards, is also being starved. And if what the Professor hears is true, the only thing stopping the immediate cessation of all funding to each organization is the tangled mass of grants and ongoing project payments, which Spring Street accountants are said to be still trying to sort out. Meanwhile, the bleating has started:

For over 40 years we’ve received funding from successive state governments to train and educate community leaders to engage in government environmental planning and decisions. And we receive funds to help the most disadvantaged Victorians, including newly arrived refugees, save water and energy. Our campaigns are not funded by the state nor are our core expenses such as rent and administration. So if we lose state funds, it’s our environment and the most disadvantaged amongst us who will bear the brunt!

Notice the dishonesty? Environment Victoria would have us believe that money is not fungible, that government funds earmarked for one matter do not free up cash for  organising rallies, hiring more propagandists, letter-writing campaigns and such.

They are going to scream green murder as the pipeline shuts down, so Big Ted’s backbone will be tested when the group’s PR unit begins a parade of tree-loving boat people for the newsroom stenographers at the Phage and ABC. For a premier who has eschewed confrontation, it could be an uncomfortable time. If so, he can draw strength from this piece by Michael Connor of Quadrant, who wonders why conservative parties habitually fund their sworn enemies. Connor is writing of the arts crowd, not greenards, but his broader point stands.

Let us hope that Baillieu discovers a formerly unrecognised talent for putting the boot in. There are plenty of other, publicly funded front groups in need of a good stomping.

Secret Code

THE Phage (of all publications!!!) has added to warmists' woes by publishing an article by noted sceptic Bob Carter -- an editorial decision that appears to have at least one in-house green seeing red.

Go to Carter's column and let your cursor linger over the little blue Tweet button in the top left corner of the page. Then have a squiz at the coding which appears in the navigation footer at the bottom of your browser, where you will find the author described as "climate change denialist Bob Carter".

An optimist might be tempted to see Carter's column an indication that someone at the Phage is attempting to mend the newspaper's ways. If so, that brave individual is in for a heck of a fight.

Monday, June 27, 2011

You Don't Say

IT happens to all sane people. You will be at a social function or even a family gathering, for we cannot choose our relatives, when your interlocutor, someone with whom you may not agree but who has seemed until then reasonably rational, quite suddenly says something so staggeringly unhinged that it requires a genuine effort not to gasp. This is not just a predilection of leftoid types, for the remark that strikes like a slap can come from any quarter. It might be, say, global warming that is the topic, and all parties will be sipping drinks and agreeing that it is a con and a scam, and that the only beneficiaries will be brokers, bankers and taxmen. Then it comes, the shocker. Did you know, the envoy from another planet will ask, that the entire climate change swindle is masterminded by the Duke of Edinburgh, who is also the world’s biggest drug dealer? You make excuses and sidle away, perhaps even attaching yourself to a knot of astrology women, bicycle fetishists or folks who profess to believe that “Julia” really does have something to offer and can still restore her standing in the polls. Almost as mad, it’s true, but the left’s lunacies most often have the benefit of familiarity, so experience tells you not to be swallowing liquid when the big, dumb moment comes, as it inevitably does.

There is no protection from the involuntary nasal spray – not today, anyway -- at The Failed Estate, the blog of a former journalist, Mr Denmore, who cants very heavily to port. Quite a good writer and source of sometimes original thinking, Denmore’s site is worth the irregular visit, and his latest post seemed for the first few paragraphs to have justified the click. It is about university journalism courses and how all those youngsters, thousands of them, are signing up with no real hope of landing jobs in a diseased and dying industry. This might have been the springboard for all sorts of commentary – the observation, perhaps, that the kids now swotting their settled climate science will be even more hard-pressed to land gigs, given how quickly the CO2 is going out of that little bubble.

But Denmore’s point is about the business he has left, and he encourages hopes of meaty thoughts by noting the Himalayan decline of Fairfax stock and why News Ltd shareholders have nothing to dance about either. Fair enough and all very well and good – until he outlines his vision of a transformed media landscape. Put down your drinks, keep a straight face and heed the cure for modern media ills:

Given the total saturation of our commercial airwaves by right-wing shockjocks and shouters, it seems hard to believe there is no room for a progressive news-based network in this country. Perhaps Eric Beecher should buy the Fairfax network and fashion a radio version of Crikey?

Can you imagine what 3AW would sound like with the Crikey! crew behind the microphones? Jeremy Sear for brekkie, Guy Rundle for lunch and a long, long snooze in the afternoon with Margaret Simons. And at night, what about the Lavatoreous Prods giving “informed commentary on news and public issues”?

No mention of the Duke of Edinburgh, it’s true, but the company of astrology women suddenly seems quite inviting – especially when you get to the thread's comments, where there is universal agreement that the ABC, raped and perverted by John Howard & Co., is now just another corporatist mouthpiece of the evil right. (sample comment: “I agree re Crikey radio. I also think Crikey TV is quite feasible, once the NBN is built, which is why Rupert was trying to demolish it”).

It is not just that some people have strange opinions, it is that they somehow contrive to manufacture goals and business plans from the whole cloth of favoured fantasies. As the carbon tax and it's rejection demonstrates, that will always be the shocking bit.

Drive Time with Guy Rundle indeed!

Ein Volk, Zwei Standards

AT the newsagent's this morning, the latest Australian edition of The New Internationalist made an arresting sight. Expect Fairfax opinionists, renowned for their consistency in the matter of Nazi allusions,  to be up in arms and out on the streets (even sooner than their employer's declining fortunes will put them there.)

Viscount Monckton was not available for comment.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Peter Principle (also applies to dim bloggers)

TWO paragraphs of meandering twaddle lead Shaun Carney to this observation:

The key point is that so much contemporary political conduct, debate and reportage now seems to be committed to avoiding substance.

No kidding!

RED-FACED ADMISSION: As originally posted, this item cited Peter Hartcher as the author, whose twaddle is smewhat different. Apologies to Mr Hartcher

The Cats Have Been Neutered...

...and their owner should be.

Die Grüne Bierhalle

THERE are many amusing things about the climate change movement, from adherents’ inclination to fret about hermaphrodism in water fleas to the increasingly desperate efforts of its Australian operatives to persuade fellow citizens that higher taxes are a source of much pride, great joy and no pain. Advanced by advocates who earn too little to be of interest to the ATO or, more often, by those who can afford the services of sharp accountants, that proposition has proven so difficult to sell that any distraction from the ruptured narrative is these days welcomed by warmists with open arms. A week or two back, the sideshow du jour were those death threats that weren’t. Now, the dogs having barked, the catastrophist caravan has moved on to the next illusory oasis, which this week happens to be the visiting Viscount Monckton’s observation that many alarmists would have felt very much at home in a Munich beer hall, circa 1922 or so.

The Silly, as you would expect of an organisation staffed by quality journalists, has been particularly active over the past few days in dismissing Monckton as a nutter. Indeed, Jacqueline Maley – whose thin-lipped mugshot suggests either bad teeth or a gridlocked bowel --  was at it again on Saturday morning.

During a speech in the US, he exhibited projector slides of the Nazi flag, possibly even using one of those laser pointery things to emphasise his case — which was that Professor Ross Garnaut, the government's key climate change adviser, is akin to a Nazi.
He even chucked in a German accent and an hilarious "Heil Hitler" to bring the point home.
It's all stuff that never fails to win over a crowd.

This is Fairfax, of course, which has adopted the novel policy of selling newspapers by all but giving them away, so Maley’s summation of Monckton’s address is an extraordinary curiosity. While just about any coffee drinker, ferry rider, hotel guest, university student or gym patron can count on a free copy of her newspaper, Maley demonstrates a miserly attitude toward the distribution of what, from any company not staffed by quality journalists, might be considered relevant information -- Monckton’s address.

Making her omission doubly curious is the snatch of audio preceding the web version of Maley’s little article – an unfiltered, unquestioned PM asserting that, when she said there would be no carbon tax, that pledge was not at odds with her post-election drive to introduce one.

Of Monckton’s speech, however, not a direct quotation nor link. Doubling the mystery is the fact that the speech, all 60 minutes-or-so of it, is readily available, as a curious taxpayer or even a non-quality journalist might have discovered with minimal effort. Click here to view the presentation and, if you are late for a dental appointment or an assignation with a high colonic irrigator, skip to the 50-minute mark for the comments and slide show at the centre of all the fuss.

Just to set things up, Monckton begins the sequence with a quote from the Austrian Corporal’s Mein Kampf: “There will be no body of representatives which makes its decisions through majority vote.” After that comes a selection of authoritarian reveries from various greenshirts, Garnaut amongst them, starting with a statement from something called the Scientific Advisory Council on Global Environmental Change. Perhaps appropriately, it is a German panel and it has been blitzing Chancellor Angela Merkel with some unsettling suggestions, amongst them:

The people must accept the absolute pre-eminence of sustainability and must surrender their own wishes. The guarantor of this virtual contract is the directing State.*

The next Monckton quote is sourced to the University of Adelaide’s  Professor David Shearman, who has also advised the IPCC:

Specially trained philosopher-ecologists will either rule themselves or advise an authoritarian government of policies based on their ecological training and philosophical sensitivities.

Those interested in Shearman’s deeper thoughts about what is good for the shallow rest of us can find more on page 134 of his book,  The Climate Change Challenge And The Failure Of Democracy. If that whets your appetite, also see this post at Haunting The Library, where there is a further exploration of Shearman’s hope that a cadre of “eco-warriors” will be raised and indoctrinated from childhood to lead the crusade against the carbon curse. This will be needed, apparently, because humanity is an “eco-tumour” best excised by some ebola-type virus capable of carrying off 90% of us. Almost as distressing, as Haunting The Library reports, is the fact that Shearman’s co-authored book was underwritten in part by “the South Australian Government through Arts South Australia.”

As his penultimate quote, Monckton finally gets to the Garnaut utterance, the one that set Maley to such a fit of chortling:
The outsider to climate science has no rational choice but to accept that, on a balance of probabilities, the mainstream science is right in pointing to high risks from unmitigated climate change.

Monckton then notes how Garnaut’s view is an affirmation of the view that little people must “accept authority without question, which is a fascist point of view.”

Doesn’t seem too much of a stretch – unless you happen to be churning out quality journalism for a paper, like the Silly, opposed to too much information.

*NOTE: Linguists might quibble about Monckton’s translation, but it seems a fair rendering of the relevant passage, found at the foot of the right column on page eight of the Council’s report, released in March, 2011.

“Die Weltbürgerschaft stimmt Innovationserwartungen zu, die normativ an das Nachhaltigkeitspostulat gebunden sind, und gibt dafür spontane Beharrungswünsche auf. Garant dieses virtuellen Vertrages ist ein gestaltender Staat, der für die Zustimmung zu Nachhaltigkeitszielen die Bürgerschaft an den zu treffenden Entscheidungen beteiligt.”

Readers who feel they can do a better job are invited to post their favoured translations as comments.

The Occidental Tourist

CONGRATULATIONS to Phage environment reporter Adam Morton, who will be enlarging his carbon footprint very shortly by jetting off to Europe as the latest recipient of the EU-Qantas Journalist Award. Adam plans to gather all the facts on carbon trading, and to do so as only a fair, impartial and non-aligned journalist can – you know, the sort without a barrow to push

"The claim is frequently made that Australia is 'going it alone' in pricing carbon," Adam said upon being notified of his triumph.  "This suggests the EU emissions trading scheme remains poorly understood both at the political level and by the broader public."

When Adam returns we can expect lots more quality journalism detailing rapidly evolving scams, rorted taxes and organised carbon crime. The authors of this Europol report, for example, might make for an interesting interview, particularly the individual who penned this scenario:

The agreement reached at the 2009 Copenhagen summit on climate change (COP15) is viewed as a bargain based on shifting national priorities. As a result, there is little will at central government level to exceed the minimum expectations set. Measures to reduce emissions are driven by the prospect of profit rather than by climate change concerns: “cap and trade” gains strength because of an already established trade in carbon credits and a market for Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS); in the absence of requisite regulation, this is accompanied by an increase in Emissions Trade Fraud (ETF).

There are many pleasant spots in Europe, where the Professor has spent quite a bit of time. Indeed, it was only the other day that the sight of a mobile revenue camera near Sale prompted thoughts of taking off to Austria, attending the opera, eating a cream cake, renting a Mercedes and, just for the fun of it, flying like crap from a catapult along the largely unregulated AutoBahns.

When the time comes to make those bookings, the travel agent will be advised that Bunyip bottoms no longer sit comfortably on Qantas seats. Readers planning similar trips might consider doing likewise. 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Gone Bush

THE road leads back to an ailing friend's milking shed, so there will be few posts -- and, quite possibly, none whatsoever -- over the next week or so. All going well, the posting pipeline will be uncrimped by Sunday.

Mull This

THERE ARE a few, just a few, positives to the dull business of running down life’s clock. Plenty of time for weekday golf, that is one of them, as is the barber’s unsolicited offer of a senior’s discount. And the right to review memories of an earlier life without guilt or shudders of remorse -- that certainly needs to be mentioned because it is by far the brightest candle on an otherwise grey and unpalatable cake.

At a distance of years and decades, memory has the decency to present the missteps of long ago in the merciful third person. Yes, it really was a young Professor who went over the back fence as the Drug Squad came in the front door, but those two hours spent cowering in a neighbour’s outhouse bring a smile these days, not the cold shivers of terror which made that summer afternoon so memorable. The winces of later life spring not from the knowledge of a career and reputation jeopardized, nor even the sound of a co-cultivator getting a good and vigorous slapping from one of Detective Inspector Kyte-Powell’s prohibition agents . If there is sadness, it is prompted only by thoughts of a primo crop being uprooted just as it was heading. What a lovely ketch those profits would have bought! What a crew of bare-breasted hippy nymphs might have decorated the cockpit on that planned voyage to Tahiti and beyond.

And guilt? Well, there was none then and less now. Had it been a meth lab in the back yard, that would today be a source of shame. But a quarter hundredweight-or-so of finest Fitzroy buds, there was no harm in that, other than that which the herb’s purchasers would have shouldered knowingly and entirely of their own accord. It was apparent then, and moreso now, that there is a fundamental injustice in denying individuals the right to make of their lives what they will, even if it be nothing more than wreckage. And illegal drugs, they do have their benefits. There is a definite streak of truth, for example, in the old saw that many libertarian conservatives began their journeys to enlightenment not with Hayek in hand but with a bong.

Older gentlemen, even those who shoot under 100, are entitled to their reveries, but this post is no mere trip down memory lane. Rather, it is a word of encouragement for a young fellow who has had a dreadful start in life and whose fortunes, he must surely be telling himself, last year took a disastrous turn. His name is Rory O’Gorman, who dropped from Lee Rhiannon’s loins some 32 years ago and was last year incarcerated after being lumbered in his Bondi home with 7 kilograms of dope and $120,000 in cash.

Let us not be too hard on the lad, who may well be his family’s redeemer. Three generations of his antecedents have looked to Marx and central planning for a better world, but not Rhiannon’s little lad. Somehow, in that multi-generational tangle of bright Red bloodlines, a little wisp of entrepreneurial DNA survived all those renditions of the Internationale, eventually to blossom. Rory’s mad mum raves about government as the source of good, and she dreams of the day when even greater levels of legislated coercion will be available to keep the proles in a state of officially approved happiness. Rory -- and may the Great Bunyip bless him for this – saw a market opportunity and took it.

Hope springs eternal because, where profit and personal betterment are concerned, it really is eternal.

(*Do click the link and scan to page 30, where you will find a quaint summation of drug abuse in Victoria, circa 1970. Four decades later, and with countless billions of dollars having been squandered on the unwinnable war on drugs, drug abuse is endemic, organized crime has prospered and prohibition has been proven, yet again, to be an expensive folly. It is no endorsement of drug use to observe that marijuana, at the very least, needs to be legalised. Rather, it is a vote for the blindingly obvious.)

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Let There Be Light (for him)

 AD MAN John Mescall is hip, edgy and socially aware, the sort who laments not being able to use the f-word in his productions. So cool is Mescall, who no doubt earns enough to dress properly and visit the barber on a regular basis, he prefers to get about in Keith Haring T-shirts and a coif that would move a $2 hooker to a fit of jealous spite.

He is also quite the smartie, as he demonstrated when explaining how a sharp ad man goes about making his home attractive to prospective buyers. His first tip, hire a stylist to make the place look as nice as possible.

Next, chuck those energy-saving light bulbs, the ones that cost a fortune, burn out just as fast as incandescents and make it almost impossible to read:

Energy-efficient lights are rubbish. I can’t draw any parallels with advertising on this one, but this stylist guy swears energy-efficient globes make people feel gloomy and depressed. I know these things represented the previous government’s entire climate change policy, but our stylist was right: having just replaced all our lights with old school Kyoto-defying relics, our house looks twice as bright and 20% bigger.

A very sharp man indeed, our Mr Mescall, whose Smart agency has reportedly begun work on the $12 million contract to sell the Gillard carbon tax.

At least, with those “Kyoto-defying relics”, he will be able to see the campaign his team is developing. Given how much Gillard's scheme is going to cost, Mescall probably reckons it is just as well the rest of us are going to be kept in the dark.

Bad Manners

IT is very rude to get up and leave the room without explanation, so please accept this belated apology for the lack of posts over the past week. The simple truth is that, on Tuesday morning, an old friend's wife called with the news that he had been laid low by a medical complaint that does not bear going into. He will pull through, although the healthier lifestyle his doctors are advocating may seem worse than death for a fellow whose three main food groups are tobacco, alcohol and everything deep fried. In the meantime, much help has been needed on his property, which explains why there has been no time for blogging.

Sadly, that probably will not change for another week or so, when things should get back to normal.

There may be one or two posts over the week to come. But, then again, there may not.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Carp-ing About Climate Change

GOLDFISH die when forced to swim in 7-Up. Therefore, climate change is real.

Update: Several commenters believe the clip below is a spoof. Perhaps it is, but the university that sponsored  the production evidently thinks otherwise. Check out the other entries in its climate catastrophism colection on Youtube.

Our Bankrupt PM and Those Who Give Her Credit

DEAR, dear, those poor dears. Oh, but it must be so galling, so very frustrating, to be a media friend of the Gillard government just at the moment. It should never have unfolded this way, they must be saying, wondering where the narrative went so tragically astray? Creepy Kevin’s demise demanded admiration’s immediate switch from Mr Mandarin to Ms Strine, and give them full credit, the barrackers managed it quite well – seamlessly, in fact. Kevin was still dabbing at his tears when the fresh set of talking points came into effect, and few outside Queensland cared a jot after that for that discarded little man or his torment. They were too busy assuring each other via mutually admired exercises of opinion, Silly solon to ABC opionionta, that in addition to Gillard’s many and other qualifications, her chromosomes were the trump. She would set things right, boost those polls, and sail through the gender gap to trounce the conservatives at the next election. Who at the ABC, the Silly or Phage could doubt it?  A woman! Well, that settled the matter there and then, according to Michelle and Lenore and Anne and Laura, who could not conceive (no pun nor offence to unused wombs intended)  that their sisters would dwell on petty matters of honesty, competence and sound policy when the nation’s latest leader had that most marvelous of all qualifications, a uterus. It was the  keenest, you-beaut-est recommendation for a lease on the Lodge the girls on the bus could imagine.

Such a frustration that womanhood alone cut no mustard with the voters, even the female ones! Couldn’t those suburban simpletons comprehend that Tony Abbott was Mr Misogynist? Evidently so, because the fools refused to recognise the danger of the man. His wife, his daughters? Just props, the priestesses sneered in their temples of received opinion, and how ruthlessly cynical of that brutal man to use them that way. If there were dissenting voices, well, they most certainly were not heard in ABC and Fairfax powder rooms. The media gals were astonished at such public indifference, possibly because their own professional ascents had been driven to one degree or another by gender-norming tokenism. Think that’s catty, to use a word of recent weeks? Well, ask yourself if a certain Michael Grattan would still be the political editor of a major media group after the long run of bum punditry his notional sister continues to accumulate?

Climate change, that presented an even greater challenge to adaptation. If the cheer squad understood correctly, Gillard was obliged to knife Rudd because his Emission Trading Scheme had become an electoral liability. Golly, she even stood on Princes Bridge with the Yarra for a backdrop and swore, swore blind, that there would be no carbon levies while she was manning, er, personing the Dispatch Box. This confused the peddlers of opinions. They had picked up the tune that it was Kevin’s fecklessness in not pushing hard enough for a Copenhagen agenda that made him unworthy. Now Gillard was saying she would not push at all. So, once again, editorials were re-written and, just when everything seemed settled, Gillard announced her carbon tax. Yet another change of position was required.

Again they managed it, but this time only just. When a boatload of illegal immigrants foundered on the rocks of Christmas Island, embarrassing questions were hushed with the admonition that it was an indecency to speak “too soon” of the factors re-animating the people-smuggling trade.  It was just one of those things that happen, apparently, and that was explanation enough to be served up but not chewed over by the dutiful chorus. But the climate change thing, that hush-them-up, argument-is-over mantra couldn't be suppressed with mere cries of "Shame! Shame!" The more they tried, the more they sneered and smeared, the more the opposition grew. It was very baffling, quite unprecedented, and very, very disconcerting.

If only reporters and columnists could vote, it goes without saying that Gillard would still be a sure bet for re-election. But the franchise is somewhat more broad than that, which means, as the opinion polls are saying, a catastrophic drubbing for Labor come the next poll. The hacks and hackettes can all see it, a spectre so grim their panic and desperation are palpable. The carbon tax is loathed by the overwhelming majority of voters? Quick, they say, let’s blame that ignorance on anonymous e-mailers and their rude notes to settled climate scientists! And those boats? Quick, more instant “analysis” hailing the genius of the East Timor solution … or perhaps the Malaysian solution … or maybe this week it is the Manaus solution.

It isn’t working. Sooner or later, doom awaits Gillard and government and with it, her urgers’ last shreds of credence.

It is a train wreck in progress, and the fun of watching has only just begun.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hello, Dalai

DAMN the Herald Sun, which has put Melbourne at great risk. Here we all are on the shores of Port Phillip, enjoying a respite from grey skies and rain and anticipating the spectacle of the Pies giving the Demons a footy lesson this afternoon. But who now can visit the Gee with any confidence of leaving in one piece? That’s what happens when newspapers insult religions and  religious leaders, which the Herald Sun certainly did with its doctored photo of the visiting Dalai Lama, accessorised with a pile of spaghetti on his shaven head.

Hang on, we might be safe after all.

While the picture was undoubtedly offensive, stupid, tasteless and irredeemably juvenile, the Herald Sun had the good sense to pick the right target. Turns out that the one-L lama is a priest, a Buddhist no less, and that limp creed eschews violence. Indeed, there is no recorded instance of a Buddhist waving a sign demanding death for those who offend Siddhārtha Gautama.

So we’re probably safe here in Melbourne, at least until the Herald Sun tries the same stunt with a cleric of the bearded variety.

Those Greek Orthodox types, they can get very stroppy.   

Guy The Goose -- Part II

HOW easy is it to be Guy Rundle? Need an Orwell quote? Well, just make one up. Don’t like the way public opinion has turned against Prime Minister Brown’s tax on everything? Even less impressed that the catastropharian creed is losing adherents, despite the litany of lies that was supposed to have sealed the deal by now?

Well, if you live in Rundle World, no problem! Just deny reality and write about how your side is winning. After all, it’s only in the Fairfax press, where reality is similarly scorned for talk of “quality journalism” and a good smear must never go unpublished.

In Australia, where climate change scepticism - both honest and utterly corrupt - has flourished more than anywhere else outside the US, that is a tremendous achievement and a victory. In little more than a year or two, the Lord Moncktons, Barnaby Joyces and Ian Plimers have gone from being the official opposition in the debate to being a set of marginal eccentrics, part of the menagerie of irrationalism on the right, from creationism to anti-vaccination movements.

Funny that Rundle should tie opponents of vaccination to the climate deniers he despises, because the leading, most vocal and, to be frank, the nastiest and most irresponsible of those who take the side of measles, whooping cough and polio against Australia’s children also happens to be a foaming fan of Al Gore and a believer in the notion that the weather can be made to behave itself.

Her name is Meryl Dorey and she works her mischief out of Byron Bay, which just happens to be one of the two areas in the country where diseases all but wiped out just a decade ago are once again claiming the greatest numbers of young lives. Given her passion for scares, charlatans and bum science, is it any wonder that Meryl lives in fear that global warming will get us before she can be proven right about inoculations? As she puts it: 
How can we possibly have good health if we are living in a world that is slowly cooking itself? If we allow the world to continue on its current path, the drugs we take or the vaccines that are pushed on us become a bit of a moot point.

The full measure of Meryl’s reverence for Al Gore and his movie (which “changed my life”) is here. Just don’t read it on a full stomach

As for Rundle, no need for him to read anything at all, not when he has the Phage’s permission to smother skeptics with the whole cloth of libel and invention.

A NOTE:  The other area, apart from Northern Rivers, where infant deaths are re-gaining lost ground is Sydney’s well-heeled Eastern suburbs. Is it a coincidence that each is a warmist hotbed, and the latter also home to Malcolm Turnbull?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Red and Green and Dishonest All Over

GOOD Lord, but those facts are difficult, troublesome things. Suppose, for example, you are Greens publicity agent Melissa Fyfe, whose salary is paid by the Sunday Phage, and you really, really need to need to write an upbeat profile of Lee Rhiannon, who will shortly take her seat in the Senate. Well, there is your problem right there. How do you say nice things about a creature whose support for Islamic nut jobs, amongst other fruit loop causes, has divided the Greens and embarrassed Saint Bob?

Answer: Choose your words carefully, skate lightly over the bad stuff and, when all else fails, stretch euphemism to breaking point. The key is to sustain that flow of happy publicity without alienating Rhianon or your other pals in the party, the ones who think she is a loose cannon and will be a magnet for grief come the next election.

In today’s Phage, Fyfe demonstrates how a true Fairfax professional navigates such dilemmas. On the matter of personal politics, devote just one sentence to Rhiannon’s slavish adoration of Moscow, which she supported even after the 1968 invasion of Czechoslovakia, when she bolted with fellow lickers of jackboots to the Socialist Party of Australia.

Next, try to calm down Mr and Mrs Stringbag – you know, the sort who will be paying a lot more for everything when the Greens’ carbon tax becomes law. Do this by insisting Rhiannon “is no longer a socialist.”  Not at all! She just wants “more government regulation and a bigger role for public services such as education, health and transport, but not the overthrow of capitalism.”  Well that is OK, then. She is not a socialist, she just wants government to run everything

And when it comes to Rhiannon’s red-nappy upbringing, Fyfe demonstrates a skill that is the journalistic equivalent of a shonky home renovator’s eagerness to slap nice, clean wallpaper over some very toxic mould.

The consensus is that Rhiannon is quick to be combative, as The Sunday Age learnt while asking about her mother's frequent travels overseas for work.

For work!

When her mum, vile harridan Freda Brown, died in 2009, the Silly published an obituary that listed some of those “work” trips:

The Silly: She was elected president of the 1975 Women's International Democratic Federation congress in Berlin.

Backround: The WIDF was a Soviet front and the Congress was not held “in Berlin” unless you were using a pre-WWII map. It was held in East Berlin, where the one measure of equality was the Stasi’s habit of spying on everyone, oppressed housewives included. Typical chatter in the ladies room at at WIDF congresses: “
Our children cannot be safe until American war-mongers are silenced.” The CIA’s appraisal of the WIDF and other front groups is to be found here. Yes, it is the CIA doing the appraising, but the file’s observations about the clash between gals of the Peking-line and Soviet-line stands up very nicely to history's scrutiny.

The Silly: While the women's union's sympathies were left-wing and some members were communists, most were not members of any political party and rejected the doctrinaire narrowness of communist leaders … Members dug wells for women in many low-income countries and campaigned for breastfeeding of babies.

ground: See the CIA report (linked above), which supports a vigorous scepticism about the clam that the WIDF concerned itself primarily with water tables and lactation.

Then there are Brown’s other travels, as the Silly also explained:

Coming home with US cluster bombs, she was attacked for working with the enemy. In Cuba, she ran workshops for women from across Latin America. In Moscow in 1977, she was awarded the Lenin Peace Prize.

And her voyaging continued:

She was one of the first westerners to enter the Sabra and Shatila Palestinian refugee camps after the slaughter of 1982. She visited Cambodia shortly after Vietnam overthrew the Pol Pot regime, travelled through the Western Sahara with the Polisario Front, and worked with the African National Congress Women's League.”

To Melissa Fyfe, all of the above is just “work”, not tireless crusading for bloody tyranny. And while her astute choice of words probably means Rhiannon will continue to return Fyfe’s calls, such a flippant disregard for accuracy ill-serves Phage readers.

Freda Brown was a devoted warrior in the Soviet cause -- much, much more than one of the “useful idiots” in whom Lenin invested such hopes and joy. As for Fyfe, she fits that description very nicely indeed.


All sorts of problems in putting up fresh posts. Blue skies again in Melbourne, so off to the golf course while Blogger gets its act together.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Wedge Issues

THE RAIN has stopped in Melbourne and, no doubt thanks to climate change, the weather is tolerably warm for once.So what to do? Share some thoughts about Clive Hamilton's latest foolishness, report on another passion of one of Al Gore's most ardent Australian disciples? Commend our very own Six Million Dollar man or his latest, publicly funded achievement?

Nah, not this arvo. Save those for later. Doctor Yowie is keen to mount the first tee and the Professor, for want of anything else to mount, is happy to give him grasp why big hitters seldom beat consistent chippers.. So off to the golf course it is and, after that, to the 'Gee, where the Western Bulldogs will doubtless help St Kilda regain its confidence by taking the field and allowing themselves, as usual, to be thrashed and humiliated..

More posting later tonight or tomorrow. In the meantime, do make a point to check out Gerard Henderson's weekly Media Watch Dog, which should be going up very shortly and is always worth reading..

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Die, Denier, Die

REAL climate scientists, the settled sort, don't issue death threats. But they do celebrate like billyo when a doubting colleague bites the dust.

From: Phil Jones <>
Subject: Fwd: John L. Daly dead
Date: Thu Jan 29 14:17:01 2004

In an odd way this is cheering news! One other thing about the CC paper - just found another email - is that McKittrick says it is standard practice in Econometrics journals to give all the data and codes !! According to legal advice IPR overrides this.

More on the late John Daly here

UPDATE: The Silly's wanker in residence, Elizabeth Farrelly, is another warmist who gets excited by the death thing:

Last week, after my cane toads column, several Queenslanders wrote in to say they hadn't actually seen serious toad numbers for some time. Something, they inferred, is killing them off.
Maybe it's the same with shock-jockery. We can only hope it happens before it irreparably harms our civilisation, as well as our climate

UPDATE II: Andrew Bolt has more of Farrelly's finest moments.

Put To Bed? Not Quite -- Part II

NO SOONER had the previous post gone up than the indefatigable Andrew Landeryou posted a Thomson email in which the Member for Dobell once again accuses Fairfax of spreading lies about him and, once again, enlists learned friends to restore his tarnished honour.

Fairfax says the defamation action was "withdrawn". Thomson says it was "settled" a month ago and he is "very happy" with the result.

Here is Thomson's letter as it appears at VexNews:

From: Thomson, Craig (MP)
Sent: Wednesday, June 08, 2011 12:39 PM
To: Thomson, Craig (MP)
Subject: Fairfax v Thomson 

Dear Colleagues
I am writing to you as you may have seen reports in the Fairfax press regarding my defamation action. The article was totally inaccurate and wrong. The facts are as follows:
1. I took defamation action against the Health Services Union and separate action against Fairfax;
2. The HSU settled on a confidential basis with me some six months ago. Whilst it was a confidential settlement it was one that I was very happy with and as a consequence withdrew my legal action;
3. Over a month ago I reached a confidential agreement with Fairfax. This was reported in the press and the agreement filed in court as a settlement of my matters and again the legal matters where withdrawn. As with the HSU settlement I was very happy with the outcome.
4. An AEC investigation cleared me of the allegations raised by Fairfax regarding electoral spending
5. I have always strenuously denied the allegations made against me and I continue to do so.
It is clear that Fairfax have both defamed me again and breached and misrepresented a confidential deed that settled the matter between me and Fairfax. I have now been referred this matter again to my lawyers.
I thank you for your continued support in this matter and hope this corrects the grossly inaccurate and misleading reporting in the Fairfax media.
Yours faithfully
Craig Thomson

Somewhere, either at Fairfax World Headquarters or in an electorate office on the Central Coast, someone is:

(a) lying
(b) a great disappointment to Mum
(c) drinking the bong water
(d) unfit to remain in current employment

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Put To Bed? Not Quite

LIFE’S mysteries come large and small, some mere curiosities (Does Tim* Mathieson iron our PM’s underpants or vice versa? If the former, is the taxpayer being billed for the rental of a sailmaker’s loft?) while others prompt far deeper furrows in the brow. The matter of Craig Thomson, his alleged use of carnal consultants and the union credit card which purportedly paid for those encounters is very much in the latter category.

As keen followers of current events would be aware, the ALP member for the seat of Dobell was accused of underwriting amorous encounters with funds provided by members of the Health Services Union, of which he served until his ascension to Parliament as national secretary. The Fairfax press reported on Monday that Thomson had “dropped” his defamation suit, a term normally taken to mean a plaintiff has abandoned all hope of prevailing in court.

At the ABC, however, and in Thomson’s local rag (see page 16), the case is said to have been resolved with “a settlement”, which strongly implies money changing hands or, at the very least, a public apology.

“The terms of the settlement are confidential, and I will not be commenting further on the matter. I always denied the claims made against me and I am pleased that confidential settlements of my matters have occurred,” he told the Central Coast Express.

So which is it? Has Thomson thrown in the towel, which might be taken as a recognition his case was doomed, or has Fairfax come up with the cash?

There has certainly been no public apology, so this is quite the riddle – a riddle quite a few of Thomson’s constituents might like to see resolved before next casting their ballots. 

CURIOUS AND CURIOUSER: In his statement to the local paper, Thomson is quoted as saying, “These settlements along with the clearing of allegations against me in the Australian Electoral Commission investigation should be the end of the matter.”

Now a reasonable person might read that sentence and conclude the AEC had examined and rejected allegations of Thomson’s enthusiasm for commercial groin bumping, but such is not the case. The matter to which he refers actually concerns a complaint, filed by a Liberal MP, that a local publication, the Coastal Voice, was a Thomson-controlled front for spruiking his and the ALP's good works on behalf of the electorate and its citizens. The AEC rejected the complaint, noting 

The document provided entitled "Coastal Voice – Your Central Coast Community Group" contains no material or other information that would indicate that its aims and resultant activities are directly linked to benefit any political party. The fact that the then President of Coastal Voice in 2006 was Mr Craig Thomson does not change this position. The December 2006 newsletter that was also provided refers to a range of health and dental care issues being pursued by Coastal Voice and the then union campaign against WorkChoices. This publication does not show any direct linkage or support of the ALP by Coastal Voice.
There is only one reference on the AEC site to the matter of hot and cold running girls and it is this, also from the above finding: 

The media reports from the Sydney Morning Herald do not contain any facts or admissible evidence that could be considered by the AEC. This is particularly the case given the legal proceedings in the Supreme Court of NSW in the matter of Craig Thomson v Fairfax Media Publications Pty Ltd (Matter No. 2010/00056481) which the AEC understands to involve defamation proceedings in relation to the various media reports published by this company.

Anything involving, or having been alleged to involve, hookers and politicians is going to excite a good deal of interest, but in this case prurience is the lesser fascination. Of greater import is the margin by which Thomson holds Dobell. The Silly asserts the seat is “marginal”, which isn’t true, because last year-s two-party-preferred result gave Thomson vctory by a 10% margin.

But consider the Gillard government’s paper-thin control of the House and its abysmal poll ratings. Ponder also what might happen if, say, Thomson were to resign in order to spend more time with his family (or whoever). Given that by-elections are notorious for damning governments and the distinct possibility that Dobell’s voters would honour that norm, could that be the reason why the defamation action has been, ahem, “settled” just three weeks before the case was set to go before a judge? 

(*originally published as "Craig Mathieson" but changed to "Tim" after the error was spotted by an anonymous reader.)

I Dream Of Gina

MUCH joy for Fairfax shareholders or, more correctly, those many who have been shorting the stock.

As of a little after 10 am this morning it had broken through the $1 barrier and was twitching, rather like a dying bird, in a trading range of between 98 cents and 99 cents. Markets are wonderful things and creative destruction even moreso, so here is a thought: With roughly 2.3 billion shares outstanding, it would cost Gina Rinehart no more than the sort of cash she could find down the crack in the couch -- $230 million or so -- to lift her holding from the 4% of Fairfax she controls to 15%.

The Fairfax family's 9.7% stake buys it two of the board's seats, so if Ms Rinehart were to fnd just a tiny little bit of additional capital on top of that, perhaps via likeminded sorts (or from the ashtray of her car), she could snaffle three, four or even five seats, giving her effective control.

Of course the left could do the same thing, at least in theory. But that must be regarded as unlikely, as the port side of Australian politics prefers to fund its media lickspittles with other people's money.

That's About Right

WHATEVER species of artificial intelligence compiles aggregator wotnews' headline searches boasts a good deal more nous than Laura Tingle's editors at the Australian Financial Review, who still cannot recognise the presence of something ridiculous in their midst (and their newspaper).

Somewhere in a distant server farm a bunch of chips and wires makes the connection.

Tingle and planking? Each requires rigidity and neither serves the slightest useful purpose.

Half-Baked Backer

COOKED CRANIUM, cat-nibbled portions and all, Alene Composta has risen from the grave to fight for the carbon dioxide tax.

Say Yes To Stupidity spotted her comment.

No word as yet about Sparkles. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Left Bank (of Merri Creek)

PHILISTINES! Blair and Bolt should be ashamed of themselves for doubting the wisdom of Moreland Council’s decision to award a paltry $7000 to artist Timothy Craker. Why, it is no more than the total sum any 32.4 homeowners must pay annually for the right to put a 120-litre wheelie bins outside the front gate! Or, if you are thinking of starting a food business in the municipality, then consider the obligatory $430 fee to register that enterprise and accept that Craker’s charge for wrapping lamp posts in mutilated orange safety mesh has been raised from the start-up capital of just sixteen aspiring restaurateurs. And to really put the art deniers’ gripes in perspective, his remuneration equals no more than the amount paid by 210 dog-owning residents.

Moreland’s aesthetes are on solid ground in helping to underwrite the artist’s current sabbatical in Turkey, their wisdom supported by the Phage, which examined Craker’s oeuvre some time ago and came away impressed.

When he was a student, Craker was working through issues about coming out as gay - "acknowledging that", he says, "telling people that". He used the art process and art history to help him. "Images of family and expectations of manhood and masculinity," he says. "I started to use text with images. I would have an image of my family, for example, and then text that commented on the family structure or maybe that wasn't connected. I had a series of images of a light bulb and a tea cup and an apple and an egg, finely painted on little coloured canvas with text stating 'one of these images is not like the other'. So the idea was you can't tell by looking whether someone is like you or not and we are all different in some way."

A man of the (rate-paying) people, Craker’s interest in painting only words in english demonstrates the common touch.

I would feel pretentious using Latin or French,” he said.