Why is Kevin Rudd so unpopular? Polls, popularity and the Icarus Syndrome

 

 

Regulars here will know that my last piece was entitled Is Rudd tying the bootstrappers’ bootlaces for them?  I argued that Rudd’s mea culpa had been an unnecessary concession to a media bootstrap campaign, unwisely and retrospectively bestowing validity upon it. Rudd, in my opinion, had stuck his chin out, virtually saying to his enemies, “Come on! Hit me!”

The media dutifully expressed wonder at the mea culpa. We had words like ‘extraordinary’ applied to it by some scribes. A few of the more egregious weasels opined that Rudd’s government wasn’t that bad, they’d done some good things etc. so why apologize? Dark hints that Rudd possessed a guilty conscience were trotted out, or suggestions that he had over-reacted. They all served to shore up the insinuation that the weakling Prime Minister had lost the plot and was therefore unfit to occupy the office, either through his misdeeds or by caving in too quickly to attacks on his character (attacks made by the same scribes that called Rudd’s reaction to them ‘extraordinary’, it should be noted).

Just today (Friday) Dennis Shanahan, in an article titled Spooked government gets down and dirty told us:

”... Rudd, unlike Howard or Beazley, has never been observed under pressure. Now he is under pressure for the first time and many Labor MPs, backbenchers and front benchers, are less than impressed with what they see.”

“Never been observed under pressure”? Is Dennis forgetting the GFC, or the pressure of the forged Utegate email? Well, no matter, let’s leave those to one side for the moment.

According to Shanahan, not only is Rudd spooked, but so is the whole Labor party. And all because Rudd is personally ‘under pressure’... pressure from Shanahan and his pals at News Limited, as well as other sources joining in the feeding frenzy. How convenient.

So, seriously, why is Kevin Rudd so unpopular?

Let's go through some of the latest reasons...

Performance
You could say some projects have been stuffed-up, others delayed. That would be one reason. The public might be getting antsy at the lack of performance.

The Coalition and The Australian (aided by the likes of the has-been Michelle Grattan, Fran Kelly and the thankfully now-departed Glenn Milne) are certainly doing their best to drum up an avalanche of scandal from a snowball’s worth of mishaps in both the Insulation and Schools projects.

To read the front pages of the Murdoch and Fairfax rags you’d be forgiven wondering why responsible parents weren’t keeping their moppets at home due to all the over-priced, under-engineered BER libraries and covered study areas that were about to come crashing down around their little pink ears. If these constructions had been insulated, then no doubt this would only double the potential woes of our nation’s little folk.

Thankfully Julia Gillard has been around to absolutely skewer the Coalition’s attack upon her beloved BER scheme. In an outrageously funny QT yesterday (Thursday, the final parliamentary sitting day), she batted away each and every question on fraud and customer complaints with ease, and in excruciating detail, making fools of her inquisitors at the same time. As far as Insulgate is concerned, Greg Combet has taken the project under his wing and is proceeding efficiently towards rectification of any real problems (we’ll have to leave the unreal problems to the eager media to continue on with).

Of course the elephant in the room is the Rudd government’s response to the GFC, which has left Australia the envy of the world, as far as economic performance is concerned. Chalk up another ‘good’ performance there, and of course remember the WorkChoices repeal, a main plank of the 2007 election campaign, and another major promise kept.

Despite some things going awry (as they do in a trillion dollar economy), and the roadblock to progress that was the GFC for about 12 months, it looks like we can cross ‘Performance’ – real performance – mostly off the Christmas list of the causes of Rudd’s huge unpopularity. Sure there have been mistakes, but when viewed objectively they don’t add up to the ‘debacles’ they’re being called for.

Personality
As to his personality, you could say that Rudd is too prolix; that he spews out words like confetti, many of them signifying nothing. People have trouble understanding him. He is a classic nerd, and probably a smartarse as well, hiding behind words... unlike his counterpart, Tony Abbott who punches aggressively above his weight in a David and Goliath pugilistic contest: the Straight Talker wears boxing gloves.

I guess there is some truth to some of this criticism. Rudd does come across as wordy. There is a lot of the bureaucrat in him, the kind of person who thinks life is full of ‘stakeholders’ and ‘critical paths’, ‘performance milestones’, ‘best of breed’ options, and that a good plan isn’t worth anything unless it has ‘mission critical benchmarks’, ‘incentivized deliverables’ and most important of all: ‘programmatic specificity’.

But consider that, for the nearly 36 months before, Rudd had been the most consistently popular Prime Minister in Australian political history. He was prolix then. He used big words then. He mixed up his metaphors and switched styles to suit the occasion then. His character flaw (if indeed it was a character flaw) didn’t seem to affect his popularity one little bit. It seems unlikely that the public could turn so viciously against him in such a short space of time as three months. So his unpopularity can’t be all down to his personality. Some, maybe, but not all.

Julia Gillard
Speaking of the ravishing redhead, the latest story has her poised to flick her little finger, whereby the Hard Men of the Labor Right will put on their suit coats and march off to Rudd’s office. Rudd will be heaved out the window into the courtyard below and Julia will move into the PM’s suite over the weekend. It’s a pity that Julia Gillard is of the Left side of the party, otherwise this concoction might have some ephemeral credibility.

But for the moment let’s rule out the Gillard Factor from our calculations, especially as it involves an unconvincing surge of gushing approval from the likes of Alan Jones and the rest of the right wing hate squad just waiting to tear her apart if it ever happened (as they tore Rudd apart, or tried and failed to, in 2006-2007 after he replaced Beazley). No, the Gillard Factor is just too silly to seriously consider as a reason for Rudd’s unpopularity.

Tony Abbott
Tony Abbott is put to us by the media as a force of nature. He is permanently angry, pugnacious, simmering, lean-and-hungry-looking. Abbott is portrayed as a shock to the system, an Exocet missle that will come crashing through the thin skinned government battleship to wipe it out in a catastrophic one-off hit. All the government’s fancy ways and high-falutin’ airs will be obliterated with just a single direct hit from the Abbott aerial torpedo, coming from out of nowhere to wipe the "shit-eating grins" off Labor faces..

Once again, there is a certain amount of truth here. Abbott does have a superficial appeal to a certain edgy element that hates Labor and which, for two years, has been wandering in the wilderness, aimlessly following the previous two incumbent leaders, Brendan Nelson and Malcolm Turnbull as they walked around in circles, trying not to bump into John Howard.

An emaciated Liberal Party, running low on food, water and numbers, needs a truly biblical figure to show them the way back to the oasis of the government benches. Howard's gone to the cricket. He is out of "currency" big time. So bring on Howard's dark angel, Tony Abbott. Abbott seems to know where he is going. He certainly breathes enough fire and brimstone to be classified as ‘biblical’. So why not follow him? What other choice do the Coalition parties have? Jolly Joe Hockey? Julie Bishop? Peter Dutton? Chris Pyne? I don’t think so.

With his SES training, Abbott can supply the rallying point, rekindle the almost spent hopes of his party and at least do something that looks useful. He's been lost and found in the desert recently, so he's in training for the Big Walk Home. Following Abbott is better than standing still and perishing on the spot, or getting run down by a B-Double at a photo-op. Better to die trying than not to have tried at all. It’s about time the Coalition got themselves a leader with a little bit of get-up-and-go, and who cuts a dash in red Speedos and blue lycra for the ladies. Naturally, those Coalition voters who thought Rudd was a better Prime Minister than either Turnbull or Nelson, and who disapproved of those two duds, would defect back towards the general direction of home territory when someone half-decent turned up and made belligerent, honking noises. That should be enough to put Abbott at, say 30% in the PPM stakes, shouldn’t it?

But there is still a yawning chasm between observable flaws, foibles, character idiosyncracies, Julia's little finger, Tony Abbott’s provision of an emergency assembly point for the lost Coalition, and the meme of a failed Rudd Prime Ministership.

There must be more to Rudd’s extreme unpopularity than the above.

There is: the Bootstrapper.

The Media's Parallel Universe: The Icarus Syndrome
We turn again to the Shanahan article:

 ” Labor MPs fear they are about to witness the fulfilment of their own prophetic nightmare of the personal failure of Rudd much sooner than they expected. It's the internal version of the public's concerns about failing to meet high expectations. 

"
...Rudd has ... been a frontrunner and has no track record of being behind or fighting back since he entered parliament.

"
This vision of Rudd and the lack of evidence of an ability to recover from a rebuff is frightening Labor MPs.”

Once again Dennis has forgotten the GFC response and the comprehensive demolition of Malcolm Turnbull over Utegate.  If they were not fight backs, then I don’t know what was. Rudd's surge in the polls after seeing off Turnbull had to be seen to be believed.

Labor is on 52/48 2PP, and has been either there or 53/47 in Newspoll for two months. Essential Research has Labor at 56/44, Morgan at 55.5/44.5. Rudd’s Labor government leads the Coalition on just about every metric, according to Essential, and is seen as more connected, more trustworthy, looking after the interests of working families, has a good team of leaders, more moderate, understanding the problems facing Australia, keeping its promises, and as being professional in its approach, way out in front of the Coalition on all of these standards. 

Only on negative metrics does Laborfall behind Abbott’s band of wilderness wanderers: voters think the Coalition will promise to do anything to win votes, is out of touch with ordinary people, is extreme and divided.

On ‘too dominated by its leader’ the scores are within one per cent of each other.

Does this sound like a recipe for Kevin Rudd’s alleged ‘personal failure’ to you?

Shanahan has moved beyond Rudd’s ‘personal failure’ and has turned it into a Labor party full of Nervous Nellies, too used to being supreme in the polls to be of any use in a real fight, once the polls tank. Of course the polls haven’t tanked, but ‘tanking polls’ are an essential part of the story. So the bootstrappers simply readjust their interpretations.

A few Newspolls (as distinguished from other organizations’ polls) have shown Labor’s electoral lead to be steady-as-she-goes for the past two months. True, the Prime Minister, mainly in Newspoll, had seen his "Approve" metric fall below the conveniently defined “benchmark” of 50% (funny, it used to be PPM that was all-important). Newspoll's famous skew towards the Coalition comes in handy when a measure of approvel jumps a per cent or two below a newly discovered benchmark, while the other polls remain above it. Although he is still far, far ahead of Abbott on Preferred Prime Minister and his government is way ahead on most positive aspects of performance, including an election-winning lead in the crucial 2PP calculation. To counter the facts Shanahan has turned to Greek mythology to help promote another myth. He has invented, and he and his brother bootstrappers are promoting The Icarus Syndrome

Simply put, The Icarus Syndrome says:

“Rudd must fly higher than anyone else or he is a failure and his party will crumble before our eyes. But if he ascends too close to the sun he will crash and burn."

Once his waxed wings melt, Rudd will plummet to Earth and die a painful political death, taking his party with him. Amen. So says The Icarus Syndrome.

Absent an Icarus Syndrome – the artificial construction dreamt up by Rudd’s media critics to explain why such good polling results are really a disaster – Rudd’s and his government’s performance, at this stage of the electoral cycle, just looking at the figures and the history, are streets ahead of any other government or opposition from the last quarter of a century.

You can see the figures here   Redoubtable ‘Aristotle’, psephy blogger par excellence, provides side by side comparisons on political polling in third year of term of governments going back to the mid-1980s. His conclusion, devastatingly backed up by a comprehensive listing of polls since 1987, is as follows: 

” In 2010, compared to these previous elections, Tony Abbott's Coalition is in the poorest position of all previous oppositions, both on voting intentions and better prime minister ratings.”

Aristotle adds this caution:

”When we undertake analysis through the prism of the intellectual probabilities rather than the emotional possibilities, we often find that the conclusions may not be consistent with our pre-conceived notions or, indeed, the conventional wisdom.”

For ‘pre-conceived notions’ read ‘bootstrapped fairy stories’: memes put about by the media to make it look like there's a close contest out there. For Rudd’s government to defy the numerical wisdom of decades and fail in its first term, the Icarus Syndrome had to be invented. The Icarus Syndrome explains the credibility gap between wishful thinking (perhaps too whimsical-sounding a term for the improperly reported political polling that has been applied to the Rudd government) and... Hellooo! Anyone there?... reality.

While not all the Rudd government's promises have been kept, or kept as per the original schedule, and while Rudd the man has personality foibles and annoying traits, and while Julia is the next in line but is making no move to do anything about it, and while Tony Abbott is blustering around shouting challenges, thumping tables and throwing haymakers for the fans in the cheap seats, at the moment it appears to be inconceivable that having survived Utegate, Hostiegate, Insulgate, School Gate, the GFC, and all the other ‘scandals’ that have been trumped up against it, the Rudd government and its leader are headed anywhere but the Gold Medal ceremony at the next election.

So why is Kevin Rudd so unpopular?

The answer is... he isn’t... except if you subscribe to the bootstrapped fantasies of half-a-dozen senior journalists working out of a boiler room in Holt St, Surry Hills. Add in a few mates at the ABC and Fairfax, plus a couple of shock jocks on the Singleton network and you have the full rogue's gallery. Sprinkle a dash of Icarus Syndrome blarney and stir. These sociopaths in the media have one aim in mind: to nobble democracy in this country whatever the price in good governance and common sense. This is unsurprising, as neither of these has ever been of high priority to their boss (or for the ABC and Fairfax bootstrappers, possibly, even  hopefully their future boss), the wrinkled old man in New York with the dyed hair, a genuinely fake Australian, who pulls the strings down-under for his own devious purposes, but never for ours. 

 Postscript: if any readers think I'm being overly melodramatic or inventive with my "Icarus Syndrome" explanation, read this, from a Shanahan article, circa March 2008: Nelson's hopes lie in Icarus Rudd... and Abbott's hopes too, it seems. The Icarus Syndrome is a Shanahan invention, 100%, scribbled out on one of his little pieces of paper, ready to be dusted off and used against Rudd for some time now.

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Ebenezer

20/03/2010Thanks BB, It is a sad state of affairs in this country when the senior political journos have no idea about political reality. You know the above is true when Michael Kroger starts quoting them on the lateline Friday forum. Cheers Eb. :)

Grog

20/03/2010Excellent work BB. Yep Rudd has never been under pressure. Geez, where do they get these people? I must admit I always find it funny when Shanahan takes on the role of a concern troll.

Bushfire Bill

20/03/2010[i]"I must admit I always find it funny when Shanahan takes on the role of a concern troll."[/i] Grog, I must admit I hadn't thought of Shahnahan as a concern troll... but you're absolutely right. I was starting to miss out little Poison Dwarf already, so I'll adopt a Concern Troll instead. Eb, I thought Kroger's reference to the Illuminati of Australian journalism last night was a hoot. He held up Dennis Shanahan, Paul Kelly, Laurie Oakes and La Stupenda herself, Michelle Grattan - "over a hundred years of experience between them" - as shining lights we should look to when we're uncertain of how to think. If [i]they're[/i] writing about something, you know its important. Like Shanahan's screwy poll interpretations I suppose, where he invents new and ever more wonderful "benchmarks" just as long as it puts Labor in a disastrous position. Or La Stupenda's kindergarten rewrites of other people's thinking. Or Oakes, the [i]eminence grise[/i], never able to get used to the fact the Rudd is not Little Kevin anymore, the kid who used to clean his toilets all those years ago. And Kelly this morning, in anarticle ironically titled [b]Looking for the real Abbott[/b], pleading with "the media" (Kelly is no longer a member of "the media" apparently) to save Abbott from himself. Poor Tony can't help confessing his sins. Journalists ought to go easy on him. He'd never actually put any of his wacky beliefs into action (like he didn't try to with RU-486). Tony [i]never[/i] changes his mind (like he didn't with the ETS, Great Big New Taxes and PPL). http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/looking-for-the-real-abbott/story-e6frg6zo-1225843015862 The legend they are building up around the saintliness of the tortured soul, Tony Abbott, is quite astounding. Bootstrapping at its best. After the last couple of weeks we don't know [i]what[/i] Abbott is capable of, but I'd like to think [i]more[/i] questions about how his religion directs his political policy thinking would be in order, not less. If these Elders Of Opinionization can endlessly muse about Rudd's every nuance, blink, look and (as often as not) things he [i]doesn't[/i] do, say or otherwise indicate (the iceberg end of the tip), right down to whether Bazza McKenzie would approve of shaking rather than sucking sauce bottles, then I reckon Abbott is fair game, the bigger the journalistic shotgun, the better. The other thing about the Kroger interview that I loved was his voluntary use of the word "tax" to describe Abbott's PPL "levy". No longer an "investment in human capital" it seems. But that's alright, the anti-socialist Liberal Party only intends it to be a temporary measure. Government (i.e. "we taxpayers") will take over supporting the lifestyle of highly paid women in the workforce eventually, when they want to make new little Liberal voters. We'll pay them their full salary to do so, poor downtrodden things.

Ad astra reply

20/03/2010BB You've nailed it again. We're now seeing another bout of bootstrapping, this time about Rudd's 'unpopularity', the stirrings in 'an increasingly anxious Labor Party', and talk of 'Rudd's replacement’. All designed to push a spurious meme. And who is leading the push - none other than Shanas - who else but the bootstrapper of renown. It really is pernicious, destructive and contrary to the best interests of the nation. But why should the bootstrappers care? National interest pales into insignificance against striking a blow against the incumbent government - Rudd Labor. Folks I'll be away from my computer until this evening. Bushfire Bill will attend to your comments and delete any spam.

lyn1

20/03/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] [b]DON'T MISS GROG EXCELLENT[/b][u][b]http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com[/b][/u]/ http://larvatusprodeo.net/2010/03/19/end-of-the-road-for-glenn-milne/ http://theorstrahyun.blogspot.com/2010/03/he-really-liked-peter-costello-glory.html http://andrewelder.blogspot.com/2010/03/red-herring-is-story-this-year-we-are.html http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/03/19/vote-for-candidates-i-like-or-go-to-hell/#more-5462 http://www.pipingshrike.com/2010/03/health-may-not-be-the-winner.html#comments http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/2010/03/20/evolution-of-a-smear/#more-5482 http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2850460.htm http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/local/news/general/no-prime-time-debate-as-govt-insists-leaders-clash-over-lunch/1781734.aspx LAURIE OAKES http://www.heraldsun.com.au/opinion/pms-big-gamble-wards-and-all/story-e6frfhqf-1225842997394 http://www.themonthly.com.au/nation-reviewed-mungo-maccallum-comment-rudd-and-murdoch-press-1945 http://www.themonthly.com.au/australian-story-kevin-rudd-and-lucky-country-mungo-maccallum-2198

Ostermann

20/03/2010BB My take is that, it isn't just here in Australia this is happening, Obama is copping the same treatment and Blairs New Labor at the time did as well, the Murdochracy is working overtime to create the conservative new world order and to stamp out those smelly socialists once and for all. What the Murdochracy fails to see though is that the conservative new world order is so old world order. We have a new breed of politian emerging who is changing the rules, who believes in governance rather than politics but his detractors are trying to maintain the status quo of the polytic. Rudd fights using a very different set of rules, therefore his adversaries are confused, they are forced to either change with the times or like spoilt children stamp there foot and chuck a tanty in rebellion, which is being reflected in the quality of there reporting, they would prefer to sledge and belittle rather than change with the times. Rudd has truely drawnout the partisanship within the media and for that we are all to be thankful. Labor know they are on a good thing with Rudd, the polls reflect that, and they are not going to change leaders, he is consistant. Why was his polling so good for such a long time, the L-NP was in chaos, all that happened was Abbott solidified there base but it wasn't good enough, therefore he has to resort to Howardisms, Action Man, GI Joe, and a B grade super hero Doc Savage "The Man of Bronze" as an election platfom. The majority of Australian voters are not stupid and on the day, have nearly always, and will make the right choises.

Bushfire Bill

20/03/2010Ostermann, I'll admit the honeymoon does seem to be over, but that's understandable. The slightest glimmer of hope for the Coalition and they're out gathering eggs and putting them all in the same basket. It's perfectly understandable that some who had wandered afar towards Rudd should drift back to their natural side of politics. The Icarus Syndrome had to be invented to turn this understandable change of breeze into a Force 5 cyclone. The rule for Rudd is that his performance has to be stellar or he's useless. Muchof the writing seems to be directed at Labor members, trying to get them nervous. I would think any nervousness is due to the natural loss of complacency when the first shells start arriving after a period of relative calm. They'll toughen up.

mick smetafor

20/03/2010yeah spot on again bb.i wonder if a side effect of this campaign would be to make the voters take a good hard look at the alternatives.even a good polish and detailing from the oz wouldn't be enough to make them saleable i suspect.on the subject of gillard replacing rudd,as someone once said,they should be careful of what they wish for.

Bushfire Bill

20/03/2010[i]"...on the subject of gillard replacing rudd,as someone once said,they should be careful of what they wish for. "[/i] Yes, Mick. Shanahan had a lot of explaining to do after his push to get rid of Beazley in favour of Rudd. He thought Rudd would be, well, a dud. Very embarrassing.

lyn1

20/03/2010Hi Bushfire Bill Thankyou for another brilliant piece today you are amazing. [b]FOR THOSE WHO MISSED LATE LINE [/b] http://www.abc.net.au/lateline/content/2010/s2851297.htm (I thought Kroger's reference to the Illuminati of Australian journalism last night was a hoot. He held up Dennis Shanahan, Paul Kelly, Laurie Oakes and La Stupenda herself, Michelle Grattan) your words BB: I agree Bushfire Bill it was a hoot, but doesn't Kroger sound shallow, his fierce, severe, loyality to Peter Costello, Oh! god I have to protect Peter Costello at all costs, Oh! dear such love. On Abbott, Kroger couldn't convince anyone he is happy with Abbott. Typical of the Liberal party they are all prententious fakes, all up themselves and it shows , I mean that. On Thursday on Question time, I thought Christoper Pyne was going to jump up and kiss Tony Abbott while he was screaming abuse at Kevin Rudd. Kelly Odwyer newly appointed to Higgins, she is in love with the whole front bench. The Liberals don't need policies, they just have to be themselves, "look at me" Mr and Mrs Public aren't I just it. Paul Howes did well.

lyn1

20/03/2010Bushfire Bill This video clip of Sky News shows the biased reporting they are notorious for it , video clip shows Abbott screaming abuse at Kevin Rudd, the news reader then says Kevin Rudd responded by challenging Tony Abbott to debate the issue. So it looks like, I didn't see what I saw in question time on Thursday, and I didn't hear what I heard, but I thought I heard ,Tony Abbott demand a debate on health, in fact three debates. http://player.video.news.com.au/news/#s1kkARP7XaRHLQLq3ACRM7_NLKQ42LzJ

Grog

20/03/2010lyn1 After their mini debate on health on Thursday, Abbott's follow up question was to ask if Rudd would stand by his statement of 2007 that the leaders should have 3 debates during the election. Rudd answered by saying, yep, and let's start next week with one on health. I don't think that was quite the response Abbott was hoping.

Neil

20/03/2010I wonder if labor is actually happy that the polls are being interpreted the way they are. It has focused peoples attention on the fact that Abbott may be elected PM. If the polls were being interpreted as a massive victory for the ALP it may cause some complacency in voters. Perhaps even some form of protest vote. The media need conflict and stories, the "end of the honeymoon poll" gives them a story that doesn't hurt the ALP. Without this story they would need to make one up "insulationgate" being a case in point.

lyn1

20/03/2010Hi Grog Thankyou Grog, I agree Abbott was bluffing, he was ambushed by Kevin Rudd, putting Abbott in a position, he could hardly refuse the debate.

Acerbic Conehead

20/03/2010BB, your description of Tones and the Chosen People as “wilderness wanderers” reminded me of the audience they had this week with Pharaoh Paul. Paul: You wanna do what? Be set free? Why you brain-damaged crowd of mangy maggots...you grubs...you scumbags... why, you lot haven’t done a day’s work in your lives...you’ve got more hide than a herd of elephants...living off the mining boom in Western Goshen...I’ll tell you what – here’s a jam-jar full of five-cent bits...you can spend your nights around the camp-fire counting them...should take you about forty years, I reckon....cos you boxheads are flat out counting past ten – except you Barnaby – you just add a few naughts on and shout out “Bingo!” Now piss off the lot of you – you’re about as useful as a pair of tits on a golden calf anyway... [suitably chastened, Tones sets the weathervane he wears on his Sea of Reeds surf-cap, and the Chosen People (chosen, incidentally, by their god, “Dennis the Deity”) jump on their quads (four-humped camels) and head off into the Wilderness of Sin, where Tones will be in his element. Accompanying Tones and Barnaby are Julie Bishop (who will stare down any trade unionist thugs they meet on the journey to the Promised Land), Glenn Milne (Glenn wasn’t going to come, but decided to tag along, as he now has a lot of free time on his hands), Godwin Grech (to look after communications) and John Howard (to use as a fast-food source – they will grab him by the ankles, turn him upside down and shake him; whereupon his dandruff will fall out and they will live off his desiccated coconut-like manna). They wander around aimlessly – but don’t give a stuff as they are having a quail of a time. Before trying to reach the Promised Land, however, Tones decides to take a detour. He wants to get more instructions from Dennis the Deity, so leads the party off towards Mount Sin-ai. Up the mountain, Den gives Tones the Ten Commandments, but Tones deliberately breaks most of them on his way down. They then head off in the direction of the Promised Land again. However, at its border, they come across a very strange sight. Sitting at the side of the road is what appears to be a lone hermit] Hermit: G’day...crikey, you guys look like you’ve been through a right shit-storm...anyway, my name is Kevin, I’m from Galilee and I’m here to help with your immigration processing...So, your passports better be up to date – you’re not a group of those illegal immigrants I hope...heh...heh...Just pass them to me and I’ll programmatically specificate them for you...the sooner we get that done the sooner you’ll gain entry into the Promised Land of tomato-sauce milkshakes and everlasting honeymoons...ho...ho...Why, everybody here looks and talks like me – you’ll soon assimilate, so don’t worry about a thing... [Tones’ weathervane lets out a piercing shriek and does a rapid one-hundred-and-eighty] Tones: Erm...thanks for the offer, mate, but I think we’ll just pass it up for now... Glenn (muttering): Yeah...sounds more like eternity in Hell than the Promised Land to me... [the Wanderers disconsolately head back in the direction they came. After a while, Tones has an idea] Tones: Hey, Grechie – send off an email to Den – we badly need some divine inspiration here... [because he is all-knowing, Den’s reply comes back instantaneously] Tones: What’s it say, Grechie? Grechie: Erm...he says we should resuscitate WorkChoices – under a new name of course – and head back to Egypt to see if we can persuade Pharaoh Paul to negotiate an AWA with us... Tones: Sheesh! As if Paul would agree to that! Den’s plan is a load of crap... Julie: Huh...what did you expect – have you ever seen any of his Newspoll interpretations? Tones: Well, it looks like we’re condemned to another 40 years wandering in the wilderness... Barnaby: 40? No way – I make it 40,000! [thereupon, a great weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth commences. The Chosen People, however, soon realise that it is to no avail. In the wilderness, no-one can hear you groan]

lyn1

20/03/2010Acerbic Conehead You are so clever, What a wonderful piece, very very enjoyable.

bilgedigger

20/03/2010lyn1 I see comments are closed on the previous thread so I'll post it here for you to see. I've been working through the link you provided to DigiWiz.com.uk and audacity.sourceforce.net re transferring the video I have to CD in order to use it on my computer. This site is full of information but I couldn't get my head around how I could adapt it to what I have, which is a video cassette and a VCR machine. In any event the link he gives to download the actual program which does the conversion for the CD and radio he is using (http://lame.buanzo.com.ar) indicates that the download is an "exe.program". When I was taking my first faltering steps to learn how to use a computer, the tutor was adamant that we should NEVER EVER download any program that used the initials "exe.", so for the moment I'm a bit stuck. As well it looked like I would have to use Firefox which in the past has upset my Security Program. Thanks a lot anyway for your lead, it was very thoughtful of you to take the time. I think that there are sufficient people who saw what I saw and who know just how deceitful the media generally is and have seen the other links provided.

lyn1

20/03/2010Hi Bilgedigger Well I have been downloading free exe programs for 10 years, but if you have been taught not to then perhaps it's best if you don't. You see they attach virus,trojans and spies to exe, if computer users don't know how to clean up the registry then the bad exe can cause you to crash. Your right a lot of people would know by now, The Political Sword travels far and wide your comment and others following would have been read probably by thousands. It was a pleasure to help Bilgedigger, anyway all would not be lost because I bet you learned something new out there on the information highway, the internet. Thankyou for letting me know.

Acerbic Conehead

20/03/2010lyn1 (March 20. 2010 02:25 PM). Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it.

bilgedigger

20/03/2010Bushfire Bill I like the analogy to "wandering in the wilderness". The Opposition is treating Mr. Abbott as the new Messiah who will lead them back to the promised land and their "true position" of being "in power" as opposed to being "in Government" where they sometimes acknowledge the Labor Party are. I'm pretty sure that during the histrionic ten or fifteen minutes of the Abbott diatribe that he referred to Kevin Rudd as "the Leader of the Opposition" (of course I'm not sure whether this was before or after the constant poundings of his fist against his heart - thump, thump, thump it went). I believe the reason Kevin Rudd is still so popular is partly explained by the openness of his smile. He should laugh on camera more often than he does if and when he gets the chance. The Australian has gone right over the top this morning with it's focus on Tony Abbott and Paul Kelly's article left my jaw almost dropping at the extent of his hypocrisy and the shredding of his carefully cultivated persona of being "above the mucky crowd". My apologies for all the inverted commas but somehow I'm impelled to use them when I consider the state of politics in Australia. What the devil was the "Right to Know" campaign run by The Australian except to gain an advantage for themselves. We should all start a "right to know campaign" directed at The Australia for them to reveal who is directing political comment throughout their media outlets.

HillbillySkeleton

20/03/2010A fine attempt to piece together the pieces of the jigsaw, BB, so that we might see more clearly what is weighing down the PM's political saddlebags and approval rating of late. One only has to refer back to an ABC 7.30 Report piece that had a reportere travelling out to 'Penriff', in the heart of the seat of Lindsay, or 'Bogan Central', as it is otherwise referred to by those with a more colourful turn of phrase. Interviews were sought from 'typical' voters in the seat, and the story was done at the height of the totally-manufactured controversy over the government's CPRS, courtesy of News Ltd., Barnaby Joyce & Tony Abbott, and their 'Great Big New Tax' line/mantra. These were totally random interviews, but blow me down and call me, 'Shorty', if to a man and baby-making woman, the sort who tend to be found out that way during the day for interview, they were all mouthing the Coalition's lines unprompted. No in-depth analysis for/against the need for AGW action, just the laser-like focus on the Tax take aspect. It must truly have heartened the dark souls of Tony Abbott and the Coalition. How well had their initial foray into brainwashing borne fruit? So well that they proceeded onto whipping up a new disingenuous campaign around the Insulation Roll-Out implementation and its corresponding hiccoughs(and, yes, I know death is more than just a hiccough, but still not entirely due to government negligence, per se). Just pick your line of attack judiciously, preferably around some emotive facet which will resonate with the electors lizard brains, such as the acknowledged tragedy of someone's child dying at work, or a Libertarian appeal to greed, such as 'No one really wants to pay higher taxes(forget the services they provide for), manufacture the tenuous link to the government, then go to your mates in the media to help you blow it up out of all proportion, and keep fanning the flames when either interest appears to be lagging or the government's explanation is gaining traction, and then just sit back and wait for it to finally get through the beery, bleary haze of the Tradies and their missus, out there in the marginals. QED. Who even needs a marginal seats campaign when you have your mates in the media doing it all for you for free? However, it took the forces of darkness, manifestly made real by the personage of that titan of the 21st century tabloid media, Rupert Murdoch, a couple of years before they found their partner in politics. They tried Brendan nelson, with his mawkish sentimentality, and Johhny Ray-esque performances in parliament and on the TV. The electorate didn't warm to a Cry baby. So they engineered Malcolm Turnbull into place,; the 'Uber Aspirational', meant to appeal to the hopes and dreams of all the little guys out there who aspired to one day, themselves, become an all-conquering, financial whizz and gazillionaire. Nope. MT's schtick was exploded thanks to the GFC, his being a former Chairman of Goldman Sachs in Australia, the Lehman Bros. and Bernie Madoffs of this world. It was exposed as a hollow 'Shell Game'. Truly, 'All spin and no substance'. 'Grechgate' was the icing on that cake. (Hmmm, I wonder if Godwin is still cosily & conveniently tucked away in that Private Sanitarium, out of sight & out of mind?) Things were thus getting pretty desperate by this time in Murdochistan, as they sought to throw their net over the world's little fishies and reel them into the good ship S.S. NewsCorp. A task Mr M. has been assiduously going about since the scales fell off his eyes about the futures of newspapers compared to the possibilities of the Internet. All those delicious possibilities for full spectrum control of 'the mob'. I imagine, after a quick consultation with the power behind the Conservative Coalition throne, Nick Minchin, they both decided to turn instead to our very own epitome of a 'Nascar Dad', Tony Abbott('cept he doesn't have a son to tinker with cars for the cameras, oh well, stick him in the SLSA & red Budgie Smugglers instead). Update the John Howard, Tracky Dacks-era imagery, and cut the cloth to suit the Tradies-era, marginal-seat living, McMansion-owning, RFS-volunteering, voter. Voila! Success! Until you scratch beneath the populist surface, and what do you find? A Terminator-like ideological warrior, with a heart the size of a currant. We can see through his facade with some recent pronouncements. You don't rate with TA if you are Homeless. That's your own fault. Disabled? Not an Ubermenschen? Tough biccies. Single mum? Your fault you couldn't keep your husband happy(anyway, Tone's got a plan to keep you bound tightly to hearth and home-bring back Fault-based Divorce). Carer? Put those kids away please, but we will pay you a pittance to look after them and to make you STFU about your paltry excuse for a whinge. As for a soul, well TA only has a Jesuitical soul(which is perfect for Murdoch's purposes), one which can be washed clean regularly in the Confessional. No crime of the conscience is too outrageous to commit therefore. Who cares if Tony Abbott has to destroy our better angels in order to grasp the ring of political power in Australia? Isn't that what Mr Murdoch wants? A world and a country without a moral commpass & where we no longer function as rational, empathetic beings, just lambs to the slaughter in Murdoch World. Where the rich and powerful get richer and more powerful, and the lambs get fattened on cheap carbohydrates, as their brains wither and die. But who really cares? They are ultimately and expediently expendable. Ergo, and thusly, as per historical precedent, the burden of halting the inexorable rise to success of the Man-boy who sold his soul to the devil(Abbott), and the devil himself(Murdoch), will again fall to those who are pure of heart, to fight the Crusade against them. Us. The 'intellectual elite' if you, pejoratively will. For no one exemplifies a 21st century simulacrum of the Borgias, with their symbiotic rise to dominance on the back of the Roman Catholic Church, as much as Mr Abbott and Mr Murdoch do.

Michael

20/03/2010One of the most malicious of the Rudd-haters, of course, was the now slightly less busy (on Sundays, anyway) Glenn Milne. I suspect the man was not 'punished' for failing to stick it to Kevin Rudd enough, however. Is it just possible that Glenn Milne being given the heave-ho from some of his until now secure sinecures at the Murdoch papers might have anything to do with his breaching on last weekend's "Insiders" of a confidence made to him by Tony Abbott? That Abbott's feeling "threatened" by homosexuality can be traced back to personal experiences while training to be a Roman Catholic priest in Sydney. And is it equally possible that the sacking is an effort to defuse the question of the two anthills that Milne kicked over in his breaching? Was consenting homosexual behaviour rife amongst seminarians while Abbott was resident, which has made him feel "threatened" by homosexuality ever since? Most of his seminarian contemporaries, if still in the Roman Catholic Church, would now be well and truly embedded in its bureaucracy and parishes Australia-wide. And presumably practising their vows of celibacy. Or is that reaction of being threatened more related to a possible culture of homosexual abuse of seminarians by senior members of the seminary, their teachers and pastoral role-models? Which raises an issue not a million miles from that confronting the current Pope relating to his tenure as a senior Churchman in Germany a decade or two back. It may simply be coincidence that Milne has been slapped down. Or not. If "not", it behooves either Abbott or Milne, or both, to clarify just exactly what it is that the younger Tony Abbott experienced as a seminarian. For that experience has clearly had a continuing effect on Tony Abbott's life and opinions. If shared by fellow seminarians to one degree or another, who can tell what effect it might have had on many of the far-flung congregations of the Roman Catholic Church in Australia, now under the paternal guidance of those who were his contemporary trainees for the priesthood?

mick smetafor

20/03/2010ac,got a title for your piece"the excellent adventures of phoney abbott and the illegal budgie smugglers".

Bushfire Bill

20/03/2010[i]"... it behooves either Abbott or Milne, or both, to clarify just exactly what it is that the younger Tony Abbott experienced as a seminarian.[/i] But, but... Paul Kelly has specifically said Abbott's inner moral demons are off-limits to the media. Nice idea Michael, but St. Paul has spoken.

lyn1

20/03/2010Hi Bushfire Bill I am putting up some newspaper columnists, sorry everyone , I can't find one reporter in Favour of Kevin Rudd or the Labor Government, I tried hard for you all. I am getting depressed after reading those newspapers. Murdoch can have his paywall I won't be going behind it, so there. [b][u]Never mind The Loonpond cheered me up[/u][/b] [b][u]READ BOTH THE LOON POND'S FIRST THEY ARE THE BEST[/u][/b] http://loonpond.blogspot.com/2010/03/little-housekeeping-but-never-fear.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+LoonPond+%28loon+pond%29 http://loonpond.blogspot.com/2010/03/christopher-pearson-in-market-place-and.html Christopher Pearson [b]with Great Big Boots on, used for giving a great big kick[/b] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/abbott-plan-empowersbrfamilies-to-have-children/story-e6frgczf-1225842748020 Peter Hartcher http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/how-rudd-can-outflank-his-noisy-opponent-20100319-qm1o.html Phillip Coorey [b]Video on his column [/b] [b]Lot of Booting here too[/b] http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/rudd-takes-calculated-gamble-on-debate-20100319-qj8z.html Samantha Maiden http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/then-gillard-entered-the-killing-zone/story-e6frg6zo-1225842559333 Paul Kelly http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/looking-for-the-real-abbott/story-e6frg6zo-1225843015862 Tony Wright http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/the-benefits-of-a-predecessors-fury-20100319-qm3q.html LENORE TAYLOR http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/labors-turn-to-prime-the-pump-20100319-qm1k.html

Acerbic Conehead

20/03/2010Mick (March 20. 2010 04:48 PM). Thanks for the suggested title. I'll file it away in case I get a publisher desperate enough to take me on, lol.

HillbillySkeleton

20/03/2010Let me just say that I have known ex-seminarians who have left the proto-priesthood because they couldn't abide the sound of rustling in the bushes outside their dorm room window, if you get my drift.

lyn1

20/03/2010Hi Bushfire Bill HillbillySkeleton is always your piece is fantastic ,excellent read . Michael your piece is excellent too, thankyou for writing for our enjoyment. I am watching the SA, Tasmanian election on Sky and praying, Oh dear the hubris will be drowning us if the Liberals win, Tony Abbott will be punching the air.

janice

20/03/2010A brilliant piece Ascerbic and for me it will go down as one of your best. Thank you. Bushfire, as usual your article is spot on. I think Rudd's so-called unpopularity begins and ends in the media - out here in voterland there are many (of the non-rusted- ons) who have criticisms of Rudd's style and his nerdiness but still are happy with the performance of his government. The big media anti-Rudd campaign (which I presume is what Abbott was referring to when he warned that his leadership would give Labor "the fright of their lives") has highlighted the mental instability of Abbott and his inability to focus on anything other than his own body, sex and women. The man is consumed with himself and struggles to make sense of his warped brainwashed religious mind which is no wonder that he wavers and vacillates from one thought bubble to the next. Lyn1, don't you dare succumb to depression! Commonsense will prevail in the end but if not then the whole nation will be up the perverbial creek without a paddle.

HillbillySkeleton

20/03/2010janice, Maybe we should nickname Abbott, 'The Balding Adonis' ? Tell me, do women out your way think TA is a bit 'icky' ?

HillbillySkeleton

20/03/2010lyn1, Here's an anti-Abbott piece to brighten up your day: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/abbott-show-needs-less-clowning-more-action-20100313-q559.html

HillbillySkeleton

20/03/2010Thank you, lyn1. I always wonder if what I say will make as much sense to those who read it as it seems to in my head!

lyn1

20/03/2010Thankyou Hillbilly for the link it did cheer me up. I have had a great time watching Sky news panel on the State elections, you should see the mood change now (hee hee), from the hubris and excitment they had at the start for a Liberal win, David Spears, Chris Kenny Mike Rann has won hooray! hooray. Tasmania 9 to 9 waiting on preferences

janice

20/03/2010HillbillySkeleton, I live in a fairly solid labor area but those I know who are rusted-on coalition supporters are strangely silent on their political leaning since Abbott took the leadership. I have very dear friends who became disillusioned and unhappy with Howard in his last term but whether they could bring themselves to vote against him is another matter. However, they aren't too enthusiastic about Abbott and the team he resurrected from the remnants of the Howard era. As friends we agree to disagree about politics and are able to discuss politics and political personalities without wounding each other, but since Abbott's rise to the leadership they have gone into denial mode and don't acknowledge he exists. Pity really as I used to enjoy our political discussions. Thanks for the link btw - I agree with the author that Abbott's strategy is to keep himself in the limelight with stunts and announcements designed to shock. IMO though all he has achieved is to highlight his weaknesses - he might have got away with it if he'd kept a low profile until the election campaign when there'd be too little time for people to realise what a disasterous prime minister he would make.

seo services

20/03/2010The last election was a popularity contest - rather than being fought on policy, Rudd made popular promises and rode the wave of free publicity from Seven's Sunrise program. Now the gloss has come off, I'm afraid we're going to get him for another term if the Liberals can't get themselves organised in time. Australian politics is in a woeful state! :(

HillbillySkeleton

20/03/2010Congratulations to the South Australian Labor Party! They withstood all that the Liberal Dirty Tricks Unit, and their proxies, Michelle Chantelois and Rick Phillips could throw at them. It appears they may even have gotten some sympathy votes, with small swings to the ALP in some seats. I hope Tony Abbott takes note.

Bushfire Bill

21/03/2010It was interesting to see Michael Stutchbury on [i]Insiders[/i] this morning wrap up all [i]The Australian's[/i] bootstrappers into one. In closing comments and predictions he reminded us that he'd been criticised for bringing up the $250 million tax bonus to the commercial TV stations. He said it this was, originally, an [i]Australian[/i] exclusive. However many had said it was a beat-up. He then mentioned the troubled Insulgate and School-gate topics and said that [i]The Australian[/i] had brought them to the nation's attention, also. His point was that [i]The Australian[/i] has been breaking stories but not getting the credit for it. Julia Gillard has comprehensively demolished the School-gate "story" by rebutting its allegations, dutifully regurgitated by the Coalition as questions in Parliament. While The Australian may have asked the "tough questions" and claimed to have complainants and witnesses to back them up, Gillard has provided the strong answers, on several occasions ambushing the Coalition with her own interviews with the supposed complainants, finding that they are actually very happy with the work that has been done, indirect contradiction to [i]The Australian's[/i] allegations.. Insulgate is not so clear. Yes, there have been, as they say, "problems" with insulation installations funded by the government stimulus money. Whether the occurrence of fires and deaths under the stimulus has been higher than pre-stimulus installations is unclear. Indeed Possum (and others by now) have shown that the incidence of misadventure under the insulation stimulus plan is actually less than before. The government's imposition of stricter OH&S rules may well have improved safety standards in the industry. And of course there is the basic question: is the government responsible for the harm done anyway.? Should the funder be lumped with all the blame? It would seem absurd to argue this, as it would virtually freeze all government funded programs if the minister were to be forced to resign when something went wrong... but there are many absurd things wandering about the land, nowadays. Stutchbury was able to trot out Insulgate, School-gate and TV-gate. He ticked them (and a few others) off like an established, proven list of government disasters. He claimed credit for his newspaper's breaking these "stories". But they were not stories. They started out as bootstrapped beat-ups and haven't progressed much further than that. Sure, they are "bad news", but because only one side of the equation is being presented - the complaints - without the other side - the resolutions (in the few cases where this is actually necessary) - being given any publicity at all. It's curious that [i]The Australian[/i] continues to deny that they are running an anti-government campaign. They say they are just doing their job. But why do they see their "job" as making up stories and not following through? Their "stories" are litanies of accusations, for the most part, that mostly are found to have much less substance, if any, they they purport to provide. That they are mostly anti-government is hardly surprising, given their source. So why bother denying it?

Bilko

21/03/2010Reading the excellent comment earlier "A fine attempt to piece together the pieces of the jigsaw" by HillbillySkeleton, reminded me of the Movie The Manchurian Candidate where an image was being built from a very slender gene pool and it is the same here, a little bit of investigative journalism could bring the whole Mad Monk/ Mr No chance, down quick smart, still I can live with 90+ seats to Labor at the next Fed election and even more when the smoke clears and Tone is found with no cloths ie policies to present.

lyn1

21/03/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS [/b] http://anonymouslefty.wordpress.com/ http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/big-swings-against-labor-in-sa-and-tas/ http://mumble.com.au/ http://larvatusprodeo.net/2010/03/21/aborigines-are-the-new-jews-really-noel/#more-13052 http://newmatilda.com/2010/03/19/peter-costello-close-and-very-personal http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/2010/03/21/photo-finishes-tasmania/ http://opiniondominion.blogspot.com/2010/03/evil-in-pearls.html http://petermartin.blogspot.com/ http://www.vexnews.com/news/8678/you-go-girl-bronwyn-bishop-endorses-sophie-mirabella-for-pm-one-day/ http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/21/2851658.htm?WT.mc_id=newsmail http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/politics/the-drinks-should-be-on-rudd-20100320-qn3h.html http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/politics/abbott-needs-to-watch-his-bedside-manner-in-health-debate-20100320-qn3i.html http://www.nationaltimes.com.au/opinion/politics/labors-turn-to-prime-the-pump-20100319-qm1k.html http://www.stubbornmule.net/2010/03/where-is-debt-headed-now/

monica

21/03/2010Have much appreciated your piece, BB, and the commentary. Have forwarded on to a number of people I think will also get a kick out of all who contribute to Political Sword

HillbillySkeleton

21/03/2010BB, I think the answer to your question, 'Should the funder be lumped with all the blame?', can be exemplified with reference to the situation as it applies to a normal home installation of insulation. If there is a problem with it after it has been installed, is the installer, or 'the funder', i.e. the homeowner responsible?

HillbillySkeleton

21/03/2010Bilko, Thank you, I try my best! However, with the high standard set by AA and BB, I find myself running just to stand still. :)

HillbillySkeleton

21/03/2010BB, They are not stories that 'The Australian' 'breaks', but beat-ups that they attempt to breath life into.

Bushfire Bill

21/03/2010[i]"BB, They are not stories that 'The Australian' 'breaks', but beat-ups that they attempt to breath life into."[/i] Yes. Part of the bootstrap strategy is to get everyone to accept that the story is actually a story. When they accept that, the "story" becomes a real story, but not necessarily about the facts, but about itself. I know this sounds confusing, but don't forget the essence of a bootstrap campaign is that it is self-referenced. It requires little or no outside energy to get it going. Stutchbury mentioned Insulgate, the Garrett demotion, the Rudd Apology, Schoolgate and the Gillard Challenge as "real" stories broken by his newspaper, [i]The Australian[/i]. Of these the only two that were [i]not[/i] bootstrappers were the Garret Demotion and the Rudd Apology. Garrett was demoted and Rudd did apologize (although in reponse to a bootstrapper... is that almost the same as being a bootstrapped story itself?). Insulgate, Schoolgate and theGillard Challenge are figments of [i]The Australian's[/i] campaign of self-referential bootstrapping. To a certain extent they have the government itself reacting to Insulgate, which I think is a mistake by the government. But Schoolgate and the Gillard story are pure fantasy. choolgate is either a list of questions that have been asked (but the answers are never reported) or repeated. In the Gillard case the "story" is pure speculation, possibly based on a few roosters in the ALP thinking they are kingmakers. Schoolgate is hugely popular and Gillard is not plotting to take over from Rudd. Stutchbury, in according these "stories" "reality" status is only playing the bootstrap game: you have to treat them as if they are real. Professional political journalists would laugh at the paragraph above and call me a moron for saying these stories aren't real. But what they mean is that they occupy a lot of column inches, a lot of journalists are writing them up, not necessarily that their import is based on substantial evidence, of which there is very little.

lyn1

21/03/2010Hi Ad Bushfire Bill and everyone, [b]A MUST READ FOR EVERYBODY[/b] APPLICABLE TO TOPIC Norrington like every single journalist at The Australian obviously has his anti-left biases (ever notice how a hatred of the left rather than positive support for the policies of the right is a guiding light for most conservative politicians and writers?), (there’s no reason why you would choose to read the Australian media over whats available even on the blogs, let alone from the US media online). See we are not the only ones compaining about the Australian media. Brad Norrington gets a wack) [b]This blog is a gold mine of quality writing[/b] [b]http://andrewcarr.org/?cat=21[/b] Excellent pieces under Australian Politics on the side bar fo Andrews blog: [b]The openly cynical conviction politician[/b] [b]Bring out your dead[/b] [b]http://andrewcarr.org/?p=1611[/b] [b]http://andrewcarr.org/?p=1380[/b]

Bilko

21/03/2010HillbillySkeleton, my pleasure it is nice to be reading facts in the real world rather the msm other reality, lower case is intentional. keep up the good work

lyn1

21/03/2010Hi Ad and Bushfire Bill As we thought, a debate with no policy. So now we have this "amateur hour experimentation" who demanded the amateur hour. http://www.news.com.au/breaking-news/tony-abbott-rules-out-revealing-health-plan/story-e6frfku0-1225843371699

macca

21/03/2010It was interesting to see Stuchbury on the Insiders this morning essentialy defending the journalistic integrity of the Aussierag, and by default, the Murdoch press in general. As BB states the fact that they broke these stories does not mean that the stories themselves are based in fact. It also raises the question of why? Why? Do we as citizens allow the Murdoch press to lie, obfuscate, live in the gutter and serve up politically biased tosh such as they do, and seemingly with impugnity? Where does the buck stop in the Sun Kings court? In essence, as citizens in a democratic country what sort of redress do we have to hold these liars accountable? Some ideas.......( such as they are) What licences do newspapers operate under? Is News Ltd fulfilling those requirements in full? Editorially, I imagine they take very expensive legal advice. I contend that for every expensive barrister on the yea side there will be equally, a very expensive barrister to argue on the nay side. Could there be grounds for a class action against News Ltd for disseminating erroneous information, particularly in regard the insulation, education programmes. Is their a lawyer or barrister reading this blog who could give us an indication if its at all possible. .

Bushfire Bill

21/03/2010[i]As we thought, a debate with no policy[/i] As we dreamed actually... So Tony says Labor's idea is amateur hour but won't reveal his own? [i]"Mr Abbott ruled out unveiling his own master plan for hospital reform when he goes up against Prime Minister Kevin Rudd in the National Press Club debate."[/i] His own? He has a comprehensive Health policy? Yes of course, the News Ltd. ticker said it was a "Master Plan", so it must be true. It's just that Tony's not going to reveal it right now. Clever boy, Tony. So we're having a debate on Health with only one side of the argument, but that's only because the Coalition's "Master Plan" is so good that, presumably, Labor might steal it. Better to let "the professionals" take over and do it properly. We wouldn't want to see any DEATHS under Rudd's amateur ideas, would we? Tony Abbott is a professional Health Minister. Although he was loathed for his cuts and his nastiness (e.g. Bernie Banton) while in the job, we can trust him to come up with something that will be streets ahead of Labor's half-baked brainfarts. Professionals do that kind of thing. Silly us! Now that we've got who's the pro and who's the amateur out of the way, a debate anyone? Methinks Rudd's arranging of the debate for Tuesday is turniong into a master stroke. He has clearly caught Abbott unprepared. Of course he can lose the battle, but the ground is of Rudd's choosing. The public trusts Labor on Health. They know the Coalition wants to take money out of the public system and put it into the private system. Abbott, onthe other hand, is distrusted on Health. He has form. $1 billion in cuts. Slagging off a dying man. The cards are all there. Rudd just has to play them in the right order. To any who think it's a mistake to go to debate so early, I think there never was a better time. The Abbott boil has to be lanced eventually. Best not to put it off.

HillbillySkeleton

21/03/2010Bushfire Bill, Wrt the Insulation Imbroglio(I refuse to give credence to the bootstrappers' 'Gate nomenclature, it only encourages them!), I think that the government is reacting to the electorate reacting to the media.

HillbillySkeleton

21/03/2010Macca, A lawyer's picnic is no solution to 'The Australian's' brazen partisanship. They would be more than happy for case after case to wend its way through the legal system, while they continued on their merry way with hyperbolic beat-up after hyperbolic beat-up. Have you seen the size and placement of any retractions or corrections when they have been proved to be in the wrong? It's a couple of paragraphs on Page 6, 2 months later. No, I think the best thing that we could hope for is that the News Ltd. journals die a slow death behind their Paywall, while free blogs like this go from strength to strength. Rust never sleeps, and neither should we.

lyn1

21/03/2010Hi Macca I am posting some good reading on Blogging and boycotting newspapers [b]HOW BLOGGERS ARE BECOMING MORE LIKE NEWSPAPERS[/b] http://gawker.com/5498133/how-blogs-are-becoming-more-like-newspapers?skyline=true&s=i http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=41009 http://www.thebadgeronline.co.uk/comment/want-an-honest-press-boycott-newspapers/ http://foxnewsboycott.com/

Bilko

21/03/2010A bit off topic but it is an election year A Gary Humphries handout here in the Nation's Capital talks about the Coalition's "Direct Action Plan", Environment & Climate Change 1 will achieve 5% emissions reduction target at lower cost 2 No new ETS tax & no additional costs for families 3 Solar rebates to help households make a practical contribution to emissions reduction 4 Direct incentives for farmers and industry to reduce CO2 emissions 5 20 million trees planted for more info visit www.liberal.org.au/DirectActionPlan Now Kevin will have to top this, but will he? can he? should he? is he shaking in his boots? Hang on for the next enthralling episode

macca

21/03/2010Hi Lyn and HBS, Thanks for your comments and links. My contention is;.....it seems that freedom of the press is not enshrined on the constitution, according to the Press Council website their is only an implied right. If this is so it would seem to me to be a trust thing. The media asks us to take them on trust that they will be true to the principles of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Everyone has the right of freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. The press council further states; Everyone has the right of freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. and Freedom of the press means the right of the people to be informed by the press on matters of public interest so that they may exercise their rights and duties as citizens IMO the MSM and specifically the Murdoch operations don't adhere to the principles that they espouse. They lie, they slant and stifle or ridicule any contrasting opinion, not in matters of public interest but to further the commercial ambitions of their proprietors. I believe this to be wrong, a betrayal of the trust awarded them by free people in a free democratic society and they should be bought to account As I said before.....Is there a lawyer or barrister reading this who can give us any idea of the law?.

macca

21/03/2010Apologies AA. Way off topic.

mick smetafor

21/03/2010interesting links lyn.i wonder if murdoch has finally gone too far and made himself the issue? if so this will destroy any credibility he may still have.i cannot remember this much discussion about this topic at any time in the past ,even at the time of whitlam.all power to the net and blogs such as this.

Ad astra reply

21/03/2010Folks I’ve been off the air for most of the weekend and have just now got round to reading the sparkling comments you’ve made. Thank you Acerbic Conehead and HillbillySkeleton for your extensive contributions, and Lyn1 as usual for the richness of your links. I agree with your analysis Michael that least one reason behind the Milne dismissal might be his comment on last Sunday’s [i]Insiders[/i] about Abbott, which I thought was appalling. If this is the case, why can Milne say anything obnoxious he likes about Rudd without consequence, but if he upsets Abbott or his media spearthrowers, he gets he axe? BB, you commented on Michael Stutchbury’s defence of [i]The Oz[/i] at the end of [i]Insiders[/i] this morning. My TV screen fragmented at that time so I missed it. But add that to panellists’ comments at the beginning about Rann ‘striking a sour note’ in his short speech last night when he said that after what he’d had to put up with, after everything that had ‘been thrown at him’, if he was able later to claim victory ‘it would be the sweetest victory of them all’. Why was that comment considered ‘sour’ and an unfortunate edge to his short speech? Because he was being critical of the media, particularly over its attention to his personal life. It wasn’t long ago that Fran Kelly said that Rudd should not complain about the media’s treatment of him, and should just ‘sit there and take his medicine’. This morning’s comments were in similar vein. The media believes it has a duty to be critical of anyone in politics it chooses, but if any politician has the temerity to criticize it, it squeals like a stuck pig. The media seems to be stung by such criticisms, which is why we in the blogosphere should keep them up.

HillbillySkeleton

21/03/2010Well, it seems as though Crocodile Tonee has decided that the Health Debate will be all about him "Holding the government to account" over their new Health and Hospitals proposals. Or, in other words, 'The Human Firecracker' going off at the PM and making baseless accusations and ranting. All this obfuscation about his own lack of any policy firepower in the Health area has been allowed to pass relatively uncommented upon by the media. As we all know only too well by now, if the ALP came to a debate at The National Press Club with no policy, or only a policy fig leaf(which Crocodile Tonee would be glad to sport no doubt), then all the Greek Chorus in the Press Gallery wouldn't be able to stop wailing and gnashing their teeth about it. As Mr Abbott has decided to do it, he gets a Hospital Pass from the Press. In fact, so casually does the Opposition Leader appear to be taking the prep for the debate, that he was back out again today in the Budgie Smugglers, mugging for the cameras with some kids with Cystic Fibrosis. It appears there is nothing or no one that he will not use as a prop for his vainglorious tilt at the top job in the land. Now who's 'All spin and no substance', again?

HillbillySkeleton

21/03/2010Bilko, '1. will achieve 5% emissions reduction target at lower cost.' Did you know that an eminently trustworthy environmental group had the 'Direct Action' plan modelled, and they came out with the findings this past week, and their conclusion was that it will only achieve half that amount of CO2 reductions, if that, in a best case scenario? They said that too much emphasis was being placed on Carbon Sequestration in the Soil(Biochar), and that it was an unproven and untested, on a large scale, CO2 mitigation technique. Sounds good though! Catchy name. Also, the 20 million trees would only cover a very small amount of land, actually, and to have any real effect you would have to take over a lot of prime agricultural land and plant trees on it, as well as stop logging old growth forrest, which Mr Howard, at least, and probably Mr Abbott, you could safely say, were never inclined towards. Which only leaves Solar Panels on rooves. And I don't think we'll get the climate out of the pickle it's going to be in by having a Solar Panel even on every roof. Oh, and of course the Liberal Party would have Nuclear Power. Though even with that I don't think that, without a Market Mechanism, they will come anywhere near 5%.

HillbillySkeleton

21/03/2010This is gold from The Poll Bludger: Stop press: Tony Abbott says the Libs have won in SA: “Certainly in South Australia we won. We have the most votes; we have a two-party preferred majority,” he said. Sounds like Abbott wants his job at The Australian back once the Leader of the Opposition thing doesn’t work out.' Followed by this rejoinder: 'The Mad Monk has obviously forgotten that government is decided according to which party has the most seats, not the most votes!'

Ebenezer

22/03/2010HBS, any idea about what he said when Labor won the vote in 98, 51 /49 (from memory.) I bet you he did not concede that Labor had won that election. I believe the same fate awaits Abbott in the federal election. IE The Lib's will record a swing (not as big a 7% though) to them but more so in their safe seats than the marginals. Their base is back it would seem but I doubt the swinging voters see them as a viable alternative, no matter how much the MSM would like it to be so. Cheers Eb. :)

HillbillySkeleton

22/03/2010Eb, If you read Grog's last blog about the Libs new 'star recruit' in Bradfield, then I would hazard a guess that the more circumspect of voters in that safe electorate, plus in others, will not be so easily swayed by the media's imprecations to back the Mad Monk's maddies into government. Actually, I believe the Coalition are focussing their efforts on the less thoughtful in our electorate, they'll try their usual snowjob and hope it works. It appears that the MSM will be on their side, for the most part.

HillbillySkeleton

22/03/2010Just heard Tony Abbott on AM. He sounded shaky in his defence of his lack of a Health policy and the fact he will not be able to release anything tomorrow. In fact, he wouldn't even commit to releasing a comprehensive Health policy before the federal election, instead saying that "People will know where we stand on Health by the election, what our direction will be." Sounds very vague to me, although I will make the comment that Misha Shubert said on Insiders yesterday that the Coalition will again try to gazump the Labor Party on Health by promising 100% Federal Funding. However, as I heard elsewhere, that position comes with its own problems, which is why the government offered 60/40.

Bushfire Bill

22/03/2010Interesting to see that Abbott on AM claimed Rudd wants to deal with Health [i]to take the public's mind off Insulation[/i]! If I get this right, then an all-important policy area that uses up the majority of federal funds to the states, impinges on everyone in society, was a major election issue, and could give rise to a DD election (plus Referendum) is [i]a distraction[/i]... from [i]pink batts[/i] and [i]aluminium foil[/i]? [i]Insulation installation problems in a few roofs[/i] is the major policy issue of our time? Not the health of our population? Seems to me it's the other way around. Abbott's the one who wants the distraction. If he wins this one by debating tricks, one-liners, clever talking points and obfuscation about fixing insulation before we fix our health system, then the state of our media is parlous.

lyn1

22/03/2010[b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b] http://www.pipingshrike.com/ http://www.businessspectator.com.au/bs.nsf/article/tasmania-south-australia-election-rann-rudd-abbott-pd20100322-3rqnm?opendocument&src=blb http://blogs.crikey.com.au/purepoison/ http://larvatusprodeo.net/ http://anonymouslefty.wordpress.com/ http://anonymouslefty.wordpress.com/2010/03/21/one-test-for-whether-a-bill-is-worthwhile-or-not-ctfm-opposition-almost-certainly-a-good-thing/ http://blogotariat.com/node/190395 http://catallaxyfiles.com/2010/03/21/search-for-rudds-billion-dollar-health-gouge/ http://www.domknight.com/a-passive-aggressive-letter-to-barack-obama/ http://politicalowl.blogspot.com/

HillbillySkeleton

22/03/2010Bushfire Bill, et al., I think you need to read this to remain positive in the face of similar political manouvering by the Coalition and their supporters in the media in Australia: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/frank-schaeffer/obamas-health-care-victor_b_507595.html

HillbillySkeleton

22/03/2010BB, Didn't Paul Keating have something to say about Abbott's lack of substance, and only having the Insulation issue to play with, in his own inimitable way last week?

Bushfire Bill

22/03/2010[i]Didn't Paul Keating have something to say about Abbott's lack of substance, and only having the Insulation issue to play with, in his own inimitable way last week?[/i] If Laurie Oakes' first question to Abbott is not, [i]"Mr. Abbott. What is the Coalition's Health policy?"[/i] I'll be highly disappointed. Otherwise Rudd will be on the defensive the whole debate, as I think is the Coalition's and the media's plan. On the other hand you can't talk about Insulation for an hour in a debate that's supposed to be about Health.

Colen

22/03/2010The health debate is a diversion. No one has stated it is not an important part of the agenda for either side of the political landscape. Health, Education and Finance are all major items requiring attention. The RORTING going on in the Building for Education revolution is phenomenal. The insulation programme implementation is a disgrace. Is it a beat up????? Now the NBN which no-one other than big business and the installers want. A new modem every three years at what cost, new fibre optic connection to every home costing $1,000 per household and the cost per month of $???. The speed into the modem could be 100Mb per sec but whose computer is going to download or upload at that level. Even 10Mb would be fantastic. Suckers borne every minute and you cricise the press. Is the Rudd Govt going to promise every home a new SuperDooper Computer.

Bushfire Bill

22/03/2010Colen wrote: [i]The RORTING going on in the Building for Education revolution is phenomenal.[/i] Sorry colen, but 100 complaints out of 24,000 is not enough to qualify the Schools program "rorted". For your information 100/24000 = 0.41%. That's another way of saying that 99.58% of projects have been successful. Yesterday in the Sun-Herald a "Shame" list of... wait for it... 15 schools was put up as "evidence" the Schools program had been rorted. Mostof them weren't new and most had already been either investigated and found to be baseless complaints, or had been audited and settled. In any $14 billion program there will be some mistakes made, liberties taken and shortcuts discovered. Rather than think of the bad elements, think of the 100,000 construction workers who either kept or found jobs in the Schools program. Think that it contributed a lot to keeping our country out of recession (unless you're part of the 1% of commentators who doesn't believe that). Sorry mate but it's very easy to find fault, and a lot harder (for your lot at least) to find praise. But you continue: [i]The insulation programme implementation is a disgrace. Is it a beat up?????[/i] Yes, it is actually, but let's not get into that. It's not worth defending for the umpteenth time some right-winger brings it up. Get it into your head Colen, that the debate on Tuesday is on the subject of H-E-A-L-T-H P-O-L-I-C-Y, at Tony Abbott's [i]explicit[/i]request. Not on Insulation, Schools or anything else. I know Abbott is trying to put across the line that "If you can't do Insulation, how can you do Health". He's made that point many times. It wought to be worth about 60 seconds of the hour-long debate. Without an actual, y'know, H-E-A-L-T-H policy what's Abbott going to use to fill up the rest of his allotted time? Calling the PM a liar? [i](I'd like to see that)[/i]. Calling him a "toxic boor"? [i](I like to see [b]that[/b])[/i]. Thumping the table? [i](Oh please Tony, do it)[/i]. Discussing the various expressions involved in "shit-eating grins"? [i](Is there a God?)[/i]. Raving about how the Liberals actually won the S.A. election [i](Yoo-hoo, read the results, Tony)[/i]. Telling us how he's got this "Master Plan" Health policy that's so good he can't tell us anything about it, so let's just say Rudd's a phoney? [i](Most likely)[/i]. [i]Now the NBN which no-one other than big business and the installers want. A new modem every three years at what cost, new fibre optic connection to every home costing $1,000 per household and the cost per month of $???. The speed into the modem could be 100Mb per sec but whose computer is going to download or upload at that level. Even 10Mb would be fantastic.[/i] The NBN is designed to give 100 mbits direct to every household. You won’t need a separate telephone connection, because that will be lumped in with it. You’ll be able to access the internet subjectively as fast as you can access your own hard-drive (yes, it will be technically slower, but a slow thinker like you won’t be able to tell the difference). If you have a little network at home that’s fast, then the whole world will seem to be as fast under 100 mbits. You will be able to do things that you don’t even bother thinking about doing now because it’s simply impossible. TV broadcasts, sport, telephony (multiple lines if you like), internet, information, libraries full of books, health consultations and many other things not even dreamt of now will become instantly available as if they were on a disk in your own computer. And dont forget, everyone will be able to do this, with compounding increases in communications and national productivity. It’ll be a different world, mate. You remind me of the troglodytes who complained that horse poo shovellers would lose their jobs with the advent of the motor car. What was wrong with horses anyway? And heavier than air flying machines? Who wants to travel to Europe anyway? It takes so long… except that with aeroplanes it doesn’t. The car, the plane… both of them revolutionized not only the way we travelled, but the way we thought about travelling. Ditto for the telephone and communications and manyother things we now take for granted, like electricity, plastics and fully funded health schemes. A bit of a grab bag, I know, but the point is: you shouldn’t judge the future by the standards of the present and worse, by the standards of the past. The government has set up the NBN as a wholly owned government corporation to make sure that price gouging is minimized. Telstra, with their pea-and-thimble “plans” will have to conform, or go west. Their monopoly will be broken and the geat big weight that has been holding us back will be lifted. To condemn the NBN on the basis of not seeing how you could use it at more than 10 mbits (therefore it’s useless) is so short-sighted that I can’t believe you actually put that forward as an argument. I personally run at a verified 20 mbits per second. I have a 100 mbit card and modem. I am looking forward to the day when I can fit into 5 times that bandwidth my already pretty fast internet, plus two phone lines, plus on-line data storage and backup, access to on-line software packages, plus TV, plus remote access to the place of work, plus email and downloads, movies and library access, and many other things like on-line doctors' appointments andnreal time video conference calling (plus things I haven't even thought of yet). Aren't you? If you're not, you're a true conservative (and that's not meant as a compliment). All of the above will be available at a fraction of the price of the individual packages that I now consume (or am not [i]able[/i] to consume because they either haven't been invented yet or require too much bandwidth to be viable at present). Optical fibre will never be redundant. Perhaps the switching gear may need upgrading, but not the fibre. That will become, when installed, a national infrastructure treasure and all you can do is bury your head in the horse poo, shovelling.

lyn1

22/03/2010Hi Bushfire Bill and Everyone The Liberals are getting desperate, panicing over the debate tomorrow. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/liberals-director-brian-loughnane-mounts-case-for-primetime-debate-between-rudd-and-abbott/story-e6frgczf-1225843789798

HillbillySkeleton

22/03/2010lyn1, Aren't Brian Loughnane and the other bully boys in the Coalition, plus their bootstrappers in the media, pathetic? Trying to throw their weight around as if they were already in government. If that's not Hubris, with a Howard 'H', I don't knnow what is.

lyn1

22/03/2010Hi Bushfire Bill Essential poll just out http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/03/22/essential-rudd-gets-strong-support-on-health-reform/

Bushfire Bill

22/03/2010[i]Essential poll just out [/i] Thanks, Lyn. And a cracking [b]56/44[/b] 2PP it is too! On leadership: [i]"... the only evidence from the electorate is of a PM with a strong lead over his rival and a popular deputy to step in in the event of disaster."[/i] ...with both Rudd AND Julia Gillard beating Tony Abbott as Preferred PM. Amazingly Labor are down as Better Economic Managers by 7% but as to "perceived manager of the economy in the interests of workers and as a promoter of jobs for Australian workers," Labor is in the lead. I've often puzzled over this disparity. It seems to me to mean that the public sees thr Coalition as better economic managers in the abstract, but when it comes down to day-to-day actual [i]management[/i] they prefer Labor. Go figure! It's a good result. I wonder how long it will be until there are a few serious questions floating around about Newspoll's bias towards the Coalition (which of course allows Rudd to reach the 50% "benchmark" Approval point all the quicker). Lyn's link again: http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/03/22/essential-rudd-gets-strong-support-on-health-reform/

lyn1

22/03/2010Hi HillbillySkeleton Yes it makes me sick, their all up themselves. But you can see clearly what's the matter can't you, as Bushfire Bill said comment just above. [quote](On the other hand you can't talk about Insulation for an hour in a debate that's supposed to be about Health)[/quote] Prime time commercial TV 90 minutes at 7.30pm ,far out, there would be millions of groans out in the public, honestly how many people would watch. It would be a something else debate if it's just name calling for 60 minutes by Tone, As I said all along how can Abbott debate on health without a policy. Hillbilly what do you think about Chris Uhlmann being the moderater I see the rules are being discussed in a meeting at 2pm Sydney time, so that is now, I will be trawling like mad to see tholse rules.

Colen

22/03/2010Optical fibre will never be redundant. Perhaps the switching gear may need upgrading, but not the fibre. That will become, when installed, a national infrastructure treasure and all you can do is bury your head in the horse poo, shovelling. I am sure they said this about steam engine. May be we should go back to that too to reduce our Carbon Footprint and live in Caves. The end of the world is nigh. Where's that dinosaur. I'll bring out my Wooden Club and beat it to death. It's so much cleaner living here. Communication is just a little grunting, as for politicians and the press whats that. The blogosphere must be those drums sounding in the distance. Bring your lighter BB you might need it. Watch out for the Rudd's storm it might dump on your head.

Colen

22/03/2010[b]Telstra calls halt to copper lines [/b] THOUSANDS of new houses around the country will take longer to come onto the market and cost up to $3000 more because Telstra has stopped installing copper phone lines. Telstra has told developers it has stopped installing copper phone connections in greenfields developments because of a Federal Government requirement for fibre-optic cable in new housing from July 1, Fairfax newspapers say. A greenfields development is an undeveloped area of land that is used to build multiple houses, or estates, at the same time. Stephen Albin of the Urban Development Institute of Australia says the decision last Thursday has caught many developers by surprise and will cause long delays in selling homes, exacerbating the housing shortage. Now that's planning by Stephen Conroy.

bilgedigger

22/03/2010Tony Abbott sounds like he is reneging on his agreement for a "Health Debate" tomorrow by declining to announce any policy. Sounds like a typical Liberal Party welcher, pretty much akin to their welching on the deal over climate policy struck when Malcolm Turnbull was leader. There's an old song with a great tune called "Minnie the Moocher" which I'll hum tomorrow while I watch Tony's "Festival of Abuse", but substituting the words "Tony the Welcher" (all apologies to dear old Minnie). Thanks for the early tip off of the results of Essential's poll this week. I'll have to make sure I watch SkyNews Agenda at 4.l5 today to see the reaction although I should be busy with other work instead of either watching T.V. or fiddling around with the computer (in my defence I claim I was only checking e-mails!)

lyn1

22/03/2010Hi Bilgedigger Yes it takes me a long time to check my emails too. Sky News more or less always agree with Essential, but I have noticed a change on David Speers face, when it's good for the government again and again, because he gets so hyped up that Kevin Rudd is going down in the polls. Tony the Welcher, Festival of Abuse love it. Here is Minnie the Moocher, Tony the Welcher http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x7i9t2_cab-calloway-minnie-the-moocher-blu_music

Granny Anny

22/03/2010Colen Many new housing estates already get fibre instead of copper, a fact easily confirmed with google. Installation costs for either are similar, but copper cable is very expensive.

Bushfire Bill

22/03/2010Colen, Your last post was pretty unintelligible. Shouldn't you wait until after 5pm? Y'know, when the sun goes past the yardarm and all that? But I suppose you were saying that my statement that optical fibre will never be redundant is dubious, wow just look at the steam engine. [i]I am sure they said this about steam engine. May be we should go back to that too to reduce our Carbon Footprint and live in Caves.[/i] By your logic we should do nothing at all. No alternatives to optical fibre, no research into new things and means of transmission - especially no RF internet solutions, I mean, [i]Marconi[/i] invented radio, didn't he, back in the 19th century? How old-fashioned - because they'll be out of date anyway, someday. It's a silly argument. Have another glass of red for us, will you?

Colen

22/03/2010BB Off course we need to do research. I hope the latest reseach into Nuclear waste will come to fruition. It will be the technology for the future. It will be used to power transport and your communications network as well, without all the associated risks. That's why this form of power should not be taken off the agenda. It will also supply the power to that new desalination plant that is being built in Wonthaggi. Whats your poison of choice "Radiation or AGW". Mine is a glass of red every night. Good for the heart they tell me. Keeps the blood pressure under control.

lyn1

22/03/2010[u][b]AFTERNOON LINKS[/b][/u] http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollbludger/ http://blogs.crikey.com.au/pollytics/2010/03/22/essential-report-strong-support-for-rudd-health/ http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/03/22/crikey-live-blogs-the-health-debate/#more-1613 http://mumble.com.au/ http://northcoastvoices.blogspot.com/2010/03/show-me-policy-mr-abbott.html http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/so-what-will-win-the-rudd-abbott-debate/?from=scroller&pos=3&referrer=home&link=text http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/spinning-the-state-elections/ http://newmatilda.com/2010/03/22/more-swings-roundabouts-labor-scrapes http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/rudd-abbott-to-be-judged-by-the-worm/story-e6frgczf-1225843850175

lyn1

22/03/2010[u][b]DEBATE RULES[/b][/u] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/health-debate-rules-set-up-stop-start-affair/story-e6frgczf-1225843928242

Bushfire Bill

22/03/2010Colen, Your next post was at least readable. Congratulations. If we refuse to use technology because some day it may be obsolete, then we wouldn't even have had the horse, much less the horseless carriage. I'm glad to see you agree with the general principle of progress. There is no faster, more secure, affordable technology for internet usage than optical fibre. It has revoloutionized the world of communications. What a fibre network can deliver is beyond most of us ordinary users. But I think the world will change when it does come on stream. AS to nuclear power. I was reading the other day that the first self-sustaining fusion test reactor will be tuirned on within a few months. It is not an experiemnt. They're close enough to the goal to be positive it will output more than has to be input ot it. The next stage is a working, power generating fusion reactor. After that all fission reactors will be obsolete. They're talking the next 15 years, and no pipe dream. The fuel? Deuterium. The source? Seawater. The reserves? Infinite.

Colen

22/03/2010BB Thanks. I am glad my level of Comprehension has improved. No doubt enhanced by the reasonable tone of discussion adopted. It must be your new gravatar. King Charles Spaniel? The CSIRO and Chief Scientist Penny Sackett needs to get on board with this and push it through in a Non- partisan manner. It's too important a topic to be passed over. My understanding is that Rudd has forsaken any debate on Nuclear which is WRONG. He is leaving the field widen open to the Libs to run with. Not that I should be complaining.

janice

22/03/2010Love your new avatar Bushfire. On the debate rules from the link Lyn1 posted, Veteran Liberal political tactician Graeme Morris said ...... “It's either very risky politics for the Prime Minister or it's just sheer arrogance that he thinks that he can wipe the floor with Tony Abbott,” Mr Morris said. There's not much to Tony Abbott with which to wipe the floor IMO. All he does is spout hell and damnation on everything Labor proposes and after getting egg on his face with his fantastically generous maternity leave policy I've no doubt his advisers have told him to keep his big mouth shut on having a go at a health policy. Of course he could tell all male voters how to get a body that looks appealing in a pair of budgie smugglers. I mean, what else does the nation need in a leader? Talking about heath reform - I see Obama appears have to have won his battle on health reform. What I don't understand though is why Americans are so against a public funded health scheme.

lyn1

22/03/2010[b]THE DEBATE PROGRAM TIMES [/b] http://whatsonthetube.net/rudd-abbott-debate-on-abc1-ten-nine-with-‘the-worm’/

BH

22/03/2010Lyn1 - you mentioned above about Spiers' face when the Essential poll is good for the Govt. We watched today a piece neighbour's taped of Saturday's election. Spiers was smiling and cheery about the SA figures and then crossed to Tassie for an update. When the camera came back to Spiers, 10 mins later, his face was as miserable as sin. Our neighbours said that at that moment they knew that SA Labor was going OK. Sure enough the camera swung to Hawker and he called it a win for Labor. Spiers face didn't recover after that. Neighbours spent the rest of the night in good cheer just to spite Spiers.

Bushfire Bill

22/03/2010[i]It must be your new gravatar. King Charles Spaniel? [/i] I've been suffering from gravatar angst, since deciding to bite the bullet and provide my email address to a totally anonymous company in a country far, far away, that gives absolutely no guarantees at all that someday they will not misuse said email address. Be that as it may, I violated the first rule of good photography which says that a truly good photographic image works well at all three of micro, medium and macro enlargements. My original gravatar was of my little Shi-Tzu/Silky dog, Cozzie, with some mid-tones dropped out for graphic effect. Cozzie, all 7 kilos of him, has a very naughty eye and can be a very naughty dog when he wants to be. I loved the photo I had taken of him and decided to use it as a gravatar for "Bushfire Bill". [i]Qu'elle surprisement[/i] when it worked OK at the macro and medium levels of magnification, but not at the micro level. It just looked like a blur of black, grey and white brushstrokes, OK here (where the gravatars are displayed fairly large) but not at other sites where the gravatar is displayed smaller. So I have substituted Cozzie's photo with one of a sulphur-crested cockatoo I took on my back deck. He used to visit a lot, but I had eventually to stop feeding him because he brought his mates, sometimes dozens of them, and they started [i]eating[/i] the deck when I didn't give them sunflower seed quickly enough. That and the bird shit all over was enough for me. I have only his photo, as he quizzically looked at me, leaning to one side. Probably a wild cockatoo is a better gravatar for a username of "Bushfire Bill" anyway. The cockatoo works better when reproduced at small size, having better lines than the more complicated photo of my wonderful dog and boon companion, Cozzie. I found that the new image didn't register until I had closed down Firefox (or I suppose IE) and re-started it. So if you still see Cozzie, enjoy the view until you next re-start your browser. P.S. Cozzie, 10 years old, had his first dog fight the other day. He has been training for it all his life. He won, but only because the other dog was tied up. But ever since Cozzie has been walking a foot taller and lookign for other dogs to take on. He now wishes to be called a Battle Dog, or Pit Shi-Tzu: "Born to fight in the pit, die in the pit and be buried in an unmarked grave." P.P.S. His older adoptive brother, Bob, taught him everything he knows about fighting. But Bob is another story. Let us just say that Bob is another force of nature, like Tony Abbott, but with infinitely more charm.

lyn1

22/03/2010Hi Bushfire Bill Thankyou for sharing information about Cozzie and your Gravatar. [b]BH Thankyou[/b] for telling me of your enjoyable observation. Today on Agenda David Speers introduced the show all excited and exuberant, he would have been thinking, because of the State elections this would be a bad poll result for Kevin Rudd. Well! you and your neighbors would have laughed again out loud, David Speers face, and whole persona changed, he said in a [u]very small voice [/u]"the Liberals had some good news on the economy", the essential speaker said yes and was cut off. At 3.30pm on comes the panel, today Bruce Hawker and Graeme Morris. Not one word from David Speers on the essential polls was mentioned. Of course we all know how Graeme Morris behaves, I can't believe how Bruce Hawker copes with him, always in a calm and measured way.

HillbillySkeleton

22/03/2010Oh, poor, pitiful, little Tony, "We all know they're going to blackguard me". Groan. And he was intending to do what to the PM?

lyn1

22/03/2010Hi Ad and Hi Bushfire Bill Hillbilly yes, wasn't Tony Abbott Pitiful, poor little me, pathetic clips on the 7.30 report, Oh! poor me, who's going to help me now, the rules won't let me hurl abuse at Kevin Rudd, How can I beat my chest, dance around and call out liar, Prime Minister blah blah,how can I say he is all Cowboy no Hat, what can I do and I've got no policy, I really should be training, doesn't anyone understand me. My plan at the National Press Club debate is not to win, but to score points. [b]http://www.abbottsarmy.com.au/[/b]

HillbillySkeleton

22/03/2010This is a test post. I've been trying to install a new Avatar. :)

HillbillySkeleton

22/03/2010Nope. Didn't work. :(

lyn1

22/03/2010Hillbilly I think you need to log off, restart your computer.

Navy Curtains

22/03/2010A bit off topic perhaps, but anyway - which template are you using? I really love the menu style.

HillbillySkeleton

22/03/2010lyn1, Tried that. Still didn't work. Hmmm. My son(who helped me), said it may take until the morning. I decided to change it because I was becoming embarassed at the fact that I couldn't even arrange a simple Gravatar with good resolution, only a pixellated one! Not to worry, I'll keep trying until I get it right. :) Btw, isn't that Brian Loughnane character a nasty piece of work? No wonder the Liberal Party keep him hidden in a back room most of the time!

lyn1

22/03/2010[b]HERE IS GROG BEING BRILLIANT AS ALWAYS [/b] [b]THANKYOU GROG[/b] [u][b]http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/2010/03/little-health-q.html[/b][/u]

HillbillySkeleton

22/03/2010You're right, lyn1, Grog was spot on, as usual.

Bushfire Bill

23/03/2010[i]This is a test post. I've been trying to install a new Avatar. Smile[/i] I had the same trouble. Try exiting your browser completely (close the browser down, all windows tabs etc... completely in other words) and then re-run it. Gravatar should come up OK after that.

Bushfire Bill

23/03/2010Another example of the Icarus syndrome in this blog piece at the News Ltd. web site: http://blogs.news.com.au/dailytelegraph/simonbenson/index.php/dailytelegraph/comments/kevins_winner_not_over_the_line/ Two paragraphs from the article illustrate both how they run a bootstrapper and provides another example of the Icarus Syndrome regarding interpretation of polls. [i]The PM had been at pains to try to provide pre-emptive cover to suggest that federal issues would have little to do with the elections, knowing that he may be painted into the portrait of declining Labor fortunes across the country.[/i] Note the classic Bootstrapper technique: [b]Use Of Passive Voice[/b]… [i]“he [b]may be painted into[/b] the portrait of...”[/i] And who, pray tell, will be doing the painting? The second paragraph goes: [i]However recent polling by Essential Research suggests that only 58 per cent of people actually support the health reforms - which is by no means an overwhelming majority. And only 25 per cent strongly support them.[/i] This is classic “Icarus Syndrome”. The Icarus Syndrome states that Rudd has to perform [i]over and above ordinarily good polling level[/i] to be successful. If he doesn’t, not only his but his party’s prospects fall to pieces as the sun melts their high-flying wings. It’s been recently revived now that one of Rudd’s personal metrics has fallen below the newly promoted “benchmark” of 50% for this metric. One of the advantages of Newspoll being generally more favourable to the Coalition (Possum has proved this unarguably) is that Rudd reaches “low points” and new “benchmarks” faster than in other polls. The problem is: how to correlate and rationalize Newspoll’s generally more unfavourable figures for Rudd with the higher figures of other polls. Enter the Icarus Syndrome. You just make the benchmark for other polls higher. Thus 58% – usually a great approval rate for a new policy – is no longer enough. Rudd, under the Icarus Syndrome now needs “an overwhelming majority”. The Icarus Exception (a necessary adjunct to the full-blown Icarus Syndrome) is that if the non-Newspoll poll metric is indisputably high, say 80%, then they just ignore the other poll’s result, either implicitly or explicitly saying the only poll that matters is Newspoll.

HillbillySkeleton

23/03/2010ONLY 1 out of 4 Australians 'Strongly Support' the Health Reform proposals with only half the jigsaw complete. Quel Horreur!

Granny Anny

23/03/2010I hope you don't mind me going back over old ground, but according to news reports Telstra says they will no longer install copper cable in new subdivisions for "free". Well why should they because once the copper is in the ground it is available for use by all Telco's, not just Telstra. The Howard Govt. sold Telstra; it is now a private company. Development costs include things like roads, power, and water and these are built into the price of a block of land. Why should the telecommunications infrastructure costs be handled differently.

HillbillySkeleton

23/03/2010I think Julia should go back to that old hairstyle which you have put into your photomontage, BB. The new one she has with the exposed forehead is just not doing it for me. Time to get Tim Matheson on the job!

lyn1

23/03/2010[u][b]TODAY'S LINKS[/b][/u] http://guttertrash.wordpress.com/ http://larvatusprodeo.net/ http://blogs.crikey.com.au/croakey/2010/03/23/some-last-minute-health-debate-prep-tips-for-rudd-and-abbott/ http://www.crikey.com.au/2010/03/23/rudd-vs-abbott-the-smack-down/ http://www.onlineopinion.com.au/view.asp?article=10192 http://anonymouslefty.wordpress.com/ http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/23/2853470.htm http://www.news.com.au/national/thats-our-500m-roxon-tells-abbott/story-e6frfkvr-1225844104790?from=public_rss http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/abuse-and-ambush-the-hot-topics-in-health-showdown/story-e6freuy9-1225843996433 http://petermartin.blogspot.com/ http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/web-tv/story-e6frgczf-1225843599670 http://politicalowl.blogspot.com/2010/03/media-wrap-previews-of-debate.html http://www.vexnews.com/news/8700/snatch-labor-outsmarts-liberals-to-steal-back-sa/

Bushfire Bill

23/03/2010[i]I think Julia should go back to that old hairstyle which you have put into your photomontage, BB.[/i] Montage? Definitely not! That's an actual shot taken at News Ltd's. Holt St. HQ, in their mock up of the House of Reps used for rehearsing "energising, entertaining" sound bites by Tony Abbott that fire the public's imagination. Genghis Khan was in sydney for the day. He's in the back seat because Murdoch is even further to the right than Genghis is. The Rudd figure is of course a cardboard cutout, just like the man himself.

Bushfire Bill

23/03/2010Well it seems that Abbott's legendary debating skills have deserted him. To mix a couple of metaphors, while Tony is swimming with the fishes, Rudd is soaring with the worms. Abbott lost it when he started his demonic laugh. Every time the camera turned to him the worm dived back into the dirt. Rudd, on a couple of occasions, sent it off the scale. Abbott is now closing off. The worm is below the line because he is entriely negative. Abbott only offers no change and misery. Crazily he has just said, "This has been a good debate." Poor fool, he's been reading The Australian too much. Now to see how the media score it...

Ebenezer

23/03/2010This debate should belay any fears the MSM had about Rudd's performances under pressure. This clearly shows that Abbott and the Lib's need to develop some policies if they want to become competitive. Unfortunately for our Tony the worm has signaled his fate to the political scrap heap after this coming election. Thanks Tony (RIP) you were an under achiever, like so many from your previous government. Next, bring on Sloppy Joe. Cheers Eb. :)

Ebenezer

23/03/2010The worm 71 / 39 to Rudd. Oaks believes it was closer than that. The worm just confirms the disconnect between the voters and the Liberal cheering MSM. Cheers Eb. :)

Bushfire Bill

23/03/2010An important thing to note was that Rudd didn't have to open his mouth for the worm to start heading north. Vice versa for Abbott. I think Abbott has clearly peaked. Every time he mentioned batts and schools he took a dive. That is background noise now.

lyn1

23/03/2010LINKS ON THE DEBATE RESULT [b]VIDEO FOR THOSE WHO MISSED THE DEBATE http://media.brisbanetimes.com.au/live-rudd-v-abbott-on-health-1249716.html http://blogs.crikey.com.au/thestump/2010/03/23/the-health-debate-content-free-but-just-what-the-doctor-ordered/ [/b]http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/23/2853802.htm?section=justin http://www.canberratimes.com.au/news/national/national/general/health-debate-the-worm-has-spoken-and-it-is-rudd/1783807.aspx http://www.news.com.au/national/kevin-rudd-tony-abbott-health-debate-verdict/story-e6frfkw9-1225844309042 http://www.smh.com.au/national/worm-turns-for-rudd-20100323-qsve.html?autostart=1 http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/live-blog-rudd-v-abbott-20100323-qs1z.html http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politics/leaders-go-hard-on-an-issue-that-really-counts-20100323-qstj.html http://news.ninemsn.com.au/national/1030967/abbott-and-rudd-spar-over-health [b]Abbott admits Howard government health spending inflated in graph [/b] http://www.theaustralian.com.au/politics/abbott-admits-howard-government-health-spending-inflated-in-graph/story-e6frgczf-1225844225622

Ad astra reply

23/03/2010Folks I have been mostly off the air for the last couple of days with family matters, and just now have enjoyed reading your comments and using the links. You have established a momentum that persists piece after piece. Thank you. I have just watched the ‘Great Health Debate’ which the worm and the audiences gave to Kevin Rudd by a large margin. Some journalists/papers will spin it for Tony Abbott, as will some online polls. But whatever the verdict is, it seems to me from the contortions of the worm, if they mean anything at all, the public doesn’t like negativity, likes Rudd, and doesn’t like Abbott much at all. This would explain why Rudd still outranks Abbott by such a large margin in the PPM stakes.

janice

23/03/2010I thought Rudd looked like the Kevin Rudd we saw during the 07 election campaign. Tony Abbott may well rue the day he opened his big mouth wide enough to challenge Rudd to a debate because he was pretty well hung, drawn and quartered by the end of this one. I wonder did anyone else notice the roving camera settle on the face of Jenny Macklin about mid-way through the debate. Her facial expression was priceless and she seemed to be controlling the urge to get up and cheer. Laurie Oakes said he thought Abbott did very well and that he thought he did better than the 71%-29% rating by the worm. Wonder how Shannahan will spin it.

adelaidegirl

23/03/2010Someone on a The Age comments page noted that News Ltd hasn't reported it much all! Takes time to spin it, I suppose. Positive coverage for Rudd on SMH and The Age.

mick smetafor

23/03/2010i just voted on the oz website on the debate,the results so far are abbott 55% rudd 39% draw6% with774 votes.tells you something about their readership i suppose.

Bushfire Bill

23/03/2010Essentially, the Coalition are still trying to bring Rudd down by virtual [i]coup d’etat[/i]. Last year they tried Grech, now it’s Insulation and a supposed Schools fiasco. There have been any number of faux scandals before those, too. An easy kill if Rudd fits the meme and takes it like a wimp, but so far he’s fought back and triumphed each time like a true champion. The Libs are victims of their own fantasies of Rudd as a nerd and boring policy wonk. But here’s an idea... [i][b]Q. Why don’t they try doing some work for a change instead of taking what looks to be the easy way out every time?[/b] A. Because as the election draws ever near they’re realising that time is running short for actual policy work. The less time there is the more they panic themselves into dramatics, inspired by this bootstrapped nonsense that Rudd is limp-wristed.[/i] Today we have seen the beginning of the end of the “We’re here to oppose” rubbish, or at least what should be the beginning of the end. All kinds of excuses have been made for Abbott not bringing a Health policy along to a Health debate that he, himself, demanded. Some have already almost turned it into a virtue by twisting logic and common sense into roughly the shape of a demented pretzel. It won’t work. All the public will see is that Rudd, imperfect, wordy, bureaucratic and mild (at least on the outside) had a policy to bring to the table and that the Liberals didn’t. All the Action Man had was maniacal laughter and pink batts. That might work down the pub on a Friday afternoon, or in the adolescent halls of student politics, but it doesn’t work as far as good governance of the nation is concerned. What’s to come? Defence, the Economy, Social Security, Immigration Policy, the NBN, Tax and a thousand other areas of government, all of which need plausible policies that amount to more than heckling from the bleachers. Abbott ought to spend less time riding bikes, putting out bushfires and showing off his budgies, and more time doing the hard yards in a closed, windowless room with his best experts forging policy. Swimming, exercising and firefighting for his local Rural Fire Brigade company are all good things to be involved in, but not for a Prime minister, or would-be Prime Minister. There have to be priorities. The only problem is, I’m not sure the Coalition believes there is enough time to do the policy work. They’ve wasted so much going the biff, egged-on by a biased and lazy media pack beholden to an image of the Macho Prime Minister that never existed (and never could exist), that it may be too late to change course.

lyn1

23/03/2010Hi Ad Welcome back we missed you. Barrie Cassidy gives a good report for Kevin Rudd: You don't need a worm on the screen to tell you that negativity doesn't work in debates; but when you see it as we did today, it brings it home with a thud http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/03/23/2853911.htm?WT.mc_id=newsmail [b]Excellent piece by Tim Dunlop[/b] Today's debate between Kevin Rudd and Tony Abbott on the subject of health care reform was an unequivocal disaster for Tony Abbott. http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/stories/s2853936.htm?WT.mc_id=newsmail

lyn1

23/03/2010Hi Ad and everyone [quote]It was amusing to see the press gallery trying to pretend that Tony did OK. Their disappointment with Abbott's performance was palpable. Bizarrely, Keiran Gilbert at Sky thought Abbott had won. Laurie Oakes was of the view that Rudd probably won, but Tony did pretty well.[/quote] [b][b]EXCELLENT PIECE BY TREVOR COOK [/b][/b] http://trevorcook.typepad.com/weblog/2010/03/not-even-close-rudd-trounces-abbott-in-health-debate.html

lyn1

23/03/2010Hi AD This debate is gift that will just keep giving Excellent piece by Ben Eltham here: http://newmatilda.com/2010/03/23/abbott-brawler-struggles-health-debate

janice

23/03/2010Thanks for your links Lyn1 - so nice to read a Tim Dunlop column again. Abbott's media cheerleaders are out in force making excuses for his drubbing and you are so right Bushfire Bill when you say Abbott should spend more time doing the hard yards and earning his pay packet.

adelaidegirl

23/03/2010PM on Radio National took a very dour view of the debate. The host, whose name escapes me, after implying that it looked like Rudd had dug himself a very deep hole agreeing to the debate, intoned that "it doesn't see to have done him any harm". Faint praise indeed. On a brighter note, Channel 9 news was in full support of its worm. Can't wait to watch the replay. I'll be looking out for Jenny Macklin's face!

lyn1

23/03/2010Hi Ad and everyone [b]VIDEO PAUL KELLY'S REPORT ON THE DEBATE [/b] http://player.video.news.com.au/theaustralian/#Jnb6bCDI8k8ia5DqAWyZa0wcYx00Yiz

Bushfire Bill

23/03/2010Ha, Ha! I beat Lyn to a link: Grog on the debate... http://grogsgamut.blogspot.com/

lyn1

23/03/2010Hi Ad Oh no! Bushfire Bill you naughty boy, you know [b]GROG[/b] is my favourite, (I am Julie Bishop, remember in Question time 2007, [b](you naughty boy you stole my policy[/b]) Did anyone else see Julie Bishop kiss Tony Abbott at the end of the debate, isn't he her boss. I don't know about anyone else, but I have never kissed any boss in my life. [b][u]Doesn't matter Bushfire Bill because you are my favourite too[/[/u]b]
I have two politicians and add 2 more; how many are there?