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Everything old is new again this week, with the return of Kevin Rudd and those pesky Pokemon popping up everywhere…but is there an international conspiracy lurking inside those Pokeballs?
Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. A massacre in Munich, elation for Trump, the possible return of Rudd and the Pokémon Go conspiracy round out the top stories from this week.
Munich was on lockdown following an attack in a shopping mall that killed ten people. Conflicting reports began coming in regarding the motivation behind the attack and the number of perpetrators, however, German police chief Hubertus Andrae has confirmed that the gunman was an 18-year-old German-Iranian.
The shooting began just before 6pm near the Olympia Shopping Center in the Moosach district, northwest of the Munich city centre. The shooter opened fire outside a McDonald’s opposite the mall with the beginning of the horrific attack being caught on camera and spreading quickly across social media. The attacker then walked through the shopping centre continuing his rampage before apparently turning his gun on himself.
According to German authorities, there is absolutely no evidence that the attack had links to any terror groups. The shooter is said to have no police record, nor does he appear to have any Islamic links. He is reported to have shouted “I am German, I was born here” before launching his attack, as well as “F***ing foreigners”, “You f***ing Turks”, according to eyewitnesses. This leads some to believe that he may have been a right-wing extremist, pointing to the fact that the attack happened to occur on the five-year anniversary of the Breivik massacre in Norway, which saw right wing terrorist, Anders Behring Breivik, brutally murder 77 people.
Whilst his motivation remains unclear, as news started coming in about the attack, some were quick to blame the attack on IS, including US Presidential hopeful Donald Trump, who tweeted “This cannot continue. The rise of terrorism threatens the way of life for all civilized people, and we must do everything in our power to keep it from our shores.” However, the Tweet was soon replaced:
Another attack, this time in Germany. Many killed. God bless the people of Munich.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2016
Apart from that little backtrack, Trump has had a good week as he was officially named as the Republican Party candidate for the US Presidential Election. His nomination was not celebrated by all in his party however, with his closest party rival, Ted Cruz, delivering a speech which contained no endorsement of Trump, much to the fury of Trump’s supporters who proceeded to boo him off stage. Cruz gave an impassioned speech, calling on Republicans to vote with their conscience. Trump supporters interpreted this as “Don’t vote for Trump”, proving that even they know that anyone with a conscience couldn’t possibly vote for this megalomaniac.
Cruz defended his decision when interviewed after the convention, referring to the attacks that Trump launched against Cruz’s wife and father during the Republican campaign, which believe it or not included a suggestion from Trump that Cruz’s father was involved in the assassination of John F Kennedy. “I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father,” Cruz said. “That pledge was not a blanket commitment that if you go and attack Heidi (his wife), that I’m going to nonetheless come like a servile puppy dog and say thank you very much for maligning my wife and maligning my father.” Pretty hard to argue with in my humble opinion.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Trump is Stockholm to my syndrome: Day 4 of GOP convention
- Drowning in the warm malaise: Day 3 of GOP convention
So how do the Republicans celebrate the rise of their Führer? By dropping some serious coin on male sex workers apparently. The New York Post interviewed a number of male escorts in Cleveland who reported that business was absolutely booming with their services being in high demand from attendees at the Republican National Convention. One escort reported to have made six times his usual income during the convention with the majority of customers being 40-50-year-old married white men including politicians. A surprising result given the high number of attendees who openly oppose gay marriage. The boom in business was apparently restricted to male escorts with female sex workers reporting a significant drop in trade during the convention.
As the elections campaign in the US roll on, another is beginning to decide the next United Nations Secretary-General, with the UN Security Council conducting the first round of informal polls for the position. Nominees must be put forward by their own Government and our own ex-PM, Kevin Rudd, is creating headaches for the Liberal Party by officially requesting a nomination.
In a shock to no-one, the Right wing of the Liberal party are having none of it, with Senator Cory Bernardi and Immigration Minister Peter Dutton quickly speaking out against the potential nomination. The decision appears to have split the party room, with some former critics of Rudd accepting that the nomination should be forthcoming.
Former Liberal leader, Brendan Nelson, has thrown his support behind Rudd, suggesting that party politics shouldn’t come into play and that beyond our borders we should be “Team Australia”. Nelson also indicated he believes that Rudd is “made for the job” and described him as having “immense intellect and a deep understanding of international affairs and diplomacy”. Continuing, Nelson said, “Each of us is tailor-made for some role – I think this is the one for him. I’ve seen him on the international stage. He is stunningly brilliant”. Turnbull has refused to be drawn into the discussion, pointing out that it is a decision for Cabinet.
Speaking of, he quietly appointed his new cabinet earlier in the week. There was a little less upheaval, this time, around with only minor changes made, primarily based on election results that saw two ministers from the last cabinet lose their seats.
Despite furious campaigning from the far Right of the party, Tony Abbott was not offered a cabinet position, which I’m assuming means that Bernardi and Andrew Bolt are in a dungeon casting a hex somewhere right now.
It wasn’t without subtext. Kelly O’Dwyer lost her small business portfolio. Well, we all lost it with Turnbull surprisingly removing it all together, in a glaring contradiction to his electioneering message about the importance of small business to the Australian Economy.
Josh Frydenberg has picked up a newly created environment and energy portfolio which certainly raised my eyebrow given that the energy industry (from a Lib’s perspective anyway) and the environment tend to have conflicting priorities at the best of times. Don’t expect to see much progressive environmental policy in the next term…not that we expected it. Hopefully he won’t do a worse job than his predecessor, Greg “dredge everything” Hunt who has been shifted to Industry, Innovation and Science. I’m sure his degrees in law and international relations will hold him in good stead while in control of the future of science in this country.
Everyone’s favourite lapdog, Christopher Pyne, has been given the newly created role of Minister of Defence Industry, which sees a reduction in Defence Minister Marise Payne’s responsibilities. Having a Defence Minister focus on defence rather than how to make money out of defence is probably a good thing for all of us.
I’m forgetting something…Oh…Abbott. Despite furious campaigning from the far Right of the party, Tony Abbott was not offered a cabinet position, which I’m assuming means that Bernardi and Andrew Bolt are in a dungeon casting a hex somewhere right now.
Hopefully it means we might see Turnbull start pushing back against the true enemy to progress in this country, or if we’re really lucky, Cory Bernardi will follow through on his threat to splinter off and form his own Conservative Party leaving the Libs with the opportunity to form some semblance of a functioning government. But I’m an optimist, you know…
Wacky and wonderful.
If you’ve been noticing more people on the streets suspiciously holding their mobile phones up in front of their face and wandering aimlessly around, you’re not alone. Pokémon Go, a new augmented reality game that has players searching the real world for elusive Pokémon, has absolutely taken over the word.
So much so that Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to ban the game, after an internal Kremlin investigation suggested that the game has direct links to the CIA and is being used to secretly gather data. China, too, has expressed concern believing that it could be some sort of “Trojan horse” put in place by military rivals the US and Japan.
Also on The Big Smoke
- Hang lights on Trump tree: Day 2 of GOP convention
- The white elephant: Day 1 of GOP convention, a cynical recap
Famed director, Oliver Stone, has also spoken out against the game suggesting that it is designed to create a totalitarian world filled with “robot-like people”. But then again, every time I think of Oliver Stone, I think of this delightful piece of commentary from Family Guy.
It turns out that ’90s band, Third Eye Blind, can add a cracking sense of humor to their extensive resume which already includes writing the hit song Semi-Charmed Life and…well…yeah, I think that’s all they’ve done.
The band was performing a concert hosted by the Recording Industry Association of America and AT&T for attendees of the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Not wanting to miss the opportunity to mess with the GOP, they proceeded to push the crowd by attacking the party’s anti-LGBT agenda with singer Stephen Jenkins relaying a story about his gay cousin and calling for people not to impose their fears on others.
Jenkins took the trolling up a notch by asking the crowd to “Raise your hand if you believe in science,” which was met with heavy booing. To add insult to injury, they refused to play their hit song, choosing more obscure tracks from their back catalog. As the boos continued, Jenkins hit back on the mic saying “You can boo all you want, but I’m the motherf***ing artist up here.”
Well, lads, you might not be amongst the greats of the rock industry, but that was as rock star as it gets.
Have a cracking week, TBSers!