Rob Idol

Current Affairs Wrap: Copperheaded saviour of NBN and newest latest low of Prez race

Approx Reading Time-14What strange a week it was. Two Right-wingers were in the spotlight, both collectively written off. Which impossible task would you rather; the NBN or the White House?

 


Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. It’s all about Trump this week; and news that the hero we need to repair the NBN has stepped up to the plate.

 

International

Every time we think the circus that is the US election has thrown its most controversial or entertaining curveball at us, we are proven wrong again…and again…and again. So much so that I’ve decided to abandon the Wacky and Wonderful section this week to throw a little more at the following story…because it simply has everything we news junkies need.

In the lead-up to the second debate between presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a tape from 2005 was released which included Trump talking about his right to sexually assault women due to him being a “star” and his failed attempt to seduce a married woman.

Trump went into damage control and apologised for the contents of the tape. Well…as much as Trump apologises for anything. Whilst saying he was wrong, he then reminded everyone that the comments came from over a decade ago, brushed it off as “locker room banter” and made it clear that Bill Clinton has said worse to him on the golf course – apparently he forgot his opponent is actually Bill’s wife, Hillary.

The Democrats immediately condemned the footage and then stood back with popcorn to watch as Trump’s own party savaged him. Trump’s own running mate, Mike Pence, issued a statement making his offence at Trump’s comments clear and also making it clear that under no circumstances would he condone or defend them…his own running mate.

Then it was on like Donkey Kong. Senator John McCain, the party’s 2008 presidential nominee, publically disavowed Trump and officially withdrew support for him, stating that he and his wife would instead “write in the name of some good conservative Republican who is qualified to be President”.

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for him to withdraw immediately. House Speaker and party powerbroker Paul Ryan took a slightly different but potentially more damaging approach for Trump – he said he will no longer defend Trump and will effectively spend the rest of the campaign trying to save the Republican’s congressional majorities; he conceded election defeat and went straight into damage control to prevent the damage from spreading through the entire party.

Then The Terminator stepped up. Former California Governor and staunch Republican, Arnold Schwarzenegger, publicly announced that this election will be the first presidential contest where he won’t vote for the Republican candidate. Rather than take any more of my word count, here is a list from a few days ago of prominent Republicans that have publicly withdrawn support for Trump; a list which I would argue has probably increased significantly in the days following.

Trump has refused to withdraw, as expected, and his son, Eric, appears to be a rotten apple fallen not too far from the tree as he circulated an email this week prompting Republicans to push for the 19th amendment to be revoked to ensure victory for his old man. The 19th amendment to the US Constitution for those not aware, was the one that gave women the right to vote. I just can’t even find the words to say any more about that.

As the week went on, a number of women came out publicly to accuse Trump publicly of sexually assaulting them. Here’s a list of all of the women so far that have made that accusation against him.

Both Malcolm Turnbull and Bill Shorten spoke publicly out against Trump this week as well; breaking the usual practice of not commenting too much on any candidate in a US Election (you know, in case they win). He did manage to find some support back here, however, with both Pauline Hanson and Tony Abbott defending him in one way or another. Abbott suggested that Trump’s policies were “reasonable enough”; Turnbull responded by subtly questioning whether Abbott had actually read them. You’ve been a disappointment in so many ways Mal, but it’s moments like that I’m reminded of the fact that we are still better off than we were.

Oh, and the NSW upper house backed a motion not only condemning Trump, but officially labelling him as a “revolting slug”. Greens MLC Jeremy Buckingham introduced the motion and it was passed without objection or a formal vote.


Also on The Big Smoke


Thailand has begun an official year of mourning following the death of King Bhumibol Adulyadej at the age of 88. The much-loved monarch had held the throne for more than 70 years after being thrust into the position at the age of 18, following the death of his older brother in 1946.

He was considered a unifying figure among the Thai people; a representation of stability and the antithesis of the turbulent political leadership that his country experienced through decades of military coups. He was also revered by many, both in his own country and around the world, for his love of dogs. He wrote a book in 2002 called The Story of Tongdaeng which described his relationship with a street dog that he adopted. Apart from the direct narrative, the book contained a message for the wealthier of his subjects who were buying expensive foreign dog breeds rather than rescuing the countless local strays who needed help; a metaphor for the overarching attitude he wanted for his country.

His passing has left a great deal of uncertainty in Thailand and abroad, with his only son and heir, Prince Vajiralongkorn not held in the same regard, often referred to as a “jet-setting playboy”. This combined with a growing republican movement challenging the very existence of the Monarchy, could see some troubled times ahead for the nation.

 

Domestic

Well Australia, it looks like we’ve finally worked out how to solve all of the chaos surrounding the absolute disaster that has been the National Broadband Network. Someone needed to take charge. We thought it would be Turnbull because he writes his own Tweets and is often spotted using a smartphone with at least intermediate ability. But no, our saviour has come from somewhere far less likely…

Newly-elected Senator Pauline Hanson has been appointed to the parliamentary committee in charge of the NBN, despite the majority of senators voting against her appointment. The Libs were apparently more than happy to remove one of their own, Senator John Williams, and replace him with Hanson at her request.

Initially, she indicated that her desire to join the committee was born out of a feeling of under-representation for regional Australians in the area of Telecommunications and Internet services. But this is Pauline. There was always going to be a twist. Following her appointment, she Tweeted this:

Prior to enjoying the benefit of cable, I had plenty of rage quits associated with less than adequate copper line ADSL2 connection resulting in unbelievable lag that directly correlated with my poor Call of Duty kill count. Pauline is on a mission, that if successful, will significantly address the countless controllers and television screams smashed out of sheer frustration.

Jokes aside, Hanson went on to say “Our small businesses, our schools, our everyday Australians rely on a decent service to provide internet to them, so they can work the businesses, schools and everything”.

Do I believe for a second that she actually has the knowledge or ability to positively contribute to finding a solution here? No. But I would say the same of every single politician involved in the process – because if they had it, we wouldn’t be where we are at. At least her heart is in the right place and her focus is on something productive rather than destructive for a change; so credit where credit is due.

She has also claimed that she plans on “making superseded, higher speed technologies known to the government and committee…technologies I’ve seen in practice right here in Australia”. I’m not sure if that fills me with more or less confidence at this point…


Also on The Big Smoke


Coronial inquests are never a comfortable experience. Death is difficult enough without the details of it being dissected in order to establish culpability. There is one going on this week that is particularly difficult, as it relates to a tragedy that touched most of us: the untimely death of cricketer Phillip Hughes.

On November 27, 2014 Phil Hughes died following an injury sustained during a Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and NSW. Hughes attempted and missed a hook shot against a bouncer bowled by Sean Abbott. The ball struck a small area just below his left ear that was not protected by his helmet which caused a vertebral artery dissection which resulted in a subarachnoid haemorrhage. According to the Australian team doctor at the time, Peter Brukner, only 100 cases of such an injury have ever been reported and only one as a result of a cricket ball.

To say it was a million to one is a gross understatement.

However unlikely, however tragic, questions do need to be asked. Not just to help the Hughes family reach some sort of closure, but also to ensure that the necessary steps are taken to prevent the repeat of such a tragedy. The inquest has been playing out this week and to describe it as polarising would also be a gross understatement.

Hughes’ teammates from both teams (he had previously played for NSW) were called as witnesses. Some have suggested that the term “suspects” would be more befitting, as they were forced to answer questions regarding “short balls, intimidation and sledging” on the day. All, rightly or wrongly, a part of cricket for a long time. All, in the eyes of most, irrelevant to the inquest as any suggestion of intent in this tragedy is beyond ridiculous.

The inquest has also heard that three phone calls were made before an ambulance arrived to treat Hughes, and that it took an hour to reach a hospital that was but a few kilometres away. These are certainly questions that require answers, and specifically the answers that the Hughes family deserves and needs.

The inquest is over now, which is probably best for all concerned.

 

Have a great week, TBSers!

Rob Idol

Rob is an aspiring writer who balances his time between a “real” job and his passion for politics, social justice and all things creative. He has an MBA, an unhealthy obsession with current events, an even unhealthier obsession with pop culture and has been known to offer favourable food reviews in exchange for free meals. www.robidol.com.au

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