It’s not just any Sunday. Today we celebrate the mothers out there, with the news that the Trump snake is eating itself, the coalition has delivered a leftist budget and a chicken-flavoured romance novel for Mumsie. Why not?
Hello all and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. Let me start with a big happy Mothers Day to all the mumso’s out there – most importantly, my own!
What do you do if you are in charge and find yourself under investigation from within? A question that US Prez Donald Trump has found himself asking of late, with the FBI looking into the depths of his relationship with Russia. Trump’s solution was straight out of the Nixon playbook – fire the guy looking into you.
Earlier this week, Big Don decided to fire James B Comey, the head of the FBI. In true Trump fashion, the fallout has been significant with contradictions aplenty.
Trump initially said Comey was fired for his poor handling of the investigation into Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server – after praising him for the same thing during the election campaign. The day after swinging the axe.
The responsibility for the decision was originally put on the shoulders of the Deputy Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein, who quickly threatened to resign suggesting he wasn’t too happy about being made the scapegoat. The truth sprinkled out not long after with Trump contradicting earlier statements as well as the actual letter given to Comey with his marching orders, by indicating that he had already made the decision to fire Comey before any recommendations were handed over from the Attorney General’s department.
Oh, and the Press Secretary that keeps on delivering comedy gold against the odds, Sean Spicer, literally hid in the bushes to avoid waiting reporters. I couldn’t make this up if I tried…
Also on The Big Smoke
- #AusPol winners and losers: Whose hubris is in surplus?
- Current Affairs Wrap: When Mally met Trumpie, Eminem’s existential crisis and Fairfax strikes
Friday this week saw one of the largest coordinated cyber attacks in history unleashed on the world. The US Department of Homeland Security’s computer emergency response team reported that 99 countries were affected by the attack with over 75,000 detections so far. Kaspersky researcher, Costin Raiu, cited 45,000 attacks in 74 countries. Either way – it’s a lot.
The tool of destruction used was reportedly a self-replicating worm delivered via bogus emails. The worm would then infect with Ransomware which would demand payments of $US300 – $US600 to regain control of the system or would otherwise result in all data being destroyed. It’s also believed that the specific method used to spread the virus through systems was one developed by the NSA themselves, called Eternal Blue.
The British Public Health System were seriously hit, creating significant delays across their services, hospitals and ambulances, and around 1,000 computers of Russia’s interior ministry were also hit, as were US delivery firm FedEx and Spanish telecommunications company, Telefonica.
The big news back home this week was the delivery of the Federal Budget. The ABC’s Leigh Sales said it best when she asked Treasurer Scott Morrison “Could you be the first Liberal Treasurer in history to deliver a Labor budget?”
A Labor Lite budget it is indeed, despite ScoMo’s denial of same. Recent budgets have been peppered with talks of spending crises and a need for everyone to tighten the belt and make sacrifices to undo the alleged economic damage caused during the Rudd/Gillard/Rudd years. Apparently those problems no longer exist, with ScoMo hitting the spend button.
As much as it pains me to say it, it’s the first reasonable budget we’ve seen for a while. It certainly doesn’t please everyone but as Jagger keeps reminding us, “you can’t always get what you want”. Here’s a quick breakdown of the ins and outs.
Education saw the implementation of Gonski 2.0, seeing an extra $18.6 billion thrown at schools from the Commonwealth from 2018-2028. Our intelligence agencies received an extra $75 million (ripped from the foreign aid budget) and the federal police received an extra $321.4 million. Funding is to be restored to 190 community legal centres across the country as well. The freeze on Medicare rebates appears to be over but only in exchange for an increase in the levy from 2.0 to 2.5%, the funds from which will also be used to fully fund and roll out Labor’s National Disability Insurance Scheme by 2020.
Also on The Big Smoke
The big news, however, was an attack on the sacred cow of the Liberal Party – the banks. A levy is to be introduced, targeting banks with debts of more than $100 million – so basically the big four as well as Macquarie Bank. ScoMo has assured us that the ACCC will stop the banks from inevitably passing the cost on to consumers but it’s definitely a case of watch this space…
The most interesting fallout, however, might be yet to come. This budget sends a very strong message from Turnbull and Co to the right wing of his own party – a message that many of us had hopes would be sent to them in the hours after he toppled Abbott. The mythical “real Malcolm Turnbull” might be popping his neck out of Loch Ness after all…
In non budget news, Australia’s most infamous Islamic State fighter, Neil Prakash, looks like he might soon be extradited to Australia to face charges. Odds are Peter Dutton just wants to poke him and make sure he’s real after the Australian Federal Government announced he had been killed in a drone strike in Iraq more than six months ago. He’s currently being held in a Turkish prison.
Wacky and wonderful
Looking for that last minute Mother’s Day gift? KFC has the answer with the release of a romance novel called “Tender Wings of Desire”, written by none other than Colonel Sanders. The best part? It’s free on Amazon…
And not every hero wears a cape. A burglar in southern Spain stole an old Super 8 camera and tapes during a home break-in and was shocked to find they contained graphic videos of child abuse. Not one to shy away from a higher calling, he put three tapes in a brown envelope, hid them under a parked car and called the police with instructions on where to find them. A note accompanied them saying “I’ve had the misfortune that these tapes have fallen into my hands and I feel obligated to turn them in so that you can do your job and put that (expletive) in prison for life.”
The local constabulary moved quickly, arresting the 64-year-old resident of the house where they also found further evidence of the depraved crimes.