The more things change, the more they stay the same. In the week just gone, Donald crashed through the floor, an actor faced sexual harassment allegations and memes swept in to save us from ourselves.
Hi all, and welcome to this week’s Current Affairs Wrap. We’ve had Trump being Trump, a potential new opponent for him in the next election rising up, trouble for an Aussie entertainment favourite and our own Ryan Gosling lookalike down under.
I have to start with an apology, TBSers. I have an addiction…and it’s an addiction that impacts you all every week. I’ve tried to kick it and failed. So for now, I’m accepting it and I hope you won’t hold it against me…
Hi, I’m Rob and I’m addicted to opening the Current Affairs Wrap each week with a story about Donald Trump.
It feels so much better to have it out in the open. It’s not my fault; every week I turn to the news and he’s given me something else on a silver platter. You wouldn’t expect a junkie to kick the habit if there was a dispensary in their living room, would you?
The Don has drawn the ire of, well, pretty much everyone this week after reports of a foul-mouthed attack during an Oval Office meeting came to light. During the meeting, Trump allegedly lost it when discussing the topic of Immigration, and asked “Why are we having all these people from shithole countries come here?” – specifically referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations.
Rather, Trump suggested that the US should be encouraging immigrants from countries like Norway after meeting their PM this week. You know. Educated, white immigrants who most likely wouldn’t move to Trump’s America if you paid them – a sentiment echoed by Norweigan Conservative Party politician, Torbjoern Saetre.
On behalf of Norway: Thanks, but no thanks…. 🙄
««Why are we having all these people from shithole countries… https://t.co/QPuVGWlIat
— Torbjørn Sætre (@tosaetr) January 12, 2018
As for those in the firing line, a group of 54 “extremely appalled” African countries have demanded an apology. Methinks they will be waiting a while.
The backlash was swift and severe. The New York Daily News ran with a front page depicting a poo emoji with Trump’s hair on it and the headline “Shit for brains”. Senator James Lankford, from Trump’s own Republican party, released a statement saying:
“If these comments are accurate, they are disappointing. I would not talk about nations like this, because I believe the people of those countries are made in the image of God and have worth and human dignity.”
Nail…on…head…well, the worth and human dignity party anyway.
The situation also marked one of the rare occasions where the White House didn’t deny that Trump did it – although Trump himself has denied it. A statement released by White House spokesman Raj Shah read “Certain Washington politicians choose to fight for foreign countries, but President Trump will always fight for the American people.”
Raj Shah, by the way, is the son of Indian immigrants – not Norwegian, if anyone is keeping score.
The week went from bad to worse for Trump. On Friday, he announced that he was cancelling a planned visit to Britain next month to open the new US embassy. Trump gave an explanation on Twitter for the cancellation:
Reason I canceled my trip to London is that I am not a big fan of the Obama Administration having sold perhaps the best located and finest embassy in London for “peanuts,” only to build a new one in an off location for 1.2 billion dollars. Bad deal. Wanted me to cut ribbon-NO!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 12, 2018
Now, ignoring the fact that this reads like the petulant tantrum you would expect from a screaming toddler, Trump’s reasoning doesn’t really stack up, leading many to believe that the truth is he doesn’t want to face the huge protests being organised.
The decision to move the embassy was made by George W Bush before Obama was elected. The decision was based on the fact that it was deemed impossible to retrofit the aging concrete building with the necessary security measures. The US Government said at the time that their “goal of a modern, secure and environmentally sustainable embassy could be best met by constructing a new facility”. Trump also failed to mention that the entire $US1 billion construction was funded by the sale of other properties in London.
The Golden Globes happened this week with the theme of the evening being a show of solidarity against the male members of the Hollywood community who have finally been outed for their disgusting behaviour, primarily against women.
So it was fitting that the most powerful woman in the entertainment industry was awarded the Cecil B DeMille lifetime achievement award. Oprah Winfrey became the first black woman to win the prestigious award, a point she referred to in her incredibly powerful acceptance speech. The speech was lauded by almost everyone, but the real talk has been about how “presidential” it sounded.
The excitement of a Winfrey run at the Presidency may not just be a pipe dream; her longtime partner, Stedman Graham, told the media after her speech that it is a possibility. “It’s up to the people… She would absolutely do it.”
Also on The Big Smoke
- Oprah calls out harassment in Golden Globes speech, Internet pushes for ‘Oprah 2020’
- Current Affairs Wrap: Anti-Trump book hits, inferno sizzles Victoria, kiwis secede from NZ
Well if it’s up to the people, then it’s looking like a real possibility. The irony would be too delicious to take. Trump, as further supported by his actions this week, is a straight our racist. Oprah has been a tireless and vocal advocate for racial equality for a long time and has been ranked as not only the greatest black philanthropist in American history, but also as the most influential woman in the world. Oprah, like Trump, reached celebrity status through television. The difference is that Oprah’s show was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and reached a phenomenal 25 seasons and built a huge media empire; let’s just say that Trump’s Apprentice franchise didn’t quite reach the same heights.
Oprah was America’s first multi-billionaire black person. Trump, too, is a billionaire but exactly how much he’s worth is questionable. Trump’s riches started with a US$10 million dollar “loan” from his father. Oprah started life in rural Mississippi, growing up with a teenage single mother who worked as a maid. She is the definition of self made; he is the definition of silver spoon.
Trump, of course, has made it clear he would beat her in a presidential race. Even at the heights of his delusion, however, he must know that he wouldn’t stand a chance. Hillary Clinton had more than enough skeletons in her closet to make destroying her credibility child’s play. Oprah’s long standing record on numerous levels would negate any skeletons that could be dragged out – if they exist at all.
Most importantly, a 2008 study by Maryland economists, Craig Garthwaite and Tim Moore, found that Oprah’s endorsement of Barack Obama in 2008 single-handedly won him more than one million votes. That level of influence would make her almost unstoppable.
Henry Ramsey Craig McLachlan has found himself in hot water this week as allegations of sexual harassment have come from all angles. The much loved Australian actor was first accused by three female co-stars from the musical, Rocky Horror Show, of indecent assault and sexual harassment.
Victoria Police have confirmed that an investigation is underway into the allegations, however McLachlan has denied them and accused them of going after him for financial gain. In an email to the ABC, he said:
“Frankly, they seem to be simple inventions, perhaps made for financial reasons, perhaps to gain notoriety. In either event, they are to the best of my knowledge utterly and entirely false.”
McLachlan’s denial, however, was quickly met with two more women coming forward accusing him of sexual misconduct. The first was a driver on a television production who accused him of making lewd remarks while she was driving him to an airport; the second, a salon worker who claims he kissed her without permission.
A male crew member on the 2014 tour of Rocky Horror Show then reported to police that McLachlan indecently assaulted him when the show was in Melbourne and reported witnessing McLachlan groping the breasts of a female crew member several times.
Now an actor and crew member from McLachlan’s top rating TV drama, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, have come forward with similar allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate behaviour on set.
Whilst no investigation has been completed and McLachlan is entitled to the presumption of innocence, there does seem to be more than enough smoke for us to think that there might just be a fire.
Also on The Big Smoke
- While you were asleep: Snow falls on Sahara, Millennium Falcon triggers fanbase, Syria boy gets gym membership
- While you were asleep: Wikileaks assists Trump, McLachlan faces more allegations, Internet articulates the friendzone
- While you were asleep: Sydney takes lesson from heatwave, Donald moves fictional event, Kyrgios wins title
A paper presented at a Reserve Bank of Australia workshop appears to support the Labor party’s long held view that scrapping negative gearing would have a markedly positive effect on housing affordability.
The report suggests that the move would have minimal negative impact on the economy but would curb the appetite of investors and discourage the top 20% of earners from owning multiple properties.
The Libs of course rebuked it immediately, with Federal Financial Services Minister, Kelly O’Dwyer, labelling the paper “preliminary and incomplete”. The information does, however, seem to expose the Libs, particularly Treasurer Scott Morrison, who claimed that Labor’s policy on negative gearing would “smash” Australia’s housing market. The advice from his own department described Labor’s policy as possibly causing “some downward pressure” which could have “a relatively modest downward impact” on prices.
PM Turnbull, too, was critical of Labor’s policy, describing it at the time as “the most ill-conceived, potentially destructive policy ever proposed by any opposition”. Not to be outdone, Morrison also said that “those opposite want to take a chainsaw to the housing market…Those opposite want to go into the housing market and hack away with an axe.”
Of course, the Libs didn’t want this internal advice to become public. The only reason we are seeing it now is because the ABC won a two-year legal fight to have the report made public under Freedom of Information Laws. (Not that I’m surprised; I called them on their BS at the time as well).
Wacky and Wonderful
It’s fair to say that most tourists to visit our amazing country have meeting a kangaroo near the top of their bucket list. Our famous marsupials are a source of fascination for the rest of the world who have nothing like them on their shores.
French Tourist, Sandrina Duniau, had a run-in with one half of our national emblem that won’t soon be forgotten. As she went to use the facilities at the John Forrest National Park near Perth, the entrance was blocked by a large, well built roo, who was lounging near the entrance to the toilet sporting a pose that had to be seen to be believed.
The roo was lying down in what could only be described as a “come hither” pose, leading Duniau to comment that she “wouldn’t have been surprised if it had said, ‘Hey girl, what’s up?’.” Not wanting to tempt fate, Duniau left the roo alone and decided to “hold it”.
Let the memes begin!
That’s it from me, TBSers – have a cracking week!