1. Pokémon Go takes over the world
Or so it seems. A Kiwi lad resigned his job to become a Pokémon hunter.
In California two men walked over a cliff, and in Orlando two teenagers were shot at when a man thought they’d broken into his house.
Pokémon Go now has more active users than Twitter, and is reportedly making more than $1.6 billion per day, while shares in Nintendo have risen 25 per cent, adding some $7.5 billion to the ailing technology company’s market capitalisation.
I think the kids will be OK, unless they are shot at, not sure about the over-50s who have gotten caught up with this one!
2. Trump takes over the Republican party
So he made his eccentricities, his heterodoxies, and his independence from the party’s interest groups and leading politicians a selling point. Trumpism was something distinct from Republicanism: a potent form of white nationalism mixed with a bit of economic populism, a loathing of the Washington establishment, and a charismatic celebrity.
But Trumpism is losing to Republicanism. In choosing Pence, Trump is selecting a vice president who undermines everything that was distinct about his campaign.
Maybe Pence is for show, or maybe he is actually going to run the place, with Trump as figurehead.
Cleveland was Trump’s show, and Jonathon Freedland said the organisation was so bad it shows why Trump is unelectable. The party is bitterly divided. The remaining unifying strategy is to make Hillary Clinton unelectable.
Adam Gopnik in the New Yorker is probably right in calling him a fascist:
- What all forms of fascism have in common is the glorification of the nation, and the exaggeration of its humiliations, with violence promised to its enemies, at home and abroad; the worship of power wherever it appears and whoever holds it; contempt for the rule of law and for reason; unashamed employment of repeated lies as a rhetorical strategy; and a promise of vengeance for those who feel themselves disempowered by history. It promises to turn back time and take no prisoners.
Judd Legum in a piece from last September gains insight from the French philosopher Roland Barthes writing about professional wrestling versus boxing back in 1957. It’s about energy, passion, amplifying and performing in the moment, and breaking the rules.
- In the current campaign, Trump is behaving like a professional wrestler while Trump’s opponents are conducting the race like a boxing match. As the rest of the field measures up their next jab, Trump decks them over the head with a metal chair.
Others in the Republican field are concerned with the rules and constructing a strategy that, under those rules, will lead to the nomination. But Trump isn’t concerned with those things. Instead, Trump is focused on each moment and eliciting the maximum amount of passion in that moment. His supporters love it.
You can jump in the ring and yell “It’s all a fake”, but no-one will take any notice.
I heard a few minutes of his record 75-minute speech. He’s going to end violence and crime “very soon” after being elected, “Believe me.” And everything bad in the world was caused by Hillary Clinton.
- “The legacy of Hillary Clinton (is) death, destruction and weakness.”
This is going to be excruciating!
BTW here’s Malania Trump’s speech compared to Michelle Obama’s when she was talking about values, dignity and respect.
3. Please explain!!
A documentary on Pauline Hanson is due to go to air on 31 July on SBS. In it, we are told, the phrase “Please explain” is explained. Tracy Curro asked Pauline whether she was xenophobic, and she freaked out a bit, not being sure what the word meant. So she said “Please explain!”
The program also says then Abbott staffer David Oldfield was “doing what I had to do for Tony” when he saw Pauline in her motel room and stayed the night. Later he went to work for her, of course.
4. Should the Chinese own our electricity grid?
Nick Xenophon has expressed concern about the NSW government flogging off electricity distributor Ausgrid to either State Grid Corporation, China’s biggest state-owned company, or Cheung Kong Infrastructure Holdings (CKI), a Hong Kong-listed company controlled by billionaire Li Ka-shing.
Bob Katter has now chimed in, blasting the NSW Liberal government:
- He said that leasing the majority of Ausgrid to State Grid would give the Chinese government the right to “flick the switch off” on the country’s largest city and its stock exchange, something that would never be allowed in the US or UK.
“You will no longer own your own country’s essential strategic services,” he said. “We’ll become an economy for imperial China.”
Lynne Chester from her university perch points out that State Grid already owns electricity assets in SA, Victoria and Queensland. Much of our electricity infrastructure is overseas owned, so what is the big deal?
Laura Tingle says the Russians did do such a thing to the Ukraine, and it was an issue with another NSW electricity asset, TransGrid, until, at the last minute, a much higher bid came in from a Canadian/middle eastern/Australian bid.
The Nationals don’t like the Chinese owning things here. However, Tingle says “there are passionately different views about this through the defence, intelligence and economic bureaucracy in Canberra” and worse, we don’t have any good way of dealing with these issues:
- Close observers of what has been happening in Canberra in recent months say the process for assessing complex security and foreign investment issues remains “ad hoc, complicated and ineffective”.
Phillip Coorey reports that politically Barnaby Joyce and the Nationals are pinned firmly to the right with the emergence of Hanson, and Turnbull lost too much skin in the election to become his own man.
By and large, the Chinese want to make money out of us. But having their finger on the switch means something, I suspect.