1. Turnbull and Trump furiously glad-handing
Turnbull met Trump on the aircraft carrier USS Intrepid with smiles all around.
The President said the refugee deal issue “has been worked out for a long time”.
“We had a great call,” Mr Turnbull said.
Mr Trump said the US had a “fantastic” relationship with Australia.
“I love Australia. I always have,” he said.
“Greg Norman is here today, a friend of ours. We have a lot of friends here tonight.”
So that’s all OK then, except that Trump seems to be cosying up to everyone. He even told Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines that he is “doing a great job”, and invited him to visit at the White House.
Meanwhile Turnbull congratulated Trump on his efforts to dismantle Obamacare.
- “So keep at it, it’s great.”
According to reports, 14 million to lose access to health care and the rest of the poor pay more.
2. Fairfax newspapers in death spiral
Fairfax’s newspaper strategy seems to be to continue sacking journalists, announcing another 125 to go, a quarter of their editorial staff. Journalists went in strike, and the cobbled together SMH had an embarrassing typo in the front page headline:
Their website still offers careers at Fairfax:
- Join us to work for some of Australia’s most trusted publications
When sackings are announced, typically the share price goes up, management’s share options are worth more, and often they get bonuses.
Problem is that management seems to have no feel for or valuing of journalism and are lost wandering in the new digital environment.
The do have Digital Ventures, Domain Group, mainly real estate, events, and Macquarie Radio Network. I’ve heard that the market capitalisation of fairfax is greater than the three free-to-air TV stations combined.
The Australian Financial Review is diminished, but still successful. They’ll probably flog it off. It would be against character for the company to run a newspaper that works. There is talk of taxpayer support, but seriously, even I will probably need to buy a tablet soon to read the news over breakfast.
3. French election – it’s not over until it’s over
Or until the fat lady sings, if you are still allowed to say that.
- The presidential run-off between Emmanuel Macron and Marine le Pen poses a dilemma for many French progressive voters: the former is seen as one of the main architects of François Hollande’s most unpopular pro-market and antisocial reforms, such as the Labour Law which dismantled vital workers’ rights.
If elected, he promises a hardened version of those reforms, which have destroyed the Socialist Party. The latter, no less neoliberal than Macron (she has a similar socio-economic platform to Donald Trump), proposes an authoritarian regime in which the old obsessions of French Fascism could thrive: bashing Muslims, anti-immigration, as well as curbing civil liberties.
Macron’s arrogance and incompetence are not helpful, says Marlière.
The problem is, in simple terms, that the political left and the workers have no taste for Macron and are finding it hard to support him.
Yanis Varoufakis says Macron supported Greece in their time of greatest need when they were set upon by the EU bullies – albeit unsuccessfully. The Social Democrats under François Hollande in France and Sigmar Gabriel in Germany did not. Both are now heading for political oblivion. Varoufakis disagrees with much of what Macron would do, but Le Pen is unthinkable. Yet, he says:
- My great fear is that, even if he wins, Le Pen will still succeed in controlling the dynamics of French politics – especially if Macron fails to support and promote the Progressive International that Europe needs.
4. Where were you, when…?
Some-one said, you will remember where you were when you heard that Prince Philip was still alive. Probably not, but I fell to thinking what events I do remember in that way.
When President Kennedy was shot in 1963 I had just emerged from a third-rate afternoon musical movie (Bye Bye Birdie) after finishing my last university exam.
In 1969 I watched from the office next to mine as Neil Armstrong took one small step onto the moon. I had been hired by the Department of Education because the federal government were spending big bucks on secondary school libraries. The bloke in the office next door had been given the job of introducing new technology to schools, like black and white television, so he had a TV in his office.
In 1975 I came out from a longish lunch with educational suppliers (yes, such things were considered normal, but didn’t happen all that often) when the afternoon newspaper on the footpath displayed the news “Whitlam sacked”.
In August 1997, I was cutting grass on a particular hillside in Upper Brookfield when the radio I had on through button earphones under the earmuffs told me of Princess Diana’s demise.
I can remember other important stuff, like where I was when Queensland won the Sheffield Shield for the first time, and when we won the State of Origin for the 8th time in a row by a field goal in the last seconds, but not less important stuff like the Cuban missile crisis, or the fall of the Berlin wall. Amongst all that the prince consort being alive doesn’t rate, sorry, but well done him. It’s been a long haul since Liz ascended the throne in June 1953.