1. Alan Joyce cops a pie in the face
It was impossible not to feel Schadenfreude when Qantas CEO Alan Joyce copped a pie in the face:
Joyce has been ruthless towards employees and unions in driving for profits.
Joyce cleaned up and announced he would press charges. The man was subsequently charged with common assault, damage and trespass.
Turns out the man was one Tony Overheu:
- a former Nationals candidate, senior member of the Church of Christ, and national director of the WA branch of the Full Gospel Business Men’s Fellowship International.
Mr Overhue was grumpy about Joyce promoting the rights of gay people.
Cheesecake Shop, a bakery chain, apologised for a tasteless open letter promoting their own pies.
2. Remembering Mark Colvin
There has been massive coverage of Mark Colvin on the ABC, who died on Thursday after more than 40 years broadcasting in the ABC. His last tweet was:
- It’s all been bloody marvellous.
I’d like to link to some I think too good to miss. The first is Richard Fidler’s interview Journalist Mark Colvin reveals the secrets of his father’s life as a senior British spy. Ostensibly his father was a diplomat, with postings in Austria, Malaysia, Hanoi (during the American bombing), outer Mongolia and Washington, but he was a MI6 spy. There is much about growing up not knowing his father’s true role, and their relationship.
The interview was conducted last November, replayed on Friday (3pm on Radio National).
I gather on Monday we’ll get the second, A powerful journalistic force: Mark Colvin.
Colvin did masses of research on his father’s career for his book Light and Shadow: Memoirs of a Spy’s Son. For example, he found that spy work his father was doing in tunnels under Vienna was being reported to an officer in London who turned out to be a double agent. The Russians did not act immediately but later when they decided to act, many died. Also he believes that Lyndon Johnson decided not to run for a second term on the basis of a report his father sent from Hanoi advising that the bombing was simply not working.
There is a hilarious moment in Mongolia, when his father shouted at the ceiling of their home on the assumption the place was bugged, angrily demanding an apology for tampering with diplomatic mail, threatening to close the embassy to create a diplomatic incident. Next morning early a Mongolian government limo turned up at the door. He got his apology.
An interview with Phillip Adams recorded last October is also worth a listen.
3. Trump sacks FBI director James Comey
The airwaves have been full of the story of Trump sacking FBI director James Comey. Here are a few links.
Leigh Sales talked to Richard Painter, chief ethics lawyer for the Bush administration from 2005 to 2007, and now with the University of Minnesota. He spoke very plainly:
- Donald Trump’s sacking of FBI director James Comey is an ‘abuse of power’ that will ‘result in a crisis with Congress’, the chief White House ethics lawyer during the George W Bush administration, Richard Painter, tells 7.30.
The Washington Post’s early reaction, Firing FBI director Comey is already backfiring on Trump. It’s only going to get worse:
- After the president fired James Comey, the cloud hanging over the White House just got bigger and darker.
— Donald Trump has surrounded himself with sycophants and amateurs who are either unwilling or unable to tell him no. He lacks a David Gergen-like figure who is wise to the ways of Washington and has the stature to speak up when the president says he wants to fire an FBI director who is overseeing the counterintelligence investigation into whether his associates coordinated with Moscow. Without such a person, Trump just walked headlong into a political buzz saw.
It was a schmozzle. There is no way Trump can escape the conflict of interest issue.Hence the most basic question was asked by former George W. Bush speechwriter David Frum in The Atlantic:
- “This Is Not a Drill. The firing of Comey poses a question: Will the law answer to the president, or the president to the law?”
4. Marine Le Pen’s long game
Tom Switzer talking to Jonathon Fenby, just before the election, was the most interesting comment I heard.
Fenby says that five years ago, when Marine Le Pen first ran, she targeted 2022 as the election she wanted to win. Roughly doubling her vote this time, and positioning herself as the main opposition, she’s on target.
Fenby says Macron will have to work like a beaver to make an impact in the parliamentary elections. There is virtually no chance he’ll have a majority. Then he will most likely have to lean left or right to put together a coalition, which is likely to be unstable and require a lot of effort to maintain.
Le Pen’s strategy is that Macron will ultimately fail to revive the fortunes of France to the satisfaction of the electorate, and will damage the older parties in the process, giving her a clear shot at the top job in 2022.
Now she has only two seats in the 5777-member parliament, so also needs another cycle to gain momentum.
This article talks about the difficulties in the French system of having presidents and PMs of different stripes in the French system.
5. Drug-testing welfare recipients
I’m planning a couple more posts on the budget because it may be pivotal in our approach to government, but one of the most controversial moves was the trial of drug-testing welfare recipients, selected through profiling.
Jacqui Lambie says everyone should be tested, including politicians. Not reported in that piece, Lambie said the notion the politicians were drug-free was fanciful.
Turnbull said it was a “policy based on love”. Di Natale, who was a drug and alcohol doctor, said the policy would push vulnerable people over the edge.