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In recent years, following bloody terrorist attacks in Europe, the United States and Australia, we frequently hear that “the perpetrator was known to the authorities”.

It has practically become de rigueur, a statement typically appearing 12–24 hours after an attack. Authorities disclose such statements through various media outlets, indicating there was neither a blunder nor negligence in play, rather, that “watchful eyes” already knew of the perpetrator and very often, the person of interest remained on their radar for quite some time.

“It is France that is under attack,” Emmanuel Macron said in the wake of the attack. “Three of our compatriots died at the basilica in Nice today and at the same time a French consular site was attacked in Saudi Arabia. …

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As numerous news outlets have reported, US financier, sex offender and suspiciously dead person Jeffrey Epstein donated $US650,000, to the International Peace Institute between 2011 to 2019, a revelation the think-tank’s chair Kevin Rudd says is “deeply disturbing”.

Per AAP, “The former Australian prime minister, who became vice-chair of the UN-affiliated organisation in 2014 and chair in 2018, has convened an extraordinary board meeting after reports IPI president Terje Rod-Larsen borrowed $US130,000 from convicted paedophile Epstein in 2013.”

“I first learned of contributions from Epstein’s foundations to the IPI in November 2019 through reporting by the Norwegian press. …

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By a margin of 52–48, the United States Senate has confirmed Amy Coney Barrett’s appointment to the Supreme Court.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s replacement is a staunch conservative, and will soon be voting on upcoming cases Affordable Care Act, abortion rights, and voting rights. Barrett’s confirmation also means that the Supreme Court sports a 6–3 conservative majority, a bias that will remain in place for decades.

As Vox noted, “…every Republican senator except Susan Collins (R-ME) voted in favour of Barrett’s confirmation, while no Democrats did. Collins voted against Barrett because she disagreed with the process used for her nomination, something Democrats had objected to as well. …

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Kevin Rudd’s petition to parliament for a royal commission into the dominance of the Murdoch media in Australia is entitled to be seen as more than an embittered ex-politician’s desire for revenge.

The fact is that in the three mature English-speaking democracies where Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation has a dominant presence — the United States, the United Kingdom and Australia — politics are deeply polarised and conducted with a toxicity and dishonesty that is harmful to the public good.

There are differences in degree, of course. Australia has not elected a reactionary extremist such as US President Donald Trump, nor found itself riven with political divisions of the kind shown up by the Brexit referendum. …

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CW: The following piece discusses rape and suicide.

Assaults during meetups arranged via Tinder have been alarmingly regular in recent years. In fact, just a few weeks ago, Police charged a man in Brisbane with ten offences including rape, sexual assault, stupefying in order to commit an indictable offence, unlawful stalking, observations or recordings in breach of privacy and drug charges.

The investigation led to the man’s arrest after a complaint from a woman who believed her drink might have been spiked after a meeting at the man’s apartment. The pair had met on Tinder.

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Credit: The New Daily

Tuesday morning was highlighted by the sudden appearance of Bill Shorten, and in turn, Malcolm Turnbull, to defend Gladys Berejiklian. In conversation with Today, Shorten said that Berejiklian is “…a smart lady who I think has been punching below her weight with perhaps a much more average guy. I have sympathy for Gladys at the human level.”

In response, host Karl Stefanovic said: “Bill, you have summed it up perfectly. Everyone in Australia wanted to say it.”

Over on Radio National, Malcolm Turnbull said that “Leaders like her are not easily found…is she the first woman to be let down by a guy? …

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A significant victory was claimed by the Australian campaign to uphold the rights of wrongly detained refugees in this country, when Senator Jacqui Lambie announced last Friday that she’ll be voting against depriving immigration detainees of contact with the outside world.

The outcome is noteworthy because Lambie didn’t make any backdoor political deals in coming to her decision. She threw her vote open to the public, asking what they thought. And of the over 100,000 people who got back, an overwhelming 96% asked her to vote against it.

Set to be voted down in the Senate this week, the Migration Amendment (Prohibiting Items in Immigration Detention Facilities) Bill 2020 was all about removing mobile phones from those in immigration detention, as well as expanding the search and seizure powers of officers. …

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Today, we were visited by the shambling ghost of awkward historic parallel, as Donald Trump left the hospital and appeared on a balcony, removing his mask and wobbling back inside. MSNBC called the tableau his “Mussolini moment”, and CNN labelled it “something out of North Korea”.

While it’s worth mentioning that he removed his mask while in possession of the virus, the general vibe is that he’s fine. To that end, Donald Trump took to Twitter to proclaim that we shouldn’t be afraid of COVID and/or let it control our lives. So, all is well?

Well, no. Claudia, the teenage daughter of Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s campaign manager, has poured the gasoline of doubt all over proceedings, logging into TikTok to call bullshit. …

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Social media will someday be considered a public utility, and its platforms will have to allow people of fringe political leanings. But that’s not what’s going on right now. Facebook recently deleted a number of liberal-leaning accounts, one of which being Greenpeace, but that’s not all they’ve been up to.

As you might guess, Facebook isn’t a huge fan of QAnon, or anyone who even talks about it. I’m careful not to break Facebook’s Terms of Service, and I’m even more careful what I say about QAnon. …

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If the media is anything to go by, you’d think people who believe coronavirus myths are white, middle-aged women called Karen.

But our new study shows a different picture. We found men and people aged 18–25 are more likely to believe COVID-19 myths. We also found an increase among people from a non-English speaking background.

While we’ve heard recently about the importance of public health messages reaching people whose first language isn’t English, we’ve heard less about reaching young men.

What did we find?

Sydney Health Literacy Lab has been running a national COVID-19 survey of more than 1,000 social media users each month since Australia’s first lockdown. …

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The Big Smoke

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