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Trump to pick a judge while Libs and Labor ban protesting Phillip Frazer

CHESS

by Ian Rogers The first two events in the once-Grand Chess Tour were completed this month with US Grandmaster Hikaru Nakamura leading eight other elite players. Whereas the original concept of the GCT was to unite the majority of the best classical tournaments in the world, the 2018 incarnation includes only one classical tournament, the Sinquefield Cup in Saint Louis. June’s GCT tournaments in Belgium and France included only rapid and blitz chess, so it was not surprising that, in the absence of World Champion Magnus Carlsen, fast chess specialist Nakamura found the format to his liking. The faster format is popular with organisers, who spend less on hosting the event, and players, who earn big money for just a few days’ work. (Nakamura and compatriot Wesley So have already topped $US50,000 each in prizes for their cameos in Leuven and Paris.) However, watching the world’s best producing thud and blunder chess is a dispiriting experience. Paris wild card Vladimir

Kramnik lost game after game with dreadful mistakes, eventually finishing last, while even the tournament leaders produced few games of which they could be proud. The one bright spot for the Tour was this week’s announcement that Magnus Carlsen has accepted the wild card for the Sinquefield Cup. Despite winning almost $US250,000 last year for his GCT efforts, Carlsen had declined his invitation to participate in this year’s Tour. But the temptation of facing and beating his World Championship challenger Fabiano Caruana – again shortly before the title match, was too much to resist. (A very large appearance fee may also have been a factor.) Paris GCT Blitz White: H Nakamura Black: V Kramnik Opening: Reti 1.Nf3 Nf6 2.b3 d5 3.Bb2 e6 4.g3 Be7 5.Bg2 0-0 6.0-0 c5 7.d4 Nc6 8.e3 b6 9.c4 Ba6 Avoiding symmetry, though the position is in any case dead even. 10.Ne5 Rc8 11.Nd2 cxd4 12.Nxc6 Rxc6 13.Bxd4 Rc7 14.Qe2 Bb4 15.Rfd1 Qe7 16.a3 Bxd2?! 17.Qxd2 dxc4 18.Be5! Rd7?? After 18...c3! Black would be fine but now Kramnik loses a piece. 19.Bxf6! 1-0

The US media are in a frenzy because Supreme Court judge Anthony Kennedy just announced his retirement this month, at age 81. That means the president and Congress get to choose a new judge. Thirty years ago, Ronald Reagan chose Kennedy because he was generally conservative, and particularly friendly to big business, which matters more to the rich and powerful in America than any of those social issues that the court occasionally decides. Kennedy turned out to be in favour of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy and everyone’s right to marry whomever they choose. Trump liked this judge for his usual reasons: money. Kennedy’s son Justin was Deutsche Bank’s global head of real estate capital markets, and according to the New York Times Deutsche became ‘Trump’s most important lender, dispensing well over $1 billion in loans to him for the renovation and construction of skyscrapers at a time other banks were wary of doing business with him because of his troubled business history’. That didn’t stop Trump suing the bank to avoid paying back a $640 million loan — that’s just how the guy does business. The important thing about Kennedy’s retirement is the timing. By leaving now he allows Trump and the Republicans to install a new judge before this November’s elections, when Democrats might win just enough Senate seats

The curent U.S. Supreme Court justices, including Anthony Kennedy who is about to retire.

to block the kind of judge that Trump is all set to nominate. There are at least 20 names on Trump’s list, but all are ‘constructionists’. Supposedly, this means they believe the court must follow the literal meaning of the Constitution. But the meanings of many clauses in the 1787 Constitution are open to wildly different interpretations. The current court, for instance, ruled that no laws can restrict how much money a corporation can spend promoting a political cause during an election because spending money is free speech and corporations have a right to free speech like people do. What Constructionist really means is ‘conservative’, and Trump will pick whatever kind of conservative he needs for re-election in 2020. For example, if he needs to jazz up the Christian right and the ‘demolish the state’ voters, he could pick Catholic conservative judge Amy Barrett, who says her Catholic values trump the Constitution’s, so abortion should be illegal, and that going back to what the Founding Fathers meant could oblige her

to support the ‘dismantling of the administrative state, and the invalidation of paper money’. If he wants to juice up his anti-Clinton voters he might pick conservative frat-boy Brett Kavanaugh who wasted millions in taxpayers’ money trying to prove in court that Bill and Hillary did some shady real estate deal on a property called Whitewater, back when Bill was prez. In many ways, this Supreme Court nomination and confirmation circus is more Trumpian distraction to allow the Great Dicktator to inflate himself even more and his backers and back-slappers to turn America back not just to the 1950s but to the good ol’ 1850s, when slaves slaved, women wept, and the masses were tired, poor huddled and yearning to breathe. And that’s another media meme going wild amongst the American commentariat these days — that there could be a second Civil War a’coming, or it’s already happening.

Back home... Meanwhile, last week in Canberra the coalition and Labor colluded to pass two

appalling laws that are basically designed to criminalise things like demonstrating in public places (streets, for example), chaining yourself to trees, or publishing things that might affect Australia’s ‘political, military or economic relations with another country’. These laws aim to unravel protesters like the Knitting Nannas — women who travel around coal seam gas sites and coal mines knitting gates shut with woolly locks and tying bulldozers up in stitches. Many of these brave crusaders for pockets before profits have been fined $500 for blocking mining trucks and such over the past decade, but these new laws could carry fines of more than $10,000. ‘Don’t worry your little heads about all this’, the Libs/ Nats and ALP pollies say, ‘these new laws will only be enforced if the minister of dissent-crushing personally gives the cops the nod’. Feeling safe now? Authoritarian acts in Canberra were, outrageously, not the big news of the week. What made PM Malcolm Turnbull and the media go off like Aspros in Coke was Labor leader Bill Shorten declaring that his party would, if elected, hike the corporate tax rate for businesses grossing $10-to-$50 million a year back to the level it was before Turnbull & Co slashed them as an early election present. The problem for Bill was that he hadn’t yet convinced the rest of the Labor team that this tax-raising of a cuttax was going to win them lots of votes, so he had to eat crow and re-cut that tax.

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The Byron Shire Echo – Issue 33.04 – July 4, 2018  

Free, independent weekly newspaper from the Byron Shire in northern NSW, Australia.

The Byron Shire Echo – Issue 33.04 – July 4, 2018  

Free, independent weekly newspaper from the Byron Shire in northern NSW, Australia.