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George W. Bush rebukes Donald Trump over Russia and defends the media

Former US President George W. Bush on the Today show.1. Dubya defends the press

It’s been predictable but nevertheless amusing to watch the left’s horror at finding themselves not only agreeing with, but cheering on, former Republican President George W. Bush, who overnight has rebuked President Trump and defended the role of the media in a democracy.

“I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy,” Bush said, before going on to warn about the “addictive” nature of power.

Pointedly, he said while in office he had urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to accept the notion of a free press. This provided a lovely segue-way to another remark that we need “answers” about Trump’s own Russian links. [Jennifer Epstein/Bloomberg]

Trump, who campaigned as a foreign policy isolationist, is proposing to increase military spending by a whopping 9 per cent saying the US needs to win wars again. He will cut spending elsewhere to pay for the boost in defence spending with foreign aid a number one target. [Reuters] 2. ‘Bye-bye’

Mexico’s Economy Minister Ildefonso Guajardo says if Trump goes through with his threat to slap tariffs on goods manufactured south of the US border than he will abandon talks to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) between Mexico, Canada and the US. [Bloomberg] 3. Aust politics

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation has received a request to help fund a $1.2 billion coal fired power plant. [Adam Morton, Amy Remeikis/Fairfax]

This comes just days after the government signalled it would be freeing up the Clean Energy Finance Corporation to invest in, decidedly non-clean sources of power – ie. coal.

On Monday, Finance Minister Mathias Cormann was insisting the government was not against renewables, perhaps a response to last week’s polling showing the attack on clean energy is so far failing.

Treasurer Scott Morrison with a lump of coal during question time on Thursday. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

The Coalition’s only legitimate assault on renewables should be about the cost, rather than carrying lumps of coal into Question Time.

Similar to the 2008/2009 ETS debate, when climate change was a dominant issue, the Liberals would argue that as soon as you started asking voters if they were prepared to pay for the cost of addressing climate change support would drop.

Today’s Newspoll suggests a similar effect with renewables which remain popular with mainstream voters.

However only 26 per cent say they’ll pay $10 more to adjust to a clean energy source while 45 per cent don’t way to pay one cent more. [David Crowe/The n]

The AWU wants the government to quarantine a portion of ‘s booming gas exports for domestic use, to help address the energy crisis. [Peter Ryan/ABC]

The Parliamentary committee investigating a way forward for changing the Racial Discrimination Act is due to report today. [James Massola/Fairfax]

Business, which likes to wring its hands about the political dysfunction and subsequent lack of economic reform, is “lukewarm” about helping the government campaign on the merits of the independent Fair Work Commission’s decision to pare back Sunday penalty rates. [Philip Coorey/Financial Review]

The reasons range from: doesn’t affect our members (big business) to we don’t have the money (small business), excuses that were somehow missing when it came to attempting to tax the mining companies more on their super profits.

No such hesitance from the left. The construction union says it’s going to launch a major campaign accusing the government of waging war on “the fair go”. [Joe Kelly/The n]

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Photo: Alex Ellinghausen

Conservatives within the government have accepted the wisdom their moderate counterparts failed to heed before the last election – better to let a wounded leader limp to defeat then roll them, setting up a term of instability, destabilisation and dysfunction. [Philip Coorey/Financial Review]

But who can blame the architects of Turnbull’s installation as leader? It’s not as if they had had this played out for them and a script to read showing the high transaction costs of rolling a prime minister in their first term.

Turnbull is reported to be grooming his son-in-law James Brown for his prized Sydney seat of Wentworth. [The New Daily]

You only have to look at the US political system to see how well keeping things in the family appears to voters.

And now Abbott would refuse an invitation back into Cabinet in the impossible event one was issued, reports Simon Benson. [The n]

Senator Cory Bernardi. Photo: Andrew Meares

The Liberal-turned-defector Senator Cory Bernardi is being blamed for the story in The n yesterday about the so-called “Deplorables” plotting a return for Abbott to the Cabinet. [My report]

My sources, none of whom would go on the record, said to me their text-chats were much more innocent and the usual back-and-forth between right-wing members on policy issues. But they all felt stitched up by whomever ratted on them and sought to make it out to be something more sinister than it was.

Bernardi is inviting Abbott to join his n Conservatives party seeing as there is no room within the Liberal party for the ideas the former PM advocated last week. [Sky News]

And former Labor leader Mark Latham is welcoming Tony Abbott to the Outsiders club. [Daily Telegraph]

Final word: Michelle Grattan on how all the government can talk about is Bill Shorten. Julia Gillard did this with Tony Abbott. It was as nauseating then as it is now and likely to be just as ineffective. [The Conversation] 4. UK inquiry hears of children sent to

There have been moving scenes in London where former ABC managing director David Hill has testified before the UK government’s inquiry into child abuse about his experience as one of the many child migrants shipped off to and other parts of the Commonwealth during the 1940s and 50s. [Llyod Jones/AAP]

Thousands of British children were sent to , many were abused and used as forced labour. [Tom Symonds/BBC]

After three years the inquiry has started. [BBC]

An emotional David Hill told the inquiry he wanted the perpetrators of abuse “named and shamed.” 5. Middle East

The son-in-law of Osama bin Laden and one of al-Qaeda’s most senior leaders has been killed in a US drone strike in Syria.

Displaced Iraqis flee their homes on the western side of Mosul, Iraq. Photo: Khalid Mohammed

The death of Abu al-Khayr al-Masri is regarded as significant as the death of bin Laden, reports The Guardian. [Martin Chulov, Tom McCarthy]

And in Mosul Iraqi forces have taken back from Islamic State a strategically important bridge. [BBC] 6. The Fourth TurningThe Art of War

Steve Bannon. Photo: Pete Marovich

If you have been a Double Shot reader since the US election you know I have been recommending you read this book stat.

Since then, it turns out that Steve Bannon, Trump’s very controversial advisor and formerly chairman of the alt-right website Breitbart, was a Fourth Turning reader years ago. In fact he’s drawn inspiration from it, setting up a perfect chicken or egg question.

The Fourth Turning, written in 1997 predicted what is happening now would happen, in relation to the isolationism, rise of authoritarianism and so on we are seeing around the world.

The concept is based on an analysis of generational change dating back to the English War of the Roses.

So I can’t recommend enough this piece by Neil Howe, one of the authors, responding to how Bannon has drawn inspiration from his theory. My must-read for today. [The Washington Post]

And that’s it from me today, you can follow me on Facebook for more.

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