I was anchoring the morning news, when the cameras, walls, and ceiling began to shake- I thought the building was about to collapse
In my lifetime, I have never experienced, heard, or felt an earthquake. So, it was fair to say I didn’t consider the possibility of an earthquake when the studio began to shake around me.
It was 9:15 AM on Wednesday morning, we had just completed the first half of our news bulletin. As I observed the studio shuttering and thudding, I heard our producer’s muffled voice scream out, “What is happening, the building’s moving.”
With adrenalin rushing through my veins and high heels not made for running on, we dropped everything and ran for the exit. At that fleeting moment, the only plausible explanation I could think of was the infrastructure of our building has faults- get out!
Never a dull day in the newsroom.
— Holly Stearnes (@HollyStearnes) September 22, 2021
A moment of panic
I’ve always been that person who said in a moment of emergency I would grab my possessions and think rationally. I was wrong. In a moment of sheer panic, I left my phone and possessions behind and ran for the door.
With the floor shaking beneath our feet, our morning newsroom team huddled together and sprinted to find the closest exit. I know it might sound dramatic, but I was immediately mapping out potential outcomes of the roof caving on top of us or the floor beneath us.
After about 30 seconds, our entire team was outside, trying to fathom what had just happened. In hindsight, I should have taken my phone, I should have taken a camera and I should have kept the rolling coverage going.
However, hindsight is a wonderful thing, because you never know what you will do when you experience a 6.0 magnitude earthquake in a three-story building. In a moment of panic, I had no idea we were living through the biggest earthquake to hit Australia since British settlement, 200 years ago.
How long did it last?
- The 5.8 magnitude quake hit near Mansfield, 180km northeast of Melbourne, about 9.15 AM today.
- The earthquake was initially recorded at a 6.0 magnitude but later revised down, with tremors lasting for about 30 seconds.
- Another 4.0 aftershock was recorded 18 minutes after the first tremor.
- Tremors were felt as far afield as Sydney, Dubbo, and Launceston — all about 700km away.
A magnitude 6.0 #Earthquake has occurred with an epicentre near Mansfield in Victoria. Widespread felt reports. If you have building damage or require SES assistance, phone 132500 and please be patient as lines may be busy. pic.twitter.com/8RUqnk4Iwb
— VICSES News (@vicsesnews) September 21, 2021
How much damage did it cause? Has there been any extensive damage?
- Images of minor damage to buildings have flooded social media
- So far there have been just 46 reports of damage across the state. About 35,000 homes lost power but must are back up now
- Building’s on the popular Chapel Street shopping precinct has collapsed
Tim McDonagh, the managing director of Betty’s Burgers, said seeing the damage was surreal and that it was a “catastrophe” in already unusual circumstances.
- there were reports of damage to brickwork and cracked pavement across the city.
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Trump’s campaign tactic – debase and disgrace the legal process
Donald Trump, former president of the United States, hated Arraignment Day I in Manhattan two months ago, the first time a former president had been criminally charged.
Trump was being forced against his will into a proceeding he had utter contempt for. He was being arrested and fingerprinted and photographed under an indictment under the jurisdiction of Manhattan in New York City for allegations of hush money payments and fraudulent bookkeeping practices to conceal criminal activity. Trump heard the charges read out against him and he entered a plea of not guilty.
Trump had a terrible day. Trump wore a scowl throughout. His countenance was fearsome. What Trump hated most about his arraignment in New York is that he had to sit at a table with his counsel side by side with him — equal to him — and with the judge above him looking down on him. Trump could not control the discussion and could not interrupt to make his points.
Trump was subordinate to the judge. He was subordinate to no one as president.
Arraignment Day II
Arraignment Day II in Miami will be worse from Trump, even more stressful. The charges are substantially more serious: the alleged violation of federal criminal statutes involving the alleged mishandling and illegal possession of classified documents, lying to legal authorities, and obstruction of justice. Potential penalties run to years in prison and millions of dollars in fines.
Trump throughout his business life had always crafted his affairs to avoid being a defendant. But in his term in office, he was caught up in it big time. He was a defendant in two impeachment trials – again, unprecedented events – and left office in disgrace.
But Trump does not feel disgraced. He never does. Trump does not have a reverse gear. He never retreats. Never admits. Never concedes. Never yields. Trump is never embarrassed. Trump never feels ashamed. When something goes wrong, it is always the fault of someone else.
Bill Barr SLAMS his former boss:— Republicans against Trump (@RpsAgainstTrump) June 11, 2023
“He’s not a victim here. He was totally wrong that he had the right to have those documents. Those documents are among the most sensitive secrets that the country has…He had no right to maintain them and retain them”pic.twitter.com/VViNFpwbzt
And Trump never repents.
Trump can feel this way because Trump is waging war on behalf of his armies in “the final battle” for the future of the county. In his first, fiery post-indictment speech in Georgia, Trump said, “They’ve launched one witch hunt after another to try and stop our movement, to thwart the will of the American people. In the end, they’re not coming after me. They’re coming after you … “Either we have a Deep State, or we have a Democracy…Either the Deep State destroys America, or WE destroy the Deep State.”
It is a powerful formulation, and his true believers love it.
Hours later, In North Carolina, Trump mainlined his distilled message for the Republican crowd:
“We are a failing nation. We are a nation in decline. And now these radical left lunatics want to interfere with our elections by using law enforcement.
It’s totally corrupt and we cannot let it happen.
.@RepDanGoldman: "Donald Trump believed the law does not apply to him, and that he would do anything he could to conceal and maintain possession of highly, highly classified national security information that would jeopardize our national security." https://t.co/IfX8bV4EVk pic.twitter.com/Gvjv8aNFkn— The Hill (@thehill) June 11, 2023
This is the final battle.
With you at my side we will demolish the Deep State.
We will expel the warmongers from our government.
We will drive out the globalists.
We will cast out the communists.
We will throw off the sick political class that hates our country.
We will roll out the fake news media.
We will defeat Joe Bide and we will liberate America from those villains once and for all.”
Any lesser mortal would be staggered by these events. Any other presidential candidate would be driven from the race. But not Trump.
Debase and disgrace
Trump is using the same playbook today as he successfully triggered after being charged in New York: debase and disgrace the legal process by terming it completely political. Trump said the federal indictment is “election interference at the highest level.”
Almost every other Republican running for president has adopted this line, insulating Trump from pressure to leave the field.
Trump’s chief opponent, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said after these indictments: “The weaponization of federal law enforcement represents a mortal threat to a free society. We have for years witnessed an uneven application of the law depending upon political affiliation.”
Republican congressperson Nancy Mace: “This is a banana republic. I can’t believe this is happening.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene: “Democrats are arresting their political enemies. and they work together in their corrupt ways to get it done.”
Trump is using his affliction to raise millions of dollars from his base.
Trump will likely face Arraignment Day III in Georgia in August. A state prosecutor is expected to charge Trump with criminal interference in the certification of Georgia’s vote for Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.
As of now, there is no sign of cracks in Trump’s support among Republican voters. There is no surge to another candidate. What remains to be seen is whether Republican voters, as they see Trump spend his days in courtrooms and his evenings at rallies around the country, reach a conclusion that this is a spectacle too far, too much to bear, and that they want to turn to another conservative populist who stands for them in the political trials— and not the criminal trials – of 2024.
Donald Trump’s legal woes will serve him well
It’s not often that a U.S. President faces federal indictment, but if it’s going to happen to anyone, it might as well be Donald Trump first.
The news that Donald Trump is facing a federal investigation over the removal of secret documents from the White House in 2021 came as no surprise.
Keen watches of the Washington soap opera have seen this playbook before, albeit in a different form.
There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a Washington outsider. But as seriously damaged as he may be (thanks to the events of January 6), his support base has only grown whenever he faces scrutiny.
For his supporters, his legal woes mirror their own relationship with the government – a giant, unfair beast that picks and chooses its fights.
Trump is accused of storing sensitive documents—including those concerning matters of national security—in boxes, some even in a shower.
The documents were seized last August when investigators from the FBI executed a search warrant at Mar-a-Lago.
The Department of Justice has historically avoided charging people who are running for public office. Whether they should do that is a debate for another day. But it’s happening now. And it’s making it all too easy for Trump to claim there is a concerted campaign to get him away from the White House.
Trump exposed the deep state. IF they exist, they probably don’t want him back in power. Whether they exist doesn’t matter really, because plenty of Trump’s supporters agree with him, and believe the secret state is working against them. Call it QAnon, call it a conspiracy – it doesn’t matter in a democracy.
The DoJ now has to go all in. Failing to secure a conviction would be a serious embarrassment for the department.
This is the second time Trump has been indicted in recent months, yet the opinion polls show he only increases his popularity among MAGA and Republican voters. It leaves the Republican party in a difficult position. Support their leading candidate or support the law?
As other Republicans rallied around the embattled candidate, Trump held on to his loyal base of supporters.
For the Democrats, and for Biden, another reality will soon sink in – if Trump becomes President, and they lose office next year, how will a Trump-run DoJ deal with them?
Broadly, the tit-for-tat one-up-manship of U.S. politics is breaking tradition and potentially breaking the country.
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