News

January 2019 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative January 2019 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 

Jan. 31

U.S. Shutdown Solution Talks

washington post logodemocratic donkey logoWashington Post, Trump digs in on border wall funds, but Democrats’ opening bid is zero, Erica Werner, John Wagner and Mike DeBonis​, Jan. 31, 2019 (print edition). In a sign of how difficult it may be for lawmakers to strike a bipartisan compromise that President Trump can support to avert another government shutdown next month, Democrats dismissed his insistence on physical barriers on the border.

Trump v. His Intel Appointees

washington post logoWashington Post, In latest attack on intelligence agencies, Trump ignores where they actually agree, Shane Harris and John Wagner, Jan. 31, 2019 (print edition). “Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!” the president wrote in pointed tweets Wednesday morning.

President Trump lashed out at the government’s most senior intelligence leaders Wednesday, his latest assault on the spies and analysts who work for him but sometimes deliver facts that he doesn’t want to hear.

CIA LogoTriggering the president’s rage was an annual congressional hearing on global security threats, a routine event at which intelligence agency heads testified that Iran, while still a global menace, is complying with an international agreement to suspend its development of nuclear weapons. Trump ridiculed that assessment and the intelligence leaders themselves.

“The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong!” Trump wrote on Twitter. “. . . They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. There [sic] economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran.”

washington post logoWashington Post, Power Up: Trump rift with his own intelligence chiefs widens global opening for Putin, Jacqueline Alemany, Jan.…

December 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: December 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 

christmas wreath

Happy New Year!

Dec. 31

2018 Retrospective

bill palmerPalmer Report, Opinion: What was all that back there? Bill Palmer (right), Dec. 31, 2018. Now that we’ve reached the end of 2018, it’s fair to say that it was a year for the ages. And by “ages” I mean the garbage dump.

bill palmer report logo headerLet’s not mince words here: this was, by any objective measure, a historically terrible year for America, for the world, and for the human race. But we can also learn from everything that’s gone wrong, and use it as a roadmap for finding our way back.

U.S. Supreme Court

SCOTUSblog, The chief justice’s 2018 year-end report: The federal judiciary and #MeToo, Amy Howe, Dec. 31, 2018. Chief Justice John Roberts released his annual report on the john roberts ofederal judiciary today, focusing on the judiciary’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace. Roberts had discussed this issue in his 2017 report, after several female law clerks accused Judge Alex Kozinski – then a prominent judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit – of inappropriate sexual conduct.

A working group created to review the safeguards in place to protect law clerks and other employees concluded, Roberts reported, that “inappropriate workplace conduct is not pervasive within the Judiciary, but it is also not limited to a few isolated instances involving law clerks” and “frequently goes unreported.” Roberts endorsed the recommendations made by the group, which included making changes to the codes of conduct for both judges and employees to make clear that both harassment and retaliation against employees who report misconduct are prohibited.

Roberts observed that he was “pleased” that the judiciary has “mobilized to ensure that” it is “the exemplary workplace that we all want,” but he added that “the job is not finished until we have done all that we can to ensure that all of our employees are treated with fairness, dignity, and respect.”

Foreign Policy

ny times logoNew York Times, Investigation: C.I.A.’s Afghan Forces Leave a Trail of Abuse and Anger, Mujib Mashal, Dec.…

November 2018 News Updates

 JIPLogoEditor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative November 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this. 

Nov. 30

Former President George H.W. Bush Dies

usa today logoUSA Today, George H.W. Bush, the 41st U.S. president and father of the 43rd, has died at age 94, Susan Page and Judy Keen, Nov. 30, 2018. George Herbert Walker Bush, george hw bush HRthe president who managed the end of the Cold War and forged a global coalition to oust Iraqi forces from Kuwait, has died at age 94. In a political career that spanned three decades, he lost his bid for re-election, lived to see his son win the Oval Office and then, in a turn worthy of Shakespeare, died soon after Barbara Bush, his wife of 73 years.

The death of Bush — nicknamed “41” to distinguish himself from son George W. Bush, “43” — was announced by spokesman Jim McGrath.

Trump Abroad

ny times logoNew York Times, Dodging Friends, Chased by Legal Woes, Trump Navigates G-20, Mark Landler and Peter Baker, Nov. 30, 2018. President Trump’s first day at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Buenos Aires was a window into his idiosyncratic statecraft. Mr. Trump’s “America First” foreign policy has left him with a strange patchwork of partners at global gatherings.

Twitter, That feeling when you own the President of the United States and can do whatever you want.

Mueller Probe / Justice Dept.

ny times logoNew York Times, Opinion: Cohen Lied. Here’s Why It Matters, Editorial Board, Nov. 30, 2019 (print edition). With Michael Cohen’s latest deal, the special counsel shows he is President Donald Trump officialunafraid of crossing Donald Trump’s red lines on Russia. When all is said and done, the April raids by federal prosecutors targeting Michael Cohen’s office and other premises in Manhattan may be seen as a turning point for Donald Trump’s presidency.…

October 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative October 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.

U.S. Elections: Early Voting, Poll Place Info

U.S. Voters: Find your polling location here. (This website is an initiative of the Voting Information Project (VIP), a partnership between state election officials and Democracy Works to connect voters with the election information they need to cast a ballot. Launched in 2008, VIP works with state and local election officials to provide official and up-to-date election information.)

Oct. 31

U.S. Elections 2018

washington post logoDemocratic-Republican Campaign logosWashington Post, Trump, a self-styled ‘nationalist,’ turns midterms into a forum on American identity, Matt Viser, Oct. 31, 2018. President Trump escalated his rhetoric on immigration by vowing to end birthright citizenship, a move some experts say would run afoul of the Constitution. Trump’s sharpened tone also creates potential complications for some GOP candidates.

washington post logoWashington Post, Commentary: Trump is wrong. He can’t revoke birthright citizenship, George T. Conway III and Neal Katyal, Oct. 31, 2018 (print edition). George T. Conway III is of counsel at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz [and husband of White House counselor Kellyanne Conway]. Neal Katyal is a partner at Hogan Lovells and former acting U.S. solicitor general in the Obama administration.

Donald TrumpSometimes the Constitution’s text is plain as day and bars what politicians seek to do. That’s the case with President Trump’s proposal to end “birthright citizenship” through an executive order. Such a move would be unconstitutional and would certainly be challenged. And the challengers would undoubtedly win.

Trump has long argued that birthright citizenship for the children of parents not legally in the United States should be abolished. “It’s ridiculous. And it has to end,” he told Axios in an interview released Tuesday, in which he disclosed his plan for the unilateral action.…

September 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative August 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.

Sept. 30

Supreme Court Battle / #MeToo

ny times logoNew York Times, Details of F.B.I.’s Kavanaugh Inquiry Show Its Restricted Range, Michael D. Shear, Sheryl Gay Stolberg, Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, Sept. 30, 2018 (print edition). The F.B.I. will interview four witnesses about sexual assault claims against Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh as part of a background check, not a full-fledged criminal investigation. The White House will decide the breadth of the inquiry and can order further investigation based on the findings from the four interviews.

The Atlantic, Opinion: This Was Never About Finding Out the Truth, Matt Thompson, Sept. 30, 2018. Brett Kavanaugh’s testimony before the Senate was a lesson in power — who wields it, and at whose expense.

Palmer Report, Analysis: Deborah Ramirez has already dropped the FBI hammer on Brett Kavanaugh, Bill Palmer, Sept. 30, 2018. Even as controversy and chaos swirl around the scope of the FBI investigation into the sexual assault allegations into Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, the FBI is moving forward very quickly.

deborah ramirez benjamin rasmussen new yorkerDeborah Ramirez, right, was interviewed by the FBI earlier today, according to a CNN report this evening. Not only that, she provided the FBI with a list of witnesses who can corroborate her sexual assault accusations against Brett Kavanaugh.

washington post logoWashington Post, Kellyanne Conway: ‘I’m a victim of sexual assault,’ Alex Horton​, During an appearance on CNN, Sept. 30, 2018. The White House adviser suggested conservatives have become targets for political score settling.

Natural Disaster: Indonesia

washington post logoWashington Post, Death toll soars past 800 after quake, tsunami in Indonesia, Ainur Rohmah and Shibani Mahtani, Sept.…

August 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative August 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.

Aug. 31

Trump Watch

 ny times logoNew York Times, Lobbyist Sam Patten Pleads Guilty to Steering Foreign Funds to Trump Inaugural, Kenneth P. Vogel, Sharon LaFraniere and Adam Goldman, Aug. 31, 2018.  An American lobbyist on Friday admitted brokering access to President Trump’s inauguration for a pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarch in a scheme that highlighted the rush by foreign interests to influence the new administration.

republican elephant logoAs part of a plea agreement under which he pledged to cooperate with federal prosecutors, the lobbyist, Sam Patten, pleaded guilty to failing to register as a foreign agent for a Russia-aligned Ukrainian political party, and to helping the Ukrainian oligarch who had funded that party illegally purchase four tickets to Mr. Trump’s inauguration.

Although the charges were not brought by the special counsel investigating Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, Robert S. Mueller III, they stem from his team’s work, and overlap substantially with its continuing investigation, suggesting that Mr. Patten could be a useful witness.

Media News

ny times logoNew York Times, The Village Voice, a New York Icon, Closes, Tyler Pager and Jaclyn Peiser, Aug. 31, 2018. When Peter D. Barbey bought The Village Voice in 2015, he vowed to invest in the storied alternative weekly, saying it would “survive and prosper.” But last August he shuttered the print edition, and on Friday he closed the operation altogether.

The end of the left-leaning independent publication was an anticlimax, given the many empty red plastic Village Voice boxes that have been scattered like debris across the sidewalks of Manhattan in recent years.

“This is a sad day for The Village Voice and for millions of readers,” Mr.…

July 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative July 2018 news and views

Note: Excerpts are from the authors’ words except for subheads and occasional “Editor’s notes” such as this.

July 31

Inside DC

ny times logoNew York Times, Administration Mulls Unilateral Tax Cut for the Wealthy, Alan Rappeport and Jim Tankersley, July 31, 2018 (print edition). A proposal under consideration at the Treasury Department would bypass Congress and use federal regulation to index capital gains for inflation, a $100 billion boost for high earners. The move would face a near-certain court challenge and could reinforce a liberal critique of Republican tax policy.

According to the budget model used by the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, indexing capital gains to inflation would reduce government revenues by $102 billion over a decade, with 86 percent of the benefits going to the top 1 percent.

ny times logoguiseppe conteNew York Times, Trump Again Threatens to Shut Down Government, Katie Rogers and Nicholas Fandos, July 31, 2018 (print edition). “We’re the laughingstock of the world,” President Trump said during a 40-minute news conference with Giuseppe Conte, right, the visiting Italian prime minister.

President Trump reiterated on Monday his threat to shut down the federal government this fall if Congress does not deliver on Republican demands to crack down on immigration by enforcing security on the border with Mexico and building his long-promised wall.

“If we don’t get border security after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown,” Mr. Trump said during a 40-minute news conference with Giuseppe Conte, the visiting Italian prime minister. “We’re the laughingstock of the world.”

Mr. Trump repeated his vow for the second time in two days, continuing to rattle those in his party who are leery of a difficult midterm election season and are focused on confirming Judge Brett M.…

June 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative June 2018 news and views

June 30

washington post logoWashington Post, U.S. assessing cost of keeping troops in Germany as Trump battles with Europe, John Hudson, Paul Sonne, Karen DeYoung and Josh Dawsey, June 30, 2018 (print edition). European officials are scrambling to determine whether the president intends to reposition U.S. forces or is just making threats ahead of a NATO summit.

NATO logoThe Pentagon is analyzing the cost and impact of a large-scale withdrawal or transfer of American troops stationed in Germany, amid growing tensions between President Trump and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to people familiar with the work.

The effort follows Trump’s expression of interest in removing the troops, made during a meeting earlier this year with White House and military aides, U.S. officials said. Trump was said to have been taken aback by the size of the U.S. presence, which includes about 35,000 active-duty troops, and complained that other countries were not contributing fairly to joint security or paying enough to NATO.

Word of the assessment has alarmed European officials, who are scrambling to determine whether Trump actually intends to reposition U.S. forces or whether it is merely a negotiating tactic ahead of a NATO summit in Brussels, where Trump is again likely to criticize U.S. allies for what he deems insufficient defense spending.

sergei lavrov channel 4 moscow june 30 2018

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavov, right, interviewed by Channel 4 in  Moscow on June 30, 2018 about upcoming Putin-Trump Summit

Channel 4 (Moscow) via SouthFront, Russian Foreign Minister’s Interview On Conflict In Syria And Upcoming Putin-Trump Meeting, Staff report, June 30, 2018.

Question: Foreign Minister, the summit is happening in Helsinki. Russian President V.Putin and US President D.Trump together. Is this the post-West world order that you have talked of in the past?…

May 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative May 2018 news and views

May 31

Trump Probes

andrew mccabe c span may 11 2017

washington post logoWashington Post, Prosecutors speak to Comey as they mull charges against his former deputy, Matt Zapotosky, May 31, 2018. The move is an indication that the D.C. U.S. Attorney’s Office is seriously considering whether Andrew McCabe (shown above testifying to Congress) should be charged with a crime. He’s accused of lying to federal agents about whether he told his boss about a media disclosure.

Trump’s U.S. Department of Injustice?

washington post logoWashington Post, Inauguration Day rioting charges dropped against 7 defendants, Keith L. Alexander, May 31, 2018. A D.C. judge determined that the government intentionally misrepresented information and withheld evidence from the defense. Federal prosecutors Thursday dropped their cases against seven people charged with rioting during President Trump’s inauguration after a D.C. judge determined that the government intentionally misrepresented information and withheld evidence from the defense.

Justice Department log circularAssistant U.S. Attorney Jennifer Kerkhoff had repeatedly told the court and defense attorneys that her office possessed a single video of a protest-planning meeting, secretly recorded by a conservative group that had infiltrated the meeting. But on Wednesday, the U.S. Attorney’s Office acknowledged in an email to defense attorneys that 69 such undercover videos or audio recordings existed. Prosecutors wrote that they had turned over evidence they deemed relevant to the cases.

During a hearing Thursday in D.C. Superior Court, Judge Robert E. Morin pressed prosecutors about the omission.

“It was intentional. Your office represented there was only one video,” Morin said. “The government has not offered any explanation as to why they did not inform the court of these additional videos.”

Legally, prosecutors must provide their evidence to the defense at the earliest possible time, even if that evidence weakens their case. Failure to do so can be considered misconduct and a violation of a 1963 rule based on the U.S.…

April 2018 News Reports

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Editor’s Choice: Scroll below for our monthly blend of mainstream and alternative April 2018 news and views

April 30

U.S. War Powers

washington post logotim kaine wWashington Post, Opinion: Congress must take away Trump’s unlimited authority to wage war, Tim Kaine, April 30, 2018 (print edition). U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, a Democrat from Virginia up for re-election in 2016, was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2016. President Trump believes he can launch missile strikes against Syria and broadly expand the global war on terrorism without seeking any congressional approval. If missile strikes against Syria can be carried out without authorization from Congress, there’s nothing to stop the administration from attacking Iran or North Korea, as some of the president’s advisers have publicly encouraged.

It is time for Congress to act. We should take back the unlimited authority the president believes he has. We should act in a bipartisan manner to define what military action the president can and can’t take against terrorist groups. And we should clarify that military action against a sovereign nation, except to defend the United States from imminent attack, requires separate congressional approval.

Associated Press​ via Washington Post, Report: Mueller gives list of questions to Trump’s lawyers, Staff report, April 30, 2018. The list from the special counsel includes almost four dozen questions that range from President Trump’s motivations for firing FBI Director James Comey a year ago to contacts Trump’s campaign had with Russians, according to a report published in the New York Times.

Special counsel Robert Mueller has given a list of almost four dozen questions to lawyers for President Donald Trump as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and whether Trump obstructed justice, according to a report published in The New York Times.

The Times obtained a list of the questions, which range from Trump’s motivations for firing FBI Director James Comey a year ago to contacts Trump’s campaign had with Russians.…

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