Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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July 2018

Flynn, Comey, and Mueller: What Trump knew and when he knew it

Murray Waas writes: Previously undisclosed evidence in the possession of Special Counsel Robert Mueller—including highly confidential White House records and testimony by some of President Trump’s own top aides—provides some of the strongest evidence to date implicating the president of the United States in an obstruction of justice. Several people who have reviewed a portion of this evidence say that, based on what they know, they believe it is now

U.S. spy agencies: North Korea is working on new missiles

The Washington Post reports: U.S. spy agencies are seeing signs that North Korea is constructing new missiles at a factory that produced the country’s first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the United States, according to officials familiar with the intelligence. Newly obtained evidence, including satellite photos taken in recent weeks, indicates that work is underway on at least one and possibly two liquid-fueled ICBMs at a large research facility

‘He doesn’t like bullies’: The story of the 37-year-old who took over the New York Times and is taking on Trump

The Washington Post reports: The new reporter was sharp, humble and eager to learn. Arthur had snazzier shoes than his colleagues at the Oregonian, but this was the only hint that he was a Sulzberger, the family that has owned and published the New York Times since 1896. He was 25 years old at the time he arrived in Portland in 2006, and Arthur Gregg Sulzberger fit right in even

As parents are reunited with young children, signs of trauma remain

The New York Times reports: [Five-year-old] Thiago and his mother [Ana Carolina Fernandes] were apprehended by the Border Patrol in New Mexico on May 22. The next day, officers informed Ms. Fernandes and other Brazilian mothers detained at the same border facility that their children would be removed from them. Thiago cried himself to sleep when his mother broke the news to him. Another boy had a panic attack and

Trump administration ordered to halt forcible drugging of migrant children

The Washington Post reports: A federal judge on Monday found that U.S. government officials have been giving psychotropic medication to migrant children at a Texas facility without first seeking the consent of their parents or guardians, in violation of state child welfare laws. U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles ordered the Trump administration to obtain consent or a court order before administering any psychotropic medications to migrant children,

The Dossier Center exposes the ‘main beneficiaries’ of Russian corruption

The Associated Press reports: Over the past three months, a handful of highly placed Russians have discovered their secrets seeping onto the web. It happened to a Russian Interior Ministry official whose emails were published online in April. It happened again this month, when details about a former Kremlin chief of staff’s American energy investment were exposed by Britain’s Guardian newspaper. Last week, Natalia Veselnitskaya, the Russian lawyer who met

Europe shouldn’t fear Steve Bannon. It should fear the hype that surrounds him

Cas Mudde writes: If Steve Bannon didn’t exist, the media would have had to invent him. And, in fact, they largely did. US coverage has turned Bannon into Donald Trump’s Rasputin, single-handedly responsible for his shock election as the 45th president of the United States. And now, as Bannon crosses the Atlantic, breathless reports speak of his “Plan to Hijack Europe for the Far Right”. His meeting with the former

We are more than our brains

Alan Jasanoff writes: Brains are undoubtedly somewhat computer-like – computers, after all, were invented to perform brain-like functions – but brains are also much more than bundles of wiry neurons and the electrical impulses they are famous for propagating. The function of each neuroelectrical signal is to release a little flood of chemicals that helps to stimulate or suppress brain cells, in much the way that chemicals activate or suppress

Music: Weather Report — ‘Will’

 

Coastal communities struggling to adapt to climate change are beginning to do what was once unthinkable: retreat

Jen Schwartz writes: Retreating from the coasts, in concept or practice, is not popular. Why would people abandon their community, the thinking goes, unless no better alternatives remained? To emergency responders, retreat is a form of flood mitigation. To environmental advocates, it’s ecological restoration. To resilience planners, it’s adaptation to climate change. Everyone agrees, however, that retreat sounds like defeat. It means admitting that humans have lost and that the

California’s longer, hotter summers spark deadly, destructive fire season

The Ventura County Star reports: California wildfires tore through mountains and foothills and into neighborhoods this week as record-breaking heat combined with increasingly dry conditions in the Golden State. On Friday, fires burned out of control, stretching resources thin in areas and forcing thousands to leave their homes. “We have a number of big destructive wildfires burning in very different parts of the state,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist

TSA on the lookout for Americans who appear ‘abnormally aware of their surroundings’

The Boston Globe reports: Federal air marshals have begun following ordinary US citizens not suspected of a crime or on any terrorist watch list and collecting extensive information about their movements and behavior under a new domestic surveillance program that is drawing criticism from within the agency. The previously undisclosed program, called “Quiet Skies,” specifically targets travelers who “are not under investigation by any agency and are not in the

Cairo court sentences 75 protesters to death

Al Jazeera reports: An Egyptian court has sentenced 75 people to death for participating in a 2013 protest against the overthrow of the country’s democratically elected president, Mohamed Morsi. Senior members of the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood organisation were among those ordered executed by the Cairo Criminal Court on Saturday for their involvement with the sit-in demonstration at Rabaa Square in the Egyptian capital, Cairo. The rulings will be referred to

The liar’s dividend, and other challenges of deep-fake news

Paul Chadwick writes: Do the notes taken by the interpreters at the recent Helsinki summit include the words “Snowden” and “swap”? We could ask the Russians to check their (assumed) audio recording and let us all know whether Presidents Trump and Putin discussed such a prospect during their long private chat. Trump wrong-footing his own country’s intelligence community by delivering their most-wanted, Edward Snowden, seems precisely the trolling that Putin

Britons see Brexit turning sour, half want chance to vote again, poll indicates

Reuters reports: Two-thirds of Britons now think the government will end up with a bad deal when Britain leaves the European Union early next year, and half want the chance to vote on what happens next, Sky News reported on Monday, citing its own poll. With less than eight months until Britain is due to leave the EU, Prime Minister Theresa May has yet to find a proposal to maintain

Music: Yussef Kamaal — ‘Remembrance’