Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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April 2019

Congress should be ready to arrest Attorney General Barr if he defies subpoena

Robert Reich writes: On Sunday, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee threatened to subpoena Attorney General William P. Barr if he refuses to testify this week about the Mueller report. But a subpoena is unlikely to elicit Barr’s cooperation. “We’re fighting all the subpoenas,” says the President of the United States. In other words, there is to be no congressional oversight of this administration: No questioning the Attorney General

Mueller objected to Barr’s description of Russia investigation’s findings

The New York Times reports: Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel, wrote a letter in late March to Attorney General William P. Barr objecting to his early description of the Russia investigation’s conclusions that appeared to clear President Trump on possible obstruction of justice, according to the Justice Department and three people with direct knowledge of the communication between the two men. The letter adds to the growing evidence

Trump pushes to designate the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist group

There is not a single American expert on the Muslim Brotherhood who supports designating them as a terrorist group, says @shadihamid. — Brookings (@BrookingsInst) April 30, 2019 The New York Times reports: The White House is pushing to issue an order that would designate the Muslim Brotherhood a foreign terrorist organization, bringing the weight of American sanctions against a storied and influential Islamist political movement with millions of members

At Trump golf course, undocumented employees say they get systematically cheated when told to work extra hours without pay

The Washington Post reports: His bosses at the Trump country club called it “side work.” On some nights, after the club’s Grille Room closed, head waiter Jose Gabriel Juarez — an undocumented immigrant from Mexico — was told to clock out. He pressed his index finger onto a scanner and typed his personal code, 436. But he didn’t go home. Instead — on orders from his bosses, Juarez said —

Why Trump wants to prevent Deutsche Bank from sharing his financial records

The New York Times reports: Over two decades, Deutsche Bank lent Donald J. Trump billions of dollars, even as his tarnished financial record put him off limits for most of Wall Street. “You are a great friend,” Mr. Trump wrote to his Deutsche Bank contact in 1998. “We have a great relationship,” he said in 2013. “They are totally happy with me,” he declared three years later. Now, Deutsche Bank

Social rejection doesn’t only hurt — it kills

Elitsa Dermendzhiyska writes: The psychologist Naomi Eisenberger describes herself as a mutt of a scientist. Never quite fitting the mould of the fields she studied – psychobiology, health psychology, neuroscience – she took an unusual early interest in what you might call the emotional life of the brain. As a doctoral student at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Eisenberger found it curious that we often describe being rejected

Music: Dr Lonnie Smith — ‘It’s Changed’


Donald Trump committed crimes

Benjamin Wittes writes: I spent the week after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report going through it section by section and writing a kind of diary of the endeavor. My goal was less to summarize the report than to force myself to think about each factual, legal, and analytical portion of Mueller’s discussion, which covers a huge amount of ground. Here are five conclusions I drew from the

Beto O’Rourke is the latest Democrat to make climate change central to his campaign

BuzzFeed reports: Beto O’Rourke on Monday pledged to spend trillions to combat the climate crisis in the first major policy proposal of his presidential campaign, making him the latest Democrat in the 2020 race to embrace climate change as a top issue. “The greatest threat we face — which will test our country, our democracy, every single one of us — is climate change,” O’Rourke told supporters in a campaign

As security officials prepare for Russian attack on 2020 presidential race, Trump and aides play down threat

The Washington Post reports: In recent months, U.S. national security officials have been preparing for Russian interference in the 2020 presidential race by tracking cyber threats, sharing intelligence about foreign disinformation efforts with social media companies and helping state election officials protect their systems against foreign manipulation. But these actions are strikingly at odds with statements from President Trump, who has rebuffed warnings from his senior aides about Russia and

What ISIS did to my village

Hassan Hassan writes: When I was a teenager, in the 1990s, I spent my summer breaks herding sheep from sunrise to sunset. My daily routine was nearly always the same. I released the sheep from the barn, steered them along the village’s main road, grabbed a watermelon from a shop to add to my packed lunch, and turned to the desert. Once I left the populated section of the village,

In the Middle East, a new military crescent is in the making

Marwan Kabalan writes: With the breakout of the Arab Spring more than eight years ago, pro-democracy activists in the Arab world and elsewhere were hopeful that the tide of democratic change might have finally reached its shores. Many who had criticised the likes of American scholar Samuel Huntington, who saw democracy as an alien concept to Middle Eastern culture, felt vindicated. The euphoria of the Arab Spring did not last

My England is in a mess. Scotland’s case for independence is stronger than ever

John Harris writes: If the three-year saga of Brexit tells us anything, it is that the United Kingdom is irretrievably breaking apart. Beyond the glaring fact that Scottish and English politics now have almost nothing in common, there is a deep sense that Brexit is testing some of the UK’s already-fragile institutions to destruction. Even if a Labour government at Westminster succeeded in calming things down by getting to grips

Music: Robert Wyatt — ‘Sea Song’


The rise of the climate vote bloc

Anna Taylor writes: April has been quite the month for climate action. The organisation I co-founded, the UK Student Climate Network, held its third Youth Strike 4 Climate demonstrations just two weeks ago which for the third month in succession saw tens of thousands take to the streets across the UK demanding climate justice and a Green New Deal. Extinction Rebellion also kicked off a huge act of extended nonviolent

Corbyn launches bid to declare UK climate emergency

The Observer reports: Labour will this week force a vote in parliament to declare a national environmental and climate change emergency as confidential documents show the government has spent only a fraction of a £100m fund allocated in 2015 to support clean air projects. Jeremy Corbyn’s party will demand on Wednesday that the country wakes up to the threat and acts with urgency to avoid more than 1.5°C of warming,