Archives for May 2019

Greta Thunberg slams presidents, celebrities, politicians, CEOs, and journalists for ignoring climate crisis

No president is above the law

Elizabeth Warren writes:

When Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report was released on April 18, I sat down and read it. All 448 pages of it. I started reading it that afternoon, and I read all through the night and into the next morning. And when I got to page 448, three things were clear to me.

First, a hostile foreign government attacked our 2016 election to help candidate Donald Trump get elected. Second, candidate Donald Trump welcomed that help. Third, when the federal government tried to investigate, now-President Donald Trump did everything he could to delay, distract, and otherwise obstruct that investigation.

That’s a crime. If Donald Trump were anyone other than the President of the United States right now, he would be in handcuffs and indicted. [Continue reading…]

The case for impeachment


Mueller’s punt keeps looking worse

Andrew Prokop writes:

Robert Mueller’s report makes the stirring claim that “a fundamental principle of our government” is that no person, not even the president, “is above the law.”

But the special counsel’s ultimate legacy may well be the exact opposite — because of his controversial decision not to say whether Trump committed criminal obstruction of justice.

“We concluded that we would not reach a determination, one way or the other, about whether the president committed a crime,” Mueller said in his statement Wednesday, reiterating his report’s explanation.

It was the punt heard around the world. It may have been the crucial turning point in the saga of the special counsel probe, and perhaps the decision most likely to have ramifications for future presidents. It effectively “removes the president from the scope of generally applicable criminal laws,” Cornell law professor Jens David Ohlin recently told my colleague Sean Illing.

Essentially, Mueller has laid out a model that federal prosecutors can investigate the sitting president for crimes, but that they should not make any conclusion about whether he committed a crime. In a sense, this does seem to place the president above the law. [Continue reading…]

Trump’s tariff threat to Mexico may upend trade deal, undermine the economy

The Washington Post reports:

President Trump’s surprise announcement of an escalating series of new tariffs on all goods imported from Mexico is likely to upend hopes for early congressional action on his proposed North American trade deal and trigger economic upheaval on both sides of the border, according to trade analysts and business executives.

Business leaders reacted with dismay to Trump’s statement Thursday that he would impose a new 5 percent tariff on all goods from Mexico beginning June 10 to force the Mexican government to take more aggressive actions to prevent Central American migrants from crossing its territory en route to the United States.

And a prominent member of the president’s party, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, blasted Trump’s move as “a misuse of presidential tariff authority and contrary to congressional intent.” Implementing the tariffs, he said, would “seriously jeopardize passage” of the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA). [Continue reading…]

Bloomberg reports:

The automotive industry is bearing the brunt of trade-war crossfire again as U.S. President Donald Trump threatens to slap tariffs of as much as 25% on goods from Mexico, a key production hub for carmakers from Mazda Motor Corp. to General Motors Co.

Mexico is the largest source of U.S. vehicle and auto-parts imports, meaning tariffs would increase costs for virtually every major manufacturer. In late night tweets Thursday, Trump warned tariffs would start at 5% on June 10 and increase to 25% on Oct. 1 unless Mexico stops immigrants from entering the U.S. illegally.

A dozen of the world’s largest automakers — including Ford Motor Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Volkswagen AG — lost about $18 billion in market value by the start of regular U.S. trading Friday. The Bloomberg World Auto Manufacturers Index slumped as much as 2.2% to the lowest intraday since July 2016. [Continue reading…]

Merkel takes aim at Trump in ‘tear down walls’ speech at Harvard

Politico reports:

Angela Merkel urged Harvard graduates Thursday to “tear down walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness” in a speech laced with apparent jibes at Donald Trump and his policies.

Though she did not name the U.S. president, the German chancellor devoted much of her Harvard University commencement speech to attacking major pillars of Trump’s presidency: protectionism, trade wars and building walls.

She also warned of the “threat climate change poses to our planet’s resources” and called for the world to work together. Trump announced in 2017 that he would pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate agreement.

The German chancellor began her speech by describing her life in former East Germany before the fall of the Berlin Wall. She said that every day on her way home from her work, she would walk toward the wall, only to have to “turn away from freedom” on the other side at the last minute.

“The Berlin Wall limited my opportunities. It quite literally stood in my way,” Merkel said at Harvard, which earlier in the day awarded her an honorary degree.

She further stressed “multilateralism instead of unilateralism,” a “global” way of thinking rather than a national one, and “being open-minded instead of isolationist.” [Continue reading…]

For Brexit leaders ‘the empire was celebrated as a great thing’

Der Spiegel reports:

DER SPIEGEL: In your book “Rule Britannia,” you argue that the main reason for Brexit was that “a small number of people had a dangerous and imperialist misconception of Britain’s standing in the world.” Is Boris one of them?

Danny Dorling: Yes, Boris and (member of parliament) Jacob Rees-Mogg are the more obvious ones. But there are many others. They’re almost all white men with similar backgrounds. Almost none of them were average or poor. They were in the top kind of five percent or one percent in society. Take the billionaire James Goldsmith for instance, who started a party purely to demand a referendum on our membership in the European Union. Many have forgotten that because it was 25 years ago. It’s a wider group of people, many of them educated in Eton and a lot of other private schools where old-fashioned history was taught longer then in public schools. Sometimes they even teach it nowadays.

DER SPIEGEL: What do you mean by old-fashioned history?

Dorling: Well, using textbooks from decades earlier. And talking about national pride all the time, having a school chapel like an Oxford College Chapel in which the names of all the old boys who died in the wars are engraved. The central monument in Oxford in Bonn Square is a memorial for the English who died taking over an entire province of India. The people who pushed for Brexit and have been pushing for it since the 1990s were much more likely to come from that kind of a background, where the empire was celebrated as a great thing. We civilized most of the world. The empire is bigger than all the other European empires put together.

DER SPIEGEL: The empire is long gone though.

Dorling: But it still exists in the idea of Britain. Britain only came together to form an empire. The act of union was done at a point when we realized that the Spanish were going past us with ships full of gold. And we’d be better off not fighting each other and fighting them and taking over more of the world than Spain. And that sense of greatness persisted because we were never invaded. [Continue reading…]

Italy is evicting Steve Bannon from the training camp for far-right ‘gladiators’ he’s trying to establish

Quartz reports:

The Italian government has delivered a potentially fatal blow to Steve Bannon’s plans to transform a medieval monastery near Rome into a training academy for the far-right.

Italy’s cultural heritage ministry announced on Friday (May 31) that it would revoke a lease granted to Bannon after reports of fraud in the competitive tender process. The former Breitbart chief and aide to US president Donald Trump was reportedly paying €100,000 ($110,000) per year to rent the 13th Century Carthusian monastery, but now will have to search for another spot.

The Italian state allowed the conservative Catholic organization Dignitatis Humanae Institute (DHI) to use the building early last year. Bannon happens to be a trustee of the institute, and planned to convert the space into a “gladiator school for cultural warriors,” where students would learn philosophy, theology, history, and economics, and receive political training from the former Trump aide himself. [Continue reading…]

Music: Wayne Shorter & Milton Nascimento — ‘Tarde’


New evidence of the Trump administration’s efforts to maintain GOP white supremacy

The Washington Post reports:

Just weeks before the Supreme Court is expected to rule on whether the Trump administration can add a citizenship question to the 2020 Census, new evidence emerged Thursday suggesting the question was crafted specifically to give an electoral advantage to white Republicans.

The evidence was found in the files of the prominent Republican redistricting strategist Thomas Hofeller after his death in August. It reveals that Hofeller “played a significant role in orchestrating the addition of the citizenship question to the 2020 Decennial Census in order to create a structural electoral advantage for, in his own words, ‘Republicans and Non-Hispanic Whites,’ ” and that Trump administration officials purposely obscured Hofeller’s role in court proceedings, lawyers for plaintiffs challenging the question wrote in a letter to U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman. Furman was one of three federal judges who ruled against the question this year.

The letter drew on new information discovered on hard drives belonging to Hofeller, which were found accidentally by Hofeller’s estranged daughter. Stephanie Hofeller Lizon then shared them with the organization Common Cause for a gerrymandering lawsuit it is pursuing in North Carolina. [Continue reading…]