Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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June 2019

Elizabeth Warren’s plan to revitalize diplomacy

Elizabeth Warren writes: American security and prosperity depend on robust diplomacy. Our diplomats are the front line of our engagement with the world. They serve in over 270 posts worldwide, many in difficult or dangerous locations. They communicate our goals in more than 70 languages. They manage conflict, help U.S. companies compete, and assist Americans abroad. Most importantly, they reflect our values on the world stage. But a diplomacy-first strategy

No country for old white men: Kamala Harris leads changing of the guard

David Smith writes: It was as if “Sleepy Joe” Biden had been jolted awake and found himself in a terrifying parallel universe. No longer was he the former senator and vice-president who once lunched weekly with Barack Obama at the White House. Instead he was the accused, standing in the dock under the hot lights on a debate stage in Miami, as a fierce and formidable prosecutor tore into his

Jimmy Carter says Trump wouldn’t be president without help from Russia

The Washington Post reports: Former president Jimmy Carter said Friday that he believes a full investigation of the 2016 election would show that President Trump prevailed because of Russian interference on his behalf and otherwise would not be in office. “There’s no doubt that the Russians did interfere in the election, and I think the interference, although not yet quantified, if fully investigated would show that Trump didn’t actually win

Trump jokes with Putin about meddling in elections and getting rid of journalists

The Guardian reports: Donald Trump joked with Vladimir Putin about getting rid of journalists and Russian meddling in US elections when the two leaders met at the G20 summit in Japan. As they sat for photographs at the start of their first formal meeting in nearly a year, the US president lightheartedly sought common ground with Putin at the expense of the journalists around them in Osaka. “Get rid of

Trump’s peace plan is immoral, impractical — and could blow up the Middle East

Ami Ayalon, Gilead Sher, and Orni Petruschka, write: It sounds great on paper: The U.S. administration will hold a “peace to prosperity” economic workshop in Bahrain on June 25 and 26 to jumpstart Israeli-Palestinian peace talks. Yet scratch the shiny PR surface and you’ll find a dangerously simplistic approach to a complicated situation. Anybody who followed the last 30 years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict understands that President Donald Trump’s announcement

Tulsi Gabbard’s growing popularity — among Trump supporters

BuzzFeed News reports: Among some conservative pundits there was one clear winner of Wednesday night’s Democratic primary debate: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, the long-shot, anti-war Hawaii member of Congress. More than any other Democratic candidate, Gabbard has developed a favorable presence in the right-wing media. She’s made appearances from time to time on Fox News shows like Tucker Carlson Tonight, and her unorthodox candidacy has attracted praise from those farther to

In his rambling screed against Megan Rapinoe, Trump revealed a lot about his worldview

Jemele Hill writes: President Donald Trump doesn’t understand a basic principle that I learned from my mother in elementary school: If you treat people with respect, they’ll likely respect you in return. Trump took to Twitter on Wednesday to blast Megan Rapinoe, a co-captain of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, after the soccer magazine Eight by Eight posted a video of her saying that if the women win the

Music: Joni Mitchell — ‘Jericho’

 

U.S. generates more power from renewables — decline of coal ‘unstoppable’ despite Trump’s rhetoric

The Guardian reports: The US generated more electricity from renewable sources than coal for the first time ever in April, new federal government data has shown. Clean energy such as solar and wind provided 23% of US electricity generation during the month, compared with coal’s 20%, according to the Energy Information Administration. This represents the first time coal has been surpassed by energy sources that do not release pollution such

Shell’s natural ecosystems fund is blatant greenwash

George Monbiot writes: It is hard to believe it needs stating, but it does. The oil industry is not your friend. Whatever it might say about its ethical credentials, while it continues to invest in fossil fuels, it accelerates climate breakdown and the death of the habitable planet. You would think this point was obvious to everyone. But over the past few weeks, I have spoken to dozens of environmentalists

Young climate protesters are rattling the DNC

BuzzFeed News reports: The young protesters who have increasingly become the face of an urgent new movement to combat the climate crisis rattled the Democratic Party’s central institution this week, camping out on the steps of its headquarters and sending jitters through its senior staff ranks. About a dozen protesters in black T-shirts stood vigil Tuesday and Wednesday night outside the Democratic National Committee’s headquarters, and more than a hundred

E. Jean Carroll’s account of Trump rape corroborated by confidantes

The New York Times reports: E. Jean Carroll tore through the doors of the Fifth Avenue entrance of Bergdorf Goodman, her heart racing. Ms. Carroll, a journalist and the host of the “Ask E. Jean” television show at the time, had taped a segment that day in 1996 at a studio in Fort Lee, N.J. When it ended around 5 p.m., she decided to come into Manhattan to shop at

Twitter’s new labels for tweets that break its rules may have stark implications for Trump’s account

The Washington Post reports: Twitter on Thursday said it would begin labeling tweets from national political figures, including President Trump, that the company would have taken down under other circumstances for violating its rules, a move that could appease some longtime critics at the cost of opening a new political rift with the White House. The new policy applies to political candidates and government officials who have more than 100,000

Supreme Court bars challenges to partisan gerrymandering

The New York Times reports: The Supreme Court on Thursday ruled that federal courts are powerless to hear challenges to partisan gerrymandering, the practice in which the party that controls the state legislature draws voting maps to help elect its candidates. The vote was 5 to 4, with the court’s more conservative members in the majority. In a momentous decision, the court closed the door on such claims. The drafters

Roberts won’t let Trump get away with a lie in census case

Noah Feldman writes: Chief Justice John Roberts split the baby — again. In a dramatic and complicated opinion in a much watched census case, he first held that the Trump administration’s decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census was constitutionally and statutorily permissible and was supported by sufficient evidence. He was joined by the U.S. Supreme Court’s other conservatives. Then Roberts switched course. In a separate part

Music: Joni Mitchell — ‘Overture — Cotton Avenue’