Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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The climate change health risks facing a child born today: A tale of two possible futures

Inside Climate News reports: A child born today faces two possible futures. In one, the world continues to burn fossil fuels, making the child more likely to develop asthma from air pollution, at greater risk of vector-borne diseases, and more vulnerable to anxiety as extreme weather events threaten his community. In the other, those risks are diminished because the world has responded quickly and adequately to climate change, with a

Trump’s Republican Party is built on lies

Peter Wehner writes: We are facing a profound political crisis. What the Republican Party is saying and signaling isn’t simply that rationality and truth are subordinate to partisanship; it is that they have to be obliterated for the sake of partisanship and the survival of the Trump presidency. As best I can tell, based on some fairly intense interactions with Trump supporters, there is no limiting principle—almost nothing he can

The evidence of wrongdoing by Trump is overwhelming

Noah Bookbinder writes: Impeachment is a constitutional procedure that should be reserved only for extraordinary times with the most extreme examples of abuse of power by a president. That is why, in our country’s history, only two presidents have been impeached. But this is one of those times. The evidence of wrongdoing by President Trump is overwhelming. The impeachment inquiry has been conducted so far in a sober, responsible way.

Trump’s feckless foreign policy consistently benefits Russia

David Ignatius writes: As the House opens public impeachment hearings into the Ukraine scandal, the bottom-line question is dead simple: Did President Trump, for political reasons, manipulate military aid to an ally in a war that has cost 13,000 lives? When you think about the Ukrainian soldiers on the front lines of this nasty proxy battle against Russia, the debate becomes more visceral and perhaps less confusing. As Ukrainians were

Impeachment: There’s only so much Republicans can do when Democrats have all the evidence they need

Renato Mariotti writes: If it looked like House Republicans were throwing a lot of mud at the wall to see what might stick during the first day of public impeachment hearings, that’s because they had settled into a strategy many defense attorneys adopt when the prosecution has the goods on their client—confuse the issues and distract the audience from the evidence at hand. I’ve tried many federal criminal cases, and

Sondland’s cellphone call to Trump from Kyiv restaurant was a stunning breach of security, former officials say

The Washington Post reports: A U.S. ambassador’s cellphone call to President Trump from a restaurant in the capital of Ukraine this summer was a stunning breach of security, exposing the conversation to surveillance by foreign intelligence services, including Russia’s, former U.S. officials said. The call — in which Trump’s remarks were overheard by a U.S. Embassy staffer in Kyiv — was disclosed Wednesday by the acting U.S. ambassador to Ukraine,

Trump DC hotel sales pitch boasts of millions to be made from foreign governments

CNN reports: In its effort to sell off the lease to the Trump International Hotel in Washington, the Trump Organization has put together a glossy investor brochure complete with pictures showcasing the hotel’s grandiose architecture, its central location and its spa’s Himalayan salt chamber. The hotel’s biggest selling point though, according to a copy of the brochure seen by CNN, is the one thing that the Trump family insists it

Music: Shakti with John McLaughlin — ‘Mind Ecology’

 

New testimony ties Trump more directly to Ukraine pressure campaign

The Washington Post reports: A top diplomat on Wednesday tied President Trump more directly to the effort to pressure Ukraine to probe his political opponents, describing a phone call in which Trump sought information about the status of the investigations he had asked Ukraine to launch one day earlier. William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, told lawmakers that the phone conversation between the president and U.S. Ambassador

‘I don’t remember’ Trump asking for news conference clearing him of wrongdoing in Ukraine call, Barr says — as though he’d forget

The Washington Post reports: Attorney General William P. Barr said Wednesday that he did not remember President Trump ever asking him to hold a news conference declaring the commander in chief broke no laws in a controversial phone call with the leader of Ukraine, but he acknowledged discussions with the White House on how his department would communicate to the media about the matter. At an event in Memphis about

The Pentagon sees climate change as an existential threat to human society

Michael Klare writes: We have heard from the scientists on climate change, with their meticulous data on ecosystem degradation and species loss. We have heard from the climate deniers, with their desperate attempts to deploy countervailing arguments. Both groups have mobilized substantial blocs of voters in pivotal countries, producing gridlock in global efforts to slow the pace of global warming. It is time, then, to hear from another group of

Trump says U.S. left troops in Syria ‘only for the oil,’ appearing to contradict Pentagon

Politico reports: President Donald Trump declared Wednesday that the U.S. mission in Syria is focused solely on protecting oil fields, which appears to contradict the Pentagon’s contention that fighting ISIS is the priority. “We’re keeping the oil, we have the oil, the oil is secure, we left troops behind only for the oil,” Trump told reporters during a meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the White House. Last

The Tories rely on Russian money — that’s why they ignore Russian meddling

Chris Bryant writes: Anyone who really wants to understand the government’s determination to suppress parliament’s intelligence and security committee report on Russia needs to go back to 2009. I was the Europe minister and my opposite number, Mark Francois, made it abundantly clear that a future Tory government intended to “normalise” relations with Vladimir Putin’s Russia. So when David Cameron arrived in Downing Street he wiped the slate clean. Russia

The Hong Kong protesters aren’t driven by hope

Zeynep Tufekci writes: For months now, I’ve been told that Hong Kong’s protests would end soon. They’ll end when school starts, I heard during the summer. School did start, but the protests wore on, only now I saw high-school students in crisp school uniforms joining the protesters’ ranks. Next, the mask ban of early October was supposed to slow protesters down, but the very first day after that ban, I

Nile river formed millions of years earlier than thought, study suggests

Live Science reports: For thousands of years, the Nile River has fertilized valleys along its winding path through northeastern Africa, anchoring ancient civilizations and still serving as an important route of transport and irrigation today. But the age of its venerable waters, which stretch over 4,225 miles (6,800 kilometers), has been debated, with one group of experts claiming the river was born around 6 million years ago when a drainage

Music: Remember Shakti with John McLaughlin — ‘Luki’