Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Trump directs State Dept. to end aid to Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador

The New York Times reports: President Trump said on Friday that there would be a “very good likelihood” that he would seal off the United States border with Mexico next week, even as he moved to punish Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador for migrant caravans by cutting off all foreign aid to the countries. The moves escalated a sustained berating of countries he blames for being unable to stop the

Literally no one but Trump actually wants to close border crossings

TRUMP: "With a deficit like we have with Mexico and have had for many years, closing the border will be a profit-making operation." (That is not at all how trade works!) pic.twitter.com/jnuJpQEMfU — Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) March 29, 2019 Dara Lind writes: Shutting down ports of entry would be an economic disaster. It would also disrupt the lives of border communities that rely on the flow of people between the

Trump’s order to open Arctic waters to oil drilling was unlawful, federal judge finds

The New York Times reports: In a major legal blow to President Trump’s push to expand offshore oil and gas development, a federal judge ruled that an executive order by Mr. Trump that lifted an Obama-era ban on oil and gas drilling in the Arctic Ocean and parts of the North Atlantic coast was unlawful. The decision, by Judge Sharon L. Gleason of the United States District Court for the

Bezos investigation finds the Saudis obtained his private data

Gavin De Becker writes: Some Americans will be surprised to learn that the Saudi government has been very intent on harming Jeff Bezos since last October, when the Post began its relentless coverage of Khashoggi’s murder. The Saudi campaign against Bezos has already been reported by CNN International, Bloomberg, The Daily Beast, and others. Saudi Arabia attacks people in many ways, obviously, including through their elaborate social media program that

Can we get better at forgetting?

Benedict Carey writes: Whatever its other properties, memory is a reliable troublemaker, especially when navigating its stockpile of embarrassments and moral stumbles. Ten minutes into an important job interview and here come screenshots from a past disaster: the spilled latte, the painful attempt at humor. Two dates into a warming relationship and up come flashbacks of an earlier, abusive partner. The bad timing is one thing. But why can’t those

Music: Colde — ‘시 (Shhh)’

 

Trump-linked U.S. Christian ‘fundamentalists’ pour millions of ‘dark money’ into Europe, boosting the far right

Open Democracy reports: U.S. Christian right ‘fundamentalists’ linked to the Trump administration and Steve Bannon are among a dozen American groups that have poured at least $50 million of ‘dark money’ into Europe over the last decade, openDemocracy can reveal today. Between them, these groups have backed ‘armies’ of ultra-conservative lawyers and political activists, as well as ‘family values’ campaigns against LGBT rights, sex education and abortion – and a

The only way forward is a delay, a rethink, and a softer form of Brexit

Following the third defeat in parliament for Theresa May’s Brexit deal, the Financial Times, in an editorial, says: While a majority of MPs profoundly disagreed — like this newspaper — with the wisdom of leaving, many were ready to compromise to allow it to happen. Hardcore Brexit ultras would agree to nothing but the fantastical clean-break exit they craved. They cannot be allowed to take the country over the cliff

Jacinda Ardern at Christchurch memorial: Only through our common humanity can we confront extremism

  New Zealand PM, Jacinda Ardern, said: To the global community who have joined us today, who reached out to embrace New Zealand, and our Muslim community, to all of those who have gathered here today, we say thank you. And we also ask that the condemnation of violence and terrorism turns now to a collective response. The world has been stuck in a vicious cycle of extremism breeding extremism

Mueller report will be delivered to Congress without White House preview by ‘mid-April, if not sooner,’ says attorney general

The Washington Post reports: Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s report detailing his investigation of President Trump and Russia’s election interference will be delivered to Congress “by mid-April, if not sooner,” Attorney General William P. Barr said Friday in a letter offering important new details about how the document will be edited before its public release. Barr’s letter aimed to reassure lawmakers and the public that the process for handling

Surge of asylum seekers highlights futility of Trump’s wall

The Washington Post reports: While [Kevin] McAleenan [the commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection] was emphasizing the need for more resources and legal authority to keep people from the U.S. interior, advocacy groups said the Trump administration should instead treat the migrants as refugees and invest in foreign aid. Migrants are streaming out of Central America for a complex set of reasons — including drought, poverty, violence and political

Music: Tom Misch & Carmody — ‘With You’

 

Mueller report: Did Barr write a summary or a cover-up?

The New York Times reports: The still-secret report on Russian interference in the 2016 election submitted by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, last week was more than 300 pages long, according to the Justice Department, a length that raises new questions about Attorney General William P. Barr’s four-page summary. Mr. Barr wrote to Congress on Sunday offering what he called the “principal conclusions” of the report — including

Oliver North showed Republicans the way out

Jamelle Bouie writes: Watergate, the modern template for an impeachment-worthy scandal, has informed much of the coverage of the Russia scandal, from congressional inquiries to the special counsel’s investigation into President Trump and his campaign. Central questions — Did the president conspire to illegally influence the election? Did he obstruct justice? — have clear antecedents in Watergate. And Trump himself bears more than a slight resemblance to Richard Nixon at

How Donald Trump inflated his net worth to lenders and investors

The Washington Post reports: When Donald Trump wanted to make a good impression — on a lender, a business partner, or a journalist — he sometimes sent them official-looking documents called “Statements of Financial Condition.” These documents sometimes ran up to 20 pages. They were full of numbers, laying out Trump’s properties, debts and multibillion-dollar net worth. But, for someone trying to get a true picture of Trump’s net worth,

Brexit has exposed a broken political system

Gary Younge writes: Yesterday’s events in parliament illustrated four things about our politics and the Brexit process that are now unavoidable. The first, and most evident, is that the Conservative party is not fit to govern. Let us leave aside for a moment its mendacious policies that pauperise the vulnerable and deport the eligible. Morally its agenda is contemptible; and from Windrush to trains to universal credit its incompetence is