Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward







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Recent Posts

Prepare for disappointment with Mueller report

Politico reports: President Donald Trump’s critics have spent the past 17 months anticipating what some expect will be among the most thrilling events of their lives: special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report on Russian 2016 election interference. They may be in for a disappointment. That’s the word POLITICO got from defense lawyers working on the Russia probe and more than 15 former government officials with investigation experience spanning Watergate to

Inciting violence: Following murder of journalist, Trump praises physical assaults on reporters

The New York Times reports: President Trump praised a Republican candidate’s assault last year on a reporter and fumed over his Democratic opponents here on Thursday night in a freewheeling rally meant to mobilize his base’s support in the coming midterm elections. In urging the crowd to vote for Representative Greg Gianforte, who is running for re-election and who was sentenced to anger management classes and community service for assaulting

Trump’s failure to fight climate change is a crime against humanity

Jeffrey Sachs writes: President Donald Trump, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, and others who oppose action to address human-induced climate change should be held accountable for climate crimes against humanity. They are the authors and agents of systematic policies that deny basic human rights to their own citizens and people around the world, including the rights to life, health, and property. These politicians have blood on their

Jamal Khashoggi: What the Arab world needs most is free expression

In the last column that Jamal Khashoggi submitted to the Washington Post, he wrote: I was recently online looking at the 2018 “Freedom in the World” report published by Freedom House and came to a grave realization. There is only one country in the Arab world that has been classified as “free.” That nation is Tunisia. Jordan, Morocco and Kuwait come second, with a classification of “partly free.” The rest

Why King Salman must replace M.B.S.

Madawi al-Rasheed writes: Thanks to the actions of the impetuous Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — from the brutal war in Yemen to picking a fight with Canada to, most recently, the apparent murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi — Saudi Arabia is at risk of becoming a pariah state. The royal court in Riyadh — including King Salman bin Abdulaziz — surely realizes that this situation cannot continue. If

The Khashoggi killing: America’s part in a Saudi horror

Hugh Eakin writes: In the spring of 2012, I made an extended visit to Saudi Arabia to report on the effects of the Arab Spring there. The arch-conservative oil monarchy was pursuing a robust counter-revolution, but the uprisings had brought new energy to reformers across the region. I was curious to see how Saudis themselves saw their country’s future. Among the many people I spoke with was Jamal Khashoggi, at

U.S. military leaders keep quiet on Saudi Arabia amid Khashoggi outrage

Kevin Baron writes: The world may be just waking up to the autocratic ways of the Saudi Arabian royal family, but the Pentagon certainly is not. Pentagon leaders’ silence this week on the reported murder of a U.S.-based journalist by Saudi officials could be taken as customary and proper deference to the formal poles of American foreign policy: the White House and the State Department. But the Pentagon has long

The Khashoggi Affair: Back to the future

Nabeel Khoury writes: From the abuses of the male guardianship in Saudi Arabia to arrest and torture of dissenters in Egypt and the jailing of environmentalists and journalists in Iran, the Middle East is rife with human rights abuses. Nor is this something new. Authoritarian regimes in the Arab world, both monarchical and republican, since their independence from colonial powers have routinely used repressive measures to keep their opposition at

Indigenous people invented the so-called ‘American Dream’

By Lewis Borck, Leiden University and D. Shane Miller, Mississippi State University When President Barack Obama created Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, the 2012 program that offered undocumented young people brought to the U.S. as children a path into society, for a moment the ideals of the American Dream seemed, at least for this group, real. We call these kids, many of whom are now adults, “Dreamers,” because they are

No American who values a free press should forget Khashoggi’s murder

Dexter Filkins writes: It seems nearly certain now that Jamal Khashoggi, the Saudi journalist, died a slow and agonizing death, the kind that none of us could dare imagine for ourselves. It seems equally clear that Khashoggi, a Virginia resident and a columnist for the Washington Post, was murdered, probably on orders of the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman. The latest evidence pointing to M.B.S.’s direct involvement is the

Trump’s war against the press enabled Jamal Khashoggi’s murder

Douglas Bloomfield writes: Donald Trump has Jamal Khashoggi’s blood on his hands. It’s not just his initial indifference to the US-based Saudi journalist’s disappearance in Istanbul, nor the president’s indifference toward human rights abuses, not his obsequiousness toward the Saudis, nor a transactional approach to foreign policy that puts the “deal” ahead of any principle. And it’s not just because the Saudi king “vehemently” denied any role in the reporter’s

In Riyadh, Pompeo’s grin contrasts with image as tough-talking diplomat

Still can’t believe this picture is *after* he ordered a journalist be chopped up. — Arash Karami (@thekarami) October 16, 2018 The New York Times reports: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has cast himself as a tough, straight-talking former Army tank commander with the moral clarity necessary to confront the world’s bad guys. But on his quick trip to Saudi Arabia, where he sat smiling with royal leaders suspected

Pat Robertson cares more about money than murder

Vox reports: A major evangelical leader has spoken in defense of US-Saudi relations after the apparent killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in a Saudi consulate, saying that America has more important things — like arms deals — to focus on. Pat Robertson, founder of the Christian Broadcasting Network, appeared on its flagship television show The 700 Club on Monday to caution Americans against allowing the United States’ relationship with Saudi

Big Fail: The internet hasn’t helped democracy

New research shows that more and more of our public conversation is unfolding within a dwindling coterie of sites that are controlled by a small few, largely unregulated and geared primarily to profit rather than public interest. Unsplash By Robert Diab, Thompson Rivers University Hardly a week goes by without news of another data breach at a large corporation affecting millions, most recently Facebook. In 2016, the issue became political

Humanity is ‘cutting down the tree of life’, warn scientists

The Guardian reports: Humanity’s ongoing annihilation of wildlife is cutting down the tree of life, including the branch we are sitting on, according to a stark new analysis. More than 300 different mammal species have been eradicated by human activities. The new research calculates the total unique evolutionary history that has been lost as a result at a startling 2.5bn years. Furthermore, even if the destruction of wild areas, poaching

Mounting evidence implicates Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in murder of Jamal Khashoggi

The New York Times reports: One of the suspects identified by Turkey in the disappearance of the Saudi dissident Jamal Khashoggi was a frequent companion of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman — seen disembarking from airplanes with him in Paris and Madrid and photographed standing guard during his visits this year to Houston, Boston and the United Nations. Three others are linked by witnesses and other records to the Saudi