November 16, 2016
Trump Transitions To Politics While Venezuelan President Transitions To A DJ Career
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IN A NUTSHELL: MUST READ
Trump Transition Team Tripping Up?
With the euphoria of winning the election dying down, Trump’s transition team begins the arduous task of preparing a candidate that has never held public office for a smooth beginning for his Presidency. Well, that’s the plan on paper at least. After elevating Pence and sidelining Christie last Friday, the transition team seems to have run into a few snags. From delays in signing a standard Memorandum of Understanding with the Obama White House for the transition process, to not releasing a code of ethics, to not beginning the long vetting process for cabinet picks, things are not looking up for them 66 days before inauguration. Bloomberg reports that the purge of Christie was orchestrated by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. Chris Christie had prosecuted Kushner’s father as US attorney in 2004. Things seemed so chaotic not even Ben Carson wanted a job in the cabinet, citing his lack of experience. Somehow this didn’t preclude him from running for the Presidency. One thing that went right on Tuesday? House Republicans voted unanimously to keep Paul Ryan on as Speaker.
Since their bruising loss to Trump sparked some deep soul searching, Democrats decided to postpone their vote for House Minority Leader to after Thanksgiving. The post is currently filled by Nancy Pelosi, an establishment Democrat seen as having been close to Hillary Clinton, despite the fact that she didn’t endorse Clinton until after she had secured enough delegates. No one has thrown their name in the ring to challenge Pelosi which can either be read a a sign of some stability among Democrats or a sign of just how few potential leaders they had in waiting.
Russia Goes Back To ‘Bombing As Usual’ In Syria
After taking a few days off to enjoy the fall and watch the US elect a new President, Vladimir Putin and his Syrian ally President Bashar al-Assad are back to bombing the rebel-held districts in Eastern Aleppo as they try to win back the country’s second city. Just yesterday, Putin and Trump were exchanging pleasantries and talking about normalizing relations between the two countries. Many in Syria were hoping for a Hillary victory in the election, believing she would support them with increased aid and no-fly zones. Trump, and ardent Russophile who doesn’t support the rebels, some of whom are hardline Islamists, is more likely to let Putin have his way in the country. As if sensing that the cause is futile, Secretary of State John Kerry has packed up his hair and moved on to brokering a ceasefire in Yemen, where we hope he will have much more success.
NUTS AND BOLTS: SHOULD READ
Facebook And Google Finally Realize Fake News Is Bad News
It only took one Presidential election, one Brexit referendum, a highly polarized global climate and, most dangerously, a fake story about Denzel Washington for Google and Facebook to think “hmm, maybe all that fake news sloshing around the internet isn’t good for anyone.” Unless, of course, if you are Vladimir Putin. Both Google and Facebook are now taking steps to cut fake news sites out of their audience networks, which allows them to place ads on their sites and make some money on the side. Last month, Buzzfeed News traced hundreds of fake news sites to a village in the Balkans where the small dollar amounts from display advertising can be a small fortune for college students, while causing lasting damage in the US. It won’t be that easy though, as the line between “fake” and “real” news becomes blurred in an era where we can’t even agree on what a fact is. In related news, the word “post-truth” is now word of the year.
Egypt Decides It Is Bad Idea To Kill Former President
Egypt’s highest court ruled to overturn a death sentence for former president Mohamed Morsi of the Muslim Brotherhood on Tuesday. Death sentences for five other Brotherhood members were also overturned by the court, which ordered a retrial for all of them. The group was accused, among other things, of breaking out of prison, leaking national secrets to foreign actors and torturing protestors. Meanwhile, Egypt has undergone a series of economic reforms over the past few weeks to alleviate an economic crisis. The country recently floated its currency, resulting in a 50% drop in its price, and signed onto a $12 billion IMF aid deal meant to supply the country with much needed foreign reserves to jump start factories and commerce. The reforms include cutting subsidies for fuel and bread, which have been a drain on government coffers but are popular among Egypt’s poor.
Government Delay In North Dakota Buys Protestors Extra Time
The Sioux Native American community was feeling a little more “encouraged” this week after the US Departments of the Army and Interior announced they would delay ruling on the oil pipeline project in North Dakota. Thousands have come to North Dakota to protest alongside the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, who believe the proposed $3.7 billion Dakota Access project will pollute their water supplies and destroy sacred sites. Protestors were relieved to hear that the government promised to “consult further” with local communities, but the good news arrived not long after Morton County Sheriff’s Department arrested 26 protestors in nearby Cannon Ball. The United Nations also released a statement yesterday denouncing the “inhuman” treatment of Native American pipeline protesters and accusing security forces of using excessive force against demonstrators.
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KEEPING OUR EYE ON
Bribes: Russia’s Economy Minister Alexei Ulyukayev was charged with taking a $2 million bribe to help a state-owned oil company take over another oil company. Arrests of high ranking state officials for bribery are rare in Russia. In fact, Ulyukayev is the highest ranked person to be charged for corruption since the collapse of the USSR.
Snapchat: The disappearing messages company that gives you dog ears and lets you swap faces with your bff filed confidential plans for an IPO on Tuesday. The company hopes to raise $4 billion in its IPO at a valuation of at least $25 billion.
Pollution: Tehran became the latest developing country capital to close schools due to “thick smog.” The Iranian capital is reporting at least 400 deaths due to unprecedented levels of pollution.
LOOSE NUTS: FOR YOUR ENJOYMENT
Venezuelan President Takes A Break From Crisis To Become A Salsa DJ
Despite Venezuela’s food shortages, extreme violence, escalating humanitarian crisis, and political deadlock where a referendum to oust the president was suspended, President Nicolas Maduro still finds time to get down. That’s why he launched a midday radio show. Because really, who could hate a guy with such a great salsa playlist?
Turns out, many people can. Maduro’s critics think his radio program La Hora de la Salsa is in many ways, well, tone deaf. Shouldn’t he be helping the country combat its nationwide food shortages and lack of medical supplies? When Indeep sang “Last night a DJ saved my life” we’re pretty sure they didn’t mean it literally.
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