No Avoiding Pass Gas
November 1, 2019
“It is better to be alone than in bad company.”
“Guard against the impostures of pretended patriotism.”
– George Washington
Trump’s Worst Halloween: When Congress Exposes His Tricks
First it was the special counsel investigation that President Trump denounced as the greatest witch hunt ever. Now the president is demonizing the impeachment inquiry as being the greatest witch hunt in the history of witch hunts. That said, it’s ironic that the House passed its first resolution related to the impeachment inquiry — on Halloween.
The resolution passed by a 232 to 196 vote, almost entirely along party lines. It formalizes a set of procedures that will govern the next phase of the ongoing inquiry into whether sufficient grounds exist for the impeachment of the president. Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, will take the lead in this phase — moving from closed door depositions to public hearings — and will eventually write a report. The report will go to the House Judiciary Committee, which would draft any potential articles of impeachment.
Neither House rules nor the Constitution requires a vote like the one taken Thursday to begin an impeachment inquiry. But Republicans have complained about the investigative “process” for weeks claiming, among other things, the lack of a full House vote made the process a “sham.” And despite Trump and his defenders alleging that Democrats wanted to impeach him from the get-go, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was reluctant to open an inquiry, that is, until the explosive news about Trump’s pressure campaign on Ukraine came to light. Nevertheless, after the vote Republican leadership slammed what they said was a “Soviet-style process,” and Trump tweeted: “The Greatest Witch Hunt In American History!”
- The White House’s top Ukraine official confirms there was a quid pro quo: Tim Morrison tried not to make the president look bad. He failed.
- Donald Trump changes primary residence from New York to Mar-a-Lago: Donald and Melania Trump have filed for residency in Palm Beach, according to documents obtained by the New York Times
- Trump’s joke about Melania is just one of their many awkward moments: Trump is said to have joked about the state of his marriage – the latest chapter in the strange spectacle of their relationship
- As Impeachment Inquiry Moves Into Open Phase, Here’s What To Expect Next
- “He’s made the Faustian bargain”: Mike Pompeo floats Ukraine conspiracy theories as he loses a grip on state: The House impeachment inquiry has gutted the secretary of state’s standing among diplomats, hobbled his potential Senate campaign, and even his presidential ambitions, leaving him trapped in the Trump bunker.
- Ivanka Trump thinks democracy is for losers: The first daughter made her feelings re: impeachment known on Thursday.
Europe Asks Russia to Pass Gas
- Denmark has granted approval for a pair of natural gas pipelines wholly owned by Russia to pass through waters in its exclusive economic zone on their way directly to Germany. The project, Nord Stream 2, bypasses Ukraine and Poland and is opposed by those countries and the US.
- Nord Stream 2 will join another pair of pipelines, Nord Stream 1, doubling the transport capacity to 110 billion cubic meters. The pipelines are geopolitically sensitive not only because they increase German and European dependence on Russian natural gas, but because the economies of Ukraine and Poland will lose transport fees.
- Some critics believe Russia is particularly focused on harming Ukraine’s economy, especially after the 2014 annexation of Crimea and the continuing warfare in eastern Ukraine. (NYT)
Kashmir Faces King Solomon
- Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has revoked the constitutional autonomy of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. As of midnight Wednesday, Kashmir is split into two territories under India’s control: Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh.
- The state’s constitution, as well as its penal code and state flag, was nullified, and the region is now subject to the same central laws as all other Indian territories. Jammu and Kashmir will have its own state legislature, while Ladakh will be controlled from the capital.
- A former judge and Indian parliamentarian from south Kashmir said Delhi’s decision to revoke the status was unilateral and a “massive assault on the identity and autonomy” of the state. “We were an independent country 70 years ago, we have a history of 5,000 years and suddenly we have been reduced to a municipality,” he said bitterly. (Guardian)
They Were Some Pigs
- The severity of the African swine flu (ASF) crisis is expected to wipe out a quarter of the world’s pig population and cause global pork prices to rise. The epidemic has hit hardest in China, home to the world’s largest pig population. The disease is also established in Vietnam, South Korea and eastern Europe.
- The vice-president of the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) told a press conference this week that ASF was “the biggest threat to any commercial livestock of our generation.” Finding a vaccine for the disease is a “complex challenge.”
- ASF can be transmitted through direct contact with infected animals and by ticks; the virus can also survive several months in processed meat, and several years in frozen carcasses. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- Islamic State group names its new leader as Abu Ibrahim al-Hashemi
- Kurds call on US to block Turkish military drones from Syrian air space: Unmanned weapons ‘targeting anything they wish to’; Kurds say Turks have killed 509 civilians and 412 troops
- How Does the Human Soul Survive Atrocity? After the horror of ISIS captivity, tens of thousands of Iraqis — many of them children — are caught up in a mental-health crisis unlike any in the world.
- Exclusive: U.S. withholding $105 million in security aid for Lebanon – sources
- Thai king creates boot camp-style ‘unity’ courses
A Painting A Day, Keeps The Doctor Close By
- Kingston, New York is 91 miles north of New York City. It’s a diverse, bustling town of 23,000, full of artists, musicians, shop owners, gallerists, and restaurateurs — people with similar creative interests and pursuits in a place, back in the day, with little economic opportunity otherwise. And because there was also a lack of access to healthcare, these creative people, along with the doctors and dentists among them who valued what the community was about, came up with a way to draw on the age-old system of barter: trading the art of medicine for the medicine of art.
- In the fall of 2010 Kingston launched its first week-long festival of street art, live music and healthcare-related events. They called it 0+, like the blood type. The general public attended by donation, and licensed health professionals volunteered to staff an on-site pop-up clinic.
- Today what began as a festival helping artists trade work for healthcare has evolved into an inclusive, self-sufficient, local ecosystem with its own regional micro-currency, and serves as a model for how to survive should capitalism collapse. (Guardian)
Toxic Water, Toxic Outcome
- Martin County is a rural, mountainous community on Kentucky’s border with West Virginia. For decades the area’s been known for its notoriously dirty water supply. Residents received monthly advisories that some people exposed to the chemicals in their water “may experience problems with their liver, kidneys, or central nervous system, and may have an increased risk of getting cancer.”
- And that was before 2000, when a massive coal slurry impoundment broke, sending millions of gallons of toxic sludge oozing into the county’s water source, leaching into groundwater and seeping into residents’ wells. Martin County residents really couldn’t afford to drink the water.
- So local officials vowed to fix the problems, and they say the water is now safe to drink, most of the time. But fixing the problems cost a lot of money, costs that were passed on to the customers. Now there’s another crisis: water bills have gotten so high many residents simply can’t afford them. (NPR)
Additional USA News
- Katie Hill says ‘double standard’ forced her out in powerful speech to Congress: Congresswoman called out the hypocrisy of having a president accused of sex crimes while she stepped down after being a victim of one
- Indiana woman found dead with 8ft python wrapped around her neck: Laura Hurst was found Wednesday evening in a house owned by a local sheriff that contained 140 snakes
- Obama Says Democrats Don’t Always Need To Be ‘Politically Woke’
Give Me a Diet or Give Me Death!
- In a new study published Wednesday in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, doctors report some encouraging results. The study followed two groups of people: one made up of healthy individuals showing no signs of cognitive decline, and one with people already showing slight cognitive decline.
- Study patients received a number of personalized dietary recommendations and tailored exercise plans that were based on a battery of blood, genetic and cognitive tests, and measurements of their body fat and muscle mass. Researchers monitored cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar levels because they are linked to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Patients’ body fat and muscle mass were tracked because studies show the memory center of the brain — the hippocampus — gets smaller as belly size gets larger. Exercises were assigned based on patients’ body metrics; also included were recommendations of ways to reduce stress.
- After 18 months, people in the healthy group who made changes in nutrition and exercise showed cognitive improvements on average. And people who were already experiencing some memory problems also showed cognitive improvement, provided they followed at least 60 percent of the recommended changes. (WSJ)
- Additional read: How Deep Sleep May Help The Brain Clear Alzheimer’s Toxins
- Additional video: Three steps to live to 100: The Nicoya peninsula in Costa Rica is a region with an unusually high number of centenarians – people aged 100 or older. When asked about the secrets to their long, healthy lives they often mention three key points.
You Are (Severely Impacted By) What You Eat
- Diane Henry, 54, suffers from congestive heart failure. She signed up to be part of a three year pilot study run by Medi-Cal, California’s version of Medicaid, that aims to tailor nutrition to improve the health and lower the medical costs for chronically ill patients.
- Henry is one of about 1,000 other patients who receive specially formulated meals and in-home visits from a nutritionist to teach them how to stay healthier by maintaining a proper diet.
- In addition to health maintenance, another body of research shows that medically tailored meals can go a long way toward reversing a downward health spiral, also resulting in fewer hospital admissions and less overall medical spending. (NYT)
- ‘OK Boomer’ has earned me $25,000, says student
- Best Streaming Service: Disney, HBO Max, and Apple Want Your Money—But Should You Sign Up?
- My Time Inside a Group Where Men Confront Their Feelings
- School principal fired for saying ‘I can’t say the Holocaust is a factual event’: William Latson fired for misconduct after writing he was ‘not in a position … as a district employee’ to say the Holocaust happened
“There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.” – George Washington
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