Here in Mark Zuckerberg’s Emo Diaries
February 17, 2020
“One ought to hold on to one’s heart; for if one lets it go, one soon loses control of the head too.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
“The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched. They must be felt with the heart” – Helen Keller
Modi’s Favorite Game: Political Limbo
Six months ago Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government seized control of the state of Jammu and Kashmir, India’s only Muslim-majority state, which also includes territory claimed by Pakistan. Troops were sent in, phone and internet services shut down, and hundreds of people were detained. The heads of both leading moderate political parties remain in government custody, without official charges.
Modi said he plans to hold local elections intended to bring in new political leaders, ones who aren’t focused on independence and accept that the region has lost its degree of autonomy. “The old mainstream has been choked off,” said a Peoples Democratic Party leader who wasn’t detained. “Kashmir is in a political freeze.”
Phone service has been restored in phases. India’s top court ruled in January that the internet suspension was unconstitutional. Limited internet access is now allowed, but only at 2G speeds, which makes web browsing nearly impossible in a region accustomed to 3G or faster. Shops in Jammu and Kashmir which sell essential items are only open for a few hours a day and tourism, a mainstay of the region, has dwindled to a trickle.
Hundreds of activists, businessmen, and lawyers are currently held in detention. Two top political leaders, Mehbooba Mufti of the Peoples Democratic Party and Omar Abdullah of the National Conference, had campaigned for more independence for the state, and are now being detained under a law that allows for detention without trial for up to two years. A government statement reported that they would not be released anytime soon.
71,000, if by Land, and 1, if by Sea
- The cruise ship MS Westerdam had been at sea for two weeks after leaving Hong Kong on February 1. Despite there being no confirmed cases of coronavirus onboard, five countries refused to let the ship dock, stranding the ship at sea until Cambodia received the ship, and hundreds of passengers disembarked last Friday.
- An 83-year-old American woman who flew to Malaysia with another 144 cruise ship passengers was tested again Sunday and found to be positive for the COVID-19 disease, prompting spread of fear in the region.
- Malaysia’s Health Ministry Director General, Noor Hisham Abdullah, said he believed further precautions should have been taken when passengers disembarked. “Only 20 passengers had their tests done… The fact one case is positive, [means] all other passengers [have] exposure.” (Guardian)
- Coronavirus: A Cameroon student on how he recovered (BBC)
- Coronavirus Infection Found After Cruise Ship Passengers Disperse (NYT, $)
- PHOTOS: Life Goes On In The Epicenter Of The Coronavirus Outbreak : Goats and Soda (NPR)
- We are giving everyone the side eye regardless of race when they sneeze: ‘Are You Sick?’ For Asian-Americans, a Sneeze Brings Suspicion (NYT, $)
Dennis the Menace’s European Tour
- An intense winter storm has gripped the North Atlantic, bringing chaos to parts of England, Wales and Scotland for the second weekend in a row. Reports showed that rainfall in one day equaled half a month’s worth, flooding streets, submerging rail tracks, and causing flight cancellations.
- The storm, named “Dennis,” unleashed wind gusts of 91 mph, classifying it a “weather bomb” by the national weather service. The term is applied when a storm’s air pressure drops by a certain measure in 24 hours, causing huge turbulence and high wind speeds. At least three people died during this weekend’s storm, which slammed areas still recovering from last weekend’s extreme weather in which at least five people died. That storm, called Ciara or Sabine, tore through Belgium, Britain, France, Germany and Poland with winds of more than 90 mph. (NYT)
Additional World News
- Japan’s economy shrinks at fastest rate since 2014 (BBC)
- Pakistanis In The Highlands Are Fed Up With Pakistani Visitors (NPR)
- Drug Shortage in Mexico Piles Woes on Cancer-Stricken Children (WSJ, $)
- Questions outnumber answers for generations of refugees as Afghan peace deal nears (Reuters)
Highly Secretive Iranian Rebels Are Holed Up in Albania. They Gave Us a Tour. (NYT, $)
No Longer a Sanctuary
- The Trump administration has secretly deployed agents from a special tactical team, known as the US Border Patrol Tactical Unit (BORTAC), that normally confronts smugglers on the southern border to sanctuary cities across the country.
- BORTAC agents have enhanced Special Forces-type training, including sniper certification, and are armed with additional gear like stun grenades. They typically conduct high-risk operations in the most rugged areas of the border, targeting individuals who often have extensive criminal records and are known to be violent.
- The specially trained officers are being sent to cities like New York and Chicago to help support interior Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officers in run-of-the-mill immigration arrests. Additional agents are being sent to San Francisco, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Houston, Boston, New Orleans, Detroit and Newark, NJ.
- The move is an escalation of President Trump’s battle against localities that refuse to participate in his brand of immigration enforcement: handing over to federal authorities those immigrants the administration has targeted for deportation. The former commissioner of Customs and Border Patrol, which oversees tactical units along the border, said sending the officers to conduct immigration enforcement within cities where they aren’t trained to work could escalate situations that are already volatile. He called the move a “significant mistake.” (NYT)
‘Will they take my kids away?’: the immigrants refusing food aid amid Trump crackdown (Guardian)
Barring All Further Investigations
- President Trump set out to discredit the irrefutable conclusion that Russia interfered in the 2016 election to help him win, and prove instead it was a deep-state cabal conspiring against him to delegitimize his presidency. And now, Trump has the head of the Justice Department to do his bidding. An investigation is currently underway that appears to be hunting for a basis to accuse Obama-era intelligence officials of hiding evidence or manipulating analysis about Moscow’s cover operation.
- Attorney General William Barr assigned federal prosecutor John Durham to scrutinize the early actions of law enforcement and intelligence officials who struggled to understand the scope of Moscow’s covert scheme. Durham appears to be pursuing a theory that the CIA, under its former director John Brennan, had a preconceived notion about Russia — or was trying to get to a particular result — and was nefariously trying to keep other agencies from seeing the full picture lest they interfere with that goal.
- Officials from the FBI and the National Security Agency have told Durham and his investigators that such an interpretation is wrong and based on a misunderstanding of how the intelligence community functions. National security officials are typically cautious about sharing their most delicate information even with other agencies inside the executive branch.
- On Thursday Brennan said, “It clearly, I think, is another indication that Donald Trump is using the Department of Justice to go after his enemies any way he can.” A former CIA official said the whole inquiry was abnormal, as there isn’t precedent for a criminal prosecutor to review the analytical judgment-making process of intelligence agencies. (NYT)
- William Barr must quit over Trump-Stone scandal – former justice officials (Guardian)
- He Combs the Web for Russian Bots. That Makes Him a Target. (NYT, $)
- Trump Claims ‘Legal Right’ to Interfere in Justice Dept. Cases (NYT, $)
Additional USA News
- The U.S. Military Is Not Ready for a Constitutional Crisis (Atlantic, $)
- Why the Fastest Growing Population in America Is The Least Likely to Fill Out the Census (NYT, $)
- “Disgruntled” former Waymo self-driving car operator arrested for causing car crash (The Verge) & Tesla owner says remotely disabled Autopilot features have been restored (The Verge)
- One Small Town Rebounds After An HIV Outbreak, Yet Rural HIV Risk Remains High : Shots – Health News (NPR)
- Amid Climate And Housing Crises, Cities Struggle To Place Housing Near Transit (NPR)
The Age of Trump
- Trump quotes Emerson: ‘When you strike at the king, you must kill him’ (Guardian)
- Trump Just Comes Out and Admits to Entire Ukraine Scam (Vanity Fair)
- Dark Towers review: Deutsche Bank, Donald Trump and a must-read mystery (Guardian)
- After Attending a Trump Rally, I Realized Democrats Are Not Ready For 2020 (Gen)
The Age of Plutocrats and the 1%
- Inside Mike Bloomberg’s years-long battle against women’s allegations of profane, sexist comments (WaPo, $)
- A Republican Plutocrat Tries To Buy The Democratic Nomination (Current Affairs)
- Opinion | The Bloomberg Temptation (NYT, $)
LOOSE NUTS: FASCINATING NEWS
Additional Listens & Reads
- An interesting list: 100 Best Emo Songs of All Time (Vulture), we love music and movies and are a fan of emo songs and while there are some solid songs in this list it is missing many good ones and a quarter or more of the songs on the list are questionable.
- For example, the list above should have included The Ataris – In This Diary: Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s Lost Notebook (Wired, $) & Mark Zuckerberg: Facebook boss urges tighter regulation (BBC)
- Or how about The xx – Heart Skipped A Beat or Oasis – Talk Tonight (our favorite Oasis song): How do Tinder and other dating apps use my data (Vox)
- YouTube at 15: what happened to some of the platform’s biggest early stars? (Guardian) & A Thorn in YouTube’s Side Digs In Even Deeper (NYT, $)
- The Path to Success Is a Squiggly Line (Atlantic, $)
- Why ‘care’ and the ‘scare’ are inseparable when you love someone (Aeon)
- Lorde – The Louvre & Have Better Sex: Advice For Women And Their Partners From A New Sex Book : Shots – Health News (NPR)
The All-American Rejects – The Last Song
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