Bolton’s Bombshell | Borderline War | Snacks are Back
June 18, 2020
“In pushing other species to extinction, humanity is busy sawing off the limb on which it perches.” ― Paul Ehrlich
“One of the many unintended consequences of the Anthropocene has been the pruning of our own family tree. Having cut down our sister species—the Neanderthals and the Denisovans—many generations ago, we’re now working on our first and second cousins. By the time we’re done, it’s quite possible that there will be among the great apes not a single representative left, except, that is, for us.” ― Elizabeth Kolbert
Bolton’s Bombshell Book: Is Trump The Muscovian and Manchurian Candidate
(Alex Wong via Getty Images)
Almost a week before its publishing date next Tuesday, John Bolton’s tell-all book about his 18-month stint in the White House has found its way into the hands of the press. In it, the former national security adviser to the Trump administration revealed a slew of the executive branch’s dirty little secrets.
In Bolton’s book, “The Room Where It Happened,” he alleges that Trump asked Xi for China to increase its imports of American agricultural products, thereby strengthening Trump’s support among his rural base which would greatly increase Trump’s chances of reelection in 2020. Bolton also revealed that Trump used key criminal investigations as leverage, halting investigations into dictators he liked while using them as a bargaining chip in other contexts. He also supported President Xi Jinping on his construction of concentration camps for Uighurs — according to Bolton, Trump “said that Xi should go ahead with building the camps, which he thought was exactly the right thing to do.”
Other major bombshells of Trump’s incompetence to outright dereliction of duty include: not knowing that Britain is a nuclear power, asking if Finland was a part of Russia, and stating that invading Venezuela would be “cool”. Speaking on journalists, Trump stated, “These people should be executed. They are scumbags.”
Unsurprisingly, the president also had little time for intelligence briefings or fine policy deals. Bolton stated that briefings were largely spent “spent listening to Trump, rather than Trump listening to the briefers,” and described the executive’s thinking on policy as “an archipelago of dots.”
Despite his book bringing to light many ugly details of the Trump administration, Bolton has come under heavy fire from Trump critics. He refused to testify at House impeachment hearings last fall, instead choosing to wait for a judge’s decision on whether or not White House officials could participate in the hearings over the objections of the White House. He also criticized impeachment attempts as short-sighted and sloppy, saying Democrats should have looked into more widespread examples of Trump’s abuse of power for personal gain.
The book has garnered quite the buzz recently, scoring Bolton a $2 million book deal and becoming the #1 bestselling book on Amazon a week before its public release.
- John Bolton book claims Trump asked China’s Xi Jinping for reelection help (Vox)
- John Bolton delivers a scathing indictment of Trump — and of himself (WaPo, $)
- Trump scrambles to suppress inconvenient information with Bolton book and coronavirus (CNN)
- Trump is trying to block publication of John Bolton’s book. What’s he scared of? (Guardian)
- We know some of Bolton’s allegations must be true because immediately the Trump administration does this after being exposed by the contents in the book about Trump being fine with the Uighur concentration camps: Trump signs bill pressuring China over Uighur Muslim crackdown
- China says it will ‘resolutely hit back’ at US over sanctions law on Uighur abuses
- Looks like Trump’s niece is jumping on the book train with her own tell-all account coming late July: Is the Trump family destroying Donald’s presidency from the inside? (Guardian) & “She Feels Very Determined”: How Mary Trump’s Coming Bombshell Was Built (Vanity Fair)
- John Bolton, Mary Trump and the Revenge of the Trump Tattletales (NYT, $)
- Biden opens 13-point advantage as Trump popularity drops to seven-month low (Reuters)
Borderline War Between China and India
- Conflicting versions have emerged of Monday night’s violent confrontation between Chinese and Indian soldiers on the jagged, narrow ridgelines of the western Himalayas, high above the fast-flowing Galwan River. The mountainous border between the two nations is disputed territory.
- India’s government says it believed China’s People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had retreated from the area pursuant to terms of a June 6 disengagement agreement. But when a patrol of Indian soldiers encountered Chinese troops in a steep section of the region, hours-long hand-to-hand combat — with iron bars, rocks and fists — broke out.
- Neither side carried guns. Most of the soldiers killed lost their footing or were knocked from the narrow Himalayan ridge, plunging to their deaths. India lost at least 20 soldiers, including a commanding officer who was pushed off the ridge. The government accused the Chinese troops of violating the disengagement agreement and carrying out a “premeditated and planned action” against Indian troops. Prime Minister Narendra Modi assured the nation the soldiers’ deaths “will not be in vain.”
- Meanwhile Chinese foreign minister, Wang Yi, claimed Delhi was solely responsible for the conflict, saying Indian forces had illegally crossed over into the Chinese side of the LAC on three occasions, and demanding India punish its forces accordingly. (Guardian)
- On China-India Border, Xi and Modi Have Little Room to Give (NYT, $)
Assad State of Affairs
- On Wednesday, the US government imposed a fresh round of sanctions on Syria and its president Bashar al-Assad. The latest Executive Order signed by President Trump is an attempt to choke off revenue for Assad’s government, force it back to UN-led negotiations, and broker an end to the country’s nearly 10-year war.
- Assad is grappling with a deepening economic crisis and a rare outbreak of protests in government-held areas. The new travel restrictions and financial sanctions affect Assad’s inner circle, including his wife Asma, whom Secretary of State Mike Pompeo described as “one of Syria’s most notorious war profiteers.” Also targeted are Assad’s brother, sister, a few senior generals, and Iranian militia.
- These sanctions are said to be just the first taste of a deeper and broader pressure campaign against Assad. “We anticipate many more sanctions and we will not stop until Assad and his regime stop their needless, brutal war against the Syrian people and the Syrian government agrees to a political solution to the conflict,” Pompeo vowed. (Reuters)
Additional World News
- North Korea Vows To Send Troops Into Border Cooperation Zones (NPR)
- Even if Europe wanted to break away from China post-Covid, it couldn’t (CNN)
- China Is Collecting DNA From Tens of Millions of Men and Boys, Using U.S. Gear (NYT, $)
- America Risks Overestimating China’s Power (Atlantic, $)
- A Dead Informant, an Untrustworthy Ally: How a U.S. Operation to Snare Rwandan Genocide Fugitive Félicien Kabuga Went Awry (Vanity Fair)
- ‘All lies’: how the US military covered up gunning down two journalists in Iraq (Guardian)
- U.N. Removes Saudi-led Coalition From Child-Killer Blacklist (NYT, $)
- Cows Help With COVID-19 Treatment, No Bull (NPR)
- “Fast-Tracking” a Coronavirus Vaccine Sounds Great. It’s Not That Simple. (ProPublica)
- ‘People fear what they don’t know’: the battle over ‘wet’ markets, a vital part of culinary culture (Guardian)
- As Coronavirus Returns to Beijing, Schools Shut and Flights Are Halted (NYT, $)
- Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernández Tests Positive For Coronavirus (NPR)
- We Can Protect the Economy From Pandemics. Why Didn’t We? (Wired, $)
- Pence Misleadingly Blames Coronavirus Spikes on Rise in Testing (NYT, $)
- Flushing the Toilet May Fling Coronavirus Aerosols All Over (NYT, $)
Going Viral Is No Longer Cool
- A group of Tulsa attorneys filed a lawsuit Tuesday on behalf of two downtown nonprofits and two immuno-compromised individuals to force the use of coronavirus safety measures at President Trump’s campaign rally this Saturday.
- The plaintiffs argued that filling a 19,000-seat indoor arena with screaming fans of the president during a surge in new COVID-19 cases — and not requiring them to wear masks — has the makings of a super-spreader event that “will endanger not only the health of the guests in attendance … but the entire Tulsa community and any community to which guests may afterward travel.”
- The argument fell on deaf ears; after an expedited hearing the judge denied their requests for a temporary injunction. That same day, the Oklahoma State Department of Health reported 228 new cases of COVID-19 across the state, the most in a single day so far, bringing the total number of coronavirus cases to 8,645.
- On Wednesday Tulsa officials announced 96 new cases of the virus, the largest single-day increase in Tulsa since March. Trump campaign manager Brad Parscale tweeted that he had received 800,000 ticket requests to the rally, calling it the “hottest ticket ever!” Truer words have never been spoken — Saturday’s temperature is expected to be in the 90s. (NPR, NYT)
Tragedy Strikes Again in Atlanta
(Jon Raedle via Getty Images)
- Fulton County District Attorney Paul Howard announced Wednesday that Officer Garrett Rolfe, the Atlanta Police officer who shot and killed Rayshard Brooks at a Wendy’s parking lot last week, is being charged with 11 criminal counts, including felony murder.
- Rolfe fired three shots at the fleeing Brooks, hitting him twice in the back. Officer Devin Brosnan, also on scene, faces three charges. The DA said after shooting Brooks, Rolfe said “I got him” and kicked him; Brosnan then stood on Brooks’ shoulder. The officers didn’t provide medical aid to Brooks for more than two minutes after he was shot. Howard said the officers’ demeanor after the shooting “did not reflect any fear or danger of Mr. Brooks, but reflected other kinds of emotions.”
- Rolfe has been fired and Brosnan placed on administrative duty. Brosnan agreed to be a state’s witness against Rolfe, who could face the death penalty if convicted of the most serious charge.
- In August 2015, Rolfe and two other officers opened fire on another black man, Jackie Jermaine Harris, who they chased after he was caught driving a stolen truck. Harris rammed a police vehicle and officers shot at him several times inside the truck, striking him once and collapsing his lung. Harris was sent to the hospital and ultimately survived. In their report of the incident, the officers said they sent Harris to the hospital with collapsed lungs, but never mentioned they had shot the man. (CNN, Guardian)
Additional US News
- Stimulus check, the Paycheck Protection Program, and “reopening” can’t rescue the economy (Vox)
- Plan to release genetically modified mosquitoes in Florida gets go-ahead (Guardian)
- Justice Department asks Congress for a sharp cut to websites’ legal protections (Verge)
- Bannon Ally in Charge of U.S. Media Agency Dismisses Heads of News Organizations (NYT, $)
- Trump has a point about the polls (Politico)
- Pandemic Delays U.S. Citizenship for Thousands of Potential New Voters (NYT, $)
- Prosecutor in Roger Stone Case Will Testify About Barr’s Intervention (NYT, $)
- It Didn’t Have to Be Like This (Atlantic, $)
- University of California votes to restore affirmative action nearly 24 years after it was outlawed (CNN)
- Why Rich College Students Are Getting More Financial Aid Than Poor Ones (NYT, $)
Black Lives Matter
- Medical Schools Taken To Task Over Racism, Hazing And Other Abuse (NPR)
- Bethel, Ohio, Black Lives Matter event met with motorcycle gangs and armed counterprotesters (WaPo, $)
- George Floyd protests: Brother makes impassioned plea to UN (BBC)
- Trying to Parent My Black Teenagers Through Protest and Pandemic (NYT, $)
- Black Lives Matter: From Ferguson to Now (Rolling Stone)
- Systemic racism, explained in 9 charts (Vox)
- Race and Policing in America: An Atlantic Reader (Atlantic, $)
- BIPOC: What Does It Mean? (NYT, $)
The Snacks are Smiling Back
- Has the quarantine lifestyle reverted you back to your guilty pleasures? The makers of Oreo cookies seem to think so.
- In a recent earnings call, the CEO of Mondelez International (the food giant behind Ritz, Chips Ahoy!, and Oreo) reported a quarterly sales increase of nearly 30%. This astonishing advancement reveals that cheap snack distributors are one of the few industries escaping the perils of a stagnant quarantine economy.
- Once an industry considered to be on the out-and-out due to pre-COVID health trends, the collective return to the kitchen has given packaged snack producers a newfound hope for the future.
- Analysts cite the pandemic as the perfect storm for big grocery store vendors, combining a wave of panic-purchases that defined the early days of quarantine with a replenished desire for familiar comfort foods as the isolation lags on.
- For Oreo, this resurgence in popularity erases years of lost faith in Big Food, especially amongst millennials. Beginning in 2014, young people reported a mounting distrust in processed food. As healthier options became both trendier and more available, companies like Mondelez were scrambling to find their way back into your pantry.
- Alas, the cookie-makers are now back and better than ever. While other industries watch their sales dip into oblivion, Mondelez is merely sitting back, watching consumers dip Oreos into a glass of milk. (NYT, $)
RECOMMENDED FOR YOU