Different Story, Same Ending
February 15, 2021
The Good News
- A 13-year-old is helping seniors get vaccine appointments (WaPo, $)
- Undocumented restaurant workers got hit hard by the pandemic. This group is feeding them. (WaPo, $)
“Sometimes party loyalty asks too much” — JFK
“The judge is found guilty when a criminal is acquitted.” — Publilius Syrus
Different Story, Same Ending
(Drew Angerer via Getty Images)
Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial ended Saturday with a predictable outcome: acquittal. Seven Republicans joined the majority, making the vote 57 for conviction, 43 against. While it was satisfying that several GOP senators crossed over, it was still 10 shy of the 67 votes needed for conviction.
Evidence against the former president was undeniably clear: (1) Trump spent months grooming his followers to believe the lie that the election was fraudulent; (2) his inflammatory speech on January 6th incited the mob to attack the Capitol Building, and (3) he made no real or timely attempt to call off the rioters. Death and destruction could have been far worse had the fanatics found their targets, specifically House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Vice President Mike Pence.
Minutes after voting to acquit Trump, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell gave a lengthy speech in which he eviscerated Trump for “provoking” the mobs. Unlike most of his other colleagues, McConnell placed blame for the riots squarely on the former President. He reiterated many of the points made by Democratic House impeachment managers, and said the resulting chaos at the Capitol was a “foreseeable consequence of the growing crescendo of false statements, conspiracy theories, and reckless hyperbole.”
“There is no question – none – that President Trump is practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of the day, no question about it. The people who stormed this building believed they were acting on the wishes and instructions of their president,” McConnell said. Despite his denunciation, McConnell employed a stunning excuse in explaining his vote to acquit: the Senate trial was unconstitutional because the president was out of office. McConnell set up his false dichotomy by insisting the trial, to be constitutional, had to have occurred while Trump was still in office.
Yet it was McConnell himself who prevented that. In his capacity at the time as majority leader, he successfully staved off the trial until Joe Biden had been sworn in, thereby ensuring Trump would already be out of office. Pelosi lambasted McConnell’s remarks, saying the issue of timing “was not the reason that he voted the way he did; it was the excuse that he used.”
Some Republicans were quick to align themselves with Trump on Sunday’s talk shows. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) said the former president was “ready to move on and rebuild the Republican Party.” Graham also said Richard Burr’s (R-SC) vote to convict Trump made Lara Trump, Eric’s wife, “almost certain” to be nominated for the US Senate. Graham said Lara represents the future of the Republican Party, which should be “Trump-plus.” Of course, the possibility remains that Trump could run again in 2024. (NPR, Guardian)
To Traders Examining Post-Brexit Rules, Something Smells Fishy
(Tolga Akmen via Getty Images)
- During the 2016 Brexit campaign, proponents promised businesses that leaving Europe would mean liberation from suffocating regulations and infernal bureaucracy that supposedly prevailed across the Channel. It was all a lie. Post-Brexit, British companies that trade with the EU now deal with expensive disruptions to their businesses, and watch as their export profits plunge.
- The fishing industry is barely treading water. Heaps of rotting shellfish lie on the docks, as fishermen discover they cannot export their haul to the European Union. 53 tons of pork products sat decomposing in administrative purgatory at a port in the Netherlands.
- With Britain legally out of the EU, it’s a whole new ballgame, with a new set of rules and paralyzing paperwork for exporters to contend with. The trade deal Britain struck with the EU late last year stopped tariffs from being imposed on goods exchanged across the English Channel, but didn’t prevent the revival of customs procedures, health and safety checks, value-added taxes on imports, and other time-consuming, commerce-limiting hindrances.
- Unfamiliar bureaucratic hurdles, documenting snafus, customs horrors, and other nightmares are crushing an economy that was already reeling from the pandemic. Before Brexit, London was a global financial center rivaling New York. Exiting the EU meant multinational banks and asset managers lost the right to handle transactions for European clients. (Guardian; NYT, $)
The Myanmar Coup: A Fortnight Of Fallout
- Armored vehicles rolled into several cities in Myanmar Sunday night in the military’s heaviest show of force since it ousted the civilian government on February 1st. The internet was also cut, interfering with protesters’ ability to organize. Sunday was the ninth day of anti-coup demonstrations, and tens of thousands of protesters had taken to the streets of the country’s largest cities.
- Ambassadors in Myanmar from the EU, US, UK, and Canada put out a statement voicing their concerns about the shutdown and numerous arrests of activists, civil servants, and political leaders over the past week.
- “We support the people of Myanmar in their quest for democracy, freedom, peace and prosperity. The world is watching.” The US embassy urged its citizens to “shelter in place” after spotting armored vehicles on the streets of the capital city, Yangon. (Guardian)
Additional World News
- Life savers: the amazing story of the Oxford/AstraZeneca Covid vaccine (Guardian)
- Guinea enters ‘epidemic situation’ as seven Ebola cases confirmed (Guardian)
- Canadians to American Tourists: (Please) Stay Away! (NYT, $). Watch out for PM Trudeau’s next challenger to propose a southern border wall.
- Climate change is upending Lebanon’s booming business of boutique wineries (WaPo, $)
- A Life in Opposition: Navalny’s Path From Gadfly to Heroic Symbol (NYT, $)
- Russia Threatens To Cut Ties With EU If Sanctions Are Imposed Over Jailing Of Navalny (NPR). Will the EU put their money where their mouth is?
- Powerful Quake Hits Japan, Evoking a Worrisome Memory (NYT, $)
- China’s Emissions of Ozone-Harming Gas Are Declining, Studies Find (NYT, $)
- Hong Kong: alarm over proposed law that could ban anyone from leaving (Guardian)
- Covid Vaccines: New Diplomacy Tool for India and China (NYT, $)
- On W.H.O. Trip, China Refused to Hand Over Important Data (NYT, $)
- White House: China Must Release Data From The ‘Earliest Days Of The Outbreak’ (NPR)
- Opinion | How Germany Lost Control of the Coronavirus (NYT, $)
- Primary Care Doctors Are Left Out of the Vaccine Rollout (NYT, $). Everyone’s got vaccine FOMO.
- Countries With No Vaccines Struggle To Get Doses — And Worry About Efficacy (NPR)
- UK reaches 15m COVID jab milestone, eyes next vaccination phase (Al Jazeera)
- ‘We took a huge risk’: the Indian firm making more Covid jabs than anyone (Guardian). Customers disappointed to learn that the Serum Institute doesn’t stock truth serum.
- Fury at ‘do not resuscitate’ notices given to Covid patients with learning disabilities (Guardian)
- Mexico gets AstraZeneca COVID vaccine shipment from India (Al Jazeera)
- Biden Announces Deal For 200 Million More COVID-19 Vaccines (NPR)
- This acne oil treatment sold out three times at Sephora!
- Meet Meltdown – the acne spot treatment that is made from a powerful combo of all-natural ingredients to calm, hydrate and help prevent scarring. The key ingredient: Black Cumin Seed Oil. Its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging properties calm even the most stubborn breakouts. Meltdown is the community fave.
- Blume is a female-founded clean self care brand setting a new standard for skin and body care while smashing taboos. Their transparent ingredient lists allow you to know exactly what’s going on your skin and in your body.
- The best part? Daily Pnut readers can spend $40 and get 20% off plus free shipping. Take advantage of this deal; this offer ends Monday.
The Health Risks Are Striking, So The Residents Are Too
- In December, a Chicago recycling company, Reserve Management Group (RMG), closed a century-old metal scrapyard in an affluent, white area of town after numerous environmental violations. Now, the same firm is due to open a metal recycling plant on Chicago’s polluted Southeast Side where many black and brown people live.
- The new recycling plant will house machinery known to produce hazardous dust particles that can cause severe heart and lung problems. Southeast Side is the most industrial area of the city, home to businesses that dump more than a million pounds of toxins into the air every year. There are two Environmental Protection Agency Superfund sites spanning 154 acres, which are highly contaminated with toxic metals.
- In recent months, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the EPA have launched civil rights investigations into whether housing discrimination and environmental racism may have played a role in RMG’s move. In an effort to stop the city from granting RMG its final permit, community activists have announced a hunger strike.
- If Southside Recycling opens, that particulate matter “will be inhaled through the noses, throats, and lungs of my students,” said a high school science teacher who joined the hunger strike last week. (Guardian)
The Gitmo Problem Has Tortured Democratic Presidents For Years
- In 2016, President Obama argued for the closure of the prison at the Naval Station Guantanamo Bay in Cuba, aka Guantanamo Bay Detention Center, GTMO, or simply “Gitmo.” Obama said the detention center went against American values and was a “stain on our broader record.” Later that year, then-President-elect Donald Trump vowed to keep the installation open.
- The prison first began housing terrorism suspects in 2002; by 2003 it held almost 680 inmates thought to have ties to al-Qaida and the Taliban. Gitmo became synonymous with abusive treatment and failure to follow international rules on the legal and civil rights of prisoners of war. Today, 40 people are still behind bars, including five men charged with planning and supporting the September 11, 2001 attacks. Pretrial proceedings for the men have been delayed for years.
- On Friday, the White House announced that President Biden hopes to finally shut down the prison. A spokeswoman for the National Security Council said the closure will take time, but that there will be “a robust interagency process to move forward on this….” (NPR)
Additional USA News
- Mars, Nestlé and Hershey to face child slavery lawsuit in US (Guardian)
- White Supremacy Symbols In Oregon: One Teen’s Experience In A Local Antique Mall (NPR).
- A Tense Lunar New Year for the Bay Area After Attacks on Asian-Americans (NYT, $)
- Opinion | Los Angeles, Ravaged by Covid, Faces a Sobering Reality (NYT, $)
- Opinion | The Way Out of America’s Zero-Sum Thinking on Race and Wealth (NYT, $)
- CDC Releases New Guidelines For Reopening Schools (NPR)
- We Asked 175 Pediatric Disease Experts if It Was Safe Enough to Open School (NYT, $). There may be an antidote, even without vaccines.
- People Over 75 Are First in Line to Be Vaccinated Against COVID-19. The Average Black Person Here Doesn’t Live That Long. (ProPublica)
- Biden Team Unveils New Asylum System To Address Migrant Backlog (NPR)
- A backlash against the 7 Republicans who voted to convict Trump has begun. (NYT, $)
- How a leading anti-Trump group ignored a crisis in its ranks (AP)
- After the Speech: What Trump Did as the Capitol Was Attacked (NYT, $)
- New details about Trump-McCarthy shouting match show Trump refused to call off the rioters (CNN) & Herrera Beutler Says McCarthy Told Her Trump Sided with Capitol Mob (NYT, $)
- Republican Acquittal of Trump Is a Defining Moment for Party (NYT, $) & Impeachment Did Not Prevail, But Trump Still Lost (Atlantic)
- Justice Department says an Oath Keepers leader waited for Trump’s direction before Capitol attack (CNN)
- The Beauty of Jamie Raskin’s America, on Display at Trump’s Impeachment Trial (Atlantic)
- With impeachment over, 9/11 probe leaders lend weight to calls for an independent commission to investigate Capitol attack (WaPo, $)
The Minor Fall And The Major Lift
- The fastest-growing cosmetic surgery in the world — despite mounting deaths resulting from the procedure — is the BBL, the Brazilian Butt Lift. The question is: what’s behind its rise in popularity?
- The surgery itself was pioneered by the Brazilian doctor Ivo Pitanguy. In 1960, Pitanguy founded the world’s first plastic surgery academy, teaching his techniques to a new generation of surgeons, who began spreading around the world. As surgeons learned the art of the BBL, the practice gradually traveled north. “It started to reach the southern part of North America first,” said Mark Mofid, a leading physician in southern California who’s been performing BBLs for 20 years.
- Mofid notes the influence of celebrities like Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj, alongside a glut of imagery on social media that “had really popularized the beauty of feminine curves.” British aesthetic surgeon Dr. Lucy Glancey says the number of butt lifts performed globally has grown by 77.6% since 2015.
- She points to countless photos on Instagram of beach-ball buttocks mimicking the most famous bottom in the world, a bottom so scrutinized, so emulated, so monetized, that it no longer feels like a body part, but its own high-concept venture, its own startup turned major IPO. The popularity of the BBL, Glancey says, is down to one woman: Kim Kardashian West. “Her impact really is her body.”
- But achieving such beauty can be risky. In 2017, Mofid published a paper in the Aesthetic Surgery Journal which revealed that 3% of the 692 surgeons he surveyed had experienced the death of a patient after performing the surgery. Overall, one in 3,000 BBLs resulted in death. In the past three years, many more women have died after BBLs, including 15 women in south Florida alone, making BBLs the world’s most dangerous cosmetic procedure. Even so, the risk is not enough to deter women still hoping to achieve what is to them the paragon of physical beauty. (Guardian)
- AT&T scrambles to install fiber for 90-year-old after his viral WSJ ad (ArsTechnica)
- Was Stonehenge a ‘Secondhand’ Monument? (NYT, $). England confesses to finding it at Goodwill.
- Reckoning with a Nazi Father (New Yorker)
- Opinion | Arise, Robocall Resistance! (NYT, $)
- Tiny Blobs of Brain Cells Could Reveal How Your Mind Differs From a Neanderthal’s (NYT, $)
- Apple, Spotify, and the impossible problem of moderating shows (Verge).
- Warren Buffett Recommends These 33 Books to Berkshire Hathaway Shareholders (Inc) & Warren Buffett’s Favorite Valuation Metric Is Ringing an Alarm (Bloomberg)
- Through A Looking Glass Of Black Americana: The Long, Strange Journey Of Oran Z (NPR)
- Grape-Nuts Expected to Be Back on Store Shelves Next Month (NYT, $). You know we’re nuts about nuts. Even nuts that aren’t nuts at all.
- As Mating Rituals Go, Valentine’s Day Isn’t So Bad (NYT, $)
- ‘Roaring 20s’ will follow Covid-19 pandemic, says L’Oréal (Guardian). Except this time, with no Prohibition.
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