Leaving No Stone (Or Jones) Unturned
November 24, 2021
The Good News
- Portugal’s power production goes coal-free long before deadline (CNN)
- Groveland Four: US judge clears men wrongly accused of rape after 72 years (BBC)
Please note: there will not be a new edition of Daily Pnut until Monday, November 29. We’ll see you all in your inboxes after the long weekend!
“Our great democracies still tend to think that a stupid man is more likely to be honest than a clever man, and our politicians take advantage of this prejudice by pretending to be even more stupid than nature made them.” — Bertrand Russell
A Campaignful Reminder
Former President Donald Trump isn’t running for president in 2024 — at least, not officially. But his team sure seems poised for another go at the Oval Office. The main focus is retaking those five states that flipped from red to blue in the last election, handing now-President Biden 73 electoral votes and a victory. Trump has held rallies and endorsed candidates in Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, setting himself up for success should he run again.
In polls led by a group that is definitely not gearing up to help him run a presidential campaign (wink, wink), President Biden came out behind Trump in all five states — Arizona by 8 percentage points, Georgia by 3 points, Michigan by 12 points, Pennsylvania by 6 points and Wisconsin by 10 points. Tony Fabrizio, a top GOP pollster who conducted these surveys on behalf of “Make America Great Again, Again!”, said that this is a clear indication to those who doubt Trump that he is more than capable of taking back the White House.
The MAGAA super PAC is expanding their board of directors to include Ric Grenell and former acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker. Trump will also be holding a massive fundraiser on December 2, with top Republican donors converging on Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club. Trump’s other political action committee, “Save America,” hired Lynne Patton to help build political coalitions. The entire team has built an operation that merely needs a simple “yes, I’m running,” to be launched, but Trump maintains that he’s focused on the midterm elections.
President Biden, for his part, has also said he’s focused on midterms, but confirmed that he’ll run again in 2024. Biden was the oldest person to take the presidency at 78 in 2020. His team says they aren’t that surprised by the results of Trump’s polls, given how much Biden’s approval ratings have dipped in recent weeks. Of course, a lot can change in three years, and elections tend to swing back and forth after midterms, so it’s hard to predict what would happen should the two men face off again in 2024. But one thing is a safe bet — should Trump lose again, he will not go quietly. (Politico)
A Bright Idea
- The largest-ever partnership between Israel and Jordan was cemented on Monday when the two nations agreed on a swap of desalinated water for solar energy. Government officials from Israel, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates signed a letter of intent at the Dubai Expo on Monday to pave the way for the exchange of Jordanian solar energy for Israeli desalinated water.
- The agreement outlined plans for Jordan to export about 600 megawatts of electricity generated from solar energy, while Israel would evaluate the export of up to 200 million cubic meters of desalinated water to Jordan. “The Middle East is on the frontline of the climate crisis, and only by working together can countries in the region rise to the challenge…Today’s agreement is a welcomed example of how cooperation can accelerate the energy transition and build greater resilience,” said John Kerry, the United States’ Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. (The Hill)
- Hu Binchen’s candidacy for a seat on Interpol’s 13-member executive committee is under fire from politicians around the world. The nominee from China is facing criticism and scrutiny from over 50 politicians from 20 different countries, with many fearing that his election would encourage China “to continue their misuse of Interpol and would place the tens of thousands of Hong Konger, Uyghur, Tibetan, Taiwanese and Chinese dissidents living abroad at even graver risk.”
- Interpol is an international police network that controls a number of databases of information that is shared among forces to take action against terrorists and fugitive criminals. They also operate the system of “red notices,” which are used to arrest individuals pending extraction — a system that many believe China will use wrongfully.
- China has defended the election bid by Hu, who is the deputy director-general of the Public Security Ministry’s international cooperation department. Interpol has been led by an official from China’s Public Security Ministry before. Meng Hongwei was the organization’s president when he vanished on a trip to China from France in 2018. He was later sentenced to 13 and a half years on bribery charges in President Xi Jinping’s anti-corruption drive. (NBC)
Additional World News
- Queen Elizabeth attends christening of great-grandsons (NBC)
- US concerned by Bulgarian president’s remarks about Crimea (ABC)
- Carnival photos add to woe of coach accused of faking Covid pass (Guardian)
- French prime minister tests positive for Covid-19, forcing five Belgian ministers to isolate (CNN)
- Coastal towns locked down in La Palma as lava crashes into ocean (Reuters)
- Libya’s interim leader to run for president despite pledging not to (Guardian)
- Taiwan says it will respect Honduras vote outcome, warns again on China (Reuters)
- Trying to Blur Memories of the Gulag, Russia Targets a Rights Group (NYT, $)
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- As tensions rise at the Russia-Ukraine border, the U.S. is contemplating sending military advisers and equipment to the former Soviet state. The move comes as Russia continues to build up forces on its shared border with Ukraine, and the U.S. has warned allies of the possibility of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.
- The U.S. aid package could consist of anti-tank and anti-armor missiles, mortars, and even air defense systems. The Department of Defense has also been pressing for equipment originally intended for Afghanistan to be sent to Ukraine instead. However, the move has caught criticism from those concerned about escalating tensions with Russia. Moving weapons to be used against possible Russian invasion could be seen by Moscow as a major slight.
- Besides military measures, the U.S. is also taking other routes to keep the Kremlin from moving against Ukraine. The White House and its European allies are in talks to implement sanctions against Russia, reflecting NATO’s commitment to not allowing Russia to invade Ukraine as it did in 2014. (CNN)
Leaving No Stone (Or Jones) Unturned
- The U.S. House of Representatives committee investigating the January 6 riots at the Capitol stated Monday that it had issued subpoenas to Alex Jones and Roger Stone as part of its probe into riots. Alex Jones is the founder of the website Infowars, a notorious right-wing news site, and Roger Stone is a Republican political consultant and close ally of former President Donald Trump. Both were involved in Trump’s “Stop the Steal” rally, which has been linked to the storming of the Capitol.
- The House committee also sent subpoenas to Dustin Stockton and his fiancee Jennifer Lawrence, who are both linked to Trump adviser Steve Bannon. Bannon recently defied a subpoena by the committee and was indicted on two charges of contempt of Congress. Roughly 700 people have been charged in the investigation into the violence at the Capitol, but the committee continues its investigation into higher-level conservative leaders such as Jones and Stone. (Reuters)
Additional USA News
- Defense lawyer prompts outrage for bringing up Ahmaud Arbery’s toenails in closing arguments (CNN)
- Assembly Finds ‘Overwhelming Evidence’ Cuomo Engaged in Sexual Harassment (NYT, $)
- Republican Sean Parnell suspends candidacy for Pennsylvania Senate seat (CNN)
- Malikah Shabazz, the daughter of Malcolm X, has died, officials say (CNN)
- Families of Parkland shooting victims settle lawsuit with DOJ for about $130 million (NPR)
- Rep. Louie Gohmert announces he’s running for Texas AG (Politico)
- Man seen carrying speaker’s lectern at Jan. 6 riot pleads guilty (NBC)
Eins On The Prize
- A manuscript with early calculations that led Albert Einstein to his theory of relativity sold at auction in Paris on Tuesday for over $13 million. This sale makes it the most expensive of Einstein’s manuscripts. It was thought that the item would go for about $3 million, so the final price blew many experts away.
- British auction house Christie’s did not disclose who the winner of the 54-page document was. Michele Besso, the engineer who worked with Einstein on his calculations, had preserved the document on his behalf, as Einstein was not known for saving early versions of his work.
- Einstein’s theory was finalized in 1915, and still informs how we think about gravity. It also gave us the infamous “E = mc2” formula. The document that was sold has calculations that Einstein “misinterpreted” and set aside, but when he revisited them, he realized he had nearly cracked the case. Christie’s said the document is “one of the most important scientific documents of the 20th century.” (NBC)
- Pandemic hits mental health of women and young people hardest, survey finds (Guardian)
- Electric car chargers to be required in new homes in England (The Hill)
- See a stunning time-lapse video of the longest partial lunar eclipse since 1440 (CNET)
- Scientist predicts Earth will develop rings like Saturn (The Hill)
- “Vulture bees” evolved a taste for flesh—and their microbiomes reflect that (Ars Technica)
- New possibilities for life at the bottom of Earth’s ocean, and perhaps in oceans on other planets (Phys.org)
- The McDonald’s Ice Cream Machine Hacking Saga Has a New Twist (Wired)
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