Con man exposed: Trump’s acting so erratic because midterms made him look like a loser |

President Donald Trump is not himself. And by “not himself” I mean he seems to have lost his swagger. Ever since the midterm elections, he’s been churlish and petulant. His brazen braggadocio is suddenly dull and off-key. The question is what exactly has him brooding and upset.

Sure, he held a press conference the morning after the election at which he ludicrously asserted, “I’ll be honest: I think it was a great victory. And actually, some of the news this morning was that it was, in fact, a great victory.” The news that morning was nothing of the kind, of course. And even he couldn’t pull it off.  He rapidly devolved into his patented media-bashing to change the subject and ended up looking like the worst sore loser in presidential history.

That same day he fired Attorney General Jeff Sessions and replaced him with someone he believed would protect him from the Mueller investigation — a man described by George Conway — Kellyanne Conway’s husband — as a “constitutional nobody.” And that wasn’t his worst day last week.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published a big scoop revealing that the feds have unearthed plenty of evidence that Trump had personally broken campaign finance laws. More troubling for him is that the three people given immunity — lawyer Michael Cohen, National Enquirer publisher David Pecker and Trump Organization CFO Allen Weisselberg — know where a lot of other metaphorical bodies are buried. (We hope there are no real bodies involved.)

Luckily Trump had a chance to de-stress over the weekend on a nice trip to France for some military pageants, which he loves more than anything. Sadly, this got off to a bad start when he watched a Fox News show that misinterpreted a comment from French President Emmanuel Macron, who has suggested that Europe needs to create its own army to defend itself against Russia, China and the U.S., and took to Twitter to lash out. The Washington Post reports that British Prime Minister Theresa May called Air Force One during the trip to congratulate Trump on his electoral “victory” and he inexplicably exploded at her over Iran.


Source: Con man exposed: Trump’s acting so erratic because midterms made him look like a loser |


Autism: What is the link with zinc? : Medical News Today

Earlier research indicated an association between zinc and autism. However, until now, understanding the connection has been challenging.
A new study, published in Frontiers in Molecular Neuroscience, suggests that a zinc deficiency in early childhood may contribute to autism.

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder, tends to cause difficulties in communication and social interaction.

Although every case is different, symptoms can include repetitive actions, reduced eye contact, and trouble recognizing emotions in others.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), around 1 in 59 children have autism. It appears to be four times more common in boys than girls.

Despite years of research, the medical community has yet to fully understand the mechanisms of autism, and theories about its origins abound.

Autism tends to appear in the first 3 years of life. During this time, synapses — the communication points between neurons — are forming and changing at a rapid rate.


Source: Autism: What is the link with zinc? : Medical News Today

Bernard Ingham: My open letter to European leaders – it is time to save the EU from itself – Yorkshire Post

With British politics in a febrile, mutinous state over Brexit, I have written this open letter to the governments of most – but not all – of the EU’s 27 member states. It is only copied to Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Luxembourg and Dublin since, in my judgment, they are beyond redemption.

Fellow Europeans:

As Brexit comes to the crunch I invite you to consider the EU’s standing in the world and, by extension, that of your own governments because of the EU’s handling of the negotiations.

Source: Bernard Ingham: My open letter to European leaders – it is time to save the EU from itself – Yorkshire Post

It took a UN envoy to hear how austerity is destroying lives

This is all good that the UN envoy is listening and including it in the forthcoming report, but what guarantee is there that our Government will listen and then react accordingly.

When you are a member of an organisation there should be penalties when members disregard recommendation, etc.

Is there, in fact any country or organisation that really listens and then acts accordingly to any part of the UN, where is its teeth.

Govt Newspeak

Philip Alston’s inquiry into poverty in the UK has heard a shocking truth that British politicians refuse to acknowledge.
Philip Alston with pupils from Avenue End primary school in Glasgow
 Philip Alston with pupils from Avenue End primary school in Glasgow.

The room is packed, people spilling out of the doors. The atmosphere crackles. So it should, for this is what it feels like when an entire society is held to account. Over 12 days, the United Nations’ special rapporteur on extreme poverty and human rights is touring not Bangladesh nor Sudan but the UK. And what Philip Alston has discovered in the fifth-richest country on Earth should shame us all. From Newcastle to Jaywick, he has uncovered stories of families facing homelessness, of people too scared to eat, of those on benefits contemplating suicide.

‘A political choice’: UN envoy says UK can help all who hit hard times

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The world’s plastic problem is bigger than the ocean : The Conversation

As you read this, a strange object that looks like a 2,000-foot floating pool noodle is drifting slowly through the central north Pacific Ocean. This object is designed to solve an enormous environmental problem. But in so doing, it brings attention to a number of others.

There are an estimated five trillion pieces of plastic floating on and in the world’s oceans. The massive pool noodle will move through the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, driven by the wind and currents and picking up the plastic it encounters along the way. Ocean Cleanup, the organization that developed the device, promises “the largest cleanup in history.”

If it works, the device – blandly named System 001 – could make a dent in the enormous amount of ocean-borne plastic. But once that plastic is collected the options are not good. That’s where an environmental ethicist like me starts thinking about where this plastic will end up next. The ocean is better off without it, of course, but the plastic problem has many more layers than it first appears.

The struggle of sorting

Recycling plastic is only possible if it can be meticulously separated into its various chemical types. What people generally describe with the single word “plastic” encompasses seven main types of materials – the ones used to make soda bottles, trash bags, cling wrap, shopping bags, yogurt containers, fishing nets, foam insulation and non-metal parts of many household appliances. Recycling each of these types, which you might know by their acronyms – such as PETE, LDPE, PVC, PP and HDPE – requires a different chemical process.


Source: The world’s plastic problem is bigger than the ocean : The Conversation

This Is All Donald Trump Has Left : The Concourse

President Donald Trump often stands near a helicopter on the White House’s South Lawn while reporters shout questions at him. Certain elements of this ritual are the same every time. The wheedling honk of Trump’s voice and the uneasy tilt of his standing-on-a-hoverboard-for-the-first-time posture are constants, as is his customary air of triumphal huffiness. The whining white noise wash from the helicopter bends everything in the same strange direction, with everyone involved only kind of getting maybe three-quarters of what everyone else is saying. The questions change and the answers mostly don’t. It’s never a conversation, although it unfolds roughly along those lines.

It’s worthless, of course. Reporters shout something at Trump about a thing he said or did or his response to someone’s else response to something, and then he shouts that he did it because he felt like it or actually didn’t do it at all, or that the criticism of what he did is offensive and illegitimate, or that the question itself is. If he’s asked a question by a woman, he gets extra spicy. If he’s wounded or inconvenienced, he’ll sometimes take a few rapid lurching steps away and then look around with his lips pursed and his eyes cast up, which mostly makes him look like someone searching for a bathroom in a crowded airport terminal. If there is a purpose here, it is the theater of it—the theater of Trump’s strange fey boorishness and the towering and obvious lies he tells, which exist not to convince but more to signal his ongoing unwillingness to be constrained by fact.

This is more or less what Trump has always thought the news should be like: people with microphones clamoring for his opinion and asking him about himself. For decades the man has dreamed of reporters calling out “please, sir, what’s the latest on your personal feuds” or “sir, how did you achieve this amazing success?” while he delivers flirty winking answers. That this is not the way it goes now that he’s president clearly causes him great frustration. Watch these pissy helicopter-adjacent scrums and you may see a lumpy pink dope bellowing “we’re looking into that very strongly” in response to questions he transparently can’t answer and dispensing whatever thudding speculative idiocy he thinks will get him to the next question. Other people will see what Trump sees. The important thing for him is that the microphones are still pointed in the right direction.


Source: This Is All Donald Trump Has Left : The Concourse

Trump Will Lose CNN’s Acosta Suit. Does It Matter? – Bloomberg

CNN is going to win the First Amendment lawsuit it filed Tuesday against President Donald Trump’s White House for taking away reporter Jim Acosta’s press pass. And the sad truth is that Trump won’t mind at all.

As the president has shown repeatedly, he doesn’t especially care if, after he violates the Constitution, the courts reverse his action. Instead of understanding judicial repudiation as a defeat, Trump sees the whole episode as a victory.

Worse still, taken in this political context, he’s right. The Constitution is working. But Trump has found a way to subvert it anyhow.

Last week, the White House revoked the pass that allowed Acosta, CNN’s chief White House correspondent, to work in and around the building unescorted. Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders announced that the administration had done so because Acosta had placed his hands on an aide when she tried to take a microphone from him during a news conference. Acosta and the president had been clashing over a question about immigration and the midterm campaign.

The law governing the Acosta case, filed in Federal District Court on behalf of the reporter and the network, is relatively straightforward. The president doesn’t have any constitutional obligation to open the White House to the press. He can choose which reporters he would like to meet with privately, and he can prefer certain networks, like Fox News, for his own appearances or for exclusive interviews.

Once the White House has opened itself up to all accredited reporters with press passes, however, the government has created what is in effect a forum for free speech in interaction with the president. It’s black letter law that, in such a “limited-purpose public forum,” the government isn’t allowed to discriminate based on a speaker’s viewpoint.

That’s exactly what’s happened to Acosta. Trump made clear during the news conference that he doesn’t like the reporter, calling him a “rude, terrible person” and “the enemy of the people.” Trump doesn’t like Acosta’s viewpoint, so Acosta was banned from using White House press facilities.

There’s a judicial precedent on this point. In a 1977 case, Sherrill v. Knight, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, whose jurisdiction includes the White House, held that the First Amendment applies to reporters seeking press passes. And it specifically concluded that the White House couldn’t deny a press pass to a reporter without explaining what the criterion was and telling him how he violated that criterion.

At the time, the doctrine of the limited public forum wasn’t fully in place. But the D.C. Circuit opinion effectively foreshadowed the same idea. The court said it was “presented with a situation where the White House has voluntarily decided to establish press facilities for correspondents who need to report therefrom. These press facilities are perceived as being open to all bona fide Washington-based journalists.”


Source: Trump Will Lose CNN’s Acosta Suit. Does It Matter? – Bloomberg

Trump’s confusion leads to unnecessary quarrel with France’s Macron | MSNBC

Donald Trump’s trip to France to honor the 100th anniversary of World War I was not a success. In fact, as we discussed yesterday, the American president seemed to go out of his way to pick a fight before the international gathering even began in earnest, publishing a tweet on Friday accusing French President Emmanuel Macron of suggesting “that Europe build its own military in order to protect itself from the U.S., China and Russia.”

Macron’s remarks, Trump added, were “very insulting.”

This morning, the Republican took steps to keep the fight going with this tweet.

“Emmanuel Macron suggests building its own army to protect Europe against the U.S., China and Russia. But it was Germany in World Wars One & Two – How did that work out for France? They were starting to learn German in Paris before the U.S. came along. Pay for NATO or not!”

Trump soon followed with a series of related tweets, slamming France on trade and criticizing Macron’s approval rating. For reasons that I won’t even try to explain, the Republican wrapped up his little tantrum by declaring, in an all-caps missive, “Make France Great Again!”

Let’s note for context that France today is recognizing the three-year anniversary of an ISIS terrorist attack in Paris that killed 130 people. Whether or not the American president is aware of this is unclear, but Trump picked an unusually ill-timed day to squabble with our French friends.

While it’s generally wise to look past Trump’s borderline-incoherent tweets, when an American president tries to initiate a feud with one of the United States’ closest allies, it’s worth taking a moment to understand why.

As is often the case, the root problem appears to be Trump’s confusion. Macron did not, in fact, call for a European military force to protect the continent against the United States. Since the United States has no enemies in Europe, this wouldn’t make sense.

The Washington Post  explained what the French president actually said.

Trump’s interpretation of Macron’s remarks is factually misleading, and comes from an interview Macron gave to France’s Europe 1 radio several days before Trump’s arrival. What Macron said has been largely echoed by European Union leaders for months now, and in fact mimics the same demand Trump has long made: Europe needs to stop relying on the United States for its own defense.

“I believe in the project of a sovereign Europe. We won’t protect Europe if we don’t decide to have a true European army. In front of Russia, which is at our borders and which can be threatening, I would like to start a security dialogue with Russia, which is a country I respect and which is European,” Macron told Europe 1.

“We have to have a Europe that can defend itself alone — and without only relying on the United States — in a more sovereign manner,” he added.

These comments, which Trump should agree with, are apparently the basis for the Republican’s incessant whining. Macron stressed the importance of European self-reliance; Trump thought it was an anti-American posture; and the result was a series of misguided tweets.


Source: Trump’s confusion leads to unnecessary quarrel with France’s Macron | MSNBC

CNN sues White House over revoked credentials of correspondent : Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – CNN filed a lawsuit on Tuesday against the Trump administration over the revocation of press credentials for White House correspondent Jim Acosta, a frequent target of President Donald Trump.


Source: CNN sues White House over revoked credentials of correspondent : Reuters

Brexit deal text agreed by EU and UK, May’s ministers to meet – BBC

LONDON (Reuters) – The European Union and Britain have agreed a draft Brexit divorce deal text and Prime Minister Theresa May will present the agreement to her senior ministers on Wednesday, the BBC said.


Source: Brexit deal text agreed by EU and UK, May’s ministers to meet – BBC