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By Robert A. Vella

Yes, the Arctic is burning… and, it’s unprecedented.  The U.S. economy is slowing due primarily to rising international trade tensions.  The E.U. has rejected new U.K. Prime Minister “Bumbling” Boris Johnson’s demands for a negotiated Brexit.  Attorney General William “Hangman” Barr has ordered the execution of five convicts marking the first resumption of capital punishment by the federal government since 2003.  Senate Majority Leader “Itchy” Mitch McConnell refused to allow votes on two election security bills despite a new warning from former Special Counsel Robert Mueller and a concurrent report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee which documented far greater Russian interference in the 2016 election than had been previously known.  A Trump-appointed federal judge has refused the President’s request to have him preside over both cases involving House Democrats’ attempts to obtain Trump’s federal and state income tax returns.  House Democrats are also trying to obtain the grand jury evidence of Mueller’s investigation into Russian election interference which is redacted from his official report.  We now know who faked the presidential seal at a Trump speaking engagement this week.  Finally, A twenty-five year old murder conviction in St. Louis has been exposed as a frame-up perpetrated by local law enforcement.

Arctic burns

From:  Huge swathes of the Arctic are ablaze – here’s why

Wildfires are ravaging the Arctic “at unprecedented levels”, a senior scientist has warned.

Large areas of Siberia, northern Scandinavia, Alaska and Greenland are in flames.

The wildfires are believed to have been triggered by lightning and summer temperatures that are higher than average due to climate change.

Economy slows

From:  US growth slows as trade war weighs on businesses

U.S. economic growth slowed in the second quarter by less than forecast as consumer spending topped estimates, though weaker business investment and exports underscored the risks spurring the Federal Reserve toward an interest-rate cut next week.

Gross domestic product expanded at a 2.1% annualized rate, according to Commerce Department data Friday that topped forecasts for 1.8%. That follows an unrevised 3.1% advance in first quarter and updated data showing growth last year was slower than previously reported.

Consumer spending, the biggest part of the economy, increased 4.3%, while government spending climbed 5% and offered the biggest boost in a decade. Nonresidential investment fell 0.6% for the first drop since 2015 and residential decreased for a sixth straight period.

Boris rejected

From:  The EU’s chief Brexit negotiator said Boris Johnson’s demands are ‘unacceptable’

  • Boris Johnson’s Brexit demands are “unacceptable,” according to the EU’s chief negotiator.
  • The new UK prime minister has demanded the complete removal of the backstop from the Brexit deal.
  • If not, the UK would be prepared to walk away without a deal in October, Johnson said Thursday.
  • However, chief negotiator Michel Barnier wrote to EU leaders describing the demand as “unacceptable” and urging them to stay united in response to Johnson’s “combative” rhetoric.

Barr executes

From:  These Are the 5 Men the Federal Government Plans to Execute

No one on federal death row has been executed since 2003, but on Thursday, William P. Barr, the attorney general, announced that the government was resuming executions, starting with five men convicted of killing children.

McConnell nixes

From:  McConnell Nixes Two Dem. Election-Security Bills

McConnell has argued that elections should be controlled by states, not federal authorities, and says Congress has already addressed the election-security concerns that arose from the 2016 election.

The requests for the bills come a day after former special counsel Robert Mueller’s congressional testimony about Russian election interference, during which he warned that future election meddling from foreign governments is imminent.

“They are doing it as we sit here,” Mueller said. “Over the course of my career, I’ve seen a number of challenges to our democracy. The Russian government’s effort to interfere in our election is among the most serious.”

From:  Russia Targeted Elections Systems in All 50 States, Report Finds

WASHINGTON — The Senate Intelligence Committee concluded Thursday that election systems in all 50 states were targeted by Russia in 2016, an effort more far-reaching than previously acknowledged and one largely undetected by the states and federal officials at the time.

But while the bipartisan report’s warning that the United States remains vulnerable in the next election is clear, its findings were so heavily redacted at the insistence of American intelligence agencies that even some key recommendations for 2020 were blacked out.

Trump news

From:  Trump’s suit to block Democrats from getting his New York tax returns will be handed off to another judge

A federal judge decided Thursday that a different judge should handle President Donald Trump’s suit to prevent House Democrats from obtaining his New York state tax returns, delaying a decision on the president’s request for a restraining order against the Democrats.

Judge Trevor McFadden, a Trump appointee, rejected a bid by Trump lawyer William Consovoy to have McFadden hear both that case and a separate lawsuit by Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal seeking the president’s federal returns.

At a hearing Thursday, Consovoy argued the cases are so similar that McFadden ought to handle both.

But McFadden disagreed, noting one involved federal tax law and the other state law. What’s more, McFadden said, Democrats are plaintiffs in one case and defendants in the other, and that could have ramifications for their legal strategies in the cases.

From:  House Democrats to Ask Court for Mueller Grand Jury Information

House Democrats will ask a federal court Friday to force compliance with congressional demands for grand jury information underlying former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Our task now is to get the evidence behind that out to the American people and we will do that starting today,” Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler said Friday on CNN.

All grand jury testimony was redacted from Mueller’s report and has been withheld by the Justice Department on the traditional grounds of protecting the secrecy of grand jury proceedings, but Nadler is seeking a court ruling allowing Congress to see it.

Fake presidential seal

From:  Meet the man who created the fake presidential seal — a former Republican fed up with Trump

Charles Leazott hadn’t thought about the seal in months.

The 46-year-old graphic designer threw it together after the 2016 presidential election — it was one part joke, one part catharsis. He used to be a proud Republican. He voted for George W. Bush. Twice.

But Donald J. Trump’s GOP was no longer his party. So he created a mock presidential seal to prove his point.

He substituted the arrows in the eagle’s claw for a set of golf clubs — a nod to the new president’s favorite pastime. In the other set of talons, he swapped the olive branch for a wad of cash and replaced the United States’ Latin motto with a Spanish insult. Then, his coup de grace: a two-headed imperial bird lifted straight from the Russian coat of arms, an homage to the president’s checkered history with the adversarial country.

Police misconduct

From:  To win a murder conviction, police and prosecutors made up evidence and secretly paid a witness, St. Louis DA finds

The state’s theory stretched the physical limits of the human body. Somehow on the night of Oct. 30, 1994, Lamar Johnson left his friend’s apartment, traveled three miles to Marcus Boyd’s front porch with one other man, killed Boyd, fled on foot and arrived back at the apartment to continue socializing with friends — all in “no more than five minutes.”

Now, the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office says it knows how prosecutors managed to convince a jury it was true: Police and prosecutors made up the evidence, according to a 67-page motion seeking to vacate Johnson’s first-degree murder conviction and grant him a new trial after 24 years behind bars.

The accompanying investigative report, made public this week, describes a staggering amount of misconduct on the part of homicide detectives and prosecutors that convicted Johnson and sent him to prison for life with no possibility of parole.

4 thoughts on “Arctic burns, economy slows, Boris rejected, Barr executes, McConnell nixes, Trump news, and more

  1. Do you think McConnell’s reluctance to address the election security concerns is because he’s afraid it might hurt tRumpsky’s chances in 2020? After all, certain “foreign governments” do tend to like our current leader.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Oh, sure. Mitch is also probably afraid of retribution from Trump that could hurt Republican chances to keep control of the Senate and his chances to remain as Senate Majority Leader. And, who knows? Maybe McConnell secretly likes Putin and Russia. He surely doesn’t act like he’s fond of democracy and the rule of law in America.

      Liked by 2 people

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