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By Robert A. Vella

The latest spate of mass shootings in Texas, Ohio, and California has triggered official warnings by two South American nations which cite racist discrimination, hate crimes, and gun violence as reasons for its citizens to be wary of traveling to the U.S.  A Republican-appointed federal judge, who is considering whether or not to publicly release redacted portions of the Mueller report, cannot reconcile Attorney General William Barr’s statements exonerating President Trump with what is actually detailed in the report and also with the national importance of fully informing the American people of the results of Mueller’s investigation.  Another federal judge couldn’t reconcile the apparent contrition of a right-wing domestic terrorist – Cesar Sayoc, who sent mail-bombs to prominent Democratic politicians and media personalities critical of President Trump – with his criminal acts and therefore sentenced him to twenty years in prison. A government scientist has resigned from the Department of Agriculture after Trump administration officials censored and suppressed his report detailing the impacts of climate change on the nutritional quality of a vitally important agricultural crop.  International tensions are escalating in Asia over the contested Kashmir region and over U.S. plans to deploy intermediate range nuclear-capable missiles against China.  Embattled Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has stepped into excrement once again by tweeting a vile image depicting the death of his opponents just a few hours after a white supremacist went on a murderous shooting spree at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas last Saturday.  Typing the disgusting tweet may have strained McConnell’s delicate shoulder because he apparently fractured it early on Sunday after tripping at his home in Kentucky.  Fortunately, his state makes some very good bourbon, so the traitorous “Moscow” Mitch has no reason to feel any pain right now.

Travel warnings

From:  2 countries issued travel warnings about the United States

Both Venezuela and Uruguay warned their residents about violence and hate crimes in the United States Monday.

Uruguay’s Office of Foreign Ministry issued an advisory Monday saying citizens should “take precaution amid the growing indiscriminatory violence, specifically hate crimes including racism and discrimination” when traveling to the United States.

The alert noted that other factors, such as the “indiscriminate possession of firearms by the population” and the “impossibility of authorities to prevent these situations,” were among some of the reasons travelers need to be particularly wary of highly populated areas or events.

Irreconcilable differences

From:  Fed Judge: ‘Difficult to Reconcile’ Mueller Report with AG Barr’s Statements

A federal judge on Monday heard more than two hours of arguments regarding whether a less-redacted version of former special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on the Russia investigation should be released.

The proceeding stemmed from consolidated lawsuits filed by Buzzfeed News reporter Jason Leopold and the Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC), both of whom sought unredacted versions of the report via Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) filings.

As lawyers for the Department of Justice argued in favor of not releasing a fuller version of the report, Federal District Judge Reggie Walton seemed particularly incredulous of some of their arguments against allowing the public access to portions of the report that remain redacted.

According to a report from The Hill, Walton, an appointee of former President George W. Bush, was concerned about the conduct of Attorney General William Barr in the immediate aftermath of the report’s release and expressed concern that failing to disclose the reasons for prosecutorial decisions only “undermines even further” the public’s trust in the criminal justice system.

From:  Judge sentences man who sent pipe bombs to Dems to 20 years

NEW YORK (AP) — A Florida amateur body builder who admitted sending inoperative pipe bombs to prominent Democrats and CNN has been sentenced to 20 years in prison.

U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff sentenced Cesar Sayoc after he pleaded guilty to explosives charges for mailing 16 pipe bombs days before the midterm elections last fall.

Scientist quits

From:  USDA Scientist Quits, Claims Trump Administration Tried To Bury His Climate Study

A top climate scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture has resigned in protest of what he describes as the Trump administration’s efforts to censor and suppress climate science.

In a Politico article published Monday, Lewis Ziska, a plant physiologist with more than two decades of experience working for USDA’s Agricultural Research Service, said he decided to quit after department officials tried to bury a paper he wrote on how rice is losing nutrients because of rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

While conducting the study, Ziska and other researchers found for the first time that levels of key vitamins in the grain can drop in conditions of elevated carbon dioxide. This vitamin deficiency poses potential health risks to the estimated 600 million people worldwide who depend on rice as a nutritional source, according to the study.

Asia tensions

From:  Pakistan stunned, worried as India retracts Kashmir’s autonomous rights

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan —Pakistan reacted with shock and worry Tuesday to India’s sudden decree revoking a 65-year-old law that granted limited political autonomy to the disputed Himalayan border region of Kashmir. The region has seen 30 years of unrest, including guerrilla attacks, Muslim protests and charges of repression by Indian security forces.

From:  China vows to counter US deployment of midrange arms in Asia

BEIJING (AP) — China said Tuesday that it “will not stand idly by” and will take countermeasures if the U.S. deploys intermediate-range missiles in the Asia-Pacific region, which Washington has said it plans to do within months.

Mitch tweets

From:  McGrath blasts McConnell campaign for tweeting graveyard photo after El Paso shooting

Amy McGrath, the most prominent Democrat vying to take on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 2020 Kentucky Senate race, blasted the senator Monday for tweeting out an image of a mock graveyard with a tombstone bearing McGrath’s name just hours after a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, where 22 people were killed and many more injured.

[…]

At 6:35 p.m. Saturday, McConnell’s Senate campaign account tweeted an image of a fake graveyard with tombstones, seemingly made from cardboard, that read “R.I.P” above various people and ideals that McConnell has defeated, so to speak, or plans to defeat. McConnell campaign yard signs are among the tombstones as well.

There were tombstones for socialism, the Green New Deal, Merrick Garland, Alison Lundergan Grimes and McGrath, whose tombstone included the date of the 2020 election.

10 thoughts on “Tuesday Potpourri: Travel warnings, irreconcilable differences, scientist quits, Asia tensions, Mitch tweets

  1. Re: the scientist that resigned —

    That seems to be the accepted action nowadays related to anything concerning climate change. Ignore it. Bury it. Trash it. Criticize it. But whatever you do, NEVER admit it’s happening!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Australian officials said Monday that the locations for the bases were not yet known but their country would not be one of them.

    Damn right, and we should protest the very idea at the UN Security Council.

    Liked by 2 people

      • It’s a delicate dance with Indo and Malaysia. The general policy (since the late 80’s) is to try and keep things as calm as possible. No air bases along the northern coast (they’re all set way back inland), and the navy is headquartered in Sydney and Perth… far, far away.

        Little titbit of interesting Southeast Asia history. In 1963 Australia put in an order for 25-odd F111’s. About ten years ago (maybe a bit longer?), the original specs request was declassified. It was pretty simple, just a few lines. To paraphrase: ~Mach 2, strike bomber capable of delivering nuclear weapons over Jakarta within 2 hours. Sort of gives you a feel for the headspace Australia was in through the 50’s/60’s.

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Mitch McConnell knows exactly what message that would send. He’s one of the sharpest political operatives out there. That’s what makes this all the more horrific. I hope everyone who is pushed about this donates to his opponent, Amy McGrath.

    Liked by 1 person

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