By Robert A. Vella

The news roundup for this Friday includes impeachment and Mueller investigation updates, the latest President Trump shenanigans including how he is interjecting himself into U.K. politics and meddling in its upcoming election, important climate change stories, the corporatization of journalism, the pathetically weak president of Mexico allowing a murderous drug cartel to run wild, and other news.

The journalism story details how corporate consolidation under G/O Media (which purchased Deadspin and the satirical magazine The Onion) first silenced, and then caused the wholesale departure of a staff of writers.  This is dangerous stuff, folks.  Democracy cannot survive the persistent assaults upon it without freedom of the press.


From:  White House official corroborates diplomat’s account that Trump appeared to seek quid pro quo

A White House adviser on Thursday corroborated key impeachment testimony from a senior U.S. diplomat who said last week he was alarmed by efforts to pressure the Ukrainian government to investigate President Trump’s political rivals in exchange for nearly $400 million in military aid.

Tim Morrison, the top Russia and Europe adviser on President Trump’s National Security Council, told House investigators over eight hours of closed-door testimony that the “substance” of his conversations recalled by William B. Taylor Jr., the acting ambassador to Ukraine, was “accurate,” according to his prepared remarks and people familiar with Morrison’s testimony.


From:  Judge chides DOJ for trying to block star Mueller witness testimony

A federal judge sharply challenged the Trump administration on Thursday over its objections to a House Democratic lawsuit trying to force the testimony of one of Robert Mueller’s star witnesses as part of their broader impeachment inquiry.

Lawmakers have been fighting to bring in former White House counsel Don McGahn for questioning since he showed up repeatedly at the center of anecdotes detailing President Donald Trump’s potential obstruction of justice in the special counsel’s final report. But the Justice Department has tried to block McGahn’s testimony, arguing that the ex-Trump aide can essentially ignore a congressional subpoena related to his time in the White House, and that the courts shouldn’t weigh in on a dispute between Congress and the executive branch.


From:  Exclusive: U.S. withholding $105 million in security aid for Lebanon – sources

WASHINGTON, Oct 31 (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration is withholding $105 million in security aid for Lebanon, two U.S. officials said on Thursday, two days after the resignation of Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri.


The officials did not say why the aid was blocked. One of the sources said the State Department did not give Congress a reason for the decision.


The official said drawing aid away from Lebanon could pave the way for Russia to move in. Russia has expanded its influence in Syria since Trump announced he was withdrawing U.S. forces from the northeastern part of the country.

From:  Court rules for LA in lawsuit against Trump

SAN FRANCISCO — A federal appeals court decided unanimously Thursday that the Trump administration may not force Los Angeles to help the government deport immigrants as a condition of receiving a federal police grant.

A panel of two Republican appointees and one Democrat of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said federal law did not permit the Trump administration to impose the conditions.

‘Good riddance’: New York governor cheers Trump changing residency to Florida

‘An unstoppable force’: Trump tells Nigel Farage join forces with Boris Johnson in UK election


From:  White House Backing Off Proposed Fuel-Efficiency Freeze

President Trump has been trying for years to soften a set of stringent targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions first agreed to in 2012 by the Obama administration, California and much of the automobile industry. The move to 1.5%—expected to be announced by year’s end—comes after intense industry lobbying, which opposed the Trump administration’s original plan to freeze targets at 2019 levels, around 37 miles a gallon.


California’s Air Resources Board said that a 1.5% annual increase wouldn’t be enough for the state to meet federal air quality standards.

A coalition of companies including General Motors Co., Toyota Motor Corp. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV filed Monday to intervene in a lawsuit over the standards, lending support to the Trump administration’s argument that the federal government set emissions targets. In July, Ford Motor Co., Honda Motor Co., Volkswagen AG and BMW AG agreed to recognize California’s authority to set its own targets, which would be more stringent than those proposed by the federal government and are followed by 13 other states.

From:  Keystone oil pipeline leaks 383,000 gallons in North Dakota

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — TC Energy’s Keystone pipeline has leaked an estimated 383,000 gallons (1.4 million liters) of oil in northeastern North Dakota, marking the second significant spill in two years along the line that carries Canadian tar sands oil through seven states, regulators said Thursday.

From:  The ice used to protect them. Now their island is crumbling into the sea.

The more than 12,000 residents of this windswept Canadian archipelago are facing a growing number of gut-wrenching choices, as extreme climate change transforms the land and water around them. Season after season, storm after storm, it is becoming clearer that the sea, which has always sustained these islands, is now their greatest threat.

A Washington Post examination of the fastest-warming places around the world has found that the Magdalen Islands, as they are known in English, have warmed 2.3 degrees Celsius (4.2 degrees Fahrenheit) since the late 19th century, twice the global average.

As in New England, Siberia and other global hot spots at higher latitudes, winters here are heating up even more quickly, eclipsing 3 degrees Celsius (5.4 degrees Fahrenheit). That change has fueled freezing and thawing cycles here that wreak havoc on the famous — and famously fragile — sandstone cliffs.

Energy giants face 35% output cut to hit Paris climate goals: watchdog

Corporatization of journalism

From:  Writers resign from Deadspin en masse in wake of ‘stick to sports’ demand

The clash between Deadspin’s staff and ownership had come to a head Tuesday when interim editor Barry Petchesky tweeted that he had been fired for refusing to follow the corporate directive sent out in a memo Monday to write only about topics that had a direct connection to sports.

Deadspin and its affiliated sites are unionized. On Wednesday, GMG Union issued a statement after the exodus that read in part:

“Today, a number of our colleagues at Deadspin resigned from their positions. From the outset, CEO Jim Spanfeller has worked to undermine a successful site by curtailing its most well-read coverage because it makes him personally uncomfortable. This is not what journalism looks like, and this is not what editorial independence looks like.

“ ‘Stick to sports’ is and always been a thinly veiled euphemism for ‘don’t speak truth to power.’ In addition to being bad business, Spanfeller’s actions are morally reprehensible.”

Cartel runs wild

From:  Video Details Brazen Attack by Mexican Cartel on Government Forces

Mr. [Ovidio] Guzmán [son of drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzmán] makes a call to his brother Iván Archivaldo Guzmán: “Stop everything. Stop everything. I’ve given up,” he says. “Tell them to retreat. I don’t want any trouble.”

Iván Archivaldo refused. Instead, he threatened soldiers and their families.


As Mexican security forces surrounded Ovidio’s house, hundreds of cartel gunmen who deployed around the city attacked army convoys and a housing project for military families. They burned buses to cut off avenues, shot at army helicopters deployed to aid the soldiers, and captured nearly a dozen soldiers. Just seven hours after the start of the operation, the Mexican government set Ovidio free.

“This was an unmitigated debacle,” said Bruce Bagley, an expert on Latin America and drug trafficking at the University of Miami. “If it can happen in Sinaloa, it can happen in half a dozen other places, and now the cartels have a formula.”

On Wednesday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador reiterated his defense of the decision to call off Ovidio’s capture to save lives.

Other news

School’s back for 300,000 Chicago students after 11-day teachers’ strike

EXCLUSIVE: [Facebook’s] WhatsApp hacked to spy on top government officials of U.S. allies -sources

Exclusive: Iran intervenes to prevent ousting of Iraqi prime minister – sources

9 thoughts on “Impeachment, Mueller, Trump, climate, corporatization of journalism, cartel runs wild, and other news

  1. What I foresee happening Robert—that is assuming tRump sees his time is about up and he’s going down—I don’t put it past him one bit to go down swinging and kicking EVERYTHING possible to destroy as MUCH as possible! I see him going psychotically rogue on both our domestic targets and foreign allied targets before he leaves or gets taken away by law-enforcement.

    Not sure if that spectacle would be shamefully embarrassing for the U.S. or history making, a celebration, and later a National Holiday for all to remember in coming years!!! 😉 😛

    Liked by 1 person

      • Robert, I just caught and watched the FX Network’s The Weekly, Season 1-Episode-17, about Donald McGahn, Brett Kavanaugh, and the central centrifugal mass/force of it all that can’t stop spinning faster and faster the disaster, or digging deeper his own hole, Drama-Queen Donald tRump. It is old news now compared to the CRATER Donnie has created now, but…
        it is/was still very revealing (comical) if you haven’t heard what attorney Rudy Giuliani even said/described tRump was typically all about! LOL

        Liked by 1 person

        • As award-winning Professor of History and Public Policy, Dr. Nancy MacLean of Duke University, maps out in her outstanding investigative book Democracy In Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America… and the award-winning investigative journalist Jane Mayer, with The New Yorker magazine also corroborates with MacLean’s extensive research bestselling book Dark Money: The Hidden History of the Billionaires Behind the Rise of the Radical Right, both exceptional works of exposing step-by-step, from the municipal and county levels of government up to the federal levels, in all key aspects of powerful offices, and as you and I are pointing out Robert, most of our judicial systems across the entire nation since the 1950’s, but now so much more aggressively post-Citizens United vs FEC (Jan. 2010)… we essentially no longer live inside a true, pure Constitutional democracy. It has become a nation of oligarchs.

          We are closing in ever so much, for all intents and purposes, to the United Oligarchs of America. 😦 😡 And for the last 4-5 decades this was made possible by our neutral, public education systems and Independent School Districts/Superintendents being slowly and cancerously dismantled, covertly attacked for a more Puritan or (wealthy) Conservative private (religious) education systems, ala the pinnacle of the old Roman Catholic Church all over pre-Medieval and Medieval Europe, and in every aspect of domination in society. This increasingly irritates the FIRE out of me when I see more and more PRIVATE constituents pushing us further and further away from what once was a neutral, Secular (to be fair, Separation of Church & State, etc) nation and public education FOR ALL peoples. When several generations of Americans are taught a very narrow-minded reality and world-views—i.e. NOT too scientific—then eventually the citizens of that country become ignorant and naive of the full, endless, multi-colored spectrum, diversity, and non-stop pluralism of the true Universe and entire Cosmos. Does all this make sense Robert? Lol 😛

          Liked by 1 person

        • Grrrrrr, sorry for the HTML coding error. Robert, would you mind correcting it please? Place a closed-italics code at the end of this sentence: “…but now so much more aggressively post-Citizens United vs FEC (Jan. 2010)… we essentially…” and it should look like this please.

          Thank you Sir. 🙂 And you can then delete this comment.

          Liked by 1 person

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