The big questions of our time
Sunday was Veterans Day in the U.S., and as Phil McCausland of NBC News reports, Veterans haven't received GI Bill benefits for months due to ongoing IT issues at VA (141,000+ shares). He tweets, “People I interviewed said that a perfect storm of major IT issues and a lack of consistent leadership at VA have caused some #veterans to go without their GI Bill benefits for months. Way too many are going hungry or facing eviction. #VeteransDay.”
Meanwhile, as World Leaders Gather to Remember the End of World War I (71,000+ shares), Peter Baker of The New York Times highlights, “Macron uses armistice anniversary for implicit rebuke of Trump’s America First nationalism: ‘Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism is a betrayal of patriotism by saying, ‘our interest first, who cares about the others?’” Of Baker’s piece with Alissa J. Rubin, Sunit Arora tweets, “Armistice Day in Paris -- So well written, encapsulates the big questions of our time.”
The Los Angeles Times staff is Tracking key details of the California wildfires. Also at The Los Angeles Times, James Queally, Joel Rubin, Benjamin Oreskes, Jack Dolan and Sarah Parvini report that firefighters worry as Santa Ana winds threaten to feed Woolsey blaze in Ventura, L.A. counties. And Ryan Sabalow, Kevin Valine and Tony Bizjak of The Sacramento Bee have the update on the Camp Fire: 29 dead, 228 missing as blaze continues to grow.
“Here in Paradise, residents did what they were told to do when the skies turned dark and an inferno raged across the hills: They got in their cars and fled. Then they hit traffic, trapping many of them on the Skyway, the main road out of town. Our story,” tweets Jack Nicas, of his piece with Thomas Fuller and Tim Arango of The New York Times, Forced Out by Deadly California Fires, Then Trapped in Traffic. Of the 23 people killed by the fire in Paradise, California, 6 died in cars. Fuller points to the “Haunting pictures by our Northern California photographer, Jim Wilson, in this story about the fire in Paradise.”
From Julia Jacobs of The New York Times, here’s How to Help Those Affected by the California Fires.
A policy of assassination
Mark Mazzetti, Ronen Bergman and David D. Kirkpatrick of The New York Times are reporting that Saudis Close to the Crown Prince Discussed Assassinating Enemies a Year Before the Khashoggi Killing. “So it emerges that the murder of #JamalKhashoggi was part of a policy of assassination,” tweets Lawrence Wright. Indeed, “There was nothing rogue about the murder of Jamal. Organized discussions about assassinations as weapon by MBS inner circle began a year + ago says the New York Times,” notes Amr Khalifa.
Jeff Nesbit highlights, “From the middle of the story: The same businessman who arranged the Saudi meetings has also been investigated by Mueller in the Trump investigation.” Tweets Trita Parsi, “Saudi and an Israeli close to Mossad pitched Trump a plan to: - Create fake social media accounts to foment unrest in Iran - Finance Iranian opposition groups - Turn Iranian officials against one another through misinformation. ALL OF THIS HAS HAPPENED!”
Meanwhile, “BREAKING: Canada's Trudeau becomes first world leader who publicly confirms Erdogan's claim of having shared tape of Khashoggi brutal murder with world govts.” Borzou Daragahi links to Trudeau: Canada has heard Turkish recordings on Khashoggi's killing, the report by Reuters’ John Irish and Sudip Kar-Gupta.
In his latest Mediator column at The New York Times, Jim Rutenberg asks, Should the Press Boycott Trump? Political Strategists Weigh In. On Twitter, he highlights some of the responses: “Maybe, says @SteveSchmidtSES: ‘press briefing’ should be ‘premised on ability...to hold government accountable.’ No says @jimdykeJDA: ‘It’s not about them,’ reporters should ‘Get back on track. Calm down.’” Tweets Scott Wilson, “The White House Press Corps has ‘brought a reporter’s notebook to a knife fight’ with the president. But what’s the right way to protest if you’re the press? Provocative @jimrutenberg column (and I don’t know the answer.)” Rutenberg notes that CNN chief Jeff Zucker “told his producers to stand down” and avoid being “led by the nose into giving significant airtime to another Trump attack on the news media.” Frank Sesno’s take: “Focus. Do the job. Stand your ground but don’t get sucked in. @Acosta can cover the the White House from anywhere.”
When this is the defense...
In Mississippi, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith joked about ‘public hanging.’ Mike Espy, her opponent in a Nov. 27 runoff, called it ‘reprehensible’ (43,000+ shares). Michael Brice-Saddler has that story at The Washington Post, along with the video posted on Twitter by Lamar White, Jr. of The Bayou Brief. Brice-Saddler notes, “If Espy were to win, he would become the first black senator to represent the state since the Reconstruction era.” Stephen Holder says, “I’m trying to think of even the most ridiculous explanations why one would say this and I’m still coming up blank. This is amazing (well, that’s one word).”
AP’s Emily Wagster Pettus has more in her report, Mississippi senator’s ‘public hanging’ remark draws rebuke, and Julie Pace points out, “When this is the defense... ‘She’s not very smart and made a tone-deaf comment. It doesn’t make her a racist.’”
At The Weekly Standard, Stephen Hayes offers A Note on Steve King. The congressman disputed a story they reported. They (and the audio) stand by it. Hayes writes, “King’s claims are false. Here is the audio. The exchange, as transcribed, starts at about the 20-second mark. King is quoted accurately throughout.”
How to use a teachable moment
In a new profile for The Washington Post, Dan Zak writes that Congressman-elect Dan Crenshaw started the week as an SNL joke and ended it as a GOP star. The real story came before that. Mark Pazniokas thinks it would “Be interesting if @DanCrenshawTX and @JahanaHayesCT end up on same committee. Hayes is a gifted teacher, and Crenshaw taught America over the weekend how to use a teachable moment.” Meanwhile, “The young folk have their John McCain,” says John Farrell. Not everyone’s feeling it, though. Tweets Chris Richards, “While everyone applauds last night’s brave triumph of civility on SNL, allow Dan Crenshaw to explain how white supremacy allows so many Americans to look the other way while our government puts children in cages.”
Why Did Facebook Fire a Top Executive? Hint: It Had Something to Do With Trump, reveal Kirsten Grind and Keach Hagey of The Wall Street Journal. Brad Reagan highlights, “Among the many juicy details here: Mark Zuckerberg helped draft statement in which Luckey said he wouldn't vote for Trump. Great work from @KirstenGrind and @keachhagey.” On Twitter, Grind refers to that “Key point in our story on fired Facebook exec Palmer Luckey: execs including CEO Zuckerberg pressured him to say publicly that he would support Johnson and not Trump, in presidential election, according to internal emails.” Jacquie McNish advises, “Brace yourself for angry anti-Silicon Valley Trump tweets.”
“Since Afghan officials were downplaying or denying the extent of the problem, and phones were down, the only way to find what was happening was to go there, which we did,” tweets Rod Nordland, who links to his new story in The New York Times, Taliban Slaughter Elite Afghan Troops, and a ‘Safe’ District Is Falling. Bill Roggio notes, “The Taliban's assault on Jaghuri district in Ghazni last week was far worse than initially reported. @rodnordland & his team, who deserve a Pulitzer, have outline the catastrophe. Another commando company has been routed. District on verge of collapse.”
Also at The New York Times, David Sanger and William J. Broad report, In North Korea, Missile Bases Suggest a Great Deception. Satellite images suggest that North Korea has offered to dismantle a different major missile launching site — a step it began, then halted — while continuing to make improvements at more than a dozen others. Nicholas Kristof calls it “Important scoop about North Korea secretly continuing with its missile program, having apparently bamboozled President Trump.”
Lisa O'Carroll of The Guardian reports that Terry Sargeant, the chairman and CEO of ThyssenKrupp in the UK, says the Brexit plan is a ‘complete shambles.’ On that note, Craig Thomas tweets, “When a life-long @Conservatives voter and CEO of an industrial conglomerate calls out the shambles of the government’s #Brexit position, perhaps @theresa_may should pay attention.”
“Then there's this jackassery …” as Carmen Gentile puts it. Santanu Chakrabarti of BBC News reports on new BBC research that shows nationalism is a driving force behind fake news in India, but Supriya Dwivedi says it’s “Unsurprising to anyone on here who has bothered to pay attention.”
Not sure if this is real or satire
Back to the U.S., in an op-ed for The Wall Street Journal, Mark Penn and Andrew Stein write that Hillary Will Run Again (49,000+ shares), reinventing herself as a liberal firebrand, and Art Tavana thinks “WSJ is trolling with complete disregard for our sanity.” But as Connell McShane says, “Stranger things have happened, or have they?” Edward-Isaac Dovere notes, “For a 2016 campaign that did happen, one of Hillary’s big issues was trying not to be weighed down by the advisers & hangers-on who’d been around her for years. Now it’s those people who keep pushing a 2020 that won’t happen to whoever will listen.” Also, “There’s a word for thinking that Hillary is this insatiably power-hungry political opportunist and it rhymes with ‘shmisogyny,’” says Max Weiss. “All else aside, this is so poorly written,” adds Dan Zak. To sum up, Melissa Santos tweets, “1) Not sure this would be a good idea. 2) Also, not sure if this is real or satire. Which brings me back to point No. 1.”
While we’re at it, Richard Ojeda, West Virginia Lawmaker Who Led Teacher Strikes, Will Run for President, reports Ryan Grim of The Intercept. As Shane Goldmacher tweets, “Everyone into the pool.”
u betta believe it, nerds
Of course people are going to sell sex in driverless cars. Or as Maria Sherman says, “u betta believe it, nerds.” Danielle Paquette of The Washington Post has the details on a new study from the Annals of Tourism Research, and “Driverless cars could become rolling brothels is not the headline I expected this morning. But OK,” says Timothy Aeppel. At this point, why not.
- “ICYMI: ICE is imprisoning a record 44,000 people. That's thousands more than Congress funded, and it won't say where it got the extra money from.” Spencer Ackerman links to his new exclusive at The Daily Beast, ICE Is Imprisoning a Record 44,000 People.
- The latest scoop from Axios’s Jonathan Swan is that Trump wants no more relief funds for Puerto Rico.
- Jessica Contrera shares, “When it's easy to be numb to recent gun violence, to let it all blur together, two of my favorite storytellers have gone back to the places and the people for whom these events will never fade into the background. From California, @kemettler reports.” She links to Ventura shooting: They survived the Las Vegas massacre. In a California country bar, it happened again, by Katie Mettler of The Washington Post.
- Frances Sellers of The Washington Post writes about the doctors taking to Twitter to express outrage after NRA tells them ‘to stay in their lane.’
- For the new cover of Elle, Oprah Winfrey interviews Michelle Obama, who opens up about Trump, couples counseling and her life now.
- At The Atlantic, Derek Thompson says, Amazon’s HQ2 Spectacle Isn’t Just Shameful—It Should Be Illegal.
- “When I heard that people were making cancer drugs from scratch in China from pharmaceutical ingredients that they found online, I couldn't believe it. But I spoke to a couple of these DIY drugmakers. Here's a heartbreaking tale from one of them.” Sui-Lee Wee links to her piece in The New York times, In China, Desperate Patients Smuggle Drugs. Or Make Their Own.
- Nina Lakhani tweets, “Alert: Imelda Cortez, a survivor of horrific child sex abuse, faces 20 years in prison for the attempted murder of her newborn baby, in an extraordinarily cruel case which highlights the deep-seated discrimination behind El Salvador's total ban on abortion.” Read Lakhani’s piece at The Guardian, Woman who bore rapist’s baby faces 20 years in El Salvador jail.