Everyone agrees on one thing
The Guardian has live, ongoing coverage of the Brexit deal, which at press time, was being called “essentially dead” by Michael Russell, the Scottish constitutional relations secretary. Cabinet ministers are resigning, including Dominic Raab, the Brexit secretary, who said he “cannot in good conscience support” the draft Brexit agreement, as BBC News reports.
What are the options? Well, as Matt Chorley notes, “Matt Hancock, the health secretary, told cabinet that he could not guarantee that people would not die as a result of a no-deal Brexit. So it’s this or death. I don’t remember that being written on the side of the bus.” His piece in The Times puts it bluntly: So it’s this or death. Cheers!
Martin Wolf of the Financial Times tries to look on the bright side with Theresa May’s terrible Brexit deal has united the UK in horror, writing, “Congratulations! UK Prime Minister Theresa May has succeeded in uniting her deeply divided nation. Everybody agrees on one thing: the deal she has come up with is terrible."
John Fraher refers to Bloomberg’s coverage and “Great points from @RobDotHutton on the grim options facing Britain’s PM - whoever that is - if the deal fails.” Follow their live blog here. Bloomberg’s Brexit Editor Emma Ross-Thomas writes, “The pound fell 1.9 percent, and banking stocks slumped on the prospect that Britain could crash out of the EU without a deal, or that a general election could bring Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn to power.”
Many were sharing the LBC Radio clip of a Leave Voter Breaking Into Tears on Air As He Apologises For Backing Brexit.
Here’s the full text of the Draft Agreement on the withdrawal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland from the European Union and the European Atomic Energy Community, as agreed at negotiators’ level on 14 November 2018.
It started with a question
“You’ve seen the fallout from Facebook’s problems. Now here's the full story of what happened inside. The result of months of reporting w/ @sheeraf, @nickconfessore, @ceciliakang & @AllMattNYT, please dive in.” Jack Nicas links to the hefty New York Times exclusive by Sheera Frenkel, Nicholas Confessore, Cecilia Kang and Matthew Rosenberg, Delay, Deny and Deflect: How Facebook’s Leaders Fought Through Crisis.
Frankel explains, “This story has been 6 months in the making. It started with a question: What happened inside Facebook over the last 3 years, and what did top executives, Mark Zuckerberg and Sheryl Sandberg, do in the wake of crisis after crisis battering the company?” Damien Cave points out that this is “What subscribers worldwide help us do: ‘This account of how Mr. Zuckerberg and Ms. Sandberg navigated Facebook’s cascading crises, much of which has not been previously reported, is based on interviews with more than 50 people.’" Adds Jodi Kantor, “I’ve never seen Facebook cracked open like this. We’re in a new stage of the conversation now. I hope these sources keep talking, for the public good.”
As Mike Madden says, “You have to hand it to Facebook: Not every company would be capable of simultaneously accusing its critics of anti-Semitism and also of being secretly funded by a powerful Jew.” Gady Epstein’s advice: “Deduct a half-hour from your Facebook time today to read this great investigative story on Facebook.” And while you’re there, you might want to check out this: Tweets Jessica Lessin, “Fascinated by the SEO action going on in this URL.”
The power of quality journalism
Mike Isaac and Jack Nicas of The New York Times report that, in the wake of the paper’s story, Facebook is ending its relationship with Washington consultancy firm Definers Definers Public Affairs, which spread disparaging information about the social network’s critics and competitors. Daisuke Wakabayashi guesses it’s “The first of many dominos, I suspect. (Real talk - what kind of name is the Definers? Such arrogance.).” And Andrew Stroehlein calls it “a nice reminder of the power of quality journalism.”
On its blog, Facebook has a New York Times Update, confirming it’s terminated the relationship with Definers, but pushing back against some of the other points in the piece. Tweets Olivia Solon, “Facebook responds to the NYT's article, citing a ‘number of inaccuracies.’ It's surprisingly sparse, which validates the Times' sourcing.”
From the department of masculine toilets
Moving on, “This is wild. Whitaker is a comical villain,” is how Brian Beutler puts it. For the latest on the acting Attorney General’s ties to World Patent Marketing, read Tom Hamburger, Carol Leonnig and Rosalind Helderman at The Washington Post, ‘He was yelling’: Whitaker pushed back against early fraud complaints about company he advised. Talk about pushing back: “At one point, Whitaker said he would refer Ripoff Report to the Department of Homeland Security,” they report.
Just what kinds of products did World Patent Marketing promote? Well, there were the special toilets for “well-endowed” men. The Bigfoot dolls. The time travel...something something...bitcoin something. For more, read Dan Friedman’s story at Mother Jones, The acting attorney general helped an alleged scam company hawk bizarre products — if for nothing else, as Aaron Wiener says, “This is one of the best ledes I’ve had the privilege of helping edit.” Although, fair warning: “oh god the lede no why,” tweets Paul Blumenthal.
It’s that time again. Time for “an update on the President’s mood,” as Michael Del Moro tweets. Gabriel Sherman of Vanity Fair checks in and hears things like “Insanity,” “Furious,” “On His Own”: Trump’s Post-Midterms Blues Are Vexing His Staff and Roiling the White House. In that piece, you’ll find the real reason Trump skipped the ceremony honoring the Battle of Belleau Wood, and spoiler alert: It’s the one you already suspected. (As Luke Russert points out, “What else is a #MAGA hat for?”) Also, tweets, Josh Marshall, “The fact that it would be a ‘big victory’ for Trump to fire his own chief of staff is among the most cucktastic things ever written.”
You might also want to read the Full Transcript Of Trump’s Oval Office Interview With The Daily Caller, in which “Without any apparent irony or embarrassment - only self-pleasure - he uses the phrase ‘the age of Trump,’” tweets Jason Pontin. “The entire transcript is, of course, completely bananas, and like all the President's completely bananas interviews, will be completely ignored,” as Peter Sagal points out.
And now, from the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree — even if it wants to — files: “The son who pushed back, then returned to the fold, now faces some of the same troubles confronting his father, the president. Fahrenthold and O’Connell have the first in our series of profiles of Only the Best People.” Marc Fisher sets up the piece by David Fahrenthold and Jonathan O'Connell of The Washington Post, From rebellious to reliable: Donald Trump Jr.’s journey back to family royalty. As O’Connell puts it, “Hate him or love him, he learned an early lesson that the entire Republican party has since had to learn as well: You can’t be with Donald Trump halfway. Out or in.” Tweets Jenny Rogers, “I've been hearing about this Don Jr. profile for weeks around the newsroom, dying to read it.”
An emerging crisis in our land
A horrifying moment last night in Baltimore. Christina Tkacik of The Baltimore Sun reports, Man shouts ‘Heil Hitler, Heil Trump’ during intermission of Baltimore performance of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ (120,000+ shares). And Chris Dinsmore asks, “Is it an act of terrorism if people are terrified?” Rich Scherr, a contributing sportswriter for The Baltimore Sun who was at the performance, posted a video from after the incident onto Facebook. Tkacik notes, “Anti-Jewish incidents reported to police in Maryland jumped 47 percent in 2017 to 78 incidents, according to a Baltimore Sun review of records.” As the Anne Frank Center tweets, “We cannot pretend not to hear this. There is an emerging crisis in our land.”
Another big story yesterday, NBC News got hold of text messages showing Roger Stone and radio host Randy Credico discussing WikiLeaks plans. Anna Schecter has those details, and while we’re at it, says Julia Ioffe, “Let’s recall that WikiLeaks was also in direct communication with Donald Trump, Jr. during the campaign.”
Alex Horton of The Washington Post reports that Veterans aren’t getting their GI Bill payments — because VA’s 50-year-old computer system broke.
The Associated Press, which is reporting that the California fire is the deadliest in 100 years, has more grim news: The Latest: Outbreak of norovirus at wildfire shelter.
CNN’s Sarah Sirgany, Bianca Britton and Nada AlTaher report, Saudi prosecutor seeks death penalty for five in Khashoggi killing, and Gregg Carlstrom says, “It's like a dark satire of Arab bureaucracy: the Saudis say their death squad was divided into ‘a negotiation team, an intelligence team and a logistical team.’ Wonder which one the forensic expert with the bone saw belonged to.”
An investigation by Angus Berwick of Reuters finds A new Venezuelan ID, created with China’s ZTE, tracks citizen behavior. Tweets David Luhnow, “Great and scary stuff here from Reuters on the unholy alliance between China and Maduro: A new Venezuelan ID, created with China's ZTE, tracks citizen behavior.”
In Singapore, Vice President Pence tells NBC News’ Vaughn Hillyard that a Second Trump-Kim summit will go ahead despite Kim’s refusal to hand over list of North Korea’s nuclear and missile assets.
Karen Tumulty casts “My vote for political upset of 2018: @kathyhoffman_az and the Little Prius Engine that Could.” She writes about Kathy Hoffman, Arizona’s new superintendent of public instruction, in a Washington Post column, This 31-year-old had had enough. So she ran. And won. Eliza Shapiro calls it “Even more evidence of Betsy DeVos as effective boogeyman for Dems. Arizona's new superintendent of public education decided to run after watching DeVos confirmation hearings.”
Take a break from it all and check out The Winners Of The 2018 National Book Awards. Claire Fallon has the full list at HuffPost.