I can quit you
Some big news to start the week in the UK. BBC News reports that seven MPs have left the Labour Party. Frances Perraudin, who’s providing live coverage of the developments for The Guardian, writes that they will sit as The Independent Group after resigning in protest over Jeremy Corbyn’s leadership, the party’s Brexit stance and its handling of antisemitism. Jim Waterson notes, “If you want an example of UK electoral law loopholes: The Independent Group, which looks/swims/quacks a lot like a political party and is asking for donations, is actually a private company. So it isn’t subject to electoral law rules requiring them to declare financial backers.”
Richard Partington thinks, “Surely this is a lose-lose for all involved. What could the breakaways ever amount to? Labour also diminished without them.” And there are some who are pretty vocal in their agreement with him on that point. Waterson writes about the BBC’s apology over a hot mic during the Labour split broadcast, in which the audience was able to hear “a stark warning from an unknown voice: ‘We are actually fucked.’” “On the contrary, a simple, articulate and accurate assessment of UK circumstance,” tweets Bill Tanner.
But for some insight into the decision, turn to Medium, where Adam Langleben shares his resignation letter to Jeremy Corbyn. He tweets, “After 13 years and devoting countless hours of my life to it, today I leave the Labour Party. This is probably the hardest decision I have ever taken but it’s over. It is institutionally antisemitic and I can no longer have any part in it.”
Meanwhile, Mark Kleinman of Sky News breaks the news that Honda plans to close its Swindon plant in 2022, “dealing a devastating blow both to its 3,500-strong workforce and ministers’ hopes that the UK will remain an elite manufacturing economy after Brexit.”
And “Oh look! Another rich brexiter jumping ship…” Nicolas Chinardet links to the news that Sir Jim Ratcliffe, the UK’s richest man, quits country to save billions, as reported by Oliver Shah and Caroline Wheeler of The Times. Tweets Jim Pickard, “prominent Brexiteer set to avoid ‘up to £4bn in tax’ by shifting to Monaco, apologies if you find this surprising.”
Mueller poking around Brexit
Well, it’s not just the “Saturday Night Live” blues. Jon-Christopher Bua called this story “Not Good Morning Golf News For Trump!” At The Guardian, Carole Cadwalladr reports that Mueller has questioned Cambridge Analytica director Brittany Kaiser. A spokesman for CA’s former business development director said she’s cooperating fully with the investigation and assisting other US congressional and legal investigations into the company’s activities. As Charles Johnson says, we now have “Mueller poking around Brexit.” Cadwalladr notes that Kaiser “is the first person connected directly to both the Brexit and Trump campaigns known to have been questioned by Mueller.” Tweets Molly McKew, “The wikileaks-Brexit-Trump campaign connection -- media other than @carolecadwalla may never cover it, but Mueller gets it anyway.”
‘I don’t care’
Happy Presidents Day! You can now read the full transcript of Scott Pelley’s interview with Andrew McCabe on CBS’s 60 Minutes, in which the former acting FBI director talks about the Trump investigation and taking over for James Comey during the Russia investigation (46,000+ shares). One part that’s getting a lot of attention on Twitter, “‘I don’t care. I believe Putin,’ Pres Trump allegedly said, rejecting U.S. intelligence regarding North Korean intercontinental ballistic missile capability. McCabe says he heard this from an FBI official who was at the meeting with POTUS,” as 60 Minutes highlights. McCabe also tells Pelley that his notes from his conversations with Trump and Rod Rosenstein have been turned over to the special counsel’s team.
And then there’s “The damage Trump has wrought,” as Jon Anderson tweets. Steven Erlanger and Katrin Bennhold of The New York Times write that the Rift Between Trump and Europe Is Now Open and Angry (32,000+ shares). Tweets Steven Greenhouse, “European leaders agree—Trump is Making America Less Great. He’s shredding alliances. He insults allies. He takes unilateral actions without consulting allies. He takes actions that mystify and anger allies. All this is causing Russia and China to gloat.” Borzou Daragahi’s take: “In truth, the rift between EU and US has been pretty open and angry since Trump knifed Europe and abruptly violated nuclear deal, but DC-centric journalists and analysts guzzling Beltway think-tank Kool Aid are only noticing it now.”
Next up, the Portland Press Herald tweets, “We have, as the kids say, the receipts.” Scott Thistle and Kevin Miller of the Press Herald found out that Maine paid for 40 rooms at a Trump hotel for former Governor Paul LePage and his staff. Tweets Steve Greenlee, “After LePage leaves office, the state finally complies with @thisdog/@KevinMillerPPH’s longstanding FOIA of his travel expenses — and they reveal that he spent much more of Maine taxpayers’ money at the Trump hotel than previously disclosed.” He adds, “If you don’t subscribe to a newspaper, please consider doing so. Nobody else will dig this deep to tell you what your government is up to, and the only way we can keep doing it is if enough people find it valuable enough to pay us a few bucks a month.” Listen to Patrick Whittle, who says, “Not big on groveling, but if you care even a shred about accountability journalism, I beg you to read this story in @PressHerald.”
Here’s what other local reporting is turning up. Evan Smith calls this one a “Wowee zowee from @emmaplatoff: Sen. @AngelaPaxtonTX has filed a bill that would allow unregistered ‘investment advisers’ to sell securities — a felony under state law that her husband, Texas Attorney General @KenPaxtonTX, was charged with in 2015.” That piece, by Emma Platoff of The Texas Tribune: Sen. Angela Paxton files bill that would allow her husband, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, to issue exemptions from securities regulations (29,000+ shares).
And at the Los Angeles Times, Gale Holland answers this question: L.A. has great weather. So why do more homeless people die of the cold here than in New York? Tweets Lisa Fung, “'One of the abiding myths about Los Angeles is that homeless people come here from the East Coast or Midwest because at least they won’t freeze to death.' Must read by @geholland, with photos by @francineorr.”
This is their story
James Martin says, “This is a wise, thoughtful, well researched and, in many ways, groundbreaking piece on the lonely but rewarding life of gay priests, with (a rarity) several priests going on the record. An excellent read to dispel stereotypes and prejudices.” He links to the new piece by Elizabeth Dias of The New York Times, with photographs by Gabriella Demczuk, ‘It Is Not a Closet. It Is a Cage.’ Gay Catholic Priests Speak Out. Dias explains, “Two dozen gay Catholic priests shared intimate details of their lives with me over the past two months. The church’s crisis over sexuality goes beyond abuse. It goes to the heart of the priesthood, into a closet trapping 1000s of men. This is their story.” Deputy National Editor Jia Lynn Yang tweets, “The comments pouring into @elizabethjdias’s story on gay priests are completely riveting. Elizabeth has also hopped in to respond to readers, for those who have thoughts/questions. Do share with us.”
Thoroughly depressing essential reading
In an essay for The New York Times, David Wallace-Wells makes “The case for catastrophic thinking: ‘The planet is getting warmer in catastrophic ways. And fear may be the only thing that saves us.’” Read his piece to understand why it’s Time to Panic. James Crabtree calls it “thoroughly depressing essential reading on the leap of imagination required to understand the climate catastrophe to come.” David Roberts finds, “It is somewhat surreal to me that @dwallacewells is practically the only voice at the national level saying this (and for his efforts gets scolded by the serial failures in the ‘climate communications’ community).”
Hoda Muthana ‘deeply regrets’ joining Isis and wants to return home, according to the new report by Martin Chulov and Bethan Mckernan of The Guardian. The American woman, who was captured by Kurdish forces after fleeing the last pocket of land controlled by Islamic State, has pleaded to be allowed to return to her family in Alabama.
Meanwhile, Evan Perez says, “This fantastic story by @rcallimachi closes the loop on the Canadian/Saudi man who became the English voice of ISIS in 2014, narrating well-produced videos that became the clarion call to join the terrorists for many recruits in the West.” That’s Rukmini Callimachi’s piece for The New York Times, The English Voice of ISIS Comes Out of the Shadows. Mohammed Khalifa, a 35-year-old Canadian citizen, was captured in Syria last month by an American-backed militia. Speaking from a prison in northeastern Syria, he told her, “No, I don’t regret it.”
One last ride
For something a little different, read The Last Stop for Greyhound, by Derek Shapton of The Walrus, who explains, “The company cancelled bus service in Western Canada, isolating hundreds of communities. We went along for the final ride,” where “[t]he place names on my itinerary read like accidental poetry.”
- Like pretty much everyone, Cody Lyon is “Nauseated” at this news: As Ryan Young, Brad Parks and Dakin Andone of CNN report, Police sources say new evidence suggests Jussie Smollett orchestrated attack (326,000+ shares).
- “.@Kaepernick7 handed the NFL a massive L. My latest column on for @TheAtlantic on why this is so significant,” tweets The Atlantic’s Jemele Hill, referring to her piece, Colin Kaepernick Won His Settlement With the NFL (130,000+ shares).
- “If you respected and loved Marian Hossa before, wait until you read what he went through at the end of his career,” tweets Jon Greenberg, who links to ‘Body says you have to stop’: Marian Hossa speaks about the painful skin condition that ended his career, by Scott Powers at The Athletic.
- In an op-ed for The New York Times, Harry Reid’s former deputy chief of staff Adam Jentleson explains How Mitch McConnell Enables Trump. “‘Crass self interest’ and ‘malign influence.’ Nicely done, @ajentleson,” tweets Anita Creamer.
- How sexist will the media’s treatment of female candidates be? Rule out ‘not at all,’ writes Margaret Sullivan in her latest Washington Post column. Meanwhile, Alexander Burns of The New York Times reports, Obama Quietly Gives Advice to 2020 Democrats, but No Endorsement.
- 21 Savage spoke to The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica about ICE Detention, the Grammys and His Uncertain Future.