Trump calls May foolish as diplomatic row escalates

How not to make friends and influence people


President criticises prime minister after Downing Street backs UK ambassador to US

Theresa May is facing a full-blown diplomatic standoff with the US after Donald Trump condemned Britain’s “stupid” Washington ambassador over leaked memos critical of the White House, as Downing Street insisted Sir Kim Darroch had its full support.

The escalating crisis began after a Sunday newspaper printed extracts of confidential memos in which Darroch labelled Trump’s administration “inept” and “dysfunctional”. The US president announced on Monday he would no longer deal with the ambassador.

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Planting trees can help save the planet – but only if governments put people first | Stephen Woroniecki

Not if they are industrial plantations!


Nature-based solutions to the climate crisis must work with vulnerable communities, not leave them to pick up the bill

A new study extols the “mindblowing” potential of widespread tree planting as a solution to climate breakdown. The scientists claim that 1bn hectares of treeless land could be forested – an area equivalent to the size of the US – and the study’s authors say restoration of such areas could remove two-thirds (205 gigatonnes) of all the carbon dioxide emissions pumped into the atmosphere by human activities since the 1800s.

A number of organisations and scientists are investigating these nature-based climate solutions. While studies show different levels of ambition and potential, all are clear that carefully restored ecosystems can help solve three interlinked crises: the climate crisis, biodiversity loss and poverty. For climate, the most urgent priority to meet the goal of keeping global heating below 1.5C is decarbonising the economy, but restoring our forests, grasslands and wetlands, plus enhancing soil health, could provide part of the solution to the climate crisis. Land restoration and stewardship can both help stabilise the Earth’s climate by storing carbon, and provide ecosystems critical for wildlife – forests, mangroves, wetlands and coral reefs. This can also benefit local communities, particularly in emerging regions of the global south least responsible for this crisis and already suffering most severely from the impacts.

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Billionaire Tom Steyer makes 2020 U-turn and announces run for president | US news | The Guardian “Don’t need another liar who said he was not running for President but now he is… and who needs another owg with no democratic experience?

Steyer, Democrats’ largest donor and a strident voice in favor of Donald Trump’s impeachment, says he will run after ruling it out in January

Source: Billionaire Tom Steyer makes 2020 U-turn and announces run for president | US news | The Guardian

Boris Johnson displays why he will be most ill-qualified PM of modern times | Martin Kettle

Smirks, smugness and self-love will not deter predominantly rightwing, old, white and male Tory voters

Tuesday night’s televised debate on ITV between Jeremy Hunt and Boris Johnson is the only chance the public will get to see the two candidates to succeed Theresa May argue their points head-to-head. But it won’t change anything.

Related: We’d be better off picking someone at random and giving them keys to No 10 | John Crace

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Virginia Republican Chase: Women Who Get Raped Are ‘Naive and Unprepared’ Because They Aren’t Carrying Guns

Virginia Republican Chase: Women Who Get Raped Are ‘Naive and Unprepared’ Because They Aren’t Carrying Guns:


Matthew Chapman at Raw Story, via NCRM: 

Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase is facing criticism for claiming on Facebook that women who are raped are “naive and unprepared” because they weren’t armed.

During a social media debate on gun ownership, Chase told one constituent, “It’s those who are naive and unprepared that end of [sic] raped. Sorry but I’m not going to be a statistic.”

Chase ultimately doubled down on her comments in a public statement, saying the constituent was “scoffing at my rights and the rights of everyone else who protect themselves … I’m a champion for women, their right to protect themselves and their right to their opinion, even if I may not agree, but will not tolerate the bullying or chastising the rights of the Second Amendment.”

In reality, there is no evidence whatsoever that carrying guns deters rapes. Higher gun ownership is in fact linked to higher violent crime — and in fact most sexual violence against women is committed by familiar people, not random strangers who prey on people while jogging.

For all Chase’s claims that she is a “champion for women,” she opposes ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment in Virginia, calling it “a plot by the left to eliminate gender altogether” — although she has said that her revolver is “my little Equal Rights Amendment.”

Chase’s Democratic opponent in Virginia’s 11th Senate District, social worker Amanda Pohl, sharply condemned Chase’s rape remarks. “As someone who works in advocacy, I know we can prevent sexual assault by funding primary prevention and ending rape culture,” said Pohl. “Victim-blaming and shaming contribute to rape culture and harm survivors. Virginians deserve better.”

The Virginia Senate elections will take place this November. Republicans control the chamber by one vote, and are struggling to defend their turf after their racial gerrymander was struck down in court.

Border policy, practices and migrant mistreatment brings one blogger out of retirement


By Marisa Treviño

Was it last week or last month when the world was simultaneously repulsed and heartbroken at seeing the image of the young El Salvador migrant father, Óscar Alberto Martínez Ramírez, face-down along the weedy shore of the Rio Grande, with his almost 2-year-old daughter, Valeria’s, arm poking through the back of his shirt neck still draped over his shoulder?

It shouldn’t be hard to remember when such a heart wrenching and needless loss of lives happened. But under an administration that habitually generates or is drawn into ‘selational’ (a cross between sensational and salacious) headlines, the sad fact is, it just is.

Oscar and Valeria’s deaths are already forgotten in favor of headlines about the sex-trafficking charges against Jeffrey Epstein and which politicians, heads-of-state and top 1 percent are sweating his arrest.

It shouldn’t be. Our legal system is finally working for the victims of this vicious pedophile, but it’s a different story at our southern border.

As a nation, we should be concerned about the children and migrants being held in the detention centers along the border. When the UN’s own Human Rights Chief declares she’s “shocked” at detention conditions, then it’s long overdue that we open our eyes.

But we won’t.

We’ll continue to shake our heads in pity and move on with our lives. After all, we rationalize, it was their choice. But history teaches that most migrations aren’t the result of a choice — it’s for survival.

Scientists are already ringing the alarm bell that while today it’s violence and extreme poverty driving people towards our borders, tomorrow it will be the climate. Some say it’s already begun.

And how will the U.S. respond? The same as today? Denying basic necessities and sanitary conditions? Separating toddlers from their mothers? Overcrowding cells? Denying access to medical help?

When I first started blogging, back in 2004, it was because children, held with their parents in a Texas migrant detention center, were forced to wear prison-like jumpsuits and had little, if any, outdoor play time.

To see the atrocities being conducted now, compared to 2004, can make you feel helpless and like there’s no hope for change – but that’s wrong.

It was through national coverage by media and bloggers that changed the situation in the detention centers back then. And it’s only by giving voice to the atrocities today that will do the same.

I had hoped to retire from writing about migrant families needlessly suffering at the hands of our immigration policy but what is happening today makes me realize that my — our — work is not yet done.

Until change can be achieved, when no child or adult is needlessly suffering, just because they want to survive, Latina Lista is back.

The Betts House in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Betts House

The Betts House is a humble farmhouse built in 1804, which predates the incorporation of the City of Cincinnati. It was built using bricks, which were made at the site and was originally part of a prosperous farm spread across over 100 acres. It’s now the anchor of the Betts-Longworth Historic District, and a house museum devoted to telling the story of its inhabitants and the development of the city around it.

The Betts House is now situated within the Betts-Longworth Historic District, recognized on the National Register of Historic Places for its Federal, Italianate, Queen Anne, and Greek Revival architecture.