Mind-boggle of the week: USDA buys pork from JBS The Washington Post reports that the USDA has committed about $5 million of bailout funds to buy 1.8 million pounds of pork products from the Brazilian meatpacker, JBS. The bailout funds were supposed to help U.S. commodity producers who lost sales because of the tariff disputes with China. JBS is the biggest meat seller in the U.S. It employs 73,000 people here. Maybe the USDA thought it was an American company? Globalization in action…
The defense ministers of France and Germany have declared that their plan to produce a new joint fighter can now begin. The project is part of an ambitious new defense strategy.
When the so-called Republican “moderate” made the announcement that she would confirm Kavanaugh, she gave a 43-minute long, condescending speech explaining her decision to do so. Collins praised his “judicial temperament” and said she was “alarmed and disturbed” by those who argued that supporting an accused sexual assaulter was “condoning sexual assault.” A few days later, Collins said that her decision to confirm Kavanaugh was very “difficult.” Lucrative, too.
The Trump administration is scaling back independent evaluation of its most controversial healthcare proposals, including moves to impose work requirements in Medicaid.
Oleg Deripaska’s company hires former Trump transition official as soon as Treasury sanctions are lifted
The US Embassy in Madrid notified the Spanish government before Juan Guaidó declared himself the interim president
the Turkish army is a mess. Most of its best officers and even pilots have been in prison since the failed coup attempt in 2016, and it’s now being run by commanders chosen by political loyalty instead of competence. Rojava’s defenders, in contrast, are seasoned veterans. In a fair fight, they would have no more problem fending off a Turkish incursion than they had driving back Turkish-backed Jihadis in the past. A “fair fight” in this case would mean having access to anti-tank and anti-air weapons. But this is precisely what the Trump administration promised Turkey it would not let the Kurds have. Even those forces directly working with the US and British troops to defeat Islamic State were never to receive the defensive weapons needed to fend off the Turkish air and armored assault that would inevitably follow – which, if Afrin is anything to go by, may be backed by napalm and cluster bombs. The moment those forces are withdrawn, however, their former allies will be sitting ducks, unable to defend themselves against the advanced weaponry that Britain and the US themselves help provide to Turkey and maintain.
The president’s tweets can have an impact and consequences for the press both at home and abroad. His rhetoric has given cover to autocratic regimes: world leaders from Cambodia to the Philippines have echoed terms like “fake news” in the midst of crackdowns on press freedom. And the rhetoric has sometimes resulted in harassment of individual journalists in the U.S., where CPJ is aware of several journalists who say they were harassed or threatened online after being singled out on Twitter by Trump. CPJ’s database of tweets can be viewed here and our methodology can be found here.
In the not too distant future, US soldiers may rely on Amazon-run systems to trade intelligence, relay orders and call for help. Drone footage might be scoured for wanted men and women by Amazon software. Defense department quartermasters would use Amazon technology to move ammunition and supplies.