Trump orders US troops out of northern Syria as Turkish assault continues

At least 750 Isis affiliates escape after Turkish shelling of camp guarded by Kurds with whom US forces were working Amid spoke to CBSs Face the Nation and Fox News Sunday. Trumps national security team planned to meet to assess the situation, he said, as the US continued to urge Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoan to halt his incursion. Asked if he thought Turkey, a Nato ally, would deliberately attack US troops in Syria, Esper said: I dont know whether they would or wouldnt. He cited an incident on Friday in which a small number of troops fell under artillery fire at an observation post in the north. Esper called that an example of indiscriminate fire coming close to Americans, …

‘Kangaroo court’: what have marsupials got to do with White House politics?

Donald Trump claims the impeachment inquiry is a kangaroo court but what does that mean? This week Donald Trump denounced the impeachment inquiry that has begun in Congress as a kangaroo court, and so not fit to judge what he also called his great and unmatched wisdom. But what have Australian marsupials got to do with American politics? The phrase kangaroo court originated in 19th-century America to describe any illegitimate court proceedings, as were often held by mutineers or prisoners. Some fanciful etymologies link it to the practice of claim jumping the attempt to seize land already claimed by another during the Gold Rush, or to dodgy practices by itinerant judges hopping from one jurisdiction to another. For a while, …

Listen to the scientists: Greta Thunberg urges Congress to take action

Teen climate activists attend a hearing to address the climate crisis and its traumatic effect on the younger generation The climate campaigner Greta Thunberg has bluntly told members of Congress to heed scientists warnings over global heating on a day when the existential anguish of young activists was given a voice at the heart of Washington DC power. Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who has ignited a global youth climate movement, said at a congressional hearing that she had no prepared remarks other than to submit the landmark IPCC report, published last year, that warned of the rapidly approaching catastrophe of global heating. Garret Graves, a Louisiana Republican known for a firmer embrace of climate science than many others in his …

How Trump could lose the popular vote again and hold the White House

Hillary Clinton won a majority but lost the presidency in the electoral college. A close election could bring a repeat Some defeats never lose their sting. A study from the University of Texas at Austin found that the electoral college is much more likely than previously thought to elect the candidate who loses the popular vote. In close elections, researchers argues, such inversions are normal, not exceptional. In a race decided by less than 2% (2.6m votes), the study found, the probability of an inversion is 32%. In a race decided by less than 1% (1.3m votes), the probability is 45%. Its almost a coin flip, said won New York and California she did so by big margins, but when …

Permanent Record by Edward Snowden review the whistleblowers memoir

The call of duty and a patriotic pedigree are given priority in Snowdens account of his motivations and he warns of dangers ahead Towards the end of Edward Snowdens memoir, he hands the narrative to his partner, Lindsay Mills, in the form of the diary she was keeping at the time he was American and British spy agencies. Ed, what have you done? she wrote. How can you come back from this? Permanent Record is Snowdens attempt to answer these questions by doing something he finds discomforting and antithetical: breaching his own privacy, opening up what he calls the empty zone that lies beyond the reach of the state. This is the space he has guarded for six years, but …

Trump opens protected Alaskan Arctic refuge to oil drillers

The Bureau of Land Management will offer leases to the 1.6m-acre coastal plain which is home to threatened polar bears The Trump administration is finalizing plans to allow oil and gas drilling in a portion of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge that has been protected for decades. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) will offer leases on essentially the entire 1.6m-acre coastal plain, which includes places where threatened polar bears have dens and underestimated the climate impacts of the oil leases. Parts of BLMs final statement suggest contrary to evidence that the current rapid heating of the earth is cyclical rather than human-made. Much attention in recent decades has focused on the potential climate change effects of GHGs [greenhouse gasses], …

David Koch obituary

US businessman, free marketeer and rightwing activist David Koch, who has died aged 79, was ranked as the eleventh richest person in the world. Charles wanted to minimise the role of government and maximise the role of the private economy … and personal freedoms, but the brothers philosophy was self-serving, protecting their worth and working against regulation of their business interests. David was the more public of the two, his philanthropy extending beyond the brothers massive spending on rightwing thinktanks, academic programmes, activist organisations and campaign funding; he was a major donor to the arts and medicine, especially in New York, where he maintained homes in Manhattan and the Hamptons. He moved between them, Aspen (Colorado), Palm Beach (Florida) and …

David Koch, billionaire industrialist and Republican mega donor, dies aged 79

Koch, who was also a major cultural philanthropist, and brother Charles championed conservative causes David Koch, one half of the double act of the billionaire Koch brothers who used their vast wealth as energy tycoons to transform rightwing politics in America with a relentless drive towards free market and libertarian ideals, has died aged 79. News of his death was first announced by Jane Mayer, the New Yorker writer whose statement that said he had died from prostate cancer, which he had been diagnosed with 27 years ago yet had remarkably kept at bay until now. Koch built up the Kansas-based Koch Industries into a massive industrial empire alongside his brother Charles that they inherited from their father Fred Koch …

Texas: Republican powerhouse could shift to Democrats as demographics change

The GOP has dominated the state for 30 years, but a slew of retirements and a rise in Hispanic voters may mean Texas becomes a battleground again Sri Preston Kulkarni has just moved into his campaign headquarters, which for now could hardly be more bland: a faceless office with blinds on the windows in a tucked-away suburban Houston business park. Not far away, though, are a Muslim community centre, a Korean market, Hindu temples, Vietnamese, Chinese, Indian and Mexican restaurants reminders that this sprawling Texas metropolis is one of the most diverse urban areas in the nation. Houstons fast-growing south-western suburbs are, for Kulkarni, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for a Texas congressional district, an American success story: a …

Global trade disruption is a symptom of a deeper malaise | Mohamed El-Erian

Resolving US-China trade war is not enough to ward off what many fear is a looming worldwide recession It is only a matter of time until the escalating tensions between China and the US prompt many more economists to warn of an impending global economic recession coupled with financial instability. On 5 August, Bloomberg News Larry Summers, a former US treasury secretary who was also closely involved in crisis-management efforts in 2008-09, recently The Only Game in Town, all of these recent developments and also, of course, the growing US-China tensions are related in a meaningful way to two basic and persistent features of the global economy since the 2008 financial crisis. The first is the prolonged period in which …

Biden criticized after saying: ‘Poor kids are as bright as white kids’

Former vice-presidents remarks prompt criticism from left and right amid Democrats history of gaffes Joe Biden, the frontrunner for the Democratic nomination for president, found his record on race tweeted: Poor kids are just as bright and talented as white kids? To quickly dismiss @JoeBidens words as a mere slip of the tongue is as concerning as what he said. We need to have a real conversation about the racism and sexism behind electability. Donald Trumps re-election campaign also swooped, insisting this was not a gaffe but rather part of a pattern of racially tone-deaf remarks. The president himself he urged viewers to visit a website that does not exist. Gaffes of that nature can be laughed off, but on …

What induces men to imitate the Christchurch massacre? | Jeff Sparrow

After Christchurch and El Paso we need an open discussion without euphemisms and evasions about what fascism is and how it works In general, I support the Christchurch shooter and his manifesto. Thats how 8chan. The atrocity comes in the wake of a murderous attack on the Chabad of Poway synagogue in California on 27 April. The man detained for that crime also posted a manifesto to 8chan and also described the Christchurch shooter as a catalyst, saying: He showed me that it could be done. What might induce people to imitate the Christchurch massacre, an atrocity in which a self-identified fascist allegedly murdered 51 innocents in cold blood? To answer that question, we must grasp the historical evolution of …

Kris Kobach: why Democrats hope the GOP won’t stop his run for US Senate

Tolerance for Kansass former secretary of state is waning, with Republican politicians saying the party has become too rightwing It was only nine months ago that Kansas Democrats were bidding good riddance to Kris Kobach as Donald Trumps closest political ally in the conservative midwestern state went down in flames. But now Kobach, who briefly spearheaded Trumps commission on the illusion of voter fraud after using his stint as Kansas secretary of state to target immigrants and then losing a disastrous campaign that cost Republicans the governors office is back and narrowly unseated the sitting governor in the Republican primary but then lost in the general election amid distaste among moderate voters for some of his positions, including calls for …

Trump’s response to the weekend massacres show he is an ethical black hole | Moustafa Bayoumi

Trump is playing the country like hes a conductor of a symphony of racist violence Donald Trump continues to play his cynical game of dodging responsibility, shifting blame and exploiting tragedy. In a press conference called to address the horrors of two mass shootings in the United States over the past weekend, the president said nothing about his pivotal role in stoking fear and racism among certain segments of the population, said nothing about the fact that five of the 10 deadliest tweeted earlier, Trump also and by extension blamed immigrants, who themselves are the victims of the very racism that has been unleashed by this president. With this ethical black hole of leadership and narcissistic exploitation of other peoples …

Kamala Harris might be surging but her record will soon catch up with her | Bhaskar Sunkara

A leftward moving party is hungry for change. Just like Joe Biden, Kamala Harris past will prove to be a liability writes Bhaskar Sunkara The first pair of Democratic presidential primary debates showed how wide open the field is. Former vice-president Joe Biden came in with a comfortable lead, but stumbled during the debates and has one poll, shes now within two points of him. Joe Biden had a couple things going for him: he was connected to a popular Obama administration and he is still widely perceived as being electable. For stalwart Democratic voters, preventing a second term for Trump and an ever-rightward moving Republican party is a key priority. Biden might have stood out with his relatively conservative …

Is the US nudging Britain into dangerous waters with Iran?

The UKs shipping looks vulnerable since it seized a tanker after a US request A chain of events has been triggered that is increasingly exposing the UK diplomatically and militarily in the Gulf. The UK has put British shipping seized Grace 1, an Iranian-owned oil tanker, off the straitgradually reducing its commitments under the deal, in a calibrated effort to force Europe to do more to challenge US policy. Lord Howell, a former Conservative cabinet minister and chairman of the Lords international relations committee, asked his government on Thursday whether it was such a good idea to raid the Iranian oil tanker in Gibraltar in the first place. He said: Obviously we want to stop oil getting to President Assad, …