There is a chilling and tragic case out of East Sussex, England where Shana Grice, 19, was found dead with her throat slit. Months ago, Grice was fined by police for wasting their time in accusing her ex-boyfriend, Michael Lane, 27, of stalking her. Lane is now standing trial for her murder.
Yesterday’s press conference by White House Spokesman Sean Spicer seemed uncomfortably close to a Saturday Night Live parody as Spicer spared with CNN and other news outlets over President Trump’s wiretapping allegations. I actually was sympathetic with Spicer on one point: the media continues to take a literal meaning of Trump’s reference to “wiretap.” Some after the first tweet, I stated on CNN that I did not believe that Trump was speaking literally and that he likely meant “surveillance.” I have written and litigated in the field of surveillance over the course of decades and the use of “wiretap” to mean surveillance is a common, if inartful, practice — particularly among older Americans. That does not mean that Trump’s allegation of surveillance is true or supportable. That should be the focus, not this recurring rhetorical point. However, there has been a truly shocking lack of discipline among high-ranking Trump staffers in their public comments, including comments that have undermined the immigration orders. A good example of that ongoing problem is the suggestion that British intelligence surveilled Trump for Obama. This allegation had no place in a White House briefing and led to a reported embarrassing apology from the Administration to the British and a promise not to repeat it. It appears that there was no James Bond contract to surveil and the Administration is again shaken not
stirred scripted. [UPDATE: CNN is reporting late Friday that Sean Spicer has denied that any apology has been made to Britain. For its part, Fox News reportedly is saying that it has no support for the allegation raised by Judge Napolitano]
At first I thought it was really gross that people in South Korea were wiping out river rats for food. Then I found out that the rats are being sought for their bile. With bear bile in the short supply due to the overhunting of bears and new national protections, Koreans are turning to river rats as a source of ursodeoxycholic acid. Rats have an even greater amount of the acid than bears.
We have been discussing the mounting evidence of catastrophic impacts from climate change. A new report is particularly . . . well . . . chilling. Scientists believe that the world has now lost half of its coral reefs in the last 30 years and could lose 90 percent 2050. It is not just the loss of one of the most unique and beautiful areas of Earth but the impact could be enormous on our food and our environment. Indeed, these reports show how these losses produce a cascading crisis across ecosystems. The report comes at a time when the Trump Administration is moving to reduce our commitment to climate change programs and agreements — putting the United States on a collision course with much of the world.
It appears that if you are an authoritarian tyrant everyone looks like a Nazi when they oppose your will. Recently, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan denounced the German government for blocking rallies of Turkish nationals — saying that the decision is “no different to those of the Nazi period.: Erdogan has been widely denounced for his destruction of the secular traditions of Turkey and his attack on free speech and the free press. Erdogan somehow missed the global ridicule of his (of all people) objecting to the denial of free speech. Now, undeterred, Erdogan is denouncing the Netherlands as Nazis after the denied permission for a plane carrying Turkey’s foreign minister to land in the country ahead of a rally supporting his notorious expanded powers.
I have been a long critic of Germany’s criminal speech laws, including its long criminalization of Nazi symbols. Now, Sven Pohl, 37, is facing charges in Germany for “heavy drug trafficking” after he triggered a raid due to his posting of a Nazi-themed breakfast. The police arrived being found with massive quantities of methamphetamine and marijuana.