Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Trump Jr fires smoking gun into own foot

Donald Trump Jr has released an email chain proving he tried to collude with Russian government officials to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid. Posting the email chain on Twitter, Trump Jr said he was hoping “to be totally transparent” about a meeting in June 2016 with a lawyer he believed possessed “very high level and sensitive information” that was “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr Trump”. Trump Jr responded: “If it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer”. A New York Times article on the meeting notes that Trump Jr released the emails after the Times “informed him that it was preparing an article” about them. Besides the personal legal trouble Trump Jr may have exposed himself to, and the extraordinary way in which he did it, the email chain reveals senior Trump campaign officials – including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law – knew the Russian government was helping their campaign.

Australia’s decision to boycott a United Nations treaty banning nuclear weapons has been excoriated by descendants of Aboriginal people affected by British nuclear testing in South Australia. Speaking to BuzzFeed Australia, Yankunytjatjara woman Karina Lester recounted her father Yami’s fight for justice after he and many others became sick from British bomb tests at South Australia’s Emu Field. Lester said Australia’s refusal to participate in the treaty negotiations, given the historical impact on the Yankunytjatjara and other communities, “really shows where Aboriginal people are at a political level”.

The Australian Tax Office has been embarrassed after one of its staffers inadvertently published the ATO’s internal guide on how to hack mobile phones. The PowerPoint document, which was published on LinkedIn by an ATO employee with a background in intelligence, details how ATO officials can break passwords, bypass lock screens and access phone data when the device has a flat battery. The ATO was not aware of the breach until contacted by the ABC, and has since taken the document down. The incident reveals the extent to which government bodies outside of national intelligence and security agencies are beginning to access sensitive information to complement their work.

And Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has met with his UK counterpart Theresa May in London as he continues his tour of Europe. Speaking at a joint press conference, Turnbull and May said their two nations would sign a free trade agreement as soon as legally possible after Brexit was completed. According to the UK government’s food and drink international action plan, any UK-Australia deal would likely focus on exports of “tea, biscuits [and] condiments”, which sounds both sensible and delicious.

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The uninhabitable earth

“It is, I promise, worse than you think. If your anxiety about global warming is dominated by fears of sea-level rise, you are barely scratching the surface of what terrors are possible, even within the lifetime of a teenager today. And yet the swelling seas – and the cities they will drown – have so dominated the picture of global warming, and so overwhelmed our capacity for climate panic, that they have occluded our perception of other threats, many much closer at hand. Rising oceans are bad, in fact very bad; but fleeing the coastline will not be enough.” new york magazine

To Syria and back

“The case against Josh Walker is highly unusual. He is the first anti-Islamic State fighter to be prosecuted by British authorities under terrorism laws after returning to the U.K., and he appears to be the only person in the country who has ever faced a terror charge merely for owning extracts of the Anarchist Cookbook ... Walker is due to go to trial in October, where in the worst-case scenario he could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.” the intercept

A kingdom for a horse

“In the ancient nomadic game known here as kokpar (roughly, ‘goat grabbing’), Lazer is a champion many times over, with eight Kazakh National Games and two Central Asian Games titles to his name. Kokpar’s premise is simple: Two teams compete over a headless, freshly slaughtered goat, wrestling control back and forth in an attempt to score by flinging it into the opponent’s goal.” virginia quarterly review



What can explain the rise in white nationalism?

“Police are looking for those responsible for plastering posters promoting the lynching and deportation of prominent politicians and media personalities across Sydney’s inner west. The posters, which have been spotted in Petersham and since taken down, resemble Pokemon playing cards and have photos of Senator Sarah Hanson-Young, Waleed Aly and the ABC’s Yassmin Abdel-Magied alongside the phrases ‘gotta catch and hang em all’ and ‘gotta catch and deport em all’.”   fairfax


Turn Sky News on and find out.

“A number of Sky News presenters have publicly criticised Outsiders host Rowan Dean for his racially-charged comments attacking the Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane. On Sunday Dean criticised the Australian Human Rights Commission’s push for greater diversity in business, politics and the media by telling Soutphommasane to ‘hop on a plane and go back to Laos’. Soutphommasane’s parents fled Laos as refugees in 1975 though he was born in France.”  junkee


and finally:

The surprisingly resilient history of IGA, which gave small towns groceries

“For roughly 90 years or so, a loose network of franchised grocery stores has survived. Hundreds of mom-and-pop supermarkets of the world have been able to hold their own even in the face of massive competition. The Independent Grocers Alliance, or IGA, is a common sight in small towns around the country, even today – and that’s a good thing. Not that it gets the credit it deserves.” atlas obscura