U.S., China firms scramble as new tariffs hurt business

Robert Mueller’s Speech Was a Repeat of His Appeal to Congress: Initiate Impeachment Proceedings


Robert Mueller’s Speech Was a Repeat of His Appeal to Congress: Initiate Impeachment Proceedings

The special counsel could not charge Donald Trump with obstruction of justice. The legislature must wield its power to hold him accountable for what he’s done.

By Jack Holmes     May 29, 2019


US-politics-investigation-MuellerMANDEL NGANGETTY IMAGES

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is an “institutionalist” at a time when the institutions of our republic are crumbling, undermined by the most powerful people in our society and, in some cases, the very people who run them. This is a perilous position when democracy is sliding into autocracy, a big-money bet that relentlessly observing institutional norms is the best defense against those hell-bent on destroying them. It requires the supreme conviction of a devout acolyte of The Order of Things—the kind of person who would privately write a letter to Attorney General William Barr complaining about how he rolled out The Mueller Report, then state publicly that he has no doubt Barr conducted that rollout in good faith.

That’s what Mueller said at a press conference Wednesday—that he doesn’t think Barr conducted himself in bad faith. It was a stunning piece of counter-evidence against the claim Mueller is some kind of Honest Abe character. He might be squeaky clean, but it seems he’ll take on a smudge if it means protecting the institution of the Department of Justice—and, with it, the fading notion of the rule of law. Mueller spoke on Department property, symbolizing his commitment to Order, and largely refused throughout to speak about anything beyond the text of the Mueller Report. But there was one moment that stood out.

Embedded video

CNN Politics: Mueller: “If we had confidence that the President clearly did not commit a crime, we would have said so. We did not, however, make a determination as to whether the President did commit a crime”

Overall, this is an extension of the Mueller Report’s appeal to Congress, which goes something like this:

1) Justice Department regulations hold a sitting president cannot be indicted.

2) As a result, my team could not file charges against the president.

3) We did not accuse him of a crime without charging him, because then he would have no chance to defend himself in a court of law. It would be unfair.

4) Here is evidence of up to 10 incidents in which the president meddled in the investigation, many of which could rise to the level of obstruction of justice.

5) Congress has broad powers to investigate the president and hold him accountable for unacceptable or criminal conduct in office.

6) It is up to Congress to use the vast body of evidence laid out here to hold the president accountable by initiating impeachment proceedings.

In the time since, more than 450 former federal prosecutors have signed a letter attesting to the fact that if Donald Trump were not the president, he would be charged with obstruction. Mueller could not charge him, so Congress must. It was not a Witch Hunt, the report is not a COMPLETE EXONERATION or NO COLLUSION or NO OBSTRUCTION. There was collusion, but that’s not a crime. There was evidence of conspiracy, but it did not rise to a level where the special counsel sought charges against members of Trump’s campaign. And there was a huge amount of evidence that the president obstructed justice, but Mueller felt he could not charge him according to institutional norms.

Typically, the president responded with a lie:

Donald Trump: Nothing changes from the Mueller Report. There was insufficient evidence and therefore, in our Country, a person is innocent. The case is closed! Thank you.

Remember when it was a Deep State Coup that ended with a COMPLETE EXONERATION? It never made any sense, and now he’s saying something entirely different. It is time for Congress to act.

Jack Holmes is the Politics Editor at Esquire.com, where he writes daily and edits the Politics Blog with Charles P Pierce.

Randy Rainbow Video: Just Impeach Him!

Randy Rainbow

May 28, 2019


If you share only one fake video today, let it be this one.

JUST IMPEACH HIM – Randy Rainbow Parody

***NEW VIDEO***If you share only one fake video today, let it be this one. #SummerJam #JustImpeachHim #Adderall ☀️🌈🎶☁

Posted by Randy Rainbow on Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Trump is exactly what we feared he was.


May 22, 2019

Jeff Daniels sees the writing on the wall. Trump is exactly what we feared he was.

Jeff Daniels on Trumpism

Jeff Daniels sees the writing on the wall. Trump is exactly what we feared he was.

Posted by act.tv on Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Memorial Day is to remember the fallen

Chicago Sun-Times

Memorial Day is to remember the fallen

No harm in having a picnic, but keep in mind the day’s purpose. “It’s not a happy day,” vet says.

By Neil Steinberg       May 26, 2019

Tom Dier in Vietnam in 1970. He’ll be speaking in Northbrook at its Memorial Day commemoration Monday. Photo provided by Tom Dier


The Jerry Corp Memorial Highway is not long. A section of U.S. Highway 160, it runs two and a half miles through Ozark County, Missouri, 250 miles southwest of St. Louis.

A green highway sign flashes by, the name registers and some drivers may feel a passing curiosity: does anybody remember Jerry Corp?

Tom Dier remembers him.

“We weren’t really close or anything like that,” said Dier, 70. “He wasn’t in my platoon.”

A mortar platoon in Company C, First Battalion, 52nd Infantry. Corp was a radioman attached to the command post in Quang Ngai province Vietnam.

“We got to know each other that way,” said Dier, who grew up in Northbrook and has returned home to speak at the northwest suburb’s Memorial Day commemoration after the parade Monday. “You didn’t really get close to people too much.”

In fact, Dier has exactly one memory of Corp, but it’s a good one.

“Someone on the perimeter called in for a routine fire mission, asking for illumination,” Dier plans to say in his speech. “I dropped a round down the 81-millimeter mortar tube. The shot went out, and we waited for the familiar pop and the subsequent intense light that the round would provide as it drifted slowly back to the ground for several hundred feet in the air.

“The descending illumination revealed a nearby hillside covered in jungle. Jerry and I laughed as the flare drifted toward the hillside, watching a multitude of chirping birds who mistook the flare for a sunrise. The noise from the birds stopped suddenly—as if a switch had been flipped—when the flare burned out.”

That’s it. And if you’re wondering how Dier would remember such a small moment with a stranger in a long-ago war in a far-off country, it’s because Corp was killed the next day—his platoon was trying to flush out a sniper, and in the confusion Corp stepped on a Vietcong boobytrap attached to a grenade. It was April 21, 1970, one week after his 20th birthday.

“Beyond that night, it’s hard to remember too much about Jerry.”

Dier was drafted at Christmas, 1968. He spent 10 months and 29 days in Vietnam and won the Silver Star for gallantry. He moved to Tennessee in 1972, worked as a house painter and raised three boys.

“All very responsible citizens,” he said. “One thing I taught them is how to work.”

Like many Vietnam veterans, he at first tried not to think about the war, but eventually circled back, writing a book about his experiences, “Miss Li Thi Van & Other Stories of Vietnam.”

How, I wondered, did the memory of those who died affect his post-war life?

“I wasn’t a great fan of the war,” Dier replied, “but I have never felt that the country owed me anything because there were a lot of guys who didn’t come home. There was one guy, he lost both arms and both legs; I feel guys like that really pay the bigger price. I never was wounded. I did what I was supposed to do, but I never felt I was owed anything, because other guys paid a much steeper price. I feel very blessed I made it.”

And how should the American public mark Memorial Day?

“There’s no harm in having a picnic,” Dier said. “But I don’t like when people say ‘Happy Memorial Day.’ It’s not a happy day, it’s a very solemn day for me. The guys who sacrificed, they paid the ultimate price.”

Dier mentioned a scene in “Saving Private Ryan,” where a surviving vet is asked if he lived the type of life that justified his surviving.

“His friends who didn’t survive, did his life honor them?” Dier said. “I’ve often thought of that. When I first came home, I wasn’t living the right way. Eventually I had a different way of looking at things, I really appreciated I survived. I didn’t have self-pity. I was blessed. I thought, ‘There has got to be a reason I made it, today.’ I realized I had a purpose.”

One of the things Dier felt he had to do was visit Jerry Corp’s mother, Irene, in Ozark County.

Tom Dier with Irene Corp, whose son Jerry died in Vietnam, one week after his 20th birthday. Photo provided by Tom Dier


“We never got used to Jerry not coming home,” she told him. But Jerry’s mother, now 92, also said something else.

“Irene has mentioned that she lost her son but, at the same time, she gained many sons”—Corp’s former comrades who call, write, visit, keep tabs.

“There are things we can do or say that make a difference,” Dier said.

Wild Rice is Feeding Indigenous Communities in Detroit and Beyond

Dedicated tribes are working to protect and revive Manoomin, weaving it back into Native diets and the fabric of the community in the Upper Midwest.

By Jo Erickson, Health, Indigenous Foodways     May 27, 2019

Civil Eats is a sponsor of the Feet in 2 Worlds journalism workshopTelling Immigrant Food Stories, taking place in San Francisco May 31-June 2. This article originally appeared in the Feet in 2 Worlds Magazine, and is reprinted with permission.

When Renee Dillard tastes freshly cooked wild rice harvested by her hands, she feels a spiritual connection to the “sacred food” of her people. That spell is broken when she tastes the wild rice that most of us buy and eat.

Native wild rice, often referred to as Manoomin, which means “the good berry” in Ojibwe, isn’t the perfectly uniform dark brown long grains you find in supermarkets. Although it has the same name, much of that rice is commercially grown and has been genetically engineered. Just because the label says it’s wild, that’s not always true. Native wild rice, with flecks of brown and yellow, has a grass-like quality and a subtle flavor.

“As soon as I put that mass-cultivated rice on my tongue I can taste the emptiness,” Dillard says. “This food is soulless. It doesn’t fill me with life or joy, but reminds me of caged chickens who never see the light of day, nor touch the ground . They don’t know who they are. This rice is empty.”

Renee Dillard parching wild rice

Renee Dillard parching wild rice. Photo by Jo Erickson.

Dillard is a traditional ricer and basket weaver from the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, based in the northern part of the state. Through spoken word she has learnt about the ancestry of wild rice from elders in her community.

Dillard is a survivor of the U.S. government boarding school experiment to “Americanize” her and her community. “I’ve been kidnapped, abused and robbed of language, culture and everything that makes me who I am,” she says.

Now in her 50’s, she teaches the next generation the traditions of weaving with wild rice stalks and stewardship of the land and lakes. During last winter’s Arctic freeze that covered most of the Midwest, Dillard was out in the woods with her long grey hair fighting the wind, her traditional moccasin shoes knee-deep in the snow, observing the changes of the seasons. With the arrival of spring, the 57-year-old waits for the first shoots of wild rice.

Dillard remembers when she was very young she’d walk to the edge of reservation and there would be wild rice growing. But with urban development, pollution, and the threat of GMO seed contamination, native wild rice is struggling to survive. Dillard is part of a movement to restore wild rice in Michigan.

For the past 10 years several tribes, including the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians, and the Lac Vieux Desert Band of Lake Superior Chippewa Indians have come together to form Michigan’s wild rice restoration project where they can track and restore native wild rice in the state’s rivers and lakes.

Indigenous People Living in Detroit Connected to Wild Rice

Shiloh Maples, 33, lives and works in the heart of downtown Detroit. She brings her passion for Native foods to city streets, food banks, and community gardens. Working for American Indian Health Family Services she helps provide food relief to Native Americans and other struggling communities living below the poverty line. As the program manager for food sovereignty and wellness, her mission is to develop the concept of food sovereignty.

Marginalized communities are empowered to have a stake in the food system, to control what they eat, and how they eat it. About seven years ago Shiloh noticed that a lot of families relied on local corner stores for their food or food stamps. With limited finances and no transportation, struggling families had to make do with whatever food they had access to. Often it was canned foods and junk food.

Under the program Shiloh manages they have a choice. Native Americans can get traditional, culturally appropriate foods including wild rice soups, berries, fish and turkey.

Shiloh’s work on food sovereignty within the indigenous community has led her to develop community gardens in Romanowski Park that grow traditional foods, and cooking classes to rediscover traditional Native American meals. “As the community garden grew, the community realized that they cared about how their food was grown,” she said. “Was it done in an ethical way? Did it respect mother earth? They wanted to make sure that culture and tradition were part of how their food is produced. So that means incorporating song and ceremony and prayers to the planting and harvesting.”

With the help of Shiloh’s project poverty-stricken families feel they can make life-changes. “It’s exciting to watch. They’re making connections of where their food comes from and their relationship to that food. That changes people, ” she said.

Food offers an emotional connection to urban tribes-people in cities including Detroit, Seattle and Chicago who are looking to strengthen bonds to family and cultural roots.

Shelley Means, 55, is one of the many city dwelling tribes people who see traditional meals and sharing stories over food as keys to unlock history and family traditions. Shelley’s mother is from the White Earth Nation and her father was Lakota. She grew up in the city knowing very little of her family history.

As a young girl she recalls that her grandfather would send packets of wild rice and occasionally they would visit him for gatherings in Bemidji, Minnesota. She realized that some of her most powerful childhood memories are gatherings where hundreds of tribe members gathered for meals with bowls of wild rice. “I can’t remember much about the reason for the gathering, but I do remember the smell and taste of wild rice,” she recalls.

A boat-sized haul of wild rice.

A boat-sized haul of wild rice. Photo by Jo Erickson.

These memories drove Shelley to seek out family members who could tell her more about her family and traditions. One of her aunts told her what she knew so that Shelly could in turn pass on family history to her son.

Whenever she thinks about wild rice, she thinks about her family. She smiles as she recalls how her uncle would grind the grain to make bread and her mother prepared wild rice, “She’d heat it up in the microwave, then put a bit of milk and black pepper, that’s her favorite thing.”

Threats to Wild Rice

According to Barb Barton, Aquatic Resource Specialist at the Michigan Department of Transportation, restoring native wild rice across the state will take several years to accomplish.

One of the biggest challenges is the decimation of wild rice found in the north of the state. “There were 212 historical wild rice sites scattered across the state dating back to the 1800’s, but only 14 are known to still exist,” says Barton, author of “Manoomin: The Story of Wild Rice in Michigan.”

Zizania palustris, a native wild rice plant found in northern Michigan, is on the threatened species list. In the last two years Michigan’s Department of Natural Resources has worked with tribes to restore some of the old rice sites.

In Michigan wild rice harvesting is unregulated. That’s in contrast to Minnesota and Wisconsin, where state laws give tribes sovereignty over wild rice. Tribal members carry permits to harvest rice and non-tribal ricers buy licenses. Despite these challenges, Michigan’s wild rice restoration project has replanted and manages 136 native wild rice beds. At the same time more and more urban tribes people are rediscovering the value of returning to a traditional diet of wild rice.

There is still a long way to go before northern wild rice is taken off the threatened species list. If Michigan were to lose its native wild rice, “it would be devastating,” says Shelly Means. “The stories will still be here, but the rice will not.”

Japan has become the world leader in floating solar power

SBS News

Japan has become the world leader in floating solar power – saving space whilst saving the planet.

Japan has become the world leader in floating solar power

Japan has become the world leader in floating solar power – saving space whilst saving the planet.

Posted by SBS News on Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Trump takes his hands off the wheel

Chicago Sun-Times

Trump takes his hands off the wheel

Infrastructure fix held hostage by president in effort to block oversight by Congress

By Neil Steinberg     May 23, 2019

A rusty pillar on a boarding platform at Union Station. Deteriorating infrastructure is a national problem Donald Trump doesn’t want to address, not while he’s being investigated. Neil Steinberg/Chicago Sun-Times
Infrastructure is not sexy.

Roads and bridges, railroad tracks and tunnels. Nobody says, “You know what I love about Chicago? The electrical grid; it’s so robust!”

Though I admit I find infrastructure — well, if not quite a turn-on, than at least interesting. I’ve watched roads built, cement poured, tunnels dug, bridges installed. It’s not boring.

And it’s important. A nation’s infrastructure is like a body’s veins and arteries, bone and sinew. You might not take pride in your Achilles tendon, but if something goes wrong with it, you try to walk and instead pitch forward on your face.

You probably noticed infrastructure in the news this week. The president stormed out of a meeting with Democrats Wednesday; they were supposed to talk about long-delayed infrastructure repairs. But Donald Trump vowed not to address this urgent, bipartisan problem while the Democrats are plumbing the depths of his administration’s corruption and criminality.

On one hand, it is not the biggest setback. Just as the environmental standards being scrapped tend, upon closer examination, to have been implemented by Barack Obama in 2014, so nobody was rushing to fix our national infrastructure before Trump brought his circus to Washington. Obama’s 2009 American Recovery & Reinvestment Act grew construction efforts by only 1% in 2009 and 2010. (I like to point out where Obama fell short, just to mess with Republicans’ heads, showing it is possible to view your own side critically. I sincerely believe Republicans don’t know it can be done, beyond occasionally muttering, “I wish he didn’t tweet so much” which is like pointing out Satan has a loose button on his coat).

The last two report cards from the American Society for Civil Engineers gave U.S. public infrastructure a D+ and urged $2 trillion be spent over the next 10 years.

The details are alarming and could fill five columns. One example: There are more than 90,000 dams in the United States. By 2025 — six years from now, for Trump supporters struggling to keep up — 70% will be more than half a century old, which is beyond their intended life span. Nothing is easier to ignore than a dam, quietly holding back water. Until it fails. Then people notice.

After Trump stormed out of his meeting, he went to the Rose Garden, where he delivered a surreal diatribe — Nancy Pelosi called it a “temper tantrum” — declaring that the Democrats must “Get these phony investigations over with.” Until then, he said, he would consider no legislation, no matter how crucial.

“We’re going to go down one track at a time,” the president said.

Donald Trump
President Donald Trump tells reporters in the Rose Garden Wednesday he will consider no infrastructure proposals until Democrats cease investigating his administration. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called it a “temper tantrum.” Getty


That is his style, and as well as that of his supporters, where two thoughts — the nation is crumbling to ruin AND the stock market is surging — make for very cramped quarters.

Well, if it must be one track at a time, then let’s prioritize. If the choice is getting to the bottom of the sewer of corruption, lies and quasi-treason that is the Trump administration, or building a high speed rail line to St. Louis, I’d say the prospect of zipping down to the Gateway to the West will have to wait a little longer. The roads can be rebuilt, eventually. I’m not so sure about the American Experiment.

Though there is risk. The longer we ignore overdue repairs, the more we sink into a false estimation of our economic position. “Make America Great Again” is not about making American great by, oh for instance, having great roads and trains and airports. It’s about declaring oneself great and brooking no dissent. The stock market of course will rejoice if you give big tax breaks to corporations and scuttle environmental standards. But those lost taxes mean there isn’t money to repair roads and bridges, and the environment curdles and deteriorates, a hidden cost not reflected in the Dow Jones.

With an unfit driver taking his hands off the wheel, trying to terrify and silence his passengers, we are careening down an un-maintained highway, with no idea what yawning pothole will send us flipping off the road. But the potholes are there, and we will hit one. Soon. When our nation is upside down in a ditch, wheels spinning, the smell of gasoline heavy around us, I wonder: Will Trump supporters begin to suspect something is wrong?    Nah.

Finding Rick Perry, The Missing Secretary Of Energy.

The Late Show with Stephen Colbert

May 24, 2019

Stephen Colbert assembles a team of experts to investigate the whereabouts of the world’s most elusive creature: Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

Finding Rick Perry: The Missing Secretary Of Energy

Stephen Colbert assembles a team of experts to investigate the whereabouts of the world’s most elusive creature: Secretary of Energy Rick Perry.

Posted by The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on Friday, May 24, 2019