January 9, 2017

This is the excerpt


Top Stories:

WashPost Is Richly Rewarded for False News About Russian Threat While Public Is Deceived”, Glenn Greenwald, The Intercept

Any story that bolsters the prevailing D.C. orthodoxy on the Russia Threat, no matter how dubious, is spread far and wide. And then, as has happened so often, when the story turns out to be false or misleading, little or nothing is done to correct the deceitful effects. And, most amazingly of all, these are the same people constantly decrying the threat posed by Fake News.

Further Reading: “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections” — Intelligence Community Assessment
This is the intelligence report on the alleged Russian government’s intervention in the US election. These are the same people who wrote the 2002 WMD report that was used by the Bush Administration to mislead the public into the Iraq War. I found this report to be underwhelming due to its COMPLETE LACK OF EVIDENCE. They explain that by saying sharing evidence would compromise their methods and sources. Bullocks. Action should require evidence. Russian intervention is precedented and believable (They, just like us, have a long history of intervening in foreign elections), but until they show real evidence and get specific about the scope, we ought to treat these allegations with a high level of scrutiny.

This week in Swamp Monsters:

Treasury Nominee Steve Mnuchin’s Bank Accused of “Widespread Misconduct” in Leaked Memo” — David Dayen, The Intercept

…leaders of the state attorney general’s Consumer Law Section said they had “uncovered evidence suggestive of widespread misconduct” in a yearlong investigation. In a detailed 22-page request, they identified over a thousand legal violations in the small subsection of OneWest loans they were able to examine, and they recommended that Attorney General Kamala Harris file a civil enforcement action against the Pasadena-based bank. They even wrote up a sample legal complaint, seeking injunctive relief and millions of dollars in penalties.

But Harris’s office, without any explanation, declined to prosecute the case.

Odds and Ends

Song of the Week:
Sufjan Stevens’ Carrie & Lowell is an autobiographical album that harkens back to his earlier work. The album is named after his mother and stepfather and devotes a lot of the material to them. “Fourth of July” is about the last moments of his mother Carrie’s life and the lyrics are inspired by their last conversation. Sufjan is wearing his heart on his sleeve and his emotions surrounding this moment are complicated by the turbulent relationship between he and his mother. It is a touching and vulnerable song.

“Fourth of July” — Sufjan Stevens Carrie & Lowell

Video of the Week:
“The News” — Alain de Botton, The School of Life

This video is from The School of Life’s “Sunday Lecture” series, a sort of attempt at non-theistic church service. Taking that lens to the media results in an apolitical critique of the media today that I find immensely perceptive. My lens for the media is heavily shaped by Noam Chomsky’s propaganda model and I found Alain’s perspective to be refreshing and it really resonates. Thought provoking and a must-watch.


Nations (Additions in BOLD)

Rachael and I have embarked on a years-long ambition to memorize all the nations and capitals. I’m adding 10-15 each week and posting it here so you can join us and/or help us by throwing us a pop quiz from time to time!

South America
Argentina — Buenos Aires
Bolivia — La Paz
Brazil — Brasilia
Chile — Santiago
Colombia — Bogota
Ecuador — Quito
French Guiana — Cayenne
Guyana — Georgetown
Paraguay — Asuncion
Peru — Lima
Suriname — Paramaribo
Uruguay — Montevideo
Venezuela — Caracas

North America
Belize — Belmopan
Canada — Ottawa
Costa Rica — San Jose
Cuba — Havana
Dominican Republic — Santo Domingo
El Salvador — San Salvador
Guatemala — Guatemala City
Haiti — Port-au-Prince
Honduras — Tegucigalpa
Jamaica — Kingston
Mexico — Mexico DF
Nicaragua — Managua
Panama — Panama City
Puerto Rico — San Juan

Belarus — Minsk
Bulgaria — Sofia
Czech Republic — Prague
Hungary — Budapest
Moldova — Chisinau
Poland — Warsaw
Romania — Bucharest
Russia — Moscow
Slovakia — Bratislava
Ukraine — Kiev
Albania — Tirana
Bosnia and Herzegovina — Sarajevo
Croatia — Zagreb
Cyprus — Nicosia
Estonia — Tallinn
Latvia — Riga
Lithuania — Vilnius
Macedonia — Skopje
Montenegro — Podgorica
Serbia — Belgrade
Slovenia — Ljubljana
Turkey — Ankara

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