Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ The main stories come out of the G20 meetings in Hamburg.
- Anti-capitalist riots in the street by extreme left and anarchists
- Comment: Idiots with nihilist agenda
- Trump has very long 1-on-1 with Putin
- Full range of issues, beyond US election meddling, with focus on Syrian cease-fire and division of territory there after ISIS defeat
- Trump has China’s Xi on schedule on 1-on-1 today
- North Korea is top of the agenda, of course, but also trade
- Ivanka briefly sits in for Pres at G20 meeting on Africa alongside world leaders (Washington Post) (Comment: A nothingburger; still, it should have been the Sec. of State sitting there)
Comment: We won’t know the results (as opposed to the agendas) of the Putin and Xi meetings until the effects on the ground are seen, beginning next week. The fact that Putin and Trump met without advisors is interesting, too. It indicates how serious the leaks are. The US cannot trust anybody to be in room.
Comment on Silences at G20: This was supposed to be a showcase for German leader, Angela Merkel. She has been overshadowed by Putin, Xi, Trump, and rioters. Second, we have heard little so far about the shared challenges of Islamic terrorism and vast immigration flows from North Africa and the Middle East.
Comment: The signal is “the US can easily can incinerate you.” The problem is, if we launch a military attack, the North Koreans can kill large numbers in Seoul. Moreover, the Chinese might come in to prevent a Korea unified under American leadership.
There are no good US options here. My guess is that the US starts to up financial sanctions on all North Korean trading partners, including Chinese banks.
Comment: The country is tottering toward civil war, and oppo leader Leopoldo Lopez is a threat to the regime. The surprise here is that he did not die in prison.
“For Secretary Tillerson to say that this issue will remain unresolved is disgraceful,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said in a statement. “To give equal credence to the findings of the American Intelligence Community and the assertion by Mr. Putin is a grave dereliction of duty and will only encourage Russia to further interfere in our elections in the future.” –The Hill
Comment: Schumer is correct. This issue is not “unresolved.” His base loves it; it reinforces their view that Trump is illegitimate. But voters are interested in forward-looking solutions to real problems in the economy, foreign policy, etc. Schumer knows that, of course, but he has to toss red meat to the base.
◆ Morgan Stanley: Renewables will be the cheapest power source within three years (Business Insider)
Numerous key markets recently reached an inflection point where renewables have become the cheapest form of new power generation.
A dynamic we see spreading to nearly every country we cover by 2020. The price of solar panels has fallen 50% in less than two years (2016-17). –Morgan Stanley via Business Insider
◆ K-12 Education: Betsy DeVos takes hard line on enforcing federal laws, surprising states who thought she would support local control (New York Times)
The basic issue is an Obama-era law, replacing No Child Left Behind, that requires “ambitious” educational goals to meet federal standards. How much latitude will the Washington’s Dept. of Ed. give states to determine for themselves what it “ambitious”?
“It is mind-boggling that the department could decide that it’s going to challenge them on what’s ambitious,” said Michael J. Petrilli, the president of the conservative-leaning Thomas B. Fordham Institute, who worked in the Education Department under President George W. Bush. He called the letter “directly in opposition to the rhetoric and the promises of DeVos.” –quoted in New York Times
Comment: Conservatives as well as liberals are concerned about this issue. They weren’t surprised by Washington’s heavy hand under Obama; they don’t expect it under DeVos and fear they may be getting it.
Alternative possibilities are that
- Lower-level officials did this without DeVos’ approval (the person who wrote it is a Democratic advocate for charter schools, appointed by DeVos)
- The Dept. is actually enforcing the law, as written, until Congress rewrites it
◆ José Luis Cuevas, a Dark Master of Mexican Art, Dies at 83 (New York Times)
Comment: He was continually greeted by folks at the bar singing: