Bombs, Zuckerberg and FBI raids, oh my. News for the week of April 12, 2018
This is your brain – this is your brain on news. Oh hell, you’ve already killed enough brain cells, so let’s get started.
To bomb or not to bomb, that is the question
We could bomb Syria any minute, or not. President Trump had a visceral Twitter reaction to the horrifying images coming out of Syria following another chemical attack, which the administration has previously warned against as a “red line”. Although the exact chemical used has yet to be determined, the White House staff has attributed the atrocity to both Syrian and Russian governments. A similar incident last year sparked U.S. military consequence as Trump opted to launch missiles onto a Syrian airfield.
Despite Vladimir Putin’s urging against, Trump seems to be favoring a similar strategy. In another tweet, of course, Trump threatened that “nice, new and smart” missiles would be coming and he expressed certainty that Russian defense systems would be unable to stop them. However, days have passed and the U.S. administration has yet to commit to a specific timeline, as reported by CNN.
Manic Monday for the Trump team
Michael Cohen, the president’s fiercely loyal personal attorney, had a rough Monday when his office and hotel were raided by the FBI. According to a New York Times report, agents “were seeking details on his relationship with the Trump campaign and his efforts to suppress negative information about Mr. Trump” that are in part related to the Stormy Daniels and Access Hollywood scandals.
The move prompted a series of angry messages from the president about his perceived violation of attorney-client privilege. But as has been widely discussed by legal experts and pundits since, warrants for attorneys are highly scrutinized, extremely rare and almost always produce convictions s a result, which makes us all wonder just how juicy this information it. Stay tuned.
*It’s worth noting that Cohen was also acting as a deputy national finance chair for the Republican National Committee. Just sayin’.
Governor Brown gets “crystal clear” on immigration assistance
Governor Jerry Brown made quite the stand Wednesday when responding to the administration’s request for California National Guards at the border. He did agree to send an additional 400 Guard members to “do what it does best…protecting the state from criminal gangs, human traffickers and illegal firearm and drug smugglers along the border, coast and throughout the state.” But Brown also gave the diplomatic equivalent of a nut grab by proclaiming that the state of California would not participate in enforcing Federal immigration laws with said troops. In his letter of response published Wednesday, the governor said:
“But let’s be crystal clear on the scope of this mission. This will not be a mission to build a new wall. It will not be a mission to round up women and children or detain people escaping violence and seeking a better life.”
Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the president are likely to take issue with California’s response, but what else is new?
Zuckerberg gets grilled
That little local company we call Facebook and it’s man-child CEO Mark Zuckerberg took to the national stage over the course of Tuesday and Wednesday as he was forced to answer questions about the data theft of 87 million users’ accounts. Cambridge Analytica, the company at the heart of the scandal, was once led by former Trump advisor Steve Bannon and although the whole mess is a tad confusing, for citizens and Congress, it is known that information was used to manipulate the minds of voters. And oh yeah, Russia.
Zuckerberg, who is not known for his variance of facial expressions, did get a bit unnerved under questioning from Senator Ted Cruz regarding the perceived discrimination against conservative profiles. The Facebook figurehead conceded that mistakes have been made but that fair and open discourse across all ideologies was the utmost priority for the company.
In the end, after two long days of Zuckerberg promises and congressmen and women attempting to understand big words like “algorithm”, both sides seemed to agree that regulation would be inevitable. A report by CBS News does a good job depicting the lack of clarity that clouded the chamber during Zuckerberg’s testimony about all things technological.
Mayor wannabes duke it out
San Francisco’s mayoral race turned up the heat with a debate Monday between Supervisor London Breed, Supervisor Jane Kim and former Supervisor Angela Alioto, as reported by the San Francisco Chronicle. The three contenders tried to shed some light on the differences in their policies regarding hot-button issues like homelessness, police, terrorist threats and immigration enforcement. One contentious topic was SB827, Senator Scott Wiener’s dense housing initiative. Although all three candidates agreed that the housing crisis needs to be addressed, they disagreed on whether or not Wiener’s push is the right way to go for the citizens of San Francisco. This is likely just the beginning of tension between the candidates as the election draws closer.