Tuesday, September 6, 2022

On Our Weekly "Virtual Route 66" : As September Dawns....


Welcome to September here in the properties of the Daily Outsider.

The Trump Raid continued to be in the headlines here in the United States--as former President Trump launched broadsides against the FBI and the Department of Justice.   President Biden went on the offense too with his speech in Philadelphia which angered the right in the United States.   The US Mid-Term Election season is beginning in earnest and Democrats seem to be optimistic.    

Beyond the shores of the United States, the war in Ukraine continued with no apparent end in sight as almost 30 percent of Ukraine's population (some 15 million) are estimated to be refugees.    Climate change continues to rear its' ugly head as a third of Pakistan was under water, Somalia was in danger of Famine, and again as there were reports of glaciers melting in Switerzland.   We were subjected to an extreme heatwave here in California which triggered Flex Alerts throughout the Labor Day Weekend.   

The Middle East continues to be as volatile as ever with Afghanistan and Iran in conflict and the ongoing political instability in Iraq.    Our team was also following the adoption of the new Constitution in Chile which was resoundingly rejected by the population.    As we went to press, Liz Truss was set to be appointed by the UK Monarch to be the UK Prime Minister after winning the vote to be the leader of Conservatives.

Please enjoy the weekly curation of our weekly "Virtual Route 66" this week with thoughts courtesy of The Economist; Financial Times; Heather Cox Richardson; Global Security; Sydney Morning Herald; Politico, National Academies of Scientists; The Atlantic; Congressional Budget office  as we look forward to the continued privilege to serve 


EPA Proposes ‘Hazardous Substance’ Designation for PFAS

A recent National Academies report recommends blood testing for exposure to PFAS — a group of thousands of chemicals in manufactured products — be offered to patients who are likely to have a history of elevated exposure through their work or from living in contaminated areas.


Update on Relocated Afghan Scientists and Engineers

About a year ago, a National Academies program helped evacuate five Afghan scientists and engineers, along with their family members, who were at risk of retaliation from the Taliban because of their work in a U.S. government-sponsored scientific cooperation program. The families are now safely in the United States.

Ukraine’s bid for Australian army trucks

Ukraine has launched a bold bid for its army to be used as a “guinea pig” for cutting-edge Australian military technology as it seeks to gain a crucial battlefield advantage over Russian forces. As the war grinds on, Ukraine’s Ambassador to Australia, Vasyl Myroshnychenko, is lobbying the Albanese government to send over a fleet of 30 new light armoured vehicles known as Hawkeis, which have been designed and manufactured in Bendigo.

The patrol vehicles, named after a death adder that was named in honour of former prime minister Bob Hawke, can carry up to six soldiers, have removable armour and mounts for weapons and are light enough to be carried by helicopter. Although they are untested on the battlefield, Myroshnychenko said they would make a valuable contribution to the war effort. He also plans to request another 30 Bushmaster vehicles on top of the 60 Australia has already pledged.

Myroshnychenko said he would present his proposal at an upcoming meeting with Defence Minister Richard Marles, describing the idea as a “win-win” for both countries as Ukraine could provide valuable feedback on the vehicles. Marles declined to comment before seeing the proposal. After experiencing technical problems during construction, the vehicles are not expected to reach full operational capability until next year.

By the numbers: In July, the government announced another $100 million in military aid, taking Australia’s contribution to $385 million.

‘Offensive’ Ukraine mural to be removed: An artist will remove his mural of Russian and Ukrainian soldiers embracing.

Tom Nichols headshot

Tom Nichols


We’re all parsing The Speech, Joe Biden’s “Soul of the Nation” address about the growing anti-constitutionalism of Republican extremism. But we should first consider how hard it is to evaluate a speech that no president should have to give.

Before we turn to Biden, here are three new stories from The Atlantic.

September 2, 2022

Heather Cox RichardsonCommentShare

Just a week ago, a judge ordered the release of the affidavit on which the FBI applied for a search warrant for Mar-a-Lago. That document revealed that Trump had taken highly classified documents from the government and held them in insecure locations. That document was horrifying, but it referred only to documents the government had already recovered, not the ones for which it would go on to search for on August 8.

Today the unsealing of a court filing revealed that the August 8 search turned up more than 11,000 documents or photographs that were not classified, 31 documents marked CONFIDENTIAL, 54 marked SECRET, and 18 marked TOP SECRET. In addition, agents found 48 empty folders marked CLASSIFIED, and 42 empty folders marked to be returned to a military aide. Those documents were not filed with the envelopes.

This story is unprecedented and explosive. As Sue Gordon, who was principal deputy director of national intelligence from 2017 to 2019, told MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace yesterday, in addition to the potential for exposing national secrets, the exposure of the networks and techniques that were in those documents could unravel intelligence networks that took decades to build.

The implications for the destruction of our national security at Trump’s hands are enormous. 

And yet, after President Joe Biden’s speech last night saying that “Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent an extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic,” Republicans have rushed to attack Biden as divisive, hateful, or disparaging of half the country, claiming far more support than they have. Biden offered them an off-ramp from this profound scandal, inviting them to stand on the side of defending democracy, and they refused it. 

They have tied themselves to what looks like it is on the way to becoming the biggest attack on our national security in our history, but it is not clear to me that even remaining Republican voters will be okay with the compromise of our national security. National security used to be very important to Republicans.

Trump’s attorney general Bill Barr seemed today to be trying to get whatever is left of the Republican establishment to abandon the former president. He told two different Fox News Channel programs: “I…think for them to have taken things to the current point, they probably have pretty good evidence…. I think the driver on this from the beginning was…loads of classified information sitting in Mar-a-Lago. People say this was unprecedented, well it’s also unprecedented for a president to take all this classified information and put them in a country club.” 

“I can’t think of a legitimate reason why they…could be taken…away from the government if they’re classified.” He added that he was “skeptical” that Trump had declassified the documents. “I think it’s highly improbable, [and]...if in fact he sort of stood over scores of boxes, not really knowing what was in them, and said ‘I hereby declassify everything in here,’ that would be such an abuse and…shows such recklessness it’s almost worse than taking the documents.”

Among all the Republican backlash over Biden’s speech, today, veteran CNN White House reporter John Harwood said:

“The core point he made in that political speech about a threat to democracy is true. 

“Now, that’s something that’s not easy for us, as journalists, to say. We’re brought up to believe there’s two different political parties with different points of view and we don’t take sides in honest disagreements between them. But that’s not what we’re talking about. These are not honest disagreements. The Republican Party right now is led by a dishonest demagogue. 

“Many, many Republicans are rallying behind his lies about the 2020 election and other things as well. And a significant portion—or a sufficient portion—of the constituency that they’re leading attacked the Capitol on January 6th. Violently. 

“By offering pardons or suggesting pardons for those people who violently attacked the Capitol, which you’ve been pointing out numerous times this morning, Donald Trump made Joe Biden’s point for him.” 

Shortly afterward, Harwood announced he was no longer with CNN. 

A source told Dan Froomkin of Press Watch that Harwood had been told last month he was being let go, despite his long-term contract, and that he used his last broadcast to send a message.









Mortgage wake-up call for middle classes

Rising interest rates could cost some borrowers more than rising energy bills


Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Read now


In 50 years, will anyone still live in central Spain?

How climate change threatens the world’s most liveable country

Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Read now


Don’t let energy price wars nuke our personal finances


As price cap heralds 80% rise in bills this winter, there’s no time to waste


Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Read now



A post-dollar world is coming

The currency may look strong but its weaknesses are mounting

Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Read now


Time to invest in taking a sabbatical?


More employers are prepared to grant staff time off, but there are important financial questions to ask if you do


Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Read now



August's most read articles


Trump under investigation for possible violation of US Espionage Act

FBI search warrant reveals former president was holding highly classified documents at Mar-a-Lago estate

Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Read now


University student makes $110mn trading meme stock favourite Bed Bath & Beyond

Twenty-year-old Jake Freeman amassed big stake in struggling retailer before share price soared

Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Read now

Donald Trump backs ‘immediate release’ of documents on FBI search of Mar-a-Lago

US justice department moves to unseal warrant for raid of former president’s residence

Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Read now


UK inflation projected to hit 18.6% as gas prices surge


Bank raises forecast as European gas price sets new record


Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Read now



Russia rules out peace deal to end Ukraine war


Ambassador Gennady Gatilov warns Moscow expects a prolonged conflict


Rectangle: Rounded Corners: Read now

Powerful prices

Vast corporate profits are delaying an American recession

Strong pricing power for firms makes the economy more resilient


Pakistan has been hit by its worst floods in recent memory

It was already reeling from economic and political crises

The Economist Explains

Why does Kherson matter?

Ukraine’s southern offensive marks a new phase of the war


 Ukraine starts a push to recapture Kherson, a crucial Russian-occupied city

By Invitation

What Ian Bremmer thinks 2032 will look like

Don’t fret over conflict with China, says the political scientist. Worry about a developing-world debt crisis

Free exchange

Central bankers worry that a new era of high inflation is beginning

There are three reasons to believe that may be the case

Daily chart

America’s fight over abortions has fired up women voters

Republicans may regret politicising pregnancies

GM soya and photosynthesis

A genetic tweak that makes soya plants 20% more productive

It improves their ability to photosynthesise

1843 magazine

Midnight train to Georgia: among the Russians in exile

Learning how to live in a strange land


How has open-source intelligence influenced the war in Ukraine?

Our podcast on science and technology. This week, after six months of war, we examine the impact of open-source intelligence on Vladimir Putin’s invasion—and how this new era of openness is changing warfare

Construction in a cool climate

Britain’s failure to build is throttling its economy

Squeezing the green belt and devolving tax powers would be a good start


 Why Britain cannot build enough of anything

The gun that failed to fire

Cristina Fernández, Argentina’s vice-president, is attacked

The assault will supercharge her victim status

Get ready for the rains

What flood-hit Pakistan should learn from Bangladesh

Proper preparedness can save many lives

War jitters

A weak China may be more warlike than a strong one

A new book warns America of the peril of “peak China” and conflict over Taiwan


New York’s waters are being reborn

From whale to oyster to human, animals are coming back

Daily chart

The next threat to global food supplies

The resumption of exports from Ukraine eased shortages. Now droughts and heatwaves are the problem

Naval mines

Mines are the neglected workhorses of naval strategy

They are cheap to deploy and expensive to get rid of

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi commissions India's first indigenous aircraft carrier INS Vikrant in Kochi

Showcasing the country's growing prowess of indigenous manufacturing and a major milestone in the path towards 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat', Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi commissioned the country's first indigenous aircraft carrier Indian Naval Ship (INS) Vikrant at Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) on September 02, 2022.  During the event, the Prime Minister also unveiled the new Naval Ensign (Nishaan), doing away with the colonial past and befitting the rich Indian maritime heritage. He dedicated the new ensign to Chhatrapati ...

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IAEA Chief Says Inspectors Will Stay At Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Plant For Several Days

Some members of a team of inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will remain at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant for the next several days, the head of the agency said after visiting the plant on September 1. ...

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Biden Calls Out Threat to Democracy, Urges Americans to 'Stand Up for It'

The United States is at a dangerous junction in its battle to maintain democracy, President Joe Biden believes — and in a rousing speech from Philadelphia on Thursday night, he laid the blame at the feet of one man. ...

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China and India among countries taking part in Russia's Vostok-2022

A major multinational military exercise, Vostok-2022, got underway in Russia's Far East amid a raging war in Ukraine and protests from Japan.

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