Mueller Immediately Closes Investigation After Hearing Putin Proclaim His Innocence | The New Yorker


“Vladimir Putin says he did nothing,” Mueller told his staff. “That’s good enough for me.”

Speaking later to reporters, Mueller said that, by disbanding his investigation, he was following the time-honored law-enforcement tradition of taking a suspect’s word for it.

As for his future plans, Mueller said that his first order of business was to write a hearfelt letter of apology to Putin.

Source: Mueller Immediately Closes Investigation After Hearing Putin Proclaim His Innocence | The New Yorker

We are paving the way for Chinese dominance in clean energy | TheHill


Will the U.S. surrender to China in this key strategic area of clean energy while we rely heavily on carbon-based, dirty fuels?

China is already dominant in many low-carbon energy technologies. It produces two-thirds of the world’s solar panels and nearly half of the wind turbines.

On a lake created by the collapse of abandoned coal mines in Luilong, China has built the world’s largest floating solar project. China is now leading the construction of the Quaid-e-Azam solar park in Pakistan, one of the world’s largest.

China is also rapidly expanding its fleet of nuclear reactors and leads the world by far in hydroelectric power.

The country’s “Made in China 2025” program calls for heavy spending on clean-energy research and development, as a way to bolster the economy. State-owned banks are pouring tens of billions of dollars each year into technologies like solar and wind.

Source: We are paving the way for Chinese dominance in clean energy | TheHill

Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core | The New York Times


Millions of people saw their computers shut down by ransomware, with demands for payments in digital currency to have their access restored.

Tens of thousands of employees at Mondelez International, the maker of Oreo cookies, had their data completely wiped. FedEx reported that an attack on a European subsidiary had halted deliveries and cost $300 million.

Hospitals in Pennsylvania, Britain and Indonesia had to turn away patients. The attacks disrupted production at a car plant in France, an oil company in Brazil and a chocolate factory in Tasmania, among thousands of enterprises affected worldwide.

American officials had to explain to close allies — and to business leaders in the United States — how cyberweapons developed at Fort Meade in Maryland came to be used against them.

Experts believe more attacks using the stolen N.S.A. tools are all but certain.

Source: Security Breach and Spilled Secrets Have Shaken the N.S.A. to Its Core – The New York Times

A year after Trump’s election, coal’s future remains bleak


”We’re not planning to build any additional coal facilities,“ said Melissa McHenry, a spokeswoman for American Electric Power, one of the largest U.S. utilities.

“The future for coal is dictated by economics … and you can’t make those kinds of investments based on one administration’s politics.”

Coal plants now make up 47 percent of AEP’s capacity for power generation, a figure it plans to shrink to 33 percent by 2030.

Source: A year after Trump’s election, coal’s future remains bleak

Dividers will not conquer | TheHill


The rise of this extreme populism has taken our government to a point of disruption. The ordinary and necessary functions of the elected federal government are at risk.

It is not because the Republican Party has become dysfunctional that we see so little good in our governing.

It is because all the elements that make up a constitutional government such as ours are being held captive to people who do not have the capacity — or, often, the desire — to govern.

Source: Judd Gregg: Dividers will not conquer | TheHill

GOP is shackled to Trump | TheHill


Republicans running in 2018 saw the reality of an anti-Trump wave among white suburban voters. House Republicans rely on votes from suburban areas to keep their majorities in states such as Pennsylvania, Georgia and Florida.

The anger at Trump was evident in exit polls conducted by Edison Media Research.

In Virginia, Republican Ed Gillespie won 91 percent of voters who “approve of the way Trump is handling his job as president.” Democrat Ralph Northam won 87 percent of those who disapprove.

In essence, Gillespie had all the Trump voters. But there just weren’t enough of them and Northam won easily, by 9 points.

Source: Juan Williams: GOP is shackled to Trump | TheHill

How California Became a Modern Democratic Stronghold | Pacific Standard


California lived through a version of this narrative two decades ago.

Some of the peripheral details are different—the California Republican in question, former Governor Pete Wilson, was not anything close to the disruptive force that Donald Trump has shown himself to be in the first year of his presidency.

But Wilson’s 1994 re-election did usher in a new era of California politics, and had long-term consequences for the California Republican Party.

In the wake of Wilson’s second term, Latinos moved overwhelmingly to the Democratic Party. Republicans also lost middle-class voters in the process, and the GOP has been relegated to the political sidelines of state politics ever since.

Source: How California Became a Modern Democratic Stronghold – Pacific Standard

Ex-intelligence chiefs: Trump is being played by Putin and US is in ‘peril’ | The Guardian


“I think he [Trump] seems very susceptible to rolling out the red carpet, honour guards and all the trappings and pomp and circumstance that come with the office,” Clapper said. “I think that appeals to him and it plays to his insecurities. Yes, I do think that both the Chinese and the Russians can play him.”

Source: Ex-intelligence chiefs: Trump is being played by Putin and US is in ‘peril’ | US news | The Guardian

The Paradox of Xi’s Power


Xi’s triumph at the 19th National Congress has understandably fueled widespread speculation that his now-formidable power will enable him to impose his vision of hardline authoritarian rule, underpinned by Chinese nationalism, in the coming years. And that is a possibility. But it is far from guaranteed.

The reason is simple: though the CPC’s internal power dynamics haven’t change much in the last few decades, Chinese society has moved far beyond the Maoist or even the Dengist era.

Few Chinese, including members of the party, genuinely believe in any official doctrine. Economically, the private sector accounts for more than 60% of China’s output, and the CPC has become practically irrelevant in the daily lives of ordinary Chinese.

This is the paradox of power in the era of Xi.

Source: The Paradox of Xi’s Power

The Real Risk to the Global Economy


The greatest political risk to global markets today, then, is that the key players shaping investor expectations undergo a fundamental realignment.

Most concerning of all is the United States, which is now seeking to carve out a new global role for itself under President Donald Trump.

By withdrawing from international agreements and trying to renegotiate existing trade deals, the US has already become less predictable. Looking ahead, if Trump and future US leaders continue to engage with other countries through zero-sum transactions rather than cooperative institution-building, the world will be unable to muster a joint response to the next period of global market turmoil.

Source: The Real Risk to the Global Economy