October 20, 2017 Last Updated 8:21 am

A discouraging end to the work week as the same old political divides have each side holding on to their own versions of reality

Morning Brief: Washington squabbles over who care more for fallen soldiers, who is colluding more with Russia, while the Senate passes bill that guarantees tax cuts for the wealthy and an increase to the national debt — in other words, just another work week

Newton’s third law of motion that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. In other words, force always come in pairs, a push in one direction means a pull in the other. What is true in nature, appears to also be true in politics.

Take the president’s efforts to demonize Barack Obama claiming that he did not call the parents of fallen soldiers. All week it has been push and pull as Trump’s chief of staff yesterday aggressively pushed back against critics. What we are left with is again a muddle where Trump supporters can claim that criticism of the president it is all a bunch of hooey and that the real villain is the mother of the dead and the Congresswoman who claimed the president was being insensitive. In the end, everyone will believe what they want to believe and things go on as before.

In Catalonia, the Spanish government appears ready to act to take over the regional government, while the proponents of separatism call their supporters out into the streets, and on and on.

But there is truth. That is what the journalist attempts to reveal. And there are objective ways to evaluate what is true and not, like numbers. Or in publishing the P&L. One can say anything they like, but if the numbers say something else isn’t that where the truth lies?


There were a series of articles that appeared in the last 24 hours where I could only respond to them by asking myself “is this really happening in 2017?”

The Guardian, Richard Adams and Helena Bengtsson:

Oxford accused of ‘social apartheid’ as colleges admit no black students

Nearly one in three Oxford colleges failed to admit a single black British A-level student in 2015, with the university accused of “social apartheid” over its admissions policies by the former education minister David Lammy.

The data shows that 10 out of 32 Oxford colleges did not award a place to a black British pupil with A-levels in 2015, the first time the university has released such figures since 2010. Oriel College only offered one place to a black British A-level student in six years.

Similar data released by Cambridge revealed that six colleges there failed to admit any black British A-level students in the same year.

The New York Times, Austin Ramzy:

Ousted Chinese Official Is Accused of Plotting Against Communist Party

A rising Chinese politician who was abruptly removed from office this summer was publicly accused Thursday of trying to seize control of the Communist Party.

The accusation against the politician, Sun Zhengcai, was made by an economic official during a session of the Communist Party congress in Beijing, and gives the most specific detail to date of the charges against Mr. Sun.

Mr. Sun had previously been accused of “grave violations of discipline,” a vague phrase that can include corruption or disloyalty to the party.



Yesterday, Catalan separatists called on supporters to withdraw cash from bank ATMs this morning, a way of putting financial pressure on Spanish institutions. The effort appears to be a bad misstep as few lines appeared at ATMs, as independence supporters appear unwilling to put their money where their mouth is.

We’ve seen this before. In Greece, opposition to continued austerity measures did not ultimately mean support for leaving the EU and abandoning the Euro.

Supporters of Catalan independence are willing to take to the street for a mass demonstration in what is often a party atmosphere. But are they willing to take to streets if met with a violent reaction from the police or troops? I have my doubts. Especially if simply going to an ATM and taking money out appears too much for many.

Catalan News, ACN:

Spanish government and opposition PSOE agree on taking control of Catalan presidency, public TV and police

Direct rule of Catalonia is taking shape. The Spanish government and the main opposition party in Spain, the Socialists, agreed on Friday morning on taking control of the Catalan presidency, public TV and police. The plans of Mariano Rajoy’s cabinet and PSOE party also include calling snap elections in Catalonia in January 2018. Because the law states that the Catalan president is the only authority with powers to call elections, it will be necessary to activate article 155 of the Spanish Constitution, which allows the Spanish government to impose direct rule of Catalonia, in order to hold a Catalan election from Madrid.

The Washington Post, Aritz Parra/AP:

Spain’s main parties agree new Catalan election needed

The move is likely to further inflame tensions between Spain and Catalan pro-independence activists. Catalonia’s government says it has the mandate to secede from Spain after an illegal referendum was held on Oct. 1, and it doesn’t want a new regional election…

…The measure, which has never been used since democracy was restored after Gen. Francisco Franco’s dictatorship, needs to be approved by the Senate. Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy’s conservative Popular Party has an absolute majority in the Senate, so it should pass easily as early as Oct. 27.

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