The Not Fake News Update, 16 June 2020

During these fraught times (and when exactly are times not fraught?) it’s easy to lose track of major happenings in our country and the world around us.  Plus, sometimes it’s nice to just leave the television turned off and ignore the news.  It can get overwhelming.

So whether you just want to catch up on anything you might have missed or have instead gone out of your way to miss everything you could, here’s today’s update of the actual news — nothing fake — with special focus on what’s not being talked about by major media.  It’s only been a couple of days since our last update, but they’ve been busy ones.

– The Supreme Court today ruled that unlawful discrimination for sex, according to Title VII laws, includes every aspect of it from what it is to what it was or might have been, and who has it with whom.  The Court was divided 6-3 and not along partisan lines, with strong notes from justices on both sides stating that Congress has failed in their responsibility to write unequivocal law.  Another ruling permitted a pipeline to cross the Appalachian Trail; that was 7-2 in favor.  Environmentalists are burning Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg in carbon-neutral sage effigy tonight in response.

– Cases the Supreme Court declined to hear were equally newsworthy, as many involved challenges to gun control laws.  At least one would have involved limiting police immunity from civil lawsuits — the doctrine of qualified immunity.  Unusually, Justice Clarence Thomas wrote a 6-page dissent stating that he would be open to challenges to qualified immunity.  It is remarkable that the normally silent conservative judge would so express himself on anything, much less this.

– After Saudi Arabia threatened to defund certain United Nations programs, the U.N. removed them from a condemnatory list of nations who commit war crimes against children.  That their inclusion on the list in the first place was both politically and factually suspect in no way eliminates the rather damning context of the international body’s apparent venality.

– Some fifteen thousand Venezuelan refugees presently sheltering in temporary encampments in neighboring Colombia are reportedly making their way back home.  The economic downturn coupled with the COVID-19 outbreak has made life in a foreign country slightly more uncertain than the long breadlines back home.  One migrant, however, had a different reason; he’s been abroad for nearly eight years now, and he says the television set he signed up for before his departure is due to arrive next week.

– Protests continue around the country.  Some are under the Black Lives Matter banner; some are unaffiliated but opposed to police brutality and demanding reform.  A very few are protesting against COVID-19 lockdowns, however.  For the most part, the protests are peaceful; for the most part, there are very few uses of rubber bullets and tear gas.  There are still, however, several isolated instances of apparently spontaneous mass looting.  Meanwhile, in the U.K., violence and sexual assaults are breaking out at “quarantine raves”.  And France is just being France.

– In Seattle, the self-declared “autonomous zone” continues, evidently subsisting largely on donated food and utilities and the kindness of strangers.  Rumors of gang violence substituting themselves for law enforcement have been hotly denied despite videos.  Meanwhile, efforts to establish a similar zone in Portland, Oregon have been contested and prevented by massive efforts from local police.

– In China, a LNG tanker truck detonated on a major highway, causing a thermal bloom that triggered early warning systems from Moscow to NORAD.  The official death toll is only in the double digits, but realistically it’s going to be catastrophic.  More than one hundred fire trucks were deployed.  Words can’t express — grief, sorrow, outrage perhaps — so I’m not going to try.

– In addition to its direct involvement in the war with Libya, Turkey is now bombing Kurds in Iraq who are deployed to fight against the remains of the Islamic State.  Turkey says this operation was conducted in response to Kurdish militant attacks against Turkish forces.

– The European Union has invited the United States to participate in a new push aimed at revitalizing the long-stalled Israel-Palestine peace talks.  Rumor has it that they need some strength at the table now that France has surrendered again.

– This just in:  Epstein is still dead.  I’m sick of seeing his picture.  He’s not newsworthy; he’s not even meme-worthy.  Our society winks at the commercial sexual exploitation of children on a massive scale, and even mentioning Epstein outside that context is absurd.

– In Russia, we’ve received word that the Norilsk oil spill has broken through its containing booms and reached the Arctic Sea.  The company is blaming climate change rather than their obvious and evident criminal negligence to maintain the corrosion proofing on the massive storage tank that rusted through.  Over a hundred square miles of countryside plus two important rivers and several large lakes in the area will not recover any time soon.

– Update (post publication):  On the 20th anniversary of their historic agreement with the South, North Korea appears to have blown up the Inter-Korean Liaison Office.  It’s symbolic, but it’s not an invasion, so there’s that.

TANSTAAFL: There Ain’t No Such Thing As A Free Lunch.

There’s a reason your news is biased. It’s because you want it to be. The reason I can tell is, people still read the Times and the Post even though they need to pay for the privilege but the number of people willing to even buy one coffee on this site is pretty small. The number that share links to these posts is even smaller. We get what we pay for.

If you don’t like the CoffeeLink below, you might consider PayPal instead, perhaps setting up an automatic monthly subscription. I’m told there’s a checkbox.  If enough people subscribe, we’ll take on some stringers and maybe another columnist.

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