Trump’s warning to Iran raises fears of war — and confusion

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump’s amped up rhetoric that the US is “locked and loaded” sparked new fears of war with Iran but also confusion about his true intentions following an attack on a Saudi oil field that rocked global oil markets. In fresh sign of the administration’s incoherent messaging on a war-or-peace issue, Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short appeared to try to draw the US back from the brink on Monday morning. “I think that ‘locked and loaded’ is a broad term and talks about the realities that we’re all far safer and more secure domestically from energy independence,” he told reporters. But Trump’s aggressive response already has raised the possibility that the US could become …

The racial politics of gun control

Washington (CNN)When Americans talk about guns, what’s arguably most interesting isn’t what we say about the devices themselves. It’s what we betray about whose voices — and lives — matter when it comes to our country’s virulent gun culture. “Shooting up schools is a white kid’s game. I hated school, too. It never occurred to me — kill everybody in school? It’s f***ing crazy,” Chappelle says. Decades ago, when Congress actually passed an assault weapons ban (that, notably, was allowed to expire in 2004), the broad concern was around guns in the hands of minorities — black Americans, specifically. Our modern Congress finds itself paralyzed now that we’re increasingly facing a different dimension of the issue: white people’s guns and …

Johnson thinks a culture war will win crucial working-class votes. Hes wrong | Lynsey Hanley

Most leave supporters are not pining for a mythical lost community. They just want a better quality of life, says writer Lynsey Hanley Not long after the referendum in 2016, some neighbours suddenly erected a big wooden fence around their front garden. Well, it seemed sudden. Our postman jokingly called it the Brexit wall, and although the two events may have been entirely unconnected, the fence took on a symbolism it was probably never intended to have. Whether it was there for reasons of privacy, security, or simply to have something for the ivy to grow on, well never know. I dont like to ask. But the fence reinforced my belief that community life has never been, and never will …

The Trump administration has taken its war on climate crisis action to a new level

(CNN)On Wednesday, CNN hosted a multi-hour town hall with leading Democratic presidential candidates about how they would deal with the climate crisis, which many people feel is an existential threat to humankind. You see where this is going. The Trump administration is actively looking for new ways to show its disdain for the issue of climate change. It’s not denial of climate change, though Trump has done that, calling it a hoax and a concept created by the Chinese. It’s not mockery of climate change, which he does whenever there is cold weather. It’s not a suggestion that clean energy causes cancer. It’s not trolling climate change activists and environmentalists, as his campaign is doing by peddling ocean-polluting plastic straws …

Why The Third Man is an essential primer for no-deal Brexit

As the classic noir gets a 70th anniversary re-release, its hard to ignore the parallels between a shattered postwar Vienna teeming with spivs and the future the Brexiters have in mind What perfect timing for The Third Man to step back out of the shadows. Often hailed as the finest film Britain ever made, a 70th anniversary re-release will see it return to cinemas with the government much in the market for symbols of national grandeur. While Boris Johnson has named his favourite film as Dodgeball for once, eerily believable as the great British breakdown goes on it is easy to imagine him waving a tiny Union Jack at Carol Reeds majestic noir. It is true, of course, that there …

Plastic straws are the subject of the latest 2020 culture war

New York (CNN)There’s a new cultural flashpoint in the 2020 presidential race: plastic straws. The elevation of an issue that is on the far margins of the climate challenge, but is tangible to people across the country, captures the tension between tackling the crisis and the changes that doing so would bring to Americans’ everyday lives. The cultural clash comes in part because, on broader policy matters, there is no middle ground to be found between Democrats advocating urgent action to address the climate crisis and Trump, a climate science denier. The President has repeatedly said he doesn’t believe humans play a role in global warming. Last year, he dismissed a study by his own administration warning of the potential …

Depth of Field: The Movie Poster Brexit Deserves

Photographs, Susan Sontag once famously wrote, “fiddle with the scale of the world.” They tell us only a distortion. They are incomplete, even as they strive to render the frame whole and exact. That does not make them false. Exactly the opposite. Photographs invite meaning, possibility. The best photos, thick with narrative, sweat. It is true that a picture is worth a thousand words. It is also true that a picture is worth a thousand more pictures. One image gives way to another. What are photographs but gateways into parallel realms, memories resurrected, passageways into the familiar? What we see, we have already seen. John MacDougall’s portrait-style capture of German Chancellor Angela Merkel and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson—taken during …

Immigration panic: how the west fell for manufactured rage

The long read: From Trump to Orbn, politicians are winning votes by stoking age-old hatreds. Where does this fear of migrants come from? The west is being destroyed, not by migrants, but by the fear of migrants. In country after country, the ghosts of the fascists have rematerialised and are sitting in parliaments in Germany, in Austria, in Italy. They have successfully convinced their populations that the greatest threat to their nations isnt government tyranny or inequality or climate change, but immigration. And that, to stop this wave of migrants, everyones civil liberties must be curtailed. Surveillance cameras must be installed everywhere. Passports must be produced for the most routine of tasks, like buying a mobile phone. Take a look …

6 takeaways from CNN’s town halls with Steve Bullock and Bill de Blasio

New York (CNN)Montana Gov. Steve Bullock and New York Mayor Bill de Blasio offered two markedly different views of the Democratic Party at CNN town halls on Sunday, providing a stark example of the political divide inside the party. Despite their differences, the question for both men is whether they were able to break out of their low-tier status in the Democratic race, where both Bullock and de Blasio find themselves polling under 1% in most surveys. Those results have put them as risk of missing both the September and October Democratic National Committee debates, an outcome that could imperil both campaigns. Here are the key takeaways from CNN’s town halls with Bullock and de Blasio: Where Bullock worries about …

‘Something needs to be done’: A conversation about guns and race in America

(CNN)On Tuesday afternoon, Liliana Bustos, a 27-year-old waitress in El Paso, Texas, brought her 2-year-old son to see the growing memorial outside the Walmart commemorating the 22 people killed in the mass shooting there on Saturday. Andre Ortiz and his fiancée Caysee Brown frequent Dayton’s Oregon entertainment district where the shooting took place. Ortiz, 34, and Brown, 36, knew one of the victims, Lola Oglesby. “It feels a little different to even leave the house these days,” said Brown. “It just doesn’t feel like you can go anywhere. Can’t go to Walmart. Can’t go to church. Can’t go to a movie theater without the fear of something happening or something going wrong.” Ortiz said he’s had to talk with the …

Is Boris Johnson really Britain’s Trump? | Cas Mudde

Both are loudmouthed man-children, whose professional success is a combination of immense privilege, unscrupulous opportunism and relentless self-promotion The United Kingdom has a new prime minister, again, roughly three years after Theresa May took over to clean up David Camerons Brexit mess. The new PM is Boris Johnson, one of the many European politicians to be portrayed as a local equivalent of President Donald Trump in the US media. This time, however, the similarities are indeed striking. Both are loudmouthed man-children, with a history of adultery and other scandals, whose professional success is a combination of immense privilege, unscrupulous opportunism and relentless self-promotion, all happily promoted by a complicit media environment. They share an unorthodox approach to politics as well …

Trump says he will no longer deal with UK ambassador who labeled him ‘inept’

Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump said Monday that the White House will no longer deal with British Ambassador to the US Kim Darroch after a series of leaked diplomatic cables revealed he told 10 Downing Street that the administration was “inept” and “clumsy.” British officials spent the weekend trying to do damage control after the messages leaked as their White House counterparts downplayed Darroch’s comments. In the cables leaked to the Daily Mail newspaper, Darroch warned the UK government that Trump’s “career could end in disgrace,” and described conflicts within the White House as “knife fights.” A UK government source told CNN the memos described in the Daily Mail story, which span the period between 2017 to present day, are genuine. …

Alison Klayman: Bannons into the Great Man theory of history and hes certain hes one of those great men

The award-winning documentarist on persuading the far-right strategist Steve Bannon to reveal himself in her new film, The Brink Alison Klaymans documentary The Brink, follows Steve Bannon, Donald Trumps former chief strategist, in the 13 months following his acrimonious departure from the White House in 2017. It covers a period during which Bannon campaigned for Republicans such as Roy Moore, the far-right Alabama politician who was accused of sexual misconduct, and established a new pan-European populist organisation, Miles Kwok [the Chinese billionaire]. They clearly had history, a mutual admiration. Out of that meeting came one of my favourite lines in the film. Bannon says: I think I can fund it, this group [the Movement]. All we need are the ideas. …

Joe Biden explained opposition to desegregation busing in 1981 CNN interview

(CNN)Joe Biden said in a 1981 CNN interview that he opposed busing to desegregate schools and that he supported efforts to cut back on courts’ ability to order busing. “What I have argued as one who grew up in the civil rights movement and ran for office as a public defender and a member of an active participant in civil rights cases, I have argued that the least effective remedy to be imposed is the busing remedy,” Biden said at another point in the interview. In a statement to CNN, Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates reiterated that the former vice president always supported voluntary busing and federally mandated busing to end “de jure” segregation. “He has also always been an …

Donald Trump’s July 4 spectacle just keeps getting more and more absurd

(CNN)When President Donald Trump initially announced his plan to take over the usually non-partisan July 4 celebration in Washington way back in February, I wrote a piece with this headline “The utter absurdity of Trump’s July Fourth bash.” “Big 4th of July in D.C. ‘Salute to America.’” Trump tweeted on Tuesday morning. “The Pentagon & our great Military Leaders are thrilled to be doing this & showing to the American people, among other things, the strongest and most advanced Military anywhere in the World. Incredible Flyovers & biggest ever Fireworks!” With the festivities now only days away, the full picture of what Trump has planned is coming into focus. And boy, oh boy, is it over the top. Among the …

Hollywood Tried to Save America With a Live Reading of the Mueller Report

On Monday night, a passel of Hollywood A-listers did the most theater geek thing imaginable: They attempted to fix the problems of America by doing a staged reading of a play. The movie stars gathered at the Riverside Church in New York to read an adaptation of special counsel Robert Mueller's 448-page report on Russian interference in the 2016 election and President Trump's possible obstruction of that investigation, written by Pulitzer Prize–winning playwright Robert Shenkkan. The Investigation: A Search for the Truth in Ten Acts was livestreamed for the world to see. Each act was meant to show an act of obstruction, i.e. Act 1 showed Trump asking the FBI to shut down the investigation into Michael Flynn, Act 2 …