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TODAY: Trump's Syria Shake-Up

LEADS

A New Middle East: Winners and Losers from Trump’s Abrupt Syria Withdrawal
https://www.juancole.com/2018/12/middle-winners-withdrawal.html

Donald Trump Decided to Take U.S. Troops Out of Syria a Week Ago and Told Pentagon After Call With Turkey
https://www.newsweek.com/trump-syria-turkey-isis-1265641

Turkey ‘intensely’ preparing for new operation in northern Syria: Minister
http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-intensely-preparing-for-new-operation-in-northern-syria-minister-139882

Syrian Kurds allied with US shocked, scared by news of troop withdrawal
https://www.foxnews.com/world/syrian-kurdish-troops-shocked-and-scared-for-us-troop-withdrawal

Despite the Blow to Its National Security, Israel Will Bow to Trump’s Syria Withdrawal
https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-despite-blow-to-its-national-security-israel-will-bow-to-trump-s-syria-withdrawal-1.6763699

France says IS has not been wiped from map in Syria, troops to remain
https://www.sbs.com.au/news/france-says-is-has-not-been-wiped-from-map-in-syria-troops-to-remain

Sen. Graham: Trump's claim of ISIS defeat is 'fake news,' pulling troops is 'stain' on US
https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/12/19/lindsey-graham-syria-donald-trumps-claim-isis-defeated-fake-news/2371745002/

Trump’s Syria Pullout Fuels Backlash Across DC
https://news.antiwar.com/2018/12/19/trumps-syria-pullout-fuels-backlash-across-dc/

Trump on leaving Syria: US doesn’t want to be ‘policeman of the Middle East’
https://www.timesofisrael.com/trump-on-leaving-syria-us-doesnt-want-to-be-policeman-of-the-middle-east/

Putin: ‘US right to leave Syria, but no signs of pullout – remember Afghanistan’
https://www.rt.com/news/447001-putin-syria-us-troops/

Vladimir Putin on nuclear war: U.S. is pushing world 'closer to a very dangerous line'
https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/vladimir-putin-faces-questions-annual-press-conference-n950226

Venezuela Agreed To Let Russia Set Up A Bomber Outpost On This Caribbean Island: Reports
http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/25570/venezuela-agreed-to-let-russia-set-up-a-bomber-outpost-on-this-carribean-island-reports

N. Korea says it won’t denuclearize unless US removes threat
https://www.apnews.com/9ad490e00ff5458daa98edb9745aa27e

The Pentagon thinks cyber ops could be the next WMDs
https://qz.com/1500647/the-pentagon-asks-researchers-for-help-planning-for-cyberattacks/

The Competition to Win a $10 Billion Pentagon Cloud Contract Gets Nasty
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2018-12-20/tech-giants-fight-over-10-billion-pentagon-cloud-contract

Former Pentagon official’s business ties to Amazon draws scrutiny in JEDI case
https://www.stripes.com/news/us/former-pentagon-official-s-business-ties-to-amazon-draws-scrutiny-in-jedi-case-1.561243

Google’s Earth: how the tech giant is helping the state spy on us
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/dec/20/googles-earth-how-the-tech-giant-is-helping-the-state-spy-on-us

POLITICS and FLEAS

Exclusive: Whitaker told he does not need to recuse himself from overseeing Mueller investigation
https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/20/politics/matthew-whitaker-attorney-general-robert-mueller-investigation/

Mueller seeks Roger Stone’s testimony to House intelligence panel, suggesting special counsel is near end of probe of Trump adviser
https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/mueller-seeks-roger-stones-testimony-to-house-intelligence-panel-suggesting-special-counsel-is-near-end-of-probe-of-trump-adviser/2018/12/19/ac5c3ee6-0226-11e9-b5df-5d3874f1ac36_story.html

The US will lift sanctions against companies owned by a Russian oligarch tied to the Mueller probe
https://qz.com/1502146/mnuchin-is-lifting-sanctions-on-manafort-russian-creditor-oleg-deripaska/

Spurned by Congress, Trump administration seeks food stamp curbs via rule change
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-food/spurned-by-congress-trump-administration-seeks-food-stamp-curbs-via-rule-change-idUSKCN1OJ12D

Gofundme page for building the border wall soars past $3 million and shames the GOP pols who betrayed their mandate
https://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2018/12/gofundme_page_for_building_the_border_wall_soars_past_3_million_and_shames_the_gop_pols_who_betrayed_their_mandate.html

Why Isn’t the NRA Screaming About the Bump Stock Ban?
https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/bump-stock-rule-771259/

Trump 2020 campaign used a shell company to pay ad buyers at the center of alleged illegal coordination scheme with NRA
https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2018/12/trump-2020-campaign-coordination/

Trump Previously Testified That He Knew Quite a Bit About Campaign Finance Law
https://lawandcrime.com/high-profile/trump-previously-testified-that-he-knew-quite-a-bit-about-campaign-finance-law/

Wilbur Ross said he divested a stock holding — but he didn’t 
https://publicintegrity.org/federal-politics/wilbur-ross-stock-holdings-divestment/

FOREIGN ENTANGLEMENTS

The Enduring Legacy of Reagan’s Drug War in Latin America
https://warontherocks.com/2018/12/the-enduring-legacy-of-reagans-drug-war-in-latin-america/

From Cocaine To Cacao: One Man's Mission To Save Colombia's Farmers Through Chocolate
https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/12/19/674291228/from-cocaine-to-cacao-one-mans-mission-to-save-colombia-s-farmers-through-chocol

Colombia’s Killing Fields
https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/12/20/colombias-killing-fields/

PANDORA'S BOXCUTTER

Mexico’s Ten-Year Effort to Overturn the Dolphin Safe Tuna Label Ends in Defeat
http://www.earthisland.org/journal/index.php/articles/entry/mexicos-ten-year-effort-to-overturn-the-dolphin-safe-tuna-label-ends-in-defeat

Japan to withdraw from International Whaling Commission in bid to resume commercial whaling: sources
https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2018/12/20/national/japan-withdraw-international-whaling-commission-bid-resume-commercial-whaling-sources/

Guam governor-elect wants cockfighting to remain legal
https://www.apnews.com/b331d65709c64c9f8d43cf6b44bf4fbe

New Jersey Is First State To Ban All Animal Circuses
https://www.thedodo.com/in-the-wild/new-jersey-bans-animal-circuses

Hunting faces an ethical reckoning
https://www.hcn.org/articles/hunting-faces-an-ethical-reckoning

THE MEDIA SCRUM

How Fascist Sympathizers Hijacked Reddit’s Libertarian Hangout
https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/12/reddit-libertarian-takeover-far-right/

Meet the Left-Wing Troll Who Creates Fake News to Expose Conservative 'Stupidity'
https://pjmedia.com/trending/meet-the-left-wing-troll-who-creates-fake-news-to-expose-conservative-stupidity/

Democrats Ran Russian Bot ‘False Flag’ Operation In Alabama — And Media Fell For It 
https://dailycaller.com/2018/12/19/democrats-russian-bots-false-flag/

Editor-in-chief of major US magazine Mother Jones caught skewing data to trash Bernie
https://www.rt.com/usa/446832-sanders-jeffery-black-women-poll/

Spiegel's scandal as star reporter admits making up stories
https://www.handelsblatt.com/today/companies/fake-news-spiegels-scandal-as-star-reporter-admits-making-up-stories/23783528.html

Can’t Afford to Tell the Truth: Trouble at the BBC
https://www.lrb.co.uk/v40/n24/owen-bennett-jones/cant-afford-to-tell-the-truth

ODDS, ENDS

Cheap grace, shattered witness: clergy sexual abuse among Independent Fundamentalist Baptist churches sounds another alarm for us all
https://baptistnews.com/article/cheap-grace-shattered-witness-clergy-sexual-abuse-among-independent-fundamentalist-baptist-churches-sounds-another-alarm-for-us-all/

More than 500 priests accused of sexual abuse not yet publicly identified by Catholic church, Illinois attorney general finds
https://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/breaking/ct-met-illinois-attorney-general-catholic-priest-abuse-20181219-story.html

Religion, Expression, and Psychedelics: On the Rising Power of Ayahuasca
https://www.playboy.com/read/religion-expression-and-psychedelics-on-the-rising-power-of-ayahuasca-1

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