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TODAY: Phony Wars

LEADS

The War on Christmas
https://www.nationalreview.com/2015/12/war-christmas-christmas-virtues-excerpt/

Silent Night: Santa Claus takes direct action.
https://www.thenation.com/article/silent-night/

Government Shutdown Won't Affect Santa Tracker, NORAD Says
https://www.npr.org/2018/12/24/679781692/government-shutdown-wont-affect-santa-tracker-norad-says

Trump, Erdogan Agree to Coordinate US Pullout From Syria
https://www.voanews.com/a/trump-will-not-reconsider-withdrawing-troops-from-syria/4712959.html

Trump told Turkey's Erdogan in Dec. 14 call about Syria, 'it's all yours. We are done'
https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/23/politics/donald-trump-erdogan-turkey/index.html

Mattis signs order withdrawing US troops from Syria
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-mattis-withdrawal/mattis-signs-order-withdrawing-us-troops-from-syria-idUSKCN1ON0QX

Trump forces Mattis out early, names former Boeing exec acting defense secretary
https://www.seattletimes.com/nation-world/trump-forces-mattis-out-two-months-early-names-shanahan-acting-defense-secretary/

Trump’s Incoming Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan Pushed Military to Buy Weapons It Didn't Want
https://www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-acting-defense-secretary-patrick-shanahan-is-a-controversial-former-boeing-executive

‘Fix-it’ man Shanahan working to streamline defense spending
https://www.apnews.com/125ecd7335074289ba74db57084753b8

Pentagon To Request $1.2 Billion for New Boeing F-15 Fighters
https://about.bgov.com/blog/pentagon-billion-new-boeing-fighters/

Boeing’s Pentagon Takeover
https://foreignpolicy.com/2018/12/23/boeing-pentagon-takeover-defense-department-mattis-shanahan/

Mattis is out, and Blackwater is back: ‘We are coming’
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2018/12/21/mattis-is-out-and-blackwater-is-back-we-are-coming/

Ex-lobbyist who carries card to remind him of all his conflicts is favorite to replace Zinke
https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/policy/energy/ex-lobbyist-who-carries-card-to-remind-him-of-all-his-conflicts-is-favorite-to-replace-zinke

The Veteran Who Has Raised Over $12 Million To Fund Trump's Wall Made Money Off Peddling Conspiracy Theories And Fake News
https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/briannasacks/veteran-gofundme-border-wall-fake-news

The ‘all-I-want-for-Christmas-is-$5-billion-for-the-wall’ shutdown
https://www.politico.com/story/2018/12/23/government-shutdown-2018-border-wall-deal-1074563

A boy separated from his mom at the border faces his first Christmas without her
https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/immigration/a-boy-separated-from-his-mom-at-the-border-faces-his-first-christmas-without-her/2018/12/20/c45b09f6-022f-11e9-b5df-5d3874f1ac36_story.html

UN special rapporteur demands inquiry into death of Guatemalan girl held in US
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/24/jakelin-caal-un-special-rapporteur-demands-inquiry-death

My Daughter Reality Winner Faced Severe Punishment, but Key Figures in the Trump-Russia Scandal Are Getting Off Easy
https://theintercept.com/2018/12/23/reality-winner-trump-russia/

Will Bad Bankers Ever Be Punished?
https://www.theglobalist.com/malaysia-1mdb-goldman-sachs-corruption-banks/

Top Trump official calls bankers, will convene 'Plunge Protection Team'
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-treasury/top-trump-official-calls-bankers-will-convene-plunge-protection-team-idUSKCN1OM0LJ

Treasury secretary startles Wall Street with unusual pre-Christmas calls to top bank CEOs
https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/2018/12/23/treasury-secretary-makes-unusual-pre-christmas-call-top-bank-ceos-amid-market-mayhem/

Alarmed traders are sending the S&P 500 towards a 10% yearly drop amid US political chaos — Mnuchin's odd attempt to soothe markets made it much worse
https://www.businessinsider.com/stocks-look-set-to-rally-market-baffled-by-mnuchin-call-2018-12

2019 could be worst year for economy since '08
https://www.axios.com/2019-economy-2008-trump-stock-markets-7df1e216-0300-474d-a4dd-5ce031a2036e.html

Your Cart Is Empty
https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/yw73vk/your-cart-is-empty-v25n4

POLITICS and FLEAS

As the Old Faiths Collapse, the Greens, Social Justice Warriors, and Techno-Futurists Aim to Fill the Void
https://www.thedailybeast.com/as-the-old-faiths-collapse-the-greens-social-justice-warriors-and-techno-futurists-aim-to-fill-the-void

Ringing in a Christian Nationalist 2019 With an Even Larger Legislative Playbook
https://rewire.news/religion-dispatches/2018/12/18/ringing-in-a-christian-nationalist-2019-with-an-even-larger-legislative-playbook/

Radical Political Views Correlates with Poor Metacognition
https://theness.com/neurologicablog/index.php/radical-political-views-correlates-with-poor-metacognition/

FOREIGN ENTANGLEMENTS

China Cuts Tariffs on More Than 700 Goods Amid Open-Trade Drive
https://www.bloombergquint.com/global-economics/china-cuts-tariffs-on-more-than-700-goods-amid-open-trade-drive

Pet shops to be banned from selling puppies or kittens, animal welfare minister announces
https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/pet-shops-to-be-banned-from-selling-puppies-or-kittens-under-new-government-plans-a4024696.html

UK economy relies on stretched consumers as Brexit hits investment
https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-britain-economy/uk-economy-relies-on-stretched-consumers-as-brexit-hits-investment-idUKKCN1OK0W6

The Dickensian Tragedy of Britain’s Growing Poverty
https://newrepublic.com/article/152809/dickensian-tragedy-britains-growing-poverty

Why Germans are so good at Christmas
https://www.handelsblatt.com/today/politics/handelsblatt-explains-why-germans-are-so-good-at-christmas/23573528.html

PANDORA'S BOXCUTTER

A Tsunami Has Killed Hundreds in Indonesia. Here's What to Know About the Latest Deadly Natural Disaster to Hit the Country
http://time.com/5487825/indonesia-krakatoa-volcano-tsunami-sunda-strait/

Sunda Strait tsunami came without earthquake as warning, taking residents by surprise
https://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-12-24/tsunami-hits-without-earthquake-as-warning-in-indonesia/10665190

Indonesia tsunami: How a volcano can be the trigger
https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-46666633

THE MEDIA SCRUM

‘I Made It All Up’: Bruce Springsteen versus the Cult of Authenticity
https://www.nationalreview.com/2018/12/bruce-springsteen-persona-fake-artistry-sublime/

The Divisive Legacy & Surprising Future of Guns N' Roses' 'Chinese Democracy'
https://www.billboard.com/biz/articles/8491319/the-divisive-legacy-surprising-future-of-guns-n-roses-chinese-democracy

Baby, Christmas Songs Have Always Been Controversial
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2018/12/singing-christmas-has-always-been-controversial/578464/

ODDS, ENDS

In esports, parents and coaches push young players to excel
https://www.cbsnews.com/news/esports-video-gaming-private-coaches-parents-support-cbsn-originals/

A kid-friendly internet? This company is trying to build one
https://www.nbcnews.com/tech/tech-news/kid-friendly-internet-company-trying-build-one-n950491

Poppy, aka the Internet Incarnate, Isn't Actually That Into the Internet
https://www.wmagazine.com/story/poppy-instagram-dating-social-media

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