Weekly Review — May 7, 2019, 1:43 pm

Weekly Review

Juan Guaidó’s Operation Freedom faltered; William Barr testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee; the Duchess of Sussex gave birth

Juan Guaidó, a 35-year-old who in January declared himself the interim president of Venezuela, urged all citizens to rise up against President Nicolás Maduro in a livestream on the day before a pro-Maduro May Day protest planned by the United Socialist Party of Venezuela.1 2 3 Standing in front of uniformed men and Leopoldo López, his mentor, Guaidó stated that there was “no turning back” from the “final stage” of what he called Operation Freedom, and that “our armed forces, brave soldiers, brave patriots, brave men who follow the constitution have heard our call.”4 5 Throughout that day and into the next, pro-government military forces clashed with Guaidó’s supporters in Caracas; John Bolton, the U.S. national security adviser, backed the protesters in an English-language video that he posted on Twitter.6 7 Guaidó later acknowledged the failure of the revolt in an interview with the Washington Post, saying, “Maybe because we still need more soldiers, and maybe we need more officials of the regime to be willing to support it, to back the constitution.”8 A new study revealed that, over the past two years, sexual assault in the military has increased by 38 percent; sailors aboard the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman were ordered by an officer to “clap like we’re at a strip club” to celebrate the arrival of Mike Pence; and Iran’s parliament passed a bill that classified all U.S. military forces as terrorist.9 10 11

In a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, William Barr called Robert Mueller’s response to his four-page summary of the special counsel’s report “a bit snitty” and said that the letter was “probably written by one of his staff people”; the attorney general later refused to turn over notes from a conversation with Mueller about Mueller’s letter and concluded his testimony by asking Senator Richard Blumenthal, “Why should you have them?”12 13 Donald Trump separately criticized the amount of relief funds allocated to Puerto Rico and the outcome of the Kentucky Derby, tweeting, “It was a rough & tumble race on a wet and sloppy track, actually, a beautiful thing to watch. Only in these days of political correctness could such an overturn occur. The best horse did NOT win the Kentucky Derby – not even close!”14 15 Following a closed-door meeting, Chuck Schumer announced that he and several other Democrats reached an agreement with the president to allocate $2 trillion over the next 25 years for infrastructure, and that they would meet again in three weeks to discuss its funding; the gathered Democrats were unsuccessful in their attempt to secure a partial repeal the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.15 16 The Department of Homeland Security announced the start of DNA testing at the U.S.–Mexico border to stop migrants who are traveling with children they are not related to from entering the country, and U.S. Customs and Border Protection seized 15 pounds of marijuana at the Canadian border.17 18 A “Peace Trail” along Korea’s demilitarized zone has been announced by the United Nations Command, and Israel and Hamas, who have been fighting on the Gaza border, announced a ceasefire.19 20 The Duchess of Sussex gave birth to a son who is seventh in line to the British throne; he is a dual U.S. and British citizen.21 22 A new study found that, across nine majority English-speaking countries, wealthy boys were most likely to pretend to be more knowledgeable than they actually were.23

The Senate did not overturn Trump’s veto of a bill that would stop U.S. support for the war in Yemen, and a man who spray-painted yemen and “8-9-18” (the date that a bomb manufactured by Lockheed Martin killed 44 children who had been riding in a school bus) onto the weapons-manufacturer’s Palo Alto offices was arrested on felony vandalism charges.24 25 A fund-raiser for a charter school in California was canceled after QAnon conspiracy theory believers bombarded the school with threats on the basis of their interpretation of a tweet by former FBI director James Comey, in which he listed five jobs he had held in the past.26 27 An Israeli television station released recordings of two rabbis at a religious school in the West Bank saying, respectively, that Adolf Hitler was “the most correct person there ever was, and was correct in every word he said … he was just on the wrong side” and that Arabs are genetically inferior.28 Suicide rates for minors between the ages of 10 and 17 have increased by nearly 30 percent following the debut of Netflix’s 13 Reasons Why two years ago, with no significant increases for 18- to 64-year-olds; the study also found that boys were more likely to commit suicide than girls.29 The United Nations’ Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services concluded a three-year assessment of global research, which determined the human race threatens 1 million species with extinction.30Violet Lucca

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In 1973, when Barry Singer was a fifteen-year-old student at New York’s Yeshiva University High School for Boys, the vice principal, Rabbi George Finkelstein, stopped him in a stairwell. Claiming he wanted to check his tzitzit—the strings attached to Singer’s prayer shawl—Finkelstein, Singer says, pushed the boy over the third-floor banister, in full view of his classmates, and reached down his pants. “If he’s not wearing tzitzit,” Finkelstein told the surrounding children, “he’s going over the stairs!”

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I spent thirty-eight years in prison and have been a free man for just under two. After killing a man named Thomas Allen Fellowes in a drunken, drugged-up fistfight in 1980, when I was nineteen years old, I was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole. Former California governor Jerry Brown commuted my sentence and I was released in 2017, five days before Christmas. The law in California, like in most states, grants the governor the right to alter sentences. After many years of advocating for the reformation of the prison system into one that encourages rehabilitation, I had my life restored to me.

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