Syria, Emergency Powers, Steve King: 3 Stories You Should Read 1/11/2018
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In the category of: An excellent question, indeed.
The Iowa Republican, who has repeatedly expressed xenophobic sentiment and cozied up to politicians affiliated with white nationalist sentiments and movements, offered this doozy of a quote in an interview with The New York Times earlier this week.
“White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive? Why did I sit in classes teaching me about the merits of our history and our civilization?”
When did white supremacy, an “ideology” behind the centuries of hate, oppression and murder both here in the United States and abroad, become a bad word? Sort of always. (King later clarified that he is “simply a Nationalist.” Uh, OK.)
That King even thought this — much less decided to say it in an interview with The New York Times — is both not at all surprising and deeply troubling.
In the category of: Inquiring minds want to know.
A wise person once said that perusal of the day’s news requires an answer to the question, “Is this crisis worth worrying about?” When it comes to the prospect of President Donald Trump invoking emergency powers to build a wall at the border with Mexico, the answer to that question is an emphatic yes.
The political logic for Trump to declare a national emergency in order to build a wall has become increasingly clear. He believes that the wall is an unbreakable commitment to his supporters, but negotiations with Congress over money to pay for it are at an impasse. It looks like an emergency is his only chance to get the wall—and securing funding for it in this way, outside the normal appropriations process, would allow him to start the process of building it, while also signing a bill that would reopen the full federal government. On Thursday, the President seemed to be leaning this way. “If this doesn’t work out,” he said, referring to budget negotiations with Congress, “probably I will do it, I would almost say definitely. This is a national emergency.” In some ways, the emergency option might suit Trump’s Democratic opponents in Congress, too. It would allow the government to reopen before the public starts blaming them, in addition to the President, for the shutdown.
It all makes so much sense—and it would be a sign that the country is rushing toward an authoritarian future.
In the category of: Putin’s biggest win.
Coalition begins pulling out troops, a US military spokesperson says, without elaborating on locations or timetables.
“On Thursday, some American forces withdrew from the Rmeilan military base in Hasakeh province,” said Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Britain-based monitoring organisation.
“This is the first such pullout of American forces since the US president’s announcement” of a full troop withdrawal from Syria last month, he said.
The withdrawal of troops also coincided with a trip to the Middle East by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to reassure allies about the US plans to withdraw troops from Syria.
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