3 Stories You Should Read 10/15/2019: Impeachment, Syria, William Barr
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In the category of: Check your Day Planner
Subpoenas, depositions, and Gordon Sondland: Here’s Democrats impeachment to-do list this week.
It’s a busy, hearing-packed week for the US House of Representatives as members come back from a two-week recess to continue their impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump.
Members of the House Intelligence Committee never really left Capitol Hill during recess. Lawmakers in that committee — along with members of the two other committees investigating Trump’s contacts with Ukraine, the foreign affairs and oversight committees — have spent the last two weeks conducting hearings and deposing witnesses in order to determine whether Trump attempted to use the office of president to gain dirt on his political enemies.
In the category of: The War Machine
At each stage of this slowly unfolding disaster — including the return of American troops to Iraq and insertion of them for the first time into the morass of the Syrian civil war in order to defeat the Islamic State we helped to birth — the wise men and women of Washington’s bipartisan foreign policy establishment have been ready with arguments about how we must never, ever, ever withdraw from the region. Why not? Because American airpower and artillery are its only source of stability. If we leave, the bad guys will come roaring back in no time, and we’ll have to return and fight again at greater cost, just as Barack Obama did after prematurely pulling out of Iraq. In this way, every decision to intervene militarily, no matter how bad the consequences, requires an extension or even expansion of our intervention. Because withdrawing always makes it worse.
In the category of: Seperation of church and state
His troubles don’t only involve his obeisance to Donald Trump. He’s a paranoid right-wing Catholic ideologue who won’t respect the separation of church and state.
All those anti-Trump establishment lawyers who stood up for Barr this year did so either knowing about all of this Catholic wing-nuttery or not caring enough to know. Meanwhile, he’s one of the four tent poles of modern conservatism, as I wrote last week, and it’s worth noting that Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney were all also raised Catholic—but Pence and Pompeo went one better than Barr and joined the official GOP denomination, White Evangelical Protestantism (some of whose members believe Catholicism was established by Satan).
I couldn’t wish these guys better company to spend time with in hell. But I don’t (really) believe in hell, and they still run the country with Trump. Let’s hope Barr’s utter unfitness to head the Justice Department of a secular state becomes more clear in the weeks to come—and then we take down the rest of them, too.
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