In his signature fashion, President Donald Trump on Wednesday embraced the criticism of the Democrats and said that his wall is “medieval” but works. Last night, the public saw both the President and the Democrats announce that they will not yield an inch as the country continues what will soon become the longest government shutdown in history. Lingering in the background is the threat of a presidential declaration of emergency — followed by a unilateral order to start to build the wall with unobligated funds. If so, the White House needs to guarantee that it will not repeat the grossly negligent performance of its first travel ban roll out. Trump reportedly stormed out of a meeting with Democrats in the afternoon.Continue reading “Trump Goes “Medieval”: Both Sides Deepen Divide Over Wall”
This week I published a column on how the Democratic Party seems to have jettisoned many of its defining values to simply become the anti-Trump party. The best example of that transformation is the automatic opposition to Trump’s decision to pull troops out of Syria and other countries. At the same time, liberal media outlets like CNN and MSNBC have been airing continual experts denouncing the “hasty” withdrawal. Now veteran NBC award-winning journalist William Arkin has resigned in protest of what he says is the unrelenting support of the network for endless wars. He notes that the anti-Trump agenda at the network has overwhelmed what used to be critical coverage of “the machine of perpetual war acceptance and conventional wisdom to challenge Hillary Clinton’s hawkishness.” Now the reflective anti-Trump response at the network has overwhelmed all such considerations, according to Arkin. While Arkin calls Trump “an ignorant and incompetent impostor,” he cites the transformation of NBC into an opposition network as the main reason for his departure.Continue reading ““The Machine of Perpetual War Acceptance”: Veteran NBC Journalist Resigns In Protest Over One-Sided Coverage”
After thousands of fatalities to U.S. personnel and allies and hundreds of billions of dollars, the Taliban now controls more of Afghanistan than at any point since 2001 . . . that the momentum seems to favor the Taliban. The government controls only 55 percent of the country. One can only wonder at the problems in this country that could have been addressed by hundreds of billions of dollars but the thousands lost and wounded are no abstraction.
Day Four of our trip to Hawaii started early with a trip to the Diamond Head crater. This was my second hike up the crater, but the first such venture for the family. We then had a great lunch at Duke’s restaurant in Waikiki and journeyed on to Pearl Harbor. We finished the day with an evening dip back on the North Shore. It felt wonderfully decadent. Continue reading “Day 4: From Diamond Head To Pearl Harbor”
The University of Exeter has had the embarrassing task for apologizing for its distribution of an inspiration quote to students that “One cannot permit unique opportunities to slip by for the sake of trifles.” The problem is that the quote is from General Erwin Rommel. What should be the most alarming aspect of this story is not the use of the Rommel quote but that the university personnel did not know who the “Desert Fox” was. Continue reading “University of Exeter Apologizes For Use of Inspirational Quote From Erwin Rommel”
Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the recent Senate hearing (in which I testified) on the proposed new AUMF legislation. In the last couple days, an open battle erupted between Sen. Lindsey Graham (R., South Carolina) and Sen. Rand Paul (R., Kentucky) after Graham called for the addition of North Korea among the ever changing list of countries. Paul called him “a danger to the country.”
Here is the column: Continue reading “Congress Is Again AWOL On War Powers”
West Point graduate and Army infantry officer Spenser Rapone has been drummed out of the military after receiving an “other than honorable discharge” from the military. He caused a stir with a posted photo of his West Point cap with the words “Communism will win” written inside. He also displayed a Che Guevara T-shirt underneath his uniform jacket. Rapone is clearly a dedicated socialist, but the action raises the issue of whether being a communist or socialist is disqualifying. His removal is widely tied to a letter sent by Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fl.). Rapone is scheduled to be a featured speaker at the conference “Socialism 2018” in Chicago this year.
The State Department was eager to brush over miffed feelings connected to the G-7 meeting, particularly with Germany. Perhaps a bit too eager. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert was striving to list examples of our close historical relationship and included the D-Day invasion. It is true that that was a key moment in our “relationship” but it was hardly a positive one.
I will be testifying today in the Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee’s Subcommittee on Federal Spending Oversight and Emergency Management. The hearing is entitled “War Powers and the Effects of Unauthorized Military Engagements on Federal Spending” and will address the new proposed Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) proposed by Senators Bob Corker (R-TN) and Tim Kaine (D-VA). As my testimony below discusses, the new legislation would represent an unprecedented change in the law governing war powers. The new AUMF amounts to a statutory revision of one of the most defining elements of the United States Constitution. Putting aside the constitutionality of such a change absent a formal amendment, the proposed legislation completes a long history of this body abdicating its core responsibilities over the declaration of war. Continue reading “Turley To Testify On War Powers In Senate Today”
CIA nominee Gina Haspel reportedly sought to withdraw her nomination last Friday but was convinced to continue by the White House. I have previously written extensively on my views the torture program implemented under the Bush Administration and why it was a clear violation of international laws and treaties. As I wrote recently, CIA nominee Gina Haspel has featured greatly in that torture program. Nevertheless, various Democrats continues to express a willingness to consider making her the head of the Central Intelligence Agency. In the meantime, Sarah Sanders has echoed the talking point that Senators will be hypocrites if they do not vote for the first woman to be nominated for this post. The problem is that she is also the first person nominated with an admitted history of torture, even though she continues to mislabel the programs as “enhanced interrogation.”
Below is my column in USA Today on the nomination Deputy Director Gina Haspel to head the CIA. While Sen. Rand Paul has declared that he will oppose Haspel over torture, some Democrats (who are being criticized for previously failing to act on torture allegations) are again hedging on whether they will oppose a nominee solely due to her involvement in the torture program. However, one promising development is an effort by Sen. Dianne Feinstein to have Haspel’s record on torture declassified. There remains some debate over Haspel’s role on notable cases. Reports still indicate that Haspel oversaw the torture of Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri at the “Cat’s Eye.” However, it is not clear if she was “Chief of Base” during the torture of Abu Zubaydah. ProPublica issued a correction Thursday that she was not Chief at the time of the Zubaydah torture. There is no debate that Haspel ordered the destruction of evidence of the torture program.
Here is the column (which has been edited since its original posting):
The United States has long rejected the holding of military parades featuring tanks, missiles and other heavy weapons as a symbol of authoritarian regimes like the Soviet Union, North Korea and other countries. We commonly have parades with marching military and military bands in Washington. What we generally have not done is add heavy weaponry — the signature display of so many of the history authoritarian enemies of this country (though, as some have pointed out on this blog, there have been exceptions where tanks or missiles were present in inaugurations). Trump’s desire for military equipment at the presidential inauguration was reportedly rejected by the Pentagon as running counter to the long traditions of the country. Now Trump appears to be close to getting such a parade, modeled on the Bastille Day parade. A military official told The Washington Post is quoted as saying“The marching orders were: I want a parade like the one in France.” (The current results show 77 percent against such parades with around 800 polled. The Army-Navy Times is reported opposition at 89 percent). Opposition is also coming from Republicans who are calling it “cheesy” and “wasteful.” The Navy Seal who killed Osama Bin Laden has called it “third world bulls**t.”
Ironically, as many on this blog know, I am a military history buff and love to review both vintage and modern weaponry. However, I like our tradition in not holding such military parades. Our military has long maintained its apolitical and professional distance in our system. We celebrate and honor our military but do not use heavy weapons as props. We also avoid the high costs associated with such parades. However, people of good faith can disagree and I wanted to ask the blog about the consensus (if any) on this issue below.
There is a rumor of more members being axed in the coming week over sexual harassment as Washington prepares for the final tax vote. Ok, it was just an excuse to show this incredible picture from a Leningrad gas mask drill in 1939.
We have hit another milestone today with over 33,000,000 views. We are also expected to reach 35,000 followers on Twitter. That hardly makes us competition for the largest sites but it is still an impressive collection of people seeking a place for civil but passionate discourse on legal and policy issues of our time (and perhaps a few wacky stories). We often use these milestones to look at the current profile of the blog and its supporters around the world.
As always, I want to offer special thanks for our weekend contributors: Mike Appleton, Larry Rafferty, Darren Smith, Kimberly Dienes, and Cara Gallagher (particularly Darren who continues help up with periodic technical problems etc).
I particularly want to thank our regular commentators and readers. We try to keep this blog as an open forum with as little interference or monitoring of the comments as possible. Given our free speech orientation, we try not to delete comments and, for that reason, we are deeply appreciative of how most people avoid personal or offensive comments in debating these issues. We have had to delete a handful of comments with personal attacks or profanity but the number remains quite low for a blog of this size. The success of this blog is due to the fact that we offer something more than the all-too-common troll-driven, angry, and insulting commentary of the Internet. Thank you for voluntarily assuming restraint over the tenor and content of your comments. Continue reading “RES IPSA HITS 33,000,000”