A national emergency: an imperial president

U.S. President Donald Trump has declared a national emergency along the U.S.-Mexico border. However, his security advisors did not suggest that there is indeed a security threat at the border. These advisors recently delivered a report to Congress to delineate the real threats that the U.S. faces.

Based on his putative emergency, President Trump claims that he can and will divert funds from accounts outside the Department of Homeland Security to build a 250-mile border wall.

The real emergency is that the president is disregarding the U.S. Constitution:

All Bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives … (Article I, Section 7). No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law … (Article I, Section 9).

In 1976, Congress granted the president the expediency of quickly directing funds for recognized emergencies like hurricanes and wild fires. We see thereby that Congress still has the authority but has granted the president a small share of the “power of the purse.”

It’s now almost Shabbat and an opportunity to tune out the President’s noise.

And to drink a cup of hot tea with sugar.

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Scotland and the Brexit mess

Although Scotland voted to remain in the European Union by a margin of 62 percent to 38 percent, it’s heading to leave the EU at the end of March 2019 as part of the United Kingdom.

William Booth of the Washington Post writes:

Any future vote on Scottish independence would collide with new realities. If England is outside the European Union and Scotland inside, what would their relationship be? Would there be a hard border across Britain? Tariffs on trade? Would a Scottish citizen need to show a passport to travel to London — or live or work there?

Members of the Scottish Nationalist Party generally want Scotland to remain in Europe besides attaining its independence.

Is the UK decision to leave the EU a nudge that will push most Scots to choose independence?

See “Scotland dreads Brexit. But is it enough to boost sentiment for Scottish independence?,” The Washington Post, February 11, 2019.

Macron: ‘Patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism.’

French President Emmanuel Macron denounced nationalism: “It’s a betrayal of moral values.”

Nationalism is “the egotism of a people only concerned with their own interests,” Macron said on Sunday, November 11, 2018, at the Arc de Triomphe in Paris. He was speaking to a gathering of national leaders to commemorate 100 years since the armistice that ended World War I. The armistice of November 11, 1918, marked a victory for the Allies and a defeat for Germany.

“By putting our own interests first, with no regard for others, we erase the very thing that a nation holds dearest, and the thing that keeps it alive: its moral values,” the French President said.

This vision of France as a generous nation, of France as a project, of France as a bearer of universal values was in these somber hours exactly the opposite of the egotism of a people only concerned with their own interests. Because patriotism is the exact opposite of nationalism. Nationalism betrays it. By saying we put ourselves first and the others don’t matter, we erase that which is most precious to a nation — that which gives it life, that which makes it great, that which is the most important: its moral values.

(as translated into English from French)

(As reported by The Washington Post, “Macron denounces nationalism as a ‘betrayal of patriotism’ in rebuke to Trump at WWI remembrance,” in its video stream, and by the Associated Press.)

Embarrassment and sadness in the U.S.

I don’t think … that the American people, by and large, are angry. I think they’re deeply embarrassed, and I think they’re sad about what has come to the country. And I think, at the end of the day, embarrassment and sadness are more explosive than anger.

George F. Will

Conservative columnist
Interviewed by Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC
July 24, 2018