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.

My changing mind about The Washington Post

I subscribed to The Washington Post in March 2018. I wanted to keep up with reports about U.S. President Trump’s plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians – his vaunted “Deal of the Century.”

Speculation suggested that the plan would be revealed in November of last year (2018). November came and went, so I recently cancelled my subscription. The cost of 36 cents a day started to seem like a waste.

I just resubscribed when I heard about peace plans coming to the fore, as you see in my previous post.

The irony of losing faith.

Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East conference: Will Kushner reveal peace ‘deal of the century’?

An international conference for a Future of Peace and Security in the Middle East will meet in Warsaw on Wednesday and Thursday Feb 13 and 14, 2019. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and other administration officials will attend.

A question arises: Will Kushner reveal U.S. President Trump’s “Deal of the Century” plan for peace between Israelis and Palestinians?

Kushner and other administration officials will also swing through Middle Eastern Arab countries later in February, possibly to garner economic support for Palestinian development.

This report has been gleaned from the AP by way of The Washington Post, “US officials visiting Mideast to seek backing for peace plan,” February 11, 2019. Also from the “U.S. Department of State Weekly Digest Bulletin.”

Russia’s Lavrov decries ‘plunge in U.S. journalism standards’

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on January 16, 2019, that U.S. newspaper reports about an FBI investigation of whether President Trump was working on Moscow’s behalf reflected a plunge in journalism standards. Lavrov dismissed the idea as “absurd.”

It seems to me that this is a projection. Russia has a muzzled journalism. Its journalists lack independence. Even more so, Russian journalists have been murdered in recent times.

Criminality reigns in Russia from the highest reaches down. No law enforcement agency in Russia can investigate alleged criminality, in contrast to the U.S.’s FBI.

So the pot is calling the kettle black.

Source: “Kremlin calls idea that Trump worked for Moscow ‘absurd’.” The Washington Post. January 16, 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.)

U.S. to reveal ‘Deal of the Century’ to Israel in early November

from: Middle East Monitor (MEMO) | October 27, 2018

Israeli public radio reported that the U.S. administration would reveal the details of its “Deal of the Century” to Israel during the first week of November.

U.S. President Donald Trump’s envoy to the Middle East, Jason Greenblatt, is scheduled to travel to the region to meet with Israeli officials and reveal the details of the U.S. plan, Quds Press reported.

The so-called “Deal of the Century” is claimed by Trump’s Administration to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict …

(See MEMO’s original article with its pro-Palestinian rhetoric.)