Current Events

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Current Events

FROM THE BORDER

As the President requests more money for a wall on the southwestern U.S. border, Customs & Border Protection unveils the largest tunnel ever burrowed under it.

Current Events

Jan. 2020: What To Know

29,200 people apprehended attempting to illegally cross the border in January.

That’s 3,600+ fewer than December.

And nearly 19,000 less than last January.

The decrease is due, in part, to fewer family units apprehended.

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IMPORTANT CONTEXT

Last year, at the peak, nearly 133,000 people were apprehended at the southwest border in one month; more than 70% were family units (84,000+) & unaccompanied minors (11,000+).

Last month, 29,200 people were apprehended; 26% were family units (5,000+) or unaccompanied minors (2600+).

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Something To Consider

While the decrease of border apprehensions Jan 2020 is a dramatic drop from Jan 2019, the difference seems less drastic when comparing it with numbers from prior recent years.

In fact, on average, roughly 30,000 people were apprehended or deemed inadmissable on the southwest border each month between 2015-2018. In 2019, the monthly average more than doubled.

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“We’ve seen eight straight months of decline, but as we see from the seizure of the longest-ever tunnel between the U.S. and Mexico and significant drug seizures, much work remains.”

CBP Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan on January's numbers. The 70ft-deep tunnel ran over three-quarters of a mile from Mexico into Southern California, had a cart/rail system, electricity, ventilation, and even an elevator. No arrests or seizures came from the discovery.
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“As efforts to strengthen security on our Southern Border increase, Mexican drug cartels are forced underground to smuggle their deadly drugs into the United States. The sophistication of this tunnel demonstrates the determination and monetary resources of the cartels.”

DEA Special Agent in Charge John Callery. 
Current Events

Pres. Trump wants to reallocate billions of dollars for border wall construction. Today, about 1/3 (654 miles) of the southern border is equipped with barriers. About 1,300 miles has no barrier (not all the terrain allows for a wall).

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Current Events

New name, new cases, and new concerns about a possibility of a global pandemic.

What You Should Know

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NEW NAME

“COVID-19”

The World Health Organization chose this name to specifically refer to this newly discovered coronavirus (COVI) disease (D) in 2019 (19).

Purposefully doesn’t refer to place of origin to avoid “stigma” – e.g. “Wuhan Coronavirus.”

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NEW CASES

“In 2% of reported #COVID19 cases, the virus is fatal & the risk of death increases the older you are. We see relatively few cases among children. More research is needed to understand why.”

Dir-Gen of World Health Organization Dr. Tedros as the number of those infected Monday rose to 71,000+. Current WHO data says about 80% of the people who get COVID-19 will have a mild case and recover.
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New Economic Contagion

“…we do not expect to meet the revenue guidance…”

Apple, issuing guidance on its earnings, as the new coronavirus impacts its production and sales. America's largest company is one of the first to officially address the impact of the illness, raising questions about further economic ripple effects in Asia, Europe and beyond.
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NEW QUARANTINES

  • U.S. evacuated citizens from a quarantined cruise ship docked in Japan as it became apparent the virus continued to spread.
  • 300+ must be quarantined, with at least 14 testing positive for the virus.
  • Upwards of 15 military bases can host quarantines, a handful have done so ex: Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland in TX.
  • Quarantine applies to those infected and healthy; lasts 14 days.
Current Events

“The potential is there…Whether we will get there or not, we don’t know. I’m holding my breath and crossing my fingers.”

Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease professor at Vanderbilt University's School of Medicine responding to a question about whether or not a global pandemic (a worldwide epidemic) is possible. He says despite best efforts, the data from China where the disease originated "still is very confusing, and we have to be skeptical."
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The mystery remains on how this virus is spreading. With most infections coming from China, can it travel on Chinese-made goods? With no single answer, a doctor from UCSF explain the risks in an article on our source page.

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Current Events

How Pres. Trump’s Impeachment Made History

The 45th President finds himself (and the nation) in uncharted territory.

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ONLY PRES. TRUMP…

The House of Representatives voted to impeach two other U.S. Presidents: Pres. Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Pres. Bill Clinton in 1998.

But President Trump is the only U.S. President in history to be impeached and facing removal from office WHILE running for reelection.

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How The Trial Compared

  • WITNESSES: Unlike his predecessors, the Senate voted not to hear from witnesses during Pres. Trump’s trial.
  • OUTCOME: Like his predecessors, Pres. Trump was acquitted. But, unlike his predecessors, a member of his own party voted to convict him: Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT).
  • ALSO: First time no one from the opposing party voted with the President.
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“Perhaps impeachment’s bitterness will fade, starting with members of the Senate pulling together…Or, perhaps it will help cement the capital’s division for some time to come.”

Capital Journal Columnist Gerry Seib for The Wall Street Journal who says voters' reaction to the impeachment vote could impact election races for seats in the House and Senate for both parties. His concern? The parties' divide becomes more entrenched.
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NYT columnist David Brooks wrote this after Pres. Trump's acquittal: "Instead of spending the past 3 years on Mueller and impeachment suppose Trump opponents had spent the time on an infrastructure bill or early childhood education? More good would have been done." Agree/Disagree?

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Current Events

As  both sides of the debate square off in the streets, the U.S. Supreme Court gets ready to weigh in on the first major abortion case in years.

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Law At Issue: Act 260

  • 2014: Louisiana law (Act 260) requires an abortion provider to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the site of an abortion. The law never took effect due to legal challenges.
  • 2017: Trial court struck it down. Finding only 1 clinic & 1 doctor would be able to perform abortions, court ruled it placed an “undue burden” on women.
  • 2018: Federal appeals court disagreed and reversed the trial court’s decision.
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IMPORTANT CONTEXT:

  • In 1973, U.S. Supreme Court legalized abortion *with limits* in Roe v. Wade, allowing states to set certain restrictions.
  • In 2016, the Court struck down a nearly identical law to Louisiana’s out of Texas, finding it imposed an “undue burden” on those seeking abortions.
  • Under current precedent, states can’t pass laws that impose an “undue burden” on the right to access abortion.
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“The true, and often overt, intent of legislators behind pretextual laws like Act 620, which have no demonstrable medical benefit, is to severely restrict, and ultimately eliminate, access to legal abortion under the guise of patient welfare.”

A friend of the court brief filed by 197 congressional Democrats arguing the law should be struck down. Groups like Planned Parenthood, and nearly 22 state attorneys general also filed similar briefs.
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“The burdens of Act 620 are minimal—principally, a modest increase in the waiting time (less than an hour) to obtain an abortion. The benefits described above are more than sufficient to justify that burden.”

A friend of the court brief filed by the Trump administration, urging the court to allow the law to go into effect. A similar brief was filed by more than 200 Republican (and two Democrats) members of Congress.
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Why It Matters

  • The case is the first time the Supreme Court will rule on abortion rights since Pres. Trump appointed two justices giving the court a conservative majority.
  • This case is being closely watched by other states that have or hope to pass more expansive abortion restrictions, and face legal challenges.
  • Louisiana has only 3 abortion providers in the state. If allowed to go into effect, this law will further impact access.
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BIG PICTURE: Louisiana is just one of many states that have tried to restrict access to abortion, while other states like New York and Illinois have tried to expand access. The Supreme Court will hear this case, one of the rare cases on abortion to reach the high court, on March 4th.

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Current Events

Country Music Controversy?

How a Twitter joke uncovered an “equal play” problem in America’s oldest music genre

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“I turned on the 105.1 country station in L.A. just now, and they were playing the new song by Gabby Barrett, and then, without any pause or interruption at all, they went into a Kelsea Ballerini song. Can’t they get fined for that?”

Chris Willman, a music writer for Variety, who tweeted this as a joke about what he says is "the unspoken country radio rule about not letting one female singer’s voice succeed another."
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“We cannot play two females back to back. Not even Lady Antebellum or Little Big Town against another female. I applaud their courage.”

Twitter account for 98 KCQ, a radio station in Michigan, responding to Willman's tweet. The parent company of the station had to issue a public denial that such a rule existed.
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What Happened?

  • Last Week: The twitter storm over the decades-old industry “policy” prompted country stars like Kacey Musgrave & Kelsea Ballerini to highlight the challenges of female artists breaking into country radio, or even being played at all.
  • This Week: CMT (Country Music Television) says it will now give male & female artists equal airtime. Other radio stations have promised “equal play.”
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What We Know:

  • Then: The “policy” employed by country music stations of not playing songs by female artists consecutively dates back to the 1960s. Why? One reason given: to spread them out because there were so few.
  • Now: Songs by male country artists outnumber women by 9.7 to 1. 16% of the top 500 country songs from 2014-2018 were by females, according to another 2019 study.
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“Based on radio airplay, audiences would presume that there are only a handful of women participating in the genre… But just like radio, where there are only a limited number of spots on a station playlist for female artists, there are only a limited number of spots for female artists on label and publishing rosters.”

University of Ottawa researcher Jada Watson, who studies gender representation in country music.
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Why It Matters:

It ain’t just country

  • Forbes top 5 earning musicians for 2019: all men except #1 (Taylor Swift).
  • Billboard top 5 artists for 2019: all men except #2 (Ariana Grande).
  • According to research from USC, less than a quarter of the 600 most popular songs from 2012 to 2017 were by females, and women made up just 12% of songwriters and 2% of producers.
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Do Audiences Simply Like Male Singers More?

“…if you’re blaming your audience for their own current biases, isn’t that a little like a parent blaming a high school kid for a bad diet after raising them on one food group their entire lives?”

Chris Willman
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BIG PICTURE: Numbers are one thing, but nominations are another. 3 of the 5 nominees for Best Country Album for Sunday's Grammy Awards are women (Reba McEntire, Pistol Annies, and Tanya Tucker). 5 of the 8 nominees for Album of the Year are females (Lizzo, Ariana Grande, Lana Del Ray, H.E.R & Billie Eilish).

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Current Events

Impeachment Trial

Who’s Who
&
Who To Watch

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*Keep In Mind*

  • The Senate is made up of 100 lawmakers: 2 from each state.
  • Senators (53 GOP / 47 Dem) get the final word on procedures governing the trial & whether to remove the President.
  • Simple majority or 51 votes are needed to pass procedural motions (witnesses, documents).
  • Two-thirds or 67 votes are needed to remove (convict).
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PRES. TRUMP’S TEAM

  • Lawyers incl. Ken Starr (oversaw the investigation that led to Pres. Clinton’s impeachment), Alan Dershowitz (famed defense atty), Pres. Trump’s personal atty Jay Sekulow & White House counsel Pat Cipollone, among others.
  • Lawmakers include those active in the impeachment proceedings, such as Reps. Jim Jordan (OH) and Doug Collins (GA).
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THE HOUSE MANAGERS

Democrats arguing for impeachment.

  • Intelligence Chair Adam Schiff (CA)
  • Judiciary Chair Jerry Nadler (NY)
  • Dem Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries (NY)
  • Sylvia Garcia (TX), a fmr. judge
  • Val Demings (FL), a fmr. police chief & the only non-lawyer
  • Jason Crow (CO), a fmr. Army Ranger
  • Zoe Lofgren (CA) – she participated in the impeachment inquires into Presidents Richard Nixon & Bill Clinton
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Who To Watch:
Republican Senators

Senators who’ve indicated they *might*  be willing to cross party lines:

  • Lamar Alexander (TN)
  • Susan Collins (ME) – voted to break with Republicans and voted to acquit Pres. Clinton during his impeachment trial.
  • Mitt Romney (UT)
  • Lisa Murkowski (AK)
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Who To Watch:
Senate Democrats

Senators running for president in 2020:

  • Michael Bennet (CO)
  • Amy Klobuchar (MN)
  • Elizabeth Warren (MA)
  • Bernie Sanders (VT)

Senators who’ve indicated they *might* be willing to cross party lines: Doug Jones (AL) & Joe Manchin (WV)

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WHO YOU WON'T SEE IN THE COMING DAYS: Witnesses - at least not yet. On the first day of the trial, the Senate Republicans blocked attempts by Senate Democrats to subpoena documents and witnesses *before* opening arguments are finished. What happens after opening arguments is TBD.

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Current Events

What to expect in America’s first 21st century impeachment trial against a U.S. president.

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Quick Reminder

  • The House impeached Pres. Trump on two “charges” (abuse of power & obstruction of congress) related to Pres. Trump requesting Ukraine’s help investigating the Biden family.
  • The Senate will decide the punishment: whether or not the President should be removed from office.
  • Two presidents have been impeached (Andrew Johnson & Bill Clinton), but none have been removed from office.
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Impeachment Managers

  • The House selected seven managers. Six are former lawyers, and one is a former police chief.
  • Managers “prosecute” the case for impeachment (show why the House voted in favor of the impeachment articles) to the Senate, who act as the “jury.”
  • COMPARE: During the impeachment trial of Pres. Clinton, House republicans selected 13 impeachment managers.
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Witnesses

  • The Senate is expected to vote on whether to allow new witnesses during the trial.
  • Democrats want to hear from fmr. national security adviser John Bolton & acting WH chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Republicans want the Bidens to testify.
  • COMPARE: During the Clinton trial, the Senate voted on whether to allow witnesses during the trial. 3 witnesses were deposed behind closed doors.
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Presiding Officer

  • Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts will preside over the trial, but his role is *limited* and largely ceremonial as the Senate can overrule his decisions by a majority vote.
  • The Senate decides BOTH the procedures governing the trial and its outcome — whether to oust the Pres.
  • Before the trial begins, the presiding officer and every senator must take an oath to “do impartial justice.”
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BIG PICTURE

  • The Senate impeachment trial will look like a criminal trial, but it isn’t. For example, there’s no burden of proof, or unanimous verdict needed to convict.
  • Number To Know: 51. The Senate is made up 47 Democrats (including 2 Independents) and 53 Republicans. 51 votes are needed to pass (or defeat) any motion. The Democrats drove the impeachment in the House; Republicans take the wheel now.
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What's next? The House managers will *formally* deliver the articles of impeachment to the Senate on Thursday, Chief Justice Roberts will take be sworn in to preside over the trial and then administer an oath to the full Senate. The "trial" will begin on Tuesday.

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Current Events

Two U.S. soldiers killed in action in Afghanistan.

The first casualties of 2020.

The group taking responsibility is the same one America engages in peace talks.

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Important To Know

  • 2019: Deadliest year for American soldiers in Afghanistan since 2014. 23 soldiers killed in action.
  • Pres. Trump has publicly discussed wanting to withdraw from Afghanistan.
  • Both the Trump & Obama admins. attempted “peace talks” with the Taliban as a way to negotiate an exit.
  • The Taliban control more territory in Afghanistan than ever before during America’s longest war.
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What Happened:

  • The Taliban took responsibility for a roadside bomb Saturday in southern Afghanistan.
  • 29-year-old Staff Sgt. Ian McLaughlin of Virginia and 21-year-old Pfc. Miguel Villalon of Illinois died in the attack. The incident remains under investigation.
  • Both soldiers on their first combat deployment. McLaughlin survived by his wife and four children. Villalon survived by his parents.
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Something To Consider

“The Taliban has publicly stated its goals of the so-called ‘peace talks’ is the complete withdrawal of US forces and the re-establishment of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan, the official name of the Taliban’s government.”

Bill Roggio, Long War Journal editor. Reports have indicated peace talks were set to resume between the U.S. & Taliban this week overseas.
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Why This Matters

Although not designated a terrorist group by the U.S. gov’t (an area of great debate) the Taliban provide safe haven to terrorist groups that have attacked America, most notably the 9/11 attackers.

The Taliban and Al-Qaeda remain longtime allies. Concerns remain that Afghanistan, left to the Taliban, will once again become a breeding ground & launching pad for terror.

 

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Pres. Trump cancelled talks with the Taliban in September after the group claimed to have killed a U.S. soldier. In November, during a Thanksgiving visit to Afghanistan's Bagram Airfield, the President opened the door for restarting peace talks. The base was attacked by the Taliban weeks later.

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Current Events

THE CROWN IN CRISIS?

A 300+year old monarchy that remains one of the few of its kind in the world

Are we witnessing a moment that will change it forever?

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Why It Matters

The United Kingdom is one of the few surviving constitutional monarchies on the planet.

Constitutional monarchy: royals share their mostly symbolic power with elected officials who legislate.

Others include Belgium, Spain, Sweden, and Thailand.

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The Stakes

The Duke & Duchess of Sussex, Prince Harry & Meghan Markle, want to create a new hybrid role, one that has no precedent.

  • maintain their royal titles but step back as “senior members” of the royal family
  • become financially independent to pursue their own charity work while also maintaining *some* royal duties
  • partially split their time abroad
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The Modern UK Monarchy

  • Dates back to 1707 when the English and Scottish kingdoms merged to form the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
  • There have been 12 monarchs (Kings or Queens) and four Houses (dynasties) since 1707. Currently, led by Queen Elizabeth II of the House of Windsor.
  • Since its inception, the UK monarchy has fought to stay in existence with its strength largely dependent on the support of its citizens.
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The House Of Windsor

Did You Know? 3 of the 4 monarchs were not born likely to ascend to the throne.

  • 1917: The Queen’s grandpa King George V was born 3rd in the line to the crown
  • 1936: The Queen’s father (the second son of George V) became King after her uncle, King Edward VIII abdicated the throne to marry an American divorcee.
  • 1952: Queen Elizabeth II (25) ascends to the throne after death of her father.
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“I have found it impossible to carry the heavy burden of responsibility and to discharge my duties as King, as I would wish to do, without the help and support of the woman I love.”

Edward VIII resigning his role as King to marry his American lover Wallis Simpson. Although he had no children, when he abdicated or renounced his royal title to marry Simpson, any potential descendants forever lost their chance at the crown.
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Not Just About England…

  • “The Commonwealth” is made up of 53 independent nations, many once ruled by England, who support & recognize the Royal family (i.e. Canada, India, South Africa).
  • Commonwealth countries’ financial contributions vary & citizens who don’t reside in the UK don’t vote in UK.
  • The Queen is the Head of the Commonwealth and head of state in 15 of its countries.

 

Current Events

In February, the Queen (93) will mark 68 years on the throne. In 2015, she became the UK’s longest-reigning monarch, beating a record set by her great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria. In 2016, she became the world's longest-reigning living monarch.

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Current Events

Targeting Terrorists, Waging War, and Beyond…

What actions a U.S. President may (and may not) take alone.

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RECENT HISTORY

  • Two Weeks Ago: An American was killed (& others wounded) by rocket fire the U.S. blamed on Iran. The U.S. killed approx. 2 dozen members of the Iranian-backed militia in Syria & Iraq.
  • Ten Days Ago: Violent protest threatened U.S. embassy in Baghdad.
  • Last Week: The U.S. killed Iran’s top general (Qasem Soleimani), the leader of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force.
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CURRENT LAW

U.S. CONSTITUTION: President is the “Commander in Chief” but only Congress has power to declare war.

WAR POWERS ACT: Passed in 1973 after the Vietnam War established procedures left unanswered in the Constitution about military decisions. Requires the President to consult with Congress before deploying (or withdrawing) U.S. forces where hostilities are imminent.

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HOWEVER…

  • The U.S. may attack in “self-defense” without congressional approval to stop an upcoming or “imminent threat” but not for PAST actions.
  • This is why you’ve heard the White House use the term “imminent” to describe the latest attack on the Iranian General; the term carries legal weight & validation for not consulting congress.
  • Critics challenge if that was indeed the case, and want to know the timeline.
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“We had specific information on an imminent threat and those included attack on US embassies. Period, full stop.”

Sec. of State Mike Pompeo, Friday January 11th. When pressed to define the timeline of an "imminent threat" he added: "We don't know exactly which day it would have been executed, but it was very clear. Qasem Soleimani himself was plotting a large-scale attack on American interests and those attacks were imminent."
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“At this point in time, the United States has not thus far provided any information suggesting that there was an imminent attack against the American interest.”

UN expert on extrajudicial executions Agnès Callamard. Those who question the legality point to the evolving narrative from the administration, including the Dept. of Defense's statement on the day of the killing that said it was "aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans" without more urgent, immediate specifics.
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“If the facts are as the Defense Department said, then the president relatively clearly has Article II authority to act in self-defense of American lives,”

University of Texas School of Law professor and international security law specialist Bobby Chesney. Pres. Trump revealed Soleimani was targeting 4 U.S. embassies. Some lawmakers briefed on the intelligence shared by the White House say it lacked specifics. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) called it the "worst"' briefing he has attended.
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Uncharted Territory?

  • Debate over a President’s ability to “eliminate” threats surfaced in the past (e.g.: the killing of Osama Bin-Laden).
  • The killing of Gen. Soleimani differs as he was a gov’t official of a country rather than a terrorist group.
  • However, the U.S. designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a “foreign terrorist organization” in 2019, the first time America gave this designation to part of a foreign gov’t.
Current Events

This week, in reaction to the targeting of Soleimani, the House of Representatives passed a measure voting in favor of limiting Pres. Trump's future actions in Iran. It's a largely symbolic vote that passed mostly on partly lines. A similar measure is unlikely to pass in the Senate.

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Current Events


“Bigger Than Bin Laden”

Who died.

What happened.

Why It Matters.

Here’s what’s going on between America & Iran.

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IMPORTANT CONTEXT:

  • Iran: Designated as a state sponsor of terrorism by U.S. State Dept. since 1984.
  • State Sponsor of Terrorism =“repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.”
  • August 2019: U.S. designates Iran’s paramilitary (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) including the Quds Force as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization” – first time a “part” of another country’s gov’t received this designation.
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ALSO IMPORTANT…

“If you see an Iraq war veteran with an artificial limb (or limbs), there’s a pretty good chance Soleimani and his Quds Force can take credit for the maiming. Iran supplied the IEDs that have penetrated so many of our armored vehicles in Iraq.”

@RepJimBanks (R-IN), veteran

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DURING THE LAST WEEK…

Dec. 27: American killed in Iraq
Several others injured.

“We know that the intent of this last attack was in fact to kill American soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, whoever was there…..”

Chair of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Milley who said rocket attacks against bases with Americans increased "in tempo" since October, blaming Iran.
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THEN THIS HAPPENED…

  • Dec. 29: America targets Iranian-backed militia in Syria & Iraq for reportedly killing/wounding Americans on Dec. 27, killing an estimated 25 militia members.
  • Dec. 31: “Protesters” (some dressed in militia uniform) breach walls at U.S. embassy in Baghdad, the capital of Iraq.
  • Jan. 2: U.S. takes responsibility for killing the head of Iran’s Quds force (General Soleimani).
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“General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region…This strike was aimed at deterring future Iranian attack plans. The United States will continue to take all necessary action to protect our people and our interests wherever they are around the world.”

U.S. Dept. of Defense
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“…this is bigger than bin-Laden…Bigger than Baghdadi. For two decades, Suleimani has been the most powerful, savvy & effective terrorist on the planet. He’s enjoyed full backing of powerful terrorist state.”

Mark Dubowitz, Foundation For Defense of Democracies, on the death of Gen. Soleimani, head of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force. The Quds Force is a specialized division within the IRGC.
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“The US’ act of international terrorism, targeting & assassinating General Soleimani—is extremely dangerous & a foolish escalation. The US bears responsibility for all consequences of its rogue adventurism.”

Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. According to reports, Iran's leader, Ayatollah Khamenei ordered 3 days of mourning and warned of “harsh retaliation."
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Why This Matters

Adds fuel to the already simmering tension between America and Iran. What’s next? No one knows.

Suleimani served as a prominent Iranian figure for 20+ years. America blames him for orchestrating deaths of hundreds of Americans during the Iraq war, and driving nefarious, terrorist activity worldwide.

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America has an estimated 60,000+ U.S forces in the Middle East including roughly 5,000 in Iraq.

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Current Events

The Taliban attack America’s largest strategic air base in Afghanistan – as a special report claims those in power misled the American public about the longest war in U.S. history.

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What Happened:

  • Wednesday, Dec. 11: The Taliban attack Bagram airbase.
  • Reports: A suicide driver targeted a medical facility outside the base, using it as a position for a firefight that lasted the better part of a day.
  • Eventually, America called in airstrikes to end the battle.
  • Two weeks earlier, Pres. Trump visited the base for Thanksgiving, announcing the Taliban wanted a peace deal.
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“When I met the Talibs today, I expressed outrage about yesterday’s attack on Bagram, which recklessly killed two and wounded dozens of civilians. #Taliban must show they are willing & able to respond to Afghan desire for peace.”

U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Reconciliation, Zalmay Khalilzad, who also "paused" recently restarted peace talks following the attack.
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Why It Matters:

  • This year, more U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan (19) than at any point since the U.S officially halted combat operations (2014).
  • During “peace talks,” the Taliban has repeatedly attacked and/or killed U.S. forces & Afghans. The group controls at least half of Afghanistan – more than any other time during the war.
  • What would “success” look like for peace talks? No one knows for sure.
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Meanwhile…

  • The Washington Post (WAPO) gained access to more than 2,000 pages of a previously-private report on the war.
  • A gov’t watchdog interviewed those in powerful positions during Afghanistan war. Project called “Lessons Learned.”
  • WAPO sued for access to interviews on the behalf of the American public.
  • WAPO: Leaders expressed doubt about America’s strategy, priority, investment, while publicly announcing “progress.”
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“It is completely unsurprising that we have been lied to. What is galling is that the same people who have lied to us over the years continue to be propped up as the purveyors of truth and sound policy. This is the National Security Swamp on full display.”

Editor and terrorism analyst Bill Roggio of The Long War Journal, a website that tracks America's war on terror, on the Washington Post's conclusion after gaining access to the records.
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2,300+ Americans have died & more than 20,000 have been injured fighting the war in Afghanistan. What to watch: Pres. Trump has repeatedly mentioned America leaving Afghanistan. With the election cycle picking up, this is a topic to watch.

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