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Corker told truth about Trump. Now Congress must act.

first_imgTying Trump’s hands on nuclear weapons would be a far more aggressive step, but it’s one that members of Congress who are mindful of this moment’s profound peril should take.Of course, “should” is the key word here. There are plenty of things that Republicans should  do about Trump, including impeaching him for violating the emoluments clause of the Constitution.We’ve grown so inured to Republican politicians’ persistent refusal to put the welfare of the country above their re-election prospects and lust for tax cuts that complaining about it feels banal and naïve.But Corker’s expression of alarm is a reminder that we are teetering on the cusp of horror.He made it clear that Trump’s tweeted provocations of North Korea are impulsive rather than strategic.“A lot of people think that there is some kind of ‘good cop, bad cop’ act underway, but that’s just not true,” he said.We need to take seriously the possibility that Trump might cavalierly start a war that could kill millions of people. It would be a human calamity of inconceivable, history-bending scale, and it would leave America as a hated global pariah.Now that Corker has admitted that Trump cannot be trusted with the power he holds, he and other Republicans have no excuse not to try to take that power away.Taylor, of the Niskanen Center, is in frequent contact with anti-Trump Republicans, and he senses a growing sense of urgency among them.“Having an unstable narcissist who is ignorant of politics, policy and foreign affairs with the nuclear codes has probably turned them white as a sheet,” he said. “There is some degree of serious responsibility that they fully realize that they hold.”If so, now would be a good time to show it.Michelle Goldberg is a senior correspondent for The American Prospect and a columnist for The Daily Beast, Slate and The New York Times.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidation Categories: Editorial, OpinionOver the past few months, the country has been in a foul sort of trance.Among people who work in politics, Republicans as well as Democrats, it is conventional wisdom that President Donald Trump is staggeringly ill-informed, erratic, reckless and dishonest. “The Congress holds the ultimate power for war,” Jerry Taylor, president of the Niskanen Center, a libertarian think tank, told me. “Though they have more or less delegated that power away to the executive branch, they can take it back.”They could start with a pair of bills introduced by Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Ted Lieu of California, both Democrats, prohibiting the president from launching a nuclear first strike without a congressional declaration of war.So far, the only Republican to sign on in either chamber is Rep. Walter Jones of North Carolina.But given how little faith Senate Republicans have in Trump’s judgment, they have a duty to take up this legislation or develop an alternative.“Increasingly, senators and members of Congress are going to come to the conclusion that there has to be a firewall that is erected so that a single human being cannot impulsively launch nuclear weapons,” Markey told me.Despite its overall record of weakness, Congress has acted on one occasion to curb Trump’s worst foreign policy impulses.In July, Republicans voted overwhelmingly for a bipartisan bill that, among other things, limited Trump’s ability to unilaterally lift sanctions on Russia.center_img (He also might be compromised by a hostile foreign power.)But it’s also conventional wisdom that with few exceptions, Republicans in Congress are not going to stand up to him.America’s nuclear arsenal is in the hands of a senescent Twitter troll, but those with political power have refused to treat this fact as a national emergency.Thus, even though a majority of Americans consider the president unfit for office, a fatalistic sense of stasis has set in.Credit Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., for momentarily snapping us out of it.On Sunday evening, after a Twitter feud with Trump, Corker gave an interview to The New York Times in which he said publicly what Republican officeholders usually say only privately.Trump, Corker told the reporters Jonathan Martin and Mark Landler, is treating the presidency like “a reality show” and could be setting the nation “on the path to World War III.” Corker has previously said that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Secretary of Defense James Mattis and chief of staff John Kelly “help separate our country from chaos.”On Sunday, he identified the agent of that chaos.“I know for a fact that every single day at the White House, it’s a situation of trying to contain him,” Corker said of Trump.Now that Corker has done the country the immense favor of acknowledging the obvious, the key question is: What’s next?Corker, despite his culpability in helping to legitimate Trump during the presidential campaign and despite waiting until he’d announced his retirement to speak out, has behaved more patriotically than most of his quietly complicit colleagues.But as Trump continues to tweet threats at a war-ready North Korea, it is not enough to simply hope that the president’s minders can stop him from blowing up the world.Corker, after all, is not a passive spectator; he’s the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.last_img read more

Things must change to restore civility

first_imgAll of these are extensions of very bad manners. We aren’t respecting other people or their property. We need to inspire and equip this generation of children, teens and parents to live with civility, character, integrity and respect, the principles our country was founded upon.Our problem seems to be from our busy, fast-paced society, where often both parents are working outside the home. Where children are overly involved in sports, music lessons, and other activities, there’s often little time available for parents to pass on important life skills and basic manners to their children. Compounding the problem are the many overly stressed single-parent families and the high number of latch-key children who have excessive unsupervised time.In addition, parents and educators are realizing that much of the music, movies, television and the internet children consume are generally not good reinforcers of the proper moral values and manners. The impact of these social forces is having a serious effect on our society. We need to address this growing problem before it gets worse. Remember, our country is only as good as the people who are living in it. So it is about time we change how we are doing things.Walter “Neal” BrazellRotterdamMore from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Car hits garage in Rotterdam Sunday morning; Garage, car burnEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homes America as a country was where people cared, where they were kind, helpful, and civil. A country where people greeted you politely on the street, who treated others with respect, and who obeyed the law of the land.Unfortunately rudeness, crudeness, bullying, cheating, embezzling, murder, and drug abuse are getting to be more prevalent. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinionlast_img read more

Let’s give California back to Mexico

first_imgWe Americans have many things of which to be proud. But in achieving our manifest destiny and becoming a world power, there are many things that we cannot be proud of. Categories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion One such thing is our theft of what is now the state of California from Mexico in the 1800s. The time has come to undo that particular wrong by ceding California back to Mexico. This would be an unprecedented and magnanimous act of introspection.The state of California and the United States would both benefit by such action. The people of California could welcome, openly and without guilt, anyone they felt needed sanctuary from any of our laws.The United States would rid itself of malcontents like Nancy Pelosi and Jerry Brown, not to mention 55 liberally cast electoral votes. Reallocated ICE agents could enforce our laws where they are welcomed. Undocumented immigrants might actually begin to leave our country through California’s open borders.The loser in such a tripartite action, however, would be Mexico. It would reacquire a vastly changed California. Once a lush paradise, but lacking leadership in recent years, it is now plagued by huge debt, the worst overall quality of life of all our states, high levels of legal and illegal drug addiction, and high poverty and crime rates. Many of its cities are in worse shape than Tijuana. So if we need to sweeten the deal, maybe we could offer up Seattle, too.Jim MoorheadScotiaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Schenectady teens accused of Scotia auto theft, chase; Ended in Clifton Park crash, Saratoga Sheriff…last_img read more

Ryden regroups

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Retail: All change at the pumps

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Eade on: The sport of Kings in the venue of paupers

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US to indict Venezuelan President Maduro on drug charges

first_imgThe US is poised to indict Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro and other key aides as the Trump administration ramps up pressure on an adversary it has sought to push aside, according to sources familiar with the decision.The news comes as US Attorney General William Barr prepares to make an announcement at 11 a.m. EST.President Donald Trump and top US officials have long sought to oust Maduro’s regime but have so far failed to replace him with the opposition leader they support, National Assembly President Juan Guaido. The charges, which were reported earlier by CNN and the Miami Herald, will be related to drug trafficking, the people said. About $2 billion worth of cocaine, about a quarter of what’s produced in Colombia in a year, passes through Venezuela before making its way to other countries last year, according to Jeremy McDermott, co-founder of Insight Crime, a research group that studies organized crime.There’s evidence that the criminal groups that transport these drugs have infiltrated Venezuelan government security forces, forming a network known as the ‘Cartel of the Suns’ to facilitate the passage of illicit drugs into and out the country, according to a 2019 report by the United Nations’ International Narcotics Control Board.The indictment against Maduro, a sitting head of state, would be the first since the US issued charges against former Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega. Noriega was eventually captured and sentenced to prison after then-President George H.W. Bush sent troops to the country to bring him to justice.Topics :last_img read more

COVID-19: Regions start locking down as govt works on regulation

first_imgMahfud said the Home Ministry was assigned to coordinate with local administrations that had closed off their borders.The following are regions that have imposed a regional lockdown, and the reasons why they did so without waiting for an instruction from the central government.MalukuThe Maluku provincial administration has limited access to airports and ports, as stipulated in a decree signed by Maluku Governor Murad Ismail. The administration urged its residents to stay at home and maintain physical distance from others to prevent the disease that “disrupts social security and order” from spreading. “Arrivals and departures by land and/or sea transportation are limited except for important and urgent matters,” the decree states.The decree also requires any person arriving in the province to fill out an arrival form and self-quarantine for 14 days under the supervision of a family member and local health center.The policy was imposed after the announcement of the province’s first confirmed COVID-19 case: a resident who moved from Bekasi, West Java, to the city of Ambon. The patient had been placed under surveillance at Dr. Haulussy General Hospital in Ambon since arriving from Bekasi.Read also: Maluku to intensify border restrictions after first confirmed COVID-19 casePapuaThe Papua administration enforced a tougher approach by restricting entry into the province through both sea and air travel for two weeks starting Thursday. However, the transportation of goods is exempt from the policy.Such measure was taken after the province announced its first two COVID-19 cases on Sunday. The lack of medical facilities in the province was a concerning factor, given that Papua has 45 hospitals, only 15 of which can handle coronavirus cases.Papua Governor Lukas Enembe was adamant that the restriction was not a lockdown. “However, we are considering whether it is necessary to completely block [access to] Papua to protect Lapago, Meepago and Animha because they are particularly vulnerable,” he said recently.Read also: Govt suspends Papuan seaport, airport operations to curb COVID-19 spreadTegal, Central JavaThe Tegal city administration is closing its borders for four months from March 30 to July 31.An aerial view of a city square in Tegal, West Java, on March 22, 2020. The administration has closed road access into the city in an attempt to impose a lockdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19 (Antara/Oky Lukmansyah)”We plan for a full lockdown. All borders will be closed for the safety of all,” said Tegal Mayor Dedy Yon Supriyono on Tuesday.The mayor said the city was in “a state of emergency” following the confirmation of one COVID-19 case: a 34-year-old man with a recent travel history to Abu Dhabi and Jakarta before he returned home by train.Dedy said he had contacted state-owned railway operator PT Kereta Api Indonesia to get information about passengers who were in the same car as the patient so that they could be quarantined and tested. In the meantime, the administration has blocked roads in the city.Read also: Families start Idul Fitri ‘mudik’ early despite COVID-19 warningYogyakartaResidents of Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, have limited access to several hamlets across the regency. For example, neighborhood units (RT) 01 and 02 of Randu hamlet in Hargobinangun village, Pakem district, blocked some roads to the neighborhood, leaving only two roads open.Residents of Kali Tengah hamlet in Sleman regency, Yogyakarta, also closed off roads leading to their neighborhood on Saturday, March 28, 2020. (JP/Magnus Hendratmo)“We have blocked the road and put up a ‘lockdown’ sign here yesterday [Thursday],” RT 01 head Wantoro said on Friday as quoted by kompas.com. He added the road closure was initiated by the community.Apart from keeping people from going in and out of the area, the community also urged residents living in other cities to refrain taking part in the holiday mudik (exodus), Wantoro said.Sleman Regent Sri Purnomo said he appreciated the measures. (glh) A number of regions across the country have taken serious measures in preventing the spread of COVID-19 by imposing their own versions of regional lockdowns, as the central government in Jakarta has yet to issue any regulation on lockdown requirements and procedures.Coordinating Political, Legal and Security Affairs Minister Mahfud MD said the government had been speeding up the deliberation of a regulation on regional lockdown so that it could be issued immediately.The minister, however, refused to use the word “lockdown” to describe the situation, preferring instead to call it a “regional quarantine”, as stipulated in the 2018 Health Quarantine Law.center_img Topics :last_img read more

Troops gather scores of bodies of virus victims in Ecuador city

first_imgTroops and police in Ecuador have collected at least 150 bodies from streets and homes in the country’s most populous city Guayaquil amid warnings that as many as 3,500 people could die of the coronavirus in the city and surrounding province in the coming months.A joint military and police task force sent out to gather corpses in the horror-struck port city had  collected 150 in just three days, government spokesman Jorge Wated said late Wednesday.Residents had published videos on social media showing abandoned bodies in the streets in the Latin American city worst hit by the pandemic. ‘Difficult days ahead’ Wated said the government is preparing for even more difficult days ahead.”The medical experts unfortunately estimate that deaths from COVID in these months will reach between 2,500 and 3,500 — in the province of Guayas alone, and we are preparing for that,” he said.Autopsies have been restricted and the government, which has banned usually crowded funeral services, initially insisted that COVID-19 victims be cremated but was forced to relent after a public backlash.”We are working so that each person can be buried with dignity in one-person spaces,” Wated said, referring to a government-run cemetery being made available with capacity for around 2,000 bodies.Last month, the city’s mayor Cynthia Viteri sent municipal vehicles to block an Iberia plane sent to repatriate stranded foreigners from landing at the city’s international airport. But Viteri was unapologetic as the number of cases spiraled in her city.”I take responsibility for protecting my city,” she said. Government apologyThe government’s spokesman apologized in a message broadcast on state television late Wednesday.He said mortuary workers had been unable to keep up with the removal of bodies because of the curfew.”We acknowledge any errors and apologize to those who had to wait days for their loved ones to be taken away,” Wated said. Mortuary workers in masks and protective clothing were seen carrying plastic-wrapped coffins in the city on Wednesday as authorities tried to cope with the backlog of dead.Work at cemeteries and funeral homes has stalled, with staffers reluctant to handle the dead over contagion fears.Ecuador is the Latin American country worst hit by the virus after Brazil, with more than 3,160 infections and 120 deaths by Thursday morning.Guayaquil has Latin America’s highest mortality rate from COVID-19 with 1.35 deaths per 100,000 inhabitants — higher than the 0.92 per 100,000 registered in Brazil’s epicenter Sao Paulo — according to Esteban Ortiz from Ecuador’s University of the Americas. Guayaquil’s surrounding province of Guayas has 70 percent of the country’s COVID-19 infections.Ecuador’s first reported case of COVID-19 was a 71-year-old Ecuadoran woman who arrived in Guayaquil from Spain on Feb. 14. Topics :center_img “In the forensic bureau they told us that they had taken him to the Guasmo Hospital. We went there to find him but he was not registered anywhere,” Romero told AFP.A 15-hour curfew imposed in the city makes further searching difficult. Some left desperate messages for authorities to take away the corpses of people who had died in their homes.Authorities have not confirmed how many of the dead were victims of the coronavirus.Rosa Romero, 51, lost her husband Bolivar Reyes and had to wait a day for his body to be removed from their home. A week later, amid the chaos of the city’s mortuary system, she does not know where it is.last_img read more

Transportation minister leaves hospital after one month of COVID-19 treatment

first_imgRead also: BREAKING: Indonesian transportation minister tests positive for COVID-19During Budi’s treatment at the hospital, Coordinating Maritime Affairs and Investment Minister Luhut Binsar Pandjaitan was appointed acting transportation minister for the length of Budi’s absence.Before the announcement that Budi had tested positive for COVID-19, the minister been absent from a number of events he had been scheduled to attend. Prior to that, he had been on a number of work-related trips, including to Kertajati Airport in West Java and Luwu and Toraja in South Sulawesi. He was also active in the evacuation of Indonesian crew members from the virus-stricken Diamond Princess cruise ship on March 2.Topics : Transportation Minister Budi Karya Sumadi has been discharged from Gatot Subroto Army Hospital (RSPAD) in Jakarta after about a month of treatment for COVID-19. “Transportation Minister, Bapak Budi Karya Sumadi, has returned to his home after being treated at RSPAD. His current condition is healthy and he is now in recovery and self-isolation for 14 days in accordance with doctors’ instructions,” Ministry spokesperson Adita Irawaty explained in a written statement on Wednesday. The government announced on March 14 that Budi, who has long suffered from asthma, had tested positive for COVID-19 and had been hospitalized at RSPAD. State Secretary Pratikno said that Budi was identified as Case 76 in Indonesia. As of Tuesday afternoon, Indonesia had recorded more than 4,800 cases of COVID-19 with 459 deaths.last_img read more