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 on: December 11, 2017, 12:28:12 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

Yep....Trump's America is now the “pariah nation of the world” and they're starting to be treated as such.

Oh well, Trump has made their bed……

from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times....

Tillerson's cold week in Europe

EU and NATO allies shared with him their anger over Trump's Jerusalem decision.

By TRACY WILKINSON | Sunday, December 10, 2017

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian address reporters last week in Paris. — Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/European Pressphoto Agency/Shutterstock.
U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, and French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian address reporters last week in Paris.
 — Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/European Pressphoto Agency/Shutterstock.

WASHINGTON — It was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's bad luck that he was in Europe meeting with dozens of U.S. allies last week when President Trump announced formal U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, a move that angered much of the world.

Tillerson, who wound up a five-day, four-city, three-country tour on Friday, got an earful from one foreign minister after another. The Jerusalem decision announced on Wednesday was opposed by nearly every U.S. ally — except Israel — as well as by Russia and the Arab and Muslim world.

The ultimate status of the contested city “must be the subject of discussion between Israelis and Palestinians,” said French President Emmanuel Macron, one of the friendlier leaders Trump has gotten to know. Macron spoke on Friday at a ceremony in Paris with Tillerson in the audience.

Speaking to reporters later, Tillerson tried to stress areas of general agreement, such as the dangers posed by a nuclear-armed North Korea and the importance of fighting terrorism. But he had to admit he had faced what diplomats politely call “candid” discussions.

Of the French, he said, “On almost all things, we agree, but on those that we don't, we are very open to express those disagreements, and I think both of us benefit from the richness of those discussions.”

Tillerson is generally unflappable, at least in public, and he made the trip days after multiple White House leaks indicated Trump was planning to replace him in the new year. Perhaps as a result, Tillerson appeared to take the criticism from foreign leaders in stride.

After Trump announced U.S. recognition of Jerusalem as Israel's capital and ordered the State Department to start making plans to move the embassy there from Tel Aviv, a White House official told the Los Angeles Times that Tillerson had argued against such a move during discussions at the White House.

Tillerson was said to have argued that he agreed in principle that Jerusalem was Israel's capital. But he said making that pronouncement, which ran counter to decades of U.S. policy and international consensus, deprived Washington of its ability to serve as an honest broker in any future peace talks in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

When Trump rejected that view, Tillerson publicly supported the president — although he appeared less than enthusiastic.

He urged the public to listen to the entire speech, both to what was said and what was not said. For example, he noted, Trump did not refer to Jerusalem as Israel's “undivided” capital, as many Israeli Jews do. And he made clear his decision did not presume to set the city's borders for the future.

That left open possible diplomatic wiggle room for eventually ceding part of the ancient city to the Palestinians, who claim East Jerusalem as their capital in a future independent state.

Trump also said he would support a two-state solution, assuming the Israelis and Palestinians do. Earlier this year, he appeared to jettison that proposal, which long had been the linchpin of U.S. and international peacemaking efforts.

During the week, Tillerson met with European Union and NATO allies in Brussels and Vienna and went to Ramstein Air Base in Germany for a briefing from U.S. military commanders who oversee counter-terrorism and other operations in Africa, ahead of the secretary’s planned trip to that continent early next year.

Except for the U.S. air base, by all accounts Tillerson got a chilly reception just about everywhere he went.

“A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as a future capital of both states,” Federica Mogherini, the European Union's de facto foreign minister, said as she stood beside Tillerson in Brussels a few hours before Trump’s announcement.

Tillerson's aides acknowledged his welcome at times could have been warmer. “Allies have been very frank in sharing some of their views,” senior advisor R.C. Hammond said. “Dialogues only work if they go two ways.”

Jerusalem was only the latest irritant in U.S. relations with traditional allies in Europe.

Much of the continent disagrees with Trump's decision to tell Congress that he could not certify Iran's compliance with the 2015 nuclear arms control deal, even though the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency says Iran is meeting its nuclear obligations.

Allies also were stunned by Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the landmark Paris climate accord — it is now the only country in the world that is not part of the pact.

British Prime Minister Theresa May was harshly critical of Trump's retweeting of three anti-Muslim videos recently. The videos were originally tweeted by a British ultranationalist fringe group.

In response to Trump's decision on Jerusalem, the U.N. Security Council held an emergency session on Friday. Britain, one of America's closest allies, made its views clear.

“The United Kingdom does not agree with the U.S. position on this issue,” said the British ambassador to the U.N., Matthew Rycroft. “Our view is that the final status negotiations are the place to decide between the Israelis and the Palestinians on the important questions, including on Jerusalem.”


 on: December 11, 2017, 11:59:14 am 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from the print edition of the Los Angeles Times....

Pope Francis has suggested tweaking the Lord's Prayer

Pontiff says devil, not God, is the one who leads people into temptation.

By TOM KINGTON | Sunday, December 10, 2017

Pope Francis attends an audience with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the occasion of the first centenary of the death of St. Frances Cabrini. — Photograph: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
Pope Francis attends an audience with the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart of Jesus on the occasion of the first centenary of the death of St. Frances Cabrini.
 — Photograph: Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

ROME — Pope Francis has called for a rewriting of the Lord's Prayer, saying the current translation gives God a bad name and, essentially, does not give the devil his due.

Described in the Bible as a prayer taught by Jesus, the Lord's Prayer is viewed in the catechism of the Roman Catholic Church as “the summary of the whole gospel”.

Used by Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox Christians, the prayer is common ground for churches, which have historically fought over theology, and it can be recited by heart by millions around the world.

But in a TV interview last week, Pope Francis said that the line asking God to “Lead us not into temptation,” or in Italian, “non indurci in tentazione,” should be changed because it has been translated badly.

“It's not a good translation,” he told TV2000, a channel belonging to Italy's conference of bishops, because it implies God actively pushes people into temptation.

“I am the one who falls,” Francis said. “It's not him pushing me into temptation to then see how I have fallen. A father doesn't do that; a father helps you to get up immediately,” he added.

“It's Satan who leads us into temptation — that's his department,” he said.

The interview gave a stamp of papal approval to moves already afoot in the church to change the line in the prayer.

Last month, the Catholic Church in France agreed to switch from the French equivalent of “Do not submit us to temptation” to “Do not let us enter into temptation”. The pope said he was impressed with the new wording.

The Lord's Prayer, also commonly called the Our Father, appears in two gospels: Matthew 6: 9-13 and Luke 11: 2-4.

Down the centuries, the short prayer has been through the wringer, linguistically speaking, after being translated from Aramaic — the language Jesus spoke — to Greek and to Latin and to other languages.

The problem stems from the translation of one Greek word, “eisenenkes,” said Massimo Grilli, a professor of New Testament studies at Gregorian University in Rome.

“The Greek verb ‘eisfero’ means ‘take inside’, and the form used in the prayer, ‘eisenenkes’, literally means ‘don't take us inside’,” he added.

“But that's a very literal translation, which must be interpreted,” Grilli said.

A 4th century Latin translation of the Bible by St. Jerome, which was adopted by the Catholic Church, sticks to the literal meaning, using the Latin “inducere”, which means “bring in”.

“Despite what some headline writers might suggest, Francis is not suggesting changing Jesus' words, but just giving a better translation from the original Greek,” said the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and editor at large of America, a Jesuit magazine.

“Before we criticize the pope for inserting his own opinion into traditional prayer, we should recall that St. John Paul added an entire new series of mysteries to the rosary,” he added.

Grilli said the line “Lead us not into temptation” in the Lord's Prayer was already being re-evaluated throughout the Catholic Church.

“The Spanish have already switched to ‘Don't let us fall into temptation’,” he said.

In 2008, the Italian bishop's conference switched to “Don't abandon us to temptation,” although many priests have stuck with the old version during their services.

Francis' emphasis on the role of the devil leading believers toward temptation reflects his firm belief that Satan exists, after years in which the church played down the idea of the devil as a person.

Adjusting the translation of the prayer may appear groundbreaking, but pales in comparison to the tinkering that has happened in the past. Today the King James version of the prayer ends:

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil:
For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

But scholars say the last part was added by scribes. The reason? They felt that wrapping up the prayer with talk of evil was too abrupt, and it needed a more polished ending.

Tom Kington is a special correspondent to the Los Angeles Times.


 on: December 11, 2017, 12:08:48 am 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

North Korea is a nuclear state. But can the U.S. accept that?

Analysts say there is still room for diplomacy — but with more realistic goals.

By ANNA FIFIELD | 6:20PM EST - Saturday, December 09, 2017

U.S. and South Korean warplanes conduct combat exercises Wednesday. The exercises comes after North Korea fired a new intercontinental ballistic missile on November 29th, believed to have shown the capability to reach the U.S. mainland. — Photograph: Handout/Getty Images.
U.S. and South Korean warplanes conduct combat exercises Wednesday. The exercises comes after North Korea fired a new intercontinental
ballistic missile on November 29th, believed to have shown the capability to reach the U.S. mainland. — Photograph: Handout/Getty Images.

TOKYO — Every time North Korea does something provocative — which is often — Washington insists that Pyongyang must give up its nuclear weapons program.

Just last weekend, days after North Korea launched its most high-tech intercontinental ballistic missile yet, national security adviser H.R. McMaster said that President Trump “is committed to the total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Not that this line is confined to the Trump administration. The Obama and Bush administrations before it also repeatedly insisted that North Korea must denuclearize.

That might have been a realistic aim before Pyongyang could build a hydrogen bomb and missiles that can reach the United States. It's just a matter of time before the North Koreans can put the two together — if they can't already.

The Trump administration won't admit it, but North Korea is now a nuclear weapons power, analysts say. Why would Kim Jong Un's cash-strapped regime spend so much time and money on building these weapons only to give them up? And even if they were prepared to bargain them away eventually, why would they do so now, when Trump and his top aides are threatening military action?

“We've seen no indication in recent years that they are interested in denuclearization,” said Mira Rapp-Hooper, a North Korea expert at Yale Law School who was an Asia adviser to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. “So it’s difficult to rationalize how we are still so fixated on it.”

Vipin Narang, a nuclear nonproliferation specialist at MIT, agreed.

“It's a fantasy that they're going to willingly give up their nuclear programs so long as Kim is in power. He saw the fate of Saddam and Gaddafi — why would he give up his nuclear weapons?” asked Narang, referring to the former leaders of Iraq and Libya, both of whom are now deposed and dead.

Trump's willingness to pull out of the international nuclear deal with Iran would only heighten North Korea's mistrust of a negotiated denuclearization agreement with the United States, he said.

For three generations, since the current leader's grandfather, Kim Il Sung, was in power, North Korea has pursued nuclear weapons as a way to deter the United States and ensure the regime's survival.

Pyongyang's perceived need for a powerful deterrent has only increased since Kim Jong Un took power six years ago this month. Young and inexperienced — he was 27 when he succeeded his father and had no military background — the third Kim has aggressively pursued nuclear weapons as a way to fend off outside threats and bolster his legitimacy inside North Korea.

“The only way you can convince them to denuclearize is to make nuclear armament costly enough to destabilize the regime,” said Chun Yung-woo, a former South Korean nuclear negotiator with the North. “To do that would require a total economic blockade to suffocate the regime.”

Since coming to power, Kim has ordered four nuclear tests, including the September detonation of what his regime claimed — and outside experts generally agree — was a hydrogen bomb. At the same time, he has presided over astonishing improvements in North Korea's ballistic missile program, culminating last month with the launch of a missile that puts all of the United States technically within his reach.

His regime has made these advances despite increasingly tight international sanctions aimed at cutting off its access to funding and parts, and despite increasingly vehement warnings from its traditional patron, China.

In both public and private meetings in Europe this year, North Korean representatives have repeatedly insisted on being accepted as a nuclear-armed state.

Choe Son Hui, the director of U.S. affairs in North Korea's Foreign Ministry, said recently that Washington will have “have to put up” with the fact that her country now has nuclear weapons. “This is a matter of life and death for us,” she said at an October nonproliferation conference in Moscow.

Acknowledging that North Korea has nuclear weapons is a step that the Trump administration — like Obama's before it — has been unwilling to take. “We don't want to admit that our policy has failed for successive presidents,” Narang said.

Both administrations have urged China to use its leverage over North Korea. While Beijing says that denuclearization is its fundamental objective, it takes a much longer view of the process.

“From Beijing's perspective, it is unrealistic to expect an immediate denuclearization of North Korea — especially since the world has so far proved unable to even prevent the North's present capabilities from growing,” Tong Zhao, a fellow at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy, wrote before Trump's visit to Beijing last month.

In Washington, however, there is a growing sense that time is not on the United States' side.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo said in October that North Korea was only a matter of months away from perfecting its nuclear weapons program.

“They are close enough now in their capabilities that from a U.S. policy perspective, we ought to behave as if we are on the cusp of them achieving that objective,” he said at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a conservative think tank.

“There are ways to address this problem short of armed conflict,” McMaster, the national security adviser, said on Saturday, “but it is a race because he’s getting closer and closer, and there's not much time left.”

Trump and McMaster have repeatedly said that military options are on the table, a message that North Korea takes especially seriously when U.S. fighter jets are practicing precision strikes on the Korean Peninsula.

This is coupled with frequent assertions that Kim is an irrational madman — a “sick puppy,” as Trump most recently put it — who can't be deterred in the way that the U.S. military deterred his father and grandfather.

“There are a lot of people who argue that there's still a window to stop North Korea from getting an ICBM with a nuclear warhead to use against the United States,” said Narang, referring to an intercontinental ballistic missile. “They're telling themselves that if they strike now, worst-case scenario: Only Japan and South Korea will eat a nuclear weapon.”

• Anna Fifield is The Washington Post's bureau chief in Tokyo, focusing on Japan and the Koreas. She previously reported for the Financial Times from Washington DC, Seoul, Sydney, London and from across the Middle East.


Related to this topic:

 • This is how nuclear war with North Korea would unfold

 • Senior U.N. official to visit North Korea this week

 • U.S., South Korea begin air combat drills that include simulated strikes on North Korea

 • North Korea has shown us its new missile, and it’s scarier than we thought

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 • With technology, these researchers are figuring out North Korea's nuclear secrets


 on: December 11, 2017, 12:03:07 am 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

Trump supporters were reminded that Ivanka once
denounced Roy Moore: ‘A special place in hell’

“I've yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims'
accounts,” Ivanka Trump told the Associated Press about Roy Moore

By KRISTINE PHILLIPS | 5:57PM EST — Saturday, December 09, 2017

Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Trump, during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, India, on November 29th. — Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters.
Ivanka Trump, daughter of President Trump, during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Hyderabad, India, on November 29th.
 — Photograph: Cathal McNaughton/Reuters.

A DIGITAL BILLBOARD was roaming around Pensacola, Florida, as President Trump held a rally there and urged residents in nearby Alabama to vote for embattled Republican candidate Roy Moore in the Senate race.

The billboard, displayed on the side of a moving truck on Friday, reminded people of what Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and a White House adviser, had previously said about Moore amid accusations of sexual misconduct involving teenage girls.

“There's a special place in hell for people who prey on children. I've yet to see a valid explanation and I have no reason to doubt the victims' accounts,” Ivanka Trump told the Associated Press last month.

The billboard appears to be the work of the liberal group American Bridge, which featured the comments in big, bold letters next to Ivanka Trump's image. The group seemed to double down on the trolling by blasting the comments over a loud speaker outside the rally.

Ivanka Trump's words contradicted her father's unwavering support of Moore. The president defended Moore last month, saying the former Alabama chief justice “totally denies” the allegations against him and telling reporters at the White House that “you have to listen to him, also.”

At his rally on Friday, just four days before the Alabama special election, Trump's endorsement of Moore was even more unequivocal.

“We want people that are going to protect your gun rights, great trade deals instead of the horrible deals. And we want jobs, jobs, jobs. So get out and vote for Roy Moore. Do it. Do it. Do it,” he told supporters.

Trump also singled out one of Moore's accusers, Beverly Young Nelson, who had admitted earlier on Friday that she added notes — a location, a date and the initials “D.A.” — to what she said was Moore's inscription to her in her yearbook. Nelson said she stands by her claim that Moore sexually assaulted her when she was a 16-year-old waitress in Gadsden, Alabama.

“So did you see what happened today?” Trump asked supporters. “You know the yearbook? Did you see that? There was a little mistake made. She started writing things in the yearbook. Oh, what are we going to do?”

Trump also mentioned Nelson's attorney, Gloria Allred: “Anytime you see her, you know something's going wrong.”

The Washington Post first reported on the decades-old allegations against Moore in early November. Five women have told The Post that Moore pursued them when they were teenagers and he was an assistant district attorney in his 30s. Nelson, who came forward with her attorney, was not among those women.

Moore, who has denied engaging in sexual misconduct, had told Fox News's Sean Hannity that he may have dated teenage girls when he was in his 30s, though he said he could not recall.

Ivanka Trump's condemnation of Moore isn't the only time the first daughter broke with her father on divisive issues.

While her father shied away from immediately condemning white supremacists and neo-Nazis after deadly violence erupted in Charlottesville last summer, Ivanka Trump didn't.

“There should be no place in society for racism, white supremacy and neo-Nazis. We must all come together as Americans — and be one country UNITED,” she tweeted.

The first daughter's stance on Syrian refugees also contradicts her father's policy. She told NBC News in April that “a global humanitarian crisis is happening,” and opening the country's borders to Syrian refugees “has to be part of the discussion.”

The latest version of the president's travel ban bars people from Syria, Libya, Iran, Yemen, Chad, Somalia, North Korea and Venezuela from entering the country.

Although she has departed from her father on some issues, Ivanka Trump has been accused of being complicit in her father's policy agenda. After her comments on Moore, The Post's Jennifer Rubin pointed out that many others, her father included, have been accused of sexual misconduct.

Michael Scherer and Amber Phillips contributed to this report.

• Kristine Phillips is a general assignment reporter for The Washington Post.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: “Travesty, pure allegation, disturbing’: Alabamians react to Roy Moore allegations

 • It's official: President Trump just campaigned for Roy Moore

 • Woman says Roy Moore initiated sexual encounter when she was 14, he was 32


 on: December 11, 2017, 12:00:36 am 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

States to try new ways of executing prisoners.
Their latest idea? Opioids.

Critics call the testing of alternatives — including nitrogen gas — human experimentation.

By WILLIAM WAN and MARK BERMAN | 4:07PM EST — Saturday, December 09, 2017

Until a court intervened last month, Nevada planned to execute an inmate here using fentanyl as part of a combination of drugs. — Photograph: Nevada Department of Corrections.
Until a court intervened last month, Nevada planned to execute an inmate here using fentanyl as part of a combination of drugs.
 — Photograph: Nevada Department of Corrections.

THE synthetic painkiller fentanyl has been the driving force behind the nation's opioid epidemic, killing tens of thousands of Americans last year in overdoses. Now two states want to use the drug's powerful properties for a new purpose: to execute prisoners on death row.

As Nevada and Nebraska push for the country's first fentanyl-assisted executions, doctors and death penalty opponents are fighting those plans. They have warned that such an untested use of fentanyl could lead to painful, botched executions, comparing the use of it and other new drugs proposed for lethal injection to human experimentation.

States are increasingly pressed for ways to carry out the death penalty because of problems obtaining the drugs they long have used, primarily because pharmaceutical companies are refusing to supply their drugs for executions.

The situation has led states such as Florida, Ohio and Oklahoma to turn to novel drug combinations for executions. Mississippi legalized nitrogen gas this spring as a backup method — something no state or country has tried. Officials have yet to say whether it would be delivered in a gas chamber or through a gas mask.

Other states have passed laws authorizing a return to older methods, such as the firing squad and the electric chair.

“We're in a new era,” said Deborah Denno, a law professor at Fordham University. “States have now gone through all the drugs closest to the original ones for lethal injection. And the more they experiment, the more they’re forced to use new drugs that we know less about in terms of how they might work in an execution.”

Supporters of capital punishment blame critics for the crisis, which comes amid a sharp decline in the number of executions and decreasing public support for the death penalty. States have put 23 inmates to death in 2017 — the second-fewest executions in more than a quarter-century. Nineteen states no longer have capital punishment, with a third of those banning it in the past decade.

“If death penalty opponents were really concerned about inmates' pain, they would help reopen the supply,” said Kent Scheidegger of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation, which advocates for the rights of crime victims. Opponents “caused the problem we're in now by forcing pharmaceuticals to cut off the supply to these drugs. That's why states are turning to less-than-optimal choices.”

Prison officials in Nevada and Nebraska have declined to answer questions about why they chose to use fentanyl in their next executions, which could take place in early 2018. Many states cloak their procedures in secrecy to try to minimize legal challenges.

But fentanyl offers several advantages. The obvious one is potency. The synthetic drug is 50 times more powerful than heroin and up to 100 times more powerful than morphine.

“There's cruel irony that at the same time these state governments are trying to figure out how to stop so many from dying from opioids, that they now want to turn and use them to deliberately kill someone,” said Austin Sarat, a law professor at Amherst College who has studied the death penalty for more than four decades.

Another plus with fentanyl: It is easy to obtain. Although the drug has rocketed into the news because of the opioid crisis, doctors frequently use it to anesthetize patients for major surgery or to treat severe pain in patients with advanced cancer.

Nevada officials say they had no problem buying fentanyl.

“We simply ordered it through our pharmaceutical distributor, just like every other medication we purchase, and it was delivered,” Brooke Keast, a spokeswoman for the Nevada Department of Corrections, said in an email. “Nothing out of the ordinary at all.”

The state, which last put someone to death in 2006, had planned its first fentanyl-assisted execution for November. The inmate involved, 47-year-old Scott Dozier, was convicted of killing a man in a Las Vegas hotel, cutting him into pieces and stealing his money.

Nebraska and Nevada are trying to move forward with executions using fentanyl. Jose Sandoval, left, would be put to death in Nebraska. Scott Dozier, right, would be executed in Nevada. — Photographs: Nati Harnik & Ken Ritter/Associated Press.
Nebraska and Nevada are trying to move forward with executions using fentanyl. Jose Sandoval, left, would be put to death in Nebraska.
Scott Dozier, right, would be executed in Nevada. — Photographs: Nati Harnik & Ken Ritter/Associated Press.

According to documents obtained by The Washington Post, Nevada's protocol calls for Dozier first to receive diazepam — a sedative better known as Valium — and then fentanyl to cause him to lose consciousness. Large doses of both would cause a person to stop breathing, according to three anesthesiologists interviewed for this report.

Yet Nevada also plans to inject Dozier with a third drug, cisatracurium, to paralyze his muscles — a step medical experts say makes the procedure riskier.

“If the first two drugs don't work as planned, or if they are administered incorrectly, which has already happened in so many cases … you would be awake and conscious, desperate to breathe and terrified but unable to move at all,” said Mark Heath, a professor of anesthesiology at Columbia University. “It would be an agonizing way to die, but the people witnessing wouldn't know anything had gone wrong because you wouldn't be able to move.”

John M. DiMuro, who helped create the fentanyl execution protocol when he was the state's chief medical officer, said he based it on procedures common in open-heart surgery. He included cisatracurium because of worries that the Valium and fentanyl might not fully stop an inmate's breathing, he said. “The paralytic hastens and ensures death. It would be less humane without it.”

A judge postponed Dozier's execution last month over concerns about the paralytic, and the case is awaiting review by Nevada's Supreme Court. In the meantime, Nebraska is looking toward a fentanyl-assisted execution as soon as January. Jose Sandoval, the leader of a bank robbery in which five people were killed, would be the first person put to death in that state since 1997.

Sandoval would be injected with the same three drugs proposed in Nevada, plus potassium chloride to stop his heart.

Even at much lower concentrations, intravenous potassium chloride often causes a burning sensation, according to Heath. “So if you weren't properly sedated, a highly concentrated dose would feel like someone was taking a blowtorch to your arm and burning you alive,” he said.

Fentanyl is just the latest in a long line of approaches that have been considered for capital punishment in the United States. With each, things have often gone wrong.

When hangings fell out of favor in the 19th century — because of botched cases and the drunken, carnival-like crowds they attracted — states turned to electrocution. The first one in 1890 was a grisly disaster: Spectators noticed the inmate was still breathing after the electricity was turned off, and prison officials had to zap the man all over again.

Gas chambers were similarly sold as a modern scientific solution. But one of the country's last cyanide gas executions, in 1992, went so badly that it left witnesses crying and the warden threatening to resign rather than attempt another one.

Lethal injection, developed in Oklahoma in 1977, was supposed to solve these problems. It triggered concerns from the start, especially because of the paralytic drug used. Even so, the three-drug injection soon became the country's dominant method of execution.

In recent years, as access to those drugs has dried up, states have tried others. Before the interest in fentanyl, many states tested a sedative called midazolam — leading to what Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor called “horrifying deaths”.

Dennis McGuire, who raped and killed a pregnant newlywed in Ohio, became the first inmate on whom that state's new protocol was tried. Soon after the 2014 execution began, his body writhed on the table as he gasped for air and made gurgling, snorting noises that sounded as though he was drowning, according to witnesses.

The same year, Oklahoma used midazolam on an inmate convicted of kidnapping and killing a teenager; authorities aborted the execution after Clayton Lockett kicked, writhed and grimaced for 20 minutes, but he died not long after. Three months later, Arizona used midazolam on Joseph R. Wood III, who was convicted of killing his ex-girlfriend and her father. Officials injected him more than a dozen times as he struggled for almost two hours.

Like those in other states, Arizona officials argued that the inmate did not suffer and that the procedure was not botched. Later, they said they would never again use midazolam in an execution.

Joel Zivot, a professor of anesthesiology and surgery at Emory University, called the states' approach ludicrous. “There's no medical or scientific basis for any of it,” he said. “It's just a series of attempts: obtain certain drugs, try them out on prisoners, and see if and how they die.”

The bad publicity and continuing problems with drug supply have sent some of the 31 states where capital punishment remains legal in search of options beyond lethal injection. Turning to nitrogen gas would solve at least one issue.

“Nitrogen is literally in the air we breathe — you can't cut off anyone’s supply to that,” said Scheidegger, who strongly supports the idea.

In addition to Mississippi, Oklahoma has authorized nitrogen gas as a backup to lethal injection. Corrections officials and legislators in Louisiana and Alabama have said they hope to do the same.

And yet, critics note, there is almost no scientific research to suggest that nitrogen would be more humane.

Oklahoma's legislature approved nitrogen gas in 2015 based on a report solicited from three professors at a local university, none of whom had any medical or scientific background. They cited examples of airplane pilots passing out from nitrogen hypoxia and accounts of people killing themselves using nitrogen and helium gas. A financial analysis prepared for lawmakers said the approach would be “relatively cost effective,” requiring only a gas mask and a container of nitrogen.

Zivot is among those skeptical that nitrogen would work as hoped.

“There's a difference between accidental hypoxia, like with pilots passing out, and someone knowing you're trying to kill him and fighting against it,” he said. “Have you ever seen someone struggle to breathe? They gasp until the end. It's terrifying.”

Dozier, the inmate Nevada hopes to execute soon with fentanyl, has said he would prefer death by firing squad over any other method. In more than a dozen interviews, many experts on both sides of the issue expressed similar views.

Of all the lethal technology humans have invented, the gun has endured as one of the most efficient ways to kill, said Denno, who has studied the death penalty for a quarter-century.

“The reason we keep looking for something else,” she said, “is because it's not really for the prisoner. It's for the people who have to watch it happen. We don't want to feel squeamish or uncomfortable. We don't want executions to look like what they really are: killing someone.”

Julie Tate contributed to this report.

• William Wan is a national correspondent for The Washington Post, covering science and news. He previously served as the paper's religion reporter, foreign policy correspondent and for three years as The Post's China correspondent in Beijing.

• Mark Berman covers national news for The Washington Post and anchors Post Nation, a destination for breaking news and stories from around the country.


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 on: December 10, 2017, 11:54:30 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

Bitter Senate race tests Alabama's image
in the country — and at home

In choosing between Roy Moore and Doug Jones, many voters are torn
between their values and a desire to move beyond Alabama's history.

By ROBERT COSTA and MICHAEL SCHERER | 2:30PM EST — Saturday, December 09, 2017

Attendees listen during a campaign rally for Senate candidate Roy Moore in Henagar, Alabama, on November 27th. — Photograph: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.
Attendees listen during a campaign rally for Senate candidate Roy Moore in Henagar, Alabama, on November 27th.
 — Photograph: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg.

BIRMINGHAM, ALABAMA — For many Alabama voters, unaccustomed to a competitive election and the national attention that has come with it, the bitter showdown between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones has become something more personal than a race to fill an open Senate seat. It is now a referendum on the state's identity.

Supporters of Jones say with concern that a win on Tuesday by the firebrand Moore would derail the state's efforts to escape its painful history and rebrand as a forward-thinking place welcoming to Fortune 500 companies and a highly educated workforce. And they express a nagging feeling that a Moore victory would be a deflating sign that Alabama remains beholden to its past.

“You travel across the country and you say ‘Alabama’, and something goes right across people's eyes every time,” said retired actor Jonathan Fuller, a 61-year-old Democrat, as he shopped at the Piggly Wiggly supermarket in the suburbs south of Birmingham. “I don't want to apologize anymore for where I'm from because there is this pocket of stubbornness in my state.”

Supporters of Moore, meanwhile, see his candidacy as a conduit for their rejection of the national media and political elites who they believe unfairly caricature their home state as a cultural backwater. They shrug off the notion that sexual misconduct allegations against Moore — allegations that some see as a fabrication by outsiders — should make a difference.

“I don't believe a word they say about him,” J.W. Poore, a 77-year-old retired home builder and Republican, said outside a Lowe's Home Improvement store in the Birmingham area. “The Democrats have been against us all the way. They don't accept the president, they don't accept nobody.” He said people outside of Alabama “have no right to judge us.”

The vivid contrast between the two candidates — Moore, 70, with his apocalyptic warnings about Muslims and gay rights, against Jones, a low-key 63-year-old lawyer best known for prosecuting Ku Klux Klan members who planned the 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham — has put in sharp relief the idea that the results could speak volumes about Alabama to the rest of the country — and to itself.

One pivotal group on Tuesday will be voters who feel caught between these two visions and must pick a side, especially Republican-leaning voters who feel pulled between their traditional values and a desire to turn the page on the uglier parts of Alabama's past.

In the past several decades, Alabama has successfully begun to transform from a largely agricultural economy based around poultry and timber to a manufacturing and technology hub anchored in a growing federal contracting community. Much of the aerospace industry is based around Huntsville. Mercedes-Benz and a core supplier of the company recently relocated to rural Bibb County, and GE Aviation recently announced a $200 million investment to build a new ceramic matrix composites factory. The local universities have invested considerably in recent years in science and engineering programs, nurturing a booming biotechnology industry.

From the shadow of the University of Alabama's football stadium to Moore's hilly hometown of Gadsden, voters — black and white, Democrat and Republican — said they are deliberating in their communities and sometimes with themselves on the campaign and what it means for their state.

“We've got a lot of good here, a lot of people who died for equal rights. And we've got a lot of people who are stuck in 1930, and that's not going to change,” Phillip Hutchins, a 67-year-old Democrat and retired aircraft worker, said last week outside a grocery store in Titusville, a heavily black neighborhood in Birmingham.

Business-minded white Republicans — a bloc that sees itself as modern and puts an emphasis on education, commerce and tradition — have been uneasy about Moore. They have recoiled, too, at the cascade of controversies that have gripped the state this year, making the current race a culmination of various discomforts rather than a sudden drama.

Business leaders said the state's image had already taken a hit with the resignation of then-governor Robert Bentley (Republican) in April, after pleading guilty to two campaign finance misdemeanors in connection with a scandal involving secret recordings of inappropriate sexual conversations by Bentley with a woman who is not his wife.

The competition with other states for corporate investment is fierce, and state business executives have watched closely what happened in North Carolina after its ban on gender-neutral bathrooms.

“The margin of error is extremely thin,” said George Clark, president of Manufacture Alabama, an industry advocacy group. “Everybody is trying to improve their workforce. Any negative you have — it's like recruitment in football — it will be used against you.”

Jones has courted the business establishment, many of them Republicans, on both moral and economic grounds, urging them to abandon their partisan instincts to protect the state's economy and reputation.

But Jones, who supports abortion rights and whose campaign headquarters has a Planned Parenthood poster on its wall, has struggled to win over Republicans such as JoAnn Turner, a 71-year-old nurse who lives in Vestavia Hills, a mostly white Birmingham suburb.

“I've been in Alabama for 42 years, and I'm so tired of the publicity being so bad. It's not who we are, and it's embarrassing,” Turner said, referencing the allegations against Moore and the racial tensions associated with the state. “The people of today, the generation of today, has put what has happened behind us. You look at this neighborhood, it's kind, good Christian people.”

“All that said,” Turner added, “I can't vote for Roy Moore, and I can't vote for Doug Jones. I have spent my life helping to deliver babies. I'll have to do a write-in, because at the end of the day, this is about my conscience.”

Turner plans to write in Senator Luther Strange (Republican-Alabama), who was appointed to the seat earlier in the year following Jeff Sessions's confirmation as attorney general. Moore beat Strange, an ally of President Trump with a moderate temperament, in a September primary runoff.

Billie Hopper, a soft-spoken 73-year-old Republican from Fultondale, said she stands by Moore and will support him because she does not trust the reporting about his alleged sexual advances toward teenage girls when he was in his 30s. She called him crucial to the causes of putting another conservative justice on the Supreme Court and assisting Trump with his legislative agenda.

“He has stood up for things that I believe in, Christian values,” Hopper said, adding that she is dismayed by coverage of Alabama and television ads that she says portrays the state as “backwoodsy … white supremacists, haters, things like that. I don't hate anyone. I love them all.”

While Trump has endorsed Moore, as has former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, Strange and veteran Senator Richard C. Shelby (Republican-Alabama) have remained wary of the former judge who was twice removed from the state Supreme Court — and have called the allegations against him credible and disturbing.

Shelby has opted to cast a write-in vote, telling The Washington Post that he is anxious about how a Moore victory would affect the corporate world's impressions of Alabama. “Image, reputation. Is this a good place to live, or is it so controversial that we wouldn't go there?” Shelby said. “You know, these companies are looking to invest. They are looking for a good place to live, a good place to do business, a good education system, opportunities, transportation. And we have come a long way; we've got to keep going…. We can't live in the past.”

People wait for the arrival of Doug Jones, Roy Moore's Democratic rival, at an event on Thursday in Cullman, Alabama. — Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.
People wait for the arrival of Doug Jones, Roy Moore's Democratic rival, at an event on Thursday in Cullman, Alabama.
 — Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

Other Alabama Republicans do not share the senators' apprehension about Moore. Governor Kay Ivey (Republican), who is running in a crowded race for governor next year, has said she would vote for him.

Black Democrats, on whom the Jones campaign is counting to turn out on Tuesday in strong numbers, said they believe Jones has a shot at winning but do not expect his victory, should he win, to change the state's culture entirely.

“Right, wrong or indifferent, that's who we are,” Ron Pace, an Army veteran and Democrat, said over breakfast at Fife's Restaurant in downtown Birmingham, when asked about Moore. “Five more years from now, there's going to be another Roy Moore, and they'll vote in the interests of that Christian coalition.”

A Washington Post-Schar School poll released on December 2nd showed Jones and Moore in a dead heat among likely voters, while a RealClearPolitics polling average shows Moore slightly ahead. The Post-Schar School survey illustrated the ways the race is dividing the state, with Moore supported by more than 6 in 10 whites — including a clear majority of white women.

Dana Billingsley, a Republican real estate broker sitting with friends at a Starbucks on a weekday in suburban Vestavia Hills, is more open to voting for Jones and said she has taken to Facebook to vent about “Roy Moore being on Jimmy Kimmel” and Sessions being parodied on NBC's “Saturday Night Live”.

“I like Donald Trump since he loves real estate and isn't afraid of getting a divorce,” Billingsley said with a laugh. “But I actually haven't liked Roy Moore since before the allegations. I mean, this is 2017. Come on. The world has changed.” She said she hasn't followed Jones but knows enough: “What he did on the 16th Street bombing was right.”

Outside of Birmingham and in rural towns to the east — home to massive evangelical churches and family-owned barbecue restaurants that puff black smoke out of chimneys — Moore's support is heartier, particularly in his home town of Gadsden on the Coosa River.

“I know Roy Moore personally. He's an easygoing guy, and I don't believe he did what he's accused of,” said Michael Newsome, a burly 22-year-old Gadsden-area welder. “I've done work at his house, and we all know him as a gentle guy who's religious. Honestly, in good faith, I truly believe him.”

Ava Lyles, a 71-year-old grandmother who leans Republican, echoed him as she picked up Christmas gifts at the Gadsden Mall — the same mall Moore frequented when he was a young district attorney and where several of his accusers say he engaged them.

“I'm for Moore,” Lyles said. “Whatever happened in the past is now in the past, and God forgives us all.” She dismissed the suggestion that the race has stirred debates about the state's character.

“Oh, please. Haven't we always been bad, like cousins marrying cousins? That's not true, but people say what they want to say. Always have judged us,” Lyles said.

Otis Dupree, a 53-year-old retired chicken-plant worker who works part time at the Burger King in Gadsden, said he is “disgusted” with the city's embrace of Moore.

“The way I see it is white folks stick with him; that's pretty much what's going on,” Dupree said. “People in Alabama are going along with it — and it's messed up.”

More than 100 miles southwest on the state's flagship campus — the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa — hundreds of students in athletic clothing and T-shirts stream out of dorm buildings and sorority mansions across the street from the school's beloved Bryant-Denny Stadium.

As with the men and women in Vestavia Hills, many of them are financially stable and white — and Republican in a cultural sense as much as ideologically. They see themselves as Alabama's future and are eager to define it.

Roy Moore isn't part of that plan, according to Ella Jernigan, a 19-year-old Republican student who's studying marketing.

“My family had been friends with Luther Strange for years,” Jernigan said on her way to a meeting. “I thought that was where we were as a state. I can't stand us getting pinned now as rednecks or uneducated.”

She added, “Every time you think we're going forward, something like Roy Moore sets us back.”

Tim Booth, a 52-year-old construction worker on campus, however, had no such angst over Moore. Chewing tobacco and wearing a camouflage hunting cap, Booth said Tuesday's vote was more of a rebuff to the state's critics than a reckoning for its residents.

“People can see us the way they want to,” Booth said. “It's like the way we look at California: They should be their own little country.”

• Robert Costa is a national political reporter at The Washington Post.

• Michael Scherer is a national political reporter at The Washington Post. Michael previously reported for TIME since December 2007 and became their Washington Bureau Chief in 1913. He moved to The Post in August 2017.


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 on: December 10, 2017, 11:13:58 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

In Alabama, no good outcomes for the Republican Party

Trump's all in with Roy Moore, but other Republicans fear what Tuesday's results could bring.

By DAN BALZ | 11:15AM EST - Saturday, December 09, 2017

Former Alabama chief justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a campaign rally on Tuesday in Fairhope Alabama. — Photograph: Brynn Anderson/Associated Press.
Former Alabama chief justice and U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore speaks at a campaign rally on Tuesday in Fairhope Alabama.
 — Photograph: Brynn Anderson/Associated Press.

EVERY competitive special election draws outsized attention, but few deserve it more than Tuesday's Senate contest in Alabama. No matter the outcome, the results will reverberate loudly across the country — and nowhere more than inside the Republican Party.

The contest between Republican Roy Moore and Democrat Doug Jones is a morality play with significant political consequences. It sweeps in everything that is current — President Trump's standing, the fractured Republican Party, the Democrats' hopes for 2018, and above all, the issue of whether, at a time of changing attitudes, political allegiance outweighs credible claims of sexual misconduct.

Unlike in many such elections, the voting on Tuesday will not end the controversy. For Republicans, that's perhaps the most worrisome aspect. Tuesday's results will be picked at for meaning beyond what any single election can produce, but there will be plenty in what happens worth picking at.

For Republicans, there likely can be no truly good outcome. If Moore wins, the party will have preserved the seat but will be saddled with a new senator under a cloud of allegations, including assaulting a teenager many years ago as well as a pattern of pursuing teenagers half his age when he was in his 30s. If he wins and is sworn in, he probably will face an ethics investigation that will keep the controversy alive until his fate is resolved and perhaps much longer than that. For the Republicans, it's a hot mess.

If Moore loses, the GOP would be spared his presence in the Senate. But the result will have inflamed the anti-establishment forces led by former White House chief strategist Stephen K. Bannon, deepening antagonisms that continue to roil the party. A Jones victory also would tarnish the president, who has enthusiastically endorsed Moore and campaigned near the Alabama border on Friday night in a display of that support. Additionally, a Jones victory would put the Republican majority at greater risk in 2018.

As a public figure, Moore has long been a renegade. He is a throwback to a different era and an embarrassment to many in his state. Even before the women came forward to accuse him of sexual impropriety, he was highly controversial, having twice been removed from the state Supreme Court. The first involved his resistance to an order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building; the second was over his order to state judges not to abide by the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that legalized same-sex marriages.

Still, Moore would be a shoo-in on Tuesday were it not for the allegations of sexual misconduct. Alabama is one of the most Republican states in the nation and is deeply polarized, red versus blue and white versus black. Trump won Alabama by 28 points in 2016. His campaign took flight in August 2015 when he staged a massive rally in Mobile. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, then an Alabama senator, was the first U.S. senator to endorse Trump.

Moore has a following that is unshakable, especially among evangelical Christians. In a recent Washington Post-Schar School poll that showed the overall race neck and neck, 78 percent of evangelical Christian voters in Alabama said they backed Moore's candidacy. Among other white Christians in the state, his support was at 41 percent.

Moore's support among Christian conservatives highlights the degree to which tribal loyalty offsets other factors in voters' political choices. The president cast the choice in starkly partisan and ideological terms when he recently gave Moore a full-throated endorsement. In a tweet last week, he said of Moore: “We need his vote on stopping crime, illegal immigration, Border Wall, Military, Pro Life, V.A., Judges 2nd Amendment and more.”

The split within the Republican coalition is highlighted by the divergent paths taken by Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Republican-Kentucky) since Moore was accused of sexual assault and impropriety.

Trump made a bad bet earlier when he was persuaded to endorse Senator Luther Strange in the GOP primary. Now he is all in with Moore. Having been accused of sexual misconduct by multiple women during his presidential campaign, Trump has chosen to embrace another Republican facing similar charges. Shortly after his endorsement, the Republican National Committee reversed course and re-entered the race on behalf of Moore after pulling out in the wake of the allegations against him.

McConnell was a more enthusiastic supporter of Strange in the primary, directing money toward the Alabamian's candidacy, but to no avail. Once the women came forward, the majority leader tried without success to force Moore to step aside. His failure once again underscored the limited power the GOP establishment has in these matters.

Unlike Trump, however, he has not moved back toward Moore in these final days. A week ago, he appeared to be softening his opposition to Moore, saying it was up to the voters in Alabama to decide whom to send to the Senate. Asked to explain that, he later told reporters, “There's been no change of heart. I had hoped he would withdraw as a candidate. That obviously is not going to happen.” He also made clear that an ethics investigation probably awaits Moore if he wins on Tuesday. Should Moore become a senator, he and McConnell will find it difficult to co-exist in the same chamber.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee and its chairman, Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado, embraced McConnell's hands-off approach. After the RNC announced its support for Republican nominee, Gardner, who like other Republicans had called on Moore to withdraw, reiterated that the NRSC would continue to stay out of the race.

Democratic Senatorial candidate Doug Jones speaks as he hosts a “Women's Wednesday” campaign event on Wednesday in Cullman, Alabama. Mr. Jones is facing off against Republican Roy Moore in next week's special election for the U.S. Senate. — Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.
Democratic Senatorial candidate Doug Jones speaks as he hosts a “Women's Wednesday” campaign event on Wednesday in
Cullman, Alabama. Mr. Jones is facing off against Republican Roy Moore in next week's special election for the U.S. Senate.
 — Photograph: Joe Raedle/Getty Images.

A Jones victory would give Democrats a boost in the battle for control of the Senate next year, though the path is narrow and starts with the necessity of holding every Democratic seat at stake next year, including the red and purple states Trump won in 2016.

If Democrats were to do that, they would still need to pick up a net of three more seats to gain the majority. While recent events have thrown into question such a pickup, they have two decent possibilities: in Arizona, where Senator Jeff Flake is stepping down; and in Nevada, where Senator Dean Heller is in trouble.

The Senate map got further scrambled in the past few days. Democrats got good news when Phil Bredesen, the former Democratic governor of Tennessee, announced that he would run for the seat of retiring Senator Bob Corker (Republican). He is one of the few Democrats who might be able to win statewide in a state that has turned increasingly red and conservative.

Meanwhile, the decision by Senator Al Franken (Democrat-Minnesota) to resign his seat in the face of allegations of sexual misconduct puts a Democrat seat in play next year that his party had not expected. Even the possibility of a Republican seat falling into Democratic hands in Alabama adds to the significance of Tuesday's outcome.

On this final weekend, the race in Alabama symbolizes a Republican Party in turmoil, with Trump and Bannon pitted against McConnell and others in the GOP establishment. Trump has continued to bend the party in his direction. A Moore victory on Tuesday would add to that record of success by the president, but at a potentially sizable cost to the Republican Party.

• Dan Balz is Chief Correspondent at The Washington Post. He has served as the paper's National Editor, Political Editor, White House correspondent and Southwest correspondent.


Related to this topic:

 • VIDEO: Moore says allegations of sexual misconduct are ‘dirty politics’


 on: December 10, 2017, 10:54:21 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

from The Washington Post....

Can Congress rein in ‘fire and fury’?

The legislature is a bystander regarding war.

By GEORGE F. WILL | 7:30PM EST — Friday, December 08, 2017

A television screen shows pictures of President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. — Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.
A television screen shows pictures of President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
 — Photograph: Jung Yeon-Je/Agence France-Presse/Getty Images.

THE FIRST USE of nuclear weapons occurred on August 6th, 1945. The second occurred three days later. That there has not been a third is testimony to the skill and sobriety of 12 presidents and many other people, here and abroad. Today, however, North Korea's nuclear bellicosity coincides with the incontinent tweeting, rhetorical taunts and other evidence of the frivolity and instability of the 13th president of the nuclear era. His almost daily descents from the previous day's unprecedentedly bad behavior are prompting urgent thinking about the constitutional allocation of war responsibilities, and especially about authority to use nuclear weapons.

Last month, for the first time in 41 years, a congressional hearing examined the Atomic Energy Act of 1946, which gives presidents sole authority. There was serious discussion of whether a particular presidential order for their use might not be “legal” — necessary, proportionate. But even if, in a crisis, time permits consulting lawyers, compliant ones will be found: President Barack Obama's argued that the thousands of airstrikes that killed thousands and demolished Libya's regime did not constitute “hostilities”.

The exigencies of crisis management in an age of ICBMs require speed of consultations, if any, and of decisions. And the credibility of deterrence requires that adversaries know that presidents can act in minutes. Furthermore, the authority to employ nuclear weapons is, as was said at the congressional hearing, “intertwined” with the authority “to take the country to war”. So, as a practical matter, President Trump can unleash on North Korea “fire and fury” without seeking the consent of, or even consulting, Congress. This, even if North Korea has neither attacked nor seems about to attack the United States. A long train of precedents tends to legitimate — although not justify — practices, and this nation has engaged in many wars since it last declared war on June 5th, 1942 (when, to satisfy wartime legalities, it did so against Hungary, Bulgaria and Romania). Over many decades, Congress has become — has largely made itself — a bystander regarding war.

Senator Lindsey O. Graham (Republican-South Carolina) says, “If we have to go to war to stop this, we will.” By “this,” does he means North Korea's possession of nuclear weapons, which it has had for 11 years? Or ICBMs, which it is rapidly developing? If so, Graham must think war is coming, because there is no reason to think North Korea's regime will relinquish weapons it deems essential to its single priority: survival. As Vladimir Putin says, North Korea would rather “eat grass”. U.S. actions have taught this regime the utility, indeed the indispensability, of such weapons. Would America have invaded Saddam Hussein's Iraq if he had possessed them? Would America have participated in destroying Libya's regime in 2011 if, soon after Saddam's overthrow, Moammar Gaddafi had not agreed to abandon his nuclear weapons program?

North Korea, says Trump, is a “situation we will handle” — “we will take care of it.” Does “we” denote deliberative and collaborative action by the legislative and executive branches? Or is “we” the royal plural from the man whose general approach to governance is “I alone can fix it”? Trump's foreign policy thinking (“In the old days, when you won a war, you won a war. You kept the country”; we should “bomb the shit out of [the Islamic State]”) is short on nuance but of Metternichian subtlety compared with his thoughts on nuclear matters: “I think, for me, nuclear is just the power, the devastation is very important to me.”

A U.S. war of choice against North Korea would not be a pre-emptive war launched to forestall an imminent attack. Rather, it would be a preventive war supposedly justified by the fact that, given sophisticated weapons and delivery systems, imminence might be impossible to detect. The long war on the primitivism of terrorists has encouraged such thinking. A leaked 2011 memo from the Obama administration's Justice Department argued that using force to prevent an “imminent” threat “does not require … clear evidence that a specific attack … will take place in the immediate future.” So, regarding al-Qaeda, the memo said that because the government might not know of all plots and thus “cannot be confident that none is about to occur,” any leader of al-Qaeda or “associated forces” can be lawfully targeted at any time, without specific knowledge of planned attacks.

It would be interesting to hear the president distinguish a preventive war against North Korea from a war of aggression. The first two counts in the indictments at the 1946 Nuremberg trials concerned waging “aggressive war”.

• George F. Will writes a twice-weekly column on politics and domestic and foreign affairs for The Washington Post. He began his column with The Post in 1974, and he received the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1977.


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 on: December 10, 2017, 09:35:12 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Im2Sexy4MyPants

 on: December 10, 2017, 03:54:24 pm 
Started by Kiwithrottlejockey - Last post by Kiwithrottlejockey

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