he U.S. government has now been partially shut down for three weeks, the longest such closure in our nation’s history. What began as an act of brinksmanship and political hostage-taking by Donald Trump in an effort to extort billions of dollars for his wall along the Mexican border has spiraled out of control.
Trump and the Republican Party’s gambit has left almost a million federal employees without pay, created a situation where some federal employees may even be made homeless, imperiled public safety — including the country’s food supply — and in total betrayed the common good and the president’s oath to protect the well-being of the country. When asked about the harm his shutdown of the federal government is doing to the American people Trump reportedly told Democratic Party leaders, “Then you won’t give me what I want.”
Trump’s lies will be televised. Networks should fact-check them.
By Jon Allsop
Donald Trump will address the nation in prime time tonight (at 9pm ET, to be precise) about the continuing partial shutdown of the federal government, and what he calls “the Humanitarian and National Security crisis on our Southern Border.” The event will be his first Oval Office broadcast as president. His announcement yesterday, and accompanying formal request for air time, presented networks with a quandary: if Trump uses his address to lie, is it OK to carry it live?
The “if” in the above sentence is doing a lot of work. Trump’s record of immigration lies is damning; he made 1,130 false or misleading statements on the topic between his inauguration and December 30, 2017, according to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker. The planned address is premised on the idea that there is a national security crisis at the US-Mexico border, which, as the Post’s Greg Sargent pointed out, there is not. “The public will be better informed about the shutdown and the border,” wrote Media Matters’ Matt Gertz, “if they instead spend their evening watching Ellen’s Game of Games on NBC.” As TV producers and executives deliberated yesterday, Sargent, Gertz, and many others argued that Trump’s lies should disqualify his speech from a live airing.
Russia and Turkey have a crucial role to play in resolving the conflict in Syria, President Vladimir Putin told his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a day after their countries agreed to coordinate military steps following the U.S. decision to withdraw its forces.
In a New Year’s message to Erdogan published by the Kremlin on Sunday, Putin said that “Moscow and Ankara are making a decisive contribution to the fight against terrorism in Syria, as well as to the promotion of a political settlement in that country.”
His comment came a day after the Russian and Turkish foreign and defense ministers, as well as the countries’ intelligence chiefs, held talks in Moscow on Syria as they move to fill the void left by President Donald Trump’s decision to order a military pullout.
Russia tested a new hypersonic glide missile system today under direct orders from President Vladimir Putin, according to reports from Russian state media. The new system, called the Avangard, utilizes an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) and a hypersonic glide vehicle and is supposed to travel at roughly five times the speed of sound.