Public fear over the Wuhan coronavirus continues to grow as the Chinese government restricts travel over fears of an outbreak; meanwhile, the number of cases of the virus in the United States has risen to five, with 73 potential cases still pending, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). As the virus’s infection rate is still not well-understood, American cities are preparing for the worst.
In San Francisco, city officials are activating its emergency operations center in the event of local cases of the flu-like virus. In Southern California, two cases were confirmed in Los Angeles and Orange counties. New York City is setting up a biocontainment unit in Bellevue Hospital, according to the New York Times, though there are no cases in New York as of today.
There has been one confirmed case at Arizona State University. The university sent an email to students including preventative health recommendations, like washing your hands, and said those who have been exposed to the infected person would be notified directly. Students have created a petition on Change.org for the university to cancel classes. “We do not want to risk our lives by attending class,” the petition states.
As Salon previously reported, experts believe the virus originated at a wholesale seafood market in Wuhan, China, which may indicate that it is zoonotic, meaning it originated in animals and crossed over to humans. China confirmed that it can be spread from human-to-human transmission at least. However, the CDC notes on its website that it’s “not clear yet how easily [Wuhan coronavirus] spreads from person-to-person.”
The most recent numbers reported state that in China, the virus has infected at least 2,800 people and killed at least 81. Infections have also been confirmed in South Korea, France, Japan, Thailand, Cambodia, Singapore, Vietnam, Taiwan, Canada, Sri Lanka and Nepal. 76 of the 81 who have died were in the central province of Hubei, the center of the outbreak. There have been no deaths outside of China.
On Monday, the United States State Department raised its travel advisory level from Level 2 to Level 3 for traveling to China, which is to “avoid all nonessential travel to China.” “Chinese authorities are imposing quarantines and restricting travel throughout the country,” states in its advisory.
Beyond biology, fear over the spread of the virus affected the stock market today. The Dow Jones Industrial Average opened 500 points lower as news of the virus spreading to the U.S. grew.
Symptoms — which set in two to five days after infection — include fever, cough, shortness of breath, trouble breathing, body aches, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea, all of which are typical for an upper-respiratory virus, like a cold. But health experts warn that if the Wuhan coronavirus travels into the lower respiratory tract, it may become deadly.
Specifically, there are three high-risk groups, including those who already have compromised immune systems due to having cancer or a therapy that can weaken the immune system; and those who have pre-existing conditions with an underlying illness in another organ system, like heart disease or diabetes.
While everyone is at risk, there are things you can do to protect yourself, like washing your hands.
“Avoid being around sick people . . . it’s not always possible, but those who are sick are more likely to transmit it,” Dean Blumberg, chief of pediatric infectious diseases and associate professor in the Department of Pediatrics at UC Davis Children’s Hospital, explained to Salon in an interview last week.
A new study in The Economic Journal finds that likability is an influencing factor in interactions between women, as well as interactions between men and women, but not in all-male interactions.
The researchers conducted experiments where participants rated the likability of other participants, based on photographs. The participants were divided into pairs, shown the photograph of their partner beforehand, and learned how their partner rated them. The pairs then played games with each other where rewards depended on the degree of cooperation.
In one version, participants chose to contribute any integer value out of an initial endowment of 6 euros to a joint project. Overall, men contributed on average 4.05 euros, and women contributed 3.92 euros. Researchers found that in same-sex pairings, men in low as well as high mutual likability teams contributed similar amounts, suggesting likability was not a factor in determining contribution. However, if mutual likability in all-female teams was low, women contributed 30% less on average.
In mixed-sex pairings for the cooperation game, female participants contributed on average 4.70 euros in high mutual likability teams, and about 37% less in low mutual likability teams. In contrast to same-sex teams, the likability effect for men factored in mixed-sex teams. If mutual likability was low, men’s contribution was 50% lower than if mutual likability was high.
In the ten round coordination game, researchers found that women in same-sex pairings chose significantly lower numbers in low mutual likability teams than in high mutual likability teams in each round of the game. Male participants in same-sex pairings chose high numbers from the start, regardless of the level mutual likability. In mixed-sex teams, mutual likability was on average positively associated with the number chosen for both women and men.
“Our results hint at the existence of a likability factor that offers a novel perspective on gender differences in labor market outcomes,” said Leonie Gerhards, the paper’s lead author. “While likability matters for women in every one of their interactions, it matters for men only if they interact with the opposite sex.”
Researchers concluded that for women, likability is an asset in all interactions. For men, likability matters only in interactions with the opposite sex. Results suggest that the likability factor leads to considerable advantages in terms of average performance and economic outcomes for men.
Reference: “I (Don’t) Like You! But Who Cares? Gender Differences in Same-Sex and Mixed-Sex Teams” by Leonie Gerhards and Michael Kosfeld, 28 January 2020, The Economic Journal.
In Washington to do an interview, I was struck by the strange disjunction between what I could see on television – as the impeachment hearings began, the cable news anchors seemed to be suffering, at moments, from a terrible delirium – and the atmosphere in the city itself.
Stepping outside my hotel, I expected to be met by wild crowds of journalists, lawyers and politicians, all desperately fanning themselves with copies of The Hill and Politico (the verbiage that pours out of DC on a daily basis must be seen to be believed). But, no. The streets were preternaturally quiet.
In a branch of Whole Foods, a customer poked, as if in slow motion, at a bowl of kale. In the National Gallery of Art shop, an assistant with no customers assiduously rearranged merchandise. Wandering around, minutes could go by without my passing another soul; I might have been in a zombie movie.
Washington, I thought, is a city that seems almost to be performing itself: a stage set crying out for actors. Perhaps this is why I looked so uncharacteristically acceptable in the selfie I took, the Capitol gleaming white beneath the cerulean sky.
Sewing, more than a domestic science
Two Temple Place is a glorious Thames-side mansion, built in 1895 for William Waldorf Astor. Unfortunately, it’s not open to the public – except at this time of year, when it hosts an annual exhibition inspired by work in Britain’s public collections.
The latest one, Unbound, tells the story of seven pioneering textile collectors: women like Edith Durham, who between 1900 and 1914 amassed such an array of traditional Balkan costumes that she became a national heroine in Albania; and Olive Matthews, who began collecting textiles as a child, the 18th century her particular interest.
Much as I enjoyed it, I was mildly amazed to find myself at this show. When I was young, there was nothing I despised more than the so-called domestic arts. At school, I railed at the unfairness of having to learn to sew. Why couldn’t I do woodwork like the boys? But the feminism of these women – even if they wouldn’t have used the word – is not in doubt.
I stared for a long time at a pair of opanke that once belonged to Durham (opanke is a traditional peasant shoe made of hide and twine), wondering slightly satirically if their like would ever appear in the Toast catalogue. Beside them was a quote from their owner in which she described how their soles were soaked in oil, the better to make them pliable.
“This pair are worn through, as I tramped many miles in them,” she then noted, at which point I pictured a bright-eyed young woman in a long dress, scampering across rocks, mountain goat-like, eagerly acquisitive and utterly free.
We love you, Charles M Schulz
In The Peanuts Papers, smart writers – Ann Patchett, George Saunders, Umberto Eco – apply their minds to the genius of Charles M Schulz. Because I love and revere Peanuts, this is purest catnip for me. I’m totally down with their high-altitude assessments, their loose talk of existentialism.
But my favourite essay is by the cartoonist, Chris Ware. As a boy, he read a strip in which Charlie Brown received, as usual, no Valentine’s Day cards. This he found so painful that he made one himself, insisting that his mother post it to the newspaper.
“What kind of artist could break the heart of a child like that?” Ware asks. The only answer to this is: a great one. A Chekhov, a Beckett, a Schulz.
Still looking for a home nearby? Don’t lose hope yet. A tour of the most recently foreclosed properties in the Washington DC area could be a smart place to start!
Each week, we compile a list of five new foreclosures on the market near you — many of them surprisingly affordable for their size and location.
Below, you’ll find an address, photo, price and size for each property on our list — such as one in the Washington area with 1 bed and 1 bath for $37,450, and another in the Washington areawith 2 beds and 1 bath for $71,300.
Looking for more photos and details? Just click on any address to learn more. Happy house hunting!
1. 3103 Naylor Rd SE Apt 103, Washington, District of Columbia 20020
Size: 848 sq. ft., 2 beds, and 1 bath
2. 1372 Randolph St NW Apt 106, Washington, District of Columbia 20011
Size: 478 sq. ft, 1 bed, and 1 bath
3. 1000 New Jersey Ave SE Apt 1029, Washington, District of Columbia 20003
Size: 762 sq. ft., 1 bed, and 1 bath
4. 4721 1st St SW Apt 302, Washington, District of Columbia 20032
Size: 608 sq. ft., 1 bed, and 1 bath
5. 705 Brandywine St SE Apt B1, Washington, District of Columbia 20032
Size: 822 sq. ft., 2 beds, and 1 bath
Want more options? Keep scrolling for more listings. Or check out Patch’s Washington DC area real-estate section for a complete list of local foreclosures.
3103 Naylor Rd SE Apt 103Washington, District of Columbia 20020
2 bd/1 full ba, 848 sqft More Info
1372 Randolph St NW Apt 106Washington, District of Columbia 20011
1 bd/1 full ba, 478 sqft More Info
1000 New Jersey Ave SE Apt 1029Washington, District of Columbia 20003
1 bd/1 full ba, 762 sqft More Info
4721 1st St SW Apt 302Washington, District of Columbia 20032
1 bd/1 full ba, 608 sqft More Info
705 Brandywine St SE Apt B1Washington, District of Columbia 20032
2 bd/1 full ba, 822 sqft More Info
1 Ridge Rd SEWashington, District of Columbia 20019
4 bd/2 full ba, 2,583 sqft More Info
4000 Tunlaw Rd NW Apt 500Washington, District of Columbia 20007
0 bd/1 full ba, 409 sqft More Info
2328 15th St NEWashington, District of Columbia 20018
3 bd/1 full ba, 1,056 sqft More Info
1391 Pennsylvania Ave SE Unit 348Washington, District of Columbia 20003
1 bd/1 full ba, 684 sqft More Info
4210 Dix St NEWashington, District of Columbia 20019
2 bd/1 full ba, 1,744 sqft More Info
Photos courtesy of Realtor.com
On Thursday, Jan. 16, the District “permanently” forced unsheltered residents to vacate from the underpass at K Street N.E. in the North of Massachusetts, better known as NoMa, neighborhood. It remains unclear as to where many of these unsheltered residents will realistically move.
The removal of unsheltered residents from the encampment on K Street N.E. in NoMa was enforced without any plans for “evicted,” residents, causing many people to challenge the District and Mayor Muriel Bowser on next steps, while displaced residents set up shelter nearby, such as on L Street N.E. (Photo by Micha Green)
Duane Allen, an unsheltered resident who used to live at the underpass at K Street N.E., moved two blocks to M Street N.E. For him, the city’s order seemed like everything else. It made complete sense in the sense that it was not well thought out at all.
“You got a whole lot of…homes with vacant apartments,” he said while adding that he believed the city neglects to house people despite having the resources to do so.
Allen has lived on the streets in NoMa since last summer, after being released from a ten-month stint in prison for a crime he said he never committed. He said that support services for formerly incarcerated are virtually non-existent, and that he moved to the underpasses in NoMa shortly after he was released.
“I want a voucher,” he said, arguing that it was pointless for the city to send social workers to help provide him with health and comfort items like toothpaste and clean socks. “I want a home,” he said, “not a tent, not an air mattress.”
Mama J, a long-time unsheltered resident who lives on L Street N.E., said she was concerned about potential for overcrowding on her street. “Ain’t no place for a whole other street here,” she said.
For her, the city’s order to move the residents was inherently non-sensical. “If you move them off the street, take them off the street. It’s that simple! We know they’re going to need a place to go,” she added.
Kayla Hoy, who recently moved to D.C. from Denver, recently found herself having to move off K Street N.E. onto an adjoining street. She said she felt welcome and safe sleeping outside next to the other unsheltered residents who lived alongside her on this block, and said she felt optimistic about her upcoming move to L Street N.E.
Mike Harris, a 58-year-old unsheltered resident who has a physical disability and uses a wheelchair to move around, said that the move was “necessary.” For him, he said, it was “difficult” to move up and down the sidewalk. While Harris has recently received a housing voucher, he said he plans to move to the underpass at L Street N.E. for the time being, before he ultimately moves into his new home.
When moving to L Street N.E., Harris said, he has a plan to get a “generator so we can power up a microwave and warm up some of the food we wonderful people like to eat.”
Although he thinks L Street N.E. will become more congested, Harris said that it will remain an “organized chaos,” and that the people living there would “make sure that it remains walkable and passable.”
With temperatures expected to dip below 30 degrees Fahrenheit over the weekend, some advocates say the forced move could not have come at a worse time.
“I think the timing is bad,” Ann Staudenmaeir, a lawyer with the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless said.
She said she believed it was likely pressure from housed neighbors that served as the impetus for the sudden change in the city’s stance on the encampments on this street.
Staudenmaeir also added that the District’s annual point in time count, which is a federally mandated headcount of people experiencing homelessness, will take place over the next week. The forced removal of unsheltered residents from those underpasses could make it more difficult to gain a full headcount of people who used to live there.
By AFRO Staff
The Episcopal Diocese of Washington (EDOW) and its Presiding Bishop, the Most Reverend Michael B. Curry, will host a revival on Jan. 26 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Southeast, Washington, D.C. at 2 p.m. The revival is entitled “More Jesus, More Love,” and is the highlight of a weekend of celebrations and meetings from Jan. 24- 26 as part of the 125th EDOW Diocesan Convention.
In May 2018, Curry received international attention after he preached at the union of Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle, also known as Duke and Duchess of Sussex. At a time when the Duke and Duchess of Sussex have vacated their royal duties and are moving to North America to chart a new life, the revival about love is timely.
The Episcopal Diocese of Washington (EDOW) and Presiding Bishop Reverend Michael B. Curry will host a revival, 2 p.m. , Jan. 26 at the Entertainment and Sports Arena in Southeast, D.C. (Courtesy Photo)
“This is the largest diocesan-wide gathering in our history, and part of an entire weekend of events with the potential to reach every congregation and beyond with a message of God’s love, revealed in Jesus, for all people,” said EDOW Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde.
The Presiding Bishop is making his way to the nation’s capital to examine issues, offer hope and discuss “Jesus’ way of love,” according to Budde.
Curry’s message, “Jesus Way of Love,” arrives at a critical time in the world and his lessons delivered from the nation’s capital will come just days after a federal holiday honoring another famous preacher and peace-maker, Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Even more ironic, the revival will be held not far from Martin Luther King Avenue in Southeast, D.C.
The Presiding Bishop’s visit aligns with further world news beyond his relation to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, including: the United States fearing war and coping with race tinged rhetoric spilling into events that range from gun rallies in Virginia to President Trump’s impeachment trial in the United States Senate.
More than 4,000 Episcopalians from across the Washington Metropolitan area are expected to attend the historic revival led by Bishop Curry. While the event is free and open to the public, one must have a ticket for the “More Jesus, More Love,” revival, which are almost sold out.
The revival and Curry’s participation in EDOW’s 125th Diocesan Convention will begin on Jan. 25 at the Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave N.W., Washington, D.C. 20016.
Other events include:
– On Friday, January 24 there will be an event entitled, “Young Adults Gathering with Presiding Bishop Curry.”
– On Saturday, January 25- Bishop Curry will preach at the Washington National Cathedral and at the “D2D (Dusk 2 Dawn): Youth Overnight featuring Presiding Bishop Curry.”
-On Sunday, January 26- Presiding Bishop Curry will hold a Eucharist service and discuss the state of Black and multicultural churches in the new decade at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 3601 Alabama Avenue, Southeast, D.C., 20020
The afternoon revival on Jan. 26 will be held at 1100 Oak Street, Southeast, Washington, D.C., at the Entertainment and Sports Arena.
On the hunt for a new home in D.C.? Check out 1237 29th St. NW.
Located in Georgetown’s East Village this circa-1900 house is on the market for $1,595,000. It boasts two bedrooms, two full bathrooms, two half bathrooms, and 1,502 square feet of living space.
Upon entering the townhouse, you’ll be greeted by a bright and airy main level with hardwood floors and large windows.
The kitchen is equipped with new quartz countertops, a farmhouse sink, custom cabinets, and top-of-the-line appliances.
Other highlights include: a wood-burning fireplace in the living room, spa-like bathrooms, and a private backyard.
Address: 1237 29th St NW, Washington, District of Columbia Price: $1,595,000 Square Feet: 1502 Bedrooms: 2 Bathrooms: 2 Full and 2 Half Baths Built: 1900 Features: Gorgeous East Village Georgetown Home. Sun-filled two bedroom townhouse with two full baths, two half-baths, and windows on three sides. Just steps to Georgetown restaurants and shopping. Stunning kitchen! New quartz counter/island top. New dishwasher and drawer microwave. New farmhouse sink. New backsplash and kitchen lighting. Viking stove, Sub-Zero refrigerator, Custom cabinets (recently updated) New engineered hardwood flooring throughout first and second levels. Fireplace (wood burning) This home is move- in ready!
This listing originally appeared on realtor.com. For more information and photos, click here.
708 Faraday Pl NEWashington, District of Columbia 20017
For Sale: $579,999
3 bd/2 full ba, 1,224 sqft More Info
1414 22nd St NW Ph 62Washington, District of Columbia 20037
For Sale: $1,895,000
2 bd/2 full ba, 2,022 sqft More Info
1514 17th St NW Apt 503Washington, District of Columbia 20036
For Sale: $250,000
0 bd/1 full ba, 436 sqft More Info
4287 Embassy Park Dr NWWashington, District of Columbia 20016
For Sale: $849,900
2 bd/3 full ba, 1,832 sqft More Info
333 17th St NEWashington, District of Columbia 20002
For Sale: $774,900
4 bd/2 full ba, 2,144 sqft More Info
70 N St SE Unit 610Washington, District of Columbia 20003
For Sale: $444,900
1 bd/1 full ba, 546 sqft More Info
70 N St SE Unit 314Washington, District of Columbia 20003
For Sale: $474,900
1 bd/1 full ba, 680 sqft More Info
637 3rd St NE Apt B4Washington, District of Columbia 20002
For Sale: $230,000
0 bd/1 full ba, 435 sqft More Info
210 Morgan St NW Unit 2Washington, District of Columbia 20001
For Sale: $739,900
2 bd/2 full ba, 1,140 sqft More Info
3030 Q St NWWashington, District of Columbia 20007
For Sale: $4,375,000
6 bd/5 full ba, 3,753 sqft More Info
In January 1967, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. took a rare sabbatical to write what would become his last book: “Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community?” In the final chapter he raised this question: “Not too many years ago, Dr. Kirtley Mather, a Harvard geologist, wrote a book entitled Enough and to Spare. He set forth the basic theme that famine is wholly unnecessary in the modern world. Today, therefore, the question on the agenda must read: Why should there be hunger and privation in any land, in any city, at any table, when man has the resources and the scientific know-how to provide all mankind with the basic necessities of life?”
Dr. King’s answer: “There is no deficit in human resources; the deficit is in human will … The well-off and the secure have too often become indifferent and oblivious to the poverty and deprivation in their midst. The poor in our countries have been shut out of our minds, and driven from the mainstream of our societies, because we have allowed them to become invisible. Ultimately a great nation is a compassionate nation. No individual or nation can be great if it does not have a concern for ‘the least of these.’”
The Trump administration has made a lot of promises about being “great,” but again and again has shown a basic contempt and lack of compassion for the poorest and most vulnerable both outside our borders and in our own nation. In one of its latest failures to show concern for “the least of these,” the administration finalized a new rule in December to weaken the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by imposing time limits and work requirements. Instead of using some of our vast resources to finally eradicate hunger in America in 2020, the USDA estimates nearly 700,000 people will lose benefits and be at risk of going even hungrier. The deficit in human will is on full display.
Under the new rule, more able-bodied adults without dependents will be required to work or participate in work activities for 20 hours a week in order to receive SNAP benefits for more than three months in a three-year period. States’ ability to waive time limits in areas where there are many unemployed adults and too few jobs has been reduced. As CDF’s policy team has explained, research suggests that rather than promoting increased employment, time limits actually harm health and productivity. Data also show the overwhelming majority of SNAP participants who struggle to meet the 20 hours of work per week requirement aren’t falling short because they’re not interested in working but because of the volatility in the low-wage labor market, caregiving duties, or personal health issues. Punishing them by making it harder for them to put food on the table is not going to help.
Although current law doesn’t impose these time limits on children or adults with children, the rule’s devastating impact will still harm children because children living in poverty often depend on pooled resources (including SNAP benefits) from extended family members who don’t claim them as dependents. Right now, SNAP helps feed 19.9 million children in our nation — more than 1 in 4. With less food to go around, everyone will suffer.
In CDF’s formal comments to the USDA when the rule was first proposed, we said: “Given the critical role SNAP plays for children and families in communities across the country, we have serious concerns about any policies that would restrict access to SNAP for those who are hungry. … SNAP has a proven track record of reducing food insecurity, lifting people out of poverty and generating economic activity. We must continue to improve upon access to this critical safety net program, not make it more difficult to assist those it is intended to benefit.”
This rule is just one of several recent inhumane attempts by the Trump administration to take food away from hungry families — and we must continue to strongly resist and speak out against every new threat. We cannot afford to become overwhelmed or exhausted. As our nation pauses for the holiday celebrating Dr. King’s birthday, our current national path seems to reject Dr. King’s definition of greatness at every turn. But as Dr. King reminded us in “Where Do We Go From Here?,” in words of tremendous encouragement and hope for this moment:
“In any social revolution there are times when the tail winds of triumph and fulfillment favor us, and other times when strong head winds of disappointment and setbacks beat against us relentlessly. We must not permit adverse winds to overwhelm us as we journey across life’s mighty Atlantic; we must be sustained by our engines of courage in spite of the winds. This refusal to be stopped, this ‘courage to be,’ this determination to go on ‘in spite of’ is the hallmark of any great movement. … Today’s despair is a poor chisel to carve out tomorrow’s justice.”
Edelman is founder and president emerita of Children’s Defense Fund.
The annual Homeless Assessment Report to Congress says that total number of homeless is 567,715 and 225,735 are African American. It is 40 percent of US Homeless Population although only 13 percent of the nation’s population is Black.
The numbers are based on “Point-In-Time Estimates of Homelessness” taken one night in January 2020. The Point-In-Time Estimates reported that 27 percent of the 56,381 who were unsheltered were Black. Unsheltered homeless means they are sleeping in cars, on the streets or in parks or on buses, subways and elevated trains.
“African Americans have remained considerably overrepresented among the homeless population compared to the U.S. population,” according to the report.
Blacks represented 52 percent of the homeless population with children.
About 48 percent, or 270,607, of the homeless are white. They also comprised just over half of the unsheltered population, or 57 percent, of 119,487.
Asians were 1.3 percent, or 7,228, of the homeless population. Hispanics or Latinos were 22 percent, or 124,615, of the homeless population. Native Americans were 3.2 percent or 17,966 of the homeless population.
Men and boys comprise 343,187 or 60.5 percent of the homeless compared with women who make up 219,911, or 38.7 percent, of the homeless.
America’s latest round of hostilities with Iran has sparked a renewed debate about the limits of executive power in war and foreign policy, and in so doing has exposed a dangerous philosophy on the neoconservative right: the notion that the president can initiate a war without congressional approval.
And not just a philosophy, but at least a tacitly governing philosophy in the Trump White House, as Sen. Mike Lee found last week when he was unable to secure a commitment from the administration that assassinating Iran’s supreme leader himself — and precipitating open war with Iran — would fall outside the limits of congressional authorization for the use of force.
But even as Mr. Lee and other senators introduce legislation to limit the president’s war powers, some conservative pundits are calling for them to be expanded.
The Daily Wire’s Josh Hammer laid out the case in a recent article, titled “The War Powers Resolution Is, And Always Has Been, Unconstitutional.”
Given the title and the thumbnail featuring a shot of America’s highest law, I was excited to see the article cross my newsfeed. As a Ron Paul Republican, I instinctively agree with the sentiment that the War Powers Act should never have been passed. It hands dangerous extraconstitutional power to the Executive Branch and effectively allows the president to commit the U.S. to conflict anywhere in the world without accountability to Congress until well into the fight. While this power would have been risky enough in the days of John Paul Jones, when armies took weeks to marshal and move, it’s downright reckless in the age of satellites and drones.
Mr. Hammer and other Republicans, however, find the War Powers resolution, which gives the president the ability to deploy U.S. forces abroad without congressional consent for up to 60 days, too restrictive.
Writes Mr. Hammer: “It is the president of the United States, under Article II’s Commander in Chief Clause, who is actually responsible for initiating and conducting hostilities. Congress can then intervene to halt a president it views as a reckless warmonger using the manifold tools it does have at its disposal: Decreasing the size of the Pentagon’s budget, going line item-by-line item and removing various offensive-oriented materiel from the Department of Defense’s arsenal, or using its more general power of the purse to defund a war effort in its entirety (as eventually happened with Vietnam).”
He’s not the first to suggest the idea, and cites a couple scholarly legal opinions along the way to his conclusion — citations that serve the critical function of elevating the conclusion from plain nonsense, to scholarly nonsense.
There are two very commonsense problems with this argument.
The first and most obvious is this: Wars are neither casually engaged, nor easily departed — and that means initiation is everything.
The Founding Fathers understood this and rightly feared a government beholden to the militaristic whims of a monarch. Alexander Hamilton, arguably the most vociferous defender of a muscular Executive Branch, conceded as much in Federalist #69.
“The President is to be commander-in-chief of the army and navy of the United States. In this respect his authority would be nominally the same with that of the king of Great Britain, but in substance much inferior to it. It would amount to nothing more than the supreme command and direction of the military and naval forces, as first General and admiral of the Confederacy; while that of the British king extends to the DECLARING of war and to the RAISING and REGULATING of fleets and armies, all which, by the Constitution under consideration, would appertain to the legislature.”
The president’s inability to initiate hostilities with a foreign power irrespective of the will of the people as expressed through Congress was a feature of the new U.S. Constitution and a key differentiator from the English Crown. The idea of an imperial presidency with the power to unilaterally start wars or, say, assassinate foreign dignitaries without congressional authorization, would not only have been unthinkable to even the most ardent constitutional apologists; it would have rendered one of their major arguments for adoption superfluous.
Second, the notion that Congress can simply starve the president out of a war once committed is a fantasy admissible only in a nation so militarily superior to the rest of the world that war has become a flippant, almost tabletop affair.
It’s been more than 200 years since a foreign army showed up in Washington and burned the White House, and in that time we seem to have forgotten what a defensive war looks like. Most of our recent conflicts, including Mr. Hammer’s example of Vietnam, never posed an imminent threat to the U.S. mainland, except by virtue of their proxy status, and thus became more academic than existential debates.
It’s absurd to suggest that Congress would have starved the war effort had bombs been falling on the California coast.
In their haste to justify further overseas intervention, the neoconservative right is justifying out-of-control executive supremacy and reducing Congress’ pre-eminent constitutional warmaking power to a ribbon-cutting formality.
But worst of all, in denying the constitutional structure of war powers, they miss the intent behind it — that the nation should not be plunged into war and destruction at the whim of a single man, without the consent of the people’s representatives in Congress assembled.
• Joel Kurtinitis is a columnist for the Des Moines Register.