Category Archives: Uncategorized

Brexiting Is Hard To Do: The House of Lords and Commons Debate Amendments



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The upper and lower houses of the UK Parliament are engaging in Ping Pong politics as they pass different versions of the Brexit bill with varied amendments. This is what is going in the UK and what the evolved Brexit Bill will probably look like.


Impeachment Update: The Government Accountability Office Looks into Frozen Ukrainian Aid



Did the Office Of Management and Budget break the law by withholding congressionally allocated aid to the Ukraine? The GAO investigated Mick Mulvaney, and is asking whether he violated the Impoundment Control Act of 1974 by not notifying and getting congressional approval before differing the security aid to Ukraine.


Trump’s Latest Environmental Policy; Rolling Back the National Environmental Policy Act



Government Feedback Website: https://www.regulations.gov/comment?D=CEQ-2019-0003-0001

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President Trump announced new teaks to the environmental permitting process for construction projects. These include three main changes: 1) No longer including climate change in the permitting process. 2) Streamlining the permitting process by having a lead agency and deadlines. And 3) Exempting some projects with limited government involvement from the environmental permitting process. This episode goes over exactly what this means.


Congress Fights For Peace: How to Block Trump From Going To War With Iran



Congressional leadership is trying to prevent Trump from declaring war with Iran. They are using the War Powers Resolution to try to tie the presidents hands against using Authorization for the Use Of Military Force bills to attack Iran. Here is the legal and political explanation for exactly what is going on!


America, Iran, and Iraq: The Last Week in Middle East Politics Explained



#iranvsamerica #worldwar3

 

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Starting December 27th, we saw an escalation in hostilities between America and Iran. It started with a rocket attack on an American base in Idlib and by the end of the week America had assassinated Iranian General Qasem Soleimani. The battlefield for this escating tit for tat was the streets of Iraq. Here’s what happened and what it means.

 

Sources:

 

New York Times:

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/03/world/middleeast/us-iraq.html
A Shocked Iraq Reconsiders Its Relationship With the U.S.

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/world/middleeast/iraq-airstrikes-us-iran-militias.html

American Airstrikes Rally Iraqis Against U.S.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/05/world/middleeast/Iran-us-trump.html

Iran Shifts on a Landmark Nuclear Deal: Live Updates

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/02/world/middleeast/qassem-soleimani-iraq-iran-attack.html

U.S. Strike in Iraq Kills Qassim Suleimani, Commander of Iranian Forces

https://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2020/01/05/world/middleeast/ap-ml-iraq-us.html

U.S. Troops in Middle East Come Into Focus Amid Threats

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/01/world/middleeast/us-embassy-baghdad-iraq.html

Pro-Iranian Protesters End Siege of U.S. Embassy in Baghdad

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/01/03/world/middleeast/iraq-embassy-baghdad-airport-attack.html

Maps: How the Confrontation Between the U.S. and Iran Escalated

 

The Economist:

https://www.economist.com/leaders/2020/01/02/america-shows-how-not-to-tame-iran

America shows how not to tame Iran

https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2020/01/02/the-conflict-between-america-and-iran-intensifies-in-iraq

The conflict between America and Iran intensifies in Iraq

 

The AP:

https://apnews.com/cde30d5913e29ad7aa067fd09e84909e

Iran-backed Iraqi militia vows revenge to US strikes

https://apnews.com/5597ff0f046a67805cc233d5933a53ed

US kills Iran’s most powerful general in Baghdad airstrike

https://apnews.com/2fd2efad28f41f82f8204d4d3ae05ba6

The Latest: Baghdad residents say 3 blasts hit Green Zone

 

NPR:

https://www.npr.org/2020/01/04/793364307/timeline-how-the-u-s-came-to-strike-and-kill-a-top-iranian-general

Timeline: How The U.S. Came To Strike And Kill A Top Iranian General

 

Business Insider:

https://www.businessinsider.com/pence-incorrectly-links-iran-to-911-justify-killing-of-soleimani-2020-1

Pence incorrectly links Iran to 9/11 while trying to justify America’s assassination of the country’s top general

 

The Washington Post:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/middle_east/in-war-weary-baghdad-fears-that-us-and-iran-showdowns-could-leave-iraq-caught-in-the-middle/2020/01/04/6378f87a-2f09-11ea-bffe-020c88b3f120_story.html

In Baghdad, fears that U.S.-Iran showdowns could leave Iraq caught in middle

 

Politico:

https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/05/iran-abandons-nuclear-deal-killing-soleimani-094197

Iran abandons nuclear deal over slaying of general

 

USA Today:

https://www.usatoday.com/in-depth/news/world/2020/01/03/iran-iraq-trump-soleimani-assassination/2803733001/

7 days in Iraq: How US-Iran conflict led to general’s death

 

The Intercept:

https://theintercept.com/2019/11/18/iran-isis-iraq-kurds/

IRAN’S SHADOW WAR ON ISIS

 

Congressional Research Service:

https://fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/pres-aumf.pdf

Presidential References to the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Publicly Available Executive Actions and Reports to Congress

 

The 9/11 Commission Report:

https://govinfo.library.unt.edu/911/report/911Report.pdf


Russia’s Nord Stream 2 Pipeline; Fuelling European Flames



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Russia is building a controversial new natural gas pipeline through the Baltic Sea. This pipeline is designed to cut Ukraine out of the shipment of Russian fuel to Europe. This episode goes over the concerns and context of this pipeline.

Sources:
Bloomberg:
Putin’s Grand Gas Project Makes Sense Now
https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/articles/2019-12-26/putin-s-grand-gas-project-makes-sense-now

Russia Halts Natural Gas Supplies to Ukraine as Payments End
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-25/russia-halts-natural-gas-supplies-to-ukraine-as-prepayments-end

Russia Halts Natural Gas Supplies to Ukraine as Payments End
https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2015-11-25/russia-halts-natural-gas-supplies-to-ukraine-as-prepayments-end

Reuters:
U.S. sanctions block hurry-up work on Russian gas pipeline: officials
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-russia-nord-stream/u-s-sanctions-block-hurry-up-work-on-russian-gas-pipeline-officials-idUSKBN1YY0SS

All aboard! Treasure on the high seas for gas dealers
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-lng-shipping-analysis/all-aboard-treasure-on-the-high-seas-for-gas-dealers-idUSKCN1RR0GB

Forbes:
U.S. Sanctions On Russia’s Nord Stream 2 May Be Half-Hearted
https://www.forbes.com/sites/kenrapoza/2019/12/28/us-sanctions-on-russias-nord-stream-2-may-be-half-hearted/#7ce24a3d7d94

LNG Is The American Aid Ukraine Really Needs
https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2019/09/30/lng-is-the-american-aid-ukraine-really-needs/#548d9090463c

Congressional Research Service:
Nord Stream 2: A Fait Accompli?https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/IF/IF11138

Ukraine: Background, Conflict with Russia, and U.S. Policy
https://crsreports.congress.gov/product/pdf/R/R45008

The Independent:
Oil and gas could explain Putin’s costly attempt to control the Crimea
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/comment/oil-and-gas-could-explain-putins-costly-attempt-to-control-the-crimea-9193464.html

AP:
Russia, Ukraine finalize deals for gas transit to Europe
https://apnews.com/4615057928c343afb421a24cdd0bedf1

Nord Stream 2:
Nord Stream 2 Granted a Construction Permit by Denmark
https://www.nord-stream2.com/media-info/news-events/nord-stream-2-granted-a-construction-permit-by-denmark-139/

The Observation of Economic Complexity:
Russia Export Analysis:
https://oec.world/en/profile/country/rus/


USMCA Trade Offs: These 4 Changes Helped Trump and Democrats Agree to the USMCA Trade Deal



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Democrats and President Donald Trump have come to an agreement on the USMCA Trade Agreement. They had to negotiate on four factors: enforcement, presumption of guilt, pharmaceutical regulations, and internet regulations. Here’s what was agreed to and what is going to happen next.


The Supreme Court Takes on Second Amendment Rights



The Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the case of New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. City of New York. This case revolves around transportation rights for handgun owners who, under current law, are not able to take their handguns out of the city under a premises license. While New York tried to get this case thrown out by reversing the law, the case was just heard.

Sources:

Oral Arguments: https://www.oyez.org/cases/2019/18-280

District of Columbia v. Heller Decision: https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/07pdf/07-290.pdf

SCOTUS Blog:
Argument analysis: Justices focus on mootness in challenge to now-repealed New York City gun rule
https://www.scotusblog.com/2019/12/argument-analysis-justices-focus-on-mootness-in-challenge-to-now-repealed-new-york-city-gun-rule/

Argument preview: Justices take up battle over New York City gun ban – and the scope of the Second Amendment?https://www.scotusblog.com/2019/11/argument-preview-justices-take-up-battle-over-new-york-city-gun-ban-and-the-scope-of-the-second-amendment/

Symposium: So what exactly are the parties still fighting about in NYSRPA v. City of New York?https://www.scotusblog.com/2019/11/symposium-so-what-exactly-are-the-parties-still-fighting-about-in-nysrpa-v-city-of-new-york/


From the Front Lines of the Trade War: A Wild Forty Eight Hours of Trade News



Over the course of two day America started a trade war with Brazil and Argentina, won a WTO case against the EU’s airbus, credibly threatened the WTO, threatened France with Tariffs, and saw a potential escalation in the trade war with China. It was a wild time. Here is a little more detail on what just happened!


Congress Takes on Robocalls and Spoofed Phone Numbers



Have you noticed that your phone has been blowing up the last few years with scam calls from your area code? Well, congress is on the verge of solving that problem by passing the “Pallone-Thune TRACED Act”. This act was designed to combat robocalls and spoofed phone numbers, by requiring phone companies to verify that phone numbers are real and block robocalls. It also pushes the Justice Department to bring more criminal prosecutions against robocallers and gives the Federal Communications Commission more time and authority to investigate and punish illegal robocallers. Here are the details of what’s going on.

 

Sources:
Pallone-Thune TRACED Act Text:
https://energycommerce.house.gov/sites/democrats.energycommerce.house.gov/files/documents/S151RFH_SUS_xml.pdf

ROLL CALL:
Robocall compromise bill set up for quick House passage:
https://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/robocall-compromise-bill-set-quick-house-passage

NEW YORK INTELLIGENCER:
Spam Robocalls Aren’t Slowing Down. Here’s the Tech That Could Stop Them:
http://nymag.com/intelligencer/2018/05/how-to-stop-spam-robocalls-with-stir-shaken.html

YouTube Clips:
Thune Discusses TRACED Act in Commerce Hearing:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1yK7AeJXvI
0:15-0:35, 1:07-1:18, and 0:37-1:02