It's Friday: that means it's panel time as we discuss the major stories of the week.
Senator Cory Booker, the former mayor of Newark who has projected an upbeat political presence at a deeply polarized time, entered the 2020 race for president today. He joins a growing field of Democratic presidential hopefuls that already includes Senators Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris and Kirsten Gillibrand, former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard and former Maryland Congressman John Delaney. Any insights going forward?
In an evening vote that garnered essentially no national media coverage, the US Senate voted Monday night to advance Marco Rubio's "Strengthening America's Security in the Middle East Act of 2019" — sometimes called the "anti-BDS bill" for its component that would allow state and local governments to punish companies or individuals who support the non-violent Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions movement aimed at promoting Palestinian rights and ending Israeli apartheid and military occupation of the West Bank. The bill was, notably, numbered S.1 — the Senate's first legislative act of its 2019-20 session. The Senate passed the bill on a 74-19 vote; it now moves to the House.
The Trump administration Tuesday forged ahead in what one analyst called "a complicated chess game" of handing more of Venezuela's assets in the United States over to its interim president, seeking to tighten the economic stranglehold on the embattled government of Nicolás Maduro. Washington worked furiously this week to isolate Maduro and allow National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó, internationally recognized by the US and its allies as the interim president of Venezuela, to control the nation's vital oil trade that supplies nearly 6,000 US gas stations under the Citgo brand. The State Department certified that Guaidó has authority to control all Venezuelan government bank accounts in the US financial system, giving him access to any cash or gold Venezuela may be holding in US banks.
President Donald Trump takes US intelligence officials to task, disputing their assessments on Iran and other global threats. According to him, "The Intelligence people seem to be extremely passive and naive when it comes to the dangers of Iran. They are wrong! They are testing Rockets (last week) and more, and are coming very close to the edge. Their economy is now crashing, which is the only thing holding them back. Be careful of Iran… Perhaps Intelligence should go back to school!"
Mainstream corporate media is painting this as Trump going off the rails again; how can he challenge the leaders of the intelligence apparatus in this country? Who's right and who's wrong here? Oh, if the leaders of the intelligence apparatus in this country are infallible, where are the weapons of mass destruction?
Colin Campbell — PhD student in the Department of Communication, Culture and Media Studies at Howard University's School of Communication. He has been a TV news reporter for more than 20 years. As a senior Washington, DC, correspondent since 2008, he has been a reporter-at-large, covering two presidencies, Congress and the State Department.
Caleb Maupin — Journalist and political analyst who focuses his coverage on US foreign policy and the global system of monopoly capitalism and imperialism.
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