News & Politics
The Week Magazine

The Week Magazine September 20, 2019

The Week makes sense of the news by curating the best of the U.S. and international media into a succinct, lively digest.

United States
The Week Publications, Inc.
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48 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
editor’s letter

“Take this job and shove it, I ain’t working here no more.” It may have been a tad inelegant, but Johnny Paycheck’s 1977 hit song expressed a sentiment that everyone who works for other people needs to keep on their playlist. Getting paid inevitably requires compromises, but if the boss demands a humiliating degree of subservience or issues orders that violate your conscience, it’s time to hit the Play button on Johnny and walk out. The alternative is on view every day in Washington, where proximity to power and fear of President Trump’s wrath have reduced legions of public servants to simpering sycophants. It’s deeply disturbing to see how easily this president has bent subordinates and acolytes to his will—compelling nodding affirmation of obvious untruths and complicity in words and…

3 min.
afghanistan peace talks crumble

What happened Nearly a year of negotiations to end the war in Afghanistan collapsed this week after President Trump canceled plans for a secret meeting with Taliban and Afghan government leaders at Camp David. Trump revealed on Twitter that he had invited both sides to the presidential retreat in Maryland in order to finalize a peace agreement to end the 18-year-long war, but called off talks after a suicide car bombing in Kabul that killed 12 people, including a U.S. soldier. Even some of the president’s Republican allies were shocked by the invitation. “Camp David is where America’s leaders met to plan our response after al Qaida, supported by the Taliban, killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11,” said Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the daughter of former Vice President Dick Cheney. “No…

1 min.
it wasn’t all bad

When the Celebrity Equinox set sail from Florida last week, the cruise ship’s 3,000 passengers expected to enjoy a week of relaxation in the Caribbean. Then Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas. The vessel changed course to Grand Bahama Island and became a floating aid station. Kitchen staff prepared some 10,000 meals for storm-struck Bahamians, which passengers plated and packed. Guests and crew also donated clothes for victims. Guest Jessica Russell fully supported the cruise’s rerouting. It’s the “least that we can do,” she said. For the first time in the U.S. Army’s 244-year history, two sisters have attained the rank of general. At a historic promotion ceremony in Arlington, Va., Maj. Gen. Maria Barrett—already a two-star general—presented her younger sister Brig. Gen. Paula Lodi with a beret bearing her new one-star…

2 min.
death and devastation in bahamas after dorian

What happened More than 70,000 Bahamians were left homeless and pleading for food, water, and other assistance after Hurricane Dorian’s Category 5 winds flattened two of the country’s islands, leaving them strewn with beached boats, splintered houses, and dozens, possibly hundreds, of bodies. Amid reports that Bahamians were not getting enough emergency aid and were trying to flee the Abacos and Grand Bahama islands, President Trump said the U.S. would not welcome evacuees without proper documentation, warning of the risk of admitting “very bad people,” including “drug dealers” and “gang members.” Hours earlier, Customs and Border Protection acting chief Mark Morgan blamed “confusion” after more than 100 survivors without U.S. visas were ordered off a ferry traveling to Fort Lauderdale. He said Bahamians could enter “whether you have travel documents or…

2 min.
trump pushes out national security hawk john bolton

What happened National security adviser John Bolton was forced out this week after repeatedly opposing President Trump’s overtures to American adversaries such as North Korea, Russia, Iran, and the Taliban. Trump said Bolton was “way out of line” with the administration’s foreign policy goals and had made “some very big mistakes.” For his part, the 70-year-old former ambassador to the United Nations insisted he’d offered Trump his resignation without prompting. “I will have my say in due course,” Bolton said. His ouster comes after he earned Trump’s ire for backing a failed effort to topple Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro, opposing direct talks with North Korean despot Kim Jong Un, lobbying European allies against readmitting Russia into the G-7, and pushing for a military strike on Iran. The national security adviser’s dissent…

3 min.
‘sharpiegate’: is trump at war with reality?

Every day the president supplies fresh evidence of “how spectacularly ignorant, vainglorious, and obsessive he can be,” said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post. But Trump’s Sharpie-doctored map of Hurricane Dorian’s path should make it “into the Smithsonian.” The saga began last week, when Trump tweeted that Alabama and four other Southern states “will most likely be hit (much) harder” by the hurricane than previously forecast. Dorian, by that point, was already veering north, and the Birmingham branch of the National Weather Service quickly reassured residents that “Alabama will NOT see any impacts from #Dorian.” Being constitutionally “incapable of admitting even the slightest error,” Trump produced an official NWS map of Dorian’s likely route onto which someone—he said he didn’t know who—had drawn a crude loop in black Sharpie that…