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The Week Magazine November 1, 2019

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

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48 Issues


2 min.
editor’s letter

“Public sentiment is everything,” Abraham Lincoln once said. “With public sentiment, nothing can fail. Without it, nothing can succeed.” It’s endlessly surprising how often this foundational principle of democratic politics eludes activists and elected officials in both parties’ ideological extremes. Sen. Elizabeth Warren has bet her surging presidential campaign on Medicare for All, fired by the conviction that 150 million Americans should be happy to trade in private health coverage for a government-run system they’ve never experienced. (See Talking Points.) But an NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll recently found just 41 percent supported a single-payer system that eliminates private insurance, with 56 percent opposed—a consistent finding in public surveys. Opposition to Medicare for All would only grow during a general election campaign, as Republicans target “socialized medicine” with $1 billion in…

5 min.
ambassador’s damaging testimony on ukraine

What happened A House vote to impeach President Trump became a near-certainty this week after Acting Ukrainian Ambassador William B. Taylor Jr. testified that he was explicitly told that President Trump had suspended $391 million in military aid to Ukraine until Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky publicly announced an investigation into Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden and his son Hunter. Taylor’s damaging testimony came days after White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney shocked the president’s lawyers and supporters by admitting in a televised press conference that Trump had conditioned the release of the congressionally approved aid—intended to help fund Ukraine’s fight against Russian-backed separatists—on Zelensky opening an investigation into a conspiracy theory that Ukraine, and not Russia, had interfered in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. When a reporter said to Mulvaney,…

3 min.
turkey and russia strike a deal in syria

What happened President Trump this week sought to take credit for a “cease-fire” in northern Syria that will see invading Turkish troops along with Russian and Syrian regime forces take over territory previously controlled by U.S.-backed Kurdish militias. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced that he would halt his military’s advance after striking a deal with Russian President Vladimir Putin that forced Kurdish fighters to leave a 20-mile buffer zone along the Turkish border. Erdogan wants to push back the Kurdish-led Syrian Defense Forces, which he claims is an offshoot of a Kurdish terrorist group based in Turkey, and to send half of the 4 million Syrian refugees living in Turkey to this new “safe zone.” Under the deal, Turkish and Russian troops will jointly patrol a 6-mile strip along the…

1 min.
it wasn’t all bad

When a pair of identical twin girls were born at a Georgia hospital, a pair of identical twin nurses were there to welcome them into the world. Tori Howard and her sister Tara Drinkard, 26, have been employed for years at the Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center. But they had never teamed up in the delivery room until Rebecca Williams arrived for a C-section. Her babies, Emma and Addison, were born 3 minutes apart, and Tori and Tara each attended to a twin. “We’ve always worked well together,” said Drinkard. NASA astronauts Jessica Meir and Christina Koch took a giant leap for womankind last week when they stepped out of the International Space Station and embarked on the first all-female spacewalk. Meir, 42, and Koch, 40, spent nearly eight hours outside…

3 min.
impeachment: will republicans turn on trump?

The odds of the GOP-held Senate removing President Trump from office remain slim, said Jonathan Chait in NYMag​.com, but after the past few dizzying weeks, that “prospect is no longer a fantasy.” Trump’s abrupt decision to pull troops out of Syria and abandon the Kurds was “genuinely alarming” to Senate Republicans, proving he no longer has adult supervision to restrain him. Then came the president’s ill-fated attempt to host the next G-7 summit at his own Doral Miami golf resort, and revelations by Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and Ambassador Bill Taylor that left no doubt that Trump demanded investigations of Democrats in return for military aid to Ukraine. Privately, Republican senators think little of Trump, and they may decide that “ripping off the Band-Aid” and removing him from office…

1 min.
good week/bad week

Good week for: Bella Hadid, the supermodel, whose face is closer to the ancient Greek ideal of geometrical perfection than any other woman’s in public life, according to British plastic surgeon Dr. Julian DeSilva. With a facial-perfection rating of 94.35 percent, Hadid beat out singer Beyoncé (92.44 percent) in DeSilva’s rankings. Discoveries, after the Paris Zoological Park unveiled “the Blob,” a small, boneless, single-celled being that’s not a plant, animal, or fungus. “It surprises us because it has no brain,” said director Bruno David, “yet it is able to learn.” Tolerance, with a new poll showing that 72 percent of white evangelical Protestants now believe that a person who commits “immoral personal acts” can serve effectively in public office. That figure has skyrocketed, for some reason, from a mere 30 percent in 2011. Bad…