11-16-2019  8:52 pm   •   PDX Weather    •   SEA weather  
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NORTHWEST NEWS

Veterans and Consumers Fair Credit Act Introduced

In honor of Veterans Day, Monday, Merkley, Brown, Reed, Van Hollen introduced legislation to extend financial protections for servicemembers to veterans and consumers

Home Base Keeps More Than 400 Families in Their Homes in Seattle

The United Way of King County program aims to reduce homelessness by preventing evictions

Jefferson High Sees Gains in Freshman Preparedness, Graduation Rates

New support positions aim to increase attendance rates among students who often struggle with displacement, homelessness

Nike Cuts Ties With Amazon, but Shoes Won’t Vanish From Site

Nike wants to focus on selling its swoosh-branded gear on its own site and apps

NEWS BRIEFS

Noose Found at Oregon Health & Science University

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DEQ Extends Air Quality Advisory Due to Stagnation

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Forest Service Waives Fees in Honor of Veterans Day

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Two Local Nonprofits Announced as Grant Recipients for Portland-Area Programs

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State Seeks Volunteers to Rank Investments in Washington’s Outdoors

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Texas Southern’s jerseys stolen before game at Oregon

EUGENE, Ore. (AP) — Police say uniforms were stolen from Texas Southern’s women’s basketball team before their game at Oregon.Eugene Police say a black duffel bag containing all the jerseys was taken from a downtown hotel conference room Saturday.The Tigers wore practice...

Man arrested for arson after 4 Oregon fires

TIGARD, Ore. (AP) — Police in Oregon have arrested a man suspected of starting four fires in one day.Tigard Police says 26-year-old Joseph Tyler Martinez was arrested for arson. He’s suspected of setting four fires Thursday.Police say the first fire caused serious damage to the...

Trask, stingy defense lead Florida over Missouri, 23-6

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) — Nothing about Kyle Trask’s path to becoming Florida’s starting quarterback was easy. Something as trivial as a sluggish first half doesn’t rattle him.Trask threw two touchdown passes in the third quarter to help No. 11 Florida shake free of Missouri...

No. 11 Gators head to Mizzou hoping for another turnaround

It was only a year ago that Dan Mullen was asked about the state of his Florida program after he watched his team get humiliated by Missouri in the Swamp.His response already has become the stuff of legend.“They keep score. Someone wins and someone loses,” Mullen said, passion rising...

OPINION

Illinois Prison Bans Black History Books

Officials claim the works are ‘racial’ ...

5 Ways Life Would be Better if it Were Always Daylight Saving Time

A Professor from the University of Washington says DST saves lives and energy and prevents crime ...

Importance of Educators of Color for Black and Brown Students

A new report examines the ways that school leaders of color’s experiences and perspectives influence how they build school culture ...

Atatiana Jefferson, Killed by Police Officer in Her Own Home

Atatiana Jefferson, a biology graduate who worked in the pharmaceutical industry and was contemplating becoming a doctor, lived a life of purpose that mattered ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

Sanders stars with Biden, Warren absent at California forum

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Analysis: Deval Patrick revives debate over ‘electability’

Former Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick’s late entry into the presidential race offers Democrats a fresh — and perhaps last — chance to reassess who they think is the strongest candidate to take on President Donald Trump.It adds to the now months-long debate within the...

College president wants founder’s name removed from building

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The president of a private liberal arts college in Minnesota is asking his board of trustees to remove the school founder’s name from a campus building over concerns about his racist and sexist views in the 1800s.The Star Tribune reports that Macalester College...

ENTERTAINMENT

Media filters set current impeachment hearings apart

NEW YORK (AP) — Millions of Americans are choosing to experience the impeachment hearings through media filters that depict the proceedings as either a worthless sham or like Christmas in November.That’s the chief difference between now and the two other times in the modern era when a...

Creator of Lizzo’s signature slogan could get a Grammy nod

NEW YORK (AP) — Mina Lioness’ longstanding battle to finally receive writing credit on Lizzo’s megahit song “Truth Hurts” is paying off in more ways than one: it could win her a potential Grammy Award.Lizzo's breakthrough tune features the signature line —...

Ex-ambassador’s testimony shines light on conservative media

NEW YORK (AP) — Former Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s impeachment testimony on Friday spotlighted the role of conservative media in her downfall and the chilling reminder that she remains a social media target.The ousted ambassador recalled a series of articles by reporter...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

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AP FACT CHECK: Impeachment hearings and that Trump tweet

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Sanders stars with Biden, Warren absent at California forum

LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Bernie Sanders was greeted with booming cheers at a gathering of California...

Bolivian interim leader meets UN envoy amid violence fears

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Scuffles mar anniversary of birth of yellow vest movement

PARIS (AP) — Scuffles between Paris police and activists on Saturday marred the anniversary of the birth of...

Ukraine feels abandoned amid US impeachment drama

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McMenamins
Evan Perez CNN

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Barack Obama's decision to seek congressional authorization of a military attack against the Syrian government is in part his way of trying to fix a legal problem.

The president's decision to launch military strikes that would be "limited in duration and scope" is illegal under international law, legal experts say. The United Nations charter generally doesn't allow nations to attack other nations unless the attack is in self-defense or has the approval of the U.N. Security Council, neither of which is the case in Syria.

That's a problem for a president, who has tried to distinguish his administration from that of President George W. Bush on the idea that he is bringing the United States back into compliance with international law.

To help fix the legal problem, the Obama administration over the weekend asked Congress to authorize the use of military force.

It's a departure for the president, who didn't seek similar approval when the United States joined a United Nations-sanctioned bombing campaign in Libya. But it is more in line with the view that Obama expressed as a senator and presidential candidate, that presidents need congressional approval to wage war.

Congressional approval wouldn't solve the problem with international law, a senior administration official said, but it would enhance the legitimacy of military action.

Obama, in a Rose Garden statement Saturday, spoke of the humanitarian and moral reasons to respond to what the United States says is clear proof that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's forces have used chemical weapons against civilians. Obama called the most recent alleged chemical weapons attack near Damascus "an assault on human dignity."

A senior administration official acknowledged the international legal constraints but said the president is authorized to take action with or without Congress, in part for U.S. national security reasons.

The president in his Saturday statement said the use of chemical weapons against civilians poses "a serious danger to our national security."

The administration uses similar language in the Authorization for Use of Military Force proposal it is presenting to Congress, citing the need to protect the United States and its allies and partners from the threat of chemical weapons.

The thorny political and legal problems the president faces were on display over the weekend as some lawmakers returned to Washington early to receive intelligence briefings and to prepare to vote on the authorization. The administration's proposed authorization for action in Syria is broad and open-ended, and many lawmakers emerged from briefings with deep misgivings.

Republican Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri said that among about 100 members present, the biggest single concern was the "very broad request for authority" that is at odds with the narrow scope of the mission the president outlined.

Democratic Sen. Pat Leahy of Vermont, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Sunday told reporters he would propose a more narrowly tailored authorization.

Fears grew over the weekend that the administration's broad proposal could lead to a wider conflict and perhaps U.S. military strikes in Iran or Lebanon, because Iran's Lebanon-based Hezbollah allies are providing support to the Assad regime.

The administration official said the military authorization was written narrowly to address Syria but asserted it also has to take contingencies into account. If the United States found chemical weapons were being transferred to Iran, and the only way to stop such a move was by striking in Iran, then the proposed authorization wouldn't prevent Obama from ordering such strikes.

John Bellinger, former legal adviser to the State Department and the National Security Council under President George W. Bush, said Obama's international law problem is of his own making.

"This particular president has boxed himself into a corner to distinguish himself from his predecessor," he said.

Of Obama's planned Syria military strikes, Bellinger said, "even if it's with the purest of motives, it makes him look hypocritical."

Robert Chesney, a University of Texas law professor, drew parallels to the Clinton administration's bombing against Serbian forces to protect Kosovo. In that case, President Bill Clinton ignored the fact that a proposed military force authorization was voted down in Congress.

Chesney said the problem is that international law doesn't necessarily take into account events like those in Syria or Kosovo. In these cases the argument becomes, Chesney said, that "it was legitimate, but illegal (under international law). It was the good thing to do because of the moral reasons."

Some human rights groups have long pushed for international law to allow outside intervention to stop atrocities. The United States and other nations have been reluctant to accept such a broad change, Bellinger said.

The administration's lawyers have been careful to guide the choice of words used by top officials. Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, who made a forceful case for military action on Friday, have carefully portrayed al Assad's actions as violating "international norms."

That's in part because Syria isn't among the 188 countries, including the United States, that signed the Chemical Weapons Convention, the treaty that prohibits the production and use of such weapons.

Obama has long grappled with the issue of how to deal with civil war atrocities when international law doesn't offer a way to stop them. In his December 2009 speech to accept the Nobel Peace Prize, Obama endorsed a call for an "evolution of human institutions."

On one hand, he said, it is important for the United States and other nations to respect international rules, saying "when we don't, our actions appear arbitrary and undercut the legitimacy of future interventions, no matter how justified."

But then he also noted the need to "prevent the slaughter of civilians by their own government, or to stop a civil war whose violence and suffering can engulf an entire region."

Obama added: "I believe that force can be justified on humanitarian grounds, as it was in the Balkans, or in other places that have been scarred by war. Inaction tears at our conscience and can lead to more costly intervention later. That's why all responsible nations must embrace the role that militaries with a clear mandate can play to keep the peace."

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