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House Republicans Prepare to Introduce Sanctions Against Turkey

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Divisions remain strong over President  Donald Trump’s recent decision to remove troops from Northern Syria.

ZeroHedge reported that U.S. House members are seeking to introduce sanctions against Turkey as a response to its latest campaign into Northern Syria. The Turkish army has ramped up air and artillery strikes along this border according to certain reports.

29 House Republicans vowed to back sanction measures against the NATO ally and are introducing legislation to do so.

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In the meantime, tens of thousands of civilians have left their homes in the area, while Turkish forces have surrounded the border towns of Ras al-Ain and Tal Abyad. These developments have worried humanitarian groups who believe that this could provoke an outflow of hundreds of thousands of refugees. These aid groups estimate that 70,000 people have been forced out of their homes so far as violence cranks up.

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Last Friday, Reuters detailed the growing number of casualties:

Turkish forces have seized nine villages near Ras al Ain and Tel Abyad, said Rami Abdulrahman, director of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war. It reported at least 54 fighters with the SDF, 42 Turkey-backed Syrian rebels and 17 civilians had been killed.

Turkey says two Turkish soldiers have been killed. Turkish authorities said on Friday two people were killed and three wounded by mortar shelling in the border town of Suruc, while eight were killed and 35 wounded in a mortar and rocket attack on Turkey’s border town of Nusaybin.

Last week, staunch neoconservative Senator Lindsey Graham criticized the White House for giving Erdogan leeway to mount an offensive, declaring it “will be the biggest mistake of his presidency” if Trump does not reverse course by keeping Turkey in check.  In the meantime, bipartisan actors are working to draft sanctions against Turkey in the Senate.

House Republicans like Liz Cheney declared that “President (Recep Tayyip) Erdogan and his regime must face serious consequences for mercilessly attacking our Kurdish allies in northern Syria.” She added that Russia could be another concern in the region: “Congress has long had concerns about the [Erdogan] regime’s cooperation with US adversaries, such as Russia.”

President Trump has remained cautious about handling Turkey.

Last Thursday, he tweeted three courses of action: “Send in thousands of troops and win militarily, hit Turkey very hard financially and with sanctions, or mediate a deal between Turkey and the Kurds.”

He then told reporters at a campaign rally in Minnesota, “I hope it’s going to be the last one.”

During the rally, Trump boldly declared that it was time to “bring our soldiers back home” and followed up by saying, “These wars produce only chaos and bloodshed.”

Trump has the right instincts here. Hopefully, he follows through.

However, knowing the power of the military-industrial complex, Trump will likely have his hands full when trying to restore sanity to U.S. foreign policy by withdrawing from the Middle East.

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Baltimore’s Population Plummets as the City Becomes Dysfunctional

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ZeroHedge recently reported on the dire state of Baltimore.

The city’s population fell below 600,000, as it is rocked by “record homicides, an opioid crisis, and now an economic depression risks sending the city deeper into chaos.”

The Baltimore Sun, cited new U.S. Census data released on March 26, 2020, which estimated that Baltimore’s population was 593,490 as of July 2019.

ZeroHedge provided some context to Baltimore’s imploding demographics:

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To give you some perspective on the collapsing population trend in Baltimore. In 1950, the city had 950,000 residents. Now it has 593,490, which is a loss of 356,510 people, or about 37.5% of the entire population in seven decades.

“White flight”, the crack epidemic of the 1980s/1990s, and a complete mismanagement of the city, have led to its notable decline. As a result, many have fled the city altogether or have gone to Baltimore County and other surrounding counties.

Michael Rendall, the director of the Maryland Population Research Center and a sociology professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, said in the aftermath 2015 Baltimore Riots, no other counties surrounding the city witnessed a decline in the population.

The city’s plunging population, Rendall stated, “is not a phenomenon reflective of the overall metropolitan area.”

During the last year, Baltimore City saw 8,953 people leave the city, which is 1.5 percent of its population.

Putting this in perspective, when Democratic Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake was in office in 2014, the city had over 623,000 residents. In other words, the city has lost about 5% of its population in five years.

Ever since the riots, Baltimore’s economic growth has stagnated, homicides have been on the rise, and opioids have wreaked havoc on low-income neighborhoods. In 2019, Baltimore’s homicide rate

Given the shocking realities of its high crime, it’s shocking the city hasn’t even bothered to pass legislation that would help citizens arm themselves against the very real threat of criminals.

It also doesn’t help that the city has embraced many of the wacky criminal justice reforms which empower criminals, while law-abiding citizens are at the mercy of society’s most depraved.

Baltimore is Exhibit A of a failed city.

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