With the effort to remove Confederate monuments back on the national stage after violence erupted in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend, historian Erin Blakemore took to Twitter to discuss the Jefferson Davis Highway, an effort by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to "memorialize their version of history" in the 1910s and 1920s. While the grand vision of a cross-country superhighway was never realized, the highway was constructed in bits and pieces, leading to many so-called Jefferson Davis Highways that have lasted into the 21st century.
"Since there was no federal highway system [in the early 1900s], states often relied on public support — sometimes from interest groups — for road [funding]," Blakemore explains. "And the Lincoln Highway — named after the great emancipator — infuriated members of the UDC. They decided to build a Southern analog. Their vision was just as grand. It would stretch from Arlington, Virginia, to San Diego, California, and spread the Lost Cause vision of the South."
Blakemore added: "Imagine how tempting it would have been for a county, city, or state to be presented with ample funding for a highway with the only caveat being that it was named after the man who symbolized the Confederacy and the UDC's vision of heroic white supremacy."
By the 1920s, the government had started numbering highways and it "was not enthused" by the idea of naming one after Jefferson Davis. "But states could do whatever they wanted!" Blakemore writes. "So highways named after Jefferson Davis — and the markers that went along with them — remained. This is how you got memorials to the Confederacy in surprising places like San Diego."
Markers that remain today have become targets after Charlottesville: One monument in Arizona was covered in what was likely tar Thursday. Rep. Reginald Bolding (D-Ariz.) said that while he is working to change the highway's name, "vandalizing these monuments is not productive," 12 News reports.
Read Blakemore's full thread below. Jeva Lange
Here's my long, long thread about the Jefferson Davis Memorial Highways in Storify form for your convenience: https://t.co/HZsn7NdZAP
— Erin Blakemore (@heroinebook) August 18, 2017
In his first televised speech since taking office, Pakistan's new prime minister, Imran Khan, said he plans on tackling the growing divide between the rich and poor.
"I want to see Pakistan a great country," Khan, a former cricketer, said on Sunday. He will focus on increasing social services for the poor, cutting government expenses, fighting corruption, and austerity measures, as Pakistan's foreign debt is more than $95 billion. Khan said Pakistan has never been doing worse economically, and "the interest that we have to pay on our debt has reached a level that we have to take on more debt just to repay our obligations."
Khan was sworn in on Saturday, and is already vowing to reform everything from the criminal justice system to the education sector. He also promised to "keep good relations with all countries. We want peace as without it no progress and development is possible."
Federal investigators are looking into whether Michael Cohen, President Trump's former lawyer and fixer, committed bank and tax fraud when securing more than $20 million in loans and if he violated campaign finance laws when arranging financial deals with women who said they had affairs with Trump, several people familiar with the matter told The New York Times.
Two people said the probe is in its end stages, and prosecutors are mulling filing charges by the end of August. Investigators are trying to figure out if Cohen misrepresented the value of his assets in order to obtain loans from two banks for his taxi business, and if he failed to report income from that same business to the IRS, the Times reports. Read more about the investigation and what might happen if Cohen decides to take a plea agreement at The New York Times. Catherine Garcia
China, Iran, and North Korea could join Russia in attempting to meddle in the 2018 midterm elections, National Security Adviser John Bolton said on ABC's This Week Sunday.
Bolton told host Martha Raddatz there is "a sufficient national security concern about Chinese meddling, Iranian meddling, and North Korean meddling that we're taking steps to try and prevent it" — but he would not answer her question about whether there is any evidence China has tried to hack American elections in the past.
National security adviser John Bolton says in addition to Russia, there's "sufficient national security concern" that China, Iran, and North Korea are meddling in the 2018 U.S. elections.
"Those are the four countries that we're most concerned about" https://t.co/eYlWTEQpta pic.twitter.com/a5ihTMwUGo
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 19, 2018
Raddatz also asked whether Bolton would support fighting the 17-year war in Afghanistan entirely using contractors instead of the U.S. military. (Contractors already outnumber U.S. troops on the ground in Afghanistan by a large margin.) Bolton dodged the question with a bromide about entertaining new tactics.
Watch that exchange below. Bonnie Kristian
.@MarthaRaddatz: "Would you consider privatizing (in Afghanistan), using contractors instead of U.S. military?"
White House national security adviser John Bolton: "I'm always open to new ideas...That will ultimately be the president's decision" https://t.co/gZkXtxqCCj #ThisWeek pic.twitter.com/vaRger8Vvn
— This Week (@ThisWeekABC) August 19, 2018
Former CIA Director John Brennan is considering legal action against the Trump administration after President Trump revoked his security clearance as part of a very public feud, Brennan said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday.
"I have been contacted by a number of lawyers and they have already given me their thoughts about the basis for a complaint, an injunction, to try and prevent him from doing this in the future," Brennan told host Chuck Todd. "If my clearances and my reputation — as I'm being pulled through the mud now — if that's the price we're going to pay to prevent Donald Trump from doing this against other people, to me it's a small price to pay, so I am going to do whatever I can personally to try to prevent these abuses in the future, and if it means going to court, I will do that."
Pressed by Todd as to whether he regrets "essentially accusing the president of treason," Brennan said no. "I've been speaking out rather forcefully, because I believe it's important to do so," he said. "I don't believe I'm being political at all." Contra Todd, who highlighted his prominence as "the former CIA director accusing the sitting president of the United States," Brennan maintained he is merely a "private citizen."
Watch the full segment below. Bonnie Kristian
Those who say President Trump should testify for Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation "because he's going to tell the truth and he shouldn't worry, well, that's so silly, because it's somebody's version of the truth — not the truth [itself[," Trump's personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, said on NBC News Sunday.
"Truth is truth," Meet the Press host Chuck Todd interjected.
"No," Giuliani replied, "it isn't truth. Truth isn't truth."
After a moment of crosstalk and protestation, Todd observed Giuliani's phrase "is going to become a bad meme."
While Trump himself has at times expressed eagerness to testify, his legal team has been wary of permitting it, with Giuliani alleging Mueller is attempting to trap Trump in perjury. His Orwellian phrasing aside, Giuliani's concern is not particularly unusual, especially for a lawyer with a loquacious fabulist for a client.
Giuliani's full interview mostly concerned Saturday's news that White House counsel Don McGahn has voluntarily given 30 hours of interviews to the Mueller team, as well as President Trump's response to that story. Watch the complete conversation with Todd below; the exchange about truth begins around the nine-minute mark. Bonnie Kristian
Syria's Idlib province is expected to be the site of the final major battle of the seven-year Syrian civil war.
The country's strongman President Bashar al-Assad has retaken most rebel-held territory across Syria, and Idlib is the last large rebel-held enclave. About 70,000 rebel fighters are in the province, driven by regime forces from other Syrian regions.
Idlib is also the temporary home of internally displaced people who have fled more intense fighting elsewhere in Syria. Now, the fighting will likely come to their doorsteps once again as a new offensive is thought to be imminent.
"We are asking God for mercy and protection from the bombing and the airstrikes," said a woman named Aisha, who lives in Idlib with her family. "If I take [my children] with me outside, I am scared. If I leave them inside the house, I'm also scared. Wherever I go, I will still be scared for their lives." Bonnie Kristian
Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents on Wednesday arrested Joel Arrona-Lara as he drove his wife, Maria del Carmen Venegas, to the hospital to give birth. Arrona-Lara was detained when he stopped at a gas station, and Venegas, left sobbing at the station, ultimately drove herself to the hospital and delivered the baby alone.
ICE said Saturday the arrest was made because Arrona-Lara is in the U.S. illegally and there is an "outstanding warrant issued for his arrest in Mexico on homicide charges." The agency "will no longer exempt classes or categories of removable aliens from potential enforcement," the statement said. "All of those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States."
Venegas told CNN the murder accusation is the result of "a misunderstanding." The couple's attorney, Emilio Amaya García, said he was not able to locate a Mexican warrant for Arrona-Lara's arrest. "Using the name and date of birth, we couldn't find anything saying he was in any criminal proceedings," he said.
"I'm well healthwise, but emotionally bad," Venegas said after the birth. Her experience has been a nightmare, she added, and she "had wanted it to be a dream." Bonnie Kristian