AUGUST 18, 2016 – WHY OBAMA HAS FAILED TO CLOSE GUANTÁNAMO

Most popular passages from, WHY OBAMA HAS FAILED TO CLOSE GUANTÁNAMO: Congress is blamed for preventing the President from fulfilling his pledge. But that’s not the whole story. by Connie Bruck

When Obama began his first Presidential campaign, in 2007, the idea of closing the prison facilities at Guantánamo seemed to be gathering political force. Both Hillary Clinton, Obama’s main opponent in the Democratic primaries, and McCain, the Republican nominee and a former prisoner of war in North Vietnam, endorsed it….But it remains open, at a cost of $445 million last year—an expensive reminder that the United States, contrary to the ideals of its judicial system, is willing to hold people captive, perhaps for life, without a trial….A senior Administration official [said], “If something went wrong, the risk was all ours. Gitmo was a potential career-ender.” THERE WAS BI-PARTISAN SUPPORT FOR CLOSING GITMO IN 2007 (CF. JOHN MCCAIN) YET STILL OPEN AT $445 MILLION PER YEAR, MANY IN FOR LIFE WITHOUT TRIAL; IT STILL ISN’T CLOSED BECAUSE OF POLITICAL PRESSURE  (242 DETAINEES REMAINED WHEN OBAMA TOOK OFFICE IN 2009)

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JULY 27, 2016 – WHAT’S SO SPECIAL ABOUT FINLAND?

Selected passages from: What’s So Special About Finland? The American Dream is alive and well—in Northern Europe. Original article by Uri Friedman in The Atlantic

Anu Partanen’s new book, The Nordic Theory of Everything: In Search of a Better Life, argues that the freedom and opportunity Americans cherish are currently thriving more in Nordic countries (Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Iceland, and Finland.) SWEDEN, DENARK, NORWAY, ICELAND AND FINLAND ARE LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM 

She explains that Nordic governments do so by providing social services that the U.S. government doesn’t—things like free college education and heavily subsidized child care. SHE CLAIMS THIS BECAUSE OF FREE COLLEGE AND SUBSIDIZED CHILDCARE GIVE PEOPLE A SAFETY NET TO PURSUE THEIR DREAMS – THIS SAFETY NET IS REAL FREEDOM 

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July 16, 2016 – Iraq’s Grim Lessons

Iraq’s grim lessons from The Economist

Sir John Chilcot and his fellow commissioners have published what future historians will regard as the definitive account of what happened and why. CHILCOT REPORT WILL BE WHAT IRAQ WAR WILL BE JUDGED BY

The most damning of the inquiry’s conclusions is the overarching one that, based on Britain’s professed goal of disarming Saddam Hussein (it was never explicitly regime change), military action in March 2003 was not, as Mr Blair claimed, a last resort. The attempt to deal with Iraq’s putative weapons of mass destruction (WMD) without going to war was not yet over: the UN inspection team lead by Hans Blix was getting better co-operation from the Iraqis and was pleading for more time; there was no imminent threat from Saddam; there was strong UN Security Council backing for continued inspections. MOST DAMNING CONCLUSION IS 1) UN STILL HAD TIME TO INSPECT 2) SADDAM WAS NO IMMINENT THREAT and 3) UN BACKED CONTINUING INSPECTIONS

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July 13, 2016 – TIME TO END THE DEMONIZING OF POLICE

Most popular sentences from Time to End the Demonizing of Police by Heather Macdonald at the WSJ.com

Make no mistake: Assertions about systemic, deadly police racism are false…. But no number of studies debunking this fiction has penetrated the conventional story line. STUDIES SHOW COPS ARE NOT RACIST REGARDING POLICE SHOOTINGS


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July 9, 2016 – WHEN THE BODY ATTACKS THE MIND FROM THE ATLANTIC

Selected passages from “When the Body Attacks the Mind: A physiological theory of mental illness by Moises Velasquez-Manoff

One day in February 2009, a 13-year-old boy named Sasha Egger started thinking that people were coming to hurt his family. His mother, Helen, watched with mounting panic that evening as her previously healthy son forgot the rules to Uno, his favorite card game, while playing it. She began making frantic phone calls the next morning. By then, Sasha was shuffling aimlessly around the yard, shredding paper and stuffing it in his pockets. One [doctor]thought Sasha might have bipolar disorder and put him on antipsychotics, but the drugs didn’t help. But one of Helen’s colleagues, a neurologist named Mohamad Mikati, had listened to their story. BOY SUDDENLY BECAME MENTALLY ILL BUT WAS NOT BI-POLAR

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July 3, 2016 – THE WAR ON STUPID PEOPLE

Top passages from “The War on Stupid People” in The Atlantic by David H. Freedman


MAIN POINT:
The 2010s… are a terrible time to not be brainy.

Even in this age of rampant concern over microaggressions and victimization, we maintain open season on the nonsmart. People who’d swerve off a cliff rather than use a pejorative for race, religion, physical appearance, or disability are all too happy to drop the s‑bomb: Indeed, degrading others for being “stupid” has become nearly automatic in all forms of disagreement. POLITICAL CORRECTNESS DEBATE POINT – WHY CAN WE CALL PEOPLE STUPID?
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July 1 2016 – WHAT ISIS REALLY WANTS

The top 15 highlighted sentences from Graeme C.A. Wood’s “What ISIS Really Wants” in The Atlantic.

And the Islamic State’s countless other propaganda videos and encyclicals, are online, and the caliphate’s supporters have toiled mightily to make their project knowable.

The Islamic State, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham, follows a distinctive variety of Islam whose beliefs about the path to the Day of Judgment matter to its strategy, and can help the West know its enemy and predict its behavior.
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June 28, 2016 – Rage Queen and Rape King?

Two stories are out right now about the American presidential candidates. A book called Crisis of Character by an ex-Secret Service agent under Bill Clinton, paints Clinton as a monster, a woman full of rage and duplicity. The agent, Gary Byrne, did not sign a non-disclosure agreement so he has broken no laws in writing the book. But she talks about how abusive she was to Mr. Clinton, and how she often lied.

In another story, a story is floating around about Donald Trump raping a 13 year old girl when he was at the house of convicted sex-offender Jeffery Epstein. Just something to keep an eye on. It sort of has that Tiger Woods rumor feel to it.

June 27, 2016 – Brexit and the Arab Spring

The British left the EU in a referendum last week. Despite what you have heard, those who want who wanted to leave were not racist – unless you think 52% of Britons are racist. The Arab Spring is probably the biggest cause of the break. The Arab Spring lead to the formation of ISIS, which lead to a Syrian Civil War, which lead to Syrian refugees. The refugees began flooding into Europe. Fears of Islamic terrorists entering with the genuine refugees had many Europeans scared. Those fears were realized during the attacks in Paris in November 2015 – one of the terrorists had indeed come in with the refugees. The EU was trying to make Britain take more and more of these Syrian refugees against the will of many Britons.