London Review of Books: Magical Thinking about Isis.
“... the problem of IS can’t be laid exclusively at the door of Bush, Blair et al. The war in Libya, and Obama’s accommodation with the Sisi regime in Egypt, have encouraged the spread of IS well beyond Iraq. It is, however, the US’s dangerously incoherent Syria policy that has perhaps done the greatest damage. ”
The New Yorker: Telling the Truth About ISIS and Raqqa.
“Assad has killed so many innocents, and many people have lost hope. After Assad’s chemical attack, when he crossed the so-called ‘red line,’ the U.S. just took the weapons. It made America look like a liar and weak.”
Crooked Timber: What We Owe the Students at Princeton.
Guardian.UK: Texas family struggles to keep health insurance – and survive cancer.
“Just don’t go the doctor. Don’t do those preventative care visits that probably helped me find out I had breast cancer and thyroid cancer early on. Just don’t find out and don’t get it fixed. [snip] Which is ludicrous but at this point what do you do? It becomes insanely expensive, it’s a whole different ball game from what it used to be.”
SF New Mexican: Federal official says N.M. licenses are fine for U.S. travel.
“The fact the federal government didn’t give New Mexico an extension on Real ID compliance means that secure federal facilities in New Mexico will have to have stricter policies in the type of identification they accept. Starting Jan. 10, people won’t be able to use a New Mexico driver’s license to enter a military base or a federal installation such as the Los Alamos National Laboratory.” We’ll get four months’ notice if we need a passport for domestic travel.
Bicycling: Free Electric Could be The New Power Source of India.
Civil War Memory: Ta-Nehisi Coates and Civil War memory.
“I don’t think anyone has gone further to engage the tough questions of the Civil War and interpret their relevance for both the black community and for a nation that continues to struggle with race relations.”
NY Times: In Rise of ISIS, No Single Missed Key but Many Strands of Blame.
““It was disregarded by the White House. [snip] It was disregarded by other elements in the intelligence community as a one-off report. Frankly, at the White House, it didn’t meet the narrative.” And yet ... from The Guardian (UK) ... Turkey could cut off Islamic State’s supply lines. So why doesn’t it? “The exact relationship between Erdoğan’s government and Isis may be subject to debate; but of some things we can be relatively certain. Had Turkey placed the same kind of absolute blockade on Isis territories as they did on Kurdish-held parts of Syria, let alone shown the same sort of ‘benign neglect’ towards the PKK and YPG that they have been offering to Isis, that blood-stained ‘caliphate’ would long since have collapsed – and arguably, the Paris attacks may never have happened. And if Turkey were to do the same today, Isis would probably collapse in a matter of months. Yet, has a single western leader called on Erdoğan to do this?”
See the link yesterday about Turkish soccer fans.
NY Times: Syrian Passport by Stadium Stolen or Fake, A.F.P. Reports.
“Agence France-Presse is reporting, citing a source close to the investigation, that the passport bore the name of Ahmad al-Mohammad, a soldier in the Syrian Army who was born in 1990 and died months ago.” Which means, all the crazy anti-refugee rhetoric can stop now. But it won’t.
SF Gate: Turkey soccer fans boo moment of silence for Paris attacks.
Turkey, the widely-touted face of ‘moderate’ Islam. This behavior’s not doing anyone any favors.
TG’s Political Wire: GOP Lawmaker Warns Refugees Could Buy Guns.
naked cap: Will the Paris Attacks Herald the End of the Schengen Agreement?
“... it’s hard to continue to argue for more fiscal integration while assembling border crossings. The accompaniment to such border closures would likely be a rise in right-wing, Euroskeptic nationalism across the continent, and subsequent tensions could spark exits.” I hope they don’t feel the need to go from nothing to full-shred TSA in one swoop.
CJR: A gun-carrying journalist, and rightly so.
Something you don’t hear a lot about. The stereotype is ‘martyr’, but there really is no reason why a journalist should be a sitting duck, particularly in dangerous areas.
naked cap: 10 Economic Facts that Power the Sanders Insurgency.
Read of the day. Not anything we didn’t know, really, but piled together ...
The Diplomat: Russia’s Top Secret Nuclear Torpedo.
“Codenamed ‘Kanyon’ by Pentagon officials, it has allegedly also been designed to target both naval ports used by the U.S. Navy’s submarine fleet as well as U.S. coastal regions.” Oh, just peachy if true. I’ve heard stories of their titanium subs, back in Cold War days. If their engines were quieter, they would have been a major problem.
Salt Supply - A Safe Gun For A Safe Home.
Popular Archaeology: Earliest church in the tropics unearthed in former heart of Atlantic slave trad
“During the excavation several tombstones of local dignitaries were recovered. One enormous stone found in the side chapel belonged to Fernão Fiel de Lugo, a slaver and the town’s ‘treasure holder’ between 1542 and 1557.” Well, if he could get buried in the church, you certainly shouldn’t have to concern yourself with red Starbucks cups.
naked cap: The TPP and State Sovereignty.
“Notice also that the Lester says it’s going to take a year to figure out what the language of the tobacco carve-out really means. However, TPP, if it is to be passed, can be passed in less than a year. So, once again, we might have to pass a bill to find out what’s in it (and in this case, we’ll be informed by the decisions of unaccountable international tribunals with no ethical canons. What could go wrong?).” You can bet your boots interested parties know exactly what the agreement says - and more importantly, how to leverage it for profit.
The Guardian view on American mortality: the price of a ruthless economy.
Yes. Future history books may point to our society, and wonder how we could be so blind.
Guardian.UK: TPP trade deal - text published online.
Folks seem to be having a difficult time downloading it. Awaiting critical analyses.
Guardian.UK: George Bush Sr book reveals a more dangerous Dick Cheney than anyone knew.
“Perhaps the most alarming revelation to emerge from the new Bush biography is the elder man’s recollection that while Cheney had been his defence secretary, he had commissioned a study on how many tactical nuclear weapons would be needed to eliminate a division of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guard. Apparently the answer was 17, though a more profound conclusion is that Cheney was a more dangerous figure than anyone knew.” Jesus. Seventeen? The Republican Guard collapsed on its own, after the air campaign (~28,000 munitions dropped, many of the surgical ‘smart’ variety).
The HIll: Right-wing media aims at Rubio.
So much fun watching them devour their own.
The Atlantic: Regulating Payday Loans Is a Start But It Won’t Fix the Underlying Problem.
“Short on cash and without a strong enough credit history to get a bank loan to tide them over, Melissa went to a payday lender, taking out a meager $450. When they weren’t able to pay the debt back in a matter of weeks, the amount ballooned to $1,700 thanks to the high interest rates, fees, and rollover loans (loans that get folded into new, larger loans when a borrower is unable to repay their initial loan).” On usury.
Techdirt: Connecticut Police Announce Plan To Open Unlocked Vehicles And Seize Valuables.
“My guess is this program will be shut down sometime in the next few days. The city has hugely miscalculated the public’s receptiveness to its warrantless search and seizure ‘public service.’” Good lord. Unlawful search and seizure, right here.
Fox: Paul Ryan’s block grant scheme is doomed — for one simple reason.
“Ryan’s block grant ‘proposition’ is not just terrible policy, though it’s important to show that it is. It’s another phony gesture, like the balanced-budget amendment to the Constitution — a plausible-sounding scheme that is perpetually on the table because it will never happen, an excuse for not proposing or standing behind the real choices about whose benefits should be cut and whose expanded.”