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Showing posts from July 1, 2014

American Unexceptionalism

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[The Blackwater scandal shows that Americans aren't immune from behaviors they abhor in others. *RON*]
By William Saletan, Salon, com, 30 June 2014

Two years ago, in a speech to the Wisconsin Faith and Freedom Coalition, Mitt Romney accused President Obama of lacking faith in American exceptionalism. Romney recalled that as a businessman traveling the world, “I just knew inside I had a special gift no one else had. I was American.” Part of the “special nature of being American,” Romney argued, was our selfless habit of liberating people around the world. “It's something we all share,” he told the crowd.

No, it isn’t. There’s nothing special about our nature. The latest evidence of this is a trove of documents released in the Blackwater scandal.

On Sept. 16, 2007, Americans working for the security contractor shot and killed 17 civilians in Baghdad’s Nisour Square. Under investigation, the guards’ excuses have crumbled. Now, the State Depar…

How bad policy is making the Great Recession’s damage permanent

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[A good article showing some of the policy issues related to austerity, inflation and debt that have acted to increase the negative effects of the recession. *RON*]

By Matt O'Brien, Washington Post, July 1, 2014
Don't blame the Great Recession for making us permanently poorer. Blame our policymakers for letting it.

This concept is called hysteresis, and it's the idea that a long enough slump can maim the economy's long-run potential. That's because 1) too little investment today can keep us from growing as much tomorrow, and 2) too few jobs can make the long-term unemployed give up hope of ever finding work again. In other words, it means that we might never undo all the damage the financial crisis has done.

And that would leave us with a lot of damage still. How much exactly? Well, Johns Hopkins professor Larry Ball has tried to answer that by comparing how much the OECD thought rich countries could grow in 2007 with how much i…

Why Are Buddhist Monks Promoting Violence in Sri Lanka?

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[So far I have not heard anything about the Jains becoming politicized and violent, but that it pretty much it in terms of any of the world religions. *RON*]
by Matthew Isaacs, politicalviolenceataglance, July 1, 2014

In a state marred by conflict, a wave of religious violence threatens the sovereignty of the nation, international actors talk of intervention, and commentators speak of a move towards authoritarianism or a slide back into war. What optimistic politicians once portrayed as fertile ground for Western-style democracy, realists now decry as a land of perpetual strife among extremist religious groups.

I’m talking of course about Sri Lanka.
As the West focuses on the expansion of Islamic militancy in Iraq, the tide of anti-Muslim sentiment in Sri Lanka has reached unprecedented proportions. Last week a mob of Buddhists ravaged a neighborhood in the southern town of Aluthgama, killing four Muslims and injuring dozens more. All signs point t…