Since the disappearance of the original OWS occupations, new campaigns have aimed to translate the skills and networks developed there.
Since the disappearance of the original OWS occupations, new campaigns have aimed to translate the skills and networks developed there.
Most people see the benefits of empathy as too obvious to require justification. This is a mistake.
If I had an infinite amount of time, I would love to read through all of the responses to Paul Bloom’s thoughtful broadside against empathy in this forum for the Boston Review.
That being said, I would still recommend this as a very interesting look at the scientific research into empathy and its various forms. He postulates that a more detached, compassion-centric sense of being may be more beneficial than increased empathy.
My wife thinks it could be a good opportunity for book promotion. So I’m giving it a try despite detesting the platform since its inception.
Anyways, if you want to follow me I’m @John_A_W
Of course, ISIS has made clear, through its own barbaric actions and statements, that it poses a threat to American lives abroad, even if it does not threaten American soil. Does that threat authorize the president to make a unilateral decision to use military force? A truly imminent threat of that nature conceivably could justify a short-term strike to thwart a specific risk. No one doubts that if a terrorist group has a US citizen hostage and threatens to kill him, the president has the constitutional authority to deploy military force if necessary to counter the threat. But that’s not what Obama is proposing. He is talking about a large-scale, long-term military offensive to “destroy” a group that now holds significant territory in two countries—a campaign that will involve a sustained series of airstrikes, not only in Iraq, a country that has requested our help, but in Syria, a country that has not and will not. Such a lengthy military intervention amounts to war, the very sort of engagement that the framers felt should be undertaken only if approved by the legislative branch.
According to an unnamed senior administration official, the Obama administration maintains that Congress’s authorization to use military force against those who attacked us on September 11, 2001, somehow empowers the president to wage war against ISIS. But this is a legal sleight of hand. While ISIS once had ties with al-Qaeda in Iraq, it has long since broken from al-Qaeda, and certainly cannot be said either to have attacked us on September 11, or to be a co-belligerent with al-Qaeda in that ongoing conflict. Nor does Congress’s 2002 authorization to use military force against Iraq constitute any sort of approval for this conflict, which is not against Iraq at all, but against ISIS, which is itself fighting Iraq. That the administration would advance such far-fetched interpretations of decade-old authorizations plainly intended for different purposes makes evident that it lacks any legitimate authority today.
Some of America’s top corporations are parking profits overseas and ducking hundreds of billions in taxes.
The fact that ISIS controls Mosul is not compatible with the idea that air strikes alone can accomplish the president’s plan. Ground troops will be required.
WASHINGTON — Tensions between the CIA and its congressional overseers erupted anew this week when CIA Director John Brennan refused to tell lawmakers who authorized intrusions into computers used by the Senate Intelligence Committee to compile a damning report on the spy agency’s interrogation program.
The confrontation, which took place during a closed-door meeting on Tuesday, came as the sides continue to spar over the report’s public release, providing further proof of the unprecedented deterioration in relations between the CIA and Capitol Hill.
After the meeting, several senators were so incensed at Brennan that they confirmed the row and all but accused the nation’s top spy of defying Congress.
Ian, writing in the way only he can:
I’m not someone who thinks that anger is always bad: often it gets people up off their asses. In the same way that hating your job means you should change jobs, and being unhappy may be a sign that something is wrong with your situation not with you, and you shouldn’t self medicate (you cannot explain the massive increase in depression and many other mental illnesses over the past century using individual factors, it is clearly a social problem, with social causes).
And so, for years, I cut people dead, and cut myself off from much of my old network (though certainly not all.) I look back now, calmer, and wonder “were these fights I needed to engage in?” I think—probably not, and yet, and yet: we lost and too many people just wouldn’t admit and made excuses for terrible policy.
We got a president who is worse on civil liberties than George Bush, who is still destroying countries, whose policies in combination with the Fed have lead to more than 100% of all gains going to the top 10% (and really about the top 3%); with a decrease in wealth and income for the majority of Americans and a ton of Europeans.
Obama may have given Americans a shitty version of universal health care (sort of), but in virtually every other way he is an unmitigated disaster.
And it was obvious way back, or it should have been. And people didn’t say who knew it; or didn’t know who should have because, let us be frank, they wanted the first African American president, no matter what, even if he was a right authoritarian and they wanted to live in a fantasy land where just electing a Democrat, any Democrat would fix things.
On August 26th, Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA) both accepted a ceasefire agreement after a 50-day Israeli assault on Gaza that left 2,100 Palestinians dead and vast landscapes of destruction behind. The agreement calls for an end to military action by both Israel and Hamas, as well as an easing of the Israeli siege that has strangled Gaza for many years.
President Obama is prepared to use U.S. military airstrikes in Syria as part of an expanded campaign to defeat the Islamic State and does not believe he needs formal congressional approval to take that action, according to people who have spoken with the president in recent days.
Obama discussed his plans at a dinner with a bipartisan group of foreign policy experts this week at the White House and made clear his belief that he has the authority to attack the militant Islamist group on both sides of the Iraq-Syria border to protect U.S national security, multiple people who participated in the discussion said. The move to attack in Syria would represent a remarkable escalation in strategy for Obama, who has sought during his presidency to reduce the U.S. military engagement in the Middle East.
It looks like Dear Leader is approaching “done deal” mode with this latest plan to bomb targets in the Middle East. There is a ton of moronic irony embedded in this WaPo piece. I wanted to address a few areas.
First, the so-called “experts” the president called in for a discussion about his latest attempt to commit war crimes:
Obama is committed to taking the fight to the Islamic State “wherever their strategic targets are,” said Michèle Flournoy, a former undersecretary of defense for policy who was among those at Monday’s dinner.
“This is not an organization that respects international boundaries,” said Flournoy, who left the Obama administration in 2012 and now serves as chief executive of the Center for a New American Security. “You cannot leave them with a safe haven. . . . I expect him to be very candid.”
Really? Since when was the bar set at not “respecting international boundaries?” This person surely was around during Obama’s great war of the drones, in which no country was off limits? But the president is going to be “very candid,” in that he will not be speaking much actual truth about what our military is going to do. You know, just like in Libya.
Obama informed lawmakers during the session that he did not need new authority from Congress to pursue his approach to countering the threat posed by the Islamic State, according to congressional leadership aides.
Former vice president Richard B. Cheney made his case for more-aggressive intervention in Iraq in a meeting with House Republicans on Tuesday, but many of the newer, more libertarian members of the GOP conference seemed unmoved.
Authority? He don’t need no stinking authority. You’re talking about the guy who unilaterally started bombing Libya because of some ill-defined “threat” to its people, never stopping to consider the years-long blow back that we would descend on this nation after our short attention spans faded. Also, bonus points for the reporters working on this story for working in the Cheney angle. Nothing helps to prove the point that Obama is basically a continuation of the Bush II regime. Plus that war criminal Cheney got to express his opinions in the media; you know he loves to do that.
And astonishingly, our country has found the taste for blood we loved back in the heady days of 2002:
A Washington Post-ABC News poll this week showed that Americans overwhelmingly view the Islamic State as a serious threat to vital U.S. interests and, in a significant shift, widely support airstrikes in Iraq and Syria. Seventy-one percent of all Americans say they support airstrikes in Iraq, and 65 percent support strikes in Syria. That is more than double the level of support a year ago for launching airstrikes to punish the Syrian regime.
That’s approaching the numbers that supported the (wrong, wrong, wrong) conclusion that Saddam had something to do with 9/11. We’re not a smart country, are we. Then again, these are the people we have elected to “lead” us:
Over a dinner of D’Anjou pear salad and Chilean sea bass, Obama, Vice President Biden and the outside experts engaged in a deep discussion of the options to combat the Islamic State, those who participated said.
If that doesn’t scream “unaccountable elite,” I don’t know what will. I’m sure everything will work out fine.
WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is preparing to carry out a campaign against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria that may take three years to complete, requiring a sustained effort that could last until after President Obama has left office, according to senior administration officials.
The first phase, an air campaign with nearly 145 airstrikes in the past month, is already underway to protect ethnic and religious minorities and American diplomatic, intelligence and military personnel, and their facilities, as well as to begin rolling back ISIS gains in northern and western Iraq.
The next phase, which would begin sometime after Iraq forms a more inclusive government, scheduled this week, is expected to involve an intensified effort to train, advise or equip the Iraqi military, Kurdish fighters and possibly members of Sunni tribes.
The final, toughest and most politically controversial phase of the operation — destroying the terrorist army in its sanctuary inside Syria — might not be completed until the next administration. Indeed, some Pentagon planners envision a military campaign lasting at least 36 months.
This isn’t going to go wrong at all. Also nowhere in this article (reported on by many of the same people the NYT had on the 2003 Iraq War beat) is it mentioned that many of the problems in this country are stemming directly from that previous pointless invasion. Is this our foreign policy now? Creating mass chaos in a Middle Eastern country only to come back a few years later and take on a new “insurgency” that was created because of the original invasion?
I guess we’ll know in a few years after we pull out of Afghanistan, because the same thing is happening there. And why is the option not to get involved never on the table? Obama thinks “no ground troops” is some sort of concession, a giving into Americans who are sick of our federal elite wasting billions of dollars on these endeavors. When is he going to realize that we are done with this type of foreign meddling?
The NSA is secretly using a Google-like tool to share its vast pools of surveillance data with law enforcement agencies.
Finally got around to reading this. Great piece of reporting on the deep surveillance state and how “connect-the-dots” became an overarching mandate that led to the intelligence community’s ability to search through 850 billion (!) records.
As you probably gathered from my previous post, I wrote a novel. It’s called Our Senior Year and is published by North Star Press, a local Minnesota publisher. The book launch takes place Wednesday, September 3rd. (For more info on how to purchase/etc check out that previous post).
I’ll re-post my “elevator pitch” summary here:
Minneapolis writer Jason Wareheim never expected to go back to his ten-year high school reunion, but what he found back in his hometown changed the way he saw everything. The journal left behind by his best friend Jack Wayne brings back all the memories of their senior year, inspiring Jason to finally tell the story of “the three musketeers” and their lives in the small town of Clarmont, Iowa. Theirs was a story crossed by love, tragedy, friendship, loyalty, and simple cruising on gravel roads. This is a story of high school.
So that kind of gives you an idea of the plot, and the setting, and some of the characters. But why did I actually write the book?
The answer takes us back to 2002. The 9/11 attacks were still fresh in our minds, the US was pummeling the Taliban and Osama bin Laden was safely across the border in Pakistan, where he would remain for the next 9 years. But most of that was far from my mind, as I was about to graduate high school. My senior year had been quite different from my previous years at Clarion Goldfield High School. Up until then I had bounced among friend groups, usually kids older than myself, and was now faced with the possibility that I didn’t have many friends now that I had attained senior status. I had the usual friends that I’d grown up with but for the most part my senior year was turning into yet another new experience. Thankfully the people I embraced that year became some of my best friends ever. It is here where some of the scenes in the book will explain better, so I’ll leave it at that.
However, I was also struggling with many emotions at this time. I thought I was in love, but I also hadn’t the foggiest consideration of how to actually speak to a girl. I was attending youth group in another rural town at my parents’ church and attempting to be a better person. And yet this was the year I (mostly) discovered alcohol and partying, and did plenty of both on the many gravel roads criss-crossing the corn and soybean fields just outside Clarion. I was attempting to be better and yet I was embarking on the quest that would ultimately cause me to disown the religion I was brought up with since birth. All of these contradictions and more continued on throughout the year until our graduation. I was the only kid busted at our senior party because I decided to stick around long after everyone had gone home, and still had some alcohol in my system. That caused a premature end to my post-school summer fun and put me on lock-down until I left for Cedar Falls to attend the University of Northern Iowa in the fall.
So what caused the actual book? Well, as many nerds before me, I tended to enjoy delving into fictional universes more than the one that surrounded me. Therefore the first stirrings of this novel came about as I approached the end of my senior year and reflected back upon what all had happened. The more I thought about things, the more they started to come together like a movie in my mind. I saw certain scenes and saw a story crystallize. I saw my pathetic attempts to chat up girls in a new light and started to see a tale come to life in which I finally got the girl who would then leave me for another guy at the end of the story. Things in this first version got really dark and involved a lot of death and destruction, and reflected some of my sour world view as I made my way into post-secondary education. It would remain that way, in one sorry-looking first draft or another, though most of my college days, as I fantasized about the writer I was to become without doing much actual writing.
From here I’m going to do a bit of fast-forwarding, as this time in my life is fertile territory for my second novel but also for subsequent books. The time from graduating high school to graduating college and beyond was one of intense growth, questioning, and slow trudging through the awful single days in which women weren’t such a mystery now that I had alcohol factored into our conversations. I’m going to hit “stop” right around the time I moved up to Minneapolis and met my wife, Mary.
My wife and I had been living in the same space for about a year when she finally let me have it. I had been moping and feeling sorry for myself and my writing career ever since I had started doing freelance work for the Minneapolis Examiner, an local extension of the Examiner.com online news organization. I was cranking out blog posts bemoaning the state of international affairs and our current federal government’s intransigence, but had also branched out to interviewing local politicians and other public officials in Minnesota. However, this was hardly enough to raise my profile and I kept kvetching about this to my wife. She must have had enough one evening because I recall her telling me, rather vehemently, to “finish the book.” I wanted people to take me and my writing seriously, so why not take this ultimate route? I’d had the idea in one shape or another rolling around my head for the past decade. I may have been held back by what holds many writers back: If I finish the book, that means I have to let other people read it. I’m not sure how much terror this notion instilled in me, but I did know that if I was serious about trying to be published I’d have to let this story escape the friendly and demented confines of my head.
As is usually the case during arguments like this with my wife, she was right. I buckled down, started writing every day, and damned if I didn’t finish that thing within the year. It was a huge accomplishment at the time, and I still can’t quite believe I did it. The next step was finding an editor. So, I did what most starving artists do: turned to family. My wife’s cousin Jo has an English degree and spends most of her days teaching children. I thought she might want to take a look at my novel, and thankfully she did! She mentioned later that she had no idea what she was getting into (who would?!?) but was glad to see the book actually had things like structure, plot development, and believeable characters. About six months later we had our first major sit down, and she told me all that she thought needed work. To this day I am eternally grateful to Jo for doing this for me. This book would not exist without her efforts.
Her work on the novel allowed me to make it much better, and in another few months I was ready to turn it into a publisher. I got the contact information for North Star Press from a helpful book fair that took place in Chanhassen. I sent them the first few chapters, and after a lengthy (and worryful) amount of time, they responded in the affirmative that they would publish it! Finding out this information was one of the happiest moments of my life. Even when the publisher was facing some financial difficulties in this era in which no one seems to read books anymore, the new came through that the book would be coming out September 2014.
Looking back, I still can’t quite believe it all happened. I had tooled around with various aspects of this story for over a decade, adding characters and situations that I thought would make it more believable. But I’m not sure I ever thought I could get it published, let alone hold a copy in my hands some day. And yet this is a testament to the fact that if you put your mind to something, have the proper support network, and simply do the job, you can accomplish anything. This is truly a dream come true for me, and even if nobody likes the book I will always have this accomplishment. No one can take that away from me. So I say to anyone reading this who has a similar dream: just do it. Don’t let self-doubt trap you into a fictional universe of your own in which the idea of publishing seems so much better than the reality. The reality is messy, people are eventually going to have to read your work, so get used to it. Trust me, the benefits far outweigh whatever you think the costs might be. Isn’t this what life is for, after all?
There are a lot of people who deserve thanks for being there for me. The short-list includes my wonderful wife Mary, her awesome cousin Jo, my parents Pam and Stan, my parents-in-law Cheri and Abe, my sister Audrey, and all the amazing people at North Star Press who believed in me and thought my story was well-told. I am so lucky to have all of you in my life. Thank you.
I hope this gives a bit more information on why I wrote the novel. But the best way to understand it is to read it. And so I hope everyone does!
Thanks for reading.
Dear tumblr universe:
I wrote a novel. It’s titled Our Senior Year and is published by North Star Press, a Minnesota publisher. The book “officially” launches tomorrow night (September 3rd) at Magers & Quinn, one of the last remaining indie booksellers in the Twin Cities.
If you’d like to purchase the book, I have listed a few options for you to do so here on the book website. Or if you know me outside the tumblr-verse I’m happy to connect via email and send you a copy or give it to you in person (I’ll also sign it).
If you’d like to know more about the novel and why I wrote it, one of my usual long essay-type pieces should appear shortly to give you way too much information. In short, the book is about high school, looking back, the “quarter-life crisis” (which I have been assured is a thing), love, religion, tragedy, and plenty of other themes. I hope some of you are able to pick up a copy and enjoy it.
If you’d like to try before you buy, an excerpt is here.
And here is the book cover:
CAIRO — Twice in the last seven days, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates have secretly launched airstrikes against Islamist-allied militias battling for control of Tripoli, Libya, four senior American officials said, in a major escalation of a regional power struggle set off by Arab Spring revolts.
The United States, the officials said, was caught by surprise: Egypt and the Emirates, both close allies and military partners, acted without informing Washington, leaving the Obama administration on the sidelines. Egyptian officials explicitly denied to American diplomats that their military played any role in the operation, the officials said, in what appeared a new blow to already strained relations between Washington and Cairo.
While this revelation is disturbing, I can’t help but point to an irony here. Don’t these impetuous countries know that conducting air strikes in Middle Eastern countries is the United States’ job?!!