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A century ago, progressives were the ones shouting ‘fake news’ July 4, 2018

Posted by tkcollier in Business, In The News, News and politics, Politics.
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No matter how often radical periodicals denounced fake news published by their competitors, they found it difficult to suppress false information spread by powerful newswire companies like Hearst’s International News Service, the United Press Associations and the Associated Press.

These outlets fed articles to local papers, which reprinted them, fake or otherwise. Because people trusted their local newspapers, the veracity of the articles went unchallenged. It’s similar to what happens today on social media: People tend to reflexively believe what their friends post and share.

According to muckraker Upton Sinclair, syndicated “news” banked on this and knowingly spread fake news on behalf of the powerful interests that bought ads in their periodicals. Fake news was not only a sin of commission, but also one of omission: For-profit wire services would refuse to cover social issues, from labor protests to tainted meat, in ways that would depict their powerful patrons in a negative light.

History of Fake News

How to Disagree March 25, 2017

Posted by tkcollier in Lifestyle, News and politics, Religion.
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If we’re all going to be disagreeing more, we should be careful to do it well. What does it mean to disagree well? Most readers can tell the difference between mere name-calling and a carefully reasoned refutation, but I think it would help to put names on the intermediate stages. So here’s an attempt at a disagreement hierarchy:

Source: How to Disagree

The Developing World Thinks Hitler Is Underrated November 27, 2016

Posted by tkcollier in cool stuff, Geopolitics, News and politics, philosophy & politics.
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(COL) *20.04.1889-30.04.1945+ Politiker, NSDAP, D Lagebesprechung im Hauptquartier der Heeresgruppe S¸d in Saporoshje (Ukraine); Hitler mit der Generalit‰t am Kartentisch (v.l.): Generalfeldmarschall Erich von Manstein, Adolf Hitler, General Theodor Busse, Generalfeldmarschall Ewald von Kleist - 19.02.1943 Foto: Walter Frentz "english_caption" Hitler and the generals look at maps during a briefing at the headquarters of 'Heeresgruppe Sued' (Army Squad South) at Saporoshje (Ukraine). From left: General Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, Adolf Hitler, General Theodor Busse, General Field Marshal Ewald von Kleist - 02.19.1943 Picture: Walter Frentz "english_e

– 19.02.1943
Foto: Walter Frentz
“english_caption” Hitler and the generals look at maps during a briefing at the headquarters of ‘Heeresgruppe Sued’ (Army Squad South) at Saporoshje (Ukraine). From left: General Field Marshal Erich von Manstein, Adolf Hitler, General Theodor Busse, General Field Marshal Ewald von Kleist
– 02.19.1943
Picture: Walter Frentz “english_e

Yet in much of the developing world, where ignorance regarding the Holocaust and Hitler’s fantasies of world domination is rife, he is perceived less as a mass murderer and ideologue of global conquest than as a stern disciplinarian who addressed social ills in a briskly efficient manner. His is a legacy of “law and order,” not of horrific chaos and collapsed cities. Additionally, and crucially, in the non-Western world the name Hitler can connote “anti-imperialist rebel” due to the German leader’s nationalistic struggle against “Anglo-French-American-Zionist domination.”


Why Trump and Sanders May 17, 2016

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, News and politics.
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What do Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump have in common?  – an authoritarian agenda.

The rise of Donald Trump has been accompanied by predictable murmurs of “only in America”. But the Trump phenomenon is better understood as part of a global trend: the return of the “strongman” leader in international politics.

Rather than leading the way, America has arrived late at this dispiriting party. Historians might one day highlight the year 2012 as the turning point. In May of that year Vladimir Putin returned to the Kremlin as president of Russia. A few months later Xi Jinping was installed as general secretary of the Chinese Communist party.

 Democracies elected Hitler and Mussolini to get their dysfunctional democracies working again. Citizens were willing to give up certain rights for the security of knowing that Mussolini would ” get the trains to run on time”.

In fact, Mr Trump exhibits many of the characteristics of the current crop of strongman leaders, including Messrs Putin, Xi, Erdogan, Sisi, Modi, Orban and Duterte.

Bernie Sanders promises that the power of government would rectify disgruntled voters discontent with Income inequality and wage reversals. Donald Trump promised that his bullying would get things back to where they once were. Both are authoritarian attitudes, relecting the world-wide trend of the return of the strongmen.

Rise of the Strongman

Great Power Conflict: Will It Return? February 25, 2015

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, News and politics, philosophy & politics.
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we are witnessing four changes in international affairs that will lead to renewed great power conflict.

The first change is the slow disengagement of the United States from the dominating role it has played after World War II, marked most notably by a lowering of its defense spending and commitments. America has retreated from its role of protector of the world order, but the current occupant of the White House clearly ranks foreign affairs as an annoyance compared to an ambitious domestic agenda and has telegraphed his desire for America to have either a light or non-existent footprint across much of the globe.

The slow American withdrawal coincides with the second change, in which four of the current great powers (Russia, China, India, and Japan) are revaluating, amplifying, or changing aspects of their grand strategy in a way that resembles a similar reshuffling that took place late in the nineteenth century.

Third, there are ominous parallels between the cauldron that created the conflict of the Great War and those simmering today. China, playing the role of nineteenth-century Germany, seems determined to upset the economic and military stability created by the United States and Japan, especially in the area of naval power and power projection. Japan is playing the role of the United Kingdom, an old power clinging to its power base by mobilizing nationalism and militarism. Russia, attempting to resurrect its glory by aggressive action, reminds us of a turn-of-the-century France. India, coming on the world stage for the first time, yet not quite ready for a big role, is reminiscent of the newly unified Italian peninsula of 1861.

via Great Power Conflict: Will It Return? | World Affairs Journal.

See Crowd-Sourced Map of Global Conflict July 24, 2014

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, News and politics.
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Click on the map and you are seeing an overview of major global activity each day, as captured by the world’s news media and monitored by the GDELT Project. All protest and conflict events are grouped together by city/location. For the animated map layer, if a location has both protest and conflict events, it is colored by whichever there are more of. All dots on the animated map are the same size, regardless of the number of events at that location, due to current limitations of the animation system. For the daily map layers, dots are displayed separately at each location for protests and conflict and are sized based on the total volume of coverage devoted to that type of event at that location. Thus, locations with more “important” events will be displayed using a larger dot to indicate major evolving situations. Since some events may not have recognizable geographic markers or may occur at the country level, such events are displayed at the centroid of the country, except for the United States, where only events recorded at the state or finer resolution are shown. When your pointer turns into a hand, click and you’ll see the news sources harvested by web bots of the US Institute for Peace.

via Mapping A World in Motion: A Daily Dashboard of Global Conflict | GDELT Official Blog.

What world can teach U.S. about entitlements April 27, 2014

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, News and politics, philosophy & politics.
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Entitlement Lessons From Abroad A new report, by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, notes that many countries have recently enacted reforms that have trimmed benefit formulas, raised retirement ages, and put in place new funded pension systems that supplement or partially substitute for pay-as-you-go government systems.

Several countries – including Germany, Italy, Japan, and Sweden – have gone further and introduced “automatic stabilizers” into their public pension systems that, directly or indirectly, index benefits to the growth in the payroll tax base. These stabilizers may differ in design, but they have two crucial characteristics in common. First, they are all expressly designed to offset the full impact of demographically driven cost growth. And second, they are all self-adjusting. In effect, they put entitlements on a new kind of autopilot – one that is preprogrammed for cost constraint rather than for cost growth.

ChangeInEntitlementBenefits 2010to2040It’s ironic that other developed countries, most of which have faster-aging populations and more expansive welfare states than the United States, are leading the way on entitlement reform.  Part of the explanation may be that, until recently, America’s age wave still loomed over the horizon, while in Europe and Japan aging populations have been burdening public budgets, forcing up payroll tax rates, and slowing economic growth for decades.

Part of the answer may also lie in America’s peculiar entitlement ethos.  In Europe, government benefit programs may be fiercely defended, with the opponents of reform manning the barricades and calling general strikes. But in the end, everyone understands that they are part of a social contract that is subject to renegotiation and revision.  In the United States, much of the public views Social Security and Medicare as quasi-contractual arrangements between individuals and the state.  This mindset, which is encouraged by the misleading insurance metaphors in which the programs are cloaked, may make old-age benefits more difficult to reform in the United States than in Europe’s large welfare states.

via What world can teach U.S. about entitlements – Global Public Square – CNN.com Blogs.

The Overlooked Big Stories of 2012 December 29, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in Geopolitics, In The News, News and politics.
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Andres Oppenheimer is a Miami Herald syndicated columnist and a member of The Miami Herald team that won the 1987 Pulitzer Prize, has a nifty list of 5 important, but overlooked stories that will have big implications in the years ahead.

  • In 2017, US becomes World’s biggest oil producer
  • Corruption’s threat to China’s Leadership’s legitimacy
  • The Trans Pacific Trade Partnership
  • Secessionist movements shaking Europe
Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/12/24/3155484/oppenheimer-the-most-important.html#emlnl=The_Americas#storylink=cpy

Oppenheimer: The really important news of 2012 – Andres Oppenheimer – MiamiHerald.com.

The Coming Surge of Cuban Refugees December 29, 2012

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In October, the Cuban government announced that it would no longer require the much-hated exit visa for anyone wishing to travel abroad. All a Cuban citizen will need is a passport and a visa for the country he plans to visit. This new Cuban policy takes effect January 14th.

2006_08_01t121905_450x332_us_cuba.jpgThe problem is, under current American law, a “visit” to the United States can immediately award a Cuban full refugee status, then permanent residency and citizenship, under the Cuban Adjustment Act of 1966.

For decades, Cubans have been trying to sail to the US and then dock or swim ashore before immigration agents catch up with them. For those who made it past the US Coast Guard gauntlet, once their feet touched the beach they were given legal admission. During the fiscal year that ended in September, the Coast Guard said it caught 1,275 Cubans trying to arrive by boat—the highest total since 2008. Uncounted others made it ashore, where they immediately received their unique American embrace.

Starting January 14th, however, Cuba will allow them to leave by any means of their choice. And all they’ll have to do is walk off the airplane in Miami or anywhere else in the US to be awarded refugee status. The change could lead to many thousands of new Cuban refugees every month, joining the two million Cubans and their descendants already here. But you don’t hear anyone in Washington even mentioning this problem, given the urgent concerns about Iran, North Korea, the fiscal cliff, and so much else.

via The Coming Surge of Cuban Refugees | World Affairs Journal.

A Quiet Revolution: Drug Decriminalisation Policies in Practice Across the Globe July 7, 2012

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This report looks at over 20 countries that have adopted some form of decriminalisation of drug possession, including some States that have only decriminalised cannabis possession. The main aim of the report was to look at the existing research to establish whether the adoption of a decriminalised policy led to significant increases in drug use – the simple answer is that it did not.

via A Quiet Revolution: Drug Decriminalisation Policies in Practice Across the Globe.

California Doesn’t Learn From China’s Train Wreck July 7, 2012

Posted by tkcollier in Economy & Business, Enviroment, News and politics, Technology.
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In California’s Legislature just authorized to spend, with Federal assistance, an under-estimated $100 billion to build a route between San Francisco and Los Angeles that will consist of a government monopoly riding on tracks near one of the largest earthquake faults in the world for most of its length, all to deliver passengers slower and at greater overall cost between two fixed points.  Airlines give consumers a choice of carriers and airports on either end of that route, will deliver passengers more quickly, and probably with a much wider choice of departure and arrival times.

In China the problem — beyond the idea of spending untold billions on the antiquated technology of static choo-choo trains — is that the three people making all these wonderful decisions  now have a high-speed rail system plagued by failurecorruption, out-of-control costs and legitimate safety concerns

The fact is that China’s train wreck was eminently foreseeable. High-speed rail is a capital-intensive undertaking that requires huge borrowing upfront to finance tracks, locomotives and cars, followed by years in which ticket revenue covers debt service — if all goes well. “Any . . . shortfall in ridership or yield, can quickly create financial stress,” warns a 2010 World Bank staff report.

Such “shortfalls” are all too common. Japan’s bullet trains needed a bailout in 1987. Taiwan’s line opened in 2007 and needed a government rescue in 2009. In France, only the Paris-Lyon high-speed line is in the black.

via China’s train wreck – The Washington Post.

William Jefferson Gingrich January 26, 2012

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How long have I been saying it? At least for 15 years, but in private I have been aware of it longer. Newt Gingrich is conservatism’s Bill Clinton, but without the charm. He has acquired wit but he has all the charm of barbed wire.

Newt and Bill are 1960s generation narcissists, and they share the same problems: waywardness and deviancy. Newt, like Bill, has a proclivity for girl hopping. It is not as egregious as Bill’s, but then Newt is not as drop-dead beautiful. His public record is already besmeared with tawdry divorces, and there are private encounters with the fair sex that doubtless will come out. Thanks to my big brother for this piece.

via William Jefferson Gingrich – The New York Sun.


There is the 99% and the 1% – And Now the 2% November 4, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, In The News, News and politics.
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Thanks to Juan Marcos, part of the 99%

More of “As the World Bopps Along” May 8, 2011

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Rim Shots

There’s already been some trouble for Osama bin Laden in the afterlife.There was a mix up and he was greeted by 72 vegans.

President Obama gave the order for Navy SEALs to kill bin Laden. When President Bush heard about it, he was really upset, saying, ‘I could have used seals?

It should be pointed out that on the same night Obama was sending a SEAL team to kill Osama Bin Laden, his potential opponent in 2012, Donald Trump was busy firing Playmate of the Month Hope Dworaczyk.

I suppose I should be expressing some ambivalence about the targeted killing of another human being. And yet, in this case — uhhhh, no. I’m good with it.

Apparently there is some controversy over Bin Laden’s last words. One report said that they were: “Damn it! ‘What on earth could be interrupting ‘Celebrity Apprentice?!”

Donald Trump is going to make an announcement about running for President on the season finale of ‘Celebrity Apprentice.’ Not to be outdone, on the same night the Cake Boss will reveal his plan for overhauling Medicare.

But most seem to

think that his last words were probably more along the lines of what what most Somali pirates, Al Qaeda bigwigs, and other bad guys usually say when hearing that a SEAL team has come out to play.. : “Oh, crap!”

Bin Laden’s Headstone


Trump takes credit, reports being “proud of myself.”

Bin Laden and his security team are usually much more vigilant, but they were all distracted watching Royal Wedding highlights.

The Republicans will credit extension of the Bush tax cuts for the success of the mission.

Klan wizard Donald Trump and his Buffoons of Bigotry Brigade (they need a new name now that ‘Birthers’ is passe) will claim it’s a hoax and demand to see the long-form death certificate.

“I’ve never wished a man dead . . . but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure” – Mark Twain

SEAL Team Six: When you care enough to send the very best

SEAL Team Six: When you care enough to send the very best

SEAL team Six has an official motto: “The Only Easy Day Was Yesterday”.They also have an unofficial motto (I’m not making this up) which they refer to as WGMATTS. The acronym is for “We get more @ss than toilet seats”. Hey, what do you expect? These are hard-core, to-the-death fighters on a team so black-ops that it technically doesn’t exist. For them, on most missions, like this last one, failure is not an option. It’s either succeed or you don’t come home.So the unofficial motto is part of a darkly macho sense of humor that keeps them going.

They are the best of the best at what they do, and they fight the worst of the worst, and we’re d@mn fortunate to have them on our side. And as far as this American is concerned, lads . . . get some . . . you’ve earned it.



Queen reportedly was upset by learning that the couple have decided to have an open marriage.

Foreign Minister Says Japan Once Again Open for Business

Crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant rebranded as tourist attraction.

Iran: Ahmadinejad Rumored Stepping Down

According to publicist for “Dancing With the Stars.”

U.S. to Give Libyan Rebels $25 Million in Non-Lethal Aid

Half in tanning technology, half in acting classes.

McCain Pushing Libyan Escalation

“Roughly a half-million U.S. troops and it will be a cakewalk.”


Visitors, Banned for 20 Years, Once Again Allowed in Leaning Tower of Pisa

Catastrophic accident insurance now included in price of admission.

(from The Onion) Vatican Beatifies John Paul II As Patron Saint of Ignoring a Serious Problem Until You Die

And then being credited with performing a “miracle” for something that happened AFTER you were dead (more…)

“federal government is now an insurance company with an army” April 9, 2011

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The Government Accountability Office concludes that America faces a “fiscal gap” of $99.4 trillion over the next 75 years, which would mean we would have to increase taxes by 50% or reduce spending by 35% simply to stop accumulating more debt. Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security will together make up 50% of the federal budget by 2021.

For liberals, the long-term fiscal crisis should seem devastating. If entitlement programs continue to grow, they will soon crowd out almost all other government spending. Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein has pointed out that the federal government is now an insurance company with an army. This means that there will be little money left for programs to address income inequality, poverty, education, infrastructure, science and technology, research and all the other purposes of active, energetic government.

via The Ryan Budget: A Test of Character for Obama – TIME.

As The News Bopps Along March 18, 2011

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, In The News, News and politics.
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Cut Here. Invest There December 26, 2010

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Borrowing billions more from China to give ourselves more tax cuts does not qualify. Make no mistake, President Obama has enacted an enormous amount in two years. It’s impressive. But the really hard stuff lies ahead: taking things away. We are leaving an era where to be a mayor, governor, senator or president was, on balance, to give things away to people. And we are entering an era where to be a leader will mean, on balance, to take things away from people. It is the only way we’ll get our fiscal house in order before the market, brutally, does it for us.

To survive in the 21st century, America can no longer afford a politics of irresponsible profligacy. But to thrive in the 21st century — to invest in education, infrastructure and innovation — America cannot afford a politics of mindless austerity either.

The politicians we need are what I’d call “pay-as-you-go progressives” — those who combine fiscal prudence with growth initiatives to make their cities, their states or our country great again. Everyone knows the first rule of holes: When you’re in one, stop digging. But people often forget the second rule of holes: You can only grow your way out. You can’t borrow your way out.

via Cut Here. Invest There. – NYTimes.com.

What We Believe – Poll August 31, 2010

Posted by tkcollier in Humor, Lifestyle, News and politics.
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The latest 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair poll, which surveyed 847 adults by telephone nationwide earlier this month, tracks Americans thoughts on a variety of topics from Afghanistan and illegal drugs to Mel Gibson and sexual harassment at work.

Some highlights:

— 33% of people think ghosts are likely to actually exist; while another 30% voted for the existence of U.F.O.’s. A smaller percentage of folks think vampires, the Loch Ness monster and Bigfoot could exist. Sadly, King Kong and Godzilla did not make the list.

— Nearly 90% of Americans would not try LSD, ecstasy, heroin, crystal meth or crack one time — even if  there was no possibility of harmful physical consequences, criminal charges or addiction.

The October 2010 60 Minutes/Vanity Fair Poll | The Magazine | Vanity Fair.

Ex IMF Chief Economist Warns US April 26, 2010

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The crash has laid bare many unpleasant truths about the United States. One of the most alarming, says a former chief economist of the International Monetary Fund, is that the finance industry has effectively captured our government—a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises. If the IMF’s staff could speak freely about the U.S., it would tell us what it tells all countries in this situation: recovery will fail unless we break the financial oligarchy that is blocking essential reform. And if we are to prevent a true depression, we’re running out of time.

via The Quiet Coup – Magazine – The Atlantic.

What Conservative David Frum Wrote That Caused A Furor March 28, 2010

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No illusions please: This bill will not be repealed. Even if Republicans scored a 1994 style landslide in November, how many votes could we muster to re-open the “doughnut hole” and charge seniors more for prescription drugs? How many votes to re-allow insurers to rescind policies when they discover a pre-existing condition? How many votes to banish 25 year olds from their parents’ insurance coverage? And even if the votes were there – would President Obama sign such a repeal?

We followed the most radical voices in the party and the movement, and they led us to abject and irreversible defeat.

There were leaders who knew better, who would have liked to deal. But they were trapped. Conservative talkers on Fox and talk radio had whipped the Republican voting base into such a frenzy that deal-making was rendered impossible. How do you negotiate with somebody who wants to murder your grandmother? Or – more exactly – with somebody whom your voters have been persuaded to believe wants to murder their grandmother?

When Rush Limbaugh said that he wanted President Obama to fail, he was intelligently explaining his own interests. What he omitted to say – but what is equally true – is that he also wants Republicans to fail. If Republicans succeed – if they govern successfully in office and negotiate attractive compromises out of office – Rush’s listeners get less angry. And if they are less angry, they listen to the radio less, and hear fewer ads for Sleepnumber beds.

via Waterloo | FrumForum.

What The Tea Party And Hippies Have In Common March 5, 2010

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About 40 years ago, a social movement arose to destroy the establishment. The people we loosely call the New Left wanted to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution.

About 40 years ago, a social movement arose to destroy the establishment. The people we loosely call the New Left wanted to take on The Man, return power to the people, upend the elites and lead a revolution.

via Op-Ed Columnist – The Wal-Mart Hippies – NYTimes.com. (more…)

Simple Health-Care Reform August 8, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in health, News and politics.
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There is no logical reason to get health insurance through your employer. This entire system is an accident of World War II wage and price controls. It’s economically senseless. It makes people stay in jobs they hate, decreasing labor mobility and therefore overall productivity. And it needlessly increases the anxiety of losing your job by raising the additional specter of going bankrupt through illness.

The health-care benefit exemption is the largest tax break in the entire U.S. budget, costing the government a quarter-trillion dollars annually. It hinders health-insurance security and portability as well as personal independence. If we additionally eliminated the prohibition on buying personal health insurance across state lines, that would inject new and powerful competition that would lower costs for everyone.

Abolish the entire medical-malpractice system. Create a new social pool from which people injured in medical errors or accidents can draw. The adjudication would be done by medical experts, not lay juries giving away lottery prizes at the behest of the liquid-tongued John Edwardses who pocket a third of the proceeds.

The pool would be funded by a relatively small tax on all health-insurance premiums. Socialize the risk; cut out the trial lawyers. Would that immunize doctors from carelessness or negligence? No. The penalty would be losing your medical license. There is no more serious deterrent than forfeiting a decade of intensive medical training and the livelihood that comes with it.

via Charles Krauthammer – A Better Plan for Health-Care Reform – washingtonpost.com.

Freedom To Criticize Faith Threatened April 12, 2009

Posted by tkcollier in News and politics, Religion.
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History has shown that once governments begin to police speech, they find ever more of it to combat. Countries such as Canada, England and France have prosecuted speakers and journalists for criticizing homosexuals and other groups. It’s the ultimate irony: free speech curtailed for the sake of a pluralistic society.

Religious orthodoxy has always lived in tension with free speech. Yet Western ideals are based on the premise that free speech contains its own protection: Good speech ultimately prevails over bad. There’s no blasphemy among free nations, only orthodoxy and those who seek to challenge it.

via The Free World Bars Free Speech – washingtonpost.com.

Charles Krauthammer – The Obama Inaugural: Hail Washington — Not Lincoln January 24, 2009

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This from one of the “Conservative” voices that Obama dined with at George Will’s house just before the Inauguration Speech reviewed below. Fascinating speech. It was so rhetorically flat, so lacking in rhythm and cadence, one almost has to believe he did it on purpose. Best not to dazzle on Opening Day. Otherwise, they’ll expect magic all the time.

The most striking characteristic of Barack Obama is not his nimble mind, engaging manner or wide-ranging intellectual curiosity. It’s the absence of neediness. He’s Bill Clinton, master politician, but without the hunger.

Clinton craves your adulation (the source of all his troubles). Obama will take it, but he can leave it, too. He is astonishingly self-contained. He gives what he must to advance his goals, his programs, his ambitions. But no more. He has no need to.

via Charles Krauthammer – The Obama Inaugural: Hail Washington — Not Lincoln.

France’s Obama December 24, 2008

Posted by tkcollier in News and politics.
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Born in France to poor Muslim immigrant parents, French Justice Minister Rachida Dati is a powerful symbol of a society that is changing rapidly, if reluctantly. Intelligent, young, ambitious, attractive, she is a fighter driven by outsize ambition and cheekiness in a country where immigrants rarely attain stellar heights in business, academia, the media, or government. Her ascendance is the French version of “Yes We Can.”

via The Storm Around France’s First Muslim Cabinet Minister, Rachida Dati – US News and World Report.

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