North America

Meadows: Freedom Caucus eyeing $1.5 trillion debt ceiling increase

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Some House Freedom Caucus conservatives want to raise the debt ceiling by a smaller amount than the Trump administration would like — just long enough to clear the 2018 mid-term elections, the… Rachael Bade Politico The Freedom Caucus has not taken an official position on a specific… But Chairman Mark Meadows emerged from a group meeting Tuesday night saying some of his conservative colleagues are looking at a $1.5… Meadows: Freedom Caucus… Read More »

How to Go the Resistance Distance: Pop-Up Schools for Novice Activists

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Modeled after the Civil Rights Era’s citizenship and freedom schools, the new Sojourner Truth School for Social Change Leadership teaches skills for the… Chuck Collins yes! More than 200 people crammed into a meeting room at Smith College to listen to Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum speak at the May 4 opening ceremony of the… The new school provides in-person training opportunities in activism in five… How to Go… Read More »

America’s Political Gamble in Syria May Not Pay Off

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President Trump’s plan to defeat the Islamic State relies on the complex web of relations between the United States, Turkey and the… Matthew RJ Brodsky The National Interest As the Islamic State’s territory continues to shrink in the Middle East, its henchmen and those inspired by the extremist group are increasingly lashing out at soft targets in the… The types of attacks recently experienced in London and Manchester are likely to continue until the… America’s Political Gamble… Read More »

How Illinois became America’s failed state

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The Land of Lincoln is drowning in red ink. And it’s about to have its most expensive election ever. Natasha Korecki Politico Illinois has compiled $14.6 billion in unpaid bills. It’s running a deficit of $6 billion and its pension liability has soared to $130 billion. That’s not the worst of it. The state’s nearly two-year failure to pass a budget has sent its bond ratings careening toward junk level, downgraded a… How Illinois became… Read More »

Qatar blockade: Gulf states silent on Tillerson plea to ease measures

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Nations behind a blockade on Qatar have welcomed strong comments from President Donald Trump backing their move, but were silent on calls from his secretary of state to ease the measures. BBC Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt and Bahrain have cut ties, accusing Qatar of funding terrorism. Qatar denies the accusations. The UAE hailed Mr Trump’s “leadership”. But the states did not respond to Secretary of… Qatar blockade: Gulf… Read More »

Turkey: NATO’s Odd One Out

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY Discounting the sincerity of Turkish President Erdoğan’s fiercely anti-western rhetoric ahead of the April 16 referendum is akin to disregarding bitter facts about once staunch NATO ally Turkey. Burak Bekdil       BESA NATO’s deepening “Turkey problem” is contained in the country’s Islamist ideology, conspicuous “un-likemindedness”, and democratic anomalies, which stand against NATO’s founding values of safeguarding freedom and the… Turkey: NATO’s Odd… Read More »

Trump’s FBI pick from law firm that ‘helped Gülen-linked bank go international’

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U.S. President Donald Trump’s choice to lead the FBI is a white-collar defense lawyer with a strong law enforcement background. Hurriyet But in Turkey the nomination of Christopher Wray has raised eyebrows, with Turkish media reporting his previous involvement in helping Bank Asya, linked to the movement of U.S.-based Islamic preacher Fethullah Gülen, open its… King & Spalding, in which Wray had… Trump’s FBI pick… Read More »

Russia sanctions talks leave Iran bill hanging in the balance

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Ongoing Senate talks on a bipartisan Russia sanctions proposal are testing the ability of powerful GOP chairmen to work together on a package that can avoid imperiling passage of the Iran sanctions bill it could hitch a ride to. Elana Schor Politico Leaders in both parties say they want to vote on a plan to punish Russia as an amendment to the Iran sanctions bill that senators voted to move ahead with on Wednesday. Senate Minority Leader Chuck… Russia sanctions ... Read More »

Ambassador Slammed Donald Trump Amid UAE Campaign To Isolate Qatar

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“On what planet can trump be a president??” Yousef Al Otaiba wrote in an email on election night. Akbar Shahid Ahmed HuffPost WASHINGTON ― Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirates’ ambassador to the U.S. and a confidant of White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, repeatedly criticized President Donald Trump in private correspondence last year ― including with… Otaiba, one of the most powerful diplomats in Washington, figures in an… Ambassador Slammed Donald… Read More »

Commencement speaker warns graduates: ‘You are entering a low social esteem, often thankless, profession’

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Commencement speeches are, by and large, moments when a speaker tries to “uplift” graduating students with hopeful expectation for the… Valerie Strauss The Washington Post By his own admission, speaker Elias Vlanton did something a bit different Friday, when he delivered the address to graduates of the Master of Arts in Teaching program at St. Mary’s College of… [The greatest commencement speech ever] Vlanton, who taught social studies in… Commencement speaker warns… Read More »

Teaching Humility in an Age of Arrogance

Humility 1a James Yang for The Chronicle Review

”Humility” isn’t a word that most academics — or Americans — identify with. Michael Patrick Lynch The Chronicle Review                                             Indeed, if there is a single attitude most closely associated with our culture, it’s the opposite of humility. The defining trait of the age seems to be arrogance — in particular, the kind of arrogance personified by our tweeter in chief; the arrogance of thinking that you know it all and… Teaching Humility in… Read More »

Beijing defends sovereignty at sea

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Foreign Ministry says US, Japan out of line in comments about Nansha Islands By ZHAO LEI in Singapore | China Daily China strongly opposes irresponsible remarks concerning China made by the defense ministers of the United States and Japan at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, a… Hua Chunying said in a news release published on the ministry’s website that China has indisputable sovereignty of the Nansha Islands and its surrounding waters and has been consistently seeking to peacefully… Beijing defends ... Read More »

Why Mueller Is Taking Over the Michael Flynn Grand Jury

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The special counsel is consolidating his control of existing investigations—and may gain leverage over the former national-security adviser in the process. Matt Ford The Atlantic Special Counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly taking command of the federal probe into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s Turkish lobbying deals, a move that could give him leverage over a… Reuters reported Friday that Mueller will now oversee an… Why Mueller Is… Read More »

Ethics office will press White House on undated conflict-of-interest waivers

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The Office of Government Ethics plans to press the White House to clarify when it issued a slew of ethics waivers giving its staffers permission to interact with their former employers or clients, an indication that the… Matea Gold  The Washington Post Ten of the 14 waivers publicly disclosed this week by the White House are undated and unsigned, raising questions about when they… Particularly troubling, ethics experts said, was a… Ethics office will… Read More »

MIT issues statement regarding research on Paris Agreement

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MIT issued the following statement on Thursday, June 1 2017. A set of talking points circulated in support of President Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Agreement included this statement: “The [Paris] deal also accomplishes LITTLE for the climate MIT “According to researchers at MIT, if all member nations met their obligations, the impact on the climate would be negligible. The impacts have… The researchers in MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and MIT issues statement… Read More »

Nagorno-Karabakh’s Gathering War Clouds

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Armenia and Azerbaijan are once again on collision course along increasingly active front lines in and around Nagorno-Karabakh. ICG Mediators Russia, France and the U.S., should pressure Yerevan and Baku to tone down inflammatory rhetoric, agree to talks and take steps towards… Executive Summary A year after Nagorno-Karabakh’s April 2016 violent flare-up, Armenia and… Nagorno-Karabakh’s Gathering… Read More »