Monthly Archives: October 2015

Cop Accused of Manslaughter Receives Federal Immunity

Back in 2013, a man named Larry Jackson, Jr. was shot and killed by a police officer. The tragedy occurred after Jackson visited his local bank, which was the target of a bank robbery earlier that day. By all accounts, Jackson was not involved in that robbery, but he was confronted by police and ultimately ran away. The police officer pursued Jackson, caught him, and ultimately killed him in the ensuing altercation. The police officer insists his gun discharged by accident, while Jackson’s family contends it was intentional–noting that Jackson was shot in the back of the head, “execution style” in the words of the family’s lawyer.

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When the US Almost Started a Nuclear War by Accident

Today’s story is an in-depth account from a former member of the US Air Force who served on one of the nuclear missile launch teams during the Cold War. Speaking to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, the airman retells a previously unheard of story in which his team received official nuclear launch codes by accident during the especially tense period known as the Cuban Missile Crisis. Ultimately, his team narrowly avoided launching 32 nuclear warheads due to the courageous skepticism of one officer.

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Criminalizing Free Speech Against Israel

This week, the France’s court of appeals upheld the criminal conviction of anti-Israel activists. The activists were convicted of inciting hate or discrimination based on the following nefarious behavior (per the Forward):

The individuals arrived at the supermarket wearing shirts emblazoned with the words: “Long live Palestine, boycott Israel.” They also handed out fliers that said that “buying Israeli products means legitimizing crimes in Gaza.”

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The Curious Definition of “Combat”

As you may know, the US currently has approximately 3,500 troops on the ground in Iraq as part of a so-called “train, advise, and assist” mission. Officially, these troops are not in an “active combat” role, and there is no official war in Iraq or Syria, either declared or authorized in any other fashion by Congress. And yet, last Thursday, an American soldier died in a gunfight, during a raid of ISIS prison.

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There’s a Coup Happening in Portugal?

Portugal held parliamentary elections on October 4, which resulted in left-leaning parties gaining a majority of the seats (51%). This would be a changing of the guard in Portugal which has had aconservative president since 2006 and a conservative prime minister since 2011. The left-leaning parties campaigned in large part on a platform of anti-austerity. You see, like Greece, Portugal ran into debt issues and received a financial bailout 2011 that required them to implement austerity measures. These austerity measures didn’t turn the country around too quickly, though, and were massively unpopular; that’s what led to the left-leaning parties winning this election.

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How the Benghazi Investigation Missed the Point

Yesterday, Hillary Clinton was forced to testify in front of the House Select Committee on Benghazi. And predictably, this episode proved to be a pretty big waste of time. Even reading Fox News’ account of the proceedings, which would surely exaggerate any items of interest, proved to be decidedly boring. I provided the link above, but consider yourself warned.

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CIA Director’s Personal Email Hacked

News broke this week that CIA director John Brennan had his personal email account hacked by a few teenagers. As luck would have it, this email account included sensitive information that probably wasn’t supposed to be there, and the teenagers provided this material to WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks began publishing the material online yesterday.

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Ben Carson Almost Makes a Good Point on Foreign Policy

Ben Carson sat down for an interview this past weekend with ABC, and came perilously close to making a good point regarding the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. Upon further questioning, it became apparent that he actually had no idea what he was talking about. But since it was in the news, I thought we’d take the opportunity to recall a part of this story that is often forgotten.

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Bias and Context in Israel

Tensions in Israel and Palestine continue to rise, and the news coverage of this subject has been predictably biased. Now, there’s nothing inherently wrong with biased journalism–obviously, it’s what we’re doing here. But there is a problem when that bias is left unstated, and the reader is left to assume it was an objective account of the news. That’s our focus for the day.

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