Knowing nothing

What do I know?
thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
Tunisian opposition is threatening further mass protest to force the ouster of the Islamist-led government.
A special report in the Independent on “lawlessness and brutality” in post-war Libya.
The daughter of former Libyan spy chief Abdullah al-Senussi has been kidnapped. 
Egypt’s Interior Minister, Mohamed Ibrahim, escaped an assassination attempt. 
The Somali president escaped an ambush on his motorcade.
Kenya mulls leaving the ICC.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee passed a resolution on Wednesday backing President Obama’s request for use of force in Syria.
Serious evidence of Syrian rebel brutality is a problem for Western plans and ideas for intervening.
Rebels linked to Al Qaeda attacked a regime-held Christian village in the west.
A graphic novella, “Why I Fight for a Free Syria,” created based on Al Jazeera journalist Fotini Christia’s interview with a rebel fighter on the Turkey-Syria border. 
The UN says more than 2 million have fled Syria.
The Samir Kassir Foundation released a report on lessons on journalists’ security in war and conflict zones from the Syrian conflict.
Steve Coll writes about crossing the line and the politics of chemical weapons. 
The origins and history of the term “red line.”
Here is what weapons experts believe to be the design of the rockets used in chemical weapons attacks.
Kenneth Cole weighs in (to much backlash) on “boots on the ground.”
The stories of four Syrian refugees in Lebanon.
A former Syrian soldier tells what life was like in Assad’s army.
Where Congress stands on Syria.
Polling shows most Americans (almost six in ten) are against intervention in Syria.
A video interview with photojournalist Goran Tomasevic and a small collection of some of his stunning photos of Syria. 
Two years of photos of the Syrian war.
Former Turkish Ismail Hakki Karadayi went on trial (along with 102 others) on Monday for the 1997 coup.
In Iraq, 12 were killed in attacks that targeted security forces and 16 people died when a gunman attacked Shiite families on Wednesday. more than 56 were killed in shootings and car bombings on Tuesday. (Apologies for the fragmented way in which I record violence and body counts in Iraq. As of right now it’s a little difficult to keep track, given the volume and frequency of attacks and fluctuations in media coverage. There are undoubtedly gaps in what I put here.)
These car bombings in Iraq have a familiarity to them.
Violence has broken out in an Iraqi camp for dissident Iranians. The Mujahideen e-Khalq have accused Iraqi forces of attacking Camp Ashraf and killing 52, while Iraqi officials strongly deny this.
A former British private testified in a public inquiry into atrocities in Iraq that he saw his platoon leader fire into the bodies of “twitching” Iraqi gunmen lying in a ditch in 2004, among other things.
Iran’s new President Rouhani will address the UN at the yearly session.
Bahrain’s justice minister has ordered that political groups must seek permission to meet with foreign diplomats or agencies.
The Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction’s quarterly report to Congress.
The Taliban attacked a US base in eastern Afghanistan along a key supply route.
In GQ, Matthieu Aikins tells the story of last year’s Battle of Bastion.
The Atlantic's In Focus blog: The Women of the Afghanistan War.
Human Rights Watch reports on abuse of women and girls through domestic violence and child marriage in Afghanistan.
Pakistan’s supreme court rejected a bid to seek action against the US’s drone strike program.
Top secret intelligence documents show an intense focus on Pakistan.
North Korea has agreed to reopen the military hotline with Seoul.
Soledad O’Brien interviews Baby Doc.
Romanian prosecutors charged Communist-era prison commander Alexandru Visinescu with genocide.
Documents obtained by the Washington Post through Snowden show Al Qaeda’s efforts to combat drones. 
New leak reports in The Guardian reveal that British and US national security agency are capable of breaking encryption on emails, banking and medical records. [The document]
The NSA also seriously collaborates with tech companies, both covertly and overtly influencing their product design.
Five tips on NSA-proofing your internet (not actually completely NSA-proof, unfortunately, that’s increasingly impossible).
The author of the Patriot Act, Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, is accusing the NSA of abusing the act’s authorities and has filed an amicus curiae brief in district court in support of the ACLU in their attempt to get the judicial system to halt surveillance. 
Ann Friedman writes on the wisdom (or lack thereof) of truly inexperienced foreign reporting with no institutional support inspired by Amanda Lindhout’s story. 
"It is essentially the woman who is on trial, and the trial can be worse than the rape," — on military sexual assault trials.
Photo: Gaza City. A young boy watches as members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades parade. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty.

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Gaza City. A young boy watches as members of the Ezzedine al-Qassam Brigades parade. Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty.

scienceyoucanlove:


How Money Worries Can Scramble Your Thinking




by MICHAELEEN DOUCLEFF
 
There’s no question that dealing with mortgages, car payments and other bills takes up time and energy. But having a tight budget may also zap our ability to think clearly, scientists reportThursday in the journal Science.
In a series of clever experiments involving farmers in India and shoppers in New Jersey, scientists found that people are worse at solving puzzles — similar to those on the IQ test — when they’re first reminded of money problems.
"Financial constraints capture a lot of your attention," says Eldar Shafir, a psychologist at Princeton University, who helped lead the study. “Then there’s less bandwidth left to solve problems. Your cognitive ability starts to slow down, just like a computer.”
And the effect is big. After a quick reminder about money issues, people’s performance on the puzzles drops down by at least a quarter — or approximately the same mental hit a person takes after staying up all night.
In the study, Shafir and his colleagues approached people at a shopping mall in Lawrenceville, N.J., and asked them how much money they earn. “We had a pretty good selection of middle-to-low income Americans,” Shafir tells Shots. The lowest salaries were about $20,000 and the average was about $70,000.
Before the participants started the puzzles, they answered a question about money: “A person’s car breaks down, and they need X dollars to fix it. Tell me what are the options they have available?”
People with lower incomes did just as well on the tests as those with higher salaries when the amount of money required to fix the car was low, like $100. But when the scientists raised the amount to $1,500, the less affluent participants performed worse on the puzzles.
"The money question tickles that part of the brain that has to do with your own finances," saysSendhil Mullainathan, an economist at Harvard University who also led the study. “Then you start thinking, ‘Gee, how I am going to pay rent this month?’ ” And that interferes with your ability to think through a problem, he says.
The team found a similar trend with farmers in southern India, who get paid only once per year. Right before the sugarcane harvest, the farmers are financially strained. Immediately afterward, they’re flush again. It turns out that just before harvest, the farmers performed worse on the IQ puzzles than they did after receiving their money.
"If you just look on paper at their income, these people [in New Jersey and India] aren’t in poverty," Mullainathan says. "But they’re financially stretched. The mechanism that we’re looking at is more about being financially stretched than in poverty."
About half of Americans fall into this category, Mullainathan says. People are worried each month about getting all the bills paid.
Just realizing the effect exists could help people to counter it, he says. “If you’re making a decision that actually requires you to sit down and think, you should probably wait until your mind isn’t taxed by financial problems,” he says.
Mullainathan and Safir say the study’s findings could have broader implications. “There’s an ongoing, heavy debate about why it’s difficult for the poor to get out of poverty,” Safir says. “We’re giving a new perspective to that question.”
In many instances, it’s not that the poor aren’t as smart or capable of planning compared as richer people, he says. Rather, being poor takes up more mental capacity. “When the poor focus on something, they manage their dollar better than the rich do, ” Shafir says. “But while they’re doing that very well, they have less attention to focus on other things.”
source 

scienceyoucanlove:

How Money Worries Can Scramble Your Thinking

Robert Reich: Syria and the Reality at Home in America

robertreich:

While all eyes are on Syria and America’s response, the real economy in which most Americans live is sputtering.

More than four years after the recession officially ended, 11.5 million Americans are unemployed, many of them for years. Nearly 4 million have given up looking for work…

Amen.

theamericanprospect:


Virginia is one of four states—along with Florida, Iowa, and Kentucky—that strip voting rights from felons for life. The U.S. is the world’s only democracy that permits permanent disenfranchisement. While most states have some restrictions on felons voting, it takes a decree from the governor or a clemency board to restore voting rights in the four states with lifetime bans. In Virginia alone, 450,000 residents are disenfranchised. In Florida, the total is an astonishing 1.5 million.

Jamelle Bouie unpacks the ridiculous felony-disenfranchisement laws in the U.S.

theamericanprospect:

Virginia is one of four states—along with Florida, Iowa, and Kentucky—that strip voting rights from felons for life. The U.S. is the world’s only democracy that permits permanent disenfranchisement. While most states have some restrictions on felons voting, it takes a decree from the governor or a clemency board to restore voting rights in the four states with lifetime bans. In Virginia alone, 450,000 residents are disenfranchised. In Florida, the total is an astonishing 1.5 million.

Jamelle Bouie unpacks the ridiculous felony-disenfranchisement laws in the U.S.

sourcedumal:

This fucking rings true today

Folks love to say ‘well it’s better than before!”

Is it really?

Is it really?

Dig deep and look at the way things have gone.

We’ve just gone from overt to covert in terms of racism.

That’s all.

Finally something worth reblogging

(via racialicious)