The myth of decisive technological advantage in warfare

Andrew Cockburn is very good journalist who has covered a whole range of activities but his specialty is analyses of the military-political connection. He is now the Washington editor for Harper’s magazine and was interviewed on The Daily Show about his new book titled Kill Chain that discusses the illusion that warmongers in the US have that their technological superiority will enable them to overcome their enemies, a myth that has been retained despite its repeated failures going back at least as far as the Vietnam war.
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When the new normal is better than the old normal

Recently my daughter told me that her friend from high school, whom I also know and happens to be the daughter of a colleague, had got married and was pregnant. She is in a same-sex marriage. Another colleague of mine, also in a same-sex marriage, just had a baby too. What struck me was how ordinary this news seemed to me. Just a decade ago, same-sex couples getting married and giving birth to children would have been big news. Now I find myself responding pretty much the way I would to news of an opposite-sex marriage and pregnancy of people I know, happy for the couple, wishing them well, and then moving on to other things.
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Conan O’Brien visits a cigar factory in Cuba

One of the good things about the loosening of travel restrictions to Cuba is that more and more people from the US will get to mingle with the Cuban population and find out what the people there are really like and rid themselves of absurd misconceptions about them.

In this clip, Conan O’Brien visits one of the factories where they produce their world-famous cigars entirely by hand to see how they do it and to try his hand at making one. Note the expressions of the woman in the beige dress on his right.
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An ‘open letter’ from Iran to the Republicans

The letter sent by 47 US senators to Iran continues to send shock waves through the political establishment. The White House has gleefully listed many US newspaper editorial boards that have roundly condemned it. About 250,000 people have signed a petition calling for the prosecution of the senators for treason. Even Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamanei has slammed the letter as showing the ‘disintegration’ of US politics.
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How to cover breaking news

Conan O’Brien has a zany sense of humor and on a recent visit to Cuba he tried to figure out if he had what it takes to work at CNN during what news networks love to refer to as a ‘breaking news event’ where the host has to spend a lot of time on camera and maintain interest in the audience even though little has happened since the first event and hardly anything newsworthy is occurring.
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The fallout from the Republican letter to Iran

The fallout continues from the letter sent by 47 Republican senators to the leaders of Iran, condescendingly explaining the US system of governance to them and explaining why they should not trust any deal they arrive at with the US government. Not only has the letter produced an angry response from the Obama administration, it was also a grossly inaccurate oversimplification of the US president’s power to negotiate agreements with other nations.
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The other King of the Jews

The Daily Show had fun with Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that he speaks for all Jews and the rapturous reception he got from the US Congress, saying “It was the State of the Union speech the Republicans wanted delivered by the leader they wished they had.” He also highlighted all the previous times that Netanyahu has cried wolf about Iran’s nuclear threat.
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