What is ISIS trying to achieve?

It seems like not a day passes without hearing about yet another atrocity carried out by the group known as ISIS (or ISIL or IS). The level of horrific actions, such as the most recent brutal beheadings by ISIS of a large number of Egyptian Christians, seems to be steadily increasing and designed to provoke the west and draw them further into the conflict. It seems likely that ISIS is going to keep upping the shock value of their actions until they get what they want. But what do they want exactly and why would ISIS want to goad the world’s largest military power into a fight against them?
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Infrastructure – The Movie

Jon Oliver has another excellent investigative report, this time on the way that America’s leaders act so cavalierly about the nation’s crumbling infrastructure. The American public of course thinks that raising money to pay for repairs and maintenance is a sign that godless Communists are taking over by taxing the rich of their hard-earned dollars when that money could be used to buy yachts. They seem to think that elves will magically appear in the night and repair things for free.
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What Iranians think about Netanyahu’s visit to the US

There has been quite a to-do about Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s visit to the US and his speech today to the joint session of Congress. For the first time that I can remember, there was not universal approval in Congress and the establishment media about his blatant attempt to direct US foreign policy and undermine negotiations with Iran.
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Filing false charges against the innocent

Radley Balko highlights another case where police were caught red-handed completely manufacturing false charges against Stephen Dendinger whose only ‘offense’ was that he was the person who delivered process papers to a police officer at a police station who had been charged with acting brutally against his nephew. This serving of papers is something that happens routinely all the time as part of the legal process.
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What Fox News and Republicans stand for

Jon Stewart is at his best when responding to Fox News attacks on him. His announcement that he was leaving the show sometime later this year led them to reflect on his influence and argue that he brought little to the national political conversation except lies, snarkiness, selective editing, and unfair characterization of them and the Republican party. It is clear that, as one of the major media figures who consistently outs their deceitful propaganda, he has got under their skin.

In responding, he gives an excellent analysis of what they stand for, why they are so successful at driving home their damaging message, and how we should respond.
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The ugly secret of South Asian color prejudice

If you are a member of a group in America that is viewed with disdain by conservatives, there are few faster ways to career advancement than to espouse the views of those same conservatives. You will be hugely rewarded with political support, jobs, and media visibility on conservative outlets like Fox News. Conservatives will gratefully accept the chance to have people of color spout derogatory statements about other people of color, since this enables them to get those views out but provides them immunity from the charge of racism.
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Film review: The Newburgh Sting (2014)

This is an absolutely riveting, must-see HBO documentary directed and edited by Kate David and David Heilbroner about four men accused in 2009 of plotting to carry out a terrorist plot. We all know that the US government uses money and other lures to coax young minor criminals who have no prospects and little sense into signing on to hare-brained schemes of violence so that the government can then triumphantly unmask the plot. They also carefully manufacture a link with a mosque in order to exploit the fears and anti-Muslim sentiment of the US public.
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