Taking a break from political debates

I have decided to take a break from watching the debates and town halls held by the Democratic and Republican candidates. I started watching the Democratic town hall on Wednesday but soon got tired of it. I think it is because as a fairly close observer of politics, I am not learning anything new about the candidates’ views from these events. I think I pretty much know where they stand so watching would be largely for style not substance and I am not that interested in style. I figure that if they say something really new or interesting, I will hear or read about it elsewhere.
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What war does

Words cannot adequately describe the horrors that wars inflict on people. In this video captured by drones flying over the city of Homs in Syria, we get a look at the staggering levels of devastation that has been inflicted on the people of that city. This used to be the third largest city in Syria and a major industrial center. It is heartbreaking to see the impoverishment of yet another country in that region similar to the way that Iraq and Libya, other countries that had a modern infrastructure, were ruined by wars.
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UN panel says that Julian Assange has been kept in ‘arbitrary detention’

The Guardian is reporting that Julian Assange’s three and a half years holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London constitutes “arbitrary detention”. The official report is to be released tomorrow though the British and Swedish governments were informed two weeks ago. Assange’s lawyers are already calling for him to be allowed to leave the embassy without the threat of extradition to the US hanging over him.
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Score a win for the Satanists

In a post a few days ago, I wrote about how The Satanic Temple had applied to deliver the opening prayer at a meeting of the Phoenix, AZ city council. The council had been having opening prayers for over sixty years but the 2014 Greece v Galloway decision by the US Supreme Court had required government entities that offered such prayers to open it up to all groups and thus avoid the appearance of endorsing specific viewpoints.
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Rand Paul also bows out

Rand Paul has dropped out of the Republican race for his party’s presidential nomination after coming in fifth in Iowa. I thought that he would stay in at least until the New Hampshire primary because the evangelical climate of Iowa was not really conducive to his campaign and the more libertarian streak in New Hampshire would be better for him. But his poll numbers were poor there too and he must have decided it was hopeless to carry on.
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Uh-oh, Ted Cruz has made Ben Carson mad

Ben Carson is mad at Ted Cruz because he says that Cruz’s campaign sabotaged his own by circulating a false rumor at caucus voting precincts that Carson had suspended his campaign and thus depressed the vote for him. This is a serious charge against Cruz that has been substantiated and adds to his reputation as a really nasty guy willing to not just lie but stoop to any kind of dirty tricks to get his way.
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Barrett Brown’s latest letter from prison

I have written before about journalist Barrett Brown who is currently in federal prison (see here, here, and here). The Intercept has been periodically publishing his letters from prison and they make for fascinating reading about life inside. He casts a sardonic eye on his surroundings and manages to wring humor out of his experience though I suspect that it is a lot more grim than he makes out. He has just been transferred to a different medium security prison at the Federal Correctional Institution Three Rivers after a series of run-ins with the authorities at the previous prison in Fort Worth that resulted in him being sent repeatedly to the ‘hole’, the name prisoners give to solitary confinement.
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Watch shameless Ted Cruz lie again

The ability of people who are seeking to run for the US presidency to lie so brazenly never ceases to amaze me. At the risk of beating a dead horse, here is another example of how some Republican presidential candidates simply make stuff up and are not at all embarrassed at being called on it. In fact, they have turned the response to being caught lying into an art form.
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