Right-Sizing The Military, Ctd

The Dish

Stephen Mihm explains what Chuck Hagel’s 2015 defense budget might mean for the economy:

Hagel’s proposal to cut the military spells trouble for the stock market, right? Actually, no. The headlines about plans to reduce the size of the Army by 6 percent obscured the news that, over the coming years, the actual level of defense spending is set to rise slowly, from $535 billion in 2016 to $559 billion in 2019. And that’s before members of Congress move to shelter their districts’ pet projects.

In fact, what most analysts have missed is that the reduction is strictly in the number of active personnel, not overall military expenditures.

Joyner supports the cuts:

Hagel and the Joint Chiefs have repeatedly emphasized—correctly, in my judgment—that it’s far preferable to take the risks associated with a small but highly trained and well equipped force than those associated with a larger but “hollow” force…

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Assad’s Weapon Of Choice

The Dish

Hunger :

 Starvation thrives on the confusion and social disruption of war; famines and food shortages tend to have multiple factors. This makes it easy to portray them as unfortunate but inevitable, the outcome of tragic circumstance (potato blight in Ireland) rather than deliberate manipulation (British exports of Irish grain). The hunger in Syria is creating a new class of warlords among rebel commanders—a perfect excuse for the regime to employ its usual passive-aggressive politics of shifting the blame, by promoting the fiction that “both sides” are using siege tactics (a claim that sources inside Syria call ridiculous).

Michael Totten declares that we’re “not doing anything real about Syria, we were never going to do anything real about Syria, nor will we do anything real in the future”:

I thought we should get involved in a limited capacity by backing moderate regime opponents when they still had a…

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The Expanding Right To Bear Arms

The Dish

Last week, the Ninth Circuit issued what Lyle Denniston calls “the most sweeping decision yet on the right to carry a gun in public places.” David Kopel points out that “shall issue” is becoming the rule rather than the exception:image001-carry

Zach Weissmueller supports the ruling:

In its ruling, the court wrote that “to forbid nearly all forms of public arms bearing would be to destroy the right to bear arms entirely.” California issues concealed carry permits on a “may issue” basis, meaning that in many counties, citizens must apply to the county’s sheriff department and show “good cause” to have a [concealed carry weapon (CCW) permit]. A majority of states have a “shall issue” rule, which forces local governments to justify the denial of a permit by citing a criminal record, mental health issue, or some other potential public safety risk. Approximately 0.1% of California citizens have CCWs, which is almost 20 times lower…

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Something that I will be working and blogging on.

I have been developing a film on sexual violence, and as many projects do, this one has evolved into talking about the sexual violence, the sex trade which includes child prostitution. I am talking about forced prostitution. I know this is a  heavy subject; but it is a subject that needs to be  discussed in our society. We need to be adults about this as well as be proactive. Yes, I am asking you to get involved in ending these this. I will give you information that will allow you to get involved and be the solution.  Ignoring it won’t make it go away.  So I will be writing on this these subjects. I will give you hard facts and the tools to get to work.  I trust in and have faith that you will join me in being the answer to this problem, which is a corrosion to our society.

Thank you.

Check out my film blog.  My Journey into Film   

Christianity In China

The Dish

Alex Jürgen Thumm clarifies its role:

Misconceptions abound about China, and that’s no less the case when it comes to the dish_chinachristianity country’s Christian population. Many assume a Communist country that is officially atheist would allow no religion. (Mao Zedong once said “religion is poison.”) But religious freedom is guaranteed in the 1978 constitution — or at least what the government considers “normal religious activity,” occurring in government-sanctioned places of worship serving one of the five official faiths: Buddhism, Taoism, Islam, Protestantism and Catholicism. Religion is on the rise in China, with one-third of people claiming an affiliation. To all my Chinese friends’ surprise, there are as many as 130 million Christians in China; the only countries with more are the United States and Brazil. Churchgoers in China outnumber those in all of Europe.

In an interview, religion scholar Richard Madsen discusses the country’s growing Catholic population:

The Catholic Church has…

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Russia’s Gay-Bashing Culture, Ctd

Really important read.

The Dish

HRW highlights anti-gay assaults in Russia:

I just recorded a new Deep Dish podcast with Masha Gessen on the state-of-play in Russia (stay tuned). Meanwhile, Jeff Sharlet traveled to Russia to meet with LGBT activists and their opposition. He talked to Timur Isaev, who torments gay Russians:

As young men, he and his friends liked to hunt and beat gays. “For fun,” he says. But then he became a father. Like many parents, he worried about the Internet. Late at night, he studied it. He watched YouTube. “Girls,” he says, “young girls, undressing themselves.” Using a special “tool for developers,” he says, he was able to discern that the other people watching these videos at 2 a.m. were homosexual men. “The analysis of their accounts,” he says, “showed that they also watched young boys.” That’s when Timur realized he must become an activist. For the children.

Timur bought a video camera…

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