Venezuela’s Guaido says intelligence agents detained his chief of staff | Reuters


Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido said on Thursday intelligence agents had detained his chief of staff following a pre-dawn raid, signaling that President Nicolas Maduro may be cracking down on the opposition’s challenge to his rule.

Source: Venezuela’s Guaido says intelligence agents detained his chief of staff | Reuters

Forgotten Victims: The children of Islamic State.


More than 1,000 foreign children of Islamic State fighters and their wives are caught in the wheels of Iraqi justice. Those as young as nine face prosecution.

The children are the forgotten victims of Islamic State: betrayed by the parents who took them to a war zone, groomed from the age of four in the militants’ poisonous ideology and, in many instances, abandoned by the countries they came from for fear they are a future threat.

In some 20 interviews, diplomats, the children’s mothers and sources familiar with their cases and the penitentiary system described the youngsters’ ordeal.

Source: Forgotten Victims: The children of Islamic State.

Democracy, the China challenge, and the 2020 elections in Taiwan


The people of Taiwan should be proud of their success in consolidating democracy over recent decades.

Taiwan enjoys a vibrant civil society, a flourishing media, individual liberties, and an independent judiciary that is capable of serving as a check on abuses of power. Taiwan voters have ushered in three peaceful transfers of power between major political parties in the past two decades. Nowadays, even as democracies in other parts of the world are bending under the weight of populist and nationalist surges, Taiwan steadily serves as a democratic beacon for the region and the world.

At the same time, Taiwan faces a unique challenge to its democratic form of governance from mainland China.

Source: Democracy, the China challenge, and the 2020 elections in Taiwan

Warren calls for scrapping U.S. electoral college in 2020 televised town hall | Reuters


Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of more than a dozen Democrats vying for the 2020 presidential nomination, on Monday called for the scrapping of the electoral college, the method used to elect U.S. presidents.

It was the first time Warren has explicitly called to eliminate the system established by the U.S. constitution, in which each state is allotted a set number of “electors” based on the combined total of the state’s representation in Congress.

Source: Warren calls for scrapping U.S. electoral college in 2020 televised town hall | Reuters

Conventional thinking and the aircraft carrier: is the formidable vessel one of the most vulnerable ships?


The hubris of the battleship Navy was such that just nine days before Pearl Harbor, the official program for the 1941 Army-Navy game displayed a full page photograph of the battleship USS Arizona with language virtually extolling its invincibility.

The aircraft carrier decisively replaced the battleship as the Navy’s sea control capital ship, but its reign in that capacity was, in reality, quite brief.

The aircraft carrier established its ascendancy in the Battle of Midway and was the centerpiece of five major sea battles between 1942 and 1944.

Source: Conventional thinking and the aircraft carrier: is the formidable vessel one of the most vulnerable ships?

Why are millennials burned out? Capitalism. | Vox

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“If Millennials are different, it’s not because we’re more or less evolved than our parents or grandparents, it’s because they’ve changed the world in ways that have produced people like us.”

That’s how Malcolm Harris, an editor at the online magazine the New Inquiry, begins his book Kids These Days: Human Capital and the Making of Millennials. It’s a smart, contrarian look at the social and economic problems plaguing millennials — defined as people born between 1980 and 2000.

But it’s not a typical defense of millennials. Harris, who is a millennial (as am I), makes no attempt to undercut the complaints of baby boomers — namely, that millennials are anxious, spoiled, and narcissistic.

Instead, he asks: What made millennials the way they are? Why are they so burned out? Why are they having fewer kids? Why are they getting married later? Why are they obsessed with efficiency and technology?

And his answer, in so many words, is the economy.

Millennials, he argues, are bearing the brunt of the economic damage wrought by late-20th-century capitalism.

Source: Why are millennials burned out? Capitalism. – Vox

Britain heads into Brexit unknown as parliament votes on no-deal exit | Reuters


British lawmakers were on Wednesday set to stave off the threat of a no-deal exit from the European Union on March 29 but the second defeat of Prime Minister Theresa May’s divorce treaty has left the country heading into the Brexit unknown.

After two-and-a-half years of tortuous divorce negotiations with the EU and two failed attempts to get her exit deal ratified by parliament, May said she would vote against a no-deal exit that investors fear would spook financial markets, dislocate supply chains and damage the world’s fifth largest economy.

Source: Britain heads into Brexit unknown as parliament votes on no-deal exit | Reuters

My personal journey through polarized America


America’s polarization has unfolded over a long period of time. There have been many developments from Reaganomics to Obamacare that have divided people and intensified political conflict. I know because it has been the story of my life.

I grew up on a dairy farm in rural Ohio, taught political science at Brown University, and ended up in Washington, D.C., at one of the leading think tanks.

My two sisters are Christian fundamentalists who love President Donald Trump, while my brother is a liberal who sees the chief executive as a menace.

I recount our country’s political history as well as that of my family in my forthcoming memoir, “Divided Politics, Divided Nation: Hyperconflict in the Trump Era.”

Source: My personal journey through polarized America

Nancy Pelosi’s Impeachment Blunder: It’s Not About Bipartisanship

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.. The cheapening of the process was yet to come in the form of the Republicans’ nakedly partisan, shakily founded impeachment of Bill Clinton in 1998.

The word was in no way tossed around as loosely in 1974 as it is now.

In fact, no one even knew how to do it; there was a sudden run on the bookstores of the one authoritative book on the subject.

There are other reasons to be disturbed by Pelosi’s stated position on impeaching Trump.

The Founders put the impeachment clause in the Constitution for what was to them a critically important reason: the new country was not to have a king. Therefore there had to be a way to hold a president accountable between elections.

It’s reasonable to think that the Founders would have been most perturbed at the idea that the Congress wouldn’t uphold its solemn duty to act as a check on the president because it might be a nuisance, or politically disadvantageous.

Of course, they didn’t anticipate political parties, and also took a dim view of “factions.”

Source: Nancy Pelosi’s Impeachment Blunder: It’s Not About Bipartisanship

Siege of Sarajevo: perpetrators of deadly attacks remain unprosecuted | Social Europe

Twenty-seven years since the siege of Sarajevo began, a handful of commanders have been tried, but Bosnian prosecutors have not yet filed any indictments against direct perpetrators of sniping and shelling attacks on civilians.

The Hague tribunal’s verdicts have determined that units of the Sarajevo-Romanija Corps intentionally targeted civilians while conducting a campaign of terror that lasted three-and-a-half years. It is alleged that the goal of the campaign was to put pressure on Sarajevo authorities to accept peace deals which would legalize ethnic cleansing by Bosnian Serb forces.

Source: Siege of Sarajevo: perpetrators of deadly attacks remain unprosecuted • Social Europe