Volume 3.29 (July 14-20)

Pick of the Week– On the Slaughter of Innocents (A Paper Bird)– “You cannot reconcile the contradictions of killing people in the best way possible unless you translate “responsibility” into the most bloodless terms: make it a duty you owe to abstract principles and not specific people. Legalism triumphs. This arcane realm is where the logic of this work leads the committed human rights activist, away from the actual experiences of victims. ”

The Gaza Crisis

How the West Chose War in Gaza (Nathan Thrall, NYT)– “The current escalation in Gaza is a direct result of the choice by Israel and the West to obstruct the implementation of the April 2014 Palestinian reconciliation agreement. The road out of the crisis is a reversal of that policy.”

Rockets and the Gaza resistance (Sid Patel, Socialist Worker)– “We should start with the fact that Gaza and the West Bank are under military occupation by Israel. International law consistently upholds the right of occupied people to armed resistance against the occupier. Even if it didn’t, the Palestine solidarity movement should base itself on the principle of self-determination for the oppressed, which in this context means we can’t make our support for the struggle contingent on the resistance meeting certain conditions.”

Understanding the Permanence of Greater Israel (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)

Why Israel and other foreign militaries– not the global poor– get the biggest US aid packages (Matthew Yglesias, Vox)

Yes, Gaza militants hide rockets in schools, but Israel doesn’t have to bomb them (Max Fisher, Vox)

The Border Crisis

On Southern Border, Mexico Faces Crisis of Its Own (Randal C. Archibold, NYT)


A flood of bigotry about the border (Mario Cardenas, Socialist Worker)

To stem the child migrant crisis, first stop poverty and violence (Oscar Arias, WaPo)

Foreign Affairs

Can the world get by without Russia? (James Meek, London Review of Books)– “So Russia is map-big, nuke-big, history-big and gas-big. But it is not, in reality, as big as it appears. Its neighbours are not obliged to define their existence as props and brackets for its weight. It would be a tragic consequence of Putin’s worldview were the world to shun his country for a time; it would also be expensive in the short term, which makes it unlikely. But if the question is ‘Can the world get by without Russia?’ the answer is ‘yes.’”

Culture Wars

The Astonishing Actual History of the Gay Rights Movement (Andrew Sullivan, The Dish)

How to Duplicate the Sweeping Victory of Same-Sex Marriage (Mark and Paul Engler, In These Times)– “This was not a win that came in measured doses, but rather a situation in which the floodgates of progress were opened after years of half-steps and seemingly devastating reversals. It was not something enacted thanks to a senate majority leader twisting arms or a charismatic president pounding his bully pulpit. Instead, it came about through the efforts of a broad-based movement, pushing for increased acceptance of LGBT rights within a wide range of constituencies. The cumulative result was to change the terms of national debate, turning the impossible into the inevitable.  This is perhaps the most important point: Rather than being based on calculating realism—a shrewd assessment of what was attainable in the current political climate—the drive for marriage equality drew on a transformational vision. It was grounded in the idea that if social movements could win the battle over public opinion, the courts and the legislators would ultimately follow.”


Are liberals rescuing marriage? (Noah Smith, noahpinion)– “Sexual permissiveness means that sex isn’t about marriage. But that means that marriage isn’t about sex. Most of the upper-class liberal educated Americans I know who are in stable, happy marriages had their share of premarital sex. Knowing what that lifestyle is like — and realizing that they wanted more — allowed them to be more content in their marriages, and more realistic about what marriage is all about (i.e., lifetime companionship and raising kids).  Feminism may be even more important for families. With traditional gender roles, only a man who can be a sole breadwinner is a worthwhile mate. That rules out a lot of men, and it might be a reason why less-educated Americans’ conservative values are holding them back from getting married. Feminism, on the other hand, rewards fathers for sharing child care and housework, and frees them from the heavy burden of antiquated expectations.  In other words, maybe liberal morality is simply better adapted for creating stable two-parent families in a post-industrialized world. Maybe conservative family values are hard but brittle, like diamond, while liberal family values are strong like titanium — able to bend without breaking.”


What it would take for cities to eliminate the need to own a car (Emily Badger, Wonkblog)


One political party is actively working to make government fail (guess which one!) (Christopher Ingraham and Tom Hamburger)

How long can the GOP last as the cranky oldster party? (Matthew Yglesias, Vox)


Motivating Corporations to Do Good (Eduardo Porter, NYT)– ““I don’t think we would get very far in addressing large social concerns if we left them to corporations,” said Margaret Blair of Vanderbilt Law School. “The ethic of shareholder values is just too strong, and our social problems are just too big.”  Elected governments are certainly imperfect. But to address our most intractable ills, they are the better tool.”


Hobby Lobby, Wheaton College and a New Religious Order (Sarah Barringer Gordon and Nomi Stolzenberg, Religion & Policies)– “What do we learn from this history? First, the binary divisions offered in Hobby Lobby (for-profit/charitable; closely held/public; religious/secular and so on) do not reflect the complexity and variety of American religious and commercial life, both in history and in the present. Second, the assertion that the regulation of such religious corporations is hostile to religion and inimical to religious freedom is false. Across the country and for much of American history, these regulations co-existed with great religious growth and innovation. In other words, regulation need not entail repression, and traditionally has not operated to the detriment of religion in American life. ”



#yettheyexcommunicatekate (Jerilyn Hassell Pool, Feminist Mormon Housewives)– Horrifying stories of genuine disruptive misconduct by men that went unpunished or only lightly punished.

Where Can We Turn for Peace? Not Our Leaders (Dorothy Hatch Ward, Feminist Mormon Housewives)– “Relief Society Presidencies, Bishoprics, Stake Presidencies, and other priesthood and auxiliary leaders up the church hierarchy are protectors of the institution. They are duty-bound to play for the church’s team. Generally they care about us, they love us, they are trying to do their best, but when it comes down to it, if the choice is between protecting us and protecting the church, 99.9% of the time they will protect the church.”

A Stake That Listens (Lisa Hadley, Feminist Mormon Housewives)

To my Mormon daughters (C. Jane Kendrick)


The End of the ‘Mormon Moment’ (Cadence Woodland, NYT)– “The church will continue to lose members like me until it realizes that messages about diversity and inclusion are hollow when excommunication and censorship are the responses to dissent. While the church invests in missionary work, especially overseas, an unwelcoming posture is likely to hinder its growth.  The true legacy of the Mormon Moment might just be that the church was given the chance that many religious institutions desperately need to stay relevant in the 21st century: the opportunity to open itself to criticism and inquiry. The church has chosen not to. And it has killed its own moment by doing so.”

“I wasn’t going to excommunicate anyone” (Jana Riess, Flunking Sainthood)– Interview with Bob Rees.


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