Your Morning Cup of Links

Government-run health care: VA employees post naked pictures of veterans on Facebook, tweet about their medical history, face no consequences.

Obama’s pass from the press:

Where Bush was asked every day if he regretted invading Iraq, Obama is never asked if he thinks leaving Iraq had something to do with the chaos engulfing the region, or the vulnerability of citizens here and in Europe to Islamic State-inspired attacks. And while Bush was held responsible for every last casualty that occurred anywhere while he held office, Obama is absolved from responsibility for the massacres, rapes and enslavement of innocents that have followed his numerous foreign policy blunders.
“Be very glad we don’t have a Republican president,” Walter Russell Mead told us in May of last year, warning that if such were so we would be enduring a “merciless media pounding” on the series of “failures, mistakes, and false starts” that have been our lot since Obama took office. Instead, we have a Democrat who is allowed by the press to fail quietly, discreetly, and off center stage.



The lead story, on Saudi Arabia’s decision to break diplomatic relations with Iran over the destruction of the Saudi embassy in Tehran, read like an epitaph for the Obama administration’s Middle East policy. In 2015, the central conviction of President Obama’s policy in the Middle East, the only element of his original, ambitious agenda (reconciliation with the Sunni world, promotion of moderate Islamist democracy, solving the Israel-Palestine issue) still standing, was that he could stabilize the Middle East by pursuing a nuclear deal with Iran. The President has his nuclear deal, but so far it isn’t making him, or anybody else, happy. The perceived U.S. tilt toward Iran has inflamed Sunni jihadis, contributed to the meltdown in Syria, and has made regional sectarian conflict hotter and more dangerous than ever. What’s more, the U.S. has lost leverage over Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, and Israel—without gaining leverage over Iran. As a result, the U.S. is both less able to persuade the Sunni powers to refrain from steps that could inflame regional conflict and is completely unable to persuade the Iranians to moderate their behavior in the interest of regional peace.

The Worst Generation

A horrendous look at the persecution and murder of homosexuals in Syria

President Obama does not have the advantages that made President Clinton a success. Barack Obama is a man who has been given the benefit of the doubt his entire life, a man intellectually hobbled by excessive praise, whereas Bill Clinton, a scheming lowlife nobody from Tornado Bait, Ark., forever had to prove himself.”

Goddamn it, Ted.

Holy shit, I think I just found the person I hate most in the world:

My best friend met her now-boyfriend when we were out celebrating my birthday night two years ago. They’ve been dating ever since and seem to be heading down the road to marriage. Each year since then, she celebrates their “anniversary” on my birthday, and it always takes priority in her eyes. Now, she’s told me that when they get engaged, she wants to have their wedding on that same date. I’ve told her this makes me uncomfortable and that it truly hurts me that my birthday would be forever known as her anniversary, and that I want to be able to make plans each year for my birthday without wondering if she will be able to make it because of her own plans. When I brought this up, we got into a small argument about it and didn’t reach a resolution. Am I being ridiculous? It was just the day they met, not even the day they went on their first date. Any advice?

“‘What happens on the right-wing platforms and in chat rooms is at least as awful as the acts of those assaulting the women,’ he said. ‘This is poisoning the climate of our society.'” Yes, a German interior minister really said that. Yes really.

“I am Syrian. You have to treat me kindly. Mrs Merkel invited me”

To take down Trump, you must attack him personally

Japanese bookshop stocks only one book at a time

Ted Cruz just relinquished one of his weapons against Marco Rubio.

Families flee big cities


Jesus. There are so many drug murders in Mexico that overall male life expectancy has dropped.

Sexytime: A lament for Paul Ryan’s beard

Life at one of England’s last Tolstoyan communes

400 years after his death, Shakespeare’s First Folio goes out on tour

In 1942, Shostakovich completed his seventh symphony, which made its debut in Leningrad even though the city was under siege by the Germans and many of its citizens were starving. The moment is the subject of a new documentary, Leningrad and the Orchestra That Defied Hitler.

The Leningrad performance was broadcast both to the nation and to the enemy. Years later, visiting the USSR as tourists, a couple of former German officers sought out Eliasberg to shake his hand (he refused) and to tell him it was the music coming out of front-line loudspeakers in 1942 that made them realise they’d lost the war.

What do our movies say about our decadent civilization?

Obama – and FDR – set the precedent for Trump’s one-man rule

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Filed under Around the World, Literature, Music, Politics, TV/Movies

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