Benjamin Studebaker

Yet Another Attempt to Make the World a Better Place by Writing Things

Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party are the Best Choice for Canada

Canada has a federal election on October 19. Back in August, I wrote a post detailing why Stephen Harper needs to go–his austerity program and fixation on developing Canada’s mineral resources have resulted in chronic under-investment in Canadian infrastructure and social programs, and they have resulted in an unnecessary recession. But the Canadian election is a three horse race. Should Canadians choose the New Democratic Party (NDP) or the Liberal Party? Over the past month and a half, I’ve been pondering this quite a bit. Both the NDP and the liberals have interesting policy ideas, and there are good arguments to be made on both sides. But ultimately, I think that if you are going to vote in the Canadian election or know someone who is, the liberals are the better choice. Here’s why.

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Why the Speaker of the House is a No-Win Situation for Republicans

This past week has seen quite a bit of drama surrounding the planned retirement of current Speaker of the House, John Boehner. Boehner wants to quit, but his republican colleagues cannot seem to find an agreeable replacement for him. The first consensus choice, Kevin McCarthy, has pulled himself out of the race. Some have alleged it’s due to an affair, but it’s also quite possible that McCarthy could not get the support of the “Freedom Caucus“, a group of 42 hardline republicans who together have enough seats to prevent mainline republicans from passing anything without the support of democrats. Now many republicans are calling on former Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan to put himself up for the job, but to this point he has refused to do so. What’s the deal?

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Trident: How Important is an Independent Nuclear Deterrent?

Britain’s leader of the opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, has declared his opposition to the use and possession of nuclear weapons:

Specifically, he wants to discontinue Britain’s Trident nuclear program. Trident consists of four submarines, 58 Trident II D-5 ballistic missiles, and 160 thermonuclear warheads. All together, Britain has the 5th largest nuclear program in the world:

How important is this program to Britain’s security? On this issue, I think both Corbyn and his critics have oversimplified matters a bit. The role nuclear weapons play is more complicated than both hawks and doves typically acknowledge.

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4 Charts that Prove the Mental Illness Argument Against Gun Control is Bunk

Another week, another mass shooting in the United States. Barack Obama is furious at congress for its continual unwillingness to pass comprehensive gun control. Jeb Bush says “stuff happens”:

Once again the right is coming out with the same tired arguments, claiming that guns have nothing to do with gun violence, that mental illness is the culprit. This argument is facile and demonstrably wrong. I can show you why in four charts.

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Why Putin’s Syrian Intervention is a Stealth Victory for Obama

Vladimir Putin has taken the bait and decided to intervene militarily in Syria, launching airstrikes on behalf of the Assad regime. Many people are portraying this as some kind of disaster for US foreign policy. President Obama has been accused of abdicating regional leadership to Russia. But while Obama has consistently claimed that he wants Syrian President Bashar al-Assad removed from power, his actions belie this. What Obama really wants to do is buck-pass. He wants to force other countries to bear most of the financial and human costs of eliminating ISIS, keeping America’s role as limited as is politically possible. His actions over the past four years make this very clear.

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