Benjamin Studebaker

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

Tag: ISIS

Bogus Claims and Broken Arguments: The First 2016 GOP Presidential Debate

The pundits are out in force today arguing about which republican candidate performed best in yesterday’s debate. But the pundit definition of “best” is, well, not the best. They evaluate politics descriptively, disputing who will get the most support, not who should. There’s precious little serious reflection on the quality of the arguments presented. Candidates know this, and consequently every election they behave more theatrically, trying to score cheap points with burns and put-downs instead of engaging in nuanced policy discussion. So instead of discussing whose personal anecdote was the most touching or whose one-liner had the most zing, I invite you to join me in a dissection of the substantive claims and arguments we did see.

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The New Iran Deal is a Splendid Achievement

Iran has a nuclear agreement with the P5+1 group (USA, UK, France, China, Russia, Germany). This is a fantastic deal that protects and advances the interests of all signatories. Here’s why.

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Benjamin Netanyahu is Wrong about Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave his long-anticipated speech before congress on Iran. If you’re interested, here’s the transcript. Netanyahu argues that the deal the Obama administration is trying to work out with Iran would endanger the security of Israel and the United States. His argument is remarkably weak. Here’s why.

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ISIS and Iran: Bigger Threats to Each Other than to the West

During the past week, I went on a bit of a roadtrip (it’s the reason for the gap in posting). While I was driving around, I listened to some talk radio, most of which was religious, conservative, or both. I found what I expected to find–there’s a lot of fear-mongering and threat inflation on talk radio. But what really stood out to me was just how inconsistent it all was. Let me explain what I mean.

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3 Reasons We Should Stop Watching TV News

Over the past several months, I’ve been paying increasing attention to an interesting phenomenon–voter tunnel vision. You may have noticed in recent months that mainstream media–particularly cable news networks–have devoted a remarkable amount of air time to a very narrow list of political issues:

  1. Russia/Ukraine Conflict
  2. Israel/Palestine Conflict
  3. Michael Brown Shooting/Ferguson Protests
  4. ISIS
  5. Ebola

Now, these issues are, to varying degrees, important. But why do they get so much coverage compared with more severe long-term problems like heart disease, malaria, poverty, climate change, education, and so on? Essentially, it’s because TV is a terrible medium for news, and I can show you why.

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