Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Daily Links: US Coalition Enters Body Count Competition With France Attacker, Wins Easily

US Coalition Enters Civilian Body Count Competition With France Attacker, Wins Easily
Depending on who does the counting, it appears US-backed airstrikes in Syria have killed at least 76 and possibly as many as 200 civilians this week. After recent terrorism in Nice, France and then Berlin, Germany, many were asking the usual question: Why do 'they' hate us? In addition to targeting ISIS, the airstrikes were designed to give a decisive answer to this question and end any further speculation.

Surviving civilians in Syria initially demanded revenge after the incidents--with many assuming the Russian air force was behind the atrocities. The Syrian civilians were relieved to discover their loved ones were actually killed by a targeting mistake by US-led forces instead. One local man expressed the prevailing sentiment perfectly, in an interview that did not actually take place:
It may not bring my son back, but it's good to know the Americans were trying to kill bad guys instead. My son always knew he was taking a risk by being an Arab in the Middle East.
Pivotal Melania Trump Plagiarism Scandal Draws to a Close
The scandal which shook America to its foundation came to an anticlimactic end yesterday. A random staffer, one Meredith McIver, took full responsibility for accidentally incorporating phrases from Mrs. Obama's 2008 speech into Melania's address, noting that Melania admired Mrs. Obama greatly.

In a letter that was released publicly, the staffer also said she tried to resign over the incident. However, Donald Trump refused the resignation, saying "that people make innocent mistakes and that we learn and grow from these experiences."

Key takeaways:
  • This story still doesn't matter, but hopefully it's finally over.
  • If this episode has any effect at all, it will be to the benefit of Donald Trump. By mocking his wife, Trump's opponents in the mainstream media achieved a feat that no number of sappy testimonials from his family could have. They turned an arrogant billionaire demagogue into more of a human being. And the Trump Campaign's response capitalized perfectly.
Recommended Article for the Day
Check out this quick summary of the attempted coup in Turkey from the always reliable Patrick Cockburn. The situation has gotten considerably worse since this article was first published. Still, it's a helpful primer. We'll have more coverage of this crisis in the coming days.

As you can tell, I'm experimenting with the format of the blog again. Right now, I'm considering a daily sarcastic summary of some top stories on weekdays (roughly like the above), with long-form articles of my own a couple times a week. Let me know what you think of the format above in the comments below or on Facebook or Twitter.

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