A few fun things for Friday:
1. Republican Beltway noisemaker George Will tells the truth, at long last:
The last 11 years have been filled with hard learning. The 2003 invasion of Iraq, the worst foreign policy decision in U.S. history, coincided with mission creep (“nation building”) in Afghanistan. Both strengthened what can be called the Republicans’ John Quincy Adams faction: America “goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own.”
When anyone to the left of George W. Bush tried to make the same argument a decade ago, they were derided as traitors – or worse – by the bloodthirsty, expansionist, and wrong neoconservative set.
2. In 2008, the world was plunged into a global financial death-spiral. Different countries responded differently. Notably, in February 2009, President Barack Obama introduced, and Congress passed an economic stimulus package. On the other hand, in 2010 the UK’s Conservative – Liberal Democratic Parliament passed stinging austerity measures, inflicting pain – higher taxes, fewer services – on average Britons.
Here’s how the UK did in GDP growth from 2008 – 2014:
Here’s how the US did in GDP growth from 2008 – 2014:
3. Via CityLab, photographer Ignacio Evangelista photographed some of Europe’s abandoned border crossings. Thanks to the Schengen treaty, many internal EU borders are unmanned, unprotected, and abandoned. The EU features the free movement of labor and goods throughout its borders. Meanwhile, here in the US, the President is poised to halt all deportation of law-abiding people who have lived, worked, and paid taxes in the US for many years, and whose family members are already citizens, and this causes people to absolutely lose it. The European experiment is not perfect, but it’s fascinating to consider and analyze. If, like me, you geek out over this stuff, check out the Internal Schengen Borders Flickr Group, and the External Schengen Borders Flickr Group.
4. Finally, here’s a bird – a Budgie, specifically – that sounds familiar.