21 August 2014   Leave a comment

A recent report based on US Census data indicates how seriously the average American family has been hurt by the slow recovery from the Great Recession of 2008-09.  The report found that median incomes in the US have declined by 3.1%:  “median household income was $53,891, down from $55,589 in inflation-adjusted dollars when the economic expansion began in June 2009.”  The report also found that the sharpest drop-off in incomes has occurred in families with three or more children.  So even though the stock market has experienced one of the sharpest rises in its history over the same period, it does not appear as if that wealth has trickled-down.

US Army general Martin Dempsey, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, gave a press briefing which described the threat posed by the Islamic State in apocalyptic terms.  The US has launched more than 90 airstrikes against the Islamic State in Iraq in the past week, and Dempsey said that it could be “contained” for a while but not in perpetuity.  The language matches the words used by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry, and it seems clear that the US now regards the IS as an imminent strategic threat.  We have heard such language before about al-Qaida after 11 September 2001.  We should probably prepare ourselves for an increase in US anti-terrorist activity, both domestic and international.

Navi Pillay, the UN human rights chief, strongly criticized the UN Security Council for its failures in stopping conflicts in the world.  At the end of her term, she identified the Council’s willingness to allow national interests to trump human rights concerns as the main cause of many of the conflicts that have taken so many lives in recent years.   Most recently, Pillay was sharply critical of what she called war crimes committed by Israel in the Gaza Strip.

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Posted August 22, 2014 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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