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Why American Exceptionalism Is Inherently Immoral

AmericaThe origins of the phrase “American exceptionalism” are not especially obscure. The French sociologist Alexis de Tocqueville, observing this country in the 1830s, said that Americans seemed exceptional in valuing practical attainments almost to the exclusion of the arts and sciences. The Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin, on hearing a report by the American Communist Party that workers in the United States in 1929 were not ready for revolution, denounced “the heresy of American exceptionalism.”

In 1996, the political scientist Seymour Martin Lipset took those hints from Tocqueville and Stalin and added some of his own to produce his book American Exceptionalism: A Double-Edged Sword. The virtues of American society, for Lipset -- our individualism, hostility to state action, and propensity for ad hoc problem-solving -- themselves stood in the way of a lasting and prudent consensus in the conduct of American politics.

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In Iraq, Blackwater verdict provides no relief from bitterness

Blackwater murdersLike most Iraqis, Ali Abbas Mahmoud didn’t know when he awoke Thursday that a jury in Washington had found four former Blackwater security guards guilty the previous day in one of the most infamous episodes of the U.S.-led occupation. That’s because the verdicts weren’t widely reported by the Iraqi media.

“They killed my elder brother and his son, but can this conviction bring them back?” asked Mahmoud, who learned about the outcome of the 10-week trial from an American journalist only hours before speaking to McClatchy.

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Doctor tests positive for Ebola at New York hospital

NY doctor tests positive for ebolaA physician who recently returned to New York from Ebola-ravaged west Africa has tested positive for the disease, officials announced.

Craig Spencer, 33, a doctor who lives in the Harlem neighbourhood of Manhattan, was taken to hospital in New York City on Thursday after displaying symptoms consistent with those caused by Ebola.

A preliminary test confirmed that Spencer has the virus.  Health officials had already said they were tracing the doctor’s contacts, which the New York City mayor, Bill de Blasio, said were not numerous.

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US decides against military tribunals for non- Guantánamo detainees

Bagram Air BaseThe Obama administration has decided against charging detainees held outside Guantánamo Bay in its controversial military commissions, ending a year-long debate that has simmered among its national-security lawyers.

The debate had been prompted by concerns about the continued viability of detentions of non-Afghans held by the US at Bagram airfield in Afghanistan. During the 13-year war, the US has held battlefield detainees at Bagram without charge.

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California Prisons to Desegregate

Clifornia prisons desegregateCalifornia officials agreed Wednesday to end a policy in which it segregated prison inmates after riots based on their race as a way of preventing further violence.

Officers have frequently locked inmates in their cells based on which races were involved in the riot, even if individual inmates of that race were not directly implicated.

The 21-page settlement of a lawsuit first filed in 2008 says future lockdowns may not be imposed or lifted based on race or ethnicity.

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Orca Whale Calf Born to Endangered Pod May Have Died in Open Ocean

baby oca deadThe largest members of the dolphin family, orcas are highly social and intelligent marine mammals that communicate using whistles and pulsed calls and maintain group cohesion or 'pods' through their lifetime, according to Daily Press.

Howard Garrett, the co-director of the Washington based Orca Network, said the mother orca was seen for 3 straight days swimming in Washington state waters without her calf at her side, a troubling sign that it passed away.

The orca calf was born in early September, the first such one since 2012, and was soon photographed by a whale watching company.

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Boko Haram 'abducts dozens more women and girls' in Nigeria

Boko HaramDozens more women and girls have been abducted by Nigerian terror group Boko Haram a day after an apparent ceasefire was announced, it was reported today.

Nigeria's military and president last week raised hopes that 200 schoolgirls snatched by the Islamic militants in April would be returned as a result of the truce.  But fighting has continued and there is still no word as yet on the whereabouts of the teenagers.

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Reporter quits Chicago newspaper, says governor candidate influenced paper

Bruce RaunerA veteran Illinois political reporter quit his job at the Chicago Sun-Times on Wednesday and accused the newspaper of bowing to pressure from Republican gubernatorial candidate Bruce Rauner by removing him from the campaign beat.

Dave McKinney, a 19-year veteran of the paper who covered the state capital, said in his resignation letter that the paper reassigned him after the Rauner campaign accused him of a conflict of interest, which he denies.

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Intruder caught after scaling White House fence

White HouseA 23-year-old Maryland man was in the custody Wednesday night after he climbed over the White House fence and was swiftly apprehended on the North Lawn by uniformed Secret Service agents and their dogs.

The incident came roughly a month after an intruder armed with a knife scaled the White House fence and made it inside the executive mansion, raising questions about security levels at the heavily guarded complex and spurring the resignation of Secret Service Director Julia Pierson after 18 months on the job.

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