Independence Day Links

Happy Independence Day! Here’s an excellent essay from a historian I respect. It puts today’s troubles in a longer perspective of American history.

Early reactions to North Korea’s latest missile test here and here.

A Russian foreign policy expert talks about Russia’s ambitions in Syria.

Here’s a series from the Center for Public Integrity on nuclear incidents at nuclear weapons installations in the United States. I wrote at more length on one of the series, in which they detail an incident at Los Alamos in which plutonium slugs were handled in a way that could have led to a serious accident. This series is better than what these authors usually produce, which I’ve criticized in the past. I can see vestiges of their excessive fear of radiation and some of the misunderstandings that go with that, along with their tendency toward sensationalism and lack of clarity as to the nature and extent of hazards. But overall, not too bad this time around. Maybe they’ve been listening.

Two articles on Seymour Hersh and the Syrian sarin attacks. There is no doubt that the Syrian government is responsible for the sarin attacks. The OPCW has found the type of sarin that the Syrian government uses, and there is no evidence given for the claims Hersh and his allies make. Hersh relies on a single source and doesn’t have the understanding of modern evidence-gathering to see that that source is wrong.

New Florida law lets any resident challenge what’s taught in science classes. This is a good way to promulgate the idea that evidence-based evaluations are worth no more than someone’s opinion. Hersh would love it.

A look into one of the tweeters trying to piece together the evidence on the Trump administration’s connections with Russia in the last election.

I keep wondering what Rex Tillerson is doing and why, and what kind of manager he was at Exxon. Some beginnings of answers here and here.