The Strengths And Weaknesses That Will Shape Iran’s Future


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The Islamic regime’s persistent fear of an outside aggressor and its direct military involvement in Syria and Iraq, and proxy actions elsewhere, have contributed to making threat and counter-threat, as well as mutual distrust, the defining patterns in the Islamic Republic’s international relations. The memory of foreign interventions and the hostility of the international community have instilled in the ruling cluster a siege mentality and sense of paranoia. Indeed, the regime’s internal and external defensive measures have aimed primarily to guard against the threat of history repeating itself in another foreign-backed coup or military intervention, similar to the one in 1953. Its regional policy adventures—either directly or indirectly—have been in pursuit of an iron-clad resistance to political dissent at home and impenetrable national security and foreign policy posture.

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Amin Saikal — Task & Purpose

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Nearly Half of You Reading This Have Bullshit Jobs


Goons are the second category. They’re people who work in an industry that is only necessary because there are other people like them. You don’t need a corporate lawyer unless somebody else has a corporate lawyer. Another example is telemarketers: you only need them if your competitors have them. A lot of PR, advertising, and lobbying involves goon-like behavior: There’s an element of aggression. A lot of people in this category wrote and said, you know, our jobs are ridiculous and contribute nothing to society. Most corporate lawyers seem to secretly feel this.

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Nick Romeo — The Daily Beast

The Deep Music of the World


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The title of Michelle O’Sullivan’s This One High Field invokes a similar take on time. The poem from which it comes, “The Measure”, is buzzing with a sense of the moment, its individuality, opening: “Such stillness. And the mouth / of the ditch caught in moonlight.” The attention it demands is laced with wonder and curiosity, the brief lines are packed and jumpy with detail, and then they open out into a sense of a view as a whole: “air-stung trees on this one high field”. The single moment becomes the special place.

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Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin — Dublin Review of Books

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Marie Kondo at Work: Can Your Office ‘Spark Joy’?


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To start, set aside a day in the office to de-clutter and put each item through the “spark joy” test, Jefferson said. “Give people time to decide if all those desk tchotchkes, old stale reports, and books they never got around to reading really deserve a home in their space,” she said. Schedule a donation pick-up or ask for volunteers to drop off the stuff. “It creates an awesome ‘reset’ and the end result is a lighter, more spacious office.”

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Knowledge@Wharton

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Everyone knows you go home


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Sylvester recently published her second novel, Everyone Knows You Go Home, which traces the trauma several generations of a Mexican American family face as they try to cross the border and settle into comfortable lives. When Martin and Isabel decide to get married on Día de los Muertos, Isabel knows his family history is fraught. But the appearance of Martin’s deceased father, Omar, and arrival of Martin’s teenage nephew from across the border help the family reconcile with their past. The premise, of a spirit helping to shed light on lost history, has been compared to that of Coco, but Sylvester’s work is less interested in revelations and happy endings. Her characters are marked by happenstance and ignorance, a testament to the devastating effects arbitrary laws can have on the lives of everyday people. The novel has been hailed as timely in the wake of increased anti-immigrant rhetoric, commentary Sylvester has explicitly rejected as well-intentioned but flattening. Like her parents’ reasons for immigrating, Everyone Knows You Go Home revels in uncertainty and refuses easy answers.

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Alana Mohamed — Village Voice

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The world’s most unproductive entrepreneur


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Over the next few years, Low and his conspirators would use 1MDB to borrow billions of dollars from global capital markets, and would simply take much of the proceeds for themselves. To achieve all this required Low to do constant networking, set up immensely complicated financial and legal arrangements, and splash out tens of millions of dollars along the way to win friends and influence people. Low in fact worked hard at his corruption, and displayed unmistakable entrepreneurial flair–a huge amount of effort deployed to make his country poorer not richer.

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Andrew Batson’s Blog

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Money: 5,000 Years of Debt and Power


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The first lie is that if finance is entirely free, globalised and unregulated, it will develop instruments to insure against risks (derivative products), rendering impossible the spread and intensification of the blaze. After two decades of stable inflation and financial liberalisation, the financial community, the media, and the political establishment loved to proclaim that systemic crisis had now become impossible (‘this time it’s different’). But the impossible did happen. This owed not to some external mega-event but rather to the fact that speculation had eroded from within any sense of reason and any barrier to the appeal of greed. This first lie is also the basis for the other two.

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Michel Aglietta — Verso

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