Review: Joseph Kanon’s ISTANBUL PASSAGE

From the beginning we’re in Istanbul so the “passage”  is also a journey into the nature of morality, immorality, the ethical and the unethical  as Leon Bauer, tobacco executive, is drawn into pre-Cold War connivance in the narrow, ancient streets and alleys of a city losing the excitement and adventure of the bleak  world of quasi-espionage.  Leon Bauer wanted to contribute to the war effort but his contribution lies in the past when he and his wife, Anna, now in a quasi-coma, ran Jews into Palestine. Leon wants a cause and a woman. He’s also a pawn of agencies who take advantage of him.  He’s the perfect candidate when the professionals need an outsider to perform nefarious deeds.  Ultimately his experience tests his own ethical code of  loyalty to a man who has trusted him.  Can one do bad things in the service of good things? He loves Istanbul, its beauty and charm as he loves the same in Kay, his mistress.  She is gullible but not as innocent as she first appears.

Melnikov, the Russian, is despicable, but still just doing his job.  Jianu, the Rumanian?  Well, he may have been a good man, but he may also have been the Butcher of Jews.  Everyone in this novel has secrets.

In the telling Kanon portrays a Turkey that was once an Empire, but has learned to survive the Nazi’s and the bear.  It also needs America to defend it.  Everyone, individual and nation needs a cover and the Turkish security agency knows it.

David Milliken

 

 

 

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Why Republicans should be very, very afraid – Yahoo News

“Indeed, the NBC News/WSJ poll asked whether voters would be willing to check a box on the ballot that would defeat everyone in Congress, including their own representatives. Sixty percent of those surveyed were willing to play 52-card pickup and start all over again with 535 new members of Congress.   — more —

via Why Republicans should be very, very afraid – Yahoo News.

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How the Supreme Court can resolve the debt ceiling crisis – Yahoo News

“At a minimum, the Social Security Trust Fund, one of the largest holders of federal debt, could sue for payment if the government threatened to default on that debt. Ordering payment on a debt is something the courts are particularly good at and, if failing to do so would result in the Fund permanently losing a portion of the value of the assets it needs to pay mandatory Social Security benefits, this would seem to establish the type of “irreparable harm” that typically justifies courts stepping in and doing so immediately.   — more —

via How the Supreme Court can resolve the debt ceiling crisis – Yahoo News.

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Why are male marsupials dying from sex? Because the women in their lives can’t get enough.

Fisher and her team spent more than a decade observing the mating behavior of the marsupials and broke through years of clotted thinking about the phenomenon. In so doing, they inadvertently reveal how even something so straightforward as biological observation gets thoroughly distorted by our narrow human lens on gender dynamics and sex.

via Why are male marsupials dying from sex? Because the women in their lives can’t get enough..

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French polls show surge in support for far-right National Front | World news | theguardian.com

National Front party Marine Le Pen“The French are showing a wish to take their destiny into their hands and give back their country its sovereignty,” said the Front National secretary general, Steeve Briois. He promised an “unprecedented earthquake” in the European elections. — more —

via French polls show surge in support for far-right National Front | World news | theguardian.com.  Goodness, it’s La France Aussi!

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SAT essay section: Problems with grading, instruction, and prompts.

“What they are actually testing,” he says, “is the ability to bullshit on demand. There is no other writing situation in the world where people have to write on a topic that they’ve never thought about, on demand, in 25 minutes. Lots of times we have to write on demand very quickly, but it’s about things we’ve thought about. What they are really measuring is the ability to spew forth as many words as possible in as short a time as possible. It seems like it is training students to become politicians.” — more —

via SAT essay section: Problems with grading, instruction, and prompts..

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Neville Chamberlain was right to cede Czechoslovakia to Adolf Hitler: Seventy-five years ago, the British prime signed the Munich Pact.

130924_FOR_TOPChamberlainHitler.jpg.CROP.promo-mediumlargeBut among historians, that view changed in the late 1950s, when the British government began making Chamberlain-era records available to researchers. “The result of this was the discovery of all sorts of factors that narrowed the options of the British government in general and narrowed the options of Neville Chamberlain in particular,” explains David Dutton, a British historian who wrote a recent biography of the prime minister. “The evidence was so overwhelming,” he says, that many historians came to believe that Chamberlain “couldn’t do anything other than what he did” at Munich. Over time, Dutton says, “the weight of the historiography began to shift to a much more sympathetic appreciation” of Chamberlain.

via Neville Chamberlain was right to cede Czechoslovakia to Adolf Hitler: Seventy-five years ago, the British prime signed the Munich Pact..

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Government Shutdown: The view from overseas does not favor the GOP.

I am not an expert on the economics of health care, and therefore I really don’t know whether Obamacare is ultimately going to be good or bad for America. I am very glad that it will help the poor and the uninsured get access to doctors, hospitals, and medicine. I’m very worried that it may be too expensive and will further extend U.S. indebtedness. But I also recognize that at this point, what I think doesn’t really matter. The Affordable Care Act passed both houses of Congress. It was signed into law by the president. It was confirmed by the Supreme Court. The president who originally sponsored the health care reform was then sent back to the White House following an election during which that reform was a major topic of debate.

via Government Shutdown: The view from overseas does not favor the GOP..

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Democracy Web | Constitutional Limits on Government: France

France is a republic with a mixed presidential-parliamentary system of government. As with many countries, it has a history filled with division, intolerance, absolutism, and empire. But France also has a strong tradition of republicanism, popular revolution, human rights, and resistance to Nazi occupation. The seminal event in its modern history was the Revolution of 1789, which toppled the absolute monarchy and ushered in the country’s first republican government. Today, France’s democracy is among the world’s strongest. Its powerful presidency is unusual for Europe, where the parliamentary system is more common, but its constitutional limits are clearly established. The National Assembly has decisive powers to approve or censure the government and pass laws and budgets, and the system is further protected by two constitutional courts, independent news media, and a vibrant intellectual class that exercises its rights of speech, conscience, and thought without hindrance.

via Democracy Web | Constitutional Limits on Government: France.

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