PF Jan ’17 – Military Spending

Resolved: In order to better respond to international conflicts, the United States should significantly increase its military spending.

So, at the last hour before the last tournament at which we’ll be debating this topic, the following article shows up:

Trump promises ‘great rebuilding of the Armed Forces’ while signing executive order at the Pentagon

Pro gives their arguments for increased spending, then Con gets up with this article and says that we’re already doing it. Then what?

(A PDF of the article is in the Extemp Files in the US Military – Cyber folder.)

Extemp Files Update

The Extemp Files were updated this afternoon, through Thursday. They’re complete through June (just before Nationals), and from Sept. 12th. Articles in the gap will be added as time permits. I have tried to find all the China articles in the gap after Nationals for the CX people. The files now begin in January; 2015 articles are now in the backfiles.

The Extemp Backfiles folder is available, too. With some political issues, global and domestic, having existed for years, there are some gems to be found here.

I’ve also updated the LD-Values and the Government folders, which contain a multitude of topics, some going back years.

Government folder: with the inauguration, I’m filing All Things Trump a bit differently. In the current (0117) Elections subfolder, the articles since the inauguration have to do with the inauguration itself, the subsequent protests, and with Trump appointments. There is now a Trump folder (which will eventually be moved to the Presidents folder, but not for a while) for things specific to him and to White House operations/people. Other topics concerning his actions will be found in the specific topic folders, mostly in the Extemp Files. Note that the Government folder has folders in it for both political parties, for Regulations, for Privatization, and an unfortunately active one for Corruption (including the potential for it).

Extemp Files instructions repost: The link takes you to a Dropbox folder; if a pop-over window saying something about setting up an account or logging in comes up, just close it.

The files are serious overkill – over 28,000 articles right now. There should be a way to copy or download individual articles when you find the ones you want in your files – try right-clicking the specific PDF file/article and selecting the ‘save link as’ option.

The four-digit numbers at the beginning of most of the file names (and the names of the sub-folders) are simply mm/yy codes so that you can tell how recent the article is at a glance.

Please don’t download the whole thing; it trips up my Dropbox limits and bad things happen that shut down access for others. If you need a full copy, let me know (see the About link for an email address) and I’ll make arrangements to get you a copy or share the folder (so that you get the updates as soon as I post them). Students who want to share the folder will need to have an OK from their coach – I don’t want to step on the toes of any coaches who prefer other methods of team research. (Several coaches already share the folder, if you’re a coach and are interested.) Specific topic subfolders can be shared as well.

Extemp Files Update

[Note: I ran an update of the Extemp Files (but not the other folders) Friday (Jan 20th) morning, through the Thursday evening articles. Off to the Friday portion of this weekend’s tournament now…]

The Extemp Files were updated this morning, through Monday evening. They’re complete through June (just before Nationals), and from Sept. 12th. Articles in the gap will be added as time permits. I have tried to find all the China articles in the gap after Nationals for the CX people. The files now begin in January; 2015 articles are now in the backfiles.

The Extemp Backfiles folder is available, too. With some political issues, global and domestic, having existed for years, there are some gems to be found here.

I’ve also updated the LD-Values and the Government folders, which contain a multitude of topics, some going back years. The latter has the Elections and Supreme Court folders..

Note that the Elections folder now has two files for November. 1116a covers the first part of the month, up until Election Day. Of more use to the new Extemp questions you’re likely to encounter is 1116b – the post-election articles. The 1116b folder has over 1700 articles, and the 1216 folder is just shy of 1500 articles. The 0117 file is just shy of 900 articles. Look in them for All Things Trump.

With the inauguration this Friday, many of the post-inauguration Trump articles will move to their topic area. There is a new Trump folder in the Government folder, for articles specifically related to him as the President. It will get a lot of the articles now being filed in the Elections folder.

Extemp Files instructions repost: The link takes you to a Dropbox folder; if a pop-over window saying something about setting up an account or logging in comes up, just close it.

The files are serious overkill – over 25,000 articles right now. There should be a way to copy or download individual articles when you find the ones you want in your files – try right-clicking the specific PDF file/article and selecting the ‘save link as’ option.

The four-digit numbers at the beginning of most of the file names (and the names of the sub-folders) are simply mm/yy codes so that you can tell how recent the article is at a glance.

Please don’t download the whole thing; it trips up my Dropbox limits and bad things happen that shut down access for others. If you need a full copy, let me know (see the About link for an email address) and I’ll make arrangements to get you a copy or share the folder (so that you get the updates as soon as I post them). Students who want to share the folder will need to have an OK from their coach – I don’t want to step on the toes of any coaches who prefer other methods of team research. (Several coaches already share the folder, if you’re a coach and are interested.) Specific topic subfolders can be shared as well.

Extemp Files Update

The Extemp Files were (finally!) updated yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon, through Tuesday evening. They’re complete through June (just before Nationals), and from Sept. 12th. Articles in the gap will be added as time permits. I have tried to find all the China articles in the gap after Nationals for the CX people. The files now begin in January; 2015 articles are now in the backfiles.

The Extemp Backfiles folder is available, too. With some political issues, global and domestic, having existed for years, there are some gems to be found here.

I’ve also update the LD-Values and the Government folders, which contain a multitude of topics, some going back years. The latter has the Elections and Supreme Court folders..

Note that the Elections folder now has two files for November. 1116a covers the first part of the month, up until Election Day. Of more use to the new Extemp questions you’re likely to encounter is 1116b – the post-election articles. The 1116b folder has over 1700 articles, and the 1216 folder is just shy of 1500 articles. The 0117 file is just shy of 500 articles. Look in them for All Things Trump.

Extemp Files instructions repost: The link takes you to a Dropbox folder; if a pop-over window saying something about setting up an account or logging in comes up, just close it.

The files are serious overkill – over 25,000 articles right now. There should be a way to copy or download individual articles when you find the ones you want in your files – try right-clicking the specific PDF file/article and selecting the ‘save link as’ option.

The four-digit numbers at the beginning of most of the file names (and the names of the sub-folders) are simply mm/yy codes so that you can tell how recent the article is at a glance.

Please don’t download the whole thing; it trips up my Dropbox limits and bad things happen that shut down access for others. If you need a full copy, let me know (see the About link for an email address) and I’ll make arrangements to get you a copy or share the folder (so that you get the updates as soon as I post them). Students who want to share the folder will need to have an OK from their coach – I don’t want to step on the toes of any coaches who prefer other methods of team research. (Several coaches already share the folder, if you’re a coach and are interested.) Specific topic subfolders can be shared as well.

PF Jan ’17 – Military Spending

Resolved: In order to better respond to international conflicts, the United States should significantly increase its military spending.

Resources: Mostly the Extemp Files and the Extemp Backfiles – both have a US Military – Cyber folder, as well folders for Nukes, US Foreign Policy, and for specific countries that may be cited as a threat (Russia/China/North Korea are probably the big 3 for direct threats, but the Middle East is worth considering, too). Defense One (part of The Atlantic family of sites) and Defense News may also be of use.

When developing a Pro case, consider the first thing a Con opponent should say: What conflict? Simply using the phrase in the resolution is likely to be inadequate without specifying either specific threats, or a range of threats, for which we should be prepared. (See my posting when the topic was announced for some thoughts on ‘why’ options, though there are likely to be several more than I listed.)

The ‘Why’ question should set up the next part – the ‘What’ question. On what should the increase be spent? Keep in mind what components make up a modern military – troops, small hardware (weapons, ammunition/shells/bombs, equipment), large hardware (armor, ships, planes, missiles, air/sea drones, and the technology for these), logistics (say, for rapid deployment), really high tech (Artificial Intelligence, anyone?), and even nukes (now that Trump has put the question on the front burner again) or cyberwarfare. Keep in mind the branches of the US military (Army, Navy/Marines, Airforce, Coast Guard), and details such as Spec Ops taking over countering WMDs (in the December folder). Do we need offensive or defensive capabilities for the threats cited?

Any Con side should be questioning the Pro side for details on what they’ll be spending the money on – the topic is essentially an If/Then statement (if international conflicts/then increased military spending), so pursuing the details of the Then part of the resolution should be expected, since the Then statement is supposed to solve the If statement.

Details: between Dec 5th-12th there were several articles on a report on wasteful military spending – search not only my files but other sources for that time period. I would expect a major Con argument to be that the military doesn’t need additional spending given the size of the waste reported ($125B, I think). What about Trump’s comments that other countries should take over the cost of their defense (Japan, South Korea, and NATO countries have all been singled out at various times)?  Would that be a good Con argument? (Does Trump really mean what he said? Is shifting the costs even possible? There are articles on the subject in the files.)

One of the most sobering articles I read recently, on US technical superiority (or lack thereof) was the Sides article in the August folder. (I use DuckDuckGo.com instead of Google; check the results for ‘russia artillery thermobaric’ for more on the subject – and possible web sites of interest for this resolution.)

A new phrase I came across today, and a possible Con argument: ‘weaponized narrative’ – turn a narrative into a weapon, or more simply misinformation and propaganda of the sort Russia has been using both with us and with Europe. If that’s the new form of warfare, then is more spending really necessary? Or can the Pro argue that countering such narratives is the reason we need more spending?

LD Jan/Feb ’17 – Protected speech on campus

Resolved: Public colleges and universities in the United States ought not restrict any constitutionally protected speech.

Of most use will be the Education – College folder, updated Monday. There s also a Free Speech folder in the LD-Values folder that covers the broader issue. Examples will matter a lot for this topic – to both justify and destroy cases.

Things to keep in mind:

Who are we talking about? Students? Professors/instructors? Administration/staff? Third-parties (say, guest speakers)? Do they all have equal rights/protections under the resolution? And does a campus situation involve a different set of rules than public space at large? If the purpose of a college/university is to provide services to students (classes being the most obvious example), what is the institution’s responsibility to its clients? If a campus can restrict access to its facilities for institutional reasons, can it restrict other things, like speech, for the same reasons? Campuses have ‘protected classes’ of people (like LGBT, not class in the sense of courses); what responsibilities does a university assume for people in those protected classes? What about student privacy rules?

Free speech is a pretty absolute right in America; exceptions like yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theater are minimal. It stems, to steal a comment from a story I read long ago, from the position that true freedom is the right to be whatever kind of fool you want to be. That is, in essence, why the ACLU defended the right of neo-Nazis to march in Skokie, Illinois (a Chicago suburb that had a large number of Jewish residents and Holocaust survivors at the time) many decades ago.

With that, though, goes the concept of freedom, not license. A.S. Neill, the former head of the Summerhill free school in England, wrote a book with that title: Freedom, Not License. Early in the book he gives an example: Students at Summerhill were free to attend class, or not, as they wished – but they were not free to play a musical instrument right outside the window of someone who was trying to study/learn. It’s the old adage that you’re free to spin around with your arms outstretched – but that freedom becomes license if you’re a tight enough space where doing so hits the people around you. Key to this topic will be the question of whether specific speech is an expression of freedom, or a case of behavioral license. (What’s the boundary line between speech and behavior?)

An article on a different topic ended with a thought that may be useful here, and one that will help your case stick in the judge’s mind – as the Rolling Stones said, you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you need. If trigger warnings, say, are used to limit speech, then freeing professors from those restrictions would force students to face the type of uncomfortable situations they’ll face in the real world – would that be a case of not getting what you want, but getting what you need? The opposite side of the coin can use the same argument. Consider the article below:

Milo Yiannopoulos, who will speak at CU Boulder, has brought controversy to colleges

It details incidents in which the speaker, at previous talks, singled out a student (in what, at CU, would be a ‘protected class’) and a professor for ridicule and humiliation. Is that free speech, or license? If the latter, and therefore limited, would that also be a case of not getting what you want, but getting what you need? Should the speaker be limited in what he’s permitted to say, or even be barred from speaking?

Consider: are the examples you’re using from a public university? If not, then your opponent gets to point that out. Will that undercut your argument? Should you pre-empt that response by asking how such a situation would be handled at a public university? Can you use the non-public argument to attack opponents’ examples?

Examples to look for (and ponder) from the Education – College folder: in the January folder there are articles on the U-Missouri case, the Sandy Hook denier who was fired, and anti-Semitism at Oberlin. The November folder has several articles of interest – look for the Summers article, the ‘suck it up’ (Iowa) article, the Yale Dean article, and the Berry (students won’t melt) article. December has the ‘we have the right to exist’ article on white supremacists on campus, the Kentucky/Beach Boys article, and the Volokh Oregon article. These are hardly all that are available; don’t hesitate to look in the 2015 and earlier folders.

Sidebar: Want to take the round sideways? Several public colleges in the United States have an overseas campus. Look for the Bogos article for speech limits at such a campus. Would the topic apply to an overseas campus of a public university in the United States?