Posts tagged politics

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The situation in Gaza explained with a map by lemondefr

Everyone talks about Gaza, but few people really know what the hell is going on and how did it all get to this point. French newspaper Le Monde created this easy to follow animated map that clearly explains all you need to know. Just the pure facts laid out in a clear way. A must watch.

(via All you need to know about Gaza in one clear animated map)

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Why Aren’t More Americans Atheists?

I hope this is true and Republicans are minting a whole new crop of young atheists.

Many expressed surprise recently when, in one of its periodic surveys of Americans views of other faiths, the Pew Research Center found that atheists fare poorly - fully 40 percent of those polled described their views toward atheists as Jews, Catholics, Evangelicals, Buddhists, Hindus, Mormons all are viewed more favorably

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Why Don’t I Criticize Israel? : Sam Harris

Maybe because he’s a scientist and a rational thinker, but Sam makes the best case for supporting Israel that I’ve read. While I don’t agree entirely with his conclusions (I think the power imbalance is so huge that Israel needs to be held to account to show a lot more restraint), I do agree more or less with most of the facts he presents. Primarily because he doesn’t try to whitewash the truth like so many Israeli propagandists do. The realities are terrible and complicated and he does a good job of getting this truth across.

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"You’re not protecting the people and you’re not protecting property, so why are you there?" 

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In the past seven or more years, Israel has besieged, tormented, and regularly attacked the Gaza Strip. The pretexts change: they elected Hamas; they refused to be docile; they refused to recognize Israel; they fired rockets; they built tunnels to circumvent the siege; and on and on. But each pretext is a red herring, because the truth of ghettos—what happens when you imprison 1.8 million people in a hundred and forty square miles, about a third of the area of New York City, with no control of borders, almost no access to the sea for fishermen (three out of the twenty kilometres allowed by the Oslo accords), no real way in or out, and with drones buzzing overhead night and day—is that, eventually, the ghetto will fight back. It was true in Soweto and Belfast, and it is true in Gaza. We might not like Hamas or some of its methods, but that is not the same as accepting the proposition that Palestinians should supinely accept the denial of their right to exist as a free people in their ancestral homeland.

This is precisely why the United States’ support of current Israeli policy is folly. Peace was achieved in Northern Ireland and in South Africa because the United States and the world realized that they had to put pressure on the stronger party, holding it accountable and ending its impunity. Northern Ireland and South Africa are far from perfect examples, but it is worth remembering that, to achieve a just outcome, it was necessary for the United States to deal with groups like the Irish Republican Army and the African National Congress, which engaged in guerrilla war and even terrorism. That was the only way to embark on a road toward true peace and reconciliation. The case of Palestine is not fundamentally different.

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The Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, except as punishment for a crime.

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My Empathy or the suffering in Gaza does not make me anti-Semitic, nor does it make me pro-Hamas or anti-Israel.

My Empathy or the suffering in Gaza does not make me anti-Semitic, nor does it make me pro-Hamas or anti-Israel.

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This time, Gaza fighting is 'proxy war' for the Mideast

The conflict raging in Gaza is different this time.

While Hamas’ rocket attacks and Israel’s military actions may look familiar, they’re taking place against a whole new backdrop.

"This is unprecedented in the history of the Arab-Israeli conflict," says CNN’s Ali Younes, an analyst who has covered the region for decades. "Most Arab states are actively supporting Israel against the Palestinians — and not even shy about it or doing it discreetly."

It’s a “joint Arab-Israeli war consisting of Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia against other Arabs — the Palestinians as represented by Hamas.” As the New York Times put it, “Arab leaders, viewing Hamas as worse than Israel, stay silent.”

One of the outcomes of the fighting will likely be “the end of the old Arab alliance system that has, even nominally, supported the Palestinians and their goal of establishing a Palestinian state,” Younes says.

"The Israel-Hamas conflict has laid bare the new divides of the Middle East," says Danielle Pletka, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies at the American Enterprise Institute. "It’s no longer the Muslims against the Jews. Now it’s the extremists — the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, and their backers Iran, Qatar and Turkey — against Israel and the more moderate Muslims including Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia."

"It’s a proxy war for control or dominance in the Middle East," says CNN’s Fareed Zakaria.

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Fear, jingoism, religious fundamentalism

Fear, jingoism, religious fundamentalism

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Scientists Are Beginning To Figure Out Why Conservatives Are…Conservative

they’re all out to get you, all over nothing They’re painting your life in a permanent gray They’re all out to get you, but all out forgetting It takes more than tears to get rid of the stains, sometimes

Behavioral and Brain Sciences employs a rather unique practice called “Open Peer Commentary”: An article of major significance is published, a large number of fellow scholars comment on it, and then the original author responds to all of them. The approach has many virtues, one of which being that it lets you see where a community of scholars and thinkers stand with respect to a controversial or provocative scientific idea. And in the latest issue of the journal, this process reveals the following conclusion: A large body of political scientists and political psychologists now concur that liberals and conservatives disagree about politics in part because they are different people at the level of personality, psychology, and even traits like physiology and genetics.

That’s a big deal. It challenges everything that we thought we knew about politics—upending the idea that we get our beliefs solely from our upbringing, from our friends and families, from our personal economic interests; and calling into question the notion that in politics, we can really change (most of us, anyway).

It is a “virtually inescapable conclusion” that the “cognitive-motivational styles of leftists and rightists are quite different.”

The occasion of this revelation is a paper by John Hibbing of the University of Nebraska and his colleagues, arguing that political conservatives have a “negativity bias,” meaning that they are physiologically more attuned to negative (threatening, disgusting) stimuli in their environments. In the process, Hibbing et al. marshall a large body of evidence, including their own experiments using eye trackers and other devices to measure the involuntary responses of political partisans to different types of images. One finding? That conservatives respond much more rapidly to threatening and aversive stimuli (for instance, images of “a very large spider on the face of a frightened person, a dazed individual with a bloody face, and an open wound with maggots in it,” as one of their papers put it.)

In other words, the conservative ideology, and especially one of its major facets—centered on a strong military, tough law enforcement, resistance to immigration, widespread availability of guns—would seem well tailored for an underlying, threat-oriented biology.

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War after war the media paints the conflict as a specific race/religion/community attacking another. This perpetuates distrust and hate against anyone we see as ‘other.’ The media fails to illuminate the real political power struggles of the elite few who are using the strategic murder of innocents to increase their power and wealth. Question all you hear, and please, don’t let them ever make you hate your loving neighbor.

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