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PostPosted: Wed 31 Oct , 2018 9:56 am 
of Vinyamar
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I literally just posted this on Hall of Fire:

Quote:
Its interesting to me that in America, when you refer to White people you mean American White people. There's plenty of negative stereotypes about the Irish, and we're mostly white. The problem is that there's an equivalence assumed, that all White people share the same background as American Whites. I come from a country that was oppressed and enslaved by our nearest neighbours for over 800 years. They were white, we were white, so it wasn't racism? Sure as all hell it was! But despite being the oppressed nation, we're told that because we're White, we're not the victims. And in addition to that, we're expected to treat Black people as if we had oppressed them, as if American history applies globally. Its disconcerting to say the least. We have our own baggage, why should we carry yours too?

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PostPosted: Wed 31 Oct , 2018 2:07 pm 

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Alatar, I'm not sure the cultural appropriation discussion is so much about racism per se as it is about the difference between "This is intentionally offensive and would be seen as so by most reasonable people" vs "I'm worried that someone, somewhere, will be hurt or offended so I won't do it." And inevitably, someone, somewhere, will be offended these days and make a fuss on social media. Often on behalf of a culture they don't even belong to. People are catering to those most easily offended and not to the reasonable majority.

I saw a post on a discussion board where someone was requested to dress in traditional clothing for a party in honor of someone, but was reluctant to do so for fear of cultural appropriation, because he happened to be white. Apparently, he finally did and the person being honored saw nothing to take offense at. And yet I'm willing to bet that, if someone posted pictures on social media, some stranger would be sure to tell him how wrong he was.

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PostPosted: Thu 01 Nov , 2018 12:37 am 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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I did see your post in the thread, Al. I was surprised to learn that you all are being held to account over the racism of America toward blacks. :scratch: That really doesn't make any sense to me.

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PostPosted: Mon 21 Jan , 2019 4:23 pm 

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https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/julie-irwin-zimmerman-i-failed-covington-catholic-test/580897/
Quote:
I Failed the Covington Catholic Test

Next time there’s a viral story, I’ll wait for more facts to emerge.

Quote:
The story is a Rorschach test—tell me how you first reacted, and I can probably tell where you live, who you voted for in 2016 and your general take on a list of other issues—but it shouldn’t be. Take away the video and tell me why millions of people cared so much about an obnoxious group of high-school students protesting legalized abortion and a small circle of Native Americans protesting centuries of mistreatment who were briefly locked in a tense standoff. Take away Twitter and Facebook and explain why total strangers cared so much about people they didn’t know in a confrontation they didn’t witness. Why are we all so primed for outrage, and what if the thousands of words and countless hours spent on this had been directed toward something consequential?

If the Covington Catholic incident was a test, it’s one I failed—along with most others. Will we learn from it, or will we continue to roam social media, looking for the next outrage fix? Next time a story like this surfaces, I’ll try to sit it out until more facts have emerged. I’ll remind myself that the truth is sometimes unknowable, and I’ll stick to discussing the news with people I know in real life, instead of with strangers whom I’ve never met. I’ll get my news from legitimate journalists instead of an online mob for whom Saturday-morning indignation is just another form of entertainment.

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PostPosted: Mon 21 Jan , 2019 7:03 pm 
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Here's a play by play of the situation that led to Phillips stepping in, with links to video.

https://twitter.com/lisasharper/status/ ... 4673655809

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PostPosted: Tue 22 Jan , 2019 1:44 pm 

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Not really "echo chamber," but a curious twist to this incident that I thought worth posting. I stumbled across it while checking the news. Otherwise, I have very little interest in how a bunch of high school kids (immature, by definition alone) acted during an anti-abortion march. If they were disrespectful to an adult (or anyone else, for that matter), that's a matter for their parents and school.
https://thehill.com/policy/technology/426338-twitter-suspends-account-that-helped-incident-involving-catholic-school
Quote:
Twitter has suspended an account that helped a widely publicized encounter between Catholic high school school students and a Native American man go viral.

CNN Business reported on Monday that Twitter took the step after receiving questions from the news network about the account.

The account, @2020fight, posted a minute-long video of the interaction [that] garnered at least 2.5 million views and at least 14,400 retweets.

...@2020fight claims to belong to a California schoolteacher. However its profile photo is of a blogger based in Brazil, according to CNN, which noted that Twitter's guidelines explicitly prohibit "fake and misleading accounts."




More on topic and worth a read:
https://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2019/01/viral-clash-students-and-native-americans-explained/580906/
Quote:
Stop Trusting Viral Videos

A controversial video of Catholic students clashing with American Indians appeared to tell a simple truth. A second video called that story into question. But neither shows what truly happened
Quote:
But rather than drawing conclusions about who was vicious or righteous—or lamenting the political miasma that makes the question unanswerable—it might be better to stop and look at how film footage constructs rather than reflects the truths of a debate like this one. Despite the widespread creation and dissemination of video online, people still seem to believe that cameras depict the world as it really is; the truth comes from finding the right material from the right camera. That idea is mistaken, and it’s bringing forth just as much animosity as the polarization that is thought to produce the conflicts cameras record.
Quote:
For Sandmann and his colleagues, their actual intentions and motivations seem vital to any account of what took place. But not only can we never really know what those were, they also don’t matter once the original video has been shot and shared. That short clip shows a young man with a smirk, wearing a “Make America Great Again” hat, appearing to stare down a Native elder: Simply describing the scene, at this political and cultural moment, suggests a racist threat.

That’s not just because the internet makes it easy to come to simple and quick conclusions, and to spread those answers as truth before verification. It’s also because such an edit almost seems purpose-built to service that conclusion. It juxtaposes an almost perfect avatar for apparent white nationalism, MAGA hat and all, with the apparent cultural frailty of a brown-skinned victim carrying out an act of indigenous humility. Whether Sandmann and Phillips are telling the truth or not matters only marginally—the image and the clip take on a life of their own, reproducing a conflict that viewers have already been primed to seek out by the overall political situation and their place in it.

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PostPosted: Fri 25 Jan , 2019 2:45 pm 

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https://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/politics/426891-criticism-of-biden-bipartisanship-exactly-whats-wrong-with-us
Quote:
Recently, the New York Times breathlessly reported that former Vice President Joe Biden had the temerity to praise a long-serving Republican member of Congress during a speech to a Midwest audience in the run-up to the 2018 election. This member—Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan—went on to win re-election by a relatively narrow margin. And now that Biden is signaling that he may very well run for president in 2020, the partisan knives are out—and it’s members of his own party who are holding them. This sad little vignette exemplifies exactly what is wrong with American politics today.

“Mr. Biden stunned Democrats and elated Republicans by praising Mr. Upton while the lawmaker looked on from the audience,” the Times reports. “Alluding to Mr. Upton’s support for a landmark medical-research law, Mr. Biden called him a champion in the fight against cancer—and ‘one of the finest guys I’ve ever worked with.’” As the Times also notes, Upton had nothing to do with Biden giving the speech, and there is “no evidence Mr. Biden was motivated to praise the lawmaker by anything other than sincere admiration, stemming from Mr. Upton’s role in crafting the 21st Century Cures Act after the death of Mr. Biden’s elder son, Beau, from cancer in 2015.”



I've also seen a bunch of similar hit pieces condemning Beto O'Rourke lately, written by progressive Democrats. And every time I read them, I find that O'Rourke's "sin" is just that he has occasionally broken from the party line and voted differently, while overall voting with liberals on the same topics.

If the Democrats want to turn off centrists and independents, they are going about it the right way. I am sick and tired of both parties demanding adherence to the party line and condemning anyone who dares praise or agree with members of the other party. The Republicans are even worse, IMO.

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PostPosted: Tue 26 Feb , 2019 2:43 pm 

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This seems as good a place as any to post this. The Democrats seem particularly good at eating their own, this campaign cycle, and the left-biased outlets are helping them do it. (I'm sure the right-biased outlets are promoting these non-story hit pieces as well, but that goes without saying).

https://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/431534-more-than-60-former-staffers-defend-klobuchar-as-a-mentor-and-a-friend
Quote:
More than 60 former staffers of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) have defended the senator as a "mentor and a friend" in response to news reports that she has mistreated her staff over the years.

The staffers came to Klobuchar's defense in a letter posted to Medium on Sunday. The staffers wrote that some of them were among those contacted by The New York Times and other outlets but that their "positive" experiences were not fully reported.


You'd think the media would have learned its lesson in 2016 and stuck to reporting important issues, and reporting all issues factually and fairly. Do people really think that Klobuchar treats her staffers so badly that she can't retain good people? Have the news outlets looked to see if she has a significantly higher resignation rate than most other lawmakers in her position? If she does (which is completely unknown at this point), is that because she has high standards or because she's an ass like Trump? Or are the newspapers just reporting gossip again?

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PostPosted: Fri 01 Mar , 2019 11:07 pm 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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There is no doubt that our media needs to get their shit together. Our country quite literally depends on it.

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PostPosted: Thu 07 Mar , 2019 4:11 pm 

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I hope it doesn't, because I don't think they'll change. IMO, the trouble is that news has become a profit-driven enterprise and relies on sensationalism and gossip to get attention. A boring educational read is not what most Americans seem to want. And so the media gives us whatever gets us to click on a story (which I admit I've done). I think we have to just train ourselves to read critically and widely.

Incidentally, it does seem that Amy Klobuchar has a high turnover of staff compared to her peers, but I have yet to see a balanced analysis of whether that has hurt her ability to attract and keep effective and talented staff. Maybe it exists, but what I saw were "she reduced me to tears" personal tales of woe, all published around the same time in various liberal-leaning news sources. For all I know after reading a couple, she could just have a low tolerance for fools and a caustic tongue with them.






A couple of viewpoints after US House representative Omar stirred up a hornet's nest with several Twitter comments on the influence of Israel and Jewish lobbies.

From a mainstream news source that's very liberal but also outside the US:
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/mar/07/debunking-myth-that-anti-zionism-is-antisemitic
Quote:
The Long Read: Debunking the myth that anti-Zionism is antisemitic

All over the world, it is an alarming time to be Jewish – but conflating anti-Zionism with Jew-hatred is a tragic mistake


A viewpoint from a US source. Many articles with a similar perspective have been published in US papers in recent days.
https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/03/belgian-carnival-float-shows-virus-anti-semitism/584251/
Quote:
Socially Acceptable Anti-Semitism

It is the religion of people too lazy to accept the complexity of reality.


btw, some of the new House representatives are bringing up some interesting issues. For instance, I had no idea that pro-Israel groups sponsor a traditional (free) trip to Israel for new US lawmakers until I heard about the plans for an alternative trip to the occupied territories. The idea that our representatives in Congress are getting a carefully controlled view from one side of this conflict strikes me as wrong and I would like to see that sort of thing end.

This might also be relevant. I have no idea if Ilhan Omar's comments had anything to do with it but it seems possible. There was a recent Senate bill that tried to give states legal cover for punishing any business that supports the pro-Palestinian Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement. 26 states have passed anti-BDS bills at the urging of some pro-Israel groups. Opponents say such laws suppress free speech. https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/9/18172826/bds-law-israel-boycott-states-explained
The bill failed due to a filibuster but more than 70 senators would have voted for it.



That reminds me, this is a story I haven't seen in mainstream US news sources, though it's been covered by the news in Israel. It seems like an appropriate moment to post it:
https://www.timesofisrael.com/american-pro-israel-lobby-girds-for-al-jazeera-expose/
Quote:
American pro-Israel lobby girds for Al Jazeera exposé
Jewish leaders reportedly claim Qatar promised to block TV series, but Qatari FM says there will be ‘no interference’ in media issues
Quote:
American Jewish leaders are bracing themselves for a documentary series made by the Al Jazeera network expected to claim that pro-Israel groups in Washington are helping Israel to identify and discredit US citizens whom they see as anti-Israel, including supporters of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign...“The documentary will investigate how such groups secure support for Israel in Congress and how they have been drawn into Israel’s covert campaign to defeat BDS, the movement to boycott, divest and impose sanctions on Israel.”

...In recent months, the Qataris have been courting the Donald Trump administration intensively...

Noah Pollack, executive director of the Committee for Israel, a lobbying group, reportedly told Muzin that Qatar’s image would suffer massive damage if the series was aired....

...In a statement quoted by the Washington Examiner, Noah Pollack said, “Let’s not mince words about what this was — a well-funded, professional espionage operation carried out by Qatar on American soil.“Its purpose is to cast American Jews engaged in perfectly normal political activity as secret conspirators with the Israeli government, an old anti-Semitic trope. ...

Last year, the UK’s official media watchdog, Ofcom, rejected a complaint against an earlier Al Jazeera documentary that exposed an Israeli embassy official attempting to influence British lawmakers. Ofcom said the network’s reporting, which led to the resignation of Shai Masot, who was filmed plotting to “take down” British lawmakers seen as unfriendly to Israel, was not anti-Semitic.

Rather, Ofcom concluded, the program was “a serious investigative documentary which explored the actions of the Israeli Embassy and, in particular, its then Senior Political Officer Shai Masot and his links to several political organizations that promote a pro-Israel viewpoint.”



This has also been reported in an editorial by a reporter at the UK newspaper The Independent:
https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/al-jazeera-investigation-us-israel-lobbying-not-published-why-qatar-a8257191.html
Quote:
Al Jazeera did a hard-hitting investigation into US and Israeli lobbying – so why won't they air it?



As far as I know, the US version of The Lobby has not been released. But it seems to have been leaked to YouTube, if anyone is interested:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3lSjXhMUVKE


I imagine that similar exposes might be done for various other powerful lobbying groups in the U.S.

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PostPosted: Mon 25 Mar , 2019 7:56 pm 

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Al-Jazeera also went undercover to investigate lobbying by the NRA. Just released:
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2019/03/sell-massacre-nra-playbook-revealed-190325111828105.html
Quote:
How to sell a massacre: NRA's playbook, revealed

Three-year undercover sting reveals how US's National Rifle Association handles public opinion after deadly gun attacks.

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PostPosted: Fri 29 Mar , 2019 8:36 pm 

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https://www.nytimes.com/2018/06/02/opinion/sunday/betsy-devos-charter-schools-trump.html
Quote:
Opinion
Betsy DeVos Loves Charter Schools. That’s Bad for Charter Schools.
Quote:
Hiawatha schools should be easy for the left to love. They’re full of progressive educators helping children of color from low-income families succeed. And yet, they’re charter schools.

Like most charters, Hiawatha schools get public funding, but their daily operations are run by a nonprofit organization and their teachers are not unionized. Progressives have long been open to research suggesting that well-regulated charter schools can extend educational opportunities to historically underserved children. But many also worry that charters foster segregation, siphon funding from traditional public schools and cater to policymakers’ obsession with standardized tests.

And the more President Trump and his secretary of education, Betsy DeVos, embrace charters, the more suspect they seem to people on the left.

...One survey of views on charter schools found that Democrats’ support dropped when they heard that President Trump supported them. In other words, the president and his education secretary are so disliked by liberals that some will automatically reject whatever they endorse.

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PostPosted: Mon 29 Apr , 2019 3:33 pm 

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I stumbled across this when looking for something else. Its fresh perspective may be even more relevant today, under Trump, than it was back in 2009.
https://www.salon.com/2009/03/20/rick_steves/
Quote:
The other side of Rick Steves
He may seem like Mister Rogers. But in a revealing interview, the travel guru shares his daring views on Iran and terrorism, spoiled Americans and the best places to smoke pot in Europe.






https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/04/political-leaders-should-stop-caring-about-twitter/588004/
Quote:
The Problem Isn’t Twitter. It’s That You Care About Twitter.

Political leaders believe that the views they encounter online are representative of the “general public.” They’re not.

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PostPosted: Thu 02 May , 2019 9:34 pm 

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On this National Day of Reason (first Thursday in May, https://www.nationaldayofreason.org/) and/or National Day of Prayer, depending on your inclination, some might find this article interesting. It's actually from a Christian group.

https://www.christiancentury.org/article/opinion/national-day-prayer-and-sectarian-group-uses-its-name
Quote:
The National Day of Prayer and the sectarian group that uses its name
People often perceive the National Day of Prayer Task Force’s events as official. They aren’t.
Quote:
While the practice of setting aside a day in the spring for national prayer goes back to 1775, the modern observance began in 1952. A joint resolution of Congress called on the president to issue a proclamation each year identifying a day “on which the people of the United States may turn to God in prayer.” President Truman signed it into law, and he and his successors have issued the proclamations ever since. In 1988, following efforts by evangelical groups with connections to what would become NDPTF, President Reagan signed an amended law fixing the date on the first Thursday of May. Soon NDPTF was formed—by private citizens, not the government—and got to work organizing annual events.

The NDP law assumes monotheism but is otherwise nonsectarian. NDPTF is another story. The group, for years chaired by Shirley Dobson and housed in the offices of Focus on the Family, is very much a part of the conservative evangelical world. Its current president is Ronnie Floyd, former president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Its statement of faith includes belief in the infallibility of the Bible, substitutionary atonement, and the damnation of the lost. Its work—which is centered on coordinating a big D.C. gathering on the National Day of Prayer and providing resources for smaller events elsewhere—has a distinctly conservative evangelical flavor.

....In 2004, a Utah interfaith group pulled out of a local NDP event when the event’s organizers, following counsel from NDPTF, excluded LDS Church members from leadership roles....

Something similar happened in the planning for an observance this year in Ohio, where local elected officials asked an event coordinator working with NDPTF to include non-Christians—and were rebuffed...

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PostPosted: Fri 03 May , 2019 3:51 pm 
The Grey Amaretto as Supermega-awesome Proud Heretic Girl
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All of us need to be careful not to automatically hate something just because someone we dislike likes it. (I'm speaking about the charter school issue.)

That is so infuriating about the NRA. :x

As for the National Day of Prayer Task Force, I'm well aware of who they are, and the crap stuff they do.

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PostPosted: Sat 04 May , 2019 9:05 pm 

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I had no clue that there was any controversy about the National Day of Prayer Task Force or even that it isn't a government-supported entity. Though I've always been bothered by the idea of government-sponsored prayer events when we're supposed to be a secular country, I assumed most religious people supported it. That article was the first time I realized I was wrong.

(I've heard of Dobson but that's only because some super-religious relative of my husband's gave us tapes of his marriage advice as a wedding present, long ago. We got a good laugh out of them and I was curious who on earth he was.)



The Guardian, of all places, had an interesting perspective on news and connectedness:
https://www.theguardian.com/news/2019/may/03/how-the-news-took-over-reality
Quote:
The Long Read: How the news took over reality

Is engagement with current affairs key to being a good citizen? Or could an endless torrent of notifications be harming democracy as well as our wellbeing?
Quote:
In recent years, there has been enormous concern about the time we spend on our web-connected devices and what that might be doing to our brains. But a related psychological shift has gone largely unremarked: the way that, for a certain segment of the population, the news has come to fill up more and more time – and, more subtly, to occupy centre stage in our subjective sense of reality, so that the world of national politics and international crises can feel more important, even more truly real, than the concrete immediacy of our families, neighbourhoods and workplaces. It’s not simply that we spend too many hours glued to screens. It’s that for some of us, at least, they have altered our way of being in the world such that the news is no longer one aspect of the backdrop to our lives, but the main drama. The way that journalists and television producers have always experienced the news is now the way millions of others experience it, too.
Quote:
There are reasons to believe that a society in which so many people are so deeply invested in the emotional dramas of the news is far from the embodiment of an ideal democracy – that, on the contrary, this level of personal engagement with news is a symptom of the damage that has been done to our public life. This raises a possibility alien to news addicts, committed political activists and journalists alike: that we might owe it not only to our sanity, but also to the world at large, to find a way to put the news back in its place.
Quote:
The stories that dominate the news don’t merely wrench attention away from other news stories. The resource being depleted is your life.

But if this remains hard for some of us to see, one reason is the assumption, prevalent in the social media age, that there is an inherent moral virtue in keeping up with the news, especially political news, and that failing to formulate a position on the major issues of the day is to fail in one’s highest duties as a citizen.

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That no river is a river which does not flow.

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PostPosted: Sun 05 May , 2019 12:06 am 
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That is very interesting....

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PostPosted: Fri 10 May , 2019 8:20 pm 

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And probably accurate. Sometimes hard to do, though. :)


Another article I stumbled across, from 2012, also seems to fit best in this thread. You have to have the patience for a very long read, since it examines the liberal/conservative differences based on several different studies. But, unlike some similar news articles, it doesn't end up implying that liberals are superior human beings.
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2012/02/studies-conservatives-are-from-mars-liberals-are-from-venus/252416/
Quote:
Studies: Conservatives Are From Mars, Liberals Are From Venus

How research in political psychology explains the fierce clashes between Republican and Democrats in our polarized system.


One interesting thing is that this article is concerned about the increasing polarization of the US in "the next election." It was published in 2012.

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PostPosted: Sun 16 Jun , 2019 9:43 pm 

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https://www.asiatimes.com/2019/06/opinion/two-iraqi-peace-activists-confront-a-trumpian-world/
Quote:
Two Iraqi peace activists confront a Trumpian world
Quote:
There’s a dark joke going around Baghdad these days. Noof Assi, a 30-year-old Iraqi peace activist and humanitarian worker, told it to me by phone. Our conversation took place in late May just after the Trump administration had announced that it would add 1,500 troops to the United States’ Middle Eastern garrisons.

“Iran wants to fight to get the United States and Saudi Arabia out of Iraq,” she began. “And the United States wants to fight to get Iran out of Iraq.” She paused dramatically. “So how about all of us Iraqis just leave Iraq so they can fight here on their own?”

Assi is among a generation of young Iraqis who lived most of their lives first under the US occupation of their country and then through the disastrous violence it unleashed, including the rise of ISIS, and who are now warily eying Washington’s saber-rattling toward Tehran. They couldn’t be more aware that, should a conflict erupt, Iraqis will almost certainly find themselves once again caught in the devastating middle of it....
Quote:
Assi and Mohammed are well accustomed not only to such skewed representation of their country in the US, but to the fact that Iraqis like them are missing in action in American consciousness. They remain amazed, in fact, that Americans could have caused such destruction and pain in a country they continue to know so little about.

“Years ago, I went to the United States on an exchange program and I discovered people didn’t know anything about us. Someone asked me if I used a camel for transportation,” Assi told me. “So I returned to Iraq and I thought: Damn it! We have to tell the world about us.”...

_________________
It is this we learn after so many failures,
The building of castles in sand, of queens in snow,
That we cannot make any corner in life or in life's beauty,
That no river is a river which does not flow.

- Louis MacNeice, Autumn Journal


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