The fallout from the Republican letter to Iran

The fallout continues from the letter sent by 47 Republican senators to the leaders of Iran, condescendingly explaining the US system of governance to them and explaining why they should not trust any deal they arrive at with the US government. Not only has the letter produced an angry response from the Obama administration, it was also a grossly inaccurate oversimplification of the US president’s power to negotiate agreements with other nations.
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The other King of the Jews

The Daily Show had fun with Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that he speaks for all Jews and the rapturous reception he got from the US Congress, saying “It was the State of the Union speech the Republicans wanted delivered by the leader they wished they had.” He also highlighted all the previous times that Netanyahu has cried wolf about Iran’s nuclear threat.
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The disadvantages of being a purely rational person

Scientists and atheists are among groups of people who value rational thinking, the former because being rational and logical in one’s thinking is essential if one is to be able to navigate one’s way through the complexities of trying to understand the workings of nature, the latter because taking a rational approach to life would make the absurdities of religious beliefs and the behaviors they generate more manifest. But of course, none of us can be purely rational beings in every aspect of our lives. The emotional centers of our brains respond to stimuli in ways that can overpower the centers that govern rational and logical thinking, as all of us can testify from personal experience when we have done soothing impulsive and stupid.
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Netanyahu’s strategy backfires

There was a time not so long ago when there were three rigid dogmas in elite US government and media circles: 1. The interests of the US and Israel were identical. 2. Anything that the government of Israel did must be given unquestioned support. 3. One must never mention even the existence of the Israel lobby, let alone its role in enforcing the first two dogmas. To violate any of these dogmas was to be prima facie guilty of anti-Semitism.
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“I am so mad at God for making me do bad things!”

One of the benefits of religion, if you want to think of it that way, is that it enables one to shift responsibility to god if things go wrong. A new study by my friend and colleague Julie Exline and her graduate student Joshua Grubbs, who are in the department of religious studies at my university, finds that “people are likelier to blame God for their bad moral behavior when they believe they were born to act that way.”
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The US war against Venezuela

If there was ever an example of the psychological state known as projection (where one attributes to another one’s own state of mind) applied to nations, it is how the US describes Venezuela. Just yesterday, president Obama declared that Venezuela poses an “extraordinary threat” to US national security and used that to impose further sanctions on that country.
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Crazy car chase

Via Jonathan Turley I came across this video of a crazy driver of a car speeding through Los Angeles recently, where a news helicopter followed the car as it wove through busy streets and intersections, going the wrong way, with the driver not seeming to care in the least that he was damaging other vehicles and putting people’s lives at risk, even taking over a new car when his was involved in an accident.
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