Comments on the soul

I am not sure how many people read the comments to my posts but quite often the commenters are very knowledge and their comments are more informative than the posts themselves. My post yesterday on questions about the soul is one such case. If anyone is interested in learning about the origins of the various concepts concerning the soul, I strongly urge you to read the comments to that post.

Another attack based on lies?

When there was a ghastly tragedy on April 4th, 2017 in Idlib, Syria that killed a large number of civilians, there were immediate media reports that it was due to a sarin chemical attack by the Syrian government, aided by their ally Russia. The Trump administration was quick to accept this claim and less than two days later, Trump made an emotional speech about the deaths of children to justify the US unleashing a missile attack on a Syrian airfield to supposedly punish Syria for the attack.
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Can the minds of anti-vaxxers be changed?

The frightening and false information that is being propagated by anti-vaxxers has led many people to either not vaccinate their children or decide on changing the rate at which the dosages are given, which is also dangerous. These people claim that they are not anti-vaccine but are merely seeking safer vaccines or methods of delivery. But their actions are harming the population at large.
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The basis for the Conservative-DUP alliance

Robert Mackey writes that Theresa May in order to have a working majority in parliament has bought the allegiance of the reactionary Democratic Unionist Party of Northern Ireland by offering them a bribe of one billion pounds in social welfare spending. This has just added to her image as someone desperately wanting to cling to power. But another factor that is driving this alliance is their mutual fear that if the May government collapses, another election could see Labour being swept into power and (oh, the horror!) Jeremy Corbyn becoming prime minister
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Where is your soul located?

When I came across this article by Candida Moss and Jessica Baron with the title Where in your body is your soul? I groaned, expecting yet another mushy spiritual mess. (I am sure that many readers of this blog had a similar reaction when seeing the post title.) But it is actually quite an interesting article, tracing the origins of the concept of the soul and how people have addressed the numerous problems associated with it.
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Jeremy Corbyn gives a barn burner of a speech

Thanks to Cory Doctorow I came across this short but powerful speech given yesterday by Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn to the huge, young crowd at the Glastonbury music festival. He attacks Donald Trump and the austerity policies promoted by the political elites. He rails against war, greed, racism, sexism, homophobia, the denigration of refugees, and the destruction of the environment. He calls for unity and peace and human rights. He seems to be really energized and impassioned and yet relaxed.
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Here we go again …

Marcus Ranum discusses the status of the war in Afghanistan and the ever-enduring belief of the military that seems to be immune to repeated failure, that if they just get more troops, they can win whatever war they are currently engaged in. This is what general Stanley McChrystal told president Barack Obama when he was appointed in 2009 to take charge of the war. McChrystal felt that with 40,000 more troops, he could capture and hold the Taliban stronghold of Helmand, thus delivering a crushing blow. Obama gave him 30,000, NATO allies gave another 10,000, Helmand remained defiant, and McChrystal was fired for insubordination. This was the basis for the satirical film War Machine.
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How to deal with a toxic relationship

All of us have had the experience of having to deal with someone who just rubs you the wrong way. The simplest way to deal with them is to cut them out of your life but sometimes, for a variety of reasons, you cannot do that. How should you deal with them in a way that does not make you grit your teeth and leave you stressed out afterwards? Christine Carter offers five suggestions.
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You cannot be stripped of your citizenship as easily as the government wants

I wrote last month about a case that had been argued before the US Supreme Court about whether one can be stripped of one’s citizenship because one had lied about anything on your citizenship application or whether the lie had to be one that might have materially affected the decision. The government had argued that any lie would be cause for such stripping, even not revealing offenses for which one had not been arrested, such as speeding.
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The Qatar crisis worsens

Saudi Arabia continues its drive to be the Arab hegemon in the Middle East and, along with its subordinate partners Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates, has issued a set of demands to Qatar as to what must be done within ten days for the sudden blockade they imposed more than two weeks ago to be lifted. Qatar must shut down the Al Jazeera network, close a Turkish military base, and reduce ties with Iran. The full list of demands can be seen here. This is quite an ominous development in an already volatile region.
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