Author Archive | Good German

A Sick Society

Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

In a stunning indictment of the Gaza assault as the act of a savage nation, even its president has proclaimed Israel a “sick society” incapable of dialogue with those around them and in need of treatment. In a speech at the opening of a conference aptly titled, “From Hatred of the Stranger to Acceptance of the Other,” Israeli President Reuven Rivlin – who as head of state has little real power compared to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with far too much – suggested Israel has become a nation without humanity or empathy that has “forgotten how to be decent human beings.” If you need further evidence of the justice of his claim, here’s video of Israeli soldiers arresting an 11-year-old, mute, developmentally disabled boy near Hebron for the possible crime of throwing a stone as neighboring Israeli settlers cheer. This makes us sick.

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Global Epidemic: Every 5 Minutes a Child is Killed by Violence

The UNICEF report reveals that the vast majority of children are killed outside warzones and that physical, sexual and emotional abuse is widespread with millions of children unsafe in their homes, schools and communities.  (Image: UNICEF UK)

The UNICEF report reveals that the vast majority of children are killed outside warzones and that physical, sexual and emotional abuse is widespread with millions of children unsafe in their homes, schools and communities. (Image: UNICEF UK)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

Violence against children is a global epidemic in which a young person is killed by violent conflict every five minutes, according to a new study released Tuesday by U.K. branch of UNICEF.

The global assessment—titled “Children in Danger: Act to End Violence Against Children”—reveals that an estimated 345 children under the age of twenty-years-old die nearly every day across the world. According to the report, the vast majority of these young victims are killed outside war zones, indicating that physical, sexual and emotional abuse is widespread with millions of children unsafe in their homes, schools and communities.

“We live in a world where some children are too scared to walk out of their own front doors or play on their streets,” said David Bull, executive director of UNICEF UK.

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Our Souls Turned into Weapons

By Jayel Aheram via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Jayel Aheram via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Robert C. Koehler writes at Common Dreams:

“During basic training, we are weaponized: our souls turned into weapons.”

Jacob George’s suicide last month — a few days after President Obama announced that the US was launching its war against ISIS — opens a deep, terrible hole in the national identity. George: singer, banjo player, poet, peace warrior, vet. He served three tours in Afghanistan. He brought the war home. He tried to repair the damage.

Finally, finally, he reached for “the surefire therapy for ending the pain,” as a fellow vet told Truthdig. He was 32.

Maybe another war was just too much for him to endure. Military glory — protection of the innocent — is a broken ideal, a cynical lie. “Times for war veterans are tough because we know exactly what is going to happen with the actions that Obama talked about in his recent speech,” his friend Paul Appell told Truthdig.

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6 Bullshit “Facts” About Psychology That Everyone Believes

By Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

By Texas A&M University-Commerce Marketing Communications Photography via Flickr (CC by 2.0).

Muspar writing in Cracked back in 2009:

Psychology is one of those subjects that everybody likes to think they know something about. We love to go around diagnosing our friends and co-workers, both to make sense of the world and to make ourselves feel like we’re smarter than they are.

But like any science that makes its way into the pop culture, a lot of the “common sense” statements we hear every day are so wrong that they border on raving idiocy. Such as…

#6. “If You Let Your Anger Out, You’ll Feel Better!”

You always hear people talk about how “cathartic” an experience was and how much better they feel, or you’ll hear them say things like, “If you keep your anger bottled up, one day you’ll just snap!”

In fact the “about to go crazy because he can’t express anger” character is a mainstay in television and movies (see that Simpsons episode where Ned Flanders finally loses it, and every movie where a renegade cop fires his gun into the air instead of unloading on the bad guy who just killed his wife).

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The Arab World’s Stockholm Syndrome

By Center for American Progress via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

By Center for American Progress via Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Ahmad Barqawi writes at CounterPunch:

What is it with the Arab World and its morbid infatuation with its own colonizers?

Why is it that America’s Tomahawks tend to find both helpless victims and overzealous, welcoming enthusiasts all at the same time and on the very same patch of war-torn Arab land?

Bona-fide war criminals of the Bush-variety come to the Arab World; lay complete waste and devastation to one Arab country, drone-bomb the living daylights out of another; only to “sword-dance” their way out of the region with the “grateful” rulers of a third, with pocketful of cash and lucrative oil and “reconstruction” contracts no less.

Even Francios Hollande, France’s “socialist” president, couldn’t resist a few awkward rounds of waltzing, sword in hand, with the Saudis after locking-in an arms deal to the tune of US$ 3 bln.

Not only that; these imperialist blunderers and harbingers of biochemical-death get to temporarily hang their “shock-and-awe” military hats and make multi-million-dollar careers out of trading on their newfound status as advisors, “intellectuals” and “peaceful mediators”; unabashedly touring the very same Arab lands where they’ve previously wreaked doomed havoc and sectarian discord, to preach the virtues of democracy, peaceful dialogue and human rights of all things, to an awestruck GCC sponsored crowd of course, one that’s more than willing to bestow its stock of admiration and exaggerated hospitality; on a scale that seems strictly reserved to those who have a storied history of pillaging the Arab world.

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Correction: US Did Find Chemical Weapons in Iraq – The Ones They Sent There

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Iraqi President Saddam Hussein greets Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy of President Ronald Reagan, in Baghdad on December 20, 1983. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

These aren’t the chemical weapons you’re looking for.

New reporting from the New York Times, published online late Tuesday, reveals that although the administration of George W. Bush employed false claims of a chemical weapons program to justify its 2003 invasion of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq (no such program existed) – the reality is that substantial, largely forgotten and degraded stockpiles of older weapons did exist inside the country.

However, according to the Times, because those weapons dated back to the 1980’s—when the U.S. and other western nations were acting as an ally to Iraq and supplying weapons and chemical agents to Hussein during his war against Iran—U.S. troops who ultimately came across these weapons and ordered to destroy them were told to remain quiet about what they’d encountered, even as it put their own health and those of others in grave danger.

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The Just World Fallacy

Logo of the Conservative Party

Logo of the Conservative Party

Kitty S. Jones writes:

The Tories now deem anything that criticises them as “abusive”. Ordinary campaigners are labelled “extremists” and pointing out flaws, errors and consequences of Tory policy is called “scaremongering”. Language and psychology are a powerful tool, because this kind of use “pre-programs” and sets the terms of any discussion or debate. It also informs you what you may think, or at least, what you need to circumnavigate first, in order to state your own account or case. This isn’t simply name-calling or propaganda: it’s a deplorable and tyrannical silencing technique.

The government have [sic] a Behavioural Insights Team (BIT), which is comprised of both behavioural psychologists and economists, which apply positivist (pseudo)psychological techniques to social policy. They produce “Positive psychology” courses which the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) are using to ensure participants find satisfaction with their lot; the DWP are also using psychological referral with claims being reconsidered on a mandatory basis by civil servant “decision makers”, as punishment for non-compliance with the new regimes of welfare conditionality for which people claiming out of work benefits are subject.

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