Author Archive | Good German

People Are Attracted to the Body Odor of Others with Similar Political Beliefs

By Matthew Hurst via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

By Matthew Hurst via Flickr. (CC by 2.0)

Via ScienceDaily:

A new study reveals that people find the smell of others with similar political opinions to be attractive, suggesting that one of the reasons why so many spouses share similar political views is because they were initially and subconsciously attracted to each other’s body odor.

During the study, 146 participants rated the attractiveness of the body odor of unknown strong liberals and strong conservatives, without ever seeing the individuals whose smells they were evaluating.

“People could not predict the political ideology of others by smell if you asked them, but they differentially found the smell of those who aligned with them more attractive. So I believe smell conveys important information about long-term affinity in political ideology that becomes incorporated into a key component of subconscious attraction,” said Dr. Rose McDermott, lead author of the American Journal of Political Science study.

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‘They’re Right’: Citing Climate, Prosecutor Drops Charges Against Coal Blockaders

Ken Ward (left) and Jay O’Hara on the boat they used to block the delivery of 40,000 tons of coal to a power plant in Somerset. (Photo: 350Mass)

Ken Ward (left) and Jay O’Hara on the boat they used to block the delivery of 40,000 tons of coal to a power plant in Somerset. (Photo: 350Mass)

Jon Queally writes at Common Dreams:

A local district attorney in Massachusetts surprised parties on all sides on Monday after he sided with two climate justice activists who employed a “necessity defense” to justify their use of a small lobster boat to block the path of an enormous coal freighter trying to dock at the Brayton Point Power Station in the town of Somerset last year.

Several serious charges were brought against two men, Jay O’Hara and Ken Ward, for their attempt to wedge their boat, the Henry David T., between the dock and an approaching coal freighter, the Energy Enterprise, on May 13, 2013. (Read Common Dreams original reporting on the action here.)

For the brazen act of civil disobedience both O’Hara and Ward faced many thousands of dollars in fines and as much as two years in jail, but it was Bristol County DA Sam Sutter who decided that all charges in the case would be dropped after he determined that their expressed purpose—to put an end to the carbon-spewing pollution directly related to the current climate change crisis—was an adequate and defensible position.  Sutter dropped all charges against the two.

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Scotland, Sovereignty and Corporations

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David Morris writes at Common Dreams:

Since 1945 the number of nations has soared from about 60 to more than 180. The first wave of new sovereign states came with the decolonization movement of the 1960s and 1970s; the second in the early 1990s with the break-up of the Soviet Union. If Scotland votes for independence it may ignite a third wave. Dozens of would-be nations are waiting in the wings: Wales, Catalonia, Flanders, Breton, the list is long.

In 1957 in his classic book The Breakdown of Nations economist and political scientist Leopold Kohr persuasively and rigorously argued that small nations are the natural order having been throughout history the engines for enlightenment, innovation, mutual aid and the arts. The large nation state, he argued is not a reflection of improved efficiency but of superior force:

It is the great powers which lack the real basis of existence and are without autochthonous, self-sustaining sources of strength.

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Jews To Israel: If Not Now, When

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Abby Zimet writes at Common Dreams:

In the wake of ongoing abuses by Israel against the Palestinian people – from the most recent devastation in Gaza to the brute fact of the Occupation itself – a growing number of Israelis and other Jews are renouncing, often with a mix of sorrow and anger, a Zionist project most have grown up supporting. The flood of leave-takings has come from all sides, starting with the rapid growth of Israeli peace organizations, mostly notably If Not Now.
Then came the decision by leading Israeli human rights group B’Tselem to stop cooperating with Israel, which recently banned several independent human rights groups, in its so-called “investigation” of abuses in Gaza. The group cited the IDF’s well-documented  history of “whitewashing,” arguing, “Common sense has it that a body cannot investigate itself…Based on past experience, we can only regretfully say that Israeli law enforcement authorities are unable and unwilling to investigate allegations of breaches of international humanitarian law (in) Gaza.” Around the same time, an even more startling rejection came from a group of Holocaust survivors and their families, who wrote an open letter calling Israeli conduct in Gaza “genocide.”
This week, they were joined, in his fashion, by Pulitzer-Prize-winning author and illustrator Art Spiegelman, who became one of the most acclaimed voices of the Holocaust when he told the story of his father’s survival at Auschwitz with his extraordinary graphic novel Maus.
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The Business of America is Dirty Tricks: Meet the United States Chamber of Commerce

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Former Chamber of Commerce of the State of New York | 65 LIberty Street by Gryffindor via Wikimedia Commons

Lee Fang writes at the Baffler:

Any glance at the inert state of political progress in our market-addled age has to leave even the most dogged investigator a bit bewildered. We live, after all, in an era of economic and ideological drift—of street occupations and ballot-box insurgencies. Yet our institutions of national government remain in shameful fealty to a laissez-faire fantasy. With metronomic predictability, the wise men of Washington preach austerity amid a raging jobs recession and wish away the bulwarks of economic security that make life in these United States (barely) tolerable for fixed-income retirees and poor people who have had the unpardonable bad taste to fall ill. As major manufacturing metropolises go bankrupt, as wages continue to go south while productivity climbs, as mortgages and pension plans are pillaged by the bailed-out banking class, we are trapped in a political consensus that urges government continually to shrink and depicts tax increases on the rich as an unholy abomination against the market’s righteous will.

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“Everything Is Propaganda”?: Some Ongoing Conversation

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Editor’s note: To get the full gist of Gilmour’s argument, go to the post on Christian Humanist and read the entire thing.

Nathan P. Gilmour writes at the Christian Humanist:

I note my own conservative tendencies because, if I am a conservative, I get to indulge my sympathies with long-running, traditioned communities rather than with the so-called “forces of history” (I tend to be more of a personalist when it comes to history–I blame people rather than impersonal forces for bad things that happen).  So I resonated with a narrative that often occupies the Homebrewed Christianity podcast, and which got spelled out explicitly in the episode at hand, which goes something like this:

  • Once there was a group of people whose way of life stood as the assumed “good” form of life in certain parts of North America.
  • At a certain point in history, another group of people, whose military technology was better than the formerly-dominant group, arrived and defeated that group in a series of violent encounters.
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A Case Against Bombing ISIS

Seal of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Seal of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

David Swanson writes at War is a Crime:

Warning to War Supporters

I know you mean well. I know you think you’ve found a bargain that nobody else noticed hidden in a back corner of the used car lot. Let me warn you: it’s a clunker. Here, I’ll list the defects. You can have your own mechanic check them out:

1. If you want to bomb a country every time an evil group murders people in a gruesome manner, you’ll have to bomb a lot of countries including our own.  ISIS draws its strength in Iraq from resentment of the Iraqi government, which bombs its own cities using U.S. weapons, and which beheads people, albeit in grainier footage with lower production values.  Allies in the region, including allies that support ISIS, including allies armed by the United States (some of which arms end up in the hands of ISIS), themselves behead people regularly.

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“ISIS” is Arabic for “Khmer Rouge”

PolPot

Not literally.  Robert Freeman writes at Common Dreams:

One of the biggest frauds surrounding the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS) is that its emergence was unforeseen, indeed, unforeseeable. Nothing could be further from the truth.  Forty-five years ago, the U.S. created another ISIS—a virulent, apocalyptic  movement of anti-Western fundamentalists—during the Vietnam War.  Its name was the Khmer Rouge.

In the 1968 presidential campaign Richard Nixon had promised to end the Vietnam War, by achieving “peace with honor.”  Within months of assuming office in January 1969, he began a secret campaign bombing neighboring Cambodia.  The purpose was to flush out sanctuaries used by the North Vietnamese army to launch attacks into South Vietnam.

Nixon did this without informing Congress of the War’s escalation to another country.  Indeed, Secretary of Defense Melvin Laird opposed the bombings.  Henry Kissinger accused Laird of “bureaucratic pussy-footing” and instructed the Joint Chiefs of Staff to carry out the campaign without Laird’s knowledge.  They did.

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All God’s Children Got Drones

Done and Moon by Don McCullough via Flicker. CC BY 2.0

Done and Moon by Don McCullough via Flicker. CC BY 2.0

Charles Pierson writes at CounterPunch:

First we got the bomb, and that was good,

‘Cause we love peace and motherhood.

Then Russia got the bomb, but that’s okay,

‘Cause the balance of power’s maintained that way.

Who’s next?

–Tom Lehrer, “Who’s Next?”

The Islamic State now has drones.  This is the conclusion of an August 25, 2014 article by Peter Bergen and Emily Schneider:  ”Now ISIS has drones?”

Bergen is a national security analyst for CNN and a director at the New America Foundation think tank in Washington DC.  Emily Schneider is a research associate at the Foundation.  The New America Foundation and the Britain-based Bureau of Investigative Journalism are two of the most frequently cited sources of statistics on number of drone attacks and numbers of people killed by drones.

On August 23, a video was uploaded to YouTube.  The video purports to have been made by the Islamic State and includes scenes of the Islamic State at prayer and at war.  “But,” Bergen and Schneider write, “this video has something else in it that previous videos released by ISIS have not:  Surveillance footage apparently shot by a drone” giving an aerial view of a Syrian Army base in Northern Syria.  A video caption declares:  “From the drone of the army of the Islamic State.”

Welcome to the drone club, Islamic State!  This exclusive club has long restricted membership to states—around 80, according to Bergen and Schneider.  (But why should the count end there?)

Non-state actors have begun to elbow their way into the club.  Bergen and Schneider write that Hezbollah and Hamas have used drones in or near Israel.  Hamas claims to possess armed drones, although what Hamas has displayed in videos may be less a drone than a small flying missile which can only be controlled while within the operator’s line of sight.  Anti-Gadhafi rebels used drones in Libya in 2011.

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