Israel is returning to its long-time state as America’s leading recipient of aid, and in per capita terms, Israel’s lead by level of US aid is positively enormous… which is particularly striking because compared to those other countries, Israel is quite rich…

via @voxdotcom

Scott Adams - Religion as the “user interface to reality”

Scott Adams was raised Methodist and later became an atheist. He describes how he’s now come to see religion as the “user interface to reality”:

"Religion is similar to software, and it doesn’t matter which religion you pick. What matters is that the user interface of religious practice “works” in some sense. The same is true if you are a non-believer and your filter on life is science alone. What matters to you is that your worldview works in some consistent fashion. If you’re deciding how to fight a disease, science is probably the interface that works best. But if you’re trying to feel fulfilled, connected, and important as you navigate life, religion seems to be a perfectly practical interface. But neither science nor religion require an understanding of reality at the detail level. As long as the user interface gives us what we need, all is good.

Some of you non-believers will rush in to say that religion has caused wars and other acts of horror so therefore it is not a good user interface to reality. I would counter that no one has ever objectively measured the good and the bad of religion, and it would be impossible to do so because there is no baseline with which to compare. We only have one history. Would things have gone better with less religion? That is unknowable. … What I know for sure is that plenty of people around me are reporting that they find comfort and social advantages with religion. And science seems to support a correlation between believing, happiness, and health. Anecdotally, religion seems to be a good interface.”

In full here:

We [The Irish] outsourced our sense of control to a domineering church, to national elites and then to global “forces” – the market gods that we propitiate with sacrifices. And over time, we’ve come to feel comfortable with this lack of responsibility: just look at the pitiful way we welcomed the troika to make decisions for us, and at the political chaos that has followed its partial departure. The corollary of getting used to being told what to do is that you gorge yourself when no one’s there to stop you.

Fintan O’Toole (here:

Theresa Reidy (@theresareidy) - Somewhere between 50-60% of Irish voters vote for rightist policies. 

Via Mick Fealty (@mickfealty)

Theresa Reidy (@theresareidy) - Somewhere between 50-60% of Irish voters vote for rightist policies.

Via Mick Fealty (@mickfealty)

We are English as far as the Irish are concerned, likewise to the English we are Irish, and the inhabitants of this island and the other assail us with equal degree of hatred.

Maurice Fitzgerald, Anglo-Norman, 1170

It is the accretion of unexamined habits that inhibit progress.

Frances Fitzgerald

Rod Liddle - The West’s supreme arrogance and liberal evangelism

He wrote in the Sunday Times of July 20 2014:

"I am also one of the last people to be convinced by the Russophobia, the hankering after a new Cold War, that seems to afflict too many politicians in the West (and has played its part in the civil war now tearing apart Ukraine). For what it’s worth, it seems to me that both the European Union and the United States brazenly employed double standards in aiding the overthrow of a democratically elected, if utterly inept, Ukraine government."

And continued:

"I am not sure, either, why the protests of 100,000 people in Kiev are legitimate and democratic statements of self-determination, whereas the protests of 100,000 people in Simferopol or Donetsk or Dnepropetrovsk are simply the furious complaints of proto-commie recidivists, Russian stooges and
anti-democrats. That’s the view we have been encouraged to embrace and, for me, it does not wash. We, in the West, are a supremely arrogant bunch and our liberal evangelism and sense of moral rectitude are seen across large swathes of the globe as ludicrous and duplicitous. Rightly so, I think.”

In full here: