Wednesday, May 30, 2007



Thomas Riggins

CNN likes to call itself "the most trusted name in news." What you call yourself and what you are often turn out to be quite different. Lou Dobbs, a "populist" champion of the angst ridden American middle class is a case in point. But first some comments on fascist disinformation techniques.

An old fascist trick is to rally support for regressive and racist causes by railing against "big government" from a "populist" point of view, pointing out how the middle class is "hurting" and the the interests of ordinary Americans are being ignored, while at the same time scapegoating another class or subgroup in society as being one of the sources of the problems facing "regular" people.

European fascists scapegoated Jews, gypsies, gay people, and foreigners at various times. Today, in the US one of the many groups targeted is likely to be immigrants, legal and/or illegal, (especially those of Mexican descent).

Lou Dobbs of CNN has managed to drive up the ratings of his show ("Lou Dobbs Tonight") by 72% in the last four years by using this tactic. He has even written a book "War on the Middle Class." CBS has gone so far as to hire him as a commentator for its "The Early Show." This means fascist techniques are going main stream.

The New York Times has called Dobbs "arguably this country's foremost populist." "Arguably" is the right word. I would argue no one is a true populist who bases his or her message on lies, slander and racism. This information is available in a Times article by David Leonhardt ("Truth, Fiction And Lou Dodds" in the Business Day section of 5-30-07.)

Here we find out that in 2005 Dobbs supported claims that immigrants had brought diseases to the US. He echoed the charge that there were 7000 cases of leprosy (Hansen's Disease) in the US between 2003 and 2005. This was not true but Dobbs and CNN refuse to retract it. This is in line with his belief that the main enemy of the "middle class" is illegal immigration.

"The invasion of illegal aliens," he said , "is threatening the health of many Americans." The Times reporter checked out the official figures and found out the 7000 cases were the figures for the last 30 not 3 years. This was pointed out to Dobbs. He was, as the Times put it, "flat-out wrong."

The test of a serious commentator or journalist or reporter, as opposed to a racist fear monger using fascist techniques against minority scapegoats, is his or her willingness to admit a mistake and apologize for the misunderstanding.

How did Dobbs do on this test of his integrity? He had presented this false information on his show at least two times. Once in 2005, and again this year when it was challenged. Leonhardt says "he has never acknowledged on the air that his program presented false information twice."

Leonhardt also checked transcripts of his shows and found out that Dobbs "has a somewhat flexible relationship with reality." He claimed "one-third of the inmates in the federal prison system are illegal immigrants." The truth is that its only 6%.

Leonhardt also found out that Dobbs gave airtime "to white supremacy sympathizers." The Times article concludes that Dobbs, with his mixtures of truth and lies, "is the heir to the nativist tradition that has long used fiction and conspiracy theories as weapons against the Irish, the Italians, the Chinese, the Jews and, now, the Mexicans."

Don Imus lost his job for being stupid and insensitive. The racist filth spewed forth by someone like Dobbs is more deadly by far. That CNN and CBS both seek his services should let us know what type of society the corporations are preparing for our future.

Thomas Riggins can be reached at




Thomas Riggins

The Congress should really gear up impeachment hearings. Reading today's AP reports [5/29] shows that the president has really lost it. He is quoted as saying only a "handful" of people oppose his war policies and think we should get out of Iraq. He is convinced that the majority of Americans support him. This is dangerous. If he is that disconnected from the polls and mood of the people he can engage in truly irrational actions under the impression that the "American people" are behind him.

Here is the AP lead: "Confronted with strong opposition to his Iraq policies, President George W. Bush decides to interpret public opinion his own way. Actually, he says, people agree with him."

This is taking the maxim of "we make our own reality" too far. With the AP reporting that 55% of the American people want to see some or all of the troops pulled out of Iraq, Bush nevertheless maintains that the majority really wants to see them stay in theater and supports his military policy.

And what do the president's aides say when asked about negative poll numbers? They "say poll questions are asked so many ways that it is impossible to conclude that Americans really want to get out."

The way the Democratic leadership has caved in to Bush they must have arrived at the same conclusion.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


by Thomas Riggins

The Wolfowitz scandal has raised some questions about the relevance of the financial institutions set up to stabilize the world economy after W.W.II. It was in 1944, just before the end of the war, at Bretton Woods, N.H. that both the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank were set up.

Some critics maintain that in today’s world of Globalization these institutions, along with the World Trade Organization (the successor to 1947’s General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, G.A.T.T.), are becoming increasingly irrelevant.

Last Wednesday a major article appeared in the “Business Day” section of The New York Times addressing just this issue. (“Cracks in the Financial Foundation: Roles of 3 Institutions Questioned in a Changing Global Economy,” by Steven R. Weisman, 5-23-2007).

For one thing, their roles don’t seem to be as important as they once were. World Bank loans, for example, to poor countries only account for about 7% of the aid they get from all sources. There are also questions being raised about the Bank’s policy of loaning money to midlevel developing countries.

Some eyebrows are being raised over $40 billion in loans to China (which has a trillion dollars as reserves). The Chinese, in fact have loaned out some $20 billion of their own to poor nations in Africa. The Bank likes these loans because it knows it will get paid back with interest and it uses this money to bankroll its staff and research projects. But is it really helping the poor?

Robert E. Rubin (a past Secretary of the Treasury) is quoted as saying, “The Bretton Woods system has become outmoded. It has served us [i.e., Western capitalists] very well for a long time, but these institutions haven’t changed with the times. They need to be rethought and restructured.”

The Wolfowitz scandal didn’t help. Eckhard Deutscher, one of the Bank’s directors, says, “The biggest challenge of the World Bank is to restore its credibility. But the international community also needs to look at the whole system. There are governance problems across the board.

It has been a tradition that the head of the Bank is nominated by the US President. But what happens, as with Wolfowitz, when an incompetent President nominates an incompetent political loyalist? Wolfowitz has resigned, but Bush will get to name his replacement. Many of the international directors would like to revisit the nomination process. Kenneth S. Rogoff, a Harvard professor, maintains that, “The Wolfowitz situation exposed what an antediluvian system the bank has. But I’m worried that this crisis is going to set back the reform process.”

Many think the Bank has really fallen down on the job of helping the poor. These critics, looking at the China situation above, want the Bank to quit loaning money to middle income countries, and to begin just giving outright grants to the poor countries. At the present time about 93% of the aid that poor countries get from the governments in the more developed world is coming from some 230 different international agencies. The Bank’s role is rather modest in comparison. Everyone seems to agree that the Bank has become, in some sense, “marginal” but still important.

The same can be said about the International Monetary Fund. Former Secretary of State (and Secretary of the Treasury as well) George P. Shultz is quoted as saying, “In the past I have called for the abolition of the I.M.F. If it disappeared tomorrow, I don’t think people would miss it very much.”

The I.M.F. you may recall, gained notoriety for insisting that Asia and Latin American countries seeking aid sould cut back on all the programs they had for helping poor people-- so called “austerity measures” were insisted upon, leading to social unrest. The Fund is unpopular at the present time, basically because there is a booming global economy, at least for the capitalists. But this is capitalism, after all, and the good times won’t last forever.

Another Harvard professor admits as much. Richard N. Cooper maintains that, “We happen to be in a very quiet time at the moment. People are saying ‘Who Needs It [the I.M.F.]?’ I am morally certain that financial crises are not a thing of the past, and that we’ll see crises in the future. The I.M.F. is the obvious collaborative instrument to deal with them.” But what about the policy of “austerity?” That might just start off a revolutionary spark.

Finally, one last institution seems on the verge of a breakdown. This is the World Trade Organization (W.T.O.). The W.T.O. dates from 1995 when it replaced the G.A.T.T. But it has been bogged down in getting a new international trade regime in place for the last five years--- ever since it began talks in 2002 in Doha, Qatar.

These talks are on the verge of failure because the Third World nations are putting up stiff resistance to rules the U.S. and Europe are trying to push through which will significantly damage poor nations to the advantage of the rich.

“Many trade experts fear,” the article reports, “that if the talks fail, it could lead to a reversal of 60 years of opening the trading system to more goods and services.”

What is the issue? The U.S. and Europe want to protect their own domestic markets and at the same time are insisting that Third World countries open their domestic markets to them. This would lead to the destruction of small and midlevel producers throughout the Third World whose domestic markets would be taken over by First World producers who would simultaneously be blocking the entrance of Third World products into the markets of the First World.

As the Times reports, “The Doha talks are at an impasse because the United States and Europe are refusing to lower barriers on farm goods and both are demanding that India and other exporting countries lower barriers of their own.”

This is a typical capitalist squabble. One that the imperialist powers are used to winning. But they have not been able to advance their cause for the last five years. Third World bourgeoisies are turning out to have more staying power against the imperialist bourgeoisies than had been expected. This too is one of the major reasons that the international financial tools of the West, hammered out at Bretton Woods in 1944 are finding themselves to be increasingly irrelevant.

Thomas Riggins is the book review editor of Political Affairs and can be reached at

Thursday, May 24, 2007



by Thomas Riggins

Why is it so difficult to build a Marxist mass movement in the US? There are Marxist movements of considerable size, in comparison to the US, both in many Third World nations and in countries more advanced than the US. Not only is Marxism seemingly at a disadvantage in the US but a scientific world outlook is similarly hindered with respect to a favorable growth outlook. At the same time many views and outlooks characteristic of medieval obscurantism (fundamentalist religious beliefs-- for example), blatant superstition (astrology), superficial intellectually childish “philosophical” trends (Ayn Rand, Deepak Chopra, etc.), are flourishing.

There may be a scientific explanation for Adult Resistance to Marxism (ARM). In this article I will explore the causes of ARM and propose possible remedies to this serious mental deficiency which severely prevents those who are victims of this disorder from properly functioning in their social environment and maximizing their abilities to provide the best possible existential conditions for the flourishing of themselves and their loved ones.

The scientific information on which this article is based is critically culled from the article “Childhood Origins of Adult Resistance to Science” by Paul Bloom and Deena Skolnick Weisberg (SCIENCE 18 May 2007 VOL 316).

The authors of this article are concerned about the negative social consequences of the resistance that many American adults have to the acceptance of scientific ideas. I believe that ARM results from some of the same fundamental causes that Bloom and Weisberg list for the rejection of science and that the same negative results are involved with ARM.

The authors maintain that “a scientifically ignorant public is unprepared to evaluate policies about global warming, vaccination, genetically modified organisms, stem cell research, and cloning.” There are social repercussions as a result of this ignorance.

I hasten to add, that as a result of ARM the public is also ignorant with respect to the proper attitudes to take on the issues of war and peace, racism, international relations, employment and unemployment, proper education polices and health issues, among many other social problems.

The authors use developmental psychology to suggest that two basic characteristics about children may make some resistance to ideas based on science “a human universal.” This would also explain the origin of ARM if their views are correct.

The authors claim that, "The main source of resistance concerns what children know before their exposure to science." We are told that "recent psychological research" shows that babies are not "blank slates" [the authors, however start with one year olds for their argument] and that children know all sorts of things about the world-- objects are solid, people react emotionally to appropriate situations, etc. What they call "naive" physics and psychology.

Bloom and Weisberg think this is a problem. Children don't have an accurate perception of the world in a scientific sense, according to them. Scientific views are so different from normal common sense (Einstein, Quantum Theory, Darwin, etc.). This makes it difficult to teach scientific theories to them.

This is hogwash. Children learn by trial and error and learn from their mistakes. They are natural born scientists using the empirical method and induction (as well some deduction after many experiences.) They learn the same way all mammals do. The scientific method is simply a more sophisticated extension of this "naive" common sense approach to understanding the world. They also have basic moral intuitions such as fairness and empathy which, if they were properly educated, would reinforce socialist ideals of equality and non-expoitation in adulthood.

The authors, however, think this intuitive approach leads to a resistance to science and ultimately to belief in things such as ESP, astrology, ghosts, fairies, divination, and creationism. None of these things, by the way, follow from the common sense view of the world any more than do scientific theories, indeed rather less so.

Children have natural developmental stages that they go through. If they are taught properly, at age appropriate levels, there will be no untoward resistance to science education and understanding. Almost all the examples the authors give of childhood scientific resistance is the result of bad educational methods and poor nurturing. If this "resistance" really were "inborn" science would never have gotten off the ground in the first place.

The second fact, having, I hope, disposed of the bogus first factoid (what children spontaneously intuitively know), has more merit. This is "how children learn." This basically has to do with the fact that children trust the adults that raise them and tend to believe what they are told as long as it doesn't conflict completely with common sense.

The children of uneducated and ignorant adults will tend to be more ignorant and uneducated that those of knowledgeable educated adults-- and vice versa. This is hardly startling. Take the example of creationism versus evolution. Children trust their parents and their teachers. But if their parents are creationists, other things being equal, the children will likely be so too. This is because they spend far more time around their parents and their like-minded parent's friends, etc., than they do around their science teachers.

The authors hold that the evidence suggests these science resistant people maintain their beliefs for reasons "not necessarily rooted in an appreciation of the evidence and arguments." But this surely a problem of nurture not nature.

The reason, they say, that this nonscientific, or even antiscientific group of people resists scientific rationality is "because they trust the people who say it [the unscientific explanation] is true." All of this can be explained by education, class and culture without recourse to any inborn psychological
propensities to be found in babies.

The authors finally arrive at the amazing conclusion that "recent studies" suggest that children, just as adults, "rely on the trustworthiness of the source when deciding which asserted claims to believe." And if the educational system has done its job of providing a basic scientific analysis, I think, of the world system for people they will also be able to rely on the objective evidence for an assertion as well.

It is for the same reasons that Marxism is not objectively taught in the US that science is also played down. Namely, there are too many vested interests that benefit from the ignorance of the population. In our class riven society neither science nor a Marxist understanding are in the interests of the ruling corporate elites or the political parties and forces that control the levers of power.

The authors seem to recognize this when they write that unscientific beliefs in the US "are particularly likely to be endorsed and transmitted by trusted religious and political authorities." But instead of having a Marxist analysis of why this so in a capitalist society, the authors fall back on the notion that "developmental data suggest that resistance to science will arise in children when scientific claims clash with early emerging intuitive expectations." This is a cop out as the so called "clash" can only take place when age inappropriate teaching methods are applied to the education of young children, or anti-scientific (also anti-socialist) attitudes are deliberately cultivated.

It is the fact that our ruling class is not committed to a universal scientific education for children, not "intuitive expectations" that is responsible for the backward educational climate in the US. The fact that the authors don't see that Marxism, or scientific socialism, is as important a part of education as neuroscience and evolutionary biology only shows that many scientists themselves have a resistance to science. Perhaps they should have entitled their paper "Adult Origins of Childhood Resistance to Science."

Finally, antiscientific outlooks, as well as ARM, will only be eliminated by a reorganization of the educational system, especially early childhood education, with an emphasis on independent critical thinking, scientific method, and the banning of religious propaganda.

Thomas Riggins is the book review editor of Political Affairs and can be reached at

Monday, May 21, 2007


.On May 16 Nicolas Sarkozy became president of France. The prime minister of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan reacted to Sarkozy's anti-Turkish stance with respect to membership in the EU. Sarkozy doesn't want to let Turkey in because it's a culturally alien Asiatic country, according to him. (And the French are supposed to be rational and enlightened!)

PM Erdogan said: "This approach of Mr. Sarkozy comes from prejudices. Mr. Sarkozy has to overcome these prejudices. Turkey's E.U. membership is the peace project of the 21st century, an alliance of East and West."

The greatest blow that Islamic fundamentalism could get would be for the world's Islamic community to see Europeans welcome Islamic Turkey into the bourgeois democratic EU. It would completely wipe out the "clash of civilizations" nonsense and boost the national democratic aspirations of the people, as opposed to the ideology of fundamentalism, throughout the Muslim world. If would undo a wee bit of the damage done by the Great Leader Dubya and his oil crusade in Iraq.

Thomas Riggins
[based on a report by Sabrina Tavernise in the NYT]
(from PAEditorsBlog)

Friday, May 18, 2007


Thomas Riggins

An interesting sentence is buried in a page six NYT story “Death-Squad Scandal Circles Closer to Colombia’s President” [5-16-07] by Simon Romero.

The death squads are tools of the state and private interests to terrorize and kill the poor (to take their land), the workers ( to prevent unions) and indigenous peoples (to drive them out of areas rich in minerals and oil.) Colombian President Alvaro Uribe (an ultra-right Bush ally) is involved with these squads of right wing murderers.

The sentence I mentioned is the following: “But the scandal over the paramilitary ties now threatens a growing number of legislators, business executives, military leaders and AMERICAN CORPORATIONS over their collaboration with the paramilitary death squads, which are classified as terrorist organizations by the United States State Department.” [ my emphasis- tr]

Well, let’s see what the Great Leader of the War on Terror has to say about his buddy Alvaro and the American companies which are part of his (Bush's) “base.”
[from PAEditorsBlog]


Thomas Riggins

I’ve been reading a lot of comments on the passing of Falwell. The man had some strange ideas, from my perspective, about Jesus. He opposed civil rights for minorities, supported the apartheid regime in South Africa, and wanted to subject women’s bodies to the control of men, also rights of gay people to be treated as equal human beings was opposed by him. Most of his teachings on these issues don’t square with the teachings of Jesus. It makes me wonder if Falwell ever read the Sermon on the Mount.

The poor man could not help himself. Although he had the good luck to have had an atheist for a grandfather and a non-religious father, he fell under the spell of his bible toting mother. “It was my mother,” he said, who planted the seeds of faith in me from the moment I was born.” Some children never grow up to think for themselves. Falwell, had he been born in the middle east to a Muslim mother or in Japan to a Buddhist one, would certainly have been a Muslim or a Buddhist.

Sen. McCain [ before he saw how many votes he stood to lose and changed his mind] called Falwell one of the “forces for evil” and “agents of intolerance.” “Evil” is too metaphysical a concept for me, but he was a force for “intolerance” with respect to the rights of human beings to live happy and fruitful lives of their own choosing even when they were doing no harm to others. But millions of Americans, unfortunately, have been brought up in this society, just as he was, which has a great historical undertow of racism and violence left over from the era of slavery and the Indian wars.

Falwell and his fans were caught in this undertow: some like Jerry, from birth, and were simply swept along by it into the dark ocean of prejudice, ignorance, and hatred. In his own words he tells us that but for the accident of birth he well might have been a jihadist. The following words are from Falwell, but Osama bin Laden could have written them-- the beliefs are the same: “We are born into a war zone where the forces of God do battle with the forces of evil. Sometimes we get trapped, pinned down in the cross fire. And in the heat of that noisy, distracting battle, two voices call out for us to follow. Satan wants to lead us into death. God wants to lead us into life eternal.”

Falwell, as has bin Laden and many a confused soldier on that battlefield, did not understand what he heard above the din of battle and followed the wrong voice
[from PAEditorsBlog]

Tuesday, May 15, 2007


by Thomas Riggins

Reading David Brooks, the ultra-right New York Times op-eder, never fails to amuse. He is able to take the simplest facts and twist them around to such a degree that they come out looking like the exact opposite of what they really mean. A recent case in point is his article on Tony Blair (NYT 5-11-07) which he entitled “The Human Community.”

His opening sentence reflects the “the conventional view” about Tony Blair, a view that is, incidentally, true so far as it goes-- i.e., Tony Blair “was a talented leader whose career was sadly over shadowed by Iraq.” Brooks thinks this view “is absurd.”

Brooks says that Blair wasn’t making an error of judgment when he went into Iraq along with Bush. His decision “grew out of the essence of who he is.” And that would be? Well Tariq Ali says Blair is a second rate politician with a third rate mind. That is one kind of essence.

He jumped into a war that was the result of lies and is responsible, along with Bush, for hundreds of thousands of needless deaths. That is the essence of who he is. Now Brooks will pull out the baloney to try and turn this sad and rotten essence into one of shining purity. God will even play a role (via a theologian) in the redemption of a man with the essence of a mass murderer.

We are told that Blair believes that globalization is making us all more dependent on one another and that “the world will flourish only if the international community enforces shared, universal values.” Such values, I presume, as waging wars of aggression and occupation on other people’s countries without the sanction of the UN and clearly in violation of the wishes of the international community.

Actions speak louder than words. Blair believes nothing at all about a world of shared, universal values. He has his own values and if the world begs to differ, too bad.

Where do his values come from? It all began long ago when little Tony was 11 years old. His father had a stroke and Tony was led to the theologian John Macmurray. Brooks quotes Blair. “If you really want to understand what I’m all about you have to take a look at a guy called John Macmurray. It’s all there.”

So, lets take a look. By way of preface I can only say that the late John Macmurray would not take comfort in the thought that he was the inspiration for a war criminal.

There are certain themes running through the theology of Macmurray. One is that action should prevail over thinking. First comes the act, then reflection. Well, Blair did this in Iraq. First invade, then think about the consequences. It's not really a very good philosophy, or in Macmurray's case "theology."

Macmurray has written that science "is characteristically Christian." He calls it, "the intellectual life of faith." But science deals with the physical world and empirical evidence. Faith deals with hopes and unseen non-empirical pseudo-entities. This is also characteristic of Blair who believes in "Iraqi democracy" with reference to a militia dominated fundamentalist Iraqi government. Faith based politics, yes, scientific understanding, no.

Macmurray also bases his thinking on the "God of the Hebrews" (the genocidal demon that was worshiped in Old Testament days) not the God of the Greeks (Zeus had a libido problem but he didn't engage in genocide.) I think philosophical reason is really meant with respect to the Greeks.

More positively, Macmurray was interested in the "human community." For him ""community means a "common life" through religion while "society" means a "common purpose" to be found through "politics." Like many Islamists (and Blair's buddy George Bush), Macmurray thinks politics should be suborned to religion. If Blair is really a Macmurryite he is a strange ally for the US which was founded on the separation of church and state. Maybe not so strange since Britain has a state church and president Bush, in complete violation of his oath to uphold the Constitution has tried to break down the wall of separation between church and state.

Macmurray says life has two aspects. The first is the realm of the "functional" workaday world in which we live, it is a sphere of inequality (this view is amenable to conservative status quo thinking). The second is the realm of the "personal" where human equality reigns. In other words, as human persons we are all equal, but in the real world don't forget to salute officers and bow and scrape before your betters. Or, as Macmurray puts it: "The functional life is for the personal life: the personal life is through the functional life."

One of the great values celebrated by Macmurray is that of "freedom." And now we get to Brooks again, and the "essence" of Tony Blair. Macmurray tells us that: "We can preserve our freedom only by sharing it."

Tariq Ali is right. Only a third rate intellect would interpret this lofty theological abstraction as a license to wage an armed crusade against another people bringing them death and destruction and calling it "freedom."

This is how Brooks tries to dress up Blair's criminality and wretched chauvinistic beliefs. He quotes Blair on the war and aftermath of 9/11: "This is not a clash between civilizations. It is a clash about civilization [i.e., we are civilized. our enemies are uncivilized]. It is the age-old battle between progress and reaction, between those who embrace and see opportunity in the modern world [such as being able to launch aggressive wars of conquest] and those who reject its existence." Yes indeed. Tony Blair's world of war and death, which he shares with president Bush, should be rejected, it is definitely about civilization and Blair is no spokesman for the side of the civilized.

Brooks now outdoes himself in illogicality in describing how Blair concluded he must support Bush's middle eastern crusade. Blair "concluded that Britain had to combat those who would divide the human community even without the support of the multilateral institutions that he cherished."

But the multilateral institutions are the institutions that "the human community" has devised in order to help preserve itself from war and misadventure. What Brooks is saying is that Blair decided he must combat the human community to save the human community. Third rate thinking at its best. Brooks's baloney, on the other hand, is first rate.

Thomas Riggins is the book review editor of Political Affairs and can be reached at

Monday, May 14, 2007


For some reason the Botswana government is bound and determined to destroy the culture and way of life of the idigenous Bushmen people by taking their land from them. An African government acting like a colonial power against its own people does not set a good example for handling disputes with indigenous peoples. The Bushmen are the original inhabitants of Botswana, indeed, of all of southern Africa, and their rights should be respected. The government of Botswana should respect its own High Court and should also cooperate with the UN. It should be ashamed to persecute the Bushmen and try to take their land away!
Thomas Riggins
[from PAEditorsBlog]


14 May 2007


The Botswana government has announced that access to the country for
the top UN human rights spokesman for indigenous peoples will be

Survival's director Stephen Corry said today, 'The Botswana
government clearly thinks it has something to hide from the UN
special rapporteur. And indeed it does - despite the Botswana High
Court's decisive ruling in the Bushmen's favour, the government is
still trying to stop them returning to their land.'

[for more info google Survival International]

Thursday, May 10, 2007


The news reports from New York City indicate that the Khalil Gibran International Academy set up to study Arabic (it is a public school, by the way) is facing opposition from some parents and conservative news columnists who fear it will “promote radical Islam.”

The press should inform the public that Gibran (1883-1931), the author of The Prophet, was an Arab-American of Lebanese descent. He was an artist and a poet. He studied in Paris with the sculptor Rodin, and his poetry influenced JFK, who lifted the line about not asking what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country from one of his works. He was also a Christian.

It seems unlikely that the New York City school system will allow this new public school to become a hot bed of radical Islam.

Posted by Thomas Riggins

Thomas Riggins

This is a follow up to the main article from PA on-line (5-9-07), see article below on this blog. It comes as "Breaking News" from today's Times (5-9-07).

It seems there was another chemical added to animal feed by the Chinese companies involved. This is called cyanuric acid. Its an industrial chemical that some people put in their swimming pools. It is supposed to be non-toxic, but when mixed with melamine (alone or perhaps with other compounds in pet food) a deadly combination results.

Like melamine, cyanuric acid is used to fake the protein content of pet food and animal feed. The Chinese government says that only two big wheat gluten exporting companies are responsible, according to the Times. The two, the Chinese said, "illegally added melamine" to their exports. But other Times reports indicate that up to 25 different companies were involved and that the two big exporters did not actually make any of the feed products.

The government says only the Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Company and the Binzhou Futian Biology Technology Company were involved with the melamine. David Barboza, who wrote the Times article, reports that Chinese chemical producers have known for years that cyanuric acid is added to animal food. It is cheaper than melamine and has been "secretly used... to cheat buyers of animal feed." The makers of the chemicals knew, the government certainly knew about it as well, yet it went on for years.

Yu Luwei, who is the general manager of the Juancheng Ouya Chemical Company is quoted as saying, "Cyanuric acid scrap can be added to animal feed. I sell it to fish meal manufacturers and fish farmers. It can also be added to feed for other animals."

An executive at another chemical company said, "I've heard that people add cyanuric acid and melamine to animal feed to boost the protein level," What is meant, is to boost the apparent protein level. Neither product has any protein. In other words these chemicals are used to make counterfeit animal feed.

"The substance is nontoxic," Mr. Yu said, "it's legal to add it to animal feed. The practice has been around for many years. I often sell it to animal feed makers." The Chinese goverment better get on the ball. The "invisible hand" of capitalism should be made to show itself.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


by Thomas Riggins

So we have recently been reading about all that contaminated cat food (also dog food and feed for some other animals) that had to be recalled because it was full of Chinese wheat gluten. The NY Times reports (5/3/07) that thousands of animals have become sick or died (according to the FDA 4000 dogs and cats have died already). How did it happened?

We all know that capitalists guiding interest is to make the biggest possible profit. They hate regulations (bad for business) and when they are regulated will try to get around the regulations anyway they can.

The Bush administration, very capitalist friendly, has really helped the American capitalists by pushing deregulation, supporting “voluntary compliance” (i.e., no compliance), and failing to use the federal regulatory agencies to really regulate. Thus OSHA doesn’t inspect, the Labor Department doesn’t properly function, we don’t how much mad cow disease is in the country because of the Agriculture Department, unsafe drugs are on the market because of the FDA, etc., across the board. Bush is the best president for business, the worse for people.

Now the Chinese are finding out how capitalism works as well. The Times reported earlier that the same contaminant that is killing American pets is routinely put into people food in China as well as animal feed.

The chemical is melamine. Its has the wonderful property (besides making you sick and maybe killing you) of showing up on food testing not as melamine but as protein-- it is also very cheap. So, if the food product you are making to sell doesn't have enough protein so you could not past government inspection and sell it, just dump some melamine into it, definitely don’t list this in your ingredients, and Presto Change-O, your product now passes with flying colors as good nutritious food (just don’t eat any of it yourself, or, if its pet food, let you own pets near it.)

Even better, just use the melamine in your product because it is so cheap so you don’t have put so much expensive protein in your product in the first place.

This is par for the course for capitalism. The Times tells us that, "A similar practice once took place in the United States and in China involving a related compound called urea, but that compound is now more widely tested for and is banned from certain feeds in the United States."

The Xuzhou Anying Biologic Technology Development Company, operating under the “its good to get rich slogan” is, the Times says, one of the two companies that sent the tainted wheat gluten to the US.

They got the stuff out of China by labeling it as nonfood so they were not inspected. That means they knew what was going on. They then sold it to the American pet food companies as a food additive. Goodbye Fluffy!

The theory is that the two firms that sold the food additive didn't even make it (although they are on record as having done so). They just bought it from many little companies around China (the Chinese government said 25 other companies were in on it), which indicates that there is wide spread food contamination going on in the country.

"This is simple greed," said Marion Nestle, an NYU professor of public health, food and nutrition. Its really not all that simple. It is rather just how capitalism works. It tries in every way to maximize its profits. That is why deregulation is a bad idea.

Capitalism is an inherently self destructive system, its leads to environmental pollution, wars to gain control of markets and resources, and exploitation of workers and consumers. The more government regulates it the less dangerous it is, but the danger will always be there until the day we can abolish the system altogether.

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Globalization and Child Deaths

Globalization and Child Deaths

Thomas Riggins

The 5-8-07 New York Times tells us that 28,000 children a day die as a result of disease (easily preventable) and starvation. That is 28,000 X 365 = 10,220,000 children a year. This report was on page A6, the front page was taken up by the problems Paul Wolfowitz is having trying to keep his World Bank job.

The ten million plus number is a great testimony to the successes of globalization. This info is from a report by Save the Children. Here is a quote from one of the report's health experts, David Oot: "In 2007, when we know what to do and how little it costs, that 28,000 kids are still dying each day is just plain wrong."

The World Bank President is more concerned with the fallout from his promotion of his girl friend than with those children, and the big powers, especially the US would rather waste its resources kiiling people in Iraq and elsewhere than helping those dying kids!

It was 25 years ago that the international drive to reduce infant deaths was initiated and there was some success at the start, but of late, the Times reports, "broad progress against infant and child mortality has flagged." Thanks to the US, Iraq has the highest increase in the child death rate-- its rate is up 150% since 1992 due to sanctions and war.

Last year 122,000 under 5s died in Iraq due to "deteriorating health services, rising inflation, and electricity shortages [which] have worsened living conditions" according to the report ("State of the World's Mothers: Saving the Lives of Children Under 5.")

That ten million plus a year is, by the way, worse than any genocide anywhere. It really represents a new kind of genocide, that of the rich industrial nations, the big capitalist powers, against the poor children of the world and their mothers. It is a genocide of indifference at best, at worse it is knowingly allowed to happen because natural resource exploitation and "free" trade, as well as wanting to maintain sources of cheap labor, rank as more important than these children-- cast aside to die as so much surplus population

[Reprinted from PAEditorsBlog]

Monday, May 07, 2007



by Thomas Riggins

Tucked away inside the the International Section of Thursday’s New York Times (5-3-07, page 14) is a small piece by Ian Austen in Ottawa (“Iraq Reconstruction Is Doomed, Ex-Chief of Global Fund Says.”)

This little piece shows very clearly how the Bush Administration is its own worse enemy ( we already know it is the enemy of the American and Iraqi people.)

What we find, big surprise, is, that while Bush makes his own “reality,” actual reality has been undercutting any chance for his having a “victory” in Iraq.

The most revealing part of this little piece is the quotes from a gentleman named Michael Bell who was the chairman of the International Reconstruction Fund Facility for Iraq. Mr. Bell, a Canadian ended his two year stint in March.

This fund is very important. After the US destroyed the Iraqi infrastructure, the population (most of whom now say they were better off under Saddam), were thrown upon hard times: no electricity, deteriorating living standards, etc. To keep the support of the people, and thus make an insurgency less likely or, at least, smaller and with less popular support, it was necessary to rapidly extend reconstruction aid to the population.

In order to do this you had to know what you were doing and have some idea about what the Iraqi people really wanted and needed. But the Bushites failed on both counts. They simply did what they wanted to do and assumed because that is what they wanted it would come about and the people would be happy and love us.

Instead our actions fueled the insurgency and destroyed any possibility that we could do meaningful reconstruction in Iraq. What did we do? I will just quote Mr. Bell, who tried his best to use the Fund on behalf of the Iraqi people. If Mr. Bush had just let him do his job the president might not be neck deep in the Big Muddy right now.

“Reconstruction,” Mr. Bell said, “is difficult enough in a relatively pacific environment. In this environment it is almost impossible, if not impossible. Over all, the picture is dire, dire.” He had read a recent report saying that seven big reconstruction “successes” touted by the Bush administration as evidence of its progress were, in fact, defunct. This is really symbolic of Bush’s policy as a whole including General Westmoreland’s, excuse me, I mean General Petraeus's [or is it Gen. Betray US?] big “surge.”

The failure of reconstruction was helped along, according to Mr. Bell, by both the US and UK because, instead of actually laying the foundations for sustainable reconstruction (training people for maintenance, for example) they insisted on expensive flashy propaganda coups, preferring instant gratification and currying domestic support for their war policies, but leaving the Iraqi people out of consideration except for trying to make them think they were getting real improvements.

“The objective,” Bell said, “was to improve the conditions of life for Iraqis through infrastructure so Iraqis would conclude that they were better off and prospering from the new situation. In retrospect, it was too much, to soon.” Since these “projects” did not make the people “better off” or “prosper”, the population became more hostile.

Bush also helped undermine his own propaganda by having as “an overriding objective” turning the infrastructure over to private, rather than public, ownership-- something the Iraqis were not too keen about. No doubt because the contractors were mostly foreign and taking reconstruction money out of Iraq without really providing anything for the Iraqis.

And, growing instability reversed the flow of Iraqi professionals and skilled workers who had returned to help in reconstruction. With no security and ill planned projects, they soon left.

The UK is getting out of Iraq as soon as it can. It declared “victory” (or at least self-management by the Iraqi forces allied with the US and UK) in Basra where British forces are being withdrawn.

“The city,” Bell remarked, “is controlled by gangs. It is self-managing in a very primitive way. It is self-managing if you call a protracted series of microwars in the city normal.” As Basra goes so, the US will find, goes Baghdad.

And don’t blame the pro-US government for the current mess, Bell says.
It's not a case of wanting or not wanting to deliver the goods on reconstruction. The “reality is that nobody can deliver the goods.” This, by the way, I think, is Bush's big problem.

The Iraqi government is dysfunctional and will fall apart the minute the US leaves. But staying only makes matters worse. Staying in a situation that is getting worse runs the risk of having the government fall apart all around you a la Vietnam. What to do? Hope and pray you can hold on until January 2009 and turn the mess over to the next president. Then whatever happens will be his or her fault. What about all the people that will killed in the meantime. Tough petootey!

Particularly upsetting is US behavior. Much of the aid has been wasted and many projects have failed because US officials want to control everything [even though they are ignorant of the language and the feelings of the people.]

The Americans “go in and tell their guys how to do things. It's a microcosm of what the Bush administration has tried to do with the intervention. But you can’t impose mindsets.”

But Bush still thinks he can impose his “mindset” on Iraq and the world. It is a narrow, fundamentalist, ignorant mindset. It is not the mindset of the majority of the American people. The Congress has the opportunity to send it packing. It should do so.

Friday, May 04, 2007


The New York Times reports that the Japanese government has added Humpbacked Whales to the list of whales that can be hunted by their
“scientific whaling fleets.”

In 1977 NASA sent Voyager 1 and 2 into space to travel beyond our solar system to the stars. In 40,000 years Voyager will be near the next star group where it might be found IF there is intelligent life in the neighborhood.

On Voyager is the Golden Record with the greetings from Earth. Among all the greetings are the music of Bach and the song of the Humpbacked Whale. NASA forgot to add a footnote that the Japanese government did not eat Bach.

Thomas Riggins, from PAEditorsBlog


Psychologists and sexologists have long known that in our society a majority of young white males are conservative right-wingers and also a major market for large over sized cars such as Humvees and SUVs. In other words, they tend to vote, when they bother to vote at all, for the macho right wing candidates of the ultra right and drive gas guzzling, atmosphere polluting cars that increase green house gasses that threaten all life on earth.

How can this large segment of the population be reached and persuaded to abandon its self destructive political behavior (for the right wing politicians do nothing for them except recruit them into the ranks of the unemployed or the military) and its senseless pursuit after bigger and bigger cars and trucks (which financially burden them and leave them in hock to banks and credit card companies.)

The left has to realize that all previous attempts to reach this segment of the population have basically failed unless a major economic depression has taken place. We must become more proactive. We cannot wait for economic collapse or for the preaching of the tenants of Marxism-Leninism to enlighten this strategically important element of the population.

Science offers a solution. Psychologists have established that there is an inverse relation between penis size and the size of an automobile that men typically buy. The same inverse relation also exists between the organ in question and aggressive macho behavior and right wing attitudes.

There is also scientific evidence that when public programs have been established to modify self destructive behavior in individuals, such as free needles being distributed to prevent HIV, and free condoms being given out to prevent sexually transmitted diseases, they have been successful.

Therefore the left must advocate for both public and privately funded programs to provide free penis enhancements to these young destructive white males. Leaflets should be made available at car dealerships and at Republican and other conservative political rallies, public service announcements should be broadcast on Fox TV, the Super Bowl, Nascar events, and on radio talk shows such as Rush Limbaugh’s. Free penis enlargement clinics should also be established even though Christian fundamentalists will protest this program as one that goes against the Will of God in trying to improve on His creation.

Too much is at stake, we have to take this problem in hand for the sake of future generations!

Thomas Riggins
(reprinted from PAEditorsBlog)

Wednesday, May 02, 2007



Thomas Riggins

“A Shameful Act: The Armenian Genocide and the Question of Turkish Responsibility,” by Taner Akcam, translated from Turkish, Metropolitan Books, 483pp., reviewed by Michael Oren, “The New York Review of Books,” May 10, 2007.

This was a good review. The reviewer really liked the book, mostly because of the research done in original Turkish sources. For my part, I appreciated the answers it gave to questions about this genocide that often pop up. Also, there is one big question which still isn’t answered.

But first, what is answered. Yes there was a genocide perpetrated by elements within the Turkish government against the Armenian people between 1915 and 1918. The American ambassador called it “race extermination.”

The Armenians were Christians living within the then Ottoman Empire. The Turks had been seeing their Empire broken up and take by the Christian West piecemeal for several centuries and they snapped and took out their frustrations on the Armenians since they could not do anything about the Russians, German, French, British, etc. who were picking them apart.

The Genocide has much in common with that of the Nazi’s thirty years later. It was sanctioned by powerful elements within the government, it was hidden from the public and done in secret “without the knowledge of the cabinet or the parliament.” It was seen as a final solution to the problem of an alien un-Turkish race living in Turkey, and it was cruel and inhumane. 1.5 million were killed men, women, babies, children, old people, without mercy.

Ataturk said it was a “shameful act” but, the reviewer says, he held that “the Turkish nation bore no collective responsibility” for it. The evidence suggests that it was only some elements in the government that carried it out-- some officials along with “provincial governors and gendarmes.”

The reviewer says, that unlike Germany, “the Republic of Turkey has never admitted its part in the mass murder of Armenians.” But there was no Republic when this happened. It was done by Ottoman officials at the end of the Ottoman Empire (and hidden from the cabinet and parliament.) The Republic overthrew Ottoman rule years later.

This Is what I don’t understand. Why the Turkish government doesn’t just admit that this was an Ottoman genocide [I’m not talking about “collective guilt”] and try to make up with the Armenians? What is the point of denying it ever happened (i.e., that it was genocide)? It makes Turkey look like it is acting in bad faith. It is surely correct to think that unless the Turks are mature enough to face their own history they will never have a fully bourgeois democratic government. The author writes, “Only full integration of Turkey’s past can set the country on the path to democracy.”
[Reprinted from PAEditorsBlog]

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Quotes and Notes: PA Editor's Blog April 2007


The following comments and brief remarks are from the new editor's blog instituted by PA Magazine.

Friday, April 6, 2007
Great Quote But Who Said It?

The May '07 Atlantic Monthly has a bit on page 30: "Stalin Was Right." It begins as follows: " 'A single death is a tragedy,' Joseph Stalin said. 'A million is a statistic.'" It has become almost an established "fact" that Stalin said this. But did he? I think not. It doesn't appear in any of his works or speechs, nor in the memoirs of people who knew him. A check of the internet will reveal that Russian historians don't know anything about this quote as being from JS. It is never given with an attribution. "JS said this while beating his mother as reported by so and so." So beware! This is a quote that appears to be completely bogus. Hey, if anyone knows the source-- let me know: for the sake of historical accuracy. Until then,when you read it in an article or posting as from JS you can assume the author hasn't done his homework.
Thomas Riggins

Sunday, April 8, 2007
The American People Are Pissed Off

I just watched Sunday NBC News-- the polls show 57% of the American people are pissed off at the way the Democrats in Congress are treating the war in Iraq. Thank goodness that 64% are pissed off at Bush. I think we should rally around our sloga"Out Now." Leave it to the Democrats-- by 2008 they will be neck on neck with their fellow monopoly capitalists the Republicans!

Posted by Thomas Riggins

Monday, April 9, 2007
Dump Don Imus

Racism doesn't belong on the airwaves folks. Google the NOW site and add your voice to the dump Imus movement.

or click here

Posted by Thomas Riggins
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Don Imus: Human Sacrifice?

Radio Racist Don Imus has been shot down in flames. Does the mass media get it. If the New York Times is any indication, the answer is no. The Business day section 4-13-07 has an analysis by David Carr "Flying Solo Past the Point of No Return" [the implication that Imus is "solo" when in fact radio racism is entrenched in this country is ludicrous.]
The gist of the article can be found in these two quotes:

""By seeking absolution from people with their own political agenda [Sharpton and Jackson] , Mr. Imus lost custody of his apology."
"Mr. Imus never caught a breath because he was in the middle of a 24-hour news cycle that kept him in the cross hairs. Its the kind of media ceremony that generally ends in a human sacrifice."

Carr doesn't get it. It wasn't Sharpton's political agenda nor the news frenzy that brought Imus down. It wasn't even his racism, which is shared by most radio jocks, it was the outrage of millions of people who wrote letters, sent emails, and made phone calls protesting the racially and sexually vicious remarks that came out of Imus's mouth.

Without this outpouring of the people's rage Imus would still be on the air. I can understand why the mass media wants to play this down. The ruling class fears nothing more that a mass awakening of the people in this country. The left must keep up the struggle and remind everyone that Imus's firing is the beginning not the end of this sordid affair.

Posted by Thomas Riggins

Sunday, April 15, 2007
The Beginning of the End

So Bush's surge to make Baghdad peaceful has resulted in the Parliament in the heart of the Green Zone being bombed. Now they can't even protect themseves in their maximun security area. Let's see a year from now, if the Green Zone is overrun with
suicide bombers, where the U.S. generals and Iraqi quislings will be hanging out.

Posted by Thomas Riggins

Monday, April 16, 2007
The German Army After Hitler-- what has it learned?

Not much! I watched the news the other night (April 14) to find the German Army ( part of NATO) when it trains its troops says -- think like you are shooting Blacks in the Bronx. Don't think this is an isolated instance! The Times says we have to improve the picture of the Bronx! I’m sorry-- when Hitler invaded the Soviet Union he said- treat them as Red Indians. Its not the Bronx that has to improve its image. Its the residual Nazism that is still part of the German military, especially in its officer corps.

Posted by Thomas Riggins
Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Check out the NY Times Science section 4-17-07 for an article by James Noble Wilford (“Almost Human, and Sometimes Smarter"). The primatologists have a new consensus about chimpanzees-- they have emotions and culture. Here are some highlights of the article:

1. Chimps make spears to hunt other primates (looks like our bad habits
go back away):

2. They use rocks to smash open nuts (the oldest chimp hammers yet found date to 2300 BC):

3. [Here is where they beat humans]-- the numbers 1 thru 9 can be randomly scattered over a computer screen (1, 2, 3, etc.), the Chimp get to look for a split second, the screen goes blank and the chimp can push the number buttons and recreate the random pattern by the numbers in order. This is something humans can’t do! Its is an immediate memory recall after a split second, something humans have lost in our evolutionary development. [I don’t know if Chimps are ready for computers but it must come in handy somehow.]

4. Chimps are caring. A chimp by the name of Knuckles was disabled by cerebral palsy. He had to get by as best he could in his group and, “No fellow chimp was seen to take advantage of his disability.” He was even “gently groomed” by the alpha male. [This also looks like an improvement on us.]

This research is important because the chimps are our nearest surviving relatives (our genome only differs by a little over 1%) so we can learn a lot about ourselves and our ancestors by knowing more about chimps.

The problem is they are on the way out! They are being killed for bush meat (this is quasi-canabalistic), and their habitat is being destroyed. In 1960 there a million chimps living in Africa. Today, there are about 150,000 and they are in decline.

I doubt we can save ourselves if we can’t save our closest relatives and evolutionary cousins

Posted by Thomas Riggins

Wednesday, April 18, 2007
A Note on "Infidel" by Ayaan Hirsi Ali

David Morgan has a brief review of Ali’s book in the TLS for April 6, 2007.
He thinks it deserves to be read just for her life story. Born in Somalia (1969) Ali was subjected to genital mutilation [Morgan calls it “female circumcision”], ended up living with her family in exile in Saudi Arabia, Ethiopia, and Kenya where she was, for a short time, a militant Islamicist. Eventually she fled to Holland to escape an arranged marriage, became politically active and ended up in the Dutch parliament. She is now in the US.

She has abandoned religion and is actively hostile to Islam as she experienced it. Morgan, and others, point out, however, that in her books (earlier she wrote “The Caged Virgin”) she over generalizes her experiences and applies them to the entire Muslim world. It would be as if one were to judge all Christians by how such nominal Christians as Pat Robertson or Jerry Falwell act.

She thinks 9/11 was caused “by Islam” and by Islam she means the Wahhabi sect in Saudi Arabia, which the vast majority of the Islamic world rejects as extremist, even if President Bush holds hands with it. Morgan concludes that Ali's book “is so simplistic” that it “will contribute less than it could have towards” educating people about Islam.

Morgan fails to mention that Ali is now a fellow at the discredited American Enterprise Institute which is less a “think tank” (very little real thinking goes on there) than a propaganda tool funded by the most reactionary corporations and political forces in the country.

As long as she is associated with this neocon outfit she will, in my view, lack any moral or political credibility.

Posted by Thomas Riggins

jtrThursday, April 19, 2007

Thomas Riggins

The Peruvian government is sitting by while illegal loggers are invading parts of the Amazon rain forest supposedly set aside as Indian reserves. In the 1990s two hitherto unknown tribes were “discovered” by loggers cutting down mahogany trees for the US market.

They are the Murunahua and Mashco-Piro people. These people have no immunity to diseases of European origin so, just as in the days of Columbus and Pizarro, 50% of the Murunahua died after the initial contact.

The government set up two reserves in 1997 (on paper) to “protect” the survivors. After the die off, many Indians fled deep into the forest to avoid contact.

The mahogany market is booming (90% of the illegal trade goes to the US). The loggers are invading the Indian reserves and again coming into contact with the surviving Indians (the total for both tribes is about 600 people.)

One expert predicted the Indians would be totally wiped out in ten years if the do nothing Peruvian government doesn’t prevent logging in the reserves.

Its simple. Money vs the lives of these people who have only recently come into contact with our civilization. Who do you think will win-- the Indians or the US lumber market?

Monday, April 23, 2007
Follow Up Info on Peruvian Indians from Survival International


23 April 2006

The president of Perupetro, the government body responsible for granting oil exploration licences, has caused outrage after calling into doubt the existence of uncontacted Indian tribes in the Peruvian Amazon.

The comments come after the Peruvian government recently opened up 70% of its rainforest to oil exploration. Some of this territory is inhabited by uncontacted tribes. A vast amount of evidence for their existence has been collected by Survival, local indigenous organisations and other researchers going back decades, ranging from the testimonies of other Indians to sightings, encounters, photographs, and even reports of violent clashes with loggers and oil workers.

Yet Perupetro's president, Daniel Saba, said during an interview on Peruvian TV, 'It's absurd to say there are uncontacted peoples when no one has seen them. So, who are these uncontacted tribes people are talking about?'

The uncontacted Indians have no immunity to outsiders' diseases because of their isolation from the rest of society and any form of contact, no matter how brief, can be fatal. Following oil exploration on their land in the 1980s, more than 50% of the Nahua tribe died.

Survival's director, Stephen Corry, said today, 'Doubtless Mr Saba would much rather there were no uncontacted Indians in the areas where he wants to explore for oil. Declaring they don't exist at all, however, is a shameful self-fulfilling prophecy. If Perupetro allows companies to go in, it's likely to destroy the Indians completely and then they really won't exist.'


For further information contact Miriam Ross on (+44) (0)20 7687 8734 or email
To read this press release online visit

Posted by Thomas Riggins

Monday, April 23, 2007

Thomas Riggins

Over 5000 people have died in the deserts of the Mexican-US border. NAFTA has resulted in the ruin of 1000s of Mexican peasant farmers who cannot compete with US government subsidized American agriculture. Economic necessity is driving tens of thousands of Mexicans to cross over into territory that was taken from the Mexican people by the US in a war of aggression in the 19th century. The US government is trying to prevent humanitarian aid that will help save people's lives. No More Deaths is an organization that goes out into the desert to rescue stranded people. This group has been targeted by the Bush administration which seems to go out of its way to oppose any group that shows itself to be in favor of simple human decency.
For more information google

Posted by Thomas Riggins

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Thomas Riggins

The magazine of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (“Science” 20 April 2007) reported on the March meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists in Philadelphia.

The latest scientific evidence, based on DNA analysis, indicates that the original population of Europe was a brown skinned people of African origin. These people were the descendants of Africans who migrated to Europe tens of thousands of years ago.

These people are still living in Europe, only now they are a pale skinned African people instead of brown skinned. Pale skin can use sunlight better than brown skin to manufacture vitamin D and this vitamin was harder to come by in Europe naturally than in Africa. Also the Africans in Europe had to cover themselves more due to the weather and had less exposed skin to make the needed vitamin.

As a result there was a gene mutation favoring pale skin. Calculations of mutation rates and DNA analysis indicate that this gene began to rapidly spread in Europe and that by about 10,000 BC the European Africans were pale skinned instead of Brown skinned.

The USA has been colonized by people from all over the world, Africa, Europe, Asia, and originally by Asians, also of African descent, now called Amerindians.

So lets stop calling ourselves Italian Americans, Anglo Americans, Irish Americans, Spanish Americans, Russian Americans, etc. Italy, England, Ireland, Spain, Russia, etc., were only pit stops on our way from the African homeland. We are all AfrIcan Americans.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Headline says it all: “OSHA Leaves Worker Safety Largely in Hands of Industry.”

Thomas Riggins

The 4-25-07 New York Times tells the story of a rare potentially deadly lung disease that is showing up in workers at popcorn plants using the food flavoring diacetyl. The Occupational
Safety and Health Administration, set up to protect worker’s health, has become (under Bush) anti-worker and pro business regardless of the evidence of wrong doing by business interests and factory owners. OSHA is not regulating the use of diacetyl-- staying loyal to Bush’s ideal of Profits before People. How do Republicans get any votes from working people?

“The people at OSHA have no interest in running a regulatory agency,” Dr. D. Michaels, an expert on worker safety, is quoted by the Times as saying. The scientific evidence indicates that diacetyl is responsible for potentially deadly diseases in working people. Why isn’t it regulated? The head of OSHA (Edwin G. Foulke Jr.,) gives the standard bushite response whenever the administration wants to dump on the American people and give a hand to the big vested interests that own the Republicans. “The science is murky,” he said.

Its murky just as it is for global warming, or the value of stem cell research or how the world got here with all the different life forms. Its not “murky” for the leading doctors and scientists who have studied the issue. The real reason is that Foulke doesn’t want, it appears to me, to inconvenience the rich corporations that bankroll the Republican party.

The other reason, after the great respect shown for science (if not for scientists), is that Bushies also advocate a “voluntary compliance policy.” They think that is more workable than government regulations against free enterprise. If “voluntary compliance” is so great, why don’t they adopt that policy in the “war on drugs” and “illegal immigration.” The government could save a lot money and maybe take better care of wounded veterans.

Monday, April 30, 2007

A new poll by CBS News and The New York Times shows that 66% of the American people favor tougher gun control laws. The breakdown by party shows that majorities in both major parties (78% of Democrats and 51% of Republicans) want stiffer laws. Despite this, neither party in considering reigning in our out of control gun culture. They are sitting on their hands waiting for the next Virginia Tech to come along. How can the Democratic Party call itself "democratic" while ignoring the wishes of such large majorities both in the country and their own party? Why are they afraid of the NRA when they have such mass support for stricter laws? If they come out of the 2008 elections with solid majorities, we must demand that they take action. Meanwhile, they should take some polls themselves. These majorities indicate that gun control may actually be viable a campaign issue.
Thomas Riggins