Sunday, November 19, 2017

Religion and Violence

RELIGION AND VIOLENCE
The Old Testament shows that Israel was established by the sword --setting a bad example for Islam and Christianity both of which resorted to the sword to maintain themselves and take over various parts of the world. The Buddhists seemed a little different but they too have used the sword when they had state power. Today in Burma we seem them committing genocide against the Islamic minority in that country. Hinduism and its caste system was also the result of conquest and the sword. Religions are, of course, the expression of the unconscious spirit of humanity objectifying itself in different cultural milieux and when unchecked by reason and science they allow our original animal nature too many opportunities to express itself -- all acts of violence, war, capital punishment, all killing of man or beast are demonstrations of the beast within which none of the great religions have been able to tame. Philosophy and science, as higher expressions of the spirit, have also been unable to accomplish that goal but what other way is there? Religious belief is a step backward as would be expecting our aesthetic creations to accomplish this task as both are imaginative not rational expressions of our nature -- tr.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Sanders, the Unity Reform Commission & The Democratic Party

Thomas Riggins
The FIVE REFORMS put forth by Sanders will go a long way towards transforming the Democratic Party into a progressive populist party that can be used to move forward with a left working class agenda and decisively defeat Trump and the reactionary Republican Party. It will allow the socialist message to also reach a wider audience and lay the foundations for a mass political movement that can eventually move beyond the politics of capitalism that will still find expression within a reformed party. The coming meeting of the Unity Reform Commission (set up by Sanders AND Clinton) in which the two wings of the party will meet to discuss the best why to defeat Trump will be the test of the future viability of the party. Each of the 5 reforms represents the will of the mass of the party base and opposition to the reforms comes from a small neoliberal Wall Street based faction of the leadership. If this minority camarilla insists on remaining in control of the party and its finances and succeeds in blocking these reforms it is the Trump forces and their allies in civil society who will be the winners. This is the last chance that Clinton has to show she is a pro people Democrat and not an opportunistic tool of the 1%. I know that a leopard cannot change its spots nor a tiger its stripes but human beings can atone for the past and redeem themselves.
It’s time we come together to enact real reform—only then can we defeat Donald Trump and retake the country.
POLITICO.COM

Thursday, November 09, 2017

The Cause of Religious Belief

Science shows that religious belief is perpetuated from generation to generation by means of culture -- superstitious parents pass on these beliefs to their innocent and unsuspecting children and corrupt their developing mental life the same way as children's bodies can be corrupted by parents passing along congenital syphilis (religious beliefs being a form congenital mental syphilis). The state has a duty to protect children from these kinds of beliefs and a failure to do so indicates an exploitative state that is a menace to its citizens and one that must be replaced.

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Monday, November 06, 2017

Stopping Trumpism Without Trump

Thomas Riggins
“He’s closed an enthusiasm gap by rallying around the Trump agenda,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the president’s former strategist. “And I think the big lesson for Tuesday is that, in Gillespie’s case, Trumpism without Trump can show the way forward. If that’s the case, Democrats better be very, very worried.”
The perfect shouldn't be the enemy of the good and defeating Ed Gillespie, who is running an openly racist campaign, would be an unqualified good. Voting for the Democratic candidate in this case is the only way to halt Trumpism without Trump which is more dangerous than Trump himself. The recent increase in Gillespie's support indicates that American racism is deeper and more widespread than many on the left have imagined. We cannot allow this budding fascist Trumpist ideology to gather strength and unleash more violence, persecution, disenfranchisement, and rejection of civil liberties and equal treatment under the law against the minority communities in our country both citizens and non citizens. It's not only Democrats who should be "very, very, worried" but everyone and anyone concerned with human rights, the defense of democracy, and struggle for decent wages and political representation for the working people and the 99% and all those who want to make this a better world for all of us from the protection of the environment to the elimination of militarism and war. Let's not let the stench that began emanating from the Munich beer hall 94 years ago this month befoul our land.
A racially tinged campaign by the Republican nominee for governor, Ed Gillespie, has tightened the race and, perhaps, presented a template for how to run in the Trump…
NYTIMES.COM

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Saturday, October 28, 2017

Putin and Catalonia

Thomas Riggins
Anything that weakens NATO and the UE and splits the unity of the ruling capitalist group in the West -- such as secessionist movements, rogue political parties on the left (not the fascist groups) should be encouraged because it discomforts the number one imperialist world alliance headed by the U.S. Turnabout is fair play and Russia is still smarting from the US/NATO break up of Yugoslavia and Serbia and its coup in Ukraine against the legally elected president because he wouldn't break friendly relations with Russia and become a EU puppet. The Russian bourgeoisie is infinitely weaker than the transnational monopoly capitalist bourgeoisie which controls the globalized world economy and is headed by the US financial capitalists and their allies and can be used as an unwitting Trojan Horse by the left. El País, by the way, is a mouthpiece for the monopoly capitalists and no friend of the real left as are most Social Democrats and Center or Center/Left alliances: "The paper has criticized figures such as Che Guevara and his idea of armed struggle.More recently, it has also shown its clear opposition to the popular leftist movement in Spain Podemos.El País has also been critical of the so-called "populist left" in Latin America. In April 2002, it termed the failed coup in Venezuela as a "coup against a tyrant", accusing Hugo Chávez of authoritarianism and of eliminating the separation of powers.[46] The paper criticized Chávez again regarding the Venezuelan constitutional referendum of 2007, accusing him of holding the referendum without the least "minimal guarantees", of restricting the actions of the National Electoral Council, and of tampering with the electoral roll.[47] The Venezuelan government, through the Ministry of Popular Power for Communication and Information, considers El País to be one of the Spanish newspapers most critical of the left-wing governments of Cuba, Venezuela, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Bolivia."-Wikepedia
Dimitri Medoyev, from partially recognized republic of South Ossetia, arrived this week in Barcelona for meetings with business figures
ELPAIS.COM

Monday, October 23, 2017

Bugs' Fate is Our Fate

Thomas riggins
"Bugs" may not be our favorite animals but we are part of the same web of life and the bugs are telling us something about our fate as well. Birds eat bugs and so we have another article: "Global BIRD POPULATIONS Face Dramatic Decline In Coming ...
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/12/..." and" World's OCEANS in 'shocking' decline - BBC News
www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-13796479
Jun 19, 2011 · World's oceans in 'shocking' decline. ... they warn that ocean life is "at ... the environmental changes are much more rapid," Professor Rogers told BBC News." "And World WILDLIFE populations halved in 40 years - told BBC News
www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29418983
World wildlife populations halved in 40 ... of FISH populations if we are to have an accurate picture of the rate of population decline for species in that ..." And Decline of Earth's PLANT LIFE threatens human life
www.peoplesworld.org/article/decline-of-earth-s-plant...
A recent scientific study comparing the role of plants in the sustainability of life on Earth and the current rapid destruction of such life has convinced many ..." ECT., etc. 
Planet Earth is suffering a sickness unto death and we humans (specifically our capitalist world order) is responsible for this environmental disaster due to human caused climate change. Our response? We install a President who is a climate denier and who puts climate deniers in charge of every agency and department of government designed to protect the environment -- Trump is an existential threat to the existence of the entire human race -- but not as an individual but as a representative of the economic and political forces of U.S. and ultimately trans national financial (monopoly) capitalism. Our solution -- to fritter around trying to figure out which corporate Democrat with which to replace him (smell the coffee: all the Democrats are corporate since, whatever their domestic views, they all support the military industrial complex, military expansion and NATO [even Bernie!] and fighting the fossil fuel industry and international capital is all sound and fury, signifying nothing: our last best hope is the new rebirth of the international Communist and workers movement, the leftward change going on in China, and the growth, small as it is -- but growing -- of socialist consciousness in the U.S. -- and this should be the major thrust of the CP since the DSA will only lead people down a blind alley -- it's do or die folks.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Ex Oriente Lux?

Thomas Riggins
"In his speech, Mr. Xi referred repeatedly to social tensions unleashed by economic inequality, pollution and inadequate access to health care, schools and housing." The real test for President Xi is how he solves these problems -- the solution to which is the true test of a committment to socialism. We have been told socialism is good in theory but doesn't work in practice, well China may be the last chance to make it work in practice so let's root for him. The West had ended up with Trump and the future of humanity appears to be doom and gloom -- it's time once again for ex Oriente lux.
Warning of deep and complicated changes but describing the outlook as “extremely bright,” the president is set to make himself the indispensable man.
NYTIMES.COM

Sunday, October 08, 2017

Inside the DPRK via The New York Times

"The North Koreans insist that the U.S. make the first move and drop its sanctions and “hostile attitude” — which won’t happen." Well, this is what should happen. The world's greatest military power and most aggressive country, which doesn't hesitate to overthrow governments and invade countries to further its own interests, is threatening to wipe out a small country with a population smaller than Texas, has caused this crisis by constantly threatening and provoking the North Koreans with joint military games with South Korea, publicly announcing a first strike nuclear policy, and stationing its armed forces in adjacent countries for the purpose of imperialist control of the Pacific region under the guise of "defense." War or peace is our hands and we should make the first moves and drop our hostile attitude and work to have normal diplomatic relations with the DPRK. (Mr. Kristof's first two recommendations for solving the crisis are good but the four additional recommendations are part and parcel of the hostile and unwarranted interference in the internal affairs of another country which the U.S. thinks it has the right to do. Let the U.S. mind its own business and let the North Koreans deal with their internal affairs themselves.)

A visit to the reclusive country reveals the perilous moment we’re in.
NYTIMES.COM

Monday, October 02, 2017

Who is Provoking Whom: Donald Trump vs Kim Jong-un?

Why does the Times say "North Korea has provoked a conflict with the United States and its Asian allies in recent weeks with its sixth test of a nuclear bomb and its first successful tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles that could potentially deliver a warhead to the United States mainland." Why not "the United States has provoked North Korea by refusing to agree to a no nuclear first strike policy, by stationing nuclear weapons in the seas and islands around North Korea, in staging joint war games with South Korea practicing how to invade North Korea." It's obvious who is the bully and who wants a war. Pogo got it right all those years ago.

Undercutting his secretary of state, the president told him not to bother with negotiations. “Save your energy Rex,” he wrote on Twitter.

NYTIMES.COM|BY DAVID SANGER





Wednesday, September 27, 2017

More US Provocations Worsen Korean Crisis

Thomas Riggins

I don't know why so many people seek to equate Kim Jong-un with Donald Trump. We know from our own experience that Mr. Trump is a problematic leader but we don't know anything about Mr. Kim except what our own hostile media chooses to report or what South Korean Intelligence informs us of. What we do know is diplomacy has failed because President Bush called it off and the US hasn't moved to restart it and if the US bullies and threatens North Korea the way it has Panama, Libya, and other countries that Mr. Kim won't be bullied. This whole crisis was the doing of US misleadership.
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North Korea Says It Has the Right to Shoot Down U.S. Warplanes

The country’s foreign minister also said the North considered President Trump’s threatening comments about the country and its leadership “a declaration of war.”
NYTIMES.COM

Thursday, August 31, 2017

North Korea Is Not The Problem

Thomas Riggins

This article is really slanted against the North Koreans: "rogue dictator," etc., why not "rogue president" for Trump (leaving the Paris climate agreement). The North Koreans are making rational demands and the US is refusing to act rationally . They have agreed to negotiate for an end to their nuclear weapons program for 1. a no first strike guarantee from the US; 2. an end to provocative joint military exercises with the South Koreans (war games to threaten the North); 3. initiate steps to sign a peace treaty to officially end the state of war leading to normal diplomatic relations. The only "rogue" behavior is the US refusing every rational solution to the problem and insisting that North Korea give up its major defensive bargaining chip against continual US bullying (its weapons program) before we will negotiate! Anyone with a half a brain can see this whole problem is the result of the US wanting to throw its weight around in this region (as in every other) of the world. North Korea is not the problem.

In a Twitter post, the president said the country has been paying North Korea for 25 years, though it was not clear what money he was referring to.
NYTIMES.COM






Friday, August 18, 2017

Trumpty Dumpty After Charlottesville

Trumpty Dumpty sat in his bower,
Trumpty Dumpty fell out of his tower,
And all of Fox News and the President's men
Couldn't put Trumpty Dumpty together again.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Russia-gate and the Democrats (Robert Parry's View)

Thomas Riggins

We can thank the Clintoncrat leadership in the DP and Congress as well as the GOP for the war rhetoric or worse surrounding the DPRK"s defense program. I hope the elements on the left that still mourn for the HRC gang will abandon their support for US imperialism (objectively if not subjectively) and get back to supporting working class internationalism. HRC was a necessary evil in the fight to prevent Trump's victory, now she is an unnecessary evil and we should acknowledge the fact and get on with the fight against Trump.

Exclusive: By pushing the Russia-gate “scandal” and neutering President Trump’s ability to conduct diplomacy, Democrats and Congress have encouraged his war-making side on North Korea, writes Robert Parry. By Robert Parry There was always…
CONSORTIUMNEWS.COM

Friday, August 04, 2017

Russia worse off without the USSR by Thomas Riggins

This article indicates that the decline of Russia, despite its resurgent military, is entirely due to the fall of the Soviet Union and abolishment of Soviet socialism based on central planning (which allowed Russia to rise from a semi-feudal backwards peasant country to a major industrialized world power) and its replacement by a capitalist economic system manipulated by oligarchs. The NYT, of course, doesn't put it quite that way, but it's there if you read between the lines (it's the unconscious subtext).
Contrary to President Vladimir V. Putin’s claims of population growth, rural areas — long considered the wellspring of Russian culture and identity — are dying.
NYTIMES.COM

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Cold War Games

Thomas Riggins
Just substitute USA for Russia, CIA for KGB and other relevent substitutions and this article could be a Russian oped about the US and its attempts to interfer and subvert the Russian government. This is what the cold war was all about and it really is not in Russia's interests to start it up again but it seems that both military and political forces in the USA that benefited and profited from the cold war would like to restart it. The Russians are reacting to our pokes and pushes, they are not deliberately trying to antagonize us. (New York Times Comments)
Russian intelligence was probably behind Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Kremlin-linked people last year, and they meant for it to be discovered.
NYTIMES.COM

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Richard Dawkins and Free Speech

Thomas Riggins
Considering all the different views people have it seems impossible not to express religious and political views that might "hurt people." Richard Dawkins has said some incredibility stupid things about Islam and Moslems but should he be banned from giving a talk on evolution, or science, or atheism when he is internationally recognized as a scholar in these fields? 
The station's general manager says “We believe that it is our free speech right not to participate with anyone who uses hateful or hurtful language against a community that is already under attack.” So he cancelled Dawkins' talk. His comment amounts to "We believe in free speech as long as we agree with it." Well we couldn't use "hurtful" language against the Nazi movement since it's a community being attacked.
Granted that as a scientist Dawkins should not get carried away with his emotions and make really dumb unscientific pronouncements about Islam but pointing them out should be sufficient remedy without attacking free speech rights.
Examples: Nobody calling himself a "rationalist" would make this stupid Dawkins tweet: "I think Islam is the greatest force for evil in the world today. I've said so, often and loudly." There is no such thing "Islam" tout court -- there are Sunni's, and Shites, and Alawites, and Sufi's, etc., and many permutations of all the above -- saints and sinners just like any other group of humans. Such a general tweet is just foolish ("evil" isn't even a useful term for a rationalist).
" In 2015, he wondered whether Ahmed Mohamed — the boy in Texas who was suspended after bringing a homemade clock to school that officials said resembled a bomb — wanted to get arrested given that the episode led to an invitation to the White House and crowdfunding." Dawkins must think the young man has prescience.
Just like the rest of us Dawkins says stupid things and doesn't always let logic and science overrule his emotions. As a "passionate rationalist" we can hope he will be more rational and less passionate but even if he isn't he shouldn't be censored and have his talks canceled by hypocrites.

A Berkeley radio station canceled an event promoting Mr. Dawkins’s new book, citing past comments and tweets that it said had “hurt people.”
NYTIMES.COM



Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Chit-Chat or After Dinner Conspiracy?

Thomas Riggins

Undisclosed? They sat and talked in full few of the people at the dinner. This article is so slanted it looks like the liberal version of a report by Bill Riley. Look at this ridiculous comment the NYT reproduces from one of its hearsay sources who wasn't even there: “We have the worst relationship as a country right now with Russia that we have in decades, and yet we have these two leaders that, for reasons that do not make sense and have not been explained to anyone’s satisfaction, are hellbent on adoring each other,” Mr. Bremmer said. “You can take everything that’s been given to us, and it doesn’t add up.” Really? 1. It makes perfect sense to try and improve the "worse relationship" so Trump's initiating a one on one talk at a dinner is a positive development. The idea that he was lured into this by Putin (expressed elsewhere in the article) is laughable -- he went over to talk with him on his own. 2. Nothing either of them has done indicates that Putin is "hellbent on adoring" Trump (or vice versa). This is just propagandist hyperbole more suited to the NY Post but becoming more frequent these days in the NYT as well. What doesn't add up is the nonsense passing as "news" concerning Russia and Putin in the mainstream media. There are millions of our fellow citizens completely ignorant of anything going on outside of their own backyards, their occasional contact with the press should alleviate not reinforce this ignorance. They should especially check out, online, The People's World (while occasionally succumbing to this meme it provides a much more realistic portrayal of realty than the mainstream corporate reality).
There is no official American record of the prolonged discussion between the two presidents on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting.
NYTIMES.COM