Nov 1, 2020

This thread has been created for discussion on themes relevant to Reason and Science for which there are not currently any dedicated threads.

Please note that our Comment Policy applies as usual. There is a link to this at the foot of the page.

If you would like to refer back to previous open discussion threads, the three most recent ones can be accessed via the links below (but please continue any discussions from them here rather than on the original threads):





The Book Club can be found at:


99 comments on “OPEN DISCUSSION NOVEMBER 2020

  • Welcome to the November 2020 open discussion thread.

    If you wish to continue any of the discussions from earlier Open Discussion threads, please do so here rather than there.

    Thank you.

    The mods

    Report abuse

  • I am very sad about the attack in Vienna yesterday. The bad side of religions has set this agenda. How can we put an end to it ? It will be on a medium or long run that we may succeed. We must create a political tension between atheists and fundamentalists. A political tension where violence has a negative impact. I am personally in favor of a right of expression in media. It is different of the freedom of expression, as this rights gives you a talk time and a budget in wide spread medias, after being elected by universal suffrage. But any way I think it will be difficult to put a end to these attacks without an atheist movement growing up. And either the threat of atheism cools them down, either we will spread largely !

    Report abuse

  • Of course we don’t know the final outcome of the presidential election yet, but all-in-all, I’m pretty disappointed in the American people.  Even if Biden ultimately wins, I’m so very disappointed in the support that Trump has.  I would think that people would be ashamed to be associated with the likes of Trump and his supporters, but apparently not.

    Report abuse

  • I have a question. If someone can answer and pin some literature on the topic.

    There are many in animal world who can see infrared frequency of light. Humans evolved from them. But how come our eyes evolved to see only VIBGYOR frequencies of light?

    Report abuse

  • Chakradhar Mahapatra #4.  Good question.  I think its more accurate to say that we have common ancestors with every other life form on this planet, rather than we descended from them.  So the fact that some of our cousins can see in infrared does not mean that all other animals should share that characteristic.  It’s my understanding that the eye evolved independently about 40 times over the course of billions of years.  Is it then surprising that there should be different ways of seeing? I would recommend that you check out Richard Dawkins’ books on the topic of evolution. Read several of his books and then other authors such as Jerry Coyne and Neil Shubin. I hope this helps a bit.

    Report abuse

  • Michael 100

    This is another terrible disappointment. Let’s face it – Half of our country are under the spell of the orange deplorable and hold values that are the polar opposite of our own. This is a bitter pill to swallow.


    Report abuse

  • Gotta say I’m feeling pretty low today as concerns our circumstances here in the USA, did not think our values could slip any lower but I’ve been proven wrong.  There is an ill wind blowing across America and our election is testament of that condition.  I had let myself be convinced that a victory for decency and normality would win the day but that hope slipped away.

    Dark days to be sure but no alternative exists other than hoping for change another day.  The bigger pressing issues is what I mourn since the vote largely upheld Trump values so the pressing issues of climate change will once again see little progress in my estimation.  My pessimistic view will not help, I know, but this capitulation of the American electorate who’ve fallen under the spell of Trumpism is tough to overlook.

    I will never understand the mental process that allowed a multitude of people to fall under the spell of a man possessing the lowest possible character I can imagine so someone else will have to figure that one I’m afraid because I’m coming up empty.

    Should Biden take the Presidency the margin of victory will be razor thin and with Mitch McConnell still standing the outlook is pretty grim for real change to take place. Now that we have an activist Supreme Court installed the prospect for relief in that arena is severely diminished as well.  I hope someone else can step into the void to steer the ship because in my estimation we are presently operating without a rudder. That’s my two cents anyway.


    Report abuse

  • I see that faith belief priorities, and religious “immunities”, are interacting with medical realities as usual!

    Patriarch Irinej, the 90-year-old head of the Serbian Orthodox Church, was admitted to hospital on Wednesday.

    He led the funeral of the church’s most senior cleric in Montenegro, 82-year-old Amfilohije Radovic, on Sunday.

    Mourners gathered at the event without masks and many kissed the bishop’s body as it lay in an open coffin.

    Amfilohije, who died on Friday, described pilgrimages as “God’s vaccine” and avoided wearing a mask.

    So two bishops ( and goodness knows how many followers) have decided on “faith” that they know better than government medical advisors,  and got themselves infected with Covid-19!

    Reports indicate Montenegro’s Prime Minister-designate Zdravko Krivokapic and Serbia’s president also attended the event.

    It seems that church and state are very intertwined, but apparently their god is rather ungrateful, as the archbishop who died, had organised protests and blessed opposition parties which then won the August election, against   the previous government which had  passed a laws allowing it to claim church property!

    Report abuse

  • quarecuss #9

    Most gracious invitation, thank you.  I think many are contemplating escape from the dysfunction and chaos that has become ever present in the U.S., we are a house divided.

    Marco #10

    Usually a rarity for newscasters to gravitate beyond their spin-machine for ratings schemes but your link from usatoday hits the nail on the head.  This mess is just the beginning and the light at the end of the tunnel looks pretty dim.

  • Mods, my post responding to quarecuss and Marco seems to have vanished.  If you find it would you post it.  Thank you

  • I’ve made a mess of the thread so my apologies to all.

    I’m generally reluctant to post but I suppose the proverbial dam has busted so to speak.  With that being the case I will go ahead and touch on a few subjects that have concerned me lately.

    I’ve been pondering the human propensities of certain groups who have set aside reason and core tenets of decency. A civilized society should embrace cohesion and stability but the trend appears to be a diminished embrace of stability and an adoption of belief in fake propositions at the expense of the truth generally. It would seem that the scope and spread of this phenomenon is expanding exponentially and that is worrisome.  I don’t feel that many could have foreseen the rapid degradation of American sensibilities at large with their massive capitulation embracing capitalism at the expense of a perceived moral center that was supposed to be a failsafe/guardrail meant to hold us together . Now it seems to be every man and woman for themselves. Evangelicals claim decency as one of their core creeds but from where I’m standing those principles have been modified to an extremist interpretation that only serves their needs and to all the rest they’ve chosen to wax their conscience cold.

    The concern I have is a dismantling and uncoupling of societal norms that is tearing at the fabric of world society at large.  Again, who would have thought a single man like Trump (a corrupt man that only exists due to a greedy fathers indoctrination) could have wielded such power over the masses.  He has taken us backwards at a breathtaking pace and yet those of us who still retain a core belief in decency and truth have been pretty much void of an ability to restrain him.  It appears to me that many have fallen under the spell of a reality TV addiction, it appears they want that level of stimulation played out in every aspect of their lives, including our government bodies.  Everything has to be severely unsettled to retain their interest it would seem. Chaos as nourishment and a creed.

    I’m finally getting to the point overall.  If people have become so susceptible to being driven by wild currents of behavior in a country like America it would appear that cooperation between countries around the world could be in peril.  We have a cadre of diplomats in the United Nations but with the passing of time the overall success has been marginal as we swing from one conflict to another, now throw in the desire for isolationism, vitriol, and contempt and the recipe for disaster becomes more than inevitable to my way of thinking.  They say if you forget your history you are bound to repeat it and that possibility is becoming more realistic by the day.

    I don’t know what can turn the tide but the need is great to do so.

    Report abuse

  • Aroundtown #16:  I share your frustration.  Although Biden seems to be confident that he will win the presidency, I think we are all discouraged that the race is so close.  Someone once described America as the Great Pendulum.  We go from Franklyn Roosevelt to Richard Nixon, from Bill Clinton to George H. W. Bush, from Barak Obama to Donald Trump.  Roosevelt cleaned up the mess left by Hoover; Clinton cleaned up the mess left by Bush I, and Obama cleaned up the mess left by Bush II.  Now Biden will spend the next four years cleaning up Trump’s disaster.  I neither want to be Pollyannaish nor gloomy.  Let’s remain hopeful that Biden will win – maybe today – and continue to work for our progressive ideals.  In the future, it would be nice if the pendulum would swing from liberal to progressive rather than from liberal to borderline fascist.  At the end of the day, I’d rather have the government (heads of the cabinet, United States Attorneys, and agency heads) appointed by the Democrats than by the Republicans.  We’ll take our victories where we can and keep pushing the stone up the hill.

    Report abuse

  • Michael 100 #18

    We are clearly on the same page in observation of the grand experiment here in America.  Let us hope that a reduction in inertia slows that pendulum down to facilitate a more common inclusive populace.  In third grade I remember sitting in class and our teacher informing us that President Kennedy had been assassinated, I further remember the collective mourning of the nation just as we did after 911.    I’ve lived through numerous wars, the assassination of Robert Kennedy and in quick succession the loss of Martin Luther King and for reasons that largely escape me it is difficult to witness our schizophrenic tendencies that sees us coming together in harmony and just as quickly devolving into frenetic discord.

    To use an analogy, it has been clear to me for sometime that should a business change up its business model every four years to accommodate competing views the prospect for success would be severely hampered and yet the competing Republican Democrat divide within our government is viewed as workable.  It has clearly shown an inability to secure a decisive direction that serves the whole.  They keep doing the same thing and expecting a different result.  Exhaustive to be sure.  There is one constant though, the rich get richer and the poor stay poor, or in cruder terms, they get the gold and we get the shaft. Let us hope that situation can change under a Biden administration but to be absolutely honest, I won’t hold my breath while we wait.

    I seem to gravitate to the lowest common denominator and retain a glass is half empty view but a commenter here on RDFRS named Sara gave me the gift of adopting “hope” so in that vain I will hope for the best.

    In closing, gotta give a shout-out to Greta Thunberg, she has the ability to lift me up and I admire her determination.  I “hope” we can all become as passionate to address the greatest challenge of our time, climate change.

    Report abuse

  • Phew!

    I love that Murdoch has turned on Trump, lest he sour things further with his childish petulance.

    I think the GOP-funding oligarchs will need to reassume control of the right after this altogether too random populist hi-jack. Trump was never enough their creature.

    Now, two years in for Biden, a mild health scare, and we may see something really exciting.

    Report abuse

  • Phil

     lest he sour things further with his childish petulance.

    We will have to wait a while for the petulance. Trump is out on the golf course right now. He’s too busy with golf to make any motions of even minimal good leadership. Poisonous petulance will come later.

    Report abuse

  • As of now, rather than civil unrest, nothing but crowds celebrating the end of the nightmare.  It’s such a joy to see the huge crowds outside the White House.  Let’s hope this mood continues and that people remember that citizenship is a full time job!!

    Report abuse

  • Thanks for all the support from our friends abroad. It was a very difficult four years and often too difficult to bear. We will still have disappointments to come, especially through this transition period but I feel more shored up from todays victory.

    Report abuse

  • Excellent that he has won, but there is still the Senate, the courts, the National Guard and the militias to contend with.  It was wonderful to see the peaceful outdoor celebration of decent people, masked and observing social distancing, presumably with smiles on their faces – but I fear other masked people, armed to the teeth, angry, anarchically organised, and supported to a greater or lesser extent, by 49% of the population.

    Report abuse

  • It’s been said a lot in the media that President-Elect Biden’s speech last night was among his best. I’ve heard a lot of political speeches, and I’m hard pressed to remember a more moving speech. I feel as though sanity and dignity have been restored to the American presidency. The next time the President of the United States appears before the General Assembly of the United Nations, he will not be a laughing stock. The period of our national embarrassment is in its final days — it will be over at noon on January 20, 2021.

    Eejit, I agree the right wing militias are a clear and present danger, but I’ll put my money on the United States Marshal Service, and the other law enforcement agencies. Although Biden will not have friendly courts, and possibly the Senate will be in control of the opposition, party, he will appoint United States Attorneys in the 96 judicial districts. He will appoint the Attorney General, the Secretary of State, Housing and Urban Development, Education, Defense, &c, &c. Regarding the Senate, remember that Biden has been a United States Senator for six six-year terms. He knows how the senate works and how to work with those of the opposition party (how to make a deal) — and he knows where the proverbial bodies are buried Biden has already set the tone of his administration by proclaiming that science will be his pole star. Will he be perfect? Of course not, but I’d rather have him and Harris at the helm than Trump, either of the Bushes, Ronald Regan, Richard Nixon or Herbert Hoover.

    I’m also happy that in the election with the highest participation in the history of the country, Biden and Harris won with a clear majority of both the Electoral College, and the popular vote – more than 4 million than Trump got. While our cup renneth not over, it is more than half full.

    Report abuse

  • Michael 100 says:

    Eejit, I agree the right wing militias are a clear and present danger,

    The deplorables and crooks, who have been fostered and encouraged by Trump, will undoubtedly remain deplorable for the foreseeable future!

    The media is still showing the Trump-parrots spouting their aggressive conspiracy theories without any sign of functioning brain cells! ☺ !


    Report abuse

  • The deplorables and crooks, who have been fostered and encouraged by Trump, will undoubtedly remain deplorable for the foreseeable future!

    It’s a terrible problem.  The deplorables and crooks have a point:  changes in industrial production which have caused mass, generational unemployment in huge swathes of the US, leading to hopelessness and despair in a vast, formerly prosperous, proud working class – whose children and grandchildren have no realistic hope of anything, with the consequent problems of alcoholism, drug abuse, petty crime and welfare dependence.

    In my Australian days, I spent part of my working week delivering new opportunity courses in Kwinana, a decayed industrial suburb of Perth.  It was a large state housing estate, a whole suburb in fact, built in the fifties to house the workers who operated the groundbreaking industrial plants along Cockburn Sound, oil refineries, iron and steel, aluminium smelting etc – all gone now.

    It was an excellent estate, the houses were well built, a bit small, but with huge gardens, native trees and grass everywhere, sports facilities, a high school, good shopping centre, but the most depressed place I ever visited.  The school was in a state of mal function which the excellent staff and principal had to combat every day, our students at the adult education centre would sign on with enthusiasm and hope, but few lasted the short courses. There were obesity and health problems, rampant teenage pregnancy, and widespread third generation unemployment. Needless to say the significant Aboriginal population shared all the problems of  the white community.

    I attended a few events with the industry minister,  He made the counter-intuitional point that there was no unemployment (late 1990s) in the state, there was in fact a shortage of labour, but there was this suburb, and a couple of others, where the whole population was unskilled, demotivated, in poor health, and lacking transport.  He was in despair about the situation, money and effort were put into resolving the problems, but if they were working, any solutions were were unlikely succeed for a generation.

    How much worse must it be for the discarded American working class? What we can glean from news reports and reading is that their situation is much worse, with a social welfare system which provides food stamps (how demeaning must that feel?), apparently no serious efforts to provide reskilling, work, cultural development, policing by consent, a health service, urban renewal…

    Coolidge said that the business of America was business.  The Democrats have embraced ult – right economics and social philosophy, just as have the Republicans: what was standard politico-social thinking and policy in the fifties and sixties is now rubbished as extreme socialism or communism, thus outlawing any real debate or progressive thinking about the future of American society.

    Meanwhile the sinister spectres of fundamentalist christianity, racism, packed courts, fascism and armed militias stalk the streets and corridors of power, financed by the ultra rich and peopled by the ultra poor.

    Report abuse

  • (As I see it…) Our technological progress has far outpaced our social progress. The population grows, but the number of people required to feed/house/etc everybody shrinks. The “full-time job” is no longer possible for a lot of positions (unless it is accompanied by high unemployment). Instead of 1 person doing 40 hours per week and 1 person unemployed, it could be 2 people working 20 hours per week each. Basically, the whole economic system is no longer a good “fit” for the world, and needs to be re-built from the ground up. Unfortunately, those in the best position to effect the required change have zero motivation to do so…

    Report abuse

  • I wholeheartedly agree, ShadowMind, particularly when you say: ‘Instead of 1 person doing 40 hours per week and 1 person unemployed, it could be 2 people working 20 hours per week each.’ You go on to say: ‘…the whole economic system is no longer a good “fit” for the world and needs to be re-built from the ground up. Unfortunately, those in the best position to effect the required change have zero motivation to do so…’

    Imagine a full working week of twenty hours (it would have to be, of course, without loss of pay) and, you know what? The system could afford it if the minimum wage was increased and the billionaires and big corporations paid meaningful taxes.

    Working people with more leisure time on their hands – time for more education, more culture, sport, health, more loving time with family or community activity or even grassroots political activity to help revitalise democracy.

    Massive investment in housebuilding, in green industries too, would boost employment figures, full employment should be a stated aim which would also boost the consumer industries.

    It’s within the realms of possibility, if the political will is there…and there’s the rub, the political will. I fear neither the Republicans or the Democrats are up to the challenge. I struggle to see much to choose from their policies (but I certainly appreciate, fully, the imminent political demise of Trump). However, I believe there is a section of the Democratic Party politicians who would be in favour of such policies if they could, come to the fore at some point, which is not to be ruled out.

    I imagine some might sound the dog whistle : ‘Socialism!’ I’m not so sure much of what I’ve described is socialism. Shouldn’t the wealth of any country be used for the well-being of its population? After all, it’s working people who are the real wealth-creators. Why shouldn’t the majority benefit? The USA deserves better than what its political class, including Joe Biden, is offering (which is just as true for my country – UK). We all deserve better.

    Report abuse

  • The fault is not so much in the political class, I’m sure that in general they are honest enough folk, anyway it doesn’t much matter. They basically have to recognise where the power lies, and try to navigate around that in order to cajole some crumbs from the table for their electorates, or at least for their electors’ votes.

    In the end, all they can do is what business lets them away with, there are of course gaps which can be exploited; various interests groups in conflict with each other, the minimal protections offered by the law, rival media groups, diverging national interests, and as a great, lamented Irish radio journalist used to say, whatever you’re having yourself.  But in the end the market wins.

    The market is not a natural phenomenon like gravity, evolution, or Euclid’s axioms, though the ult-right speaks about it as if it were, thus cutting off any inconvenient discussion.  Indeed like Newton and gravity, they don’t really define it, but, like fundamentalist Christians and God, they’re just very firm about what it wants.

    How this calamitous situation can be resolved is anyone’s guess.  The state, media, education, research and the political system are all in thrall to the market, the post war social contract is in ribbons, the environment on the brink of collapse and most of the world’s wealth in the hands of a few dozen people, so there isn’t much room for hope, so far as I can see.

    Report abuse

  • For the last 20 years or so, the world has seen many terrorist attacks based on religion. Not to mention, many of the right wing (who come off as moderate but actually turn extremes to mainstream) leaders (either elected or self proclaimed, there are many) have been using these attacks to raise their religious flags up even higher. And now we are dealing with a pandemic which has the power to collapse state economies, cause coup d’etats or maybe even start a world war (according to Nick Carter, Britain’s Chief of the Defense Staff).

    It seems to me that again, we are witnessing religion being used by those in power as a divisive force, combined with fear of a pestilence (in the biblical sense to add more fervour to those who already believe) of global scale. And we are all too familiar with how this could end. Historic recurrence, is after all a fact of life, for people are forgetful (one could even say unmindful) of horrible events of the not so distant past.

    As I stop and think for a moment, I realize that this feeling, like I am watching the remake of a famous movie after a long time, is giving me the chills. The characters are different, the stage is somewhat changed but the plot seems to be the same. And frankly, I am appalled by some of the remarks of my friends whom I thought possessed minds of reason. It is somehow harder to reach people’s common sense through logic, than to influence their judgement by senseless religious stories. In short, we as a world are in dire need of unification in the fields of education and communication, using universal scientific knowledge as basis for understanding.

    Lastly, I want to give my personal thanks to Richard Dawkins for all his effort to open people’s eyes to the truth, in a world reeking of blind, thoughtless hate.

    Report abuse

  • 40
    Behnaz Mortazavi says:

    Men talk of heaven,—there is no heaven but here;Men talk of hell,—there is no hell but here;Men of hereafters talk, and future lives,—O love, there is no other life—but here.

    Report abuse

  • When Allah mixed my clay, He knew full wellMy future acts, and could each one foretell;If I can only do what He designed,Is it then just to punish me in hell?
    I cannot help it — were it in my power,I would forsake my sins this very hour,Forsake the Rose, and bid the Vine good-bye,Kiss my last kiss — if it were in my power.
    But helpless pieces of the game He playsUpon this checkerboard of nights and days;Hither and thither moves, and checks, and slays,And one by one back in the closet lays.
    You to the Mosque, with howling hymn and prayerI to the temple of the Vine repairThere are many ways to the one true GodI find him Here, but do you find him There?
    Why would Allah give to zealots like you —A maggot-minded, starved, fanatic crew —Secrets he kept from far more learned men?Well, what does it matter? Believe that, too!
    Sweet is rose-ruddy wine in goblets gay,And sweet are lute and harp and roundelay;But for the zealot who disdains the cup,’Tis sweet when he is twenty leagues away!
    Think not that I have never tried your wayTo heaven, you who pray and fast and pray:Once I denied myself both love and wine —Yea, wine and love — for a whole summer day.
    The Koran! Well, come put me to the test —Lovely old book in hideous error dressed —Believe me, I can quote the scriptures, too,The unbeliever knows his Koran best.
    This is no way my learnèd life to use!Tell me a better, then, that I may choose.Shall I, for some remote imagined gainMy precious little hour of living lose?
    Shall, I, with such a little hoard to spend,Waste it to such unprofitable end?Do as you please who think another way —For me, the wine cup and a pretty friend.
    Strange, is it not? that of the myriads whoBefore us passed the door of Darkness through,Not one returns to tell us of the Road,Which to discover we must travel too.

  • Soheil Arabi, is an Iranian blogger who was sentenced to death in Iran in 2013 on charges of insulting the Prophet Mohammad in his postings on Facebook. His sentence was commuted in 2015 to several years imprisonment and two years of mandatory study of Islamic theology!

    This is brutal …


    Report abuse


    ,Not Christian or Jew or Muslim, not Hindu

    Buddhist, sufi, or zen. Not any religion

    or cultural system. I am not from the East

    or the West, not out of the ocean or up

    from the ground, not natural or ethereal, not

    ,composed of elements at all. I do not exist

    ,am not an entity in this world or the next

    did not descend from Adam or Eve or any

    origin story. My place is placeless, a trace

    .of the traceless. Neither body or soul

    I belong to the beloved, have seen the two

    ,worlds as one and that one call to and know

    first, last, outer, inner, only that

    .breath breathing human being

    Report abuse

  • I do not know much about politics , but I am somehow worried about having Democrats back in the White House in  2021. It is very likely that the history repeats itself. Another Jimmy Carter and another rise of the radical Islamic regime in  Iran in 1979…

    Report abuse

  • Behnaz Mortazavi #48. I wouldn’t judge the Democratic Party by Jimmy Carter.  Rather, look to Barack Obama or Bill Clinton.  Not only are you correct that Carter had an abysmal foreign policy, many, if not all, of his domestic policies were a disaster.  In 1980, many Democrats, including me, campaigned to have Carter removed from the ticket in favor of Ted Kennedy.  In my opinion, based on my experiences at the time, Carter is responsible for the demise of organized labor and the rise of the evangelical Christians as a political force.

    Report abuse

  • Michael 100  My knowledge of politics especially American politics compare to yours is very little! It is great to read your comment regarding this matter and learn. As far as I have seen in the past (at least talking about radical Islamic regimes like the Iranian regime) Democratic Party has had a soft spot for them. I say this because during Obama’s administration all the Iranian regime’s money that had been blocked by George W. Bush was released which then was used by the regime for expanding their borders and terrors! Perhaps Obama’s intention was good and he was hoping that the regime’s behaviour would change, but the regime has been acting worse day by day in terms of breaching human rights and spreading hatred in the region. The regime is over the moon now because the American government is changing and they see the new president as their Messiah! This on its own proves how deluded and delusional they are that instead of focusing on rebuilding their own country, they pray for Americans to have a Democratic government!

  • LaurieB  I do feel sad for whoever has to live in conflicts. Wars have been human’s biggest fear. I do think that now Republicans know that they are not in power anymore after January the administration is trying too hard to wind Muslims up! I read on the news two days ago that they seriously considered attacking Iran just two days after he lost the election. The defence minister was therefore sacked!

  • Behnaz Mortazavi:  My knowledge of Iran / US relations is limited.  However, during the Obama Administration, an agreement was reached between the US, Iran and the European Union in which Iran agreed to refrain from developing nuclear weapons.  I maybe mistaken but it was my understanding that the agreement was working well and Iran was in compliance with its terms.  When Trump came into office, his Administration withdrew from the agreement much to the dismay of the other parties.  Nevertheless, I think that Iran has remained in compliance.  Again, I may be mistaken, but I think the funds released had been frozen since the first days of the Islamic revolution, during the Carter and then Reagan Administrations. In any event, I am hopeful that the Biden Administration will repair the damage done to international relations including the Iran agreement as well as the agreement(s) to repair the climate.  I know that the US and the Iran have had difficult relations in the past going back decades.  Nevertheless, I am hopeful that the Iranian people and the American people can live in harmony.  I hope I’m not disappointed in Biden.

    Report abuse

  • michael

     I hope I’m not disappointed in Biden.

    he’s already disappointed the green new dealers

    he’s half as bad as trump on the climate change issue

    accepting one million in campaign funds from fossil fuel industry

    (and appointing louisiana senator with ties to same)

    trump took two million

    half a loaf better than no loaf?


    Report abuse

  • Quarecuss I don’t disagree with what you say about the half a loaf. Nevertheless, i hope those who replace the secretaries of education, housing. & urban development, labor, state, interior, energy etc., will come from our side of the loaf.  Let’s hope that the Attorney General and the United States attorneys come from the good half of the loaf.  Lets hope the heads of the scientific agencies don’t forbid using words and phrases such as climate change,  in other words, let’s not reject the good because its not perfect.  Rather, lets take the good and push toward the perfect.  Half empty/half full and all that.

    Report abuse

  • Biden is very weak on taxation of financial trading. Unlike Sanders  and like Clinton, there is next to nothing there.

    Without a thought through strategy to reengage the financial sector to better profit from long term investment rather than short term gambling, the great resources of capital will fail to support anything like a green new deal and create in the USA a thriving hub of green technology businesses to out-compete the Chinese as saviours of the planet. Great swathes of capital will remain in the socially useless tasks of trying to trick wealth from others, and similar amounts will simply flee the US economy altogether to take part in the longer term plans of other countries where modest dirigisme, national funding of big scale infrastructure, and integrated policy, taxation and legislation promise what US markets lack.

    The expressed need to sufficiently rebuild the country after its current accelerating depletion is quite lacking.

    AOC and her expanded “Squad” remain our best hope to up the ambition.

    There is nothing wrong with lofty ambitions. They make us try harder and don’t let us off the hook of even our better efforts when they most likely fail.

    Report abuse

  • He hasn’t even selected his cabinet yet.  I’m looking forward to monitoring what they are able to accomplish.

    He has an aggressive agenda for addressing climate change, and the US can move in the right direction with even the Federal Reserve getting on board now.

    While the Trump administration continues to ignore the danger of climate change, a surprising new actor has broken out to take it seriously: the Federal Reserve System.

    The Fed, the U.S. central bank, has moved from irregular mentions to a concerted effort to roll out a spate of new ideas and endeavors that highlight the risks of climate change to our financial system. As part of this effort, in the past two weeks the Fed has:

    · Included climate change as a risk to the economy in its biannual report for the first time;

    · Discussed its essential behind the scenes work on climate change that will enable the Fed to move much more quickly into the next stages of action; and

    · Testified to Congress that they asked to join a group of banks that are working to ensure the financial system meets the goals of the Paris Agreement on climate change.




  • @Phil Rimmer #58

    Biden is very weak on taxation of financial trading. Unlike Sanders  and like Clinton, there is next to nothing there.

    One of Biden’s greatest attributes is his ability to recognize his own limitations, and unlike Trump, he is secure enough to surround himself with the best and brightest we have to offer. Personally, I would like very much to see Warren get the cabinet position of Sec of the Treasury.

    I’d also like to see AOC and the rest of the progressive newcomers continue to be vocal, and continue to push the envelope, and I am confident they will. As a spur, they will be of tremendous service to the direction of our country.

    But more than anything, above all else, I would like to see Republicans stop their self-destructive course of entertainment over substance. We need the intelligent exchanges and debates on actual issues that have been woefully missing for about 40 years (thanks, Newt, you scumfuck POS).

    Just part of my general wish list for the incoming administration.

    Report abuse

  • He hasn’t even selected his cabinet yet.


    So now is the time for maximum pressure. Fingers crossed, Sean. His policies, though, are laid out.

    Taxing financial trades is an essential component to better direct capital investment.

    The Fed recognises that other economies do better with a little greater complicity with a better aligned government. They see the threat of China eating the USA’s lunch, if it doesn’t fully engage the new, needed, green economies.

    GM’s biggest market is in China, not the USA and China makes three times as many BEVs as anyone else. GM in two decades will be headquartered in China I predict. Capital will increasingly flee the local economy.

    The Fed knows to present this fact in green terms for maximum social approval. But it really does not want to bring down on financial institutions extended taxations, or indeed, any significant reform. Clinton and Biden are mostly in the pocket of those institutions, because of traditional political funding routes. Correcting the hand that feeds you, needs a little external pressure.

    Vicki, I join you in your hope for these things. I’m not being mean spirited. Course correction for such a vast enterprise as the USA will always be by slow degrees. I just want to put this idea of financial reform as a key requirement, a requirement that was once on the radar and has currently dropped off it.

    Report abuse

  • Biden’s climate wish list is massive.  How much of it he’ll be able to accomplish remains to be seen.  A few notable wishes:

    1. Make a federal investment of $1.7 trillion over the next ten years
         a. By rolling back Trump tax incentives that enrich corporations
         b. By leveraging additional private sector and state and local            investments to total more than $5 trillion
         c. By ending subsidies for fossil fuels
    2. Reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transportation
         a. By preserving and implementing the existing Clean Air Act
         b. Developing rigorous new fuel economy standards aimed at ensuring 100% of new sales for light- and medium-duty vehicles will be electrified
         c. Annual improvements for heavy duty vehicles

    3. Accelerate the deployment of electric vehicles
         a. Deploy 500,000 new public charging outlets by 2030
         b. Restore full electric tax credit
         c. New fuel economy standard

    All of these wishes and dozens more can be found at his website under “Joe’s Vision”.  There may be minor differences between what’s above and what’s at the site, because these are based on cut ‘n paste notes I made when looking into his platform.

    As for the Feds intentions, it would help if you provided some idea of what’s actually in their planning to address climate change.  The link I provided says that the Feds discussed their behind the scenes planning.  I’m assuming that means something other than, telling people what they want to hear so that we can maintain the status quo.  I’m also assuming that by joining other banks looking to meet the goals set by the Paris Agreement, the Feds will have to work with institutions with motives other than selling a lie.


    Report abuse

  • Sean,

    I am sure there is an item of policy in every category for activities known to be “green”. This, checkbox completeness is not my issue, though I know slated “improvements” depend critically on their extent if they are to make for real change.

    But, I think you have still not grasped the core of my complaint/concern. The issue is the very nature of the fuse that can ignite a capitalistic explosion of change, of job creation in the new sectors the world will want, of the new sorts of business structures that are quintessentially sustainable.

    Taxing financial trading to favour long-term inbound investment is the crucial first step, in circular, sustainable, and locally based businesses in preference, selling services rather than stuff, favouring open modular systems, to ensure maximised innovation and competition from the get go.

    These are exactly the financial sector repairs that were needed after 2008 and completely neglected. The rest of the world is moving to these new kinds of innovative capitalism that can exploit reconfigured market places to better deliver the changes we need.

    This is clever capitalism recognising the value of financial institutions holding real assets of greatly enhanced and long-lived infrastructure (say) and not virtual “financial instruments” and the reliable virtue of creating cash-stream businesses, the both creating stability, which is the ideal recipe for further investment going forward.

    It takes governments to change gear into this better mode, to keep all in fair step.

    Unlike Sanders, Clinton and Biden had/have nothing. In the US this will make the greening task particularly hard work against clunky old neo-classical economics, the lazy “win” of shale gas and haemorrhaging capital.

    Report abuse

  • I’m sorry Phil, but I don’t get what you’re saying.  Maybe you can recommend a book that you think expresses your concerns.

    As for igniting green energy investment, it’s already happened.  In 2004 ~4 billion was invested in renewable energy in the US.  In 2019 it was ~59 billion.

    Report abuse

  • Green investment has been ongoing for decades. As we well know, it still falls far short of what is needed. A problem is the loose definition of what constitutes “green investment” by banks etc. wishing to put a positive spin of things.

    Whilst such proportions of capital are tied up with short term trading those all important long-term investments will happen with far less frequency than might otherwise be possible.


    Looking at investment profiles comparing US and say German investing institutions, we see far higher levels of German long haul investment particularly within the Mittelstand industries and banks. German financial institutions do the work of understanding the companies and sectors they support, whilst US institutions seemingly pride themselves on intuitive judgement calls.

    Such capitalists need to be led back to doing far more investigation up front.

    A tax on trades and tax incentives for circular, sustainable and local business development will direct MORE investment where it is needed.

    What is happening is currently not enough.

    Report abuse

  • The growth is remarkable Phil, and your comments here don’t do it justice.

    The majority of investment in the US goes towards solar and wind in places like California and Texas.  Hundreds of cities across the country are getting into renewables.  These are long-term investments designed to make the switch from fossil fuels to renewables.

    If your point is that we don’t yet invest enough, fine.  That too has been known for a long time.  But there is no denying the growth, or the long-term nature of these investments.


    Have you found out what the Feds actual plans are for addressing climate change yet?



    Report abuse

  • I work in renewables, eco-tech and circular economies. I have written extensively here (and certainly since 2012) about the good news of what we are achieving and those areas where we are weak. I have long warned of this unsuitability of the current financial system, especially in the US, to provide the long-term investment needed in sufficient quantities to service the very long term projects we need for smart infrastructure, low-loss HVDC trans-time-zone power transmission, very large topical flow battery storage etc. etc.

    China are now substantially ahead having the support from the public purse and huge government plans (a recent 40% uplift in spending on top of already ambitious plans). Their civil engineering companies will become the global experts in these things and given the Huawei fears and the US public antipathy to open the public purse this much, the financial institutions need directing away from their mere gambling-as-investment habit and grow their much longer-term portfolios. The huge outflow of usable investment capital abroad from the super-rich needs incentivising to stay and have matched government backed projects of the same scale and reward as, say, the Chinese. Specific tax incentives are needed here.

    The Fed has zero plans to reform appropriately the financial institutions, not that they have the power to do so. Their levers are not those required.

    Report abuse

  • Michael 100  Probably having Biden and Harris is one the best things that has happened this year after what we all have been through since the pandemic and its consequences. No doubt that they are more intellectual and understanding than the current administration. The frozen fund as you mentioned has a long history. However, every now and then republican government blocked the regime’s current assets due to sanctions which were released during Obama’s administration with good intentions but was not the best thing to do. We should not forget that we are dealing with a radical Islamic regime in here that sends death threats to the world on a daily basis. They also proved to the world that they are capable of doing anything after bombing the Ukrainian plane which killed hundreds of innocent people. More surprisingly they denied it the first couple of days and only admitted it when they got caught. Apparently it was just “a human error”.
     I emphasis on Biden’s foreign policy because it seems like the US government is the only government in the world that can stand up against this irrational radical Islamic regime. Hopefully Iranian people and the American people can live in harmony when the regime changes …

  • In my teenage Trotskyite days, the Eastern Block countries were often excoriated by the Comrades for being state capitalist and not socialist as claimed.  This oxymoronic state was blamed for their lack of economic and intellectual progress.

    Back in the day, I tended to see Japan as being the paradigm of state capitalist.  In reality, none of us knew what the hell we were talking about.  It seems to me that Phil’s professional analysis and the actual experience of the form of development in China and to some extent S. Korea, point in the direction of some form of state capitalism being the way forward for Western economies.

    Social democracy did well in the post war period, really until the oil crises rained on the parade, but in fairness the western economies were becoming moribund with stagflation, disastrous labour relations and declining profits. The Vietnam war and the arms race only prolonged the course of the disaster.

    Neo classical, supply side economics has had a short run in which it nearly collapsed everything.  The vile Milton Friedman remarked that when the Keynesian social-democratic model collapsed, there was a ready made theory to take its place, sadly there is nothing waiting in the wings now.

    I have just been sniffing around the Net, and it seems that people are looking afresh at the state capitalist model.  It seems to have some possibilities, after all it is the model which underlies the Chinese miracle, a combination of state directed investment and entrepreneurialism.  The western economies are stuck, yet again, and developing countries which have adopted monetarist ult-right policies are not thriving, capital is accumulating for at top end of town, while the working and middle classes are being asset stripped.  China has its problems, but the West seems to be altogether losing its grip.  It’s time for some new ideas, or perhaps for some reworked old ones.

    Report abuse

  • 71
    Roozbeh Ahmed says:

    Hello Everyone,

    I have a question, Richard Dawkins says that universal love and welfare of species does not make evolutionary sense but what about MUTUALISM?

    Clownfish and Sea anemones live in symbiosis and they benefit each other. The sea anemone provides tentacle protection from predators and the Clownfish chases away fish that would eat the Sea anemone. The feces of the Clownfish provide food for the Sea anemone.

     Acacia trees and Acacia ants live in symbiosis as well. The ants protect against herbivores and the tree has specialized structures to shelter the ants. The tree even feeds the ants with hollow and swollen thorns and nutrient-rich leaves.

    Intestinal Bacteria help in blood coagulation and clotting factor. They also help in the production of Vitamin K2.

    Protozoa present in Termites help the termite to digest cellulose using Trichonympha enzymes.

    The benefits of such relationships is that they provide evolutionary fitness and the organisms in these relationships are better at passing on genes and better at reproducing.

    Report abuse

  • Being second to China in terms of renewable investment is hardly a bad place to be. Why the alarm?  The growth in investment is real, and significant –growing while China’s shrunk in 2019 btw– and this despite a hostile administration.

    Whether or not you think the Feds will implement the reforms you believe are necessary, I still think it’s important to know what those plans are beforehand.


    I’m all for rethinking our tax system, and exploring ways to encourage better behavior.  I don’t think you’ve made the case that without some very specific reform,  we’re doomed to fail in our quest to switch to renewables.

    Report abuse

  • Behnaz Mortazavi #69:  If I understand the situation correctly, the money that was released under the terms of the nuclear deal, was not released on a whim of President Obama, it was released pursuant to the agreement between Iran and the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, France, China, Germany and the European Union.  In spite of what you and I think of the Iranian government (I don’t disagree with anything you have said about them), the fact remains that they continue to abide by the agreement.

    I think it’s safe to say that during the Biden Harris Administration, U.S. diplomacy will once again be conducted in a professional manner.  As I write this post, news continues to break with announcements of more appointments of “experienced and crisis-tested” professionals.  I’m beginning to think that my confidence in Joe Biden is justified.

    Report abuse

  • Behnaz # 69

    US government is the only government in the world that can stand up against this irrational radical Islamic regime. Hopefully Iranian people and the American people can live in harmony when the regime changes …

    I won’t shed a tear on the day that the Ayatollah & Co. vanish into oblivion. Iran causes no end of trouble in that part of the world and causes harm and suffering that is inexcusable.

    But I don’t think you should hold your breath waiting for the US to show up and teach Iran a lesson. There are other countries in that area that have much more at stake from the behavior of Iran than the US does. Iran is merely a pesky mosquito to the US. But there is one country that never stops shrieking and wailing for the US to drop the big bomb on Iran and solve all of its problems. I think you know what country that is…Israel, our problem child. Our juvenile delinquent.

    If Iran, by some miracle became a rational, humane force in the region then what in the world would Israel do then? They’d have no devil to blame for their misfortunes and then they’d have to focus on their own crimes for a change.

    The US and Israel are so intertwined that there is no possibility of having a decent working relationship between US and Iran. Israel, our offshore fifty-first state , the American AIPAC zionist lobby and American Christian fundamentalists would never allow it for a minute.

    I don’t know where you are in the world but can you explain the situation inside Iran? What are the chances of the Iranian people making changes to their system? How does this breakdown by generations? What is the situation with the young people there? Is there no Arab Spring for the Persian people?


    Report abuse

  • Nov 23, 2020 at 8:45 am
    Roozbeh Ahmed says:

    I have a question, Richard Dawkins says that universal love and welfare of species does not make evolutionary sense but what about MUTUALISM?

    Random self-sacrifice has no evolutionary survival value, but Richard makes points about the benefits of Kin Selection, and mutualism in various books.

    However, as we shall see, there are special circumstances in which a gene can achieve its own selfish goals best by fostering a limited form of altruism at the level of individual animals.” Gene selection provides one explanation for kin selection and eusociality, where organisms act altruistically, against their individual interests

    Report abuse

  • Sean_W, You are correct, Iran began to enrich uranium and declared it was no longer bound by the agreement after the US withdrew.  According a New York Times article dated November 17, 2020, Iran has not closed the door negotiations and a possible to a return to the agreement.  Likewise, President Elect Biden stated he will offer a credible path back to diplomacy.  So again, while not wanting to apologize for or in anyway defend the Iranian theocracy, lets hope that cooler heads prevail and the world can stand back from the brink of nuclear devastation.

  • In trying to better understand Phil’s position I’ve found an excellent resource. It is an International Renewable Energy Agency’s report: Mobilizing Institutional Capital for Renewable Energy. Section 3 discusses recommendations for accelerating investment. The overlap between recommendations and Biden’s plans is encouraging. Also encouraging is that under the recommendations for working with the financial system is the role being played by NGFS – Central Banks and Supervisors Network for Greening the Financial System, which is the group the US Federal Reserve has asked to become a part of. Their objective:

    “…to exchange experiences, share best practices, contribute to the development of environment and climate risk management in the financial sector, and to mobilize mainstream finance to support the transition toward a sustainable economy”

    Other recommendations include fossil fuel subsidy reforms (Biden has claimed he wants the world to stop these); climate-related financial disclosures (Another item on Biden’s wish list); ESG – investing with environmental, social and governance issues in mind; green bonds, and too many other interesting options to list here.

    A quick google for Mobilizing Institutional Capital for Renewable Energy should retrieve the report.

    Report abuse

  • I’ve been trying to find a word or short phrase for a person who supports a person or ideology that oppresses them.

    A few examples. “Latinos for Trump”, or “Women for Trump”, even though Trump’s border policies and his alignment with those who oppose abortion and contraception are so evidently against them. Or Muslim women who support the wearing of the hijab or burqa, claiming that they are expressions of Allah’s freedom and beauty or some such thing (when it is actually used to hide their appearance so as to not tempt males).

    I just haven’t been able to think of the right turn of phrase, or even better – a single word – that describes a person who champions something that seeks to disadvantage them.

    Any thoughts?

    Report abuse

  • Centauri #78;

    A quick browse of psychological disorders on Wikipedia (obviously, I’m no expert…) makes me think it’s a bit of Stockholm Syndrome, with some Attachment Theory, along with the obvious Cognitive Dissonance. The short version is, of course, “idiot”.

    Report abuse

  • Homo sapiens sabateur
    Latent Nihilists
    Imaginary Desperados
    Hole Netters
    Crew of The Sunken Junk
    Silver Alert
    Couch Gunner
    Apocalyptic Boomers

    …not quite getting there, a few band names in it though. 🙂

    Report abuse

  • Personally, I would like very much to see Warren get the cabinet position of Sec of the Treasury.

    OTOH, we could do a lot worse than Janet Yellen. And Warren agrees.

    Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, one of the most prominent progressive Democrats in Congress, wrote on Twitter that Ms. Yellen “would be an outstanding choice for Treasury Secretary.”  NYT 11.23.2020

    Report abuse

  • @Centauri #78

    A few examples. “Latinos for Trump”, or “Women for Trump”, even though Trump’s border policies and his alignment with those who oppose abortion and contraception are so evidently against them.

    Like “African Americans for Trump” these so-called groups are manufactured for the Trump marketing machine. I haven’t done any research into them, but judging by the scoff-filled comments from ‘non-members’ of the demographics featured, they don’t really exist. That’s not to say there aren’t Trump supporters in those demographics–there are. But I seriously question whether they have the organizational skills, the numbers, or the agendas to actually form coherent political groups in support of Trump.

    Most likely, I will stay skeptical unless they are featured by a source outside of team Trump.

    Report abuse

  • Centauri #79

    I just haven’t been able to think of the right turn of phrase, or even better – a single word – that describes a person who champions something that seeks to disadvantage them.

    For feminists, the women who worked against us were a disappointment of the highest order. We knew back then (second waver here!) that those women who insulted us for our efforts would be so happy to benefit from them once they were in place. I’ve heard them called gender traitors and internalized misogynists.

    The Muslim women who impose hejab and other forms of face and body covering on themselves and others are cut from the same cloth. They all lean heavily on the Bible and the Koran for support. I suppose we can lump the orthodox Jewish women in with them too. 

    The American Black community has used the term Uncle Tom for a person of color who works against them in cahoots with their oppressors.

    Other groups might have their own labels for those of their own group who support the oppressors.

  • LaurieB The reason I said US government is the only government in the world that can stand up against this irrational radical Islamic regime is that EU and other countries do not put sanctions in place against the regime and put up with them constantly. As we have seen only since Trump’s administration that he managed to freeze all the regime’s current assets and put heavy sanctions in place. There are two sides to this, one is bad for citizens because the inflation rate went up rapidly, but secondly the regime does not have the extra income to spend in expanding its border in Yemen and Syria. Most importantly, since removing the regime’s key figure Suleimani in Jan 2020 their activities have been decreased. So I therefore believe that they need an extra force to control and stop them.

    As I mentioned in another comment above The Iranian government is so deluded because they believe a democratic president would let them get away with things because they are more understanding. The regime instead of re-building the country and putting behind all the sick Islamic myths from thousand years ago, keep sending death messages to the USA and Israel on a daily basis. No other country does this! Maybe that is why Israel is scared. Otherwise why Israel gets on well with the UAE that are Muslim too? Iranian regime clearly denies the Holocaust …

    There a lot to say about them and I hope that I answered some of your questions. I do not live in Iran luckily as an atheist it is impossible for me to live there. I have written an article about why I become an atheist that will post in here soon you may find it interesting. Life is so miserable and difficult over there..

  • James the lynx  “I am very sad about the attack in Vienna yesterday”, Attacks like that happens in Europe only proves that radical Muslims follow exactly what they are told to do in their holy book Quran which is, in Surah Muhammad, ayah 4 “So when you meet the disbelievers ˹in battle˺, strike ˹their˺ necks until you have thoroughly subdued them, then bind them firmly.

  • I just watched President Elect Biden’s Thanksgiving address.  Donald Trump might be a reality TV star, but Joe Biden is an orator.  What a remarkable difference!!  Biden’s religious references notwithstanding, his sincere style of communication is a breath of fresh air after these last four years of bold faced hypocrisy.

    Report abuse

  • The trouble is that after seventy five years of post-war banalisation by the Hollywood film industry, lowest common denominator TV networks, rigour and content-free education  and Murdoch red tops, vast sections of the public have no intellectual resources, taste or understanding to draw upon.  Therefore fine use of language, impeccable speech and classical oratory mean nothing to them.  The result is, and will be Trump and continuing trumpism.

    Report abuse

  • Behnaz,

    I was thinking of what you said in #86 above:

    Iranian regime clearly denies the Holocaust …

    Holocaust denialism always stops me in my tracks. It’s a confirmation of substantial ignorance and/or a substantial indoctrination into a certain ideology – the religious type of ideology or a right wing fascist ideology for example.

    What I know of the holocaust from history classes and from documentary shows is that the Nazis were proficient record keepers and did keep substantial files on their revolting turpitude. At least I can say that their record keeping now stands as solid proof and evidence of their despicable deeds and the massive harm that they inflicted on Jews and people of other categories that the Nazis found to be abhorrent.

    What does it take to be so sure that the holocaust never happened? Pure ignorance and/or indoctrination.

    As you said, the Iranian leadership (and many others) does maintain that the holocaust never happened at all. The implication being that Jews flooded into Palestine for no good reason at all but just because they wanted to steal the land that their religion says belongs to them and them alone. If one doesn’t believe the holocaust happened then the Jewish migration appears to be an aggressive invasion instead of a refugee disaster of monumental proportions. The two pictures are completely different.

    Presenting Jews as foreign invaders who hate Muslims is an effective recruitment tactic used by Muslim fundamentalist militias in the entire region. Even the common moderate Muslims in the region accept holocaust denialism with little resistance because it acts as a strong cognitive reinforcement of their support for the Palestinians and perhaps because they have no decent education at all which would provide the tools to contradict the false argument. It’s probably both at the same time.

    What a disastrous situation for all involved. Jews and others slaughtered in massive numbers, desperate to find asylum and protection in any place they could. The Palestinian people who were reduced to stateless, homeless, degraded people, vilified and dehumanized for defending their own country and homes.

    What’s done is done in a bungled post WW2 reaction. I can only hope that decent ethical leadership all around can ameliorate the terrible harms that have been perpetrated in that place. As for us, Behnaz, I feel that it’s our duty to crush counter-productive ideology where we find it. Zionism, holocaust denialism, religious fundamentalism and racism are all evil forces that are contributing to the intolerable levels of misery in the Middle East and North Africa. There is a massive ripple effect from this that spreads the suffering far and wide.

    I’m interested to hear your views and your response to my own.

    How will this end?

    Report abuse

  • In the interests, not of balance, but rather of recognising the complexities of an Iranian power system based on a democratically elected  President, nevertheless subject in turn to a more powerful religious oligarchy… the will of the people is reflected in their clear and repeated choice of a more sane presidential voice.

    Here is President Rouhani back in 2013 on the Holocaust.

    Yes, he treads lightly and disappoints many, but he is genuinely trying to tease out the modern civilisation Iran clearly yearns for. It would be catastrophic if he were to bring an untimely religious crackdown were he to move too swiftly at this stage. (Speed is needed once the tipping point is reached.) Too often other countries fail to see the dichotomous nature of its government and fails to support this more progressive wing.

    I believe Europe gets this rather more and by its steadier, aggregated policy tries to lend support to the democratic experiment with reward or at least deferred punishment for “good behaviour”.

  • Recent US policy on Iran has been disastrous for political progress. Resultant growing poverty is forcing a defensive political homogeneity like never before.

    There is no forethought to this policy, no means of using it to foment actual change in a pacifying, democratic direction. The US at its bellicose worst, loses any ability to plan coherently and seems merely to disfigure an already scarred region even further by its efforts.

    Report abuse

  • Since I studied Henry V at the age of fourteen, I have been aware that at least part of the reason countries embark on foreign wars, it to keep the home population quiet by making them drunk on patriotism and duty.  Old Gerry Murphy was a good teacher, History as well as English, and we were fortunate to have him for both that year – late medieval history and Shakespeare.

    But as usual I digress!  If I might be permitted to copy the occasional style of Quarecuss and SeanW:

    Shoot an Iranian scientist

    Iran gets cross

    Blames Israel

    (Who else?)


    US gets excuse to bomb Iran

    Zionist lobby in US very pleased

    Trumpism enhanced

    Now…Who planned the whole thing?

    Report abuse

  • LaurieB  I couldn’t agree with you more. The radical regime of Iran looks for every opportunity to question the holocaust. For instance, after the terror attack back in October in France Iran’s leader Khamenei tweeted on 28th October: “The next question to ask is: why is it a crime to raise doubts about the Holocaust? Why should anyone who writes about such doubts be imprisoned while insulting the Prophet (pbuh) is allowed?”

    If this quote does not prove the regime’s delusion about history, I am not sure what else it prove. He certainly dose not understand the difference between freedom of speech and a war crime. To elaborate Khamenei’s lack of intelligence I need to add that he has written a book about the rules how to use bathroom where he explains what to do or avoid while usage that must be followed as a part of religious practice by his followers. I did not know whether to laugh or cry after I found out that the author of this book is called the supreme leader of a radical regime who leads over 80 million people.

    On a separate note, the previous president of Iran clearly denied the existence of the holocaust and he was backed up by Khamenei consistently.

    These fact clearly proves that there is no way that an intellectual person could have a decent peaceful conversation with a radical religious person who has been blinded by the delusion of religion.




  • eejit  I believe the problem is  that the Iranian radical regime cannot let go of hatred towards the Jews and keep sending death threats to Israel since the 1979 revolution on a daily basis. You see no other countries in the region who acts the same such as Turkey, Saudi and UAE (that are all Muslims too). Consequently, Iranian scientists have become a target of terror because other countries see them  as a source of danger. I still do not understand where all the hatred comes from from Iran towards Israel. I would suggest that the Iranian radical regime looks back and read the history not only what happened in the last 150-200 years, but go back and read what was going in that area 4,000 years where there were no Muslims.

  • Behnaz

     he has written a book about the rules how to use bathroom where he explains what to do or avoid while usage that must be followed as a part of religious practice by his followers.

    Ok, this made me LOL.

    Can I speculate about the backstory on this one?

    So, I lived for a few years in North Africa. One of the first shocks I experienced was the toilet situation there. A veritable shit storm, take my word for it. Large extended families using one toilet and what do you get. By the end of the day you’d rather soil your pants, very sad to say.

    Well, you won’t be surprised that it’s some kind of minor miracle if you survive the E. coli attacks in those shitholes and the adults are fierce about certain rules and procedures all around using those (literal) holes in the ground.

    I have the bad luck to be a lefty in life. It’s not a big deal in the US but in that part of the world it’s a problem. You see, there’s a division of labor between the two hands. The right is for eating and the left is for cleaning one’s undercarriage after toileting. There is no toilet paper. There are plastic containers of water lining the walls of the toilet room. One finishes one’s business and sloshes water where needed and cleans with the left hand.

    If you exit the toilet and proceed straight to the next meal that is served in a communal bowl, and lift that left hand to feed yourself….You see where I’m going with this. You could kill yourself and ten others.

    None of my enculturation there having to do with toileting had any religious context that I could ever see but of course we know that the left hand is of the devil in general. I think that the clerics have taken a convenient health custom and coopted it for their own fanatical controlling ways.

    I will also say that people who live in challenging environments where medical help is few and far between, learn to follow orders on these many rules for correct living. There are a thousand ways to die in North Africa and those who scorn the rules like the one described above and many others having to do with cleanliness, well they end up with hepatitis, E coli infection and a multitude of other painful deaths. It can be interesting to observe residents going through procedures that have obvious benefit and also through some behaviors that are said to be for medical value but are clearly superstitions that have been adopted right along with the real beneficial behavior.

    And so, children, that is our anthropology horror story for today!

    Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.