I saw this on Twitter, earlier today, and wanted to correct a few misconceptions.

Firstly, atheism and communism are not one and the same. I have this argument brought up again and again as a sign that those of a religious faith are more ‘moral’ and better than atheists. You can be a communist and an atheist. You can be a communist and a Christian, or a communist and a Muslim. You can a capitalist and an atheist (and so on). This is a classic example of ‘false equivalence’, a problem that seems to be growing in the wake of Trump’s ill-fated words on the Charlottesville riots. That the followers of Stalin’s breed of communism carried out so many atrocities has nothing to do with the absence of faith. Atheists do not see themselves as gods, and do not act in the interests of only themselves (well, some of them perhaps, some of them don’t, but guess what, this applies to people who are religious too, no matter what they may say). This swings back to discussions and comments on the subject of morality. It also wants to treat various blocs of people as monolithic entities. ‘All atheists think X, all Christians think Y, all Muslims think Z’. This is completely false. It’s a method of thinking that gives rise to all sorts of unreasonable stereotypes that end up doing far more harm than good.

People have died in the name of political causes, cultural ideals, and yes, religious beliefs. Morality is not something that can be sourced only through divine ideas. Anyone, from any walk of life, is capable of being cruel. Equally, anyone is capable of acts of great compassion. Can we move past the idea that only the faithful can be moral?

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Trump is a man who doesn’t know what he’s doing – or maybe he knows exactly what he’s doing, hence his backtracking on his earlier backtracking.

Speaking to the press on Tuesday, Trump said:

“You had a group on one side that was bad, and you had a group on the other side that was also very violent. And nobody wants to say that, but I’ll say it right now,”

“What about the alt-left that came charging… at the, as you say, the alt-right? Do they have any semblance of guilt? (…) There are two sides to a story.”

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Whoa! Hold the phone for a second! Does Trump seriously believe the opponents of the facism, racism and anti-Semitism that was on such open display are somehow equally responsible for what happened the other day? Which side came armed with guns and which side had a member who drove a car into people?

Trump is now drawing fire from his own party, who surely must eject him sooner rather than later, if they are to preserve their political future? Senator John McCain tweeted:

Whereas Trump has proven quite happy to jump to conclusions about radical Islam, his need to apparently wait for the ‘facts’ about this, not to mention suggesting there were ‘good people’ mixed in with the white supremacists, only goes to show that Trump knows who and what a large chunk of his support base is, and not only is he fine with that, he doesn’t want to risk alienating them by criticising their violent antics.

Trump is now effectively being open about his bigotry. He is the Bigot-in-Chief. To my American friends, and to any Americans that read this – consider the direction you want your nation to take.

P.S: Josh on his Friday Blog has written some excellent posts on why we shouldn’t be tolerating Nazis and their ideals, in case for some strange reason you think we should be open to listening to Nazis.

I ask the question because I’ve read, repeatedly (via Twitter) that the violence in Charlottesville was a clash between the left wing and… the left wing. This seems like an attempt by moderate and centre-right supporters to distance themselves from the actions of the white supremacists in Charlottesville (and elsewhere). The attempt is understandable in some ways – they don’t wish to be associated with the Nazi sympathisers who were marching so openly – it is also intellectually dishonest.

It is worth noting that describing the Nazis and their sympathisers as far right is not a reflection upon anyone and everyone who identifies as right wing.

Why the Nazis were Right Wing

It is generally agreed that the far right eschews egalitarianism; instead, there is a ‘natural’ (or in some cases a ‘divine’) order to society. The strong (in the Nazis’ case the pure) control the weak. In Hitler’s case, he actually tried to present the Nazis as a centrist movement, attacking the right and left in speeches, including this:

Today our left-wing politicians in particular are constantly insisting that their craven-hearted and obsequious foreign policy necessarily results from the disarmament of Germany, whereas the truth is that this is the policy of traitors … But the politicians of the Right deserve exactly the same reproach. It was through their miserable cowardice that those ruffians of Jews who came into power in 1918 were able to rob the nation of its arms.

The reality is, Hitler and the Nazis were far right. The far right favours elitism, and the Nazis, for all their rhetoric, were the same – Hitler was a dictator whose party elevated him, and he imagined a Third Reich that has uncanny similarities to the elitist ruling monarchies of Europe, despite claims to be different. The far right also prefers racial segregation – a common theme in Nazi messages was about preserving the purity of the German people from ‘undesirable’ elements (such as Jews).

The Nazis were also anti-immigration – a view often held by far right groups.

Of course, the far left has displayed similar characteristics – Stalin’s USSR is a prime example – what this serves to demonstrate is how the far right and far left are very similar, but make no mistake, whilst the outcomes are the same, they arrive at their destinations through very different sets of ideas.

There might be an argument that Nazis were left wing in an economic sense – but their social and political policies were anything but.


So, after banking on a sure-fire win, the Tories are left reeling from a Labour revolt that’s stunned the nation and sent a very clear message to the people in power – don’t ignore us. The Tories lost 12 seats, whilst Labour gained 29 – a clear swing toward the opposition. In fact, it left us with a hung Parliament for a short while (I’m not explaining what that means), until Theresa May, who stubbornly refused to resign despite a spectacular own goal, set up a minority government with the bastion of the far-right, the DUP.

Even with the support of a party that is outspoken on its opposition to LGBT rights, opposed to a women’s freedom to decide what happens to her own body, and filled with climate change deniers, the Tories still only have a majority of two seats, which means it’s a minority government now, one very much dependent on the good will of smaller parties voting for its policies in Parliament. So, far from securing the majority that would have let them pursue a hard Brexit, the Tories are now in bed with a party that opposes hard brexit, and actually has a number of disagreements (based on manifesto pledges) with the Tories. Well done…

So whilst it can be claimed that the Tories won the election, it can also be claimed that they didn’t win. They fell short of what they needed to win outright. They are depending upon another party to enter power with them, a party that is quite radical in its beliefs. Even then, they only have a minority government of two seats. Woo! To say this is a gamble that backfired is the understatement of the century. The Tories are more battered than the guy who ran as Mr Fishfinger (yes, seriously).


On the lighter side, Theresa May herself did defeat Lord Buckethead in her own constituency. She kicked the Buckethead…

So what does this all mean? Frankly, I have no idea. We don’t have a fish finger or a man dressed as a bucket for Prime Minister. It’s a huge vindication for Jeremy Corbyn, who may not have won, but he has certainly given Labour something to shout about. He even dabbed… well, he might have. In any event, he survived a determined campaign by the press to smear him, and even opposition from his own party, to show he can most certainly lead, and get results.

This is also one big rejection of the recent wave of populism that’s been going on. France rejected such notions, and now the UK has pushed back against it too. Younger generations are getting more involved, and asking serious questions of their leaders. They look at the Tories as a party of the past, more interested in austerity and helping their own than helping the country. Is that a fair perception? I can’t say. However, both the Tories and Labour need to look at why younger people have predominately voted Labour. To understand the reasons is to control the destiny of the next election.

I’m sorry that this post is so serious, but it’s a serious subject. A serious subject the Tories didn’t take seriously, and it’s hurt them.

 

 

https://climate.nasa.gov/evidence/

https://royalsociety.org/topics-policy/projects/climate-change-evidence-causes/

https://www.skepticalscience.com/global-warming-scientific-consensus-intermediate.htm

The three above links represent just the tip of (an ever-shrinking one, if this carries on) iceberg from experts and scientists from around the world, who all agree that man-made climate change is real. From the NASA link:

The current warming trend is of particular significance because most of it is extremely likely (greater than 95 percent probability) to be the result of human activity since the mid-20th century and proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented over decades to millennia.1

Earth-orbiting satellites and other technological advances have enabled scientists to see the big picture, collecting many different types of information about our planet and its climate on a global scale. This body of data, collected over many years, reveals the signals of a changing climate.

The heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases was demonstrated in the mid-19th century.2 Their ability to affect the transfer of infrared energy through the atmosphere is the scientific basis of many instruments flown by NASA. There is no question that increased levels of greenhouse gases must cause the Earth to warm in response.

Ice cores drawn from Greenland, Antarctica, and tropical mountain glaciers show that the Earth’s climate responds to changes in greenhouse gas levels. Ancient evidence can also be found in tree rings, ocean sediments, coral reefs, and layers of sedimentary rocks. This ancient, or paleoclimate, evidence reveals that current warming is occurring roughly ten times faster than the average rate of ice-age-recovery warming.3

From Skeptical Science:

That humans are causing global warming is the position of the Academies of Science from 80 countries plus many scientific organizations that study climate science. More specifically, around 95% of active climate researchers actively publishing climate papers endorse the consensus position.

Trump has decided to ignore the decades of carefully compiled research and evidence in favour of… ‘Murica. It doesn’t matter that clean energy is actually a fast-expanding sector, it doesn’t matter that fossil fuels are a finite resource and that we’ll need to move away from them eventually. He ought to heed the words of a fellow Republican politician, one who has made some keen observations: Arnold Schwarzenegger. Clean energy technology will become a huge business, and people like Trump will get left behind. His narrow-minded approach will not be permitted to doom the rest of us.

Slowly but surely the spectre of the unthinkable is moving closer and closer. The Conservative Party has been forced into an embarrassing U-turn on social care policies, and they have misled us on plans for NHS and school funding. There is a slow but steady march toward privatising the NHS too – the impact of which is as yet unknown, but given the effects of the private healthcare system that the US put up with for years, do we really want to go down that road? The Tories cut police numbers a few years ago and at the start of May refused to rule out doing so again – yet claim to be the better party for providing security. The Tories ruled out providing the NHS with updated computer security, despite warnings of vulnerability.

The impact of all of this is that, despite lop-sided representations in the media (BBC, I’m looking at you, though it’s not just you), Labour have been closing the gap in the polls. YouGov had the Tories on 48 and Labour on 29 on the 3rd of May. On the 12th of May the Tories were on 49 and Labour in 31. A week later the Tories were on 44 and Labour on 35. As of yesterday? The gap was five points, as compared to 19 points on the 3rd. That’s a 15 point swing toward Labour in under a month. A lot of this would appear to be the result of younger voters, who have been registering in record numbers and tend to resonate more with Labour than with the Conservatives. One thing is becoming increasingly clear – what looked like a landslide victory for the Tories is no longer guaranteed, and by the time of the actual election, whilst a Tory win is still the most likely outcome, Labour might win back some seats and give the Tories a fright. Here’s hoping!

We’ve had over 100 days of Donald Trump. He took office on the back of less votes than Hilary Clinton (you can thank the flawed US electoral college system for that), and has so far managed to systematically fail, except the other day, when his Obamacare replacement managed to get through Congress, by the narrowest of margins. It still needs to get past the Senate, but should it prove successful – well, it will screw over millions of Americans, and there are some seriously scary terms attached to this.

  1. Got a pre-existing condition? You’re in trouble. Obamacare provided protection for people who have existing medical problems – Trumpcare doesn’t.
  2. Obamacare meant everyone was insured against certain conditions and types of treatment. Trumpcare hands that power to the states, who can opt out of this at their discretion.
  3. The definition of a pre-existing condition will include – among other things – rape. That’s right – victims of rape will not have their medical treatment covered under Trumpcare.

It gets worse. Another one of Trump’s ‘wins’ is aimed at, in theory, allowing greater religious involvement in politics. This particular executive order appears more symbolic than anything, but Trump needs wins, badly, given how much he has struggled so far. The broader concern over this particular order is that it could pave the way for businesses to discriminate against the LGBT community – ironically, in the name of freedom.

The orange tyrant has also come out against science. You know, that pesky field that investigates and looks for evidence to back up theories. It tends to contradict him.

He’s ignorant of the history of his own country (and in doing so, he showed terrible ignorance of the racial context of the American Civil War). His immigration ban was oppressively broad and completely devoid of any compassion. He slams any media source that contradicts him as ‘fake news’. He is incapable of taking any criticism or admitting to any lie. If he is the future of the political right, then it is doomed.

It’s Red Vs Blue – and maybe Yellow will get involved – as the UK goes to the polls for a General Election called three years sooner than planned. Oooh!

So what’s the deal? Why has Theresa May done this? The most obvious answer is that it will be a lot easier to consolidate her position now, with Labour in disarray and the Lib Dems a non-entity at this point, than in a few years time, as there are many uncertainties on the political horizon. It seems like the Tories are going to be more or less unopposed and that they will carry a sizable majority too, giving them the mandate they want to pursue Brexit on their terms. As much as i would love to see Labour stop them, or at least gain enough ground to force a rethink, that’s not going to happen. Jeremy Corbyn is an idealist but he isn’t marketable, and there are quite a few within the Labour party who want him out. Labour would have to unify around him, and present a coherent set of policies that would work, in order to stand a chance in June, and I just don’t see that happening. Sadly​.

It’s 2017. Despite some very obvious attempts to return to tired policies of old (I’m looking specifically at you Donald Trump, and casting a few glances at your chum Vladimir Putin too), we are in fact not living in the 1950s, so the bigoted mindsets of back then should have faded to nothing by now. So why do I see stories like this appear in the news? Russia is already noted for being decidedly backward when it comes to the LGBT community, but in Chechnya the problem has escalated to full-blown kidknapping and torture of gay men, or even men suspected of being gay.

Ok, so the reports of torture may or may not be true. Given the troubled history of Russia’s government when it comes to human rights, and the even worse state of affairs in Chechnya, it’s not hard to imagine this actually happens. It’s going to be difficult for this small site to somehow spread the word, but if you know anyone in Chechnya who you are worried about (or if you are part of the LGBT community) direct them to here, so they can seek help in getting away. As always, don’t put yourself at risk – be safe, be well.