Before I go on I want to discuss a statement I made previously in which I said the story of Adam and Eve is used to justify marriage without compensation for women. If you consider the theological implications of the Fall you might see a possible problem with my theory. On the other hand, saying that a story has been used in a certain way is not the same thing as saying it was written for that purpose. And the story of Adam and Eve has been used in a certain way. The deist John Locke denied rights to women based on the story of Adam and Eve. Apparently this can be done regardless of a culture’s religious beliefs, or lack thereof. My point in the previous article was that if bridewealth was practiced in the Old Testament after the Fall, compensation for women never officially ended. Therefore when Paul Ryan withholds benefits and entitlements and then tells women to have more children, it is an unprincipled act.
The people involved in planning and selling the ‘safe zone’ in Syria are the same people who tried to create it during the Obama administration–basically rogue generals and neocons. Except the last time it was Erdogan who wanted to create the safe zone. It is not going to be safe for regular people, but safe for terrorists, money and weapons going in, and safe for oil coming out. Erdogan wants to get rid of the Kurds so they can’t seal the border against ISIS. One major difference this time is Putin was against it the first time around. What’s going on there?
From the time I heard the news of the attack on the Kurds and then read of Trump’s half-hearted warnings to Turkey I was afraid the Kurds were going to be sacrificed. Now I’m beginning to think Erdogan will be sacrificed as well. When the president of the United States is saying one thing to you on the phone and another thing to the press, you should worry. That’s how it started with Saddam Hussein and look what happened to him. Come to think of it, there was that attempted coup in Turkey…
Update: 2:28 PM, Jan. 25, 2018 I’ve rethought my tone of voice on this and the previous post. I apologize if it was offensive, I was afraid. In an attempt to be more impartial I’ve added a video below that speaks to the fears of Erdogan and Putin. I owe this change of heart to Bishop Barron’s YouTube channel.
There are two issues of concern in Syria: the continuation of the Syrian conflict and the safety of the inhabitants of Afrin. The initial cause of the latest conflict is the Americans’ threat to back a new force of 30,000 fighters on Syria’s border. The attack on Afrin is a separate issue and may not be connected to the overall conflict. Many sources are saying that the Kurds in Afrin were never part of the US coalition.(1) Furthermore, the United States has warned its Kurdish allies in the North that if they go to the defense of Afrin they will no longer be part of the US coalition. Instead, it’s becoming clear that Afrin’s misfortune is the fault of Vladimir Putin and Tayyip Erdogan.
Representatives from the Democratic Administration of Northern Syria, the confederation of Syrian Arab and Kurdish leaders, say the ongoing violence in Afrin was the result of Russian jockeying to strengthen the hand of Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Moscow offered to close the airspace to Turkish airstrikes if the Kurds would hand over their sovereignty to Assad. The Kurds refused and this is their punishment. As for Erdogan, he’s wanted to go after the YPG in Afrin since 2012. Now he claims to have killed Islamic State fighters in Afrin even though everyone in the region knows that the Islamic State is not in Afrin.(2)
Rex Tillerson has said the border force is no longer in the works, but of course no one believes him and the fighting continues. However, compared to the complexities of the Syrian conflict Afrin’s troubles are not complicated. It is clear that the people of Afrin are not to blame. Recep Tayyip Erdogan is out on a limb in Afrin. (Or at least that’s how I expressed it when I wrote this the first time. Here is another side of the story.)
 Ragip Soylu US Disavowed ‘Afrin Kurds’ long ago, Daily Sabah, Jan. 25, 2018. Available: https://www.dailysabah.com/columns/ragip-soylu/2018/01/25/us-disavowed-afrin-kurds-long-ago
 Ece Toksabay, Ellen Francis and Tuvan Gumrukcu U.S.-backed Syrian Force Denies Islamic State in Area Targeted by Turkey Reuters, Jan. 24, 2018. Available: https://www.yahoo.com/news/turkey-kills-least-260-kurdish-islamic-state-fighters-000434152.html
Continue reading “Can We Get a Time-Out in Afrin?”
I feel called to warn the United States and Turkey that the Kurds belong to the Creator. If you harm them, or if you allow them to be harmed, he will defend them. If you have already harmed them you will pay.
I am also called to tell you that Hassan Rouhani belongs to the Creator. It will be better for you if you do not threaten him or harm his country.
I entitled a previous article The Big Bang Swindle. I temporarily forgot something important about scientific theories: they are informed by philosophical ideas. All scientists work within the context of their own cultural understanding. A Spirkin explains the connection between philosophy, religion and science when he says that philosophy has always informed science, directly or indirectly, through ‘the whole system of culture’. So it doesn’t make sense to call the Big Bang theory ‘a swindle’. The video in the previous article on the other hand, could have been based on new information. I’m not sure which cultural assumptions might have inspired it.
However I am still concerned with the current direction of physics. I mentioned previously that Albert Einstein objected to Quantum physics, but it was his work that made the atom bomb possible. It seems strange to me that we don’t seem willing or able to discuss the beliefs and values that led to its development and to the bombing of Japan.
Science isn’t the problem. I would argue that the problem today is an economic system that allows a small number of people to set policy and control science. It destroys caution, it drowns out wisdom, and it uses science and politics as weapons.
Given enough time we can solve any problem. If extreme inequality threatens to rob us of time it must go.
 A. Spirkin Philosophy and Science Marxists.org. Available: https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/spirkin/works/dialectical-materialism/ch01-s04.html
It’s been my policy to ignore the Republicans. However, I feel I should say something about the government shutdown and the House tax bill. Since the Republicans control both houses of Congress I suspect that they actually want the shutdown to happen. Therefore, their threats represent a clear and present danger and must be stopped by force if necessary.
As for the tax bill, I think it can be addressed on the basis of principle. It is important to be aware that certain ancient principles are still being honored today. The law of bridewealth is acknowledged in the Bible in a perverse way–in the changing of it. This takes place in the third chapter of Genesis.
And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.
…Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to they husband and he shall rule over thee. (Genesis 3: 13, 16)
I would argue that this story is justification for marriage without compensation. It suggests that marriage by default was always the norm, however there is evidence that the custom of bridewealth was practiced in the Old Testament. T.M. Lemos provides evidence of marriage gifts in the legal and narrative texts of the Bible, and in extrabiblical sources. Lemos also lists biblical references to marriage gifts other than bridewealth. Obviously, indebtedness to childbearing women is not admitted today but I believe it is acknowledged in the story of Adam and Eve. Please keep this in mind as we discuss the increase in the Child Tax Credit.
The House Republican tax bill would increase the maximum Child Tax Credit (CTC) from the current $1,000 to $1,600 per child. However it would exclude 10 million children whose parents work for low pay—about 1 in 7 of all U.S. children in working families, including thousands of children in every state. Another 12 million children in working families would receive less than the full $600-per-child increase in the credit (in most cases much less). Altogether, about 1 in 3 children in working families would either be excluded entirely or only partially benefit from the CTC increase. In almost every state, 25 percent of children in working families would be partially or completely excluded. In 12 states, at least 40 percent would be excluded. If you include cuts to or elimination of 1 million immigrant children in low-income families, the total number comes to 23 million children.
The credit is partially refundable. The refundable portion is limited to 15 percent of a family’s earnings over $3,000. So a single mother with two children and earnings of $10,000 is eligible for a CTC of $1,050 or $525 per child, rather than for the $2,000 ($1,000 per child) that a middle-income family with two children receives. The poorest children qualify for only a very small CTC or none at all.
On the other hand, families with six-figure incomes would be made newly eligible for the credit or receive the largest CTC increases. The CTC of a married couple with two children earning $200,000 would rise from zero today to $3,200 under the plan.
The Rubio-Lee proposal would help but it still falls short. Rep. Rosa DeLauro, Senators Sherrod Brown and Michael Bennet, and other lawmakers have also introduced improvements. They would improve the CTC proposal in the House tax bill but they would not touch the biggest shortcomings in the plan: its heavy tilt toward the highest-income households and profitable corporations, and its impact in substantially increasing budget deficits and debt. (Emily Horton Child Tax Credit Increase Excludes Thousands of Children, Available: https://www.cbpp.org/research/federal-tax/house-tax-bills-child-tax-credit-increase-excludes-thousands-of-children-in-low
Rising deficits in turn would lead to increased pressure to make deep budget cuts in areas such as health care, food assistance for struggling families, and education – cuts that would fall heavily on low- and middle-income families and render them net losers, even if the plan’s CTC provisions are strengthened.
“Overall, the House tax bill is heavily skewed toward high-income households and profitable corporations. When fully in effect, 38 percent of its benefits would go to the 0.3 percent of filers with annual incomes over $1 million…”
Of course not even the full amount of the CTC will defray the costs of raising a child in the middle class. The Republicans seem to be counting on our ignorance of the principles involved here. I conclude that the central obligation in the resistance should belong to the parents of girls. Since the government seems to be playing the part of a spouse or in-law, I would also advise young women to cooperate with their parents to assure proper compensation from the government. I think this type of organization is a matter of self-defense under this regime.
Maybe this will lead to a society in which Paul Ryan and his ilk cannot seduce women into having more children for a few pennies, and fill the coffers of the rich while denying those same women the entitlements they’ve paid for.
See also: Emily Hales, Can government incentives reverse falling birth rates? Deseret news, June 27, 2014. Available: https://www.deseretnews.com/article/865605862/Governments-use-incentives-to-counter-falling-fertility-rates.html
Buttonwood, Political power follows economic power, The Economist, Feb 3, 2016. Available: https://www.economist.com/blogs/buttonwood/2016/02/economics-and-democracy
Jan. 15, 2:15 AM: I’m working on another article on this topic.
I’ve been doing some research to see what can be done about the Twitter defamation that I mentioned previously. It is becoming clear that the perpetrator knows the law. Nothing defamatory was actually said; it was just suggested through retweets and mentions. And this clever person added another twist–fake variations on my name. I’m still looking into my options, but I think this allows them to bypass the normal defenses against defamation.
Normally, you would begin by filing a lawsuit in your state and issuing a subpoena to Twitter, either in its headquarters in California or one of the other states where it has an agent, requesting account information on the author of the tweet. The most important information would be the user’s IP address. Twitter defamation suits have been successful outside of the United States, and it is my opinion that if you have cause you have no choice but to pursue all legal avenues. I’ve decided that my only recourse is to leave Twitter.
“With the way Twitter is structured, tweets can spread quickly through retweets. They can also be linked to on Twitter or posted somewhere else online – even after the tweet has been deleted and/or privacy settings are used – through the use of a screenshot.”
Further instructions can be found on internetdefamationlaw.com. or Google ‘Twitter defamation, United States.’
 How to Deal with Potential #Defamation on Twitter, Vorys Defamation Law Available: https://www.internetdefamationlaw.com/how-to-deal-with-defamation-on-twitter-2/
This is the beginning of my effort to provide additional links pertaining to my articles. I haven’t done this previously because I’ve assumed they would already be available to my readers. Relevant articles and videos seem to appear in my news feed and I sort of figured they would be available to my readers as well. Now that I’ve said this I realize how ridiculous it sounds, but there it is. The following videos support the previous article concerning religious confusion.
This next one is extremely long, so you might want to watch it in smaller pieces. I’ll have more to say about the general situation in the next post.
In the book, When Empire Meets Nationalism,the authors expressed their hope for a ‘intellectual alternative’ to the neo-conservative worldview. The problem with this expression, in my opinion, is not its basic sentiment but its wording. It implies that the neoconservative worldview is intellectual. Whatever else might be said about neoconservative pronouncements, they are most definitely not intellectual. A case in point can be found in the introduction of the book, which tells of a political controversy that arose in 2005 surrounding George Lucas’s comments about his Episode III of Star Wars, Revenge of the Sith.
The director declared he had developed his saga in reference to the Vietnam War and felt there was a disturbing parallel between this event and the invasion of Iraq. By comparing the ‘philosophy’ behind his work to the current political situation, he was stating that ‘most bad people think they are good people, they are doing it for the right reasons and, as if to underline the polemical aspect of his declaration, he added to the parallel between the American political context and the leitmotiv of his Episode III that ‘In terms of evil, one of the original concepts was how does a democracy turn itself into a dictatorship’, in other words, how a prosperous Republic, albeit in a crisis, becomes a moralistic and militarist dictatorship. A process which some, on the political left, would use to define George W. Bush’s policy-making.
Naturally, right-wing American groups felt themselves personally attacked by Lucas’s comments. One group, the pro-republican group, the Patriotic Americans Boycotting Anti-American Hollywood, (PABAAH), called for a US boycott of Lucas’s latest film. What did surprise the authors however, was the fact that conservatives and neoconservatives did not reject the right-wing position outright. Or at least they did not echo the PABAAH’s call for a boycott. The neoconservatives agreed with Lucas in principle, arguing that he ‘was simply mistaken in his definition of Good and Evil. Anakin Skywalker, who becomes Darth Vader, chose, according to them, the good side, the Empire’.
I would explain Americans’ failure to develop an intellectual alternative to neo-conservatism in this way: one assumes the neocons are either making a sick joke, or that they are completely mad. Given this understanding common decency dictates one of two things: a cynical guffaw, or a discrete silence. (Note that an intellectual answer is not on the list of possible responses.) This leads me to suspect method in the neo-conservative madness.
It is difficult to recognize the implicit challenge in their tactics because their remarks are more like a slap in the face than political discourse. However, since I agree that it’s important to confront this particular comment in a coherent way I’ll answer it, in kind.
With the Darth Vader comment the neo-conservatives made a mockery of everyone and everything, including neo-conservatism itself. The first thing to be understood is that this was a defensive maneuver in response to George Lucas’s criticism of neoconservative policies. In this light, it’s important to assert that not even the neoconservatives could believe that switching the roles of villain and hero in another writer’s work is a respectable course of action. Then why would they take this course of action? I would answer that with another question: what else could they say? The best they could hope for was to divert attention from Lucas’s criticism. And they no doubt also considered it a bonus that they were able to show contempt for the conventions of civil society. Outrageousness is their way of attacking collective confidence and corrupting political rhetoric. What else would you expect from a bunch of Gnostics?
 Didier Chaudet, Florent Parmentier and Benoît Pélopidas, When Empire Meets Nationalism: Power Politics in the US and Russia. Ashgate Publishing, Burlington, VT, 2009