Josip Broz Tito and Josef Stalin, 1948

The letter that terrified the most terrifying leader of modern times. When a schism grew between the Communist allies, the Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, Soviet leader Stalin expected the smaller country to bow before his power. Instead, the Yugoslavian President Marshal Tito defied Stalin. The latter was incensed, and despatched successive assassins to murder Tito. …

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Surprising poll results

More than half of Republicans in a new American Barometer poll say they support “Medicare for all,” also known as a single-payer health-care system. The survey, conducted by Hill TV and the Harris polling company*, found that 52 percent of Republicans polled said they supported the option, while 48 percent said they opposed it. Twenty-five percent said they …

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Distrust of multi-culturalism in the UK

Forty per cent of people think British culture is undermined by multiculturalism and that migrants do not properly integrate, according to a new survey, conducted by ICM and 60 citizens’ panels, carried out on behalf of the thinktank British Future and the anti-racism group Hope Not Hate over the past two years. The report reflects …

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Why the religious Right will put up with anything Trump does or says

A Liberty University-produced film called “The Trump Prophecy,” claims that Donald Trump’s election in 2016 can be attributed to divine intervention, and that Trump is the King Cyrus of our times. Cyrus the Great was the king of Persia in the second half of the sixth century BCE. He conquered the Babylon and established a …

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Britain’s extreme right wing shows it has no idea and no grown-up ideas.

A short while ago the hard-line Brexiteers of the European Research Group were expected to finally reveal their detailed plan. The group of some 80 Tory MPs, led by the ubiquitous Jacob Rees-Mogg, was going to publish “a Brexit plan to rival Theresa May’s”. Some in the Prime Minister’s camp feared that it would be …

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Chipping away at our health

The Trump administration has quietly reshaped enforcement of air pollution standards in recent months through a series of regulatory memos. The memos are fulfilling the top wishes of industry, which has long called for changes to how the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) oversees the nation’s factories, plants and other facilities. The EPA is now allowing …

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The gunrunner President

American weapons makers have dominated the global arms trade for decades. In any given year, they account for between one-third and more than a half by value of all international weapons sales. Until recently, the Trump administration had focused on the promotion of big-ticket items like fighter planes, tanks, and missile defense systems around the …

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Take those impractical courses, kids!

The President of John Hopkins University, Ronald J. Daniels, recently overheard a conversation among students. One opined that he would have liked to have enrolled in an introductory course in philosophy, but that the demands of his major meant that “enlightenment would have to wait”, you “gotta get a job”, and that therefore he would …

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Yet another serious “derivatives” threat

Prospect Magazine, October 2018 edition, runs an article by Jay Elwes entitled “The Brexit Crunch”, and it is very important indeed. A precis of the article follows. Long-ish, but bear with me: In 2008 the total value of all CDOs (Collateralised Debt Obligations) and Credit Default Swaps, both types of derivatives, was $458 trillion. One …

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Quotations from Albert Einstein

“The most aggravating thing about the younger generation is that I no longer belong to it.” “Education is what remains after one has forgotten everything one learned at school. “You teach me baseball and I’ll teach you relativity…..No, perhaps we shouldn’t…..You will learn relativity faster than I learn baseball. “Anyone who has never made a …

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Sexual abuse in the Catholic church

A new manual designed to help prevent clerical sexual abuse in Chile has triggered further outrage by listing a host of instructions that critics say should be self-evident. Among other things, the manual – which was published on the website of the Archbishop of Santiago, but which has since been withdrawn – advised priests not …

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“The new Republican tax code rigs the economy.”. A millionaire investor

“The new Republican tax code deliberately rigs the economy in favor of the political donor class – the CEOs, corporations, and millionaires who fund campaign – and virtually guarantees that a tiny number of the richest people in the country will get significantly richer while working families and the middle class get screwed. “Among other …

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The U.S. Mail should not be for sale!

Postal workers and their allies are demanding that the country’s mail service stay in the hands of the public. This comes amid increasing threats to privatize the postal service, including a proposal from President Trump this summer to examine selling U.S. Mail off to the highest bidder. Many may think that in the internet age, …

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Coping with loneliness : follow- on from a recent post

1. Distracting yourself by dedicating time to work, study or hobbies. Drawing or painting is particularly absorbing. It doesn’t matter if the result is lousy. Singing in an amateur choir can be fun, and it doesn’t matter if your voice is a bit weak or you can’t read music. 2. Joining a social club, but …

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Loneliness. ( an attempt at a deliberate distraction from the news!)

In February 2018 The BBC Loneliness Experiment was launched on BBC Radio 4 in collaboration with the Wellcome Foundation. People from 237 different countries, islands and territories took part in the survey. A summary of the main findings: Loneliness is said to mainly strike older, isolated people – and of course it can, and does. …

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