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by Sheldon Richman

The conflict in Ukraine has prompted several level-headed commentators to point out that, of all governments, the U.S. government is in no position to lecture Russia about respecting other nations’ borders. When Secretary of State John Kerry said on Meet the Press, “This is an act of aggression that is completely trumped up in terms of its pretext.… You just don’t invade another country on phony pretext in order to assert your interests,” one of those commentators, Ivan Eland, responded,

Hmmm. What about the George W. Bush’s invasion of Iraq after exaggerating threats from Iraqi “weapons of mass destruction” and dreaming up a nonexistent operational link between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden and the 9/11 attacks. And what about Ronald Reagan’s invasion of Grenada in 1983 to save U.S. medical students in no danger and George H.W. Bush’s invasion of Panama because its leader, Manuel Noriega, was associated with the narcotics trade?… More generally, Latin America has been a US sphere of influence and playground for US invasions since the early 1900s — Lyndon Johnson’s invasion of the Dominican Republic in 1965 and Bill Clinton’s threatened invasion of Haiti in 1994 being two recent examples.

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 by Mike Nixson

I am watching the remake of the series Cosmos. Carl Sagan, the host of the original series is a hard act to follow. He had the science down right but there was a real passion in his serach for not only facts but the truth and the process for getting there.  Neil deGrasse Tyson does a good job in the new series although he won't be imitated as effectively.  For a lot of believers it brings up a lot of disturbing and challenging issues, not the least of which is how to reconcile the interpretations of a book written by errant men with an observable universe created by an inerrant God. Many opt to accept interpretations that contradict the empirical evidence of God's handiwork. I think there is a name for that.

Like Sagan's previous work on the original Cosmos, the new series shares a wonder about the nature and process that is called science.  Unlike all dogmas, science is constantly changing and challenging it's own conclusions and discoveries. Dogmas once established cannot be questioned by those who hold the belief or the dogma fades quickly into oblivian, usually to be replaced by another dogma. It seems to me that the last 5,000 years of civilization has been a struggle to see the Universe the way it is as opposed to the way we imagine we'd like it to be with belief usually winning over science. (Sagan did a wonderful job explaining how the Pythagoreans turned Greek philosohy into mystical directions that influenced Western philosphy and religion for 2000 years; you'll have to watch the original series to get at that gem.)  Imagine is a kind word however. Imagination is good - as long as we don't get carried away believing everything we imagine to be true (psychologists call that a delusion) but often dogmatic beliefs come with an agenda and that agenda usually involves subordination of one group to another.

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