Halo Halo / Tiny Tips
Knock on door. Open to see two very smartly dressed mature ladies standing behind a smartly besuited gentleman. All smiling. Quick appraisal. Decide not Mormons because they only proselytise using males. Politely ask who they are. They offer pleasantries then straight into their sales pitch. Light slowly dawns. Ah, Jehovah’s Witnesses. They’re trying to fill their quota and sign me up. Haven’t they seen Life of Brian? Not worried about getting stoned then? Since it’s December I naughtily ask about their policies on Christmas and other Christian festivals. Aware it’s a no-go because they consider it pagan. Also ask about Easter. Wot, no pressies or chocolate Easter eggs? Even atheists say no thanks matey! Smiles become more strained.
Respond to their proffered leaflet with three copies of Questions and Answers about Socialism. After all, exchange is no robbery. Polite smiles quickly change to worried ones. He pulls back leaflet he was offering me. Exit right quickly. Socialism – the antidote to religion.
‘Witnesses believe that a “little flock” of 144,000 selected humans go to heaven, but that God will resurrect the majority (the “other sheep”) to a cleansed earth after Armageddon’ (Wikipedia). JW have eight and a half million adherents.
On the second-largest island in the Philippines, an obscure religious movement, believed to be promoting an imminent end-of-the-world ideology, has been accused of engaging in sexual violence and forced marriage of its own members, including children. It is thought to have at least three thousand five hundred members. There are several religious groups in the Philippines that are labelled by authorities as cults (Al Jazeera 19 September).
In November 1978, 900 Americans, adherents to the People’s Temple, died in Guyana after drinking poison at the behest of their leader, Rev Jim Jones. ‘Temple members were regularly humiliated, beaten, and blackmailed, and many were coerced or brainwashed into signing over their possessions—including their homes—to the church’ (Britannica.com).
In Kenya, the Pastor of the Good News International Church was said to have told followers they must starve themselves to death. Why would anyone do that? Apparently, in order to ‘meet Jesus’. The Kenyan authorities had found over four hundred bodies. The news report noted, ‘Starvation appears to have been the main cause of death, according to government autopsies, but some victims – including children – had been strangled, beaten or suffocated’ (Sky News, 18 July).
In Britain it used to be the norm when filling in any kind of form that asked for religion to respond with C of E. It often meant … well I’m not really religious but to avoid social disapprobation I’ll go with the flow. After all, if it’s good enough for the Queen/King it’s good enough for me. But now us ‘nones’ are coming out of the closet. A 5 October AP report notes that American and Canadian ‘nones’ are, give or take, a third of the population. Japan, Israel and Uruguay are listed as high in ‘nones’. Unnamed European countries qualify too.
Cost of living crisis, what cost of living crisis? A new breed of uber-luxury hotels in London is breaking records with rooms costing more than £1,000 a night as wealthy visitors flock to the capital for ‘experiences’ only (a lot of) money can buy. In the Peninsula on Hyde Park Corner, a short walk from Buckingham Palace, rooms start at a kingly £1,300. Despite the startling price tag, the hotel is said to be running at full capacity (tinyurl.com/5yn54c8p).
Pfizer recently announced it would increase the U.S. list price of its patented Covid treatment nirmatrelvir-ritonavir (Paxlovid) to $1,390 for a five-day treatment course. Experts at Harvard University have estimated that the cost of producing a five-day course of nirmatrelvir-ritonavir is $1 (tinyurl.com/3rbpt63v).
‘[Scientists] created weapons under the protection of St. Seraphim of Sarov because, by the ineffable providence of God, these weapons were created in the monastery of St. Seraphim… Thanks to this power, Russia has remained independent and free, and, of course, we must all cherish this remarkable feat of our scientists, who practically saved the country, in our hearts and memories,’, Russian Orthodox Church Head Patriarch Kirill saying that Russia’s nuclear weapons saved the nation (tinyurl.com/2bbrdy8v).
@CraigMurrayOrg. To be entirely plain. I have always viscerally opposed war. I have dedicated my life to conflict resolution and reconciliation. But in the coming Gaza genocide, every act of armed resistance by Hamas and Hezbollah will have my support. If that is a crime, send me back to jail (tinyurl.com/yszshwjk).
Hamas — being a reactionary, exclusivist outfit — has a ‘post-Israel’ vision that will produce an ethnically cleansed theocratic dictatorship, in other words ‘building up yet another system of exploitation’. More, their pogromist violence against Jewish civilians is not “cathartic”, or restoring Palestinian self-respect, but instead full-on racist sadism (tinyurl.com/y4r66un3).
More than one million children experienced the ‘most extreme form of poverty’ last year, said Sky News, according to a new report that slams such ‘horrifying levels of destitution’ as a political choice. The report by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation found that the number of people experiencing these levels of poverty in the UK has ‘increased by 61%’ between 2019 and 2022, with 3.8 million people experiencing destitution. More than half of destitute households have a ‘weekly income of less than £85’ (tinyurl.com/bde3z9nz).
Coca-Cola has quietly scrubbed references to Hamas-supporting BLM from its website (tinyurl.com/3xpynjv9).
The founder of a Black Lives Matter (BLM) organization is voicing his support of Jan. 6 prisoners and not shying away from endorsing former President Donald Trump as ‘the best candidate we have’ (tinyurl.com/2j6me76y).
When Shevek asks the socialists of Nio Esseia what Anarres, which they see as their ‘moon,’, means to them, they respond that every time they look up at the night sky, they are reminded that a society with no government, no police, and no economic exploitation exists and cannot be dismissed as merely a utopian fantasy (tinyurl.com/yvabk3p7).