Sunday, June 26, 2016

Guns Kill: Three Sheats to the wingnut

In Houston, Texas, two young women were shot dead by their mother in a "family dispute".  Unless someone is trying to kill you, what sort of "family dispute" requires having a gun in your hand?
Texas Woman Killed By Police After Fatally Shooting Her Two Daughters
Texas police fatally shot a 42-year-old mother after she refused to put down the gun she used to murder two of her own daughters in a Houston suburb.

Christy Sheats was found by police just after 5 p.m. on Friday, standing in the street near the bodies of her two daughters, Madison, 17, and Taylor, 22.

The incident was apparently the result of a family dispute that spilled into the street.

Her daughters will never disobey her again, will they?  That'll teach 'em.  And mom won't kill anyone again either, not after the cops shot and killed her too.

Would it surprise you to learn that Christy Sheats was a rightwing gun fetishist?  Probably not.  She posted this drivel on facebook three months before killing her own children:
It would be horribly tragic if my ability to protect myself or my family were to be taken away, but that’s exactly what Democrats are determined to do by banning semi-automatic handguns.
The NRA would like to remind you that this is no time to talk about gun control.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Ignorance Wins: The UK commits suicide, not EU-thanasia

England wanted to EU-thanize the EU but instead has just committed economic and political suicide.  A vote based on racist and reactionary (lack of) thinking won't only separate the UK from the EU in terms of borders.

The UK banking system will be isolated, which means no EU loans, consumer protection or international banking.  It means UK citizens cannot travel, work or live in the EU.  It means UK citizens will lose the legal protections that the EU offers (environmental, economic, labour and employment rights, human rights, food and consumer safety, etc.).

The Scottish vote on separation in 2015 failed, but the possibility of voting again still exists.  Once the economic and political fallout of this vote come to pass, Scottish people will flock to the polls and will gladly return to the EU.  And you can expect Wales and Northern Ireland to choose the same route soon after. 

Within ten years, England will either become an economic basket case, the North Korea of Europe, or it will come crawling back, begging for readmittance that will only come on the EU's terms.

As seen on twitter:

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Silence Kills: Media complicity in another Israelis human rights abuse

In the West Bank, part of Palestinian land, ramadan is not the only news story.  But you won't hear about the other story in the corporate media.
Update: The Israeli government has since admitted to human rights abuses by intentionally cutting off water to the West Bank.  But they still blame the Palestinian authority for the Israeli government's own actions.

The Israeli government has cut off the entire water supply to the West Bank.  Cut off all water.  As daily temperatures soar to 35°C or higher.

There are only two reasons to commit a human rights violation like this against a civilian populations:

1) To kill as many of the population as possible while protect by media silence and a US veto.

2) To drive people into such desperation that they decide to leave their homeland and allow an occupying invader to take it.

As if Israeli policy toward the West Bank and Gaza has ever been any different.
West Bank Palestinians Without Clean Water After Israel Cuts Off Supplies

“Mekorot, the main supplier of water to Palestinian towns and cities, siphoned off water supplies to the municipality of Jenin, several Nablus villages and the city of Salfit and its surrounding villages,” Al Jazeera reported.

Daytime temperatures are reaching 95 degrees and some people have not had access to drinking water for 40 days, according to Ayman Rabi, the executive director of the Palestinian Hydrology Group.


"Israel allocates to its citizens, including those living in settlements in the West Bank deemed illegal under international law, between three and five times more water than the Palestinians," Martin Asser wrote. "This, Palestinians say, is crippling to their agricultural economy."

Sunday, June 19, 2016

People Thirst: Slave labourers are dying in 50°C heat

Imagine if religious fanatics in predominantly catholic countries like Ireland, Poland or Italy started physically assaulting non-catholics - for example, muslims - who were eating meat on "good friday" (or any Friday, as catholics used to ban).  Imagine if the catholics demanded laws to arrest and punish or imprison people who do eat meat on those days. 

Would you defend the creation of religious laws where the majority imposed their religious practices upon minorities who don't belong to that religion?  (Well, fanatical christians in the US would, so that's not a good place for an example.)  If it's wrong in one place, it's wrong everywhere.

Not eating meat won't kill anybody, but NOT being allowed to drink water will kill people who are forced to perform hard manual labour in 50-60°C heat (120-140°F for Americans)

In 2016, ramadan is in June.  This is the hottest month of the year at the equator, and in most predominantly muslim Middle Eastern and North African countries, temperatures are high enough to kill people who are drinking water and not doing physical labour. 

‘Warning’ for non-Muslims caught eating in public during Ramadan

Saudi labourers still working in 55°C temperatures

Death toll among Qatar’s 2022 World Cup workers revealed

North Koreans working as ‘state-sponsored slaves’ in Qatar

Forcing people to work in 50-60°C temperatures while preventing them from drinking water is NOT "respecting culture".  It is a human rights abuse by a theocratic majority, endangering the lives of a powerless minority. 

People should have the freedom to practice their religion, what they don't have is the right to expect non-adherents to obey the religion of the majority.  But as with the catholics of the past (who did physically violate those who didn't follow catholic rules) muslim countries have no hesitation about ramadaning it down your throat.  Or rather, about preventing water going down your throat.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Political Game Shows: Play THOUGHTS AND PRAYERS!


How many lives can you save from mass shootings through your thoughts and prayers?  You too can be as equally ineffective as US politicians at stopping:

- religiously motivated hate crimes
- male gun violence
- religious terrorism

 And other threats to the lives and safety of innocent people.  Show that you don't care by effectively using your thoughts and prayers instead of actions that will actually make a difference.

Terrorists Threaten: Ignorant yank jarheads display their stupidity

Some people in the US have been arrested and been charged and even imprisoned for uttering terrorists threats of murder. The far rightwingnuts in the US have spewn trite tripe about "thoughts and prayers" for the 49 victims in Orlando. But you can be sure not a single one of them will be calling for the two US military terrorists to be prosecuted for uttering terrorist threats - threats for which muslims have been imprisoned.

Marines Under Investigation for Allegedly Threatening to Attack Gay Bars

Two marines are under investigation for uploading a photo to social media in which they allegedly threatened to attack gay bars—all less than a week after the shooting at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando, which has been deemed the worst mass shooting by a single gunman in U.S. history.

The photo, which was posted on the Camp MENdleton resale Facebook group—a closed group for male marines with an amassed 25,000 members—features an unnamed male corporal holding a military rifle with his finger poised on the trigger.

The caption accompanying the photo reads "Coming to a gay bar near you!"

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Lip Service: The hypocrisy of punishing and celebrating dissidents

Barack Obama is "paying tribute" to Muhammad Ali after Ali's death.  In reality, Obama is paying lip service to the ideals of standing up to injustice and criminality while gutlessly doing the opposite and punishing those who dare or blow whistles.

Ali stood up against the illegal war in Vietnam at the risk of his freedom and his career, while at the height of his career.  He was not only punished by a corrupt government with a false prosecution and jail time, he also endured a corrupt media's attacks upon his character.  He was labelled a "coward" and "communist" by the US populace.  It is only in retrospect that people are calling him a hero for doing what was right.

The reality is far different today.  People like Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning also stood up and did what was right, speaking out against illegal wars and war crimes.  For doing so, they are vilified by a corrupt government and a cowardly and complicit media.  One is a political prisoner of conscience, incarcerated for telling the truth that her government lied and committed a war crime.  The other is living in exile, called a "coward" by a government that murders people with impunity, that intentionally bombs hospitals to kill doctors and aid workers.

This sort of hypocrisy isn't anything new.  Back in World War I, England imprisoned people who refused to take part in that war, after first threatening to murder them (so-called "executions").  As with Ali in the US, the UK government now wants to celebrate people that it tried to punish. 

This isn't about morality and doing what's right. It's propaganda and more lies being sold both at home and abroad. 

The message is clear: It's okay to have refused to be part of war crimes fifty years ago.  But if you refuse to commit war crimes now, you're a "coward".  The scum who call pacifists "cowards" for refusing to fight in illegal wars and war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq are dishonestly trying to claim the moral standing of those who refuse to take part in wars.

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Music Rules: Les Paul & Mary Ford, "The World Is Waiting For The Sunrise"

Some things are timeless and need no explanation.

If you can't appreciate it, that's your loss.

Words Fail : The change in "O Canada" lyrics is insufficient

The unfortunately-current Canadian government has put forward an incomplete bill that only addresses half of a problem, completely ignoring the other equally large half.  No doubt intentionally.

The bill proposes that Canada's national anthem "O Canada" remove a masculine noun in favour of a gender neutral noun. 

Current lyric: "In all thy sons command"

Proposed lyric: "In all of us command"

This is a start, but it is only half the job required.  A modern country that purports to be a democracy has no place promoting theocracy.  All promotion of religion should be purged from official documents and ceremonies.  When you promote one, you give it official status and discriminate against others.  You also allow them to argue for their religion in government.

Current lyric: "Mythical being keep our land glorious and free"

Proposed lyric: "Let us keep our land democratic and free"

A secular state is not an atheist state, no matter how many times the religious repeat the lie.
Should ‘O Canada’ lyrics be gender-neutral? Other countries have tweaked their anthem in the past

In 2013, Switzerland ran a public contest looking for more modern lyrics for its national song The Swiss Psalm, which critics said were too religious, (When the Alps glow bright with splendor / pray to God, to Him surrender,” for example.) A winner was announced on Sept. 12, 2015, but the Swiss government has not yet voted on the change.

Holocaust Recognized: Turkey livid after Germany calls it the Armenian genocide

In a long overdue move, the German government has officially recognized the mass murder of a million and a half Armenians as genocide.  It shouldn't have taken this long, considering how aware Germany is of its own history.

Denying the Armenian genocide is as appalling as denying the genocide of six million jews during World War II.  How strange that Israel has been one of Turkey's strongest backers in denying the Armenian genocide.
 Knowing better doesn't guarantee that people will do better.

German MPs recognise Armenian 'genocide' amid Turkish fury

The German parliament has approved a resolution declaring that the mass killing of Armenians by Ottoman Turks during World War One was a "genocide".

Armenians say up to 1.5 million of their people died in the atrocities of 1915. Turkey says the toll was much lower and rejects the term "genocide".

In the latest response:

- Turkey's Prime Minister Binali Yildirim blamed a "racist Armenian lobby" for the resolution
- Armenia's Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said it was a "valuable contribution" to the "international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian genocide"

More than 20 nations, including France and Russia, as well as Pope Francis, have recognised the 1915 killings as genocide.

Vomiting induced: Religion aids and abets a criminal. Again.

Briton Richard Huckle is currently on trial in England, facing twenty two potential life sentences for his crimes in Cambodia and Malaysia, the rape of dozens of children.  He worked for christian bible schools and ESL schools in those countries, gaining access to children through his job.

Christopher Neil is a serial child rapist who taught in Asia and committed crimes against children in Cambodia.  He was given an unfortunately short prison sentence in 2007 and has since re-offended after his release in 2012.

Neil is an ardent christian who studied to be a priest.  Is Huckle also an ardent christian like Neil?  I don't know.  But like Neil, he used his religiosity to gain access to children.  Those whose responsibility to hire foreign workers and protect those children failed to do their jobs.  They were all too willing to employ people based on religious fervour and willingness to accept poor working conditions.

Every non-christian I have met refuses to work for christian run ESL schools because such schools engage in questionable employment practices.  Most of them ask for unpaid work, excessive hours and six day workweeks, offer substandard pay or fail to pay as promised, provide poor living conditions, refuse to apply for or provide a legal work visa, etc.  Religious schools are scraping the bottom of the barrel in who they hire, so it doesn't surprise that they end up hiring slime.

From Buzzfeed:

Paedophile Who Raped Malaysian Children Faces 22 Life Sentences 
One of the UK’s most prolific paedophiles abused and raped children and babies in poor Southeast Asian communities for years, while bragging about it online and publishing a guide on how to carry out the abuse undetected.
Huckle taught English and Bible studies to children in Cambodia and Malaysia, outwardly appearing to be a trustworthy Christian. He even featured in a promotional video made by the British Council in Malaysia highlighting its work.

From The Telegraph, UK:
Britain's 'worst paedophile' Richard Huckle who targeted poverty-stricken children faces life in prison after admitting scores of offences

He then began to visit Malaysia regularly, posing as a teacher, photographer and philanthropist in order ingratiate himself with a local Christian community before raping and abusing their children.

There is no evidence at this stage that he abused any children in the UK, but the authorities have not ruled out victims coming forward.

Huckle's favourite method was to target vulnerable children in poverty stricken communities, even boasting of his exploits to other paedophiles online