Sometimes the stories just start piling up in my tray because I don’t know how precisely to use them.
Once upon a time I actually was dumb enough and naive enough to think religion actually might have had some sort of decent purpose in life, some sort of aspiration to serving some sort of higher cause.
I mean just because I found the whole idea of magic invisible all powerful sky beings to be absurd and sort of like Santa Claus for adults…
I mean I’m quite willing to worship the sun, the earth and the laws of physics so doing good things for magic invisible beings seemed harmless if some what childish.
Except it seems like most of the followers of magic invisible beings have chosen highly malevolent ones to follow, ones that demand the practice misogyny, homophobia, racism, classism and a whole raft of haeful practices that hurt and oppress people.
Her are a few nausea inducing reports I have gathered over this last week:
From Der Spiegal: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,766281,00.html
By Christoph Seidler
A Catholic doctors’ association in Germany believes it can cure the sexual orientation of gays and lesbians with sugar pills — though only at their request, the group says. But the homo-homeopathy has been harshly criticized by members of its target community.
The Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany (LSVD) is outraged. Following news reported this week by the online magazine Telepolis that the Union of Catholic Physicians (UCP) has been offering homeopathic “Therapy Options for Homosexuality” on their website, the advocacy organization called the suggestion an “insult,” and an “impertinence” that showed “a lack of respect for homosexuals and bisexuals.”
The religious association, which calls itself the “voice of the Catholic medical community,” writes on its website that while “homosexuality is not an illness,” a host of treatments are available to keep such “inclinations” at bay. Possibilities include “constitutional treatments with homeopathic tools … such as homeopathic dilutions like Platinum,” “psychotherapy,” and “religious counseling.” Among homeopathy’s controversial treatments are the prescription of “Globuli,” tiny pills that consisting mostly of sugar.
Continue reading at: http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/0,1518,766281,00.html
The Alliance Defense Fund, an ultra right wing religion backed hate group is gloating about the Judge ruling against Nikki Araguz
ADF Press Release: http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/4778
ADF provided funding for case involving man who married heroic firefighter by disguising himself as a woman
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
ADF attorney sound bite (5/31/11): Austin R. Nimocks
WHARTON, Texas — Relying on a previous ruling that sex is determined at birth and not changed by later surgical procedures, a Texas court Thursday declared that the “marriage” of a man who led another man to believe he is a woman is null and void. The Alliance Defense Fund provided funding for the case.
The summary judgment order came in the estate proceedings of Capt. Thomas Araguz, a Wharton volunteer firefighter who tragically died battling a fire two months after separating from the person he married when he discovered that person was actually a male posing as a female. Justin Purdue, who legally changed his name to “Nikki” in 1996, went to highly convincing lengths, including surgery, to make himself appear to be a female.
“A person’s sex is a biological fact, not a state of mind, and altering one’s outer appearance doesn’t change that,” said ADF Senior Legal Counsel Austin R. Nimocks. “The court was right to uphold marriage by affirming the reality that a person’s sex cannot be changed.”
In its order, the 329th District Court of Wharton County declared that Araguz “was not married on July 4, 2010, the date of his death, and it is further declared that any purported marriage between the Decedent and Nikki Araguz prior to Decedent’s death was void as a matter of law.” The court’s ruling was based, in part, on a previous Texas appellate court ruling which found that a person’s sex is defined at birth and is not changed by surgical procedures. In addition, the Texas Constitution and Family Code both only recognize marriage between a man and a woman.
Continue reading at: http://www.adfmedia.org/News/PRDetail/4778
By Zack Ford
Jun 3, 2011
Coming to a public school near you? That’s how Brian Brown’s latest letter opens, as he is eager as ever to scare National Organization for Marriage supporters about what their kids will learn. But that’s just the president of the organization’s introduction to NOM’s other favorite theme: self-victimizing. Here’s a quick tour through Brown’s latest distortions: “Live and let live? SSM Architects Seek to Silence Christians.”
CLAIM: Teaching kids about gender variation is somehow a bad thing: “‘People can be girls, feel like girls, they can feel like boys, they can feel like both, and they can even feel, like I said, kinda like neither,’ he teaches them. This is a movement that know what it is doing.”
FACT: Alvin McEwen has a whole post dedicated to a lie from the first published draft of this letter, in which Brown suggested the lesson was for Kindergartners, not fourth-graders as was actually the case. Aside from sounding scary about it, Brown doesn’t actually indicate what he thinks is wrong with the gender lesson. Factually, there is nothing wrong.
CLAIM: The United States is a Christian nation: “Could Christianity, which gave birth to America, become an illegitimate stepchild in our own nation?”
By Stephanie Mencimer
Fri Jun. 3, 2011
Reed, you will recall, raked in more than $4 million from Abramoff in 2004 to rally Christian voters to fight Native Americans who wanted to open some casinos. Abramoff was representing different tribes who already had casinos and wanted to cut out the competition, and he paid Reed to help in the fight by making gambling a religious issue. Abramoff was eventually convicted of mail fraud and conspiracy and sentenced to six years in prison (he served three, getting out early last year).
Emails released during the criminal investigation did not reflect well on someone who Time dubbed “The Right Hand of God” in 1995. In many of them he’s pressing Abramoff to send him clients—and cash. “I need to start humping in corporate accounts!… I’m counting on you to help me with some contacts,” he wrote in one. The emails also suggested he had lied about how much he knew about what Abramoff was up to. Reed was never prosecuted or accused of being more than a greedy political consultant, but his downfall among evangelicals and other politicians was pretty fast and furious.
All of that seems like ancient history today, though, as Reed has somehow managed to persuade virtually every Republican hoping to occupy the White House to star in his new show. His Abramoff ties notwithstanding, Reed was a formidable organizer in his heyday. He once described his special approach to mobilizing white, evangelical voters like this: “I want to be invisible. I do guerrilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag. You don’t know until election night.” The GOP candidates are apparently hoping that Reed, nearly 50, can still run the ground war.
California Catholic Daily: http://www.calcatholic.com/news/newsArticle.aspx?id=d6273833-ae2b-46a9-a2b3-c332cae8c94a
June 1, 2011
Bill that would require employers to let transvestites, transsexuals express their ‘gender identity’ at work clears California Assembly
A gender-bending bill opposed by California’s bishops has been approved by the state Assembly and is now under consideration in the state Senate.
The bill, AB 887, was introduced by Assemblywoman Toni Atkins, D-San Diego, at the behest of Equality California and the Transgender Law Center. It would make changes to 34 existing state laws in California’s penal, civil, education, government and labor codes so that ‘gender’ is no longer defined by strictly biological standards.
According to a legislative analyst’s report on the bill, it would change ‘gender’ to ‘gender identity’ and ‘gender expression’ anywhere the word ‘gender’ appears in state law. “Gender expression,” said the analysis, would mean “a person’s gender-related appearance and behavior whether or not stereotypically associated with the person’s assigned sex at birth.”
One result of the bill, if it becomes law, would be to require employers “to allow an employee to appear or dress consistently with the employee’s gender expression.”
(and Gasp the Assembly woman is a lesbian)
by Bridgette P. LaVictoire
“You’re gonna have the homosexual lobby committing one hate crime after another against servicemembers, especially officers who have deeply held religious convictions about the acceptability of homosexual behavior…This is going to be a pogrom, virtual genocide, military genocide, career genocide”
Ah, Bryan Fischer (who said that), the man who has yet to realize that the forces of truth, justice and freedom won World War II, is now trying to spread the lie that lesbian and gay servicemembers are going to start killing those military officers with deeply held beliefs.
Given the ready availability of guns in this country, it is amazing the lack of incidents of lesbians and gays walking into a Roman Catholic Church and shooting the priest and parishioners. In fact, there has not been a single proven case of a lesbian or gay shooting up a church, setting one on fire, beating up or killing any Christians what so ever.
From People for the American Way: Right Wing Watch: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/fischer-unlike-president-obama-herman-cain-authentically-black
Submitted by Kyle
May 23, 2011
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/03-5
Sometimes, the most revealing aspect of the shrieking babble of the 24/7 news agenda is the silence. Often the most important facts are hiding beneath the noise, unmentioned and undiscussed.
So the fact that Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), is facing trial for allegedly raping a maid in a New York hotel room is – rightly – big news. But imagine a prominent figure was charged not with raping a maid, but starving her to death, along with her children, her parents, and thousands of other people. That is what the IMF has done to innocent people in the recent past. That is what it will do again, unless we transform it beyond all recognition. But that is left in the silence.
To understand this story, you have to reel back to the birth of the IMF. In 1944, the countries that were poised to win the Second World War gathered in a hotel in rural New Hampshire to divvy up the spoils. With a few honorable exceptions, like the great British economist John Maynard Keynes, the negotiators were determined to do one thing. They wanted to build a global financial system that ensured the money and resources of the planet were forever hoovered towards them. They set up a series of institutions designed for that purpose – and so the IMF was delivered into the world.
The IMF’s official job sounds simple and attractive. It is supposedly there to ensure poor countries don’t fall into debt, and if they do, to lift them out with loans and economic expertise. It is presented as the poor world’s best friend and guardian. But beyond the rhetoric, the IMF was designed to be dominated by a handful of rich countries – and, more specifically, by their bankers and financial speculators. The IMF works in their interests, every step of the way.
Let’s look at how this plays out on the ground. In the 1990s, the small country of Malawi in Southeastern Africa was facing severe economic problems after enduring one of the worst HIV-AIDS epidemics in the world and surviving a horrific dictatorship. They had to ask the IMF for help. If the IMF has acted in its official role, it would have given loans and guided the country to develop in the same way that Britain and the US and every other successful country had developed – by protecting its infant industries, subsidizing its farmers, and investing in the education and health of its people.
That’s what an institution that was concerned with ordinary people – and accountable to them – would look like. But the IMF did something very different. They said they would only give assistance if Malawi agreed to the ‘structural adjustments’ the IMF demanded. They ordered Malawi to sell off almost everything the state owned to private companies and speculators, and to slash spending on the population. They demanded they stop subsidizing fertilizer, even though it was the only thing that made it possible for farmers – most of the population – to grow anything in the country’s feeble and depleted soil. They told them to prioritize giving money to international bankers over giving money to the Malawian people.
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/03-5
I went to many “Free Geronimo Pratt” demonstrations over the years. He was framed by the FBI, probably COINTELPRO for a crime he could not possibly have committed as he was some 400 miles away in Oakland at the time the robbery murder occurred.
He was one of America’s foremost political prisoners along with Leonard Peltier and Mumia Abu-Jama, railroaded into prison and in Mumia’s case facing the death penalty for crimes they did not commit.
In the case of Geronimo Pratt, his main crime was being a member of the Black Panther Party.
From Erica Henry, CNN
June 3, 2011
(CNN) — Former Black Panther Elmer “Geronimo” Pratt, who was wrongly imprisoned for 27 years on a murder conviction, died Thursday in Tanzania, his former lawyer said.
He was 63.
Stuart Hanlon, a San Francisco-based lawyer who helped overturn Pratt’s murder conviction, said he did not know the exact cause of death.
Pratt died in a small village in Tanzania where he lived with his wife and child, Hanlon said.
Hanlon called Pratt a “true American,” saying that he was an Army veteran who served two tours in Vietnam before joining the Black Panther Party.
“He could’ve been a great leader. He was very charismatic,” Hanlon said. “His legacy is that he never gave up. He never got despondent or angry.”
Pratt’s conviction became a rallying cry for rights groups that said he had been framed for his strident activism during the turbulent civil rights era.
Continue reading at: http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/06/03/california.pratt.death/
From Common Dreams: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/01
I’m an Apple fan. I’m writing on my third Mac laptop in a decade. I’ve purchased over $100,000 of Apple products on behalf of a company I’ve worked for over the same period. Plus all those iTunes gift cards for my teenage daughter.
So I was disappointed to learn that Apple is a tax dodger.
Sure, Apple pays some U.S. corporate income taxes. It looks downright patriotic next to master tax dodgers like General Electric and Boeing that have paid zero U.S. taxes for years. But Apple pays far less than it should.
Here’s how: Apple shifts patents and intellectual property, which are among their biggest assets, to subsidiaries in other countries that are low and no-tax havens. These include Ireland and the Netherlands, which have especially favorable tax rates on royalties from intellectual property.
When Apple sells an iPad or a MacBook, it allocates a portion of the profits to the offshore subsidiary that owns the patent. This tax dodge is sometimes referred to as the “Irish Two Step” or the “Dutch Sandwich.” But for Apple, we should call it the “Offshore Tax Haven Shuffle.”
Last year, Apple claimed that just 13.9 percent of its profits came from U.S. operations. This is a fantastic fib. Consider all those Americans walking around with iPhones, iPods, iPads, and MacBooks. Think of all those folks buying music on iTunes, sending a buck to Apple for each song. Think of customers lined up at those glitzy Apple stores, like the three-story iPlex down the street from me in Boston.
How is it possible that less than 14 percent of this company’s profits come from the United States? Is it because Europeans and the expanding middle classes of India and China are snatching up Apple products by the boatload?
Continue reading at: http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/06/01
By RACHEL SALTZ
Published: May 31, 2011
Can you name three female artists? The people asked that question outside the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Whitney Museum of American Art can’t get much beyond Frida You-Know-Who-I-Mean. That’s old, sad news to Lynn Hershman Leeson, the director of “!Women Art Revolution” — “!W.A.R.” — a documentary history of the feminist art movement.
Adrian Piper, Betye Saar, Nancy Spero, Martha Rosler and Carolee Schneemann (that’s five for next time you’re asked) are just some of the artists interviewed by Ms. Hershman Leeson, who in the mid-1960s, a young artist herself, borrowed a camera and started shooting the friends and colleagues who passed through her living room in Berkeley, Calif. She continued off and on over the years, wherever she could. (Judy Chicago holds forth in a college bathroom at one point.) These interviews form the backbone of “!W.A.R.,” and like the film, they’re passionate, contentious, funny, sincere, politically attuned. They’d make you nostalgic for the struggle except, as many point out, the struggle continues.
By Agence France-Presse
Friday, June 3rd, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AFP) – A new film protesting against US coal mining and starring Robert F. Kennedy Jr. aims to boost green alternatives such as wind power and highlight “criminal” destruction by the industry.
Five years after “An Inconvenient Truth,” Al Gore’s landmark movie about climate change, makers of “The Last Mountain” hope the documentary will engage viewers through the story of a Virginia community threatened by “Big Coal.”
“‘An Inconvenient Truth’ woke up the world to the dangers of climate change, in a way that it hadn’t been awoken before,” said director Bill Haney.
But “what you as individuals can do to challenge the interests that be, that are creating this problem .. it did not do,” he told AFP, saying that he would be happy if his movie was as successful as former US vice president Gore’s.
The film opens Friday in New York and Washington and will be released in other US cities in the coming weeks.
From World Socialist Web Site: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/jun2011/pers-j01.shtml
By Patrick Martin
1 June 2011
One week ago, on Tuesday, May 24, voters in the 26th Congressional District of New York cast ballots in a special election that, unusually for American bourgeois politics, was actually focused on a significant issue of public policy—whether the Medicare program, which underwrites health care for the vast majority of Americans aged 65 and over, should be phased out and replaced by private insurance.
The Republican candidate to fill the vacancy in New York, Jane Corwin, said she supported the plan put forward by Representative Paul Ryan to end Medicare. The Democratic candidate, Kathy Hochul, campaigned almost exclusively on her opposition to the Ryan plan and won by a comfortable margin. This was as close to a referendum on the future of Medicare as the unrepresentative American political system can provide.
In the week since the election, the American political establishment has thrown its weight behind an effort to put the genie back in the bottle and reinforce the political consensus in Washington that the Medicare program is unaffordable and must be dismantled to prevent national bankruptcy.
Nothing could more clearly expose the fraud of democracy in the United States. The election confirms what has been amply demonstrated in opinion polls: that the overwhelming majority of the population, including a majority of Republicans, opposes cuts to Medicare. However, this mass sentiment has no impact on the actual course of government policy.
While the election was a direct repudiation of Republican proposals, if anything the results were more disturbing to the Democrats. Several prominent Democratic Party officials and liberal media pundits quickly stepped forward to declare that no one should draw the wrong conclusions from the Buffalo vote.
Continue reading at: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/jun2011/pers-j01.shtml