Notes and Comment Blog

A caution

Jul 16th, 2013 2:15 pm | By

Heh. I missed Michael Nugent’s comment on that “playful” incident in the Dáil during the abortion bill debate.

Irish Government Health Warning

Don't Drink and Legislate


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The lowering of standards

Jul 16th, 2013 11:46 am | By

So John 23 is on a fast track to sainthood, and to speed things up, Frank is waiving the second miracle requirement. The what? I don’t know, I don’t make the rules; apparently that’s the requirement – not one miracle but two. Only now they’re saying maybe it isn’t, or maybe it shouldn’t be. Deep stuff.

With that rare, if not unprecedented, move, Francis has rekindled a years-old debate in Catholic circles, with some asking whether miracles are really needed for sainthood anymore.

“I think it is time to drop the miracle requirement,” says the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit priest who is a senior analyst for the National Catholic Reporter.

“It is sufficient to look at a person’s life and ask, did this person live the life of a Christian in a special or extraordinary way that can be held up for admiration and imitation by other Christians?”

So what are we talking about here? What, exactly, is a “saint”? Does it mean an especially good person, or an especially holy person? The two are hardly identical, after all, and in fact they can easily be antithetical. Look at “Mother” Teresa for example, refusing to provide pain medications to the unfortunate people in her hospices, and rejoicing in their suffering because it made them more like Jesus. That’s very “holy” and very bad.

According to the church, miracles are performed by God, not the saints. The saints’ role is to bend God’s ear, to intercede on behalf of those who pray to them and make sure that God heeds their requests.

The rationale for the miracle requirement is that it proves “that the person is in heaven and listened to by God,” Reese said.

Do you listen to yourselves? Do you realize how infantile that sounds?

Professor Daniele Menozzi, a church historian at the Scuola Normale Superiore in Pisa, said the importance of miracles grew during the 19th century as the church was engaged in its struggle against the modern world.

“Miracles — events that science wasn’t able to explain — were the church’s answer to the scientific mindset,” he said.

Events that science wasn’t able to explain and that didn’t happen. They’re not events, they’re stories. The Vatican’s mumbo-jumbo doesn’t turn them into events; they’re still just stories.

At the Vatican, potential miracles are vetted by a team of specialist doctors, who are called to determine whether a miraculous healing can be explained by modern medicine.

“But medicine becomes more complex and advanced by the day, so it’s possible to make mistakes,” cautions the Rev. Peter Gumpel, a Jesuit expert who has worked on saints’ causes for more than 60 years.

Today, unexplained healings make up about 95 percent of church-certified miracles. But it has happened in the past that what was considered a miracle has been later explained by science.

Like that.

For Gumpel, by looking only at physical miracles “the church ventures in a field that is not its own.”

He says that the church could look for God’s intervention “in the many spheres of human experience” beyond medicine.

“When a couple gets reconciled, or economic help arrives against all human expectations — if there are hundreds of such cases, all after praying to the same person, then God wants to tell us something,” Gumpel argues.

No. Those are not “miracles.” They defy no laws of nature. Even Jesuits don’t get to make up the rules.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The coat hanger we are discussing is the wire affair

Jul 15th, 2013 6:01 pm | By

Avicenna has his own ferocious post on coat-hanger abortions, in his case with trigger warning (so consider this a trigger warning). It’s useful to hear from doctors, like Avi and like Jen Gunter whom I quoted Saturday, about the realities of amateur abortion.

A small bit from Avicenna’s post.

The coat hanger we are discussing is the wire affair. It’s rather hard to actually do it with the plastic affair unless you break it apart.

To put it into perspective. It’s like trying to thread a sharpened object into a balloon if the walls of the balloon were made out of cake. If you touch them with the sharp bit you lose, good game have fun.

The solo self abortionist while unskilled is enthusiastic. It’s almost as if such an individual doesn’t want the baby. To this end she has to thrust the coat hanger into her vagina with the hope of threading it through the cervix. Most women who do this and who come in have no idea why they were doing it. They just figure it would cause the foetus to stop developing or cause a miscarriage. They hear about it from word of mouth.

It’s why I specifically learnt all my medicine from strange men in the pub rather than a university. Because word of mouth is an excellent teacher of clinical skills. No wait… It’s not.

So she doesn’t know what she is doing, merely hoping that something happens. The waggle it about and hope it works methodology of medicine. What she is hoping is to pass the point of the object through the cervical opening, rupture the membranes and cause the leak of amnion liquor. This will eventually cause the foetus to die and be miscarried. Stressful but less so than having the baby.

The uterine wall is soft and spongy during pregnancy. It’s thick but not very muscular. It’s richly supplied with blood vessels as it forms part of the exchange surface with the placenta (which helps the baby breathe). Now you can rupture ANY of these with a sharp object that is blindly inserted. This leads to massive blood loss. Not helped by the fact that pregnancy causes physiological strain that reduces a woman’s capacity to tolerate blood loss.

Due to the nature of handedness, chances are the blood vessel hit is the uterine artery. Arterial bleeding is powered by the heart. You can bleed out in minutes. Shock ensues followed by death if there is no medical staff present to control it.

The good old days.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

A funny thing to watch

Jul 15th, 2013 5:39 pm | By

Convos With My 2 Year Old

as re-enacted by me and another full-grown man – Episode 1

Very Pinteresque.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Oh give it a rest

Jul 15th, 2013 4:48 pm | By

The godbotherers go to the pub.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Arguing from insult

Jul 15th, 2013 3:26 pm | By


Sexism among politicians in Ireland. Again.

Fine Gael TD Regina Doherty was accused of “talking through her fanny” by Senator David Norris over the abolition of the Seanad.

Note for US readers: “fanny” over there doesn’t mean bum, it means cunt.

THE FINE Gael TD accused of “talking through her fanny” by David Norris is to lodge a formal complaint about the Trinity senator over his “sexist” remarks.

Regina Doherty is the Deputy Director of Elections for the Seanad Abolition Referendum, but Mr Norris also dismissed her opinions as “The Regina Monologues”. In a statement, Ms Doherty said she was “upset” by the comments.

“I have to admit that I was upset by the personal nature of the remarks that Senator Norris made about me in the Seanad earlier today,” the Meath East TD said.

“They were contrived and intentional. I will be making a formal complaint to the Leader of the Seanad in relation to Senator Norris’ comments.

“Senator Norris’ sexist and deeply inappropriate language certainly brought public attention to the Seanad today. But his comments have done absolutely nothing to strengthen his claim that the superior level of debate in the Seanad means the Upper House is worth saving.”

Seriously. This crap has got to stop.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Nation Throws Hands Up

Jul 15th, 2013 3:11 pm | By

Maybe the only fitting commentary comes from the Onion.

Nation Throws Hands Up, Tells Black Teenagers To Do Their Best Out There

WASHINGTON—Following Sunday’s not guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, an exasperated and speechless nation could reportedly do nothing other than wish black teenagers good luck out there, saying that they’re definitely going to need it.

“Yeah, I don’t know what to tell you other than keep your wits about you and hope for the best,” Alexandria, VA resident Michael Klein advised the nation’s 10 million African-American youths. “Honestly, I’d recommend just staying inside after sundown if you can.”

“Try to stay safe, okay?” he added.

After neighborhood watch patrolman George Zimmerman was acquitted of all charges in a case where he admitted to shooting and killing unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, a frustrated U.S. populace said that maybe the only thing left for black teenagers to do is hope and pray for the best.

In addition, the citizenry said that it’s basically gotten to the point where African-American teens need to avoid walking alone, hanging out in groups, or even minding their own business, especially if they are planning to do any of those things in public.

Read on.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Another “spiritual leader” convicted of atrocities

Jul 15th, 2013 11:49 am | By

Ghulam Azam has been sentenced for crimes against humanity in a Dhaka court today.

Azam led Jamaat-e-Islami in then-east Pakistan in 1971 when Bangladesh became independent through a bloody war. He is among several Jamaat-e-Islami leaders convicted by a tribunal formed in 2010 by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to try those accused of collaborating with the Pakistani army in the war.

Bangladesh says the Pakistani army killed 3 million people and raped 200,000 women during the nine-month war, and some 10 million people took shelter across the border in India.

Azam led the party until 2000 and is still considered to be its spiritual leader. Jamaat-e-Islami claims his trial and others were politically motivated, which authorities deny.

The tribunal said Azam was guilty of all 61 charges under five categories: conspiracy, incitement, planning, abetment and failure to prevent killing.

He and his party were accused of forming citizens’ brigades to commit genocide and other serious crimes against the pro-independence fighters during the war.

Azam had openly campaigned against the creation of Bangladesh and toured the Middle East to get support in favour of Pakistan. He routinely met with Pakistan authorities during the war. A mouthpiece of the party routinely published statements by Azam and his associates calling for crushing the fighters who fought against the Pakistani military in 1971.

The prosecution in the trial said Azam must take “command responsibility” for months of atrocities perpetrated by his supporters.

The religion of peace.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Memory on tv

Jul 15th, 2013 10:58 am | By

I watched a rerun of a Law and Order last night, and got very exasperated at the way it portrays memory. It got it all wrong, of course. I know this about cop shows, so it may be silly to get exasperated, but I did all the same.

A crucial character was an Iraq war vet working security in a rowdy club, who had undiagnosed PTSD which was triggered by a band setting off fireworks. Throughout the episode he was pushed to think again about the incident and see what else he could remember about it – so, as you would expect with a visual medium, we would get a visual replay of what was supposed to be his memory, and then a zoom and freezeframe on a particular face, which he would then describe and pick out of a lineup or point to in court.

Memory isn’t like that. It’s not a tape. You can’t “go back in” and “replay the tape” and “spot the forgotten person.” Memory is not a tape. But movies and tv have trained us all to think it is, and they renew the training every day.

Eyewitness testimony is horrendously unreliable, and made even more unreliable than it needs to be because people think it is like a tape and you can go back in and dig up forgotten faces with total accuracy, so witnesses have way more confidence than they should have.

It would be nice to see cop shows start to do a better job of informing us about that.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

“We will kill them in front of their students”

Jul 14th, 2013 3:25 pm | By

The leader of Boko Haram has made a video in which he tells everyone that Boko Haram plans to go right on murdering as many people as it possibly can, in order to pay its compliments to God and to kill lots and lots of human beings. The loathsome piece of shit held a Kalashnikov and harangued everyone about reading the Koran. If anyone wants to know what the combination of hatred and pious stupidity results in, the leader of Boko Haram has made it easy to find out.

And that’s not even all; he also tells insulting stupid lies to the effect that Boko Haram doesn’t kill children.

The leader of Nigeria‘s Islamist militant group Boko Haram has called for more attacks against schools, describing western education as a “plot against Islam”, in a video released days after his fighters killed 46 students in an assault on a dorm.

In the 15-minute recording released at the weekend, Abubakar Shekau said schools would continue to be targeted “until our last breath”.

“Teachers who teach western education? We will kill them! We will kill them in front of their students, and tell the students to henceforth study the Qur’an,” he said, gesticulating energetically while dressed in military fatigues and a traditional hat.

Shekau denied that his fighters killed children. “Our religion does not permit us to touch small children and women, we don’t kill children,” he said, reading from sheets of paper as he cradled a Kalashnikov.

It’s disgusting and foul and horrible, but it works well for them.

A recent spate of attacks on schools is part of a two-pronged strategy that plays up the extremists’ ideology against western institutions while also providing a stream of potential new recruits as frightened parents pull their children out of education.

Unschooled and unemployed children are increasingly being recruited – sometimes forcibly – to fill the ranks of Boko Haram and unleash violence against their peers, the Guardian has learned.

Win-win, you see? They kill some students, then the others get pulled out of school and Boko Haram grabs them and makes them do more of the same. At that rate it shouldn’t take them long at all to either kill or ruin every child in Nigeria.

Just after dawn on 6 July,  a school dormitory was doused in petrol and set alight in north-eastern Yobe. Those trying to flee the flames were shot. The attack left 46 dead, mostly students. More than 300 classrooms have been torched in the remote, arid state since 2009, according to official counts.

Hundreds of families have fled the region. “This really shook us up. Students being attacked in their sleep is too disgusting for us to even imagine,” said Adam Mohammed, a textiles trader visiting neighbouring northern Kano state, where he relocated his family for safety reasons. “It was hard, but I feel I made the right decision to leave Yobe. I’m a father of three and when I think of what those parents must be going through …” He shook his head mutely.

A god that does nothing but hate. A god that hates children, teachers, education, peace, progress, happiness, kindness, generosity – all it wants is death and misery.

Mohammed, a gardener working in the economic capital of Lagos, said he had fled from his village of Dikwa, a few miles from a large Boko Haram camp. “The Boko Haram were everywhere. They collected taxes from us. They stripped one Muslim girl naked and beat her because they said she didn’t cover her ankles,” he said, looking nervous at the mention of the militants.

He said two men had turned up at his grass-roofed house in May. “They said the almajari [religious school] my son was going to was haram [forbidden] because the imam used prayer beads. They gave me all kinds of warnings. They said that I shouldn’t cross my arms when I was talking to them because crossing the arms is haram too.”

The final straw had come days later when his family were awakened by a neighbour’s wailing. “[Boko Haram] told her they took her son to their camp to fight for Allah,” Mohammed said. “They said the boy’s family is now the Boko Haram. My wife said we should leave that very day.”

How to create hell on earth.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Only family violence

Jul 14th, 2013 11:53 am | By

RAWA comments on the release of Sahar Gul’s torturers.

Sahar Gul, who was 15 at the time her ordeal, was burned, beaten  and had her fingernails pulled out by her husband and in-laws after she refused  to become a prostitute in a case that shocked the world.

She was found in the basement of her husband’s house in northeastern Baghlan province in late 2011, having been locked in a toilet for six months prior to her rescue by police.

Her father-in-law, mother-in-law and sister-in-law were  sentenced to prison for 10 years each for torture and attempted murder, though her husband remains at large.

“But after the court reviewed their case, it found out that they were only involved in family violence,” Supreme Court spokesman Abdullah Attaee  told AFP.

Excuse me? “Only” family violence? What the fucking fuck can that possibly mean? Because she was sold to them in “marriage” therefore she is “family” and therefore they get to burn her, beat her, pull her fingernails out, and chain her in a toilet for months? That’s “only” family violence?

Afghan rights groups expressed indignation over the early  releases, calling it a step back in time for Afghanistan’s women.

“This case, once heralded as a legal triumph underscoring the  advances for women’s rights in the past decade in Afghanistan is now a harbinger  of a grim future,” Women for Afghan Women, a Kabul and New York based women’s  rights organisation who helped Gul during the trial wrote on their website.

Violence and abuse against women continues to be a major problem in Afghanistan a decade after US-led troops brought down the notorious Taliban  regime.

In May the Afghan parliament cut short a debate on a bill to protect women from violence after complaints from some traditionalist MPs that  it was against Islamic teaching.

If it is against “Islamic teaching” then “Islamic teaching” is evil and monstrous. Period.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Widespread laughter

Jul 14th, 2013 10:44 am | By

Everyday sexism, Boris Johnson division.

Boris Johnson has risked accusations of sexism after he told a City Hall audience that rising numbers of women are attending university in order to find a husband.

Well that’s a stupid way of putting it. It’s not much of a “risk,” is it. It’s the other way around – it’s uppity women who make “accusations of sexism” against important men who take a risk, not important men who say sexist shit. I know this. I still get solemn, “thoughtful” guys telling me I owe Michael Shermer an apology for pointing out that he said something sexist when he did in fact say something sexist.

Boris Johnson risked nothing by making a stupid degrading sexist joke. Nothing.

Johnson’s remark was made at last week’s launch of the World Islamic Economic Forum, where he appeared alongside the Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Asked about the role of women in Islamic societies,  Razak told the Evening Standard’s Pippa Crerar:

“Before coming here my officials have told me that the latest university intake in Malaysia, a Muslim country, 68% will be women entering our universities.”

After which Boris interrupted with the suggestion that:

“They’ve got to find men to marry”

The comment was greeted with widespread laughter as well as a few groans.

See what I mean? Widespread laughter and a few groans. Contempt for women is perfectly mainstream and risk-free.


(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

Who followed whom?

Jul 14th, 2013 10:32 am | By

Do I have anything useful to say about the Zimmerman verdict? No, not really, except that I don’t get it. Martin didn’t stalk Zimmerman; Zimmerman stalked Martin; so I don’t get it.

Or maybe I do, but wish I didn’t.

Update: someone named Julia Wong put it very well in a tweet.

The actions our society condones as “self-defense” are indicative of who is deemed to have a self (be human). This is white supremacy.

I’m afraid I think that’s about right.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

They starved her, chained her, beat her, burned her

Jul 14th, 2013 9:35 am | By

Sahar Gul was sold into “marriage” at age 12. Her in-laws tortured her in an attempt to force her into prostitution.

The torture began shortly after her brother sold her to the family for an underage wedding, when she baulked at the family’s effort to force her into prostitution. Her new husband did not participate in the abuse, but nor did he try to stop his father, mother and sister.

By the end of her ordeal she was so weak she had to be rescued from her makeshift prison in a wheelbarrow.

The in-laws were prosecuted and convicted but now they’ve been released.

Human rights activists have warned of an new assault on women’s rights in Afghanistan after judges and prosecutors allowed the early release of three people convicted for the brutal torture of a child bride, and conservative lawmakers made an aggressive bid to prevent relatives testifying against each other.

If successful, the small change – introduced covertly into the criminal prosecution code – would stop the vast majority of cases of violence against women from ever reaching court.

Together with the quashing of three convictions for the attempted murder of the teenager Sahar Gul, it marks an alarming two-pronged assault on women’s rights by both those who make the laws and those tasked with upholding them.

“Conservative” seems an odd and inadequate word to describe “lawmakers” who want to see young girls sold into bogus “marriage” and their in-laws free to torture them into prostitution. How exactly is that “conservative”? Does Afghanistan have a proud tradition of torturing girls, forcing girls into prostitution, doing nothing when the in-laws of girls sold into marriage torture them nearly to death? Is that what the lawmakers are conserving?

The 10-year sentences handed down to Gul’s tormentors last year was hailed as an important step forward, after her case horrified Afghanistan and prompted a bout of national soul-searching.

She was sold as a wife when she was an illiterate 12-year-old and her in-laws wasted little time embarking on a campaign of almost unimaginable torture. They starved her, chained her in a basement bathroom, beat her, burned her with red-hot metal pipes and pulled her fingernails out.

By the end of her ordeal she could no longer walk, and was rescued from her makeshift prison in a wheelbarrow. But last week, according to her lawyer and women’s activists, a court ordered the release of Gul’s mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law saying there was no proof of abuse.

“This was based on the idea that there was no evidence, but the people who would have given evidence didn’t know that the hearing was taking place,” said Kimberley Motley, a Kabul-based US lawyer who took on Gul’s case last week after learning of the release.

Judges ignored the fact that the courtroom was almost empty, with apparently no representation from government prosecutors or the victim, even though both should have been informed under Afghan law.

That, too, does not seem very “conservative.” It seems more like heads we win, tails you lose.

However terrifying women’s advocates find the quashing of sentences for Sahar Gul’s tormentors, the legal changes that some MPs are hoping to bring to the country’s criminal prosecution code, now travelling through parliament, would have stopped the case even reaching court.

They have added a provision to clause 1 of article  26, which lists people who cannot be questioned as witnesses. “Relatives of the accused” are now grouped with small children, the accused’s defence lawyer and others, according to one source who has seen a draft of the law.

Qazi Nazir Ahmad Hanafi, a conservative MP who has been a driving force in efforts to quash a landmark law on violence against women, confirmed to the Guardian that the provision had been added to a draft of the code that recently went through the lower house of parliament. It would still need to be passed by the upper house and signed by the president to become law.

Women’s rights activists and female MPs who are outspoken about women’s rights said they were not aware of the change, which still has to be approved by the upper house, but the head of the UN’s human rights unit warned it could make prosecution of violence against women “almost impossible”.

It’s always depressing to realize how passionately women are hated.



(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The end is sharp not tapered

Jul 13th, 2013 5:13 pm | By

We’ve seen the Fox News hack’s “joke” about coat hanger abortions.

Jen Gunter explains what happens with a coat hanger abortion.

A coat hanger is technically narrow enough to get through a pregnant cervical os, but the end is sharp not tapered so it can lacerate and perforate. Getting any instrument through the cervix safely also requires visualization and knowledge of the correct amount of force.

If she’s lucky enough to get the coat hanger through her cervix it could easily sail right through the back or side walls of the uterus. The uterine wall is soft and easily perforated with the wrong instrument or unskilled hands. If the uterus is perforated on one of the sides there is a high risk of lacerating a uterine artery, as that is where they are located. If this happens a woman who is by herself could easily bleed to death before she gets appropriate medical care. These arteries pump a lot of blood.

The other danger with uterine perforation is the bowel. Puncturing bowel will hurt, but depending on her level of fear it might only be enough to cry out but not to ask for help. However, within the next 3 days the bowel perforation will most certainly kill her unless she gets appropriate medical care. That care will likely involve major surgery to drain abscesses, remove necrotic bowel, and possibly even a colostomy. The uterus will also be infected and may be damaged beyond repair.

If she was lucky and got that rough end of the coat hanger in and out of her cervix without puncturing something it is unlikely she will induce an abortion immediately. In this scenario the coat hanger is really just a vector for introducing infection. In 2-3 days or so she will cramp, and if fortunate her uterus will contract and she will pass the tissue at home. However, the bacteria from septic abortions often disseminates and each hour the condition remains untreated death takes a step closer.

There’s more.

It’s not a very funny joke.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The real agenda

Jul 13th, 2013 12:21 pm | By

Manboobz addresses the Edmonton MRA campaign.

I don’t think that MRAs are really concerned about false accusations. If they were, they would be working with groups like the Innocence Project that actually help men (and women) who have been wrongly convicted for crimes they didn’t commit.

No, it seems to me that what they’re really worried about is true accusations.

MRAs, with these posters, and with their endless whinging about the alleged complexities of sexual consent, are trying to push back against the date rape awareness campaigns of the last several decades. MRAs and PUAs like to pretend that consent is a complicated and weirdly arbitrary thing — something that women decide to bestow or not to bestow on a whim, and that women sometimes like to retract after the fact.

It’s important to know what “the movement” really says about consent and rape.

AVFM founder and publisher Paul Elam blames date rape on its victims, writing in one notorious post — which regular readers here will no doubt remember — that women who are raped after drinking and going home with a man are “begging” to be raped:

I have ideas about women who spend evenings in bars hustling men for drinks …  paying their bar tab with the pussy pass. And the women who drink and make out, doing everything short of sex with men all evening, and then go to his apartment at 2:00 a.m..  Sometimes both of these women end up being the “victims” of rape.

But are these women asking to get raped?

In the most severe and emphatic terms possible the answer is NO, THEY ARE NOT ASKING TO GET RAPED.

They are freaking begging for it.

Damn near demanding it.

And all the outraged PC demands to get huffy and point out how nothing justifies or excuses rape won’t change the fact that there are a lot of women who get pummeled and pumped because they are stupid (and often arrogant) enough to walk though life with the equivalent of a I’M A STUPID, CONNIVING BITCH – PLEASE RAPE ME neon sign glowing above their empty little narcissistic heads.

Elam has also said that if he is ever on a jury in a rape case he will vote to acquit even if there is clear evidence that the accused is guilty, and he has urged other men to similarly “nullify.” Here is his exact quote:

Should I be called to sit on a jury for a rape trial, I vow publicly to vote not guilty, even in the face of overwhelming evidence that the charges are true.

That’s worth knowing.

Meanwhile, AVFM Editor in Chief John Hembling takes a certain pride in his callousness towards rape victims, and has gone so far as to make several videos in which he’s announced that he doesn’t care about rape, and that if he ever sees anyone being raped, he will simply walk on by. (You can find excerpts of both vidoes here.)

There are many other examples of the site’s utter contempt for rape victims, but perhaps the most telling is the site’s use of the term “rapetard” to describe people who take the issue of rape seriously.

The people behind the Don’t Be That Girl posters claim that they’re merely trying to protect innocent men from false accusers. Their real agenda is much more insidious than that.

The pro-rape party. Interesting.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)


Jul 13th, 2013 11:56 am | By

You know what “horseplay” is – it’s when an adult man pulls an adult woman onto his lap when both of them are at work.

THE general secretary of Fine Gael has criticised party TD Tom Barry for his “unacceptable” and “inappropriate” actions in pulling a female party colleague onto his lap during the Dail abortion debate.

In a rare public statement, Tom Curran revealed that he had watched the footage of the incident, which has gone viral.

He insisted that the characterisation of the incident as “horseplay” by Fine Gael figures did not reflect how the party viewed it.

This morning, party officials described the incident as being “silly” and “clearly horseplay”.

However this afternoon, Mr Curran said the party did not view it this way and and branded it as “unacceptable”.

“One deputy’s actions were unwelcome to another deputy. If it happened in any other workplace, it would be unacceptable.

“That it happened on the floor of Leinster House makes it more so,” he said.

It’s strange that this seems to be so challenging for some people.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The truth of religious beliefs cannot be established

Jul 12th, 2013 6:26 pm | By

My friend Udo Schuklenk has an opinion piece on why “John Paul II day” is a very bad idea.

Looking back at this pope’s legacy, John Paul II was a highly conservative head of the Roman Catholic Church. Under his leadership, pedophilia in the church was not addressed seriously, and repeat offenders were busily shuffled through the worldwide church empire. He invariably made the noises about this behaviour being bad, but he did little to follow through as the man in charge.

His views on artificial insemination, abortion, euthanasia and homosexuality are considered offensive by the overwhelming majority of Canadians. This did not stop him from proactively lobbying Jean Chretien at the time against marriage equality, because the thought of providing equal rights to gay and lesbian Canadians was something this Catholic pontiff was not prepared to tolerate, not even in a country that was not his own. Well, that is if you accept that all-male Vatican as a country, of sorts.

John Paul II has rightly been criticized by public health and reproductive health experts for his absolute prohibition on condoms. He did not care that it could reduce the spread of HIV/AIDS, and he certainly did not like the idea of preventing the birth of unwanted children. Under his leadership his clergy campaigned in many developing countries relentlessly against sex-education campaigns involving the use of condoms. Deliberate misinformation, in the name of God, was not beneath many of these campaigners.

So even if you wanted to have a “Cleric day” this particular cleric would be a terrible choice.

But you wouldn’t want to have a “Cleric day” anyway.

The inevitable question this “honouring” business gives rise to is this: Where should we draw the line? What other religious figurehead is next? How about the founder of the Church of Scientology, the deceased science fiction author L. Ron Hubbard? Or perhaps we should next honour a Muslim cleric for good balance?

The bottom line is this: Religion is a private and typically highly divisive issue. The truth of religious beliefs cannot be established. It is bad public policy in modern, multicultural societies to honour religious figureheads.

That sentence about the impossibility of establishing the truth of religious beliefs is one that almost always gets left out when people defend secularism. I’m glad Udo put it in. It makes a difference, after all; it’s basic; it shouldn’t be left out.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

The culture that has absorbed the poisonous misogyny of the Catholic Church

Jul 12th, 2013 2:38 pm | By

Well Vincent Browne is blunt.

Tonight the (almost) all-male parliament will vote to imprison a woman, for up to 14 years, who refuses to give her body to the sustenance of another human being, irrespective of almost all circumstances.

It is irrespective of whether the pregnancy would do serious and irreversible harm to her health for the rest of her life.

It is irrespective of the circumstances whereby she became pregnant, for example, if she had been gang-raped and was distraught at the prospect of bringing to full term the child of one of her rapists.

It is irrespective of whether the woman would be able to cope physically, emotionally and psychologically with having, say, a 10th child. It’s irrespective of the woman’s will.

That was Wednesday, before the vote happened.

This intrusion on the autonomy of women is founded on the virulent misogyny that pervades our culture. The culture that demeaned women by disbarring them from employment for centuries; that excluded them from the institutions and positions of power; that made them the property of their husbands; that still often portrays them as the mere sex toys of men; that has so infiltrated the consciousness of millions of women that even they believe their role is the mere “helper” of men (see Genesis chapter 2, verse 18). The culture that has absorbed the poisonous misogyny of the Catholic Church. Aside from an acknowledgement of a women’s right to life, there has been hardly a mention of any other entitlement on the part of the mother by any of the anti-abortion advocates, including the Catholic bishops (whose effrontery in engaging in any debate to do with morals is itself astonishing). It is as though they regard women as mere incubators.

Yes, it is.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)

CFI Canada petition to oppose pope day

Jul 12th, 2013 12:02 pm | By

Canada what the hell are you thinking?!

The text of the bill:

An Act to establish Pope John Paul II Day
Whereas Pope John Paul II served as the pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church from October 16, 1978, until his death on April 2, 2005;
Whereas Pope John Paul II is widely recognized as a leading figure in the history of the Roman Catholic Church and the world and played an influential and vital role in promoting international understanding and peace;
Whereas Pope John Paul II loved young persons and was instrumental in establishing World Youth Day in 1985 as a way to inspire youth and encourage them in living out the teachings of Christ;
Whereas Pope John Paul II visited Canada in his capacity as Pope for the first time in 1984 and later in 1987 and 2002;
And whereas Pope John Paul II visited many countries around the world and helped to end communism in Eastern Europe;

…therefore let’s pick a day in the calendar and call it pope John Paul day.

No, let’s not.

Sign the petition that says let’s not.

(This is a syndicated post. Read the original at FreeThoughtBlogs.)