Notes and Comment Blog

The extremists are afraid of books and pens

Jul 12th, 2013 11:14 am | By

CNN gives the most complete coverage of Malala’s speech at the UN that I’ve seen so far, with a selection of videos.

Speaking for children across the world, she told world leaders: “We are really tired of these wars.”

Yousafzai went on to address specific attacks in Pakistan on teachers and school children. Earlier this summer a female teacher was gunned down in front of her son as she drove into her all-girl school. A school principal was killed and his students severely injured when a bomb was tossed onto a school playground at an all-girl school in Karachi in March.

In January, five teachers were killed near the town of Swabi in the volatile northern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, the United Nations says.

And, in June, a suicide bomber blew up a bus carrying 40 schoolgirls as it made its way to an all-girl campus in Quetta. Fourteen female students were killed.

“Dear sisters and brothers,” she said, “we realize the importance of light when we see darkness. We realize the importance of our voice when we are silenced. In the same way when we were in Swat, we realized the importance of pens and books when we saw the guns.

“The extremists were and they are afraid of books and pens,” she said.

“The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them.”

This fear is partly based on the Taliban’s own lack of education, Yousafzai said. And, she said, world leaders should “change their strategic policies” to press for peace and ensure that children’s and women’s rights are protected.

“We call upon all governments to ensure free, compulsory education — all around the world for every child.”

Free, compulsory, and safe – no bombers, no gunmen, no acid attacks, no arson. No theocrats trying frantically to shrink human beings into something tiny and afraid and submissive.

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

One pen and one book can change the world

Jul 12th, 2013 10:05 am | By

Malala celebrated her 16th birthday today by telling the UN that education could change the world.

“Let us pick up our books and pens. They are our most powerful weapons. One child, one teacher, one pen and one book can change the world. Education is the only solution,” a confident Yousafzai said to cheers from the podium.

The Taliban tried to stop her last October but, for once, they failed.

“They shot my friends too. They thought that the bullets would silence us. But they failed and out of that silence came thousands of voices,” she said in Friday’s speech.

“The terrorists thought they would change my aims and stop my ambitions, but nothing changed in my life except this: weakness, fear and hopelessness died. Strength, power and courage was born,” Yousafzai said.

She wore a white shawl draped around her shoulders that had belonged to former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated during a 2007 election rally weeks after she returned to Pakistan from years in self-imposed exile.

“I am not against anyone, neither am I here to speak in terms of personal revenge against the Taliban or any other terrorist group. I’m here to speak up for the right of education for every child,” she said.

“I want education for the sons and daughters of the Taliban and all terrorists and extremists,” she said. “I do not even hate the talib who shot me. Even if there is a gun in my hand and he stands in front of me, I would not shoot him.”

She would rather send his daughters and sons to school.

Yousafzai presented Ban with a petition signed by some 4 million people in support of 57 million children around the world who are not able to go to school. It demanded that world leaders fund new teachers, schools and books and end child labor, marriage and trafficking.

Let’s do those things.



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


Jul 12th, 2013 9:31 am | By

Malala Yousufzai spoke at the UN today. I’ve found two videos so far, which cover different sections of her speech.


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

Real time

Jul 11th, 2013 5:25 pm | By

RTÉ follows the Dáil abortion legislation debate as it happened.


And we’re off again … with our second live blog as another round of discussions on the abortion legislation gets under way in the Dáil.


Clare Daly TD said where a woman believes that it is in her best interest to have a termination, that option should be available to her.

  • 17:23

    Joan Collins TD said we should not allow women to be treated as second and third class citizens.

Clare Daly TD – I was on a panel with her less than two weeks ago – a panel on reproductive rights.

This one, in fact -

I’m amazed at the things I get to do, sometimes.


Minister for Children Frances Fitzgerald said that where there is a real and substantial risk to the life of the mother, she has the right to have her life saved.

She said that if you start saying that risk of death has to be set aside, then you are putting the life of the mother at risk and denying her, her rights.

Well quite.

  • 00:25
    The Government has passed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill by 127 votes to 31.

    All of the 165 proposed amendments were defeated by the Government which led to criticism from Opposition TDs.

    The Bill now moves to the Seanad.

So that’s done.

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

It’s a better country tonight

Jul 11th, 2013 4:56 pm | By

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD thanks supporters and rejoices that Ireland has been brought into the 1950s tonight.

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

A woman’s right to a termination if her life is at risk

Jul 11th, 2013 4:46 pm | By

It’s done. Shortly after midnight the Dáil passed the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

The Government has passed legislation for the first time allowing for abortion in limited circumstances.

Shortly after midnight, TDs voted by 127 to 31 in favour of the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill.

The landmark legislation enshrines a woman’s right to a termination if her life is at risk, including from suicide.

It’s about stinking time, and it’s also obviously very inadequate, but it’s something.


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

The bill passed, 127 to 31

Jul 11th, 2013 4:36 pm | By

Some tweets:

Gavin Reilly @gavreilly

Applause from the Labour benches, and from Alan Shatter, as the Dáil adjours at 12:25am.

Aodhán Ó Ríordáin TD @AodhanORiordain

Its done. #actiononx

Owen Corrigan @owencorrigan

FINALLY! And all it took was 21 years. #disgrace #XCase #abortionvote #Dail #Ireland

             Retweeted by Jen Keane

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

You are not Salman Rushdie

Jul 11th, 2013 1:11 pm | By

Men’s Rights Edmonton has issued an Official Statement gloating over its new fame and glory and explaining how urgent it is to change the subject from rape to false accusations of rape. (H/t hjhornbeck for the link.)

Hello Everyone,

We at Men’s Rights Edmonton have become a national topic of discussion due to our recent poster campaign calling attention to false allegations of rape.

For the people that want a quick answer to the question of why the campaign, we would respond, What is wrong with advocating against both rape and false rape accusations?

Both are abhorrent means of manipulation and power.  As for our campaign, not once did it advocate or apologize for rape.  It is very clearly worded to target only people who lie about sexual assault.  “Lying about sexual assault = a crime” is a statement of fact that any rational person will agree with, and false rape reports undermine the credibility of actual reports of actual rape.

Men’s Rights Edmonton believes the original “Don’t be that guy” campaign is hate speech.  It specifically targets a gender and all members of that gender as perpetrators of rape.

No, it doesn’t.

Sexual violations, including rape, can be committed by anyone.  While a majority of reported sexual assaults are committed by men, associating or claiming all men are potential rapists is analogous to claiming all minorities will commit theft.

The “Don’t be that guy” campaign is insulting to anyone with a conscience, both men and women.  It is not novel or different. We want rapists punished for their crimes.  We also want the system to punish those that make false rape claims.  How more can you trivialize real victims of rape than by making a false rape claim?

Reliable statistics on rape and false claims of rape are hard to find.  Some studies, bolstered by low conviction rates, suggest that false claims of rape are on a par with actual rape reports.  How is this not a problem?  Reducing the false reporting of rape can only work to increase the conviction rates for actual rapists.

Men’s Rights Edmonton extends an open invitation to debate this issue to Lise Gotell and anyone who wishes to join her here.  You are more than welcome to join us for a debate.

["]What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist.”

― Salman Rushdie

Yeah…Men’s Rights Edmonton isn’t Salman Rushdie.

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

Mens Rights Edmonton

Jul 11th, 2013 10:47 am | By

More on the Edmonton MRAs and their “don’t be that girl” poster campaign.

The CBC story on Tuesday.

Posters that mimic the well-known “Don’t be that guy” campaign against sexual assault have gone up around Edmonton bearing a very different message.

The “Don’t be that girl” poster reads: “Just because you regret a one night stand, doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual. Lying about sexual assault = a crime.”

Late Tuesday night a group called Mens Rights Edmonton, a local anti-feminism group, claimed responsibility for the posters.

New data released Tuesday by the Canadian Women’s Foundation show that less than 10 per cent of sexual assaults are reported to the police.

The survey suggests about 19 per cent of Canadians believe women encourage or provoke assault when they are drunk and 15 per cent believe it can be provoked by flirting.

The CBC report yesterday.

In that one you get to hear the familiar voice of Karen Straughan explaining how the original “don’t be that guy” poster campaign “really does demonize all men.”

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

Thank you for your interest in our activist group

Jul 11th, 2013 10:17 am | By

Well isn’t that adorable - a men’s rights group in Edmonton put up a bunch of posters claiming women lie about rape.

After a story aired about the controversial posters on Tuesday, CBC News received an email from an unknown member of the group.

“Thank you for your interest in our activist group,” the person going by the name MR-E wrote. “Yes, we have been very busy with postering our town.”

The posters, which mimic the well-known “Don’t be that guy” campaign against sexual assault, recently popped up in downtown Edmonton and around the University of Alberta, where they have since been taken down by campus police.

The “Don’t be that girl” poster reads: “Just because you regret a one night stand, doesn’t mean it wasn’t consensual. Lying about sexual assault = a crime.”

Karen Straughan, spokesperson for Men’s Rights Edmonton, believes the original “Don’t be that guy” campaign demonized men.

“It frames all men as potential sexual predators,” she said.

Karen Straughan, aka GirlWritesWhat.

Lise Gotell, chair of women and gender studies at the University of Alberta, worked on the original “Don’t be that guy” campaign. She believes the new posters send the wrong message.

“They’ve perverted the message,” she said. “And they’ve transformed it into a rape apologist message and it’s just very disturbing.”

Police officers who investigate sexual assault cases say false accusations are “extremely rare.”

Those police officers must be radfems.

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

Bishops in charge

Jul 11th, 2013 9:20 am | By

Ivana Bacik thinks that bishops shouldn’t be telling legislators what to do.

A call by Labour Senator Ivana Bacik for a Seanad debate on the separation of church and State led to sharp exchanges.

Ms Bacik said she looked forward to the debate on the Protection of Life During Pregnancy Bill, adding that she welcomed the fact that after 21 years legislators were facing up to their responsibilities.

“I call on the leader, in the aftermath of the Bill, perhaps in the autumn, to arrange a debate on the separation of church and State, given the rather robust interventions by the bishops, essentially seeking to tell legislators what to do, which, I believe, is not appropriate in a republic.’’

Darragh O’Brien (FF) asked if Ms Bacik wanted to gag the bishops.

Is that an option?

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

Permission? Consent? What do you mean?

Jul 10th, 2013 4:36 pm | By

Here’s a new one, via a comment by Marie-Thérèse. From the Irish Independent in August 2010:

A CLERICAL child abuse victim revealed the full horror yesterday of the ‘human guinea pig’ drug trials carried out in church-run children’s homes.

Hundreds of children are feared to have been subjected to the experimental trials while in the care of the Catholic Church.

Now the victims’ cases could be reopened, as calls for the Government to deal with the scandal intensifies.

Legal action is being planned against  GlaxoSmithKline and the Sacred Heart Order, which allowed the tests at the Bessborough Mother and Baby Home in Cork.

Campaigner and abuse survivor John Barrett, who was born at the home outside Cork city, was used as a ‘human guinea pig’ while in Lota industrial school, also in Cork.

You can explain about that, too, please, Vatican.

More than 25,000 youngsters spent time in Irish orphanages between 1960 and 1975, the period when the controversial one-in-four trials are believed to have taken place.

Kevin Cooney of the Adopted And Fostered Persons’ Association said: “These orphans were society’s most innocent and vulnerable people.

“The State participated in abusing the rights of children in their care. That is indefensible. There must be a full disclosure.”

Meanwhile Health Minister  Mary Harney has been called on to instruct her officials to make available all relevant information regarding the ongoing vaccine trials.

The call comes following Mari Steed, 50, breaking her silence on Friday, in the Irish Independent, into how she was subjected to a controversial vaccine trial as a baby without her mother’s consent.

She said she the trial were carried out on her between December 1960 and October 1961, when she was between nine and 18 months old.

See more from Marie-Thérèse.


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

UN committee tells the Vatican to come clean

Jul 10th, 2013 2:59 pm | By

Oh now that’s satisfying to read

A United Nations panel is demanding that the Vatican hand over detailed information on child sex abuse cases involving Catholic clergy.

In a document published online, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child has asked the Vatican to come clean with how it addresses children’s rights around the world, including what measures it takes when dealing with sexual violence.

See what I mean? No bowing, no scraping, no apologies, no deference, no reverence, no extra “respect”; instead, demanding that the secretive lawbreaking self-serving bastards hand over the information. It is about.fucking.time.

The panel, which polices the 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child, wants the Catholic Church to reveal confidential records on investigations and legal proceedings against clergy members accused of sexual crimes on children.

The Geneva-based committee also wants to know what measures are being taken to ensure that clergy members accused of sexual abuses are not in contact with children and how members are told to report allegations of sexual violence.

The document mentions specific cases of abuse, including the Magdalene Laundries, which were Catholic-run workhouses in Ireland where thousands of women and girls were forced to work unpaid and under harsh conditions. The committee wants any records looking into complaints of torture and inhumane treatment as well as information on the number of babies taken away from their mothers at the laundries.

It also wants records on investigations into the Legion of Christ in Mexico, where young boys have accused the congregation of separating them from their families.

Good, good, good. Also the Irish industrial “schools”? Also the infants in Spain stolen from their parents and sold to adoptive parents? Also the children in Australia sent to the Christian “brothers” to be abused? It’s a long, long, long list of cruel destructive shit the Catholic church has done to children over the past many decades.

Michael Nugent has the whole list of questions.

The UN Committee will question the Vatican at a hearing next January, and it has first asked the Vatican to respond in writing to the questions by November.

The questions cover

  • Who was involved in preparing the Holy See’s report
  • Measures taken by the Holy See to implement the Convention
  • The training given to all religious personnel who work with children
  • Discrimination between children in Catholic schools and institutions,
  • Labeling children born outside wedlock as “illegitimate children”
  • The right of children to be heard and to express their views freely on all matter affecting them
  • The complaints of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment in the Magdalene’s laundries in Ireland
  • Preventing all forms of corporal punishment of children in all settings, with particular reference to the Ryan Report in Ireland
  • Preventing violence against children in the family
  • Detailed information on all cases of child sexual abuse committed by members of the clergy, brothers and nuns or brought to the attention of the Holy See
  • Allegations of the Legion of Christ separating boys from their families
  • Measures to protect the rights of abandoned children

That’s a big to-do list. The Vatican is going to be very busy between now and November.

5. Please indicate the steps taken to address discrimination between children in Catholic schools and institutions, in particular with regard to gender, and to promote equality between girls and boys. In particular, please indicate the measures taken to remove from catholic schools textbooks all sex stereotyping which may limit the development of the talents and abilities of boys and girls and undermine their educational and life opportunities.

That’s a real stumper. What can they say? They don’t promote equality between girls and boys; they don’t believe in it. What will they say? The usual waffle about how women are “complementary” but must not abandon their womany natures? The UN won’t find that acceptable, I should think. This could be fascinating.

6. Please indicate whether the Holy See still label children born outside wedlock as “illegitimate children” and whether it has assessed the consequences on the use of such terminology on the rights of these children.

That’s how children got sent to places like Goldenbridge, you know – because the priests labeled them “illegitimate” and grabbed them away from their parents.

7. Please provide information on the concrete measures taken by the State party to promote and protect the right of children to be heard and to express their views freely in all matters affecting them in accordance with article 12 of the Convention. Please also clarify the statement contained in paragraph 23a of the State party’s report that “the inherent dignity of the child is founded on something more profound than his ability to express his views”.

Oh, zing. They’re telling the Vatican to keep their pious bullshit.

8. Please indicate whether an investigation was conducted by the Holy See into the complaints of torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and of subjection to force labour of girls held in the Magdalene’s laundries run by Catholic Sisters in Ireland until 1996. If so, please provide the Committee with the main findings of such an investigation. In particular, please provide detailed information on:
(a) The proceedings engaged against all those found responsible within these congregations, and against all those who financially benefitted from the forced labour done by girls in the laundries;
(b) The number of babies taken away from their mothers in the Magdalene’s laundries, placed in catholic orphanages or given for adoption as well as on the measures taken to reunite mothers with their children, and the efforts to ensure full disclosure of all information on the whereabouts of all these children;
(c) The compensation as well as the rehabilitation measures, including medical, psychological and social services provided to the victims of the Magdalene’s laundries who are still experiencing long lasting consequences of the abuse suffered when they were children.

Of course nothing like that was done. The Vatican spokespriests said they were very very sad about the whole thing and now could we please change the subject to the evils of secularism. That’s what was done, and not one bit more.

I wonder what will happen when the Vatican fails to comply. Anything? The UN isn’t famous for being good at enforcement…

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

The long road to justice

Jul 10th, 2013 11:04 am | By

For the first time in Bangladesh someone has been prosecuted and convicted for the murder of a journalist.

Shortly before his murder in November 2005, Das published a series of reports for the Dhaka-based daily Samakal, detailing corruption by BNP officials, according to news reports. His body was found strangled in his bureau in the town of Faridpur, 40 miles outside the capital. The following day, Das’ colleague filed a complaint with local police, accusing 10 individuals in connection with the murder, many of whom were members of the then-ruling BNP, according to reports.  

But the long road to justice was pitted with potholes. One of the accused died during the course of the trial. Others were released on bail. Witnesses scared of testifying backed out, according to Saleem Samad, a local journalist who knew Das. And in 2006, the case was transferred from the local district court to the Dhaka Speedy Tribunal Court 1 for an expedited judgment after pressure from local journalists. One defendant challenged the legality of this transfer, resulting in further delays.

Seven years later, this “speedy” court delivered its decision. While many journalists and press freedom advocates have welcomed the verdict, Das’ widow, Dipali Das, expressed her disappointment and concerns to local media that the convicts would try to use their finances to get out of jail. Her concerns are legitimate; Bangladesh is consistently rated one of the most corrupt nations in the world.

Intimidation of journalists must make it a lot easier for corruption to flourish.

It is widely accepted by those who knew Das that those sentenced are the individuals behind the murder. It remains unclear if these men are the masterminds based on the police investigation, eyewitness accounts and confessions of the convicts, according to local journalists. Bulbul warned that the judgment will likely be appealed, and in a politicized place like Bangladesh, there is always the possibility that the defendants walk free.

Impunity for journalists’ murders runs deep in Bangladesh. At least 14 journalists have been killed in direct relation to their work since CPJ began keeping records in 1992. Six others have been killed for reasons that remain unclear. Bangladesh ranks as the world’s 19th deadliest country for the press, according to CPJ data. “For last 40 years hardly any journalists silenced for their profession had received justice, despite media pressure. In some incidents the family members have rejected the court verdict, some have even withdrawn their case out of frustration,” said Samad.

Bulbul is hopeful this may change. “This is the beginning of the end of the culture of impunity that exists for journalist murders in Bangladesh,” he said.

Let’s hope so.

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

Smurf atheism

Jul 10th, 2013 10:23 am | By

Via Fidalgo, First Things spots some scary atheist existentialism in the new Smurfs movie.

[pause to laugh very much for a long time]

It’s someone called Collin Garbarino who spotted this smurf atheist existentialism.

This weekend I saw the new trailer for Smurfs 2. It looks to be a fun romp. Gargamel is back, and he’s got a new plan for catching those little blue people who are two apples high. If the trailer accurately represents the film, we’ll be entertained by nonstop shenanigans and high jinks. We’ll also get a healthy dose of atheistic existentialism.

Watch the trailer below. At the 1:45 mark Papa Smurf says, “It doesn’t matter where you came from; what matters is who you choose to be.”

How inspiring! If only it were true.

It does matter where we come from. If God really is our creator, then we really do owe him something. Papa Smurf’s words of pseudo-wisdom only make sense if our existence is the product of meaningless forces. If we are the products of evolution, then we have to manufacture meaning for our lives. We have to choose to be someone. If we have a creator, chances are that he intended for us to be a certain someone, and maybe we should ask him about it if we’re confused.

Ok, let’s take Garbarino’s claims seriously.

If God really is our creator, then we really do owe him something.

Do we? Why? I don’t think we do. God didn’t get our consent, and without consent, how can it be true that we “owe” god something for creating us? I don’t see it.

Now, saving lives, as opposed to creating them – I can see that. We owe people who save our lives, and all the more so if they do it at risk to themselves. Consent doesn’t come into it in the same way. But creating us? That’s a different kind of thing.

And then there’s the “if” – that’s a big if. The reality is that “God” is not “our creator” and that there’s no reason to think it is, so the debt question doesn’t arise.

If we have a creator, chances are that he intended for us to be a certain someone

But there again the issue of consent comes into play, in fact it becomes very urgent. Garbarino is saying this god created us without our consent and had specific intentions about who and what we would be, still without our consent. Well the hell with that. I don’t consent to be whatever it is that some outside person intended me to be. My life belongs to me; our lives belong to us; we’re not toys in the hands of a bigger more powerful person. It’s slavish of Garbarino to think otherwise.

and maybe we should ask him about it if we’re confused.

Ok. What about it, god?



Garbarino wants us to ask this “God” person about it while knowing perfectly well that “God” won’t answer so what does he think he’s saying? I suppose the usual – the mindless, obedient, unreflective usual – we should ask and then be quite content to get no answer, or, we should ask some member of the clergy or other and be quite content to take that as an answer even though it’s obviously no such thing.

They don’t think these things through. It gets tiresome.

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

Enthralled by the details of her suicide

Jul 9th, 2013 6:16 pm | By

The cult of Sylvia Plath has always been creepy, you have to admit. Now this year is the [sharp intake of breath] 50th anniversary of that time she stuck her head in the oven, so the cult has to get even creepier. (Why? I mean, why? Fifty years; so what? Why is that more significant than 49 or 51? Humans are so stupid sometimes. Honestly.)

Terry Castle thinks it’s stupid too. Terry Castle is right.

A clutch of new biographies (including the two reviewed here) are likewise among the morbid tie-ins. “Sylvia Plath may be the most fascinating literary figure of the twentieth century”—so the publisher’s copy for one of them gushes. “Even now, fifty years after her death, writers, students, and critics alike are enthralled by the details of her 1963 suicide and her volatile relationship with Ted Hughes.” Such ambulance-chasing fans no doubt also dote on Frida Kahlo’s near-fatal impaling by the tram rail.

Seriously? “Even now, fifty years after her death, writers, students, and critics alike are enthralled by the details of her 1963 suicide…”? Well get over it. Jesus.

It will come as no surprise that I’m one of those who will always be turning away from Plath. Or trying to. I find her tasteless, grisly—unbearable, in fact—precisely because, even five decades after her suicide, she and her corpse-infested verses hold on with such ghoulish tenacity.


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

Such modern heresies as democratic government

Jul 9th, 2013 5:26 pm | By

Garry Wills takes a jaundiced look at the current pope’s fastracking of “sainthood” for a recent one.

He starts with John Paul’s beatification of the horrible Piux IX.

Pius IX was a polarizing figure. He wrested from the Vatican Council a declaration of his own infallibility; he condemned such modern heresies as democratic government; he took a Jewish child, Edgardo Mortara, from his family—on the grounds that Edgardo’s Christian nurse had baptized him as an infant, making him belong to the church, not to his infidel parents.

So he beatified someone a little bit nicer at the same time. Clever wheeze.

Now Pope Francis has come up with another ablutionary pairing. He is canonizing John Paul II in record time (Benedict XVI had already waived the normal five-years-after-death period to allow the beatifying process to begin.) Though John Paul II is not as hotly resented by liberals as Pius IX, he is still subject to deep criticism. He presided over the church during its worldwide pedophile scandal, and he gave the handling of that problem to Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the head of the Congregation on the Doctrine of the Faith—the very man who, succeeding him, would waive the time-lapse needed to begin his predecessor’s canonization. (Who can think that a saint in heaven ever protected a predatory priest?) John Paul had treated as “irreversible” his stands on matters such as homosexuality, married priests, and women priests.

And his stands on those matters were all bad.

But—not to worry—the “good Pope John” is again being pressed into service. He was beatified to take the sting out of Pius IX’s promotion. He is now being canonized to make a joint heavenly pair with John Paul II. To rush John XXIII forward, Pope Francis is even waiving the normal requirement of a second miracle for canonization. John XXIII is the feel-good pope in a time of turmoil, even though he is being used to sanction the turmoil caused by John Paul II.

It’s all such a con-game.

The Vatican no doubt feels that combining a liberal hero with a conservative hero shows how big a tent its sacred baldacchino is; the holy institution transcends earthly politics. Besides, the modern canonization process is supposed to have inoculated sainthood from politics, basing it on objective evidence, provided by documents, interrogation, medical examinations, scientific certification—all Enlightenment techniques used to sanction a pre-Enlightenment concept. But, after all this lengthy preparation, only the pope can declare that a supernatural miracle happened—and to say who worked it, the particular address in heaven to which prayers for it had been sent. The pope knows the address, and certifies its reception by the right party. That is knowing a whole lot.

In other words it’s complete nonsense, a fairy tale, with “documents, interrogation, medical examinations, scientific certification” pasted on for the sake of appearances. It’s annoying that grownups take this seriously.


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

Youth Defence

Jul 9th, 2013 1:29 pm | By

Jen Keane (@zenbuffy) tweeted a freezepage of the hacked Youth Defence site. Youth Defence is the horrible far-right US-funded ”pro-life” group making so much trouble in Ireland. The hacked page makes interesting reading.

This is not the hate-filled truth-distorting website you’re looking for.

Note: We the Irish do not appreciate US organisations pouring money into shady groups here to try change our rules and society for their own gains. Youth Defence has been the seed of more hatred here that any group in a long time. It has to stop.

Youth Defence is not what you think it is. Youth Defence is an extremist group who actively hide their links to shady right-wing connections and where their funding comes from. Let’s blow the lid.

Neo-Nazi Links

Original leaders include Fr. Maurice Colgan (more on him below) & Justin Barret, a man with known links to neo-Nazi movements (speaking at NDP events in Germany) and who has campaigned in the past against divorce, contraception & gay rights. In his book he has even described immigration as “genocidal”. He has also spoken at multiple Forza Nuova (Italian far-right group) rallies in the past. Recently, it was shown that current leaders have been known to associate themselves with the likes of, Michael Quinn, a prominent member of the Irish far-right group, the Irish National Brotherhood (INB) who happens to be a proud fan of the Greek far-right political party the Golden Dawn and who constantly tweets about his hatred for ‘negros’. Quinn would like us to believe that when the IMF assisted Ireland during the bailout one of the terms they demanded was that Ireland needed to install abortion on demand. It has been revealed that Quinn is a close friend of a certain Fr. Maurice Colgan. Colgan, as you may know since you are visiting this cesspit of a website is a founding member of Youth Defence. Certainly, Fr. Colgan’s Neo-Nazi sympathies cannot be denied, he even once lived with a certain Anthony Barnes (lead singer of the whiney, untalented Dublin Neo-Nazi band, Celtic Dawn).

Golden Dawn and Celtic Dawn.

Office Association & Hiding the Books

Youth Defence claim to be based at Life House, Number 60a, Capel Street, Dublin. The small office is shared among quite a few anti-choice organisations. They include: Coir, the Life Institute, the Mother & Child Campaign, Pro-Life Alliance,, Truth TV, and of course Youth Defence. That’s quite a few different organisations running from one small office. You’ve got to wonder whether funds are transferred between them legally. Probably not, what a silly question. Irish authorities have never been allowed to get their hands on their accounting books. Why, you ask. Well, these crafty so-and-so’s continue to evade the authorities. An Irish registered charity must document all donations above a certain amount. However, Youth Defence and their cohorts, while it’s plain to see are lobbying entities (funded by charity), refute this and claim they are “education spreading” entities. Let’s take a look at who are really funding Youth Defence and their sister organisations:

I went past that office on Capel Street last week, when I was walking around north of the river a bit. It had the awful overjoyed-mummy-and-baby photo that is so insultingly irrelevant to abortion and so ubiquitous from Youth Defence.

Where the Funding Comes From

Are they funded by Irish anti-choice campaigners?

To a small extent, but the vast amount of money comes from America. Sure, if you’ve ever even attended one of their organised events you’ll have noticed that a huge proportion of the people attending are not only not Irish, they aren’t even European. It’s well known that North American fundamental Christians are flown in to boost their numbers.

Why does the funding come from America?

Well, that’s easy to answer, if these 3 American men below can secure Ireland as remaining without abortion then they can use our country as a beacon for their anti-choice campaigns in America. They can show that Ireland remains strongly Catholic, and the last great bastion of Christian faith in Europe, fighting the so-called “good fight”.

They have zero problem with Irish women leaving Ireland for Britain to have abortions. Zero. They just want Ireland to remain “abortion free” so they can claim a moral victory in Western Europe and try to push for a similar occurrence in America.

These men, play on the emotions of Irish-Americans and sure, don’t we all know that the plastic paddy diaspora know what’s best for us. Those who actually live thousands of kilometres away from the coal-face. Those who chose to leave Ireland, let’s remind ourselves that while we all have, and know plenty of families that have been decimated by immigration, it was always a choice. Not since the days of Cromwell have people been forced to leave Ireland. Now, thankfully, those that look back at the auld sod and see us as still being the backwater we were when they left are taking it upon themselves to try and dictate things from afar. Sure, it’s for our own good, they quite clearly have our best interests at heart. We’re too close to the action, sure how could we know what’s best? We only effing live here!

Read the whole thing.

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

Transgress their vile norms

Jul 9th, 2013 12:59 pm | By

Maryam is annoyed by channel 4′s “provocative” call to prayer during Ramadan.

What about all the Muslims (and ex-Muslims) who can’t stand to hear the call to prayers? or who don’t fast during Ramadan? There is a movement of eating during Ramadan as a way of challenging laws that make it an offence to eat in public. Here’s one example of people being arrested for “inciting public eating during Ramadan” but of course none of these will be shown on Channel 4.

Rather than being provocative, Channel 4 is feeding into the narrative that all Muslims are religious and conservative and fast during Ramadan. Something Islamists insist upon thereby justifying their attacks on those who refuse to fast or transgress their vile norms.

It’s also not really “provocative” to support an institution that already has massive, unaccountable, fundamentally authoritarian power. Religions don’t need help; it’s the victims of religion who need help.

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

Two years

Jul 9th, 2013 10:13 am | By

The guy who made death threats on Facebook has been jailed.

A British man who threatened to kill 200 people in the US, in posts he made under a false name on Facebook, has been jailed for more than two years.

Reece Elliott, 24, of Foss Way, South Shields, made the threat in February on online memorial pages for two Tennessee girls killed in car accidents.

About 3,000 pupils in Warren County missed school the next day as a result.

Elliott, who pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court in April, was jailed for two years and four months.

Huh. Isn’t he just a troll? Aren’t we supposed to ignore trolls? Isn’t that the rule?

Sentencing Elliott to 28 months in jail, Judge James Goss QC, the Recorder of Newcastle, told him the offences were driven by “no more than self-indulgent nastiness”.

Right. Like all trolls. So we’re supposed to ignore them. Aren’t we?


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