Archive for Authoritarianism

Pat Condell: Updates

The latest few from Pat, missed in my absence:

Excellent News

Michael Reiss resigns. Teaching creationism in Science lessons, is he fucking mental? Oh no, he’s an ordained priest – a job, it seems to me, which is wholly incompatible with being Director of Education at the National Academy of Science. Good riddance to the fucktard.

On the Responsible use of Psychoactive Drugs

Brought to you from the excellent people at Erowid, this:

Fundamentals of Responsible Psychoactive Use

* Investigate the health risks and dangers of the specific psychoactive and of the class of drugs to which it belongs.

* Learn about interactions with other recreational drugs, medications, supplements, and activities.
* Review individual health concerns, predispositions, and family health history.

* Choose a source or product carefully to help ensure correct identification and purity
(avoid materials with an unknown source or of unknown quality).

* Know whether the drug is likely to reduce the ability to drive, operate equipment, or pay attention to necessary tasks.

* Take oneself “off duty” from responsibilities that might be interfered with (job, child care, etc.), and arrange for someone else to be “on duty” for such responsibilities.

* Anticipate reasonably foreseeable risks to oneself and others and employ safeguards to minimize those risks.

* Choose an appropriate occasion and location for use.

* Select and measure dosages carefully.

* Begin with a low dose until individual reactions are known and thereafter use the minimum dose necessary to achieve the desired effects: lower doses are safer doses.

* Reflect on and adjust use to minimize physical and mental health problems.

* Note changes in health over time that may be related to use.

* Modify use if it interferes with work or personal goals.

* Check in with peers and family and accept feedback about one’s use.

* Track reactions to specific drugs and dosages in order to avoid repeating mistakes.

* Seek treatment if needed.

* Decide not to use when the time isn’t right, the material is suspect, or the situation is otherwise problematic.

More, here at Cato Unbound

Krauss and Dawkins on Science and Faith

Krauss: You have cogently argued in The God Delusion that religion is bad science. I would argue, however, that this is particularly inappropriate, and in fact falls into the same trap fallen into by those who push Intelligent Design in science classrooms, as well as those who fund Templeton Foundation grants that attempt to foster scientific evidence for God. I have framed this issue in language that hearkens back to Carl Sagan, who said that absence of evidence is not the same as evidence of absence. Would a world without God necessarily look any different than the world we live in? Most scientists would say no, and thus claim we do not need the God Hypothesis to explain anything about nature. On the other hand one might also ask: Would a world with a God necessarily look any different than the world we live in? People of faith would argue no, and in so doing feel vindicated in their faith. The problem is that both groups are correct, and nothing either can say is likely to influence the other.

Dawkins: I have several times said that a universe with a God would be a very different kind of universe from one without. You have translated this into operational terms, and consequently arrived at the legitimate question of whether the two kinds of universe would look different. Not be different (my question) but look different (your question, where ‘look different’ can presumably mean any difference, detectable in any way by any of our sense organs or scientific instruments). I agree that yours is an important question, and I agree with you that it might be surprisingly hard to detect, by observation or experiment, whether we live in a god-free universe or a god-endowed one. Nevertheless, I still maintain that there is a cogent sense in which a scientist can discuss the question. There still is a sense in which we can have an interesting and illuminating scientific discussion about whether X is the case, even if we can’t demonstrate it one way or the other by observation or experiment. How can I argue this and still claim to be doing science?

Read the whole debate, here.

Latest from Pat Condell

Defragging the Ten Commandments

“Nine Commandments, Seven Commandment Thirteen? Ten! It’s a marketing device!”

“Thy shall keep thy religion to thyself”

Dad, I’m an Atheist

My dad ended telling me that he did not support my views and he will not respect them. I told him that I wasn’t trying to change anyone else’s views. I just want to make mine known. I also said that I don’t expect him to support or respect my views and that I do expect him to try and show me I’m wrong, with which he interrupted, “No. It is not my job to show you you are wrong, and you are. That is the Lord. The Holy Spirit.” He contradicts himself all the time. I then tried to end the conversation by saying that all I needed him to do was love me. He said he does. Then he said, “Nothing you do will make me love you less, nothing you do will make me love you more.” For those of you who don’t know, God says that in the Bible. But he wasn’t quoting it. He actually said it for himself. That seemed a little strange to me.

Go Here and read the rest, heartbreakingly real.

No Shit? Creationist in GOP VP Slot!

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska and GOP VP Nominee

Sarah Palin, Governor of Alaska and GOP VP Nominee

Pro-life* (i.e. Anti-woman), Anti-Gay rights (i.e. Anti-human rights), Pro-drilling, Creationist whackjob, Sarah Palin** has been picked by John McCain (he of the temper) to be his VP running mate on the GOP 2008 ticket. Please Please Please let Obama win – this is the kind of moron that sets the development of the human race back 200 years.








*Why are GOP-ers so concerned for the rights of the unborn, then once you’re born – you’re on your own? Pre-natal, great. Pre-school, fuck you!

**No relation to Michael, I imagine – far too humourless by the looks of it.

North Korean Propaganda Posters

The rest can be found here.

Child Rape in Afghanistan

The Afghan’s are seeing a surge in sexual violence towards children according to this report in Time Magazine

It is not uncommon for criminals to bribe their way out of prison in Afghanistan. But in the north, where warlords still command private militias and enrich their armies by running lucrative smuggling routes, impunity is rife. Police often refuse to register cases against well-known criminals, for fear of retaliation and more often because they are on the take. When Amruddin’s 13-year-old daughter was kidnapped in Sar-i-pul province last year, he had to pay for the local police officer’s fuel in order to get the officer to visit the café where she had last been seen. The officer was no help. When Amruddin — who, like most poor farmers in Afghanistan, only has one name — finally found his daughter a week later, she identified the police officer as one of her eight rapists. Three other suspects worked for the village strongman. When their case came to the local prosecutor, he dismissed it, saying there wasn’t enough evidence. More likely, says Amruddin, there wasn’t enough of a bribe. Amruddin says that in order to raise enough money for all the necessary bribes, he sold his two other daughters, ages 9 and 11, for $5,000. “I had to sell them in order to pursue this case,” he says. “What else can I do? I am not a pimp, a coward, to let these men get away with what they did. I will sell all of my children if that is what it takes to get justice.”

Harry’s Place: Update

Great News! Harry’s Place is now back online. New DNS being hosted by the good folks at Positive Internet. I haven’t kept up with all this as I’ve been away for a few days, but there is an excellent round-up of events at Modernity Blog.

May I also point you in the direction of this post by Brett at Harry’s Place itself.

A line must be drawn.It cannot possibly get worse than this. The dissemination of literature from a racist, antisemitic, white-supremacist, conspiracy-theorising website in the name of providing insight and/or commentary on Zionism or the policies of the Israeli government is a low point many refused to believe could be reached – though a few have warned that this is where things were headed for some time.

But, having reached this low-point, we have to ask ourselves if it can be allowed to sink any lower.

If those in British Unions who flirt with the far-right can weasel out of this, then they can weasel out of anything. A line must be drawn here. A line must be drawn now.

Do read the rest.

Harry’s Place & Jenna Delich

Harry’s Place appears to have succumbed to the bonkers UK libel laws after posting information relating to Jenna Delich and her circulation of information from notorious Neo-Nazi David Duke’s website.

This is VERY BAD NEWS. Moronic academic sends filth and hate via a professional network (something which she has yet to deny) and UK ISP shits it’s pants when a complaint is made.

Harry’s place is now operating from here – do go and show your support.

UPDATE: As Inna points out in the comments, Jenna Delich has actually admitted using the quote from the article on David Duke’s website. If her plea of ignorance regarding Duke is true that is one thing – but to then copy/paste this quote without fully reading the article she has shown herself to be naive in the ways of the internet; it’s clearly Anti-Semitic as the quotes in the comments below and in The Jerusalem Post report show.

Latest from Pat Condell

He Kexin

14 Years old? Abso-bloody-lutely.

More Olympic fakery, eh? Just gets better and better. They lied to get the games and now they have them they cheat to win.

Apparently the IOC are on the case. Looking forward to the whitewash. Political pressure and all that.

Olympic News

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports, rips Jacques Rogge and new hole.

Jacques Rogge is so bought, so compromised, the president of the IOC doesn’t have the courage to criticize China for telling a decade of lies to land itself these Olympic Games.

All the promises made to get these Games — on Tibet, Darfur, pollution, worker safety, freedom of expression, dissident rights — turned out to be phony, perhaps as phony as the Chinese gymnasts’ birthdates Rogge was way too slow to investigate.

One of the most powerful men in sports turned the world away from his complicity. Instead, he has flexed his muscles by unloading on a powerless sprinter from a small island nation.

Rogge’s ripping of Usain Bolt’s supposed showboating in two of the most electrifying gold-medal performances of these Games has to be one of the most ill-timed and gutless acts in the modern history of the Olympics

Brilliant stuff. Do read the rest.

Activists Get 10 Day Jail Sentences

An update to this post of mine. It appears from reports that the activists in question have been given a ten day administrative detention by Chinese Police.

Also:

A Tibetan nun named Sonam Yungzom is reported to have been shot while shouting slogans in Kardze town, eastern Tibet (now part of Sichuan province) on August 10th. One source says she yelled out: “There are no human rights in China, there is brutal oppression in Tibet, still the Olympics go on in China.” She was hit by five to six bullets and then her body was thrown in a vehicle and taken away.

Via SFT

And these images are from Boing Boing:

Nice to see our PM has been sucking up to the Chinese Government:

“The 2008 Beijing Olympics have set a new standard for the Olympic Games, which we in London in 2012 will seek to follow,” he said.

Contemptible.

Re-education through Labour (Chinese Style)

Wu Dianyuan & Wang Xiuying

Wu Dianyuan & Wang Xiuying

The two women, both in their late 70s, have never spoken out against China’s authoritarian government. Both walk with the help of a cane, and Ms. Wang is blind in one eye. Their grievance, receiving insufficient compensation when their homes were seized for redevelopment, is perhaps the most common complaint among Chinese displaced during the country’s long streak of fast economic growth.

But the Beijing police still sentenced the two women to an extrajudicial term of “re-education through labor” this week for applying to hold a legal protest in a designated area in Beijing, where officials promised that Chinese could hold demonstrations during the Olympic Games.

They became the most recent examples of people punished for submitting applications to protest. A few would-be demonstrators have simply disappeared, at least for the duration of the Games, squelching already diminished hopes that the influx of foreigners and the prestige of holding the Games would push China’s leaders to relax their tight grip on political expression.

“Can you imagine two old ladies in their 70s being re-educated through labor?” asked Li Xuehui, Ms. Wu’s son, who said the police told the two women that their sentence might remain in suspension if they stayed at home and stopped asking for permission to protest.

From the New York Times.

What complete Bastards. This is the real face of the Olympics – but with all the flag-waving, fireworks and pretty boys & (fake!)girls, you lot seem to have forgotten about it.

MCB Backtracks on Progressive Marriage Contract

Ed Husain in today’s Guardian.

When I met Amina she was still in love with this man but her father insisted she marry her cousin from Pakistan, who happened, rather conveniently, to be visiting England. Her father also had a heart condition and used his illness to emotionally blackmail her. Eventually Amina gave way. She sacrificed love to south Asian culture and married Mr Pakistan.

White, liberal eyes reading this article will be astounded to know these things happen in Britain. I am sorry, but they do. And it gets worse.

Amina was repeatedly raped by Mr Pakistan, but her mother told her that a Muslim man has such rights over his wife, and in Islam there is no such thing as marital rape.

More on Crackpots (Ashura Ceremony)

Pro-Tibet Protest

Five pro-Tibet activists have been arrested in China for unfurling a light banner saying “Free Tibet” in both Chinese and English. This happened outside Beijing’s Olympic Park complex. As yet the whereabouts of the activists is unknown.

A little more information, here.

Via Boing Boing

UPDATE: Alive in Baghdad creator, Brian Conley is one of those detained, along with his friend Jeffrey Rae. Three other bloggers and activists, Jeff Goldin, Michael Liss, and Tom Grant, have also been missing since Tuesday morning. Conley, 28, Rae, 28, Goldin, 40, Liss, 35, Grant, 39 are all American citizens.

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