6 Jul 2015
Oh, Pastor James Manning, you’re the gift that just keeps on giving. This guy is the one who put up a sign telling black women that gays would take their men. That Obama has released the “homo demons.” That Starbucks was putting semen in their lattes. I seriously worry about this man’s mental state. Perhaps if he acted on those gay urges he’s admitted to, he’d get it all out of his system.
This time the head of the ATLAH World Missionary Church in the Harlem area of New York City is gearing up for a new Civil War. Not metaphorically. No, he means a real, honest-to-god, marching-Confederate-troops-in-uniforms Civil War. To “rescue the North.” Yeah.
“Surely the Confederates and the South will win this time. There’s no doubt about it. They will win this time. Now the nation must be rescued from the liberal God-haters and Constitution-haters and those that are pushing this sodomy agenda. America will be rescued and the rescuers will be the Confederates, the Southerners, those that have been the blood-washed, Bible-believing, locked-and-loaded. I’m James David Manning and I want to be one of them. I’m the Lord’s servant.”
You could almost hear the collective sound of hearts being lifted across Europe in response to the Greek No ('Oxi') vote to the Troika's bailout demands, making it a moment to savour in itself. The hope that resonates with the defiance shown by the Greek people has been a long time coming for people suffering the weight of austerity, measured in the lack of fight to what has seemed a juggernaut of despair rolling over the lives of millions without respite.
What this unfolding Greek crisis has exposed is that austerity is not so much an economic theory as an ideological concept - a code for class war, waged by the rich and their political servants against working people and the poor in order to maintain the wealth, privileges and profits of those who crashed the global economy with their unfettered greed and recklessness in the first place.
In calling this referendum, the Greek prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, and his Syriza government delivered a masterstroke, counterposing democracy to the tyranny of global capital, specifically the European Central Bank, IMF, and the European Commission, otherwise known as the Troika. The pressure arrayed against them in the process, both from without and within Greece by the country's privately owned media was inordinate and unprecedented. Yet despite this the people delivered a resounding No, thus plunging the Troika into crisis as Greece teeters on the edge of bankruptcy and exit from the EU.
4 Jul 2015
To ring in another July Fourth, most Americans will kick off celebrations with beer, BBQ and fireworks. Most, but not all.
On Independence Day, the stirring words of Thomas Jefferson's Declaration of Independence, promising "Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness," set the tone. Buried a bit further down, however, is another passage that is somewhat less well-known:
"...the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions."
That line, and America's subsequent history with Native Americans, goes a long way toward explaining why the holiday largely does not resonate with the United States' roughly 5.2 million indigenous peoples.
"Any holiday that would refer to my people in such a repugnant, racist manner is certainly not worth celebrating," Simon Moya-Smith, a culture editor at Indian Country Today told Mic. "[July Fourth] is a day we celebrate our resiliency, our culture, our languages, our children and we mourn the millions — literally millions — of indigenous people who have died as a consequence of American imperialism." For him, Independence Day is a celebration of genocide. A number of tribes and nations contacted for this story expressed various levels of discomfort with the holiday.
Want to know what Israelis and Palestinians in the Middle East really think about The United Nations, the United States and the European Union have all called on Israel to stop the illegal eviction of Palestinians and the demolition of their houses.
Israelis: What do you think of settlers forcing Palestinians out of their homes in East Jerusalem?
3 Jul 2015
The Church of Scientology, which the late science fiction writer L. Ron Hubbard founded in 1952, has experienced more than its share of criticism along the way. But criticism has escalated in recent years, from Alex Gibney’s documentary Going Clear (aired on HBO earlier this year, watch here) to books by ex-members such as Jenna Miscavige Hill’s Beyond Belief: My Secret Life Inside Scientology and My Harrowing Escape in 2013 and Blown for Good: Behind the Iron Curtain of Scientology in 2009. All of these works paint a disturbing picture of the organization, which has been accused of everything from forced child labour to coercive mind control to breaking up families.
Screenwriter/director Paul Haggis, who is known for his work in Million Dollar Baby, Crash and other Hollywood films, spent more than half his life in the Church of Scientology. But in 2009, Haggis (who is now 62), left the cult after 35 years because of its homophobic ways. That year, the cult’s San Diego branch came out in support of Proposition 8, the ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage in California. Haggis, who has two lesbian daughters, refused to keep quiet. In an open letter to Scientologist official Tommy Davis explaining his reasons for leaving, Haggis asserted that he could not be a part of a group that would “support a bill that strips a group of its civil rights.” Haggis was also quite critical of “disconnection,” a practice in which Scientologists are encouraged to discontinue all contact with relatives and friends who are deemed hostile to the cult.
Up to 300,000 Spanish babies were stolen from their parents and sold for adoption over a period of five decades, a new investigation reveals. The children were trafficked by a secret network of doctors, nurses, priests and nuns in a widespread practice that began during General Franco’s dictatorship and continued until the early Nineties.
Hundreds of families who had babies taken from Spanish hospitals are now battling for an official government investigation into the scandal.
Several mothers say they were told their first-born children had died during or soon after they gave birth. But the women, often young and unmarried, were told they could not see the body of the infant or attend their burial.
In reality, the babies were sold to childless couples whose devout beliefs and financial security meant that they were seen as more appropriate parents. Official documents were forged so the adoptive parents’ names were on the infants’ birth certificates.
2 Jul 2015
The conflict in Syria is pushing an ever increasing number of children into exploitation in the labour market, a new report revealed.
Children in the country were now contributing to the family income in more than three quarters of surveyed households, according the report released by Save the Children and UNICEF. Thursday's report (PDF) also showed that close to half of all Syrian refugee children in neighbouring Jordan were now the joint or sole family breadwinners in surveyed households.
In Lebanon, children as young as six years old are reportedly working, the report said. "As families become increasingly desperate, children are working primarily for their survival. Whether in Syria or neighbouring countries, they are becoming main economic players," Roger Hearn, regional Director for Save the Children in the Middle East and Eurasia, said.
1 Jul 2015
Some of the most curious costumes worn along the parade route belonged to protesters. Behind a barricade, a group of men wore the fringed Jewish prayer garment known as the tzitzit and held up anti-gay signs bearing the logo of a group calling itself the Jewish Political Action Committee. “Judaism prohibits homosexuality,” one sign read.
But the men were not Jewish. They were Mexican laborers, protesting because they were paid to protest, said one of the men, who would not give his name. Heshie Freed, a member of the political action committee, an Orthodox Jewish group based in Brooklyn, said that the men were supplementary troops, filling in for the Jewish students who would normally be called upon to demonstrate.
“The rabbis said that the yeshiva boys shouldn’t come out for this because of what they would see at the parade,” Mr. Freed said.
30 Jun 2015
29 Jun 2015
Pope Francis has requested to chew coca leaves during his forthcoming visit to Bolivia, according to Bolivian Culture Minister Marko Machicao.
Coca, the raw ingredient for cocaine, has been used in the Andes for thousands of years to combat altitude sickness and as a mild stimulant. Mr Machicao said the government offered the Pope coca tea and the pontiff had "specifically requested" to chew coca. Coca leaves were declared an illegal substance under the 1961 UN convention on narcotic drugs. But the growing of coca leaves for religious and medicinal purposes is legal and licensed in Bolivia.
The Vatican has not yet commented. The Pope travels to Bolivia on 8 July.
28 Jun 2015
It’s with the heaviest of hearts and unbearable sadness that we must inform you of the passing of our dear friend and Yes co-founder, Chris Squire. Chris peacefully passed away last night in Phoenix Arizona.
"The Fish" was Chris Squire's nickname. He earned it primarily due to his very long baths he would take, back when several members lived in the same flat and had to share the bathroom.
For the entirety of Yes’ existence, Chris was the band’s linchpin and, in so many ways, the glue that held it together over all these years. Because of his phenomenal bass-playing prowess, Chris influenced countless bassists around the world, including many of today’s well-known artists. Chris was also a fantastic songwriter, having written and co-written much of Yes’ most endearing music, as well as his solo album, Fish Out of Water.
A man trolling the violently homophobic Islamic State at a London gay pride event got extra troll points Saturday for duping CNN.
CNN reporter Lucy Pawle was at the event when she stumbled upon that man, who to her bewilderment, everyone seemed to be ignoring. Turns out his fake “ISIS flag” was made up of images of dildos, Mediaite discovered.
Pawle tells CNN anchors that she was leaving work when she happened upon the annual London Gay Pride festival. She was shocked to see a man dressed in black and white carrying what she called “a very bad mimicry” but a “very clear attempt to mimic the ISIS flag.”
26 Jun 2015
Gunmen killed at least 37 people at a beachfront Tunisian hotel on Friday, the same day terrorists lashed out brutally in France and bombed a mosque in Kuwait.
Tunisia's health ministry reported those deaths as well as 36 injuries in and around the Hotel Riu Imperial Marhaba in the coastal Tunisian city of Sousse, according to the state-run TAP news agency. There were three attackers -- one of whom was killed, one arrested and one escaped -- Interior Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Aroui told reporters.
Tunisia's nightmare came on the same day as at least two deadly terrorist attack in other countries.
One person was beheaded and two injured at a gas factory near Lyon in south-eastern France, according to French President Francois Hollande. And ISIS has claimed responsibility for an apparent bomb blast at the Shiite-affiliated Al-Sadiq mosque in Kuwait's capital during Friday prayers, leaving at least 25 dead and more than 200 injured.